Day At The Track
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Win 100 in feature trot

They were the first training partnership in New South Wales and now husband and wife harness racing duo Joe and Mary Rando has achieved another milestone. The pair reached 100 wins at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight, since their official partnership began in the 2015/16 season, thanks to Empire Bay taking out the Bulli Trotters Cup. This race has a lot of significance for the Rando team. They won in 2018 edition with the ill-fated Sundons Comet when the feature was a Group 2, giving them their first Group success with a trotter. Having won Group races with pacers prior, the trotting gait has certainly been profitable for the Randos, adding to their century of wins together. “It was very exciting,” said Mary. “We hit 99 wins during the week after Do Ball won at Menangle and usually when you know you have a milestone nearing, it feels like forever until you achieve it. “In saying that, I was confident Empire Bay would go well tonight. He was well handicapped off 10m and has been a victim of circumstances in his recent runs, so he has been going better than what his form reads. “Chris Geary (driver) has really found his rhythm with this horse and it all paid off tonight.” Geary provided Joe and Mary with their first win as a partnership when guiding Bee Arr Dee to victory at Menangle on May 10, 2016, just two days out from being the exact day five years ago. Tonight Geary eased Empire Bay away from the tapes while the tempo upfront was slick in the 2300m stand with a lead time of 52.1 seconds. As the first two quarters were run in 30.4 and 32.3 seconds, Geary flushed out Jack Callaghan on Garland Greene when heading into the back straight for the final time to land the one-one. This proved to be the winning move, with Geary angling Empire Bay into clear running at the top of the home straight where he sprinted the final quarter in 28.5 seconds to beat the favourite Gimondi by more than six metres. The mile rate was 2:00.0. Bred and raced by Michael Taylor, Empire Bay extended his record to 24 wins and 27 placings in 106 starts and earnings of $247,341. The seven-year-old gelding is by The Pres out of the Monarchy mare Miss Adelade. Watch the replay below: By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

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Group 1 win not all smooth sailing

The result may have given harness racing trainer Peter Manning his first Group 1 victory in more than a decade but it was not all smooth sailing when Plymouth Chubb won the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic at Melton tonight. Manning has built his illustrious career as a renowned juvenile conditioner and the 76-year-old trained 2700 winners since the 1980/81 season. And even after all that success and experience, nothing prepares you for that feeling when you watch your young trotter gallop and giveaway ground. That is what happened when Plymouth Chubb headed around the first turn tonight in the $50,000 feature. Manning’s daughter Kerryn Manning was in the sulky, a veteran of 4021 wins and even she was “worried”. “He came out quite good and then a gap opened up behind Puppet (Chris Alford) and as I made up my mind to go there, just as I pulled him down he put in a roughie and went off stride,” she said. “I managed to get him down reasonably fast but I had to make the ground back up and he didn’t steer great after that he wanted to hang in all the way. “I was in a bit of trouble at the 800m and once I got him in the middle of the track by himself he made ground. “I was a bit worried but the horse was pretty good.” Despite his mishap, Plymouth Chubb cruised to the line to beat his rivals by more than 17 metres. Clocking 2:00.0, the two-year-old gelded son of Majestic Son and In The Pocket mare Pocket Fantasy extended his record to four wins in five starts. Watch the replay here:   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

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Caveman erupts

He may not have been the favourite but that did not stop Caveman from claiming last night’s Group 2 Australian Pacing Gold Consolation at harness racing’s home in Western Australia, Gloucester Park. Causing an upset at starting odds of $17 when bursting past the favourite Mirragon around the home turn, Caveman lowered his personal best time by more than three seconds when rating 1:55.4. Trained by Mike Reed and driven by his son Mark, Caveman was positioned behind the leader after beginning from barrier two. The tempo in front was dictated by the second elect Poisedtopounce and in the back straight for the final time Mark Reed steered Caveman into clear running. That move proved costly with the reinsman receiving a 13-day suspension after he checked Valentines Brook in the process. That was Caveman’s 10th win in 24 starts. The four-year-old is by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Art Major mare Our Copper Art. Watch the replay below:   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

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3000 wins for Brown

With his win at Gloucester Park last night behind the red hot favourite Joelene, champion harness racing reinsman Colin Brown brought up his 3000th winner in a 45-year driving career. Joelene was his 1532nd winner in Perth and 421st training success in the Perth. Only Chris Lewis and Gary Hall Jnr have driven more winners than Brown while Fred Kersley and Trevor Warwick are the only other Western Australians to have passed the 2000 career wins milestone. Of that elite quintet Brown is the only one yet to be inducted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame. He is also the only driver in the State to have driven in excess of 2000 winners as a freelance driver for other trainers AND to have also trained more than 500 winners while he is approaching the 900 winners mark as a trainer. Brown drove his first winner on 9th October 1976 at the now defunct York track behind a gelding called Go To It which was trained by Brown’s mentor Jim Schrader. His first Perth winner came at Richmond Raceway behind Esteral Lass on 19th August 1977. Coincidentally the Fremantle circuit is also now defunct. Schrader never rushed to careers of aspiring young reinsmen and both Brown and Schrader’s son Peter went through three six-month Reinsman’s Schools before they were allowed to apply for their country licence. “It was a lot harder then than it is now. At that time drivers were allowed to push out at anytime in races and there were a host of old-time hard-school drivers out there and they were very good at driving on the margin”, Brown said. “It was almost impossible to hold your position when the likes of a Jim Schrader or Alan Woodworth decided that they wanted to get away from the rails”, he added.   By Alan Parker for Gloucester Park

