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Insider Access - Welcome columnist Bob Carson

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at http://stallionsphere.com. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: History, Hardball, Humor and Harness Racing - Harnesslink.com is proud to welcome Bob Carson to our staff. Bob has published over 300 magazine articles and short stories in what he refers to as his Four H Club (history, hardball, humor and harness racing). Among his awards are the Hervey, World Trotting Conference, The USTA Presidents and Best of Ohio Fiction. The Voyage of Mess (humor) was his first novel and he produced the documentary film Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). Bob lives in northeastern Ohio with his wife, Sue, and family. Make sure to read Bob's first Harnesslink column as it is a great story! What's happening with the Auckland Trotting Club video? - Without doubt the Auckland Trotting Club is one of the most progressive and forward thinking clubs in the Southern Hemisphere. The board is now made up of a good balance of successful businessman and horseman and appears to be making great progress in securing the long term future of harness racing in the largest urban area in New Zealand. Stallion Review – ROCKIN IMAGE – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Rockin Image p,3,1:48.2 ($903,424)). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

2015 Pryde’s Easifeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale

Premier trotting sale catalogue out now

The 2015 Pryde’s Easifeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale will be held on Sunday, March 8, at Tabcorp Park Melton. The catalogue for the sale is out now and can be viewed via an app on iPad by searching Equineline Sales Catalogue in the app store. The March 8 sale will kick off at 1pm and will be run in conjunction with the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed and the Great Southern Star series. More detail on the sale is available at www.austrottingsale.com.au To obtain a printed version of the catalogue visit Harness Racing Victoria during office hours, your local country club or email ahavelberg@hrv.org.au Further information can be obtained by phoning Adam on (03) 8378 0232. CODY WINNELL HARNESS RACING VICTORIA

Orator

Another bomb at Pompano - Orator 83 to 1

Pompano Beach, FL...January 28, 2015..Harness racing driver Rick Plano has driven over 6,500 winners during his illustrious career of 43 years but Wednesday night at Pompano Park was a first for Rick as he drove Orator to an 83 to 1 upset victory in the $13,000 final of the Sea Eagle Late Closer.   This five year-old son of Tell All, owned by trainer Casandra Uppal along with Rebecca Uppal, stormed home from eighth around the final turn to nail the victory in a three way photo finish in 1:53.3--the official margin of victory just 1/100th of a second.   Rock N Go, in his first start for new owner-trainer-driver Shawn McDonough, finished second after taking a "nostril" lead a step from the wire while Oakmont, with Wally Hennessey handling the lines was third, just a neck from the victory after leading much of the way and posting panels of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23.3.   Who Dey finished fourth while Tivoli Hanover grabbed the last nickel.   In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "With the outside nine post, I thought that we were in a tough spot because all of these horses are fairly equal in ability and, when you have to spot them several lengths at the start, it's a tough task to be that much better than the rest once we all straighten away after the start. The hot fractions, of course, helped but, around the final bend, I was just hoping to get something out of it. He was pacing pretty hard down the lane and, that, plus the speed coming back a bit, enabled us to get it done. In my 43 years on the racetrack, I don't think I have ever had a winner pay 83 to 1. Pretty amazing, especially since he was second in his only two starts this year."   The win for Orator was his 16th lifetime and sent his career bounty to $62,210.   The win mutuel was $169.60 keying a 20 cent superfecta payoff of $3,061.80.   Also on the mid-week card were two divisions of the Pop-Up Series for claiming pacers as well as the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot.   The latter event went to Dukester, also handled by trainer-driver Rick Plano for Allyn Jones and Maryann Plano.   This eight year-old son of Duke Of York got a picture perfect drive, leaving and then yielding for a garden journey as Coco Lindy and Wally Hennessey cut the panels of :28.1, :58 and 1:27. As they turned for home, Dukester left the coziness of his pocket and wore down Coco Lindy with a :28.3 finale, stopping the timer in 1:55.4 for his initial success of the year and 21st lifetime-the official margin being a nose. He's banked $245,690 career-wise.   Nithinbutanallstar rallied to finish third for Mark O'Mara while Highland Yankee and Bloodstockshalltab picked up the remaining marbles in the field of nine. Favored It's Payday Friday suffered a miscue at the start, rallied a bit mid-mile but eventually finished seventh.   After the race, driver Plano related, "I didn't see too much in the way of leavers inside of us leaving, so I decided I'd let him trot a little early. He made the top easily and then I though it would be best not to get into a war with Wally's (Hennessey) horse (Coco Lindy) so I decided to take the trip. It worked out OK...barely!"   Dukester paid $9.40 as the third choice on the board.   The Pop-Up Series for claimers on the lowest rung of the ladder went in two divisions with No Shenanigans and Yankee Flyer taking their respective divisions.   No Shenanigans handled by Kevin Wallis for Erin and Leonard Poger, brushed up on the backside to take command and then held on for dear life to score by a nose in 1:54.2 over Dynamic Rayzer (Dave Ingraham) with the fast closing Fox Valley Griffin just a neck back for Joe Sanzeri. Jackets Required and Drinkability also earned awards in the sextet.   No Shenanigans now has 31 lifetime wins and $145,424 lifetime. Second choice at 8 to 5, he paid $5.40 to win.   Yankee Flyer, part of the five horse field (after a scratch) where all entrants had morning line odds of 3 to 1, took command shortly after a :28.2 opener for Wally Hennessey and proceeded to carve out panels of :57.3 and 1:26.3 before holding off Make You Famous (Bruce Ranger) by a half length in 1:56.3. Alastair Hanover (Jason Dillander) was third with Wake and Cracker Diamond completing the field.   The first four entrants in the field were less than a length apart at the wire with the top to bottom odds being 3 to 1, 5 to 2, 6 to 5, 10 to 1 and 7 to 2.   The winner, owned and trained by Ken Sweetland, Jr., went off at 5 to 2 and paid an even $7.00 to win.   Finally, the Super Hi-5 had only two winning consolation tickets--each worth $2,791.42--with the carryover to Saturday's program over $87,000.   Post time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park                  

