Day At The Track

The likes of Tornado Valley, Speeding Spur and Kyvalley Blur may have ruled the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship so far but the trainer-driver of NSW raider Tough Monarch says his horse has the ability to knock them off the throne. Rickie Alchin said he believed the seven-year-old gelding, outright sixth in the rankings on 20 points after the first two rounds of heats, was capable of winning the final on December 15. He said Tough Monarch’s first two ID18 runs – a third and fourth to Tornado Valley – had been “really good”. “Night one was probably the ideal draw (2) but I didn’t push him early just because I was happy to keep him trotting and keep him happy,” he said. “He probably got a little further back than I would have liked to have had him early but I think his run had a whole lot of merit in it, to sit outside Tornado Valley in the quick third quarter and still not get beat by too far.” Alchin said the run was even more impressive given it was Tough Monarch’s first race for almost a month. “He has come into the series reasonably fresh and his run (at Ballarat on Tuesday) night was terrific; he has never been in a race when they have gone a sub-27 (quarter); he did it and was still strong on the line. “I honestly think, on ability, he is as good as any trotter in the series; it is just (that) Tornado Valley has got such good point-to-point tactical speed that can get him into a position early whereas I haven’t actually pushed my fella out of the gate yet. “But when the time comes I will – he has got gate speed.” Tough Monarch is owned by a syndicate of six – Alex and Ryan Kay, Peter Gadsby (all from NSW), Charlie Montebello and Vincent McDonald (both Queenslanders) and the late Michael Van Rens from Western Australia – who have owned several top-tier horses over the decades, most notably Smoken Up and The Falcon Strike. They also raced the Monarchy gelding’s dam, Tough Tussle, who won more than $100,000 and raced at Harold Park, Globe Derby and Moonee Valley between 2005 and 2008. “I was fortunate enough to get (Tough Monarch); he was unbroken and quite a handful and a bloke in NSW called Dennis Wilson recommended me to (the owners to) try and break him in,” Alchin said. “It has taken him a long time to mature and do things right but he has always shown tons and tons of ability and he seems to be putting it all together a bit later in his career. “(His dam) has just had another little filly foal by Love You that the studs tell me is a really good sort of a foal so I am looking forward to getting her in a couple of years.” Today Alchin is looking a couple of days ahead to tomorrow's final round of heats, where Tough Monarch will again be pitted against Tornado Valley – and the second time from the back row. “It is going to be really tough but barrier 9 is not the end of the world; I would probably prefer him to draw there than 7 or 6,” he said. “At least he is in the running line (and over 2500m) he will be running home. As the series goes and the distance grows, he should only be better again.” Shaun Campbell Trots Media

ROCKWOOD - Warrawee Ubeaut has surged to success in the world of harness racing, setting a one-mile speed record for two-year-olds and winning the prestigious Breeders Crown race. The filly was bred at Warrawee Farms near Rockwood, owned by Dr. Mike Wilson. “The Breeders Crown is quite an honour,” said Wilson. He does not have a share in the ownership of Warrawee Ubeaut – a name based as a shortening of the phrase “You Beauty” – but he follows her career with great interest. She became the sport’s fastest 2-year-old ever on Oct. 5 with a time of 1:48 3/5 in a stakes race at the Red Mile track in Lexington, Kentucky. Wilson points out that among the 25 fastest one-mile performers in standardbred history, Warrawee Ubeaut is not only the fastest, but is the only filly. On Oct. 27, she was stuck in seventh position in the early going at the Breeders Crown, with four other horses leading in the first half. She broke free and was strong through the back stretch, then came to the wire half a length ahead of Zero Tolerance, finishing with a time of 1:52 3/5 on a sloppy track. The win pushed her total earnings up to $602,393, with seven wins in 11 tries. Warrawee is a small farm just south of Everton, producing about 12 yearlings annually, said Wilson. Warrawee Ubeaut was reared there from her birth in 2016 until September of 2017. Wilson expressed his appreciation for the work of farm manager Duane Avery and Michelle Coupland, who cared for Warrawee Ubeaut. The horse was trained and is partly owned by Ron Burke, one of the top trainers in North America. The owners are Burke Racing Stable LLC., Phillip Collura, Jandt Silva Purnel & Libb, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She sold for $70,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. She was sired by Sweet Lou, who won the 2-year-old Breeders Crown final in 2011, out of mare Great Memories. Wilson is no stranger to success in breeding speedy standardbreds. In 2013 his four-year-old pacer Warrawee Needy – also from mare Great Memories – set a speed record at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. Warrawee Needy was the third foal for Great Memories and Warrawee Ubeaut was the ninth. by Phil Gravelle Reprinted with permission of The Wellington Advertiser