He maybe the second ranked harness racing driver in Western Australia but Chris Voak’s name was in lights at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 32-year-old reinsman won his first Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes thanks to quality mare Star Of Diamonds. It was also trainer Barry Howlett’s first success in the feature that inaugurated in 1978. Starting from barrier four, Voak had a plan to go forward and it paid off. Parked three-wide in the early stages, Voak guided Star Of Diamonds to the front where she rolled through the first two quarters in 30.6 and 29.2 seconds. The winning move was when Voak slipped the four-year-old mare more rein to go through the third quarter in 27.3 seconds as the favourite Heavens Showgirl was making her way into the race. A final quarter in 28.9 sealed the deal for Voak and Star Of Diamonds who crossed the line with more than four metres to spare over their rivals. The mile rate of 1:55.2 made it the fastest Breeders Stakes in the past five years. Star Of Diamonds, a daughter of Bettors Delight out of Lombo Mandingo mare Maddy White, extended her record to seven wins and 12 placings in 33 starts and earnings of $112,976. Watch the replay below: By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

Terang Harness Racing Club is getting a major infrastructure upgrade that will benefit the club and the local community, due to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Racing Martin Pakula today announced that the Labor Government would contribute $730,000 from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund towards a $1.7 million redevelopment that will deliver new stabling and community facilities. The Federal Government is contributing $250,000 and Corangamite Shire $50,000 to the project, with the balance to be provided by the club and Harness Racing Victoria. The project will see the construction of 100-stall stable complex with horse urinals, wash bays, veterinary room and swabbing facilities. The development will significantly improve facilities for local racing participants and attract new trainers to the club The Silks Room/Community Hub function room will be enhanced and will offer significantly improved amenity on race days and make it more attractive as a venue for the local community. The Terang Harness Racing Club has been an integral part of the local community for more than 100 years. It hosts 13 race meetings and 24 trial meetings each year and is a home base for 19 trainers. Since 2015, the Labor Government has approved more than $800,000 to support infrastructure projects and harness racing events at Terang Harness Racing Club. The harness racing industry in regional Victoria generates $255.3 million for the Victorian economy and helps sustain nearly 2,100 full-time-equivalent jobs. Quote attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula “We’re helping clubs develop modern, safe facilities for participants and to improve animal welfare outcomes. This is a significant project for the Terang Harness Racing Club and I look forward to seeing the completed works.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney “Terang Harness Racing Club is a significant player in the local community – it’s been a focal point for decades and investments like this ensure it will be around for many more years to come.”  Quote attributable to Harness Racing Victoria Chair Dale Monteith “I’d like to thank the Victorian Government for its support for this worthy project. It will improve health and safety, enhance the amenity of the venue for patrons, and help attract more trainers to locate here.” Quote attributable to Terang Harness Racing Club President Evan Savage “Terang Harness Racing Club is a big part of the local community, and this project will make it more attractive as both a racing and community venue – it’s a real win for the town.”   Victorian Government media release

Bonny Tintin In America mare Nimah Franco’s affinity with Albion Park continued last Saturday. The six-year-old came from last to notch her sixth success at the Brisbane headquarters’ track, rating 1:55.9 over 2138 metres. It was her 12th lifetime win. Tintin In America was also represented by the two-year-old Teddy Disco, who won on debut at Redcliffe, Smooth Rye, a runaway winner in a career-best 1:57.1 at Northam, and a ‘new’ winner at Cambridge Raceway, NZ in Tintoretto. World champion Warrawee Needy led in three winners in North America for the week in Needless To Say (1:54), Need Ur Opinion (1:57) and Deprived (1:57.6). Reigning NSW Sire of the Year Million Dollar Cam led in winners in both hemispheres with Dollarbill, a 1:56.6 winner at Marburg (Queensland), and Million Dollar Gem (1:56.4, Buffalo Raceway, New York), while the Renaissance Man gelding Medieval Man came off a 30 metre handicap to record his ninth success at Bunbury and send his stake earnings beyond the $50,000 mark. Tintin In America, Warrawee Needy, Million Dollar Cam and Renaissance Man all stand at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga (NSW).   By Peter Wharton

Talented Changeover gelding Yianni tasted Group success for the first time when he effortlessly won harness racing's Group 2 $50,000 Australian Pacing Gold 4YO Consolation at Melton on Saturday (May 1). The four-year-old worked to the front in the early stages and reeled off a flying 56.4 seconds last 800 metres to score by open lengths. The mile rate for 1720 metres was a career-best 1:53.8. Changeover was also represented by metropolitan winners in three other States in the first week of May. Leica Change won in 1:57.5 at Menangle, Franco Nathan NZ won on debut at Albion Park in 1:55.9 and Jaccka Ted NZ emerged successful in 1:57.1 at Globe Derby Park. The three-year-old Nick’s Pick (1:58.8, Redcliffe), Just Ralph (1:53.8, Mildura) and Isla’s Joy NZ (1:56.1, Marburg) were other recent Australian winners sired by Changeover. NZ winners included Jungle Gem (1:58.8, Cambridge Raceway) and Changenround (Invercargill), while the NZ bred Darkershadeofpale scored again in 1:53 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Changeover will again by standing this season at Burwood Stud, on Queensland’s rich Darling Downs.   By Peter Wharton