Ricky May - Will need all of his skills to get Terror To Love and Helena Jet home this weekend

Bad draws in Australia haunt Terror To Love

Ricky May could hardly believe what he was hearing the other day when he got the call that Terror To Love had drawn the outside of the front line in this weekend's Victoria Cup. Time and again throughout his appearances in Australia, Terror To Love has drawn the worst possible barrier and Ricky thought they were well overdue for a decent marble. But  that was not to be and while the longest run of bad barriers in major races is set to continue on Saturday night, Ricky is far from conceding defeat with Terror To Love. " Last year Christen Me came from last at the 400 metres and six wide on the corner to run third so I don't think we are out of it at all" I drove Monkey King here from the same draw and we ran fourth with a terrible run so with a little bit of luck we can get some of it." "Seeing Franco Ledger run past them the other night has given the camp some confidence that we can be more than competitive," Ricky said. Post Saturday Ricky is really looking forward to the standing start Hunter Cup where the draw will not be half as influential as it is on Saturday night. Before then Ricky has the New Zealand Premier Mares Championship on Friday night at Addington on his radar and once again his drive Helena Jet has drawn poorly. Twice second to champion mare Adore Me in mares races over Xmas at Alexandra Park, Ricky thought Helena Jet would be very hard to beat with no Adore Me around but the Jeremes Jet mare has had the misfortune to draw outside her main rival, Venus Serena. Ricky though still thinks he can still find the front from barrier six on Friday night. " She has blinding gate speed so I am pretty committed to going forward with her." " She doesn't have many more runs left as she is in foal so we are not going to die wondering." "I think she is good enough to work early and still win the race," Ricky said. The master reinsman has been in great touch this season and the chances of a little bit of Ricky May magic over the weekend at both Addington and Melton cannot be discounted. Harnesslink Media

The Holmes Hanover matron Gabrielle Bromac may not have made a great impression on the racetrack, but she is more than making up for it in the breeding barn. The New Zealand-bred mare has produced six foals of racing age and four starters, of whom three have emerged successful, with two inside 1:57. In fact, two of her progeny, Midnight Lights (by Art Major) and Giannis Bromac (Live Or Die), won on the same night at Cranbourne and Bathurst earlier this month! Giannis Bromac has won nine races and $44,482 in stakes and holds a record of 1:56.7, while Midnight Lights has won twice and has gone in 1:56.8. Another of Gabrielle Bromac’s progeny, Gloria Bromac (by Live Or Die), was a winner in Tasmania and is now being bred from. Gabrielle Bromac’s seventh foal, a lovely bay filly by the great Bettor’s Delight, is being offered as Lot 44 at the Australian Pacing Gold Sale at Oaklands Junction on Sunday. The youngster is part of the 13-strong consignment of Durham Park Standardbreds at the auction. On her dam’s side, the filly has something in her favour on the score of blood. Gabrielle Bromac ranks as a half-sister to the top racemare Gilt Bromac 1:55.4 ($199,069), the Gloucester Park winners Gary Bromac 1:58.1 ($125,025) and Golden Bromac 1:56.8 ($66,019) and Guapo Bromac 1:59.2. Their dam, Gilt Laughter, left six winners and the third dam, Oakvale, produced three including the good Perth winner Lakevale Boy 1:57. The Bettor’s Delight filly is eligible for Breeders Crown, Vicbred and Vicbred Platinum. A photo, video and pedigree of the filly is available at www.durhampark.com.au PETER WHARTON