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – There is no question Meridian Farms has been the biggest player in Atlantic Canadian harness racing for the first part of the 21st century and sadly the chief architect of its P.E.I. operation has left us far too soon. Brian Andrew passed away Wednesday at the age of 70 after a lifelong career in the Island education system and a passion for harness racing. An accomplished trainer and driver, Andrew operated Meridian Farms in Milton in partnership with younger brother William. A devoted fan of the industry, Andrew poured his life into Island racing, serving on boards like the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association and the Atlantic Classic Sale Committee, among other commitments. No one could ever question Andrew’s resolve to lend a helping hand to other horse people and always make decisions that were in the best interest of the industry as a whole. Known for his friendly demeanour, Andrew could almost always be seen with a smile on his face and always called anyone he came across pal. RELATED: Click here for a 2014 feature on Andrew. His standardbred nursery and racing operation at the Meridian Farms location in Milton was always pristine with Andrew making sure everything was always presentable and professional. Under Andrew’s tutelage, Meridian Farms would stand the top stallions in the Atlantic Sires Stakes program and would be the top consignor to the two Atlantic yearling sales every fall. A fierce competitor on the race track, Andrew drove some of the top overnight pacers at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP) with horses like Ironside, War Cry Ranger, Victory Creed, Matt Trapper and Every Day and would dabble with trotters racing the open classes like Players Champion and Shy Beauty, among numerous others. As a driver, Andrew recorded 398 wins and $485,587 in earnings since his first trips in the race bike in the 1970s. His driving duties were toned down considerably this season with just 45 drives and his last trip to the winner’s circle as a driver was in June at the CDP aboard trot mare Hello Chipper. As a trainer, Andrew conditioned 270 horses to 270 wins with more than $310,000 in prize money. Fittingly, Andrew’s final training win was in an event steeped in history as Keep Coming claimed the Johnny Conroy Memorial Invitational pace at Truro Raceway in Bible Hill, N.S., with a 1:55.1 victory for driver David Dowling. We have lost another giant of the game. To his wife Carol and children Blake and Rachel, I share my deepest sympathies. As for Brian, may you rest in peace pal. Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at nicholasoakes@hotmail.com. Reprinted with the permission of The Guardian

Champion trainer Mark Purdon appears to hold all the aces at Alexandra Park tonight but he admits he doesn't know how most of those cards will fall. Purdon starts his annual northern summer assault at tonight's meeting while partner Natalie Rasmussen is tearing up the Inter Dominions in Victoria with Cruz Bromac and Spankem. Purdon will have the favourite in four races tonight, with the hottest certain to be champion filly Princess Tiffany, who returns in race three. "Like any horse coming back she will be better for the run and that always makes them vulnerable but on class she should still win," offers Purdon. But things get a bit more complicated after that, with the All Stars having multiple runners in the other three races. The most obvious appears to be the opening event where a race fit Jesse Duke clashes with last season's leading juvenile Another Masterpiece. "I think Jesse is the better chance because he is fit and I don't think Another Masterpiece would want to be taking him on this early in his campaign." But the battle between top mares Dream About Me and Elle Mac in the Breeders Stakes may not be as obvious as it looks, even though Dream About Me finished third in the NZ Cup last start and is favourite for the Auckland Cup. "I think Dream About Me deserves to be favourite on what she has done but I worked them together the other day and the way Elle Mac sprinted up the straight right alongside her there might not be much in it. "I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Elle Mac beat her." The standing start and racing luck could play the major role for not only Purdon's trio but all the big names in the $30,000 Summer Cup. The best performed horses like Jack's Legend are off 20m over 2200m and while that doesn't mean he can't win it does make him vulnerable to the tempo of the race especially if there are no mid-race moves and a 55-second last 800m off the front. Purdon says any of his trio Ashley Locaz, All U Need Is Faith or Sicario could win and the fact he has chosen to drive All U Need Is Faith over Sicario is not any guide to their chances. "They are all good four-year-olds who could win but the first thing is getting away safely and then who has the luck because I really can't choose between them." Add in On The Cards, Mach Shard, Northview Hustler and rejuvenated veteran Lets Elope and the race looks a beauty.   Michael Guerin