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound. Ego about top four-year-old Expensive Ego, a good looking Rock N Roll Heaven entire, is rated Australia’s top four-year-old this season, particularly after his superlative win in the $210,000 Australian Pacing Gold Final at Melton, one of the season’s major harness racing classics. He has won six and been twice placed from nine starts for $418,390 in stakes. In the APG Final, he was never really extended in running out the 1720 metres in a 1:52.1 rate, the last 800 in 55.3 and the final 400 in 27.7, figures which he could have sharply improved. Expensive Ego is out of Art Start, who took a record of 1:58.2. Art Start was a Perfect Art mare from the Oaks winner Sweet Clementine (1:59.6), by Land Grant from the noted producer Sue Adios NZ, by Jerry Adios. Art Start, a winner of 14 races, has proved a very successful broodmare. Besides Expensive Ego, she is also the dam of the QBred Triad 2YO winner Art’s Treasure 1:50.9 ($152,542), Bodhi Tree 1:52.1 (winner of 26 races and $192,854) and Golightly (1:54.5), who has won his last four starts at Albion Park. Art Start was a half-sister to the Albion Park and Gloucester Park winner Stage Coach Kid 1:56.5 ($139,575) and to the dam of the exported Who Said What 1:54.2 ($191,803), their dam Sweet Clementine being a half-sister to the multiple Group winner Sweet Liberty 1:57.9 ($102,706), who founded a strong winning branch of The Brat family. It includes My Liberty Belle (Qbred Triad 3YO), the dual Inter Dominion heat winner Philadelphia Man 1:52.6 ($559,135), the former 2YO of the Year Centenario, last year’s outstanding two-year-old filly Tough Tilly and Somedan (1:55.9). Expensive Ego wins APG 4YO Final at Melton – Stuart McCormick photo WA Derby winning line The Western Australian Derby winner, Mighty Ronaldo, is a son of the Christian Cullen horse Alta Christiano, who won the Derby himself as well as other Group races in NZ and WA. It was Mighty Ronaldo’s third success at Group level and his fifth lifetime. He has stakes totalling $270,255, One of the third crop sired by Alta Christiano, he is out of Millwood’s Delight (1:57), by Bettor’s Delight from Gliding By (1:57.4), a Cambridge Cup winner by Vance Hanover from Significant, by Out To Win from the broodmare gem Black Watch. Millwood’s Delight, the dam of Mighty Ronaldo, was last season sent to the world champion McWicked. The winner of three at Gloucester Park, Millwood’s Delight ranked as a half-sister to the NZ and USA winner Raptorial 1:50.2 ($316,088), the Gloucester Park victor Face Your Fears (1:58.6), Seaward 1:59.2 (9 NZ wins) and to the McArdle mare Shes Got It All (1:58.6), the dam of two high class pacers in Malcolm’s Rhythm 1:52.9 ($248,850) and Be Major Threat 1:55 ($125,639). Another half-sister in Zwish (by Dream Away) was responsible for the good Melton winner Phil Monty 1:54.3 ($130,216) and the brilliant but ill-fated Zee Dana (1:54.6). Significant, the third dam, left seven individual winners including the NZ Oaks winner Pacific Flight 1:51.2 ($562,345), who later competed with great distinction in America, and the Victorian country cups hero The Unicorn 1:57.8 ($488,524). Mighty Ronaldo was bred by leading Perth breeder Dr Trevor Lindsay. Mighty Ronaldo wins WA Derby at Gloucester Park – Paceway Photos   Leading sire’s absence a loss The runaway success of Cat King Cole in the $50,000 APOG Gold Bullion Final for two-year-old fillies at Albion Park further demonstrated the loss of Hurrikane Kingcole to breeders. One of his third crop, Cat King Cole has won three of her four starts and looks to be well in line for the major juvenile classics later in the year. She is out of the multiple Group winner Catwalk Beauty 1:58.2 ($156,566), a P B Bullville mare who produced others in Werelivingthedream (1:54.3) and Matron Jujon (1:55.4). Venus Jujon, a four-year-old mare by Hurrikane Kingcole, finished third in the $50,000 APG 4YO Consolation Final on the same night as Cat King Cole won. In all, Hurrikane Kingcole has produced 67 foals to have raced with 45 of those having been successful and his progeny has earned $1.1 million to date. Cat King Cole wins APG Gold Bullion Final at Albion Park – Dan Costello Photography   Class prevails at Albion Park A top colt in Queensland this year – he won the $50,000 APG Gold Bullion Final at his second start – is Class To The Max, a half-brother to the outstanding pacer Colt Thirty One. Class To The Max belongs to one of Queensland’s premier families, being by American Ideal from Charm Personified, by Perfect Art from Charming Reminder, by Vanston Hanover from the Tempest Hanover mare Call Girl, who established a great winning line for well known Brisbane identity Kevin Seymour. She left an Oaks winner in Goldrush Girl and a smart colt in Destiny Calls. Charm Personified, the dam of six sub 2:00 winners, was a half-sister to the dual Oaks winner Cherry Cheer 1:56.7 ($278,372), dam of the Breeders Crown Silver winner Cherish The Moment 1:53.1 ($135,595), and to the Seymour Nursery winner Rhapsody In Red 1:56.8 ($167,715), who left a string of classic winners in Rani Major, Raring To Go, Rich Heritage and Red Charmer. Other members of this fine family have been Good Lookin Girl (NSW Ladyship Mile), the QBred Triad winners Girl From Ipanema and Charming Allie (half-sister to Class To The Max), Cavetto (1:51.2), Cheers Robbie (1:53.9), Cherry’s The Best (1:53.1) and recent Albion Park three-year-old winner Frontliner. Class To The Max wins APG Gold Bullion Final at Albion Park – Dan Costello Photography   Yianni shows promise The four-year-old Yianni to uphold the fine record of Changeover’s stock. Trained by Emma Stewart, he effortlessly won the $50,000 APG 4YO Consolation at Melton in a career-best 1:53.8. Yianni has not raced a great deal. From 34 starts he has won seven with 11 placings for $73,945. A gelding by Changeover (son of In The Pocket), he is out of a useful racemare in Jodila (1:57.5), who ranked as a half-sister to the metropolitan winners Jodan 1:52.9 ($147,129) and Walkabout Creek (1:52.7). Their dam, Trudee, was a top flight racemare in the Harold Park era. She won 21 races and $167,757 and at the stud left five winners – all inside 2:00 – from eight foals to race. Trudee was an Albert Albert mare from the noted producer Avonali, by Toliver Hanover from Stormy Helen, by Stormyway. A champion racemare in Make Mine Cullen belongs to this family. She won a record 29 races at Melton and, at one stage, held the Australian mares’ mile record of 1:53. In all, she won 40 races and $874,178 in stakes. Yianni ranks as a half-brother to the Victoria Sapling Stakes winner Ideal Dan. From Group 1 family Michelle Lee Mac, who won the $210,000 APG Gold Bullion Final for four-year-old mares, one of the features of last weekend’s Melton meeting, is a Bettor’s Delight mare from the same family as that which produced a champion racemare in The Private Dancer. Michelle Lee Mac, who won the Bathurst Gold Tiara as a two-year-old and the NSW Breeders Challenge Regional Final at three, has been a model of consistency throughout her career. Bred and raced by the McDowell family, she has a wealth of breeding on her dam’s side, being out of the Armbro Operative mare Duets, a member of the prolific First Water family. Duets (1:56.2), a dual Listed winner, produced earlier winners in Thunder Dance 1:50.5 ($209,030), Butterfly Princess (1:56.1) and Dance Teacher (1:57.3), an Artsplace mare who left the good NSW and USA winner Jive Dancing 1:51.8 ($152,883). Duets was a half-sister to the NSW Sapling Stakes winner Stardust 1:52.9 ($118,705), Private Road (NSW Breeders Challenge Regional 3YO) and Prince Syntax (1:52.8), being out of the Edgar Tatlow winner The Irish Dancer, by Torado Hanover from the glamour filly of the 1980’s, The Private Dancer, the winner of her first 12 starts including the Edgar Tatlow Memorial, NSW Pink Bonnet, NSW Princess Mile and Raith Memorial. At the stud The Private Dancer left seven winners and was the ancestress of horses the calibre of the NSW Breeders Challenge winner Home Of The Brave (1:53.4), Palace Star (NSW Princess Mile and Raith Memorial), Zenyatta (NSW Breeders Challenge Regional 2YO) and Pacific Drums (1:52.8). Michelle Lee Mac wins APG 4YO Mares Final at Melton – Stuart McCormick photo Stars Align in 1:48 Stars Align has become the third Australian-bred performer to enter the 1:48 list in America. He recorded 1:48 when he was successful in a $US16,500 race at The Meadowlands on April 24. He won again in 1:49 the following week. By the Artsplace horse Art Major – a champion racehorse himself – Stars Align is out of the Albert Albert mare Nosotros, a half-sister to the cup class pacer and Inter Dominion heat winner Hexus 1:55 ($555,199). Nosotros produced others in Red Vee Hanover 1:54 ($181,436), Ichiba Newy (1:57.1) and Tell A Tall Story. Stars Align, who was bred by leading Victorian nursery Benstud Standardbreds, joins Majordan (1:47.8), also bred by Benstud, and Leonidas (1:48) as Aussie bred 1:48 pacers. NSW Trotters Oaks to Aldebaran Ursula The Group 2 NSW Trotters Oaks, for three-year-old fillies, one of the features on the trotting calendar at Menangle, was won by Aldebaran Ursula, a filly by the Swedish sire Yield Boko from Ushaka Bromac NZ. Yield Boko, a son of the Italian bred champion Viking Kronos, has not been extensively represented to this stage but has a tidy score of winners to starters. He has sired such winners as Godofthunder (SA Hambletonian), the Vicbred Final placegetter Fend Off, Flyin Around and Forever Kronos. Ushaka Bromac, the dam of Aldebaran Ursula, was by Continentalman, who also distinguished himself as a sire of trotters, from Ursula Bromac, a mare by Live Or Die from a predominantly pacing family. Ushaka Bromac won 16 races and $144,985 in stakes and took a mile record of 1:59.3 and was a top racemare in her own right. This has been a most successful family, as Caligula, a winner in 1:55.2 on Oaks night, is out of Una Bromac, a full sister to Ursula Bromac. A half-sister by Union Guy to the pair in Ulrica Bromac went in 1:49.6 in North America. Aldebaran Ursula was bred by Aldebaran Park and was sold for $8,000 at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale in 2019. 50th SA Golden Nursery An important milestone for South Australian harness racing will be marked on October 30 when the Alabar Bloodstock Golden Nursery will be held for the 50th time. The two-year-old feature was first run at the Wayville Showgrounds in 1971 and was won by Karomin, driven by Lloyd Webster. Over the years the race has been won by many of SA’s top juveniles including Dancing Finn, Emain Macha, Aspiring Artist, Flagbearer and Oztreos. Alabar Bloodstock is sponsoring the classic for the eleventh consecutive year.   By Peter Wharton