Master reinsman Gavin Lang is the favourite to be the winning Inter Dominion driver. In the latest TAB ‘novelty market’ for the time-honoured Championship, Lang is at $3.80 to secure the Final, which could shape as ‘overs’ considering the horseflesh Lang has at his disposal. Lang is the main stable driver for trainer Emma Stewart, who has Guaranteed, Philadelphia Man and Restrepo engaged in the prestigious series. The TAB.com.au Inter Dominion Final is scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 1. Lang is yet to enjoy victory in the Pacers’ Final, but has won three Trotters’ Finals – scoring with True Roman in 1988, Game Bid 2002 and Sumthingaboutmaori in ’04. “Our bookies have installed Gavin as favourite to secure one of the few remaining majors that he has yet to win,” Georgiou said. “Lang has been known as one of the best drivers of the last generation and still commands respect among his much younger rivals. “It would be fitting if he could finally lift an Inter Dominion Pacing Grand trophy.” PAUL COURTS Inter Dominion Winning Driver Gavin Lang                     $3.80  James Rattray              $4  Dexter Dunn                $5  Ricky May                     $7  Any Other Driver         $10  Chris Alford                  $10  Luke McCarthy            $10  Grant Dixon                 $21  Lauren Panella            $21  Shane Graham            $21

Ireland – Hundreds of fellow horsemen and women, friends, neighbors and family members attended the funeral Wednesday for John “Red John” O’Donovan at the St Mary’s Parish Church Leap in Cork. The harness racing community, of which John O’Donovan was an active member and participant as an owner, trainer, driver and jockey, came out in full force with a “Guard of Honour” at the funeral. Dressed in their racing colours, the horsemen and women escorted the coach that carried the deceased to the cemetery for his final resting place. Close friends of John O’Donovan spoke of what a great young man Red John was and how his passion towards his career in harness racing was deep within him. The Irish Harness Racing Club (IHRC) and the Irish Trotting and Harness Racing Federation (ITHRF) both paid tribute to him and expressed their shock over the tragedy. "John was a role model for his own generation, a true gentleman in every sense and who lived the dream of all (horse) trotting people," an IHRC tribute declared. O'Donovan (27) drowned in a flooded stream not far from his home at Leap in West Cork. His body was recovered later Sunday after he had been reported missing early Sunday morning after he failed to return home as planned. The death is not suspicious and is being treated as a tragic accident. Mr. O'Donovan, a carpenter by profession, was hailed as "one of life's gentlemen" for his commitment to his community and his love of harness racing. He trained and owned a number of top horses and was best known by his nickname, 'Red John', because of his racing colours. Mr. O'Donovan's horse, 'Blazing Bad Zulu', won the Irish Mare of the Year title at the ITHRF awards in 2014. With this story is a photo collage of Red John O'Donovan. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

One of the forgotten stars of harness racing will make his return at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Sidelined since November 2013, Chancellor Cullen will be first-up in The Pure Steel for trainer Dean Braun. Before injury halted his career, Chancellor Cullen was regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the country, boasting 11 wins and three seconds from 16 Australian starts. The stallion’s victories include the McInerney Ford Classic, Melton Plate, The Graduate and Kilmore Cup, with the latter two handicaps - the same conditions as this weekend’s assignment. Although Chancellor Cullen is returning from a long spell, Braun is confident the six-year-old son of Christian Cullen is ready to kick-start his career on a winning note. “He had a slight strain in his suspensory, and although we could have pushed on with him, we felt he was too good to risk,” Braun said. “We’ve always had such a high opinion of him and felt a long break was the better option.” Drawn five, Chancellor Cullen faces tough opposition from New Zealand raider Bit Of A Legend, along with locals Smudge Broman and Savesomtimetodream. “Although he hasn’t raced for a while, he has had plenty of ground work and will be forward enough for this,” Braun said. Citing the Inter Dominion as Chancellor Cullen’s main mission, Braun has also earmarked next week’s A G Hunter Cup. Heats of the Inter Dominion are scheduled to be run on February 14, with the Final at Menangle on March 1. “I’d like to see him in the Hunter Cup, but it depends on how he gets through this week,” Braun said. “We are definitely looking at the Inter Dominion with him.” PAUL COURTS