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 6, 2018 -- Growing up in Dublin, Jack Killeen watched American harness racing on YouTube, passionately followed the careers of such greats as Somebeachsomewhere and Foiled Again and dreamed of coming to the U.S. to make his living as a Standardbred driver. The 18-year-old has taken an important step to realizing that dream through a stint as a driver at The Meadows. Killeen will wrap up his first American sojourn Saturday at The Meadows when he pilots Stirling Escort from post 6 in race 13. First post is 1:05 PM. Killeen was introduced to harness racing by his father, a builder who campaigns horses at Dublin's Portmarnock Raceway as a hobby. The younger Killeen was inspired enough to complete farrier school and begin work as a blacksmith, picking up drives where he could. The problem: For most of the year, Portmarnock races only on Sundays, hardly enough to support a full-time driver -- or a full-time blacksmith. "I shoe Standardbreds, ponies, Clydesdales -- everything," he says. Killeen, however, saw an opportunity when he met Heather and Mike Wilder, who were in Dublin this past summer for the annual Vincent Delaney Memorial festival of races. Impressed by the sincerity of the young Irishman, the Wilders agreed to introduce him to The Meadows horsemen if he came to America. Killeen landed in the States in mid-September, found an apartment and began helping horsemen in the mornings. They remembered it, and Killeen soon earned assignments from trainers such as Paul Corey, Kevin Johnson and Sarah Andrews. He's made the most of those limited drives, compiling a highly respectable .268 UDR in 22 starts. He notched his first domestic win in only his sixth start. Even more impressive than his statistics is Killeen's poise. An 18-year-old intimidated by the situation could respond by driving too aggressively or too passively. But Killeen operates more like a veteran, leaving when he should, ducking when that seems best, keeping his horses alive for checks. "You can't be nervous out there. At least, I'm trying not to be nervous," he says. "Things are different here. In Ireland, we have half-mile tracks. Here, you have tracks of different sizes, which leads to different driving styles. The slanted starting gate is very different." Though Killeen will return to Dublin on Monday, it isn't lack of drives or homesickness that's prompting the move. Rather, his application for an appropriate visa hasn't been approved yet, so he can't stay longer this time. "I'm going to miss him terribly; he's become a part of our family," Heather Wilder says. "I'm hoping he'll back by the end of the year, but the visa process is tricky, and it could take longer than that for approval." If his visa doesn't come through, Killeen says he might pursue one for work in Canada, where the red tape may be less thick. But he's targeting Dec. 31 for his return to The Meadows so he can be here for the career finale of one of his YouTube heroes. "I'd like to see that," Killeen says. "I watched Foiled Again for so long, and I finally got to meet him here." On Friday, The Meadows will celebrate the 27th anniversary of the opening of its Harmar facility with daylong food and beverage specials, giveaways and contests with cash and merchandise prizes. Roger Huston and horsemen Jeremy Indof, Dan Rawlings and Mike Wilder will mingle with fans from 12 noon to 3 PM. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

Social media trolls have been given a stern warning in the Supreme Court about online abuse after one of Western Australian’s top harness racing stewards was awarded $140,000 in a defamation payout. Chief harness racing steward Barbara Scott was targeted in February in a false Facebook post deemed “vile” by Supreme Court Master Craig Sanderson. It was published by national harness racing identity Dean Baring on his Harnessbred Facebook page. “It’s been reported Ms Barbara Scott the Chief Steward of Harness Racing WA will be packing her bags and leaving her position after a very embarrassing recording has been leaked,” the post said. “Barbara in the view of many, has let the sport down. Its (sic) time for harness racing and Barbara to part ways.” Ms Scott said she had been hurt by Mr Baring’s post and the 398 likes, shares and comments linked to it and his page, which had more than 9100 followers. She suffered interrupted sleep and was diagnosed with adjustment disorder, mixed anxiety and depression and took stress leave. “I was shocked by some of the vile and disgusting comments about myself; it was like a lynch mob,” said Ms Scott, who in 2009 brought a landmark wrongful dismissal claim against the NSW Greyhound and Harness Racing Regulatory Authority after being sexually harassed. “I felt helpless because I could see my reputation being destroyed and I needed to correct the record. It’s a form of bullying and they are just keyboard warriors who sit there and punch out words thinking they can say what they like.” Master Sanderson warned people about publishing defamatory matter online. He referenced recent defamation cases involving actor Rebel Wilson and Perth lawyer Lloyd Rayney when describing the “grapevine effect”, where it was difficult to ascertain how far-reaching online the publication had been. “Where a post such as the one complained of here is inflammatory, it expressly or implicitly invites users to post replies and responses of a kind that add fuel to the defamatory fire,” he wrote. Mr Baring did not defend the accusations or offer an apology, but removed the post after legal demands from Ms Scott’s lawyer, Nick Stagg. He also did not respond to a request from The West Australian to comment, but said in a welcome video on his Harnessbred website: “We’ll stay away from anything that’s defamatory and is in bad taste”. Master Sanderson referenced the comment in his decision, noting the defendant, “failed conspicuously in this case”. Mr Stagg said he would pursue the $140,000 on behalf of his client. Racing and Wagering WA chief executive Richard Burt said the type of abuse levelled at Ms Scott would not be tolerated. “We stand by Barbara and she is an important part of our integrity team,” Mr Burt said. “We are not going to allow our people who are merely doing their job and acting on behalf of racing to be attacked and we’ll support our people to take action where it’s warranted.” Chief harness racing steward Barbara Scott.Picture: Daniel Wilkins By Steve Butler  Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