Group 1-winning harness racing driver Paul Diebert is back fighting fit and driving winners after a bout of glandular fever put him on the sidelines for six weeks. The accomplished driver set the new benchmark in the 2021 TAB Trot Rods series on Wednesday evening at Redcliffe, getting Regal Nightshade up in a smart time of 66.10 seconds for trainer Mark Dux. Veteran pacer Regal Nightshade’s effort tops that of “The Kid” Angus Garrard and Living Free, who previously were the leaders in the exciting series, in a time of 66.45 seconds. It was a significant victory for Diebert, who has been working his way back to full fitness of late, after recovering from a serious case of glandular fever. Now feeling close to back to his best, Diebert says he now has to look after himself better to ensure the glandular fever does not return, including staying healthy and fit. “I got sick about 11 weeks ago and was out for six weeks; I have been good since then, it has been great all the trainers have put me back on,” Diebert said. “I have been driving a lot more and getting more winners. “It knocked me around for a bit being out for six weeks, the doctors said my liver and sternum were really weak and they did not want me to cop any pressure or hits to the guts. “I would not have been in a good way if that happened, it was a good freshen up for me and I am glad to be back.” With The Band took out the inaugural Trot Rods crown, and the $10,000 bonus, in a time of 64.77 seconds last year, with Diebert the winning driver on that occasion. He is hoping to go back-to-back in the series but believes there is going to be some speedy pacers go around the triangle in the coming weeks that may upset his time on Regal Nightshade. “This was my only drive in the series so far this year with Regal Nightshade so it is good to get the win on the board,” Diebert said. “I enjoy the series; it is good for our sport and the viewers at home. “It is a really good thrill to win it last year, to break the record as I did.” The leading time was almost eclipsed in the next heat the same evening, as No Doubt rocketed home in 66.20. Regal Nightshade, an eight-year-old with over 160 career starts on his resume, is well suited to the Trot Rods format, trainer Mark Dux believes. “It was good, it seems to be a good series and the money is good, so you cannot knock it,” Dux said. “He is no superstar but he goes alright, it all really depends on how they run the races as well with how hard they go out. “We were fairly confident he would race well; it was just about where he would land from the barrier draw. “It is another race series and if you have the horse that suits, you look towards it.” Dux, who has 14 in work in his team, doubts old campaigner Regal Nightshade will be able to hold on to claim the fastest lap of the entire series, believing there are classy horses set to contest heats in the coming heats. “I would like to say he will win it, but I am not confident,” Dux said. “He has been a nice horse but he is getting to the end of his game, which is the worst part of it all. “We were still good enough to win it on Wednesday night, which was good.” Two more heats for the TAB Trot Rods series will be run this coming Wednesday night, May 12, at Redcliffe. Over the series, 10 heats to be run over successive Wednesday nights before the Trot Rods Final night on Wednesday May 26. A $10,000 bonus will be awarded to the owners of the horse with the fastest time throughout the series, thanks to Otto Tuza. The winning trainer will also receive an Otto Tuza two-horse angled and fully enclosed horse float valued at over $21,000. A $1,000 bonus will be awarded to the connections of any horse that eclipses the previous best series time, split 80% to owner and 20% to trainer.   Jordan Gerrans for Racing Queensland