Another week of so close but so far for a lot of our harness racing tipsters with a lot of them having no luck at all. Some such as Blair Orange were a moral beaten in their races but that is the way it goes some times and it tends to balance itself out in the long run. Last week Scott Phelan was once again to the fore with Prince Of Pops ($7:30) while others to select winners included Robbie Holmes, John Curtin, Nathan Williamson, John Dunn and Matthew Williamson while another six of our tipsters ran in the money with their selections. This week is a really busy weekend and our tipsters have gone a little rougher in their selections. Forbury - Thursday night Brad Williamson - Rates Northview Major very hard to beat in the junior drivers event, race 4 Matthew Williamson - Thought Falcon Asset could be hard to beat in race 5 Nathan Williamson - Doesn't like the draw but still thought Statham would be too good in race 8 Bob Butt - Gives Magic Oats a big chance to turn around his form and win race 9   Cambridge - Friday afternoon Maurice McKendry - Thought The Moonraker is drawn to get the run of the race and could win race 3 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Likes Present Arms from barrier one to lead and win, also in race 3 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Love Ina Chevy a huge winning chance in race 6   Addington - Friday night Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue to win a race and is a big chance to do so in race 2 Scott Phelan - Gives Prince Of Pops a big chance of going back to back in race 4 Ricky May - Knows she is up against it from the draw but still thinks Helena Jet can win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Bettor Think Twice could get some of it from a great draw in race 6   Geraldine - Saturday afternoon Blair Orange - Rates Pay Me Visa a big chance of giving him win number 1000 in race 3 Craig Thornley - Thinks Dream Big only has to go away to be very hard to beat in race 4   Thames - Sunday afternoon Tony Herlihy - Thought Cthe ballerina had been unlucky lately and would win race 4 Todd Macfarlane - Keen on Revenue Maker to turn his form around and win race 7 Sean McCaffrey - Thinks Styx It To Em , who has just had a dropback will be hard to beat in race 8   Wyndham - Sunday afternoon Clark Barron - Thought Mass Invasion on last weeks run would be tough to bowl in race 5  Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Give Me The Night as very hard to beat in race 6 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Kiwi Legend is very smart and should just win race 8      

The organisers behind the biggest juvenile event in the British and Irish racing calendar, the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial for 2YO pacing colts and fillies, have reached an agreement with the Scottish Harness Racing Club (‘SHRC’) to stage a prep race at Corbiewood Stadium, central Scotland. The race is scheduled to be staged on Thursday 2nd July 2015, and is open to all horses whose three sustaining fees for the main event have been paid. It is hoped that this initiative will attract Scottish entries to the event for the first time since its inception in 2012. The 2014 season saw top Scottish 2YOs such as Rewrite History (c, Sportswriter/Treat Me Good) and ATM (f, Genghis Pan/Yoko Hall) travel to York, England and Aberystwyth, Wales respectively, winning top juvenile events in the process. However, neither of these participated in the Vincent Delaney Memorial and it is hoped that with the planned prep race this year, that Scottish-trained horses will be encouraged to take part in the event and make the journey across the Irish Sea. The first sustaining fee for the Vincent Delaney Memorial is due by February 6th (€100). Please note that in 2015, for the first time, there will be a consolation final of €4,000. The total prize fund for the main event is €29,000. For more information and to register your two-year-old for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial click here.  by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink.com

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 28, 2015 -- Dave Palone and Ron Burke are two of harness racing's grandest champions, and on Friday, Jan. 30, fans will have an opportunity to meet them and take home Palone- and Burke-themed premiums. The occasion is the annual "Night of Champions Celebration" presented by The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA). Beginning at 6 PM, fans may meet Palone and Burke and receive posters autographed by the two champions and mugs honoring their achievements (while supplies last). Also participating will be noted equine artist Thomas Allen Pauly, whose painting of Palone getting career win 16,754 -- the victory that made him the world's "winningest" harness racing driver -- will be featured. Palone was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2010. For his part, Burke has been North America's leading trainer for six consecutive years and, in 2014, smashed his own record with more than $28.3 million in earnings. Both Palone and Burke are based at The Meadows. Other activities include: A "Spin to Win" wheel offering prizes of $2 wagering vouchers and other items; A handicapping contest for Racing Player Rewards members, with the winner earning 20,000 bonus points; Presentation of awards to The Meadows' 2014 equine champions, as voted by MSOA members. The connections of Cammikey will receive his award as The Meadows 2014 Horse of the Year. Friday's live card begins at 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