  Oakwood Stud is pleased to announce that Foreclosure N will be standing at Talgrwn Stud Services in Wales for the 2019 breeding season. “We have an excellent working relationship with Gwenan and Richard Thomas from Talgrwn Stud Services and we are very excited about this new venture”, said Oakwood Stud’s Derek Delaney, “With the recent advancement they have made at their AI Facility, the timing is perfect for Foreclosure to stand at stud there in the UK.” This move by Foreclosure means that breeders can also take advantage of the many benefits offered by Talgrwn Stud Services. Foreclosure’s chilled semen can be shipped anywhere in the UK from the Stud Services, cutting down travel costs and making it more convenient for the mare owners. Breeder’s local vets will be able to inseminate for a fraction of the costs of frozen semen. In addition, higher conception rates are generally seen by users of fresh semen versus frozen. Foreclosure has had tremendous success in his first season in the UK and Ireland. Among many stakes-winning performers, he sired BHRC 2-year-old Colt of the Year, Oakwood Inittowinit, and IHRA 2-year-old Filly of the Year, Newtown Jody. Foreclosure’s 2019 stud fee will be set at 1250 euros. Frozen semen will still be available in Ireland for 2019. All bookings for chilled or frozen breedings should be made through Oakwood Stud Ireland websitewww.oakwoodstud.ie From Oakwood Stud

December 5, 2018 - The Wednesday harness racing Q+ race was the Prix de la Ville de Royan (purse 50,000€, 2850 meters, 13 European starters) at Paris-Vincennes. Victory went to 10/1 odds Chistera (6f Qwerty-Medici) driven by J.Ph. Monclin for trainer J.P. Lecourt. This Pierre Levesque bred mare was timed in 1.13.9kr. The 9/1 Class Thourjan (6f Rolling d’Heripre) was second for owner/trainer/driver Anthony Dollion. Caresse (6f Ready Cash-Stefani Hanover) was third driven by David Thomain for trainer Bjorn Goop. 2.9/1 Coumba and 12/1 Chacha de Goutier completed the top five, with the exact order Q+ 2€ ticket paying 5,487€. On the card was the Prix d’Houfleur (monte, purse 80,000€, 2175 meters, 12 starters) and it produced a quick timed 1.12kr victory for 27/1 Voltorb d’Oliverie (9g Mourofais-Betty d’Oliverie) with Franck Nivard in the irons for trainer Sebastien Houyvet and owner Serge Gabriel. The 9/10 favorite Beau de Grimoult (7g Pacifique Gede) was second for jockey Yoann Lebourgeois and third was 55/1 Uranium (10g Jag de Bellouet) with P-Y Verva up. Earlier on the Wednesday Vincennes program was the Prix de Bourigny (purse 70,000€, 2850 meters, 11 starters) and that victory was earned by the 1.14.5kr timed and 3/2 odds Dostoievski (5g Ganymede-Nuor des Charmes) with trainer Jean Michel Bazire driving. Ecurie des Charmes owns the winner that defeated 7/2 odds Dollar Soyer (5g Phlegyas) reined by Anthony Barrier for trainer Gregory Thorel. Tuesday’s Q+ was also at Paris-Vincennes in the Prix de Laon (purse 37,000€, 2700 meters, 18 starters) and the 1.14.4kr timed winner was 3.2/1 odds Elorious de Guez (4g Look de Star-Quazirette de Guez) reined by his trainer Jean Michel Bazire, for breeder/owner Ecurie Vautors. Second was 7/2 odds Eliot d’Ambri (4g Ti Punch River) for Yoann Lebourgeois and third went to 73/1 Euzo Viva (4g Kiwi). Completing the top five were 12/1 Enjoleor Leman (4g Hulk des Champs) and 118/1 Exil d’Erable (4g Coktail Jet) and the exact order Q+ payoff was 56,677€ for the 2€ wager. On the same card was the Prix des Pyrennes (purse 50,000€, 2850 meters, 12 European starters). The 27/1 odds Mellby Drake (6g Viking Kronos-U.Don’t Wanna Know) scored timed in 1.15kr for driver Matthieu Abrivard, trainer Robert Bergh and owner Mellby Gard AB. 1.2/1 favorite Bryssel (6m Ready Cash-Spacelane) took third for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop, ahead of 7/1 Crazy Charm (6g Prodigious-Know How) reined by trainer Pierre Vercruysse. Sunday at Vincennes is the next “B” race, the Gr. II Prix du Bourbonnais, with the top three finishers receiving an invitation to the Prix d’Amerique. The field will battle over 2850 meters for the 120,000€ purse and the lineup is shown below. Thomas H. Hicks