For the second week in a row Group 1 racing will staged at harness racing headquarters in Victoria. Tabcorp Park Melton will host the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Homegrown Classic finals for two-year-old trotters over the sprint trip.   In the colts and geldings division, only 10 runners contested the lone heat at Maryborough, with all starters progressing through to the final. The fillies' division did host two heats with a total of 15 fillies competing therefore the top five in each heat improve through to their rich final.   This occurrence begs the question, are there too many Group 1 races on the Australian calendar?  Everybody strives to reach the elite level in this sport, which requires a great deal of hard work, patience, perseverance and talent and each participant's success in certainly deserved. However, after a quick count, I noted 91 pacing Group 1 events programmed for this year across Australia and a further 34 for the trotting gait. That is 125 Group 1 opportunities this year alone.   Does having this many elite level ‘graded’ races somewhat take away from the prestige of winning a Group 1? I am sure those who win them would no doubt disagree, and this is a great marketing tool to promote ownership opportunities in the sport, however, my opinion is that there are simply too many.   The current requirements are purely prizemoney based - $50,000 for trotters and $100,000 for pacers qualify a race to be deemed a Group 1.  There is so much more to a race’s stature including prestige, history and who is in fact even eligible to contest such events.   Maybe I am barking up the wrong tree, and I guess the argument would be that there is no distinct negative to having so many Group 1 events available to be won, though I think we need to fiercely protect such a prestigous honour to the elite level it deserves.   Arguments on Group 1s aside, it is great to see the juvenile squaregaiters starting to step out as the search begins for the next Tornado Valley or Sundees Son. In the colts division, the beautifully bred Kyvalley Pierro has drawn perfectly in gate one for Brent Lilley and Chris Alford. A son of Muscle Hill, his three starts to date have proven that he has good ability and good manners, which are so important at this stage of the season. He was beaten in the heat by Plymouth Chubb after that professional two-year-old was able to lead and dictate.  How good would it be to see Peter and Kerryn Manning combine for another feature juvenile race victory together?  The girls will line up later in the evening as race eight on the 10-race card, where the event is far more open.   Aldebaran Misty was able to make amends for a debut mistake when she ran a slick 1:59.7 mile rate in her heat last Friday when leading.   Brad Angrove is well represented with Stingofawasp who chased the above mentioned gamely into second in the first heat, whereas Ebonys Avenger secured her second victory in the following heat.   Tornado Valley will also have another crack at entry into the millionaire’s club in the eighth event on the program, the Vulcan Trotters FFA, when he will be forced to overcome the second row once more.   Can Aldebaran Ursula complete the big double?  After saluting in last week’s NSW Trotters Oaks when aided by a super Robert Morris drive, the local filly will be looking for further feature race success when lining up from the inside gate against the boys.  Again, a wave of Victorian invaders are traipsing north, including the likes of Have No Fear and Kyvalley Hotspur, who will no doubt be ultra-competitive on their exposed feature race form to date.   Watts Up Majestic will also be trying to keep the trophy in New South Wales after a decisive victory 10 days ago placed him right into contention for his trainer/driver Rickie Alchin.   The open class event also looks to be a highlight over the mile trip, where Cash N Flow will return off a freshen.   Scratched a fortnight ago, he will start from his regular outside gate position, whereas his new stablemate, Major Roll, certainly creates plenty of interest first up for Belinda McCarthy and has been kept safe in the TAB market.   The Queensland Winter Carnival, or TAB Constellations as it will be known, is gaining more momentum by the day. With invitations already accepted by Expensive Ego, Patsbeachstorm, Krug and Copy That, The Rising Sun is shaping as a superb showcase of three and four-year-old talent.   Add to that King Of Swing on track to defend his Blacks A Fake title, alongside a swarm of his well performed stablemates and several other key stables targeting the carnival, it is shaping as a blockbuster.   This week Spankem made an early arrival in the sunshine state, joining the stables of Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen to no doubt chase all the open class riches upcoming. The 2019 Miracle Mile champion is currently a $9 chance in the TAB market for the Blacks A Fake Grand Circuit event come July 24.  Best Bet of the Weekend: Menangle, Saturday, R2 N6 Kingmaker   Best Value of the Weekend: Albion Park, Saturday, R2 N10 Clarry   Sky Racing - Brittany Graham