Rob Carr and Don Kirkbride know all about the ups and downs of the annual yearling sales, having been involved since the mid 80’s, they have seen some good years and some rather lean years, which in all likelihood have mirrored the state of the harness racing industry over that time. However they have stuck with it and this year have four high quality yearlings again for the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland, on the 16th February. Through the years Rob and Don have usually bred from a maximum of 4 mares at any one time and apart from keeping the odd filly all the progeny have gone through the sales. Early on they purchased the likes of Miranda Dream, Miss Burnside (both families the Reids and Purdons had great success with) and Gitten (a very good juvenile filly).  Miss Burnside was a prolific producer, foaling 16 years in succession and all of her offspring went through the sales, with the best performers on the track being Okay Matao and Missy Matao, both of whom are now breeding on. Gitten’s claim to fame was as the dam of Sir Rossini (from the first crop of Falcon Seelster) who sold for $90,000 at the 1998 sale, which was a great price in those days and the top priced colt for his year.  Sir Rossini was purchased by Barry Purdon on behalf of notable buyer of the time Carlo La Rosa and had 1 win and 3 seconds from just 5 starts in New Zealand before relocating to Sydney where he raced successfully at Harold Park for many years before finishing his racing days in the United States, winning a total of 13 races and $121,296, achieving a 1:53.6 mile time. In 2002 Rob and Don purchased Chaangerr and immediately put her in foal to In The Pocket, with the resultant progeny of course being Changeover.  The year he went through the sale ring, they also had a black Bettor’s Delight colt out of Anna Matao (the very first and only progeny of the now champion sire to go through the sales ring that year) called Sure Bet.  He went on to sell for $62,500 and won one race before fracturing a leg in training and having to be put down.  He showed a lot of promise and it was claimed at the time that he would have gone on and won many more races. Changeover was knocked down to Geoff Small for $28,000, for the Auckland Trotting Club 2006 Syndicate and went on to win 29 races and $2.4 million and is now a successful sire. Chaangerr’s progeny continue to do well with both Change Time and Change Stride flying the flag high, being recent winners at the Alexandra Park Premier December meeting.  Chaangerr has proved to be a broodmare gem, leaving 10 individual winners, of 82 races, for $2,739,882 in stake earnings. In 2003 Rob and Don purchased the good Group 1 winning race mare Dancingonmoonlight while she was racing in the USA, through agent John Curtin.  She won races in NZ, Australia and America, with her best progeny to date being Miss Moonlite with 13 wins including the Group 1 Australasian 4YO Mares Breeders Crown Final (the first and only mother and daughter to win Breeders Crown Finals) and Bettor Still who has had 16 wins in West Australia. One of the hardest aspects of breeding for the sales is trying to assess what sires will be fashionable in 2-3 years’ time when the sales come around, as well as getting the right cross for your mare and Rob and Don have always tried to go to top end sires to give their mares and resultant progeny the best chance possible. This year’s sale draft is no exception, with Well Said, Rocknroll Hanover, Mach Three and Somebeachsomewhere being the sires of choice back in 2012 when the decisions had to be made and they are all leading sires in either or all of New Zealand, Australia and the United States/Canada today. This year’s draft is outstanding in pedigree and confirmation and comprises:- Lot 12  -  Bay Filly … Welcome Change (WELL SAID / ANNA MATAO) By the USA’s leading first season sire in 2013, who has continued on to be 4th on the 2YO and 3rd on the 3YO USA lists for 2014.  This filly is a ½-sister to 5 winners, including ANESCAPE (1:50.6, 22 wins, $174,211), PULSATION (1:53.2, 16 wins, $128,311), ITS FOREVER NOW (p3, 1:57, 7 wins, $106,288) and is a direct descendant of BLACK WATCH. Lot 28  -  Bay Colt … Change Pace (ROCKNROLL HANOVER / CHAANGERR) By one of the world’s greatest stallions, this colt is a ½-brother to 10 winners, including CHANGEOVER (1:53.4, 29 wins, $2,426,765), CHANGE TIME (1:57.9, 5 wins, $49,206), CHANGE STRIDE (p3, 1:57.7, 4 wins, $4,014) and is very closely related to CHOKIN (1:56.2, 34 wins, $1,801,685) and FLY LIKE AN EAGLE (1:53.9, 19 wins, $756,178). Lot 47  -  Bay Filly … Unchanged (MACH THREE / CHANGEDOWN) By one of the leading sires in USA, NZ and Australia, this filly is out of a FALCON SEELSTER ½-sister to 10 winners, including CHANGEOVER (1:53.4, 29 wins, $2,426,765), CHANGE TIME (1:57.9, 5 wins, $49,206), CHANGE STRIDE (p3, 1:57.7, 4 wins, $4,014) and is closely related to  CHOKIN (1:56.2, 34 wins, $1,801,685) and FLY LIKE AN EAGLE (1:53.9, 19 wins, $756,178). Lot 66  -  Bay Colt … Some Change (SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE / DANCINGONMOONLIGHT) By the world’s leading 2 & 3YO sire in 2012 & 2013, this colt is from a Group 1 winning mare and is a ½-brother to 4 winners, including Group 1 winner MISS MOONLITE (1:54.7, 13 wins, $213,165), BETTOR STILL (1:56.3, 16 wins, $110,835) and recent back-to-back winner MAJOR CHANGE (p3, 1:58.6, 2 wins, $6,973) and is closely related to CLEAR THE FLOOR (1:57, 12 wins, $49,338) and MY RIVIERA GIRL (1:58.7, 18 wins, $55,322). Photos of each lot are attached.