Tasmania’s harness racing's novice driver ranks are about to gain a much-needed boost with three drivers ready to hit the track, including Tiarna Ford, who will have her first book of drives at Launceston on Friday night. Tiarna, 26, is the daughter of former premiership-winning trainer Philip Ford, and has been developing her skills by completing her mandatory number of trials across the state. Her first drive is aboard Christian Major in race two, who is prepared by her mother Tammy Langley. Christian Major, a gelded son of Art Major has been placed in two of his past four outings and goes into the race off a trial win when driven by Tiarna, on 30 April in Hobart. It appears to be a very even race on paper with Jocund, who is searching for his first win of the season drawing well in gate one, Murray, a Devonport winner from four starts ago, drawing to get a soft peg run and Deadly Assassin also has a nice training draw. Recent Launceston winner Christan Jaz is also amongst the winning chances, which will be driven by Tiarna’s brother Dylan. Tiarna has two other drives on the card, including Ideal Jo in race six, who has a rough each-way chance and Pink Ponder, who is one of the leading contenders in the final race of the night. The Glenorchy Magpies star footballer is one of many drivers embarking on their racing journeys. Other drivers about to complete their amount of allocated trials on their way to obtaining their race day licences in the state are Ryan Backhouse and Jacob Duggan, while Liam Older has recently competed in his first few trial drives. Friday’s Launceston card commences at 17:21 and can be seen on Sky Racing 2 and TasracingTV. Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

A comprehensive wrap of integrity matters in New South Wales last month. New Inquiries 7 April 2021 – Mr Andrew Ison - HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation in relation to a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Synephrine had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from CHRISTIAN SHANNON following its win in race 2, the SKY RACING ACTIVE PACE (1609 metres) conducted at Tamworth on Wednesday 17 February 2021. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. The investigation is continuing. 10 April 2021 – Mr Andrew Cassell - HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation in relation to a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Synephrine had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from POPPY FRANCO following its win in race 3, the KEITH THOMSON MEMORIAL (1660 metres) conducted at Parkes on Tuesday 26 January 2021. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. The investigation is continuing. 16 April 2021 – Mr Doug Hewitt – HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation in relation to a report from the Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) that cocaine metabolite Benzoylecgonine had been detected in a urine sample obtained from Mr Hewitt at Bathurst trials on Monday 29 March 2021. On 17 April 2021, Mr Hewitt was stood down by Stewards pending the outcome of an Inquiry. The investigation is continuing. 21 April 2021 – Mr Rodney Pike – HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation in relation to Mr Pike being observed driving a registered Standardbred horse at a location in Sawyers Sully whilst being listed as a disqualified person. The investigation is continuing. 22 April 2021 – Mr Mark Buckingham – HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation in relation to a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Levamisole had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from TARA LEEANN following its win in race 7, the LILLYPILLY WINES PACE (2147 metres) conducted at Leeton on Tuesday 9 March 2021. The “B” sample has been sent to Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria for confirmation. The investigation is continuing. 25 April 2021 - Mr Matthew Johnstone - HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation in relation to a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Synephrine had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from JAY PEEZ OFFICIAL following its win in race 1, the FERNDALE DISTRIBUTORS LADYSHIP PACE (2000 metres) conducted at Temora on Tuesday 5 January 2021. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. The investigation is continuing. 27 April 2021 – Mr Jack Trainor – HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation in relation to a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Levamisole had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from CHUBBY CHECKER NZ following its win in race 8, the EVEKARE ASSISTED LIVING PACE (1609 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday 23 March 2021. The “B” sample has been sent to Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria for confirmation. The investigation is continuing. Scheduled Inquiries 6 May 2021 – Mr Peter McFarlane – Provide treatment within one clear day (HOLY CAMP CAPRHYSE – Race 1 @ Young 26 February 2021) 14 May 2021 – Mr Scott Wade – Sample Irregularity (BETTER BRAGGER – Race 3 @ Menangle 11 August 2020) & (MANCHEGO – Race 2 @ Menangle 31 August 2020) 18 May 2021 – Mr Malcolm Locke – Sample Irregularity (TUNGSTEN TERROR – OOCT) 31 May 2021- Ms Amanda Turnbull – Sample Irregularity (WHOS MY MOTHER NZ – Race 3 @ Menangle 20 February 2021) Appeal Decision 14 April 2021 – Mr Seaton Grima appealed the decision of Stewards to suspend his licence for a period of 7 days following a breach of AHRR 168(1)(a) when driving DONTGOINTHEWATER in Race 5, the DFKCROSBIE PACE (1609 metres) conducted at Newcastle on Friday 5 March 2021. By decision on 14 April 2021, the appeal was dismissed and the penalty was amended to a severe reprimand. 27 April 2021 – Mr Cameron Hart appealed the decision of Stewards to suspend his licence for a period of 6 weeks following a breach of AHRR 163(1)(a)(iii) when driving OPPENHEIMER BLUE in Race 5, the HIGH TECH RAIL SERVICES GOLD TIARA FINAL (1730 metres) conducted at Bathurst on Saturday 27 March 2021. The Tribunal by consent granted leave for the appeal to be withdrawn. Integrity Information During the month of April, HRNSW Integrity department has obtained 765 Race day samples. During the month of April, HRNSW Integrity department conducted 30 breath test at various meetings in NSW. HRNSW welcomes Ms K Hurst to the HRNSW Integrity Unit an Investigator. Ms Hurst commenced her employment with HRNSW on 3 May 2021. Integrity Notices 1 April 2021 – Elevated TC02 Levels Notice Horses Required to Present Early. (original notice at www.hrnsw.com.au) 2 April 2021 – February Integrity Updates & Information. (original notice at www.hrnsw.com.au) 8 April 2021 – Elevated TC02 Levels Notice Horses Required to Present Early. (original notice at www.hrnsw.com.au)   It is to be noted that the current open inquiries can be found by the following link. https://www.hrnsw.com.au/racing/stewards/openinquiries   HRNSW Integrity Department

Father-son harness racing combo Larry and Peter Lynch have never been afraid to play the long game in the sport they love. At nearly 30 years old, the grand dam of their latest winner (the lightly-raced five year old Breathe Easy) is still rugged and enjoying three feeds a day, grazing on the green hills of the Lynch property at Gordon, near Ballarat. In fact almost all of the horses Larry and Peter have raced together go back to the mare Private Affair (Muckalee Strike – Preux Maiden (Richmond). “Dad bought her at the yearling sales in the 1990s, and we’ve bred on with her,” Peter Lynch said. “She had a lot of fillies and a couple of them are still racing – Breathe Easy (Live Or Die – Ayr Affair (Our Sir Vancelot) is the third generation of the family to be born here,” he said. “Breathe Easy was foaled here and raised here and at the moment we’re racing Village Voice as well, who’s his aunty.  This is great country for horses – beautiful grass and hills, and the climate here we think is a lot like New Zealand, so they tend to do well. “We have around eight in work, but only race two or three at a time and we just let them pretty much hang out together in the paddocks during the day, so they’re really chilled horses as well.” Larry Lynch said he had first become involved in harness racing in the early 1980s. “There was no family involvement at all,” Larry said. “We were running a little pub at Yambuk (near Portland) and the bloke who lived behind me was a guy called Mick Carey, who had a horse called Jack Be Nimble.  “One thing led to another, of course, and we ended up in a horse with him.  It was the beginning of a long habit, and probably one my wife thinks I would be better off without!” Peter said the striking-looking chestnut Breathe Easy – known as “the ginger horse” – had been shaping up well, prior to his win at Ballarat this week. Driven by Connor Ronan, he flew from the gates to cross to the lead from barrier seven, and was never headed to secure his second win from 12 starts. “We always liked him.  He’s a beautiful looking horse, and we always liked him temperament wise. He’s really clever around the stables, and always alert, which we like.  And he could really sprint once we started fast work,” Peter said. “But if we don’t think they will make it as a three-year-old, we turn them out until they’re four or five. He only started racing in December, and his first win was for Tim and Darby McGuigan, in January. “Darby drove him and liked his speed and wanted to have a go with him and I think the time in a bigger stable definitely did him good – sometimes they can get a bit complacent always being on the same property they’re born on, I think. “The horse got sick though, and had a bit of time off after that, but he’d been placed twice out of three runs since we brought him back, and we were very happy with his form going into the Ballarat race.” Peter said the only drawback of training in the Central Highlands was the weather. “We’ve got a hill track, with probably a 10 or 12 metre rise in it, so they work pretty hard.  But it was raining on the Tuesday, and we couldn’t work the horses that day.  Perhaps we might have found a new system – day off before the race!” he joked. Peter said it’s Larry, now retired, who handles the bulk of the work with the horses.  “Unfortunately, neither dad nor any of the other owners were there for the win – it was just me.  I help dad out when I can when I’m not working or when he brings the horses into Ballarat for fast work. We both just love it though, and we brought a few mates of mine into Breathe Easy on lease, as well, so it’s good fun.  “His gate speed last night was great and it’ll help going forward – we didn’t realise he had that before last night.  We’ll just be steady as she goes with him, for a few more starts, then give him a break.  It’s always good going to the races, but it’s really enjoyable to go when you know you have a shot!”   Terry Gange   NewsAlert PR Mildura

A bargain buy off Facebook is reaping rewards for young up-and-coming harness racing trainer Sam Barker and his girlfriend Taylah Markham. The 22-year-old Barker prepared Ultimate Vinnie to beat a handy field of youngsters in the Signature Clean 4 You 3YO Vicbred Pace at Ballarat on Wednesday night, with the horse sitting parked throughout the 1710m trip and prevailing in a hot 1:53.6min mile rate. The victory was just Barker's fifth as a trainer and 30th as a driver. "I thought going into last night he'd run 1:54, but I didn't know if I could sit outside them and beat them. I thought I was going to have to find out because I didn't think I'd be able to find the front," the Great Western local said. "He probably went a tad little bit better than I thought." Barker said Markham had been persistent in securing the horse after seeing him on Facebook as a yearling, which she eventually did for about $700. After proving a handful in the early days, Ultimate Vinnie won The Storm Inside Vicbred Super Series 2YO Bronze Pace by more than 15m on debut at Bendigo in December last year, before being tested at Group 1 level two starts later in the VHRC Caduceus 3YO Classic. This race was won by Aaron Dunn's Bondi Lockdown, with Barker’s charge running a creditable sixth. Barker, who works for Dunn in Horsham and trains his own horses from that base, said Ultimate Vinnie was in the same league as his boss’ stable star. "There's not a lot between them, but Bondi Lockdown has got the writing on the board," Barker said. Ultimate Vinnie is a son of Alta Christiano out of a mare by the name of Bella Enobrac, who failed to win a race from nine career starts.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