Throughout December 2014 and January 2015, Harness Racing Victoria Stewards and veterinarians have been collecting out of competition blood samples from yearlings scheduled to be sold at the upcoming Australian Pacing Gold (APG) Sales in Melbourne on Sunday 1 February 2015. Samples have been collected from approximately 1/3 of the 210 lots to be sold at the sales. All blood samples collected have been subjected to testing by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) on their newly expanded steroid screening test, which covers over 40 targets, and is understood to be the most comprehensive screening test in operation in Australia. RASL report that all of the analysed samples are clear of steroids. HRV wish to acknowledge the significant support of APG in assisting HRV’s efforts to ensure compliance with the national harness racing rules, introduced in May 2014, which banned the use of steroids at all times.  Harness Racing Victoria

Due to the small number of New Zealand nominations remaining in this year’s Inter Dominion there will be no harness racing heat run at Addington.  Initially 14 Kiwis were nominated for the Championship, however, a number of factors have led to the decision, including several scratchings, and at least three of those nominations currently campaigning in Australia.      The conditions for the time-honoured series read as follows: If any Qualifying Heat falls below 8 nominations by Friday, 30 January 2015, then horses will need to accept for the New South Wales Supplementary Qualifying Heat at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Should this clause be activated there may be two Supplementary Qualifying Heats conducted. A decision on whether a second Supplementary Heat will be made at a later date based on the quality and quantity of nominations remaining. HRNSW Media

In the spring of 2011 a young Jake McGeechan confidently announced to his father Michael that the newly born Artistic Fella and Kahlea Mac colt was the best of their 2011 foals. With a likely future in the sport, Jake never came to realise the progress of the colt born on family's property 'Highland Pride' as he was tragically killed in a motor vehicle collision outside Crookwell in the early hours of Friday morning 30th November, 2012. For Michael McGeechan, his involvement in harness racing and standardbred breeding began in the late 1990's, and it was only natural that Jake would follow. McGeechan's first purchase was Smooth Jes who he owned with his brother John. Following a successful racing career, the mare produced a number of winners including the Miracle Mile champion Divisive and also the unraced Kahlea Mac. Michael also purchased in-foal mares Maputo that produced the Pacing Gold winner Burling Game in 2000 and Blanc De Noir who foaled the sub 1:50 horse Highland Pride who went on to win in excess of $400,000 in the US. McGeechan mostly sells the foals he breeds, but out of those retained for racing he claims the best to date as being Susie Oneill. Michael is now hoping the 2011 selection by Jake can take over the mantle. "I don't know how he did it, but Jake could pick them the moment they were born" said Michael. In 2005, the then 9 year old had chosen Shes All Lady as their best and she went on to win more than $65,000 in prize money, and in the process recorded a personal best time of 1:53.8. "He wasn't born into the horses but he had a way with them" explained Michael. "We ended up keeping all of the 2011 foals and they have been named after Jake." At Jake's funeral the Adam Brand hit Hell Of A Ride was played; it symbolised the McGeechans' year and became a natural choice for the Kahlea Mac colt. Trained by Ian Wilson at Menangle, One Hell Of A Ride has drawn 9 in the first of the $20,505 heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby. Whilst he may be on the second row, One Hell Of A Ride comes out behind fellow New South Welshman Aztec Bromac who possess good early speed. "It's the weakest of the three heats, so we have a chance" said McGeechan who is hoping the colt Jake selected as the best can continue the ride they are experiencing. Also heading south this week is Crookwell born Brad Hewitt. The young gun harness racing trainer now based at Goulburn will be campaigning the talented Spare Me Days. A last start winner at Goulburn on the 19th January, Spare Me Days was bred by Hewitt and is the first foal of Tolnikie, a Nikalong Shadow mare who was bred and originally owned and raced by Brad's grandfather, the late Tom Hewitt of Wheeo. With the colt carrying Tom's favourite exclamation as his racing name, Spare Me Days has drawn barrier 3 in what is doubtless the hardest of the three heats being decided Saturday night. Lining up alongside the Hewitt runner is last season's champion two year old and Breeders Crown final winner Follow The Stars, the Simpson Memorial winner My Field Marshal and the Cran Dalgety trained Art Union who last start defeated the star open class pacer Border Control. "It's the hardest heat of all but we have drawn the 3 gate so it gives us a chance" said Hewitt, who is enjoying his best season ever as a trainer and driver. "I've only ever had one or two in training before but we have kicked off this season really well" said Hewitt who has recently scored feature race wins with Sweet Molly OShea and Im Jay Tee who snatched a last stride win in Monday's $18,600 Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Rose. "He (Im Jay Tee) went really good at Goulburn, it was his first run in a month and just got there". Positioned perfectly in the one by one, Hewitt came with a well-timed run to claim victory on the line from the Belinda McCarthy trained pair of Mister Bling and Epaulette. Im Jay Tee will accompany Spare Me Days to Melbourne and is lining up in race 5 at Ballarat on Friday evening which is a heat of the Country Clubs Championships. by Mark Croatto  

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In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at http://stallionsphere.com. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: History, Hardball, Humor and Harness Racing - Harnesslink.com is proud to welcome Bob Carson to our staff. Bob has published over 300 magazine articles and short stories in what he refers to as his Four H Club (history, hardball, humor and harness racing). Among his awards are the Hervey, World Trotting Conference, The USTA Presidents and Best of Ohio Fiction. The Voyage of Mess (humor) was his first novel and he produced the documentary film Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). Bob lives in northeastern Ohio with his wife, Sue, and family. Make sure to read Bob's first Harnesslink column as it is a great story! What's happening with the Auckland Trotting Club video? - Without doubt the Auckland Trotting Club is one of the most progressive and forward thinking clubs in the Southern Hemisphere. The board is now made up of a good balance of successful businessman and horseman and appears to be making great progress in securing the long term future of harness racing in the largest urban area in New Zealand. Stallion Review – ROCKIN IMAGE – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Rockin Image p,3,1:48.2 ($903,424)). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).
Pompano Beach, FL...January 28, 2015..Harness racing driver Rick Plano has driven over 6,500 winners during his illustrious career of 43 years but Wednesday night at Pompano Park was a first for Rick as he drove Orator to an 83 to 1 upset victory in the $13,000 final of the Sea Eagle Late Closer.   This five year-old son of Tell All, owned by trainer Casandra Uppal along with Rebecca Uppal, stormed home from eighth around the final turn to nail the victory in a three way photo finish in 1:53.3--the official margin of victory just 1/100th of a second.   Rock N Go, in his first start for new owner-trainer-driver Shawn McDonough, finished second after taking a "nostril" lead a step from the wire while Oakmont, with Wally Hennessey handling the lines was third, just a neck from the victory after leading much of the way and posting panels of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23.3.   Who Dey finished fourth while Tivoli Hanover grabbed the last nickel.   In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "With the outside nine post, I thought that we were in a tough spot because all of these horses are fairly equal in ability and, when you have to spot them several lengths at the start, it's a tough task to be that much better than the rest once we all straighten away after the start. The hot fractions, of course, helped but, around the final bend, I was just hoping to get something out of it. He was pacing pretty hard down the lane and, that, plus the speed coming back a bit, enabled us to get it done. In my 43 years on the racetrack, I don't think I have ever had a winner pay 83 to 1. Pretty amazing, especially since he was second in his only two starts this year."   The win for Orator was his 16th lifetime and sent his career bounty to $62,210.   The win mutuel was $169.60 keying a 20 cent superfecta payoff of $3,061.80.   Also on the mid-week card were two divisions of the Pop-Up Series for claiming pacers as well as the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot.   The latter event went to Dukester, also handled by trainer-driver Rick Plano for Allyn Jones and Maryann Plano.   This eight year-old son of Duke Of York got a picture perfect drive, leaving and then yielding for a garden journey as Coco Lindy and Wally Hennessey cut the panels of :28.1, :58 and 1:27. As they turned for home, Dukester left the coziness of his pocket and wore down Coco Lindy with a :28.3 finale, stopping the timer in 1:55.4 for his initial success of the year and 21st lifetime-the official margin being a nose. He's banked $245,690 career-wise.   Nithinbutanallstar rallied to finish third for Mark O'Mara while Highland Yankee and Bloodstockshalltab picked up the remaining marbles in the field of nine. Favored It's Payday Friday suffered a miscue at the start, rallied a bit mid-mile but eventually finished seventh.   After the race, driver Plano related, "I didn't see too much in the way of leavers inside of us leaving, so I decided I'd let him trot a little early. He made the top easily and then I though it would be best not to get into a war with Wally's (Hennessey) horse (Coco Lindy) so I decided to take the trip. It worked out OK...barely!"   Dukester paid $9.40 as the third choice on the board.   The Pop-Up Series for claimers on the lowest rung of the ladder went in two divisions with No Shenanigans and Yankee Flyer taking their respective divisions.   No Shenanigans handled by Kevin Wallis for Erin and Leonard Poger, brushed up on the backside to take command and then held on for dear life to score by a nose in 1:54.2 over Dynamic Rayzer (Dave Ingraham) with the fast closing Fox Valley Griffin just a neck back for Joe Sanzeri. Jackets Required and Drinkability also earned awards in the sextet.   