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They were the first training partnership in New South Wales and now husband and wife harness racing duo Joe and Mary Rando has achieved another milestone. The pair reached 100 wins at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight, since their official partnership began in the 2015/16 season, thanks to Empire Bay taking out the Bulli Trotters Cup. This race has a lot of significance for the Rando team. They won in 2018 edition with the ill-fated Sundons Comet when the feature was a Group 2, giving them their first Group success with a trotter. Having won Group races with pacers prior, the trotting gait has certainly been profitable for the Randos, adding to their century of wins together. “It was very exciting,” said Mary. “We hit 99 wins during the week after Do Ball won at Menangle and usually when you know you have a milestone nearing, it feels like forever until you achieve it. “In saying that, I was confident Empire Bay would go well tonight. He was well handicapped off 10m and has been a victim of circumstances in his recent runs, so he has been going better than what his form reads. “Chris Geary (driver) has really found his rhythm with this horse and it all paid off tonight.” Geary provided Joe and Mary with their first win as a partnership when guiding Bee Arr Dee to victory at Menangle on May 10, 2016, just two days out from being the exact day five years ago. Tonight Geary eased Empire Bay away from the tapes while the tempo upfront was slick in the 2300m stand with a lead time of 52.1 seconds. As the first two quarters were run in 30.4 and 32.3 seconds, Geary flushed out Jack Callaghan on Garland Greene when heading into the back straight for the final time to land the one-one. This proved to be the winning move, with Geary angling Empire Bay into clear running at the top of the home straight where he sprinted the final quarter in 28.5 seconds to beat the favourite Gimondi by more than six metres. The mile rate was 2:00.0. Bred and raced by Michael Taylor, Empire Bay extended his record to 24 wins and 27 placings in 106 starts and earnings of $247,341. The seven-year-old gelding is by The Pres out of the Monarchy mare Miss Adelade. Watch the replay below: By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink
The result may have given harness racing trainer Peter Manning his first Group 1 victory in more than a decade but it was not all smooth sailing when Plymouth Chubb won the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic at Melton tonight. Manning has built his illustrious career as a renowned juvenile conditioner and the 76-year-old trained 2700 winners since the 1980/81 season. And even after all that success and experience, nothing prepares you for that feeling when you watch your young trotter gallop and giveaway ground. That is what happened when Plymouth Chubb headed around the first turn tonight in the $50,000 feature. Manning’s daughter Kerryn Manning was in the sulky, a veteran of 4021 wins and even she was “worried”. “He came out quite good and then a gap opened up behind Puppet (Chris Alford) and as I made up my mind to go there, just as I pulled him down he put in a roughie and went off stride,” she said. “I managed to get him down reasonably fast but I had to make the ground back up and he didn’t steer great after that he wanted to hang in all the way. “I was in a bit of trouble at the 800m and once I got him in the middle of the track by himself he made ground. “I was a bit worried but the horse was pretty good.” Despite his mishap, Plymouth Chubb cruised to the line to beat his rivals by more than 17 metres. Clocking 2:00.0, the two-year-old gelded son of Majestic Son and In The Pocket mare Pocket Fantasy extended his record to four wins in five starts. Watch the replay here:   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink
He may not have been the favourite but that did not stop Caveman from claiming last night’s Group 2 Australian Pacing Gold Consolation at harness racing’s home in Western Australia, Gloucester Park. Causing an upset at starting odds of $17 when bursting past the favourite Mirragon around the home turn, Caveman lowered his personal best time by more than three seconds when rating 1:55.4. Trained by Mike Reed and driven by his son Mark, Caveman was positioned behind the leader after beginning from barrier two. The tempo in front was dictated by the second elect Poisedtopounce and in the back straight for the final time Mark Reed steered Caveman into clear running. That move proved costly with the reinsman receiving a 13-day suspension after he checked Valentines Brook in the process. That was Caveman’s 10th win in 24 starts. The four-year-old is by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Art Major mare Our Copper Art. Watch the replay below:   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink
With his win at Gloucester Park last night behind the red hot favourite Joelene, champion harness racing reinsman Colin Brown brought up his 3000th winner in a 45-year driving career. Joelene was his 1532nd winner in Perth and 421st training success in the Perth. Only Chris Lewis and Gary Hall Jnr have driven more winners than Brown while Fred Kersley and Trevor Warwick are the only other Western Australians to have passed the 2000 career wins milestone. Of that elite quintet Brown is the only one yet to be inducted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame. He is also the only driver in the State to have driven in excess of 2000 winners as a freelance driver for other trainers AND to have also trained more than 500 winners while he is approaching the 900 winners mark as a trainer. Brown drove his first winner on 9th October 1976 at the now defunct York track behind a gelding called Go To It which was trained by Brown’s mentor Jim Schrader. His first Perth winner came at Richmond Raceway behind Esteral Lass on 19th August 1977. Coincidentally the Fremantle circuit is also now defunct. Schrader never rushed to careers of aspiring young reinsmen and both Brown and Schrader’s son Peter went through three six-month Reinsman’s Schools before they were allowed to apply for their country licence. “It was a lot harder then than it is now. At that time drivers were allowed to push out at anytime in races and there were a host of old-time hard-school drivers out there and they were very good at driving on the margin”, Brown said. “It was almost impossible to hold your position when the likes of a Jim Schrader or Alan Woodworth decided that they wanted to get away from the rails”, he added.   By Alan Parker for Gloucester Park
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