No Shenanigans now has 31 lifetime wins and $145,424 lifetime. Second choice at 8 to 5, he paid $5.40 to win.   Yankee Flyer, part of the five horse field (after a scratch) where all entrants had morning line odds of 3 to 1, took command shortly after a :28.2 opener for Wally Hennessey and proceeded to carve out panels of :57.3 and 1:26.3 before holding off Make You Famous (Bruce Ranger) by a half length in 1:56.3. Alastair Hanover (Jason Dillander) was third with Wake and Cracker Diamond completing the field.   The first four entrants in the field were less than a length apart at the wire with the top to bottom odds being 3 to 1, 5 to 2, 6 to 5, 10 to 1 and 7 to 2.   The winner, owned and trained by Ken Sweetland, Jr., went off at 5 to 2 and paid an even $7.00 to win.   Finally, the Super Hi-5 had only two winning consolation tickets--each worth $2,791.42--with the carryover to Saturday's program over $87,000.   Post time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park                  
The 2015 harness racing season kicks off in earnest on Thursday, Jan. 29th, at Maywood Park as the half-mile oval jumps back into its familiar Thursday-Friday live racing schedule.   Right from the start bettors will have a chance to play into what will hopefully become the "norm" at Maywood Park as the Pick 6 wager features a carryover of $2,329.00. There will also be a mandatory payoff in the Pick 6 wager on Friday, Jan. 30th as Maywood Park will debut its new 20 Cent Jackpot Pick 6 wager starting on Thursday, Feb. 5th.   The new 20 Cent Jackpot Pick 6, which became wildly popular at Gulfstream Park's thoroughbred meet, should help spur plenty of carryovers as it requires a bettor to hold the ONLY ticket with all six winners from the designated Pick 6 races.   When there is no single winner in the Jackpot Pick 6, 50% of the pool will be paid out to those with the most winners while the remaining 50% goes back into the carryover pool.   The 20 Cent Jackpot Pick 6 is scheduled to be contested on races one through six on Thursday's and races three through eight on Friday's at Maywood Park. Post time for the opener each night will be 7:10 p.m. (central). Balmoral Park will return to live racing on Saturday, Jan. Feb. 1st with a post time of 7:10 p.m (central) as well. There will be no live racing at the Crete oval on Sunday, Feb. 1st due to the Super Bowl. Balmoral is then scheduled to race Saturday's and Sunday's throughout the 2015 season. Tom Kelley    
LEBANON, OH. - A pair of $15,000 championship races were contested Wednesday night as 'finals week' of the popular harness racing "Claim To Fame" series continued at Miami Valley. The finales for $8000 claiming mares and for $5000 claiming geldings were on top and when the smoke cleared it was She's A Ball and Winchester that were crowned champions. Driver Kyle Ater steered both winners, but used completely different tactics in the two lucrative races. Ater sent She's A Ball alertly from her inside post position and cut all the fractions to best Brookletssugarland (Jeff Nisonger) and CC's Munchkin (Greg Grismore) in the mares clash. As the lukewarm 8-5 favorite She's A Ball cruised through fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:24 before closing the deal in 1:53.3. The winner's championship victory capped quite a night for trainer Deborah Swartz, who had four steeds from her stable visit the winner's circle. She's A Ball was plucked from a $5000 claiming event in early December by owners Bradley Delaney and Scott Albaugh and has since won five of six races and banked an even $20,000. As second choice in the $5000 and horses and geldings championship, Winchester was wrestled off the starting gate by Ater and watched a :26.4 speed duel develop up front between AK's Livin Large and Corey Road. After a demanding half in :56.2, Winchester was moved into third-over position in the outer flow past the 1:25.1 clocking. The entire field was well bunched at the head of the stretch with Ater swinging three-wide with Winchester full of pace. He gobbled up the tiring frontrunners and was strongest at the finish clocked in 1:54.1. Winchester, who has spent time in the Ater Stable in the past, was claimed by Dan Ater, Kyle's father, for $5500 last week and returned immediate dividends winning the $15,000 final. Fortune's Jenna (Josh Sutton) finished second with longshot Momma's Jolt (Jeremy Smith) completing the trifecta ticket. Due to the fact that 50 $5000 claimers participated in this series, an $8000 Consolation Final was also carded. Jack Apple (Jason Brewer) bested Spirits Gone Wild (Randy Tharps) and Easton Bound (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:54. Brewer co-owns the winner with William Eltzroth. Driver Shawn Barker II scored a hat trick on the program, winning with Eagle Jacob, Sissboombah and Ricky Blue Eyes, all trained by Deborah Swartz. Racing resumes Thursday night at Miami Valley with a 6:30 PM post time. Gregg Keidel
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