Looks what has arrived in the post today! Yes it is the first harness racing catalogue produced by New Zealand Bloodstock for the New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling Sale. What a refreshing and outstanding catalogue it is, well done to New Zealand Bloodstock. A new era has arrived for the harness racing sales sector in New Zealand. A strong contingent of 31 of the best harness racing sires available to the New Zealand breeding industry are set to feature throughout the upcoming New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Pacing Sires Set to Delight Champion Sire Bettors Delight continued to deliver outstanding results on the racetrack last season earning the title of Leading Pacing Sire for the seventh consecutive year on the local scene. His major contributors featured New Zealand Horse of the Year Lazarus (NZ), Elle Mac (NZ), Ultimate Machete (NZ), Another Masterpiece (NZ), Jesse Duke (NZ), Pats Delight (NZ) and Sheriff (NZ). With 200 individual winners scoring 392 races in New Zealand, they collectively earned just under $7 million in prizemoney. It was a similar trend in Australia with a new record of 400 individual winners for a new record of just under $12 million in prizemoney which completed Bettors Delight pre-eminence in Australasia and the Leading Pacing Sire for the seventh consecutive year in Australia. The records continue to the sale ring with 118 yearlings by Bettors Delight catalogued for the Sale a record offering in itself. He has 36 lots in Auckland and 82 lots in Christchurch. In a massive American influence, the first seven sires at the top of the 2YO Pacing Sires’ List in America this season to date will all be represented at the Sale in 2019. Art Major, the sire of 11 individual winners who have earned $1 million or more, will be represented by a total of 56 yearlings. Last year’s Leading 2YO and 3YO Pacing Sire, and Overall Leading Pacing Sire with earnings of more than US$23 million,Somebeachsomewhere, will have 25 yearlings offered at the Sale. With an equal US$3 million in earnings to date in America, Leading 2YO Pacing Sire Captaintreacherous will be represented by his first New Zealand progeny with 15 lots catalogued. Sitting in close contention to Captaintreacherous, Sweet Lou’s progeny have earned more than US$3 million in prizemoney to date to place him second on the Leading 2YO Pacing Sires’ List. He will have 13 yearlings on offer at the Sale. Other pacing sires of note include American Ideal (23 lots catalogued), Sportswriter (17), Rock N Roll Heaven (15), Mach Three (13 - the last of his commercial crop to go through the ring), A Rocknroll Dance (11), He’s Watching (10), Roll With Joe (six), Auckland Reactor (five), Terror to Love (three) and Sunshine Beach (two). Need for Trotting Speed The straight-out trotter has made huge strides in recent seasons and the 2019 National Yearling Sale is set to step up with a tremendous line-up and atmosphere. Enhance Your Clam (NZ), Winterfell (NZ) and Valloria (NZ) were the leading performers for the 2017-18 Leading Sire of Trotters in both New Zealand and Australia, Majestic Son. With 56 individual winners in New Zealand and another 56 individual winners in Australia, his progeny earned just under $1.4 million and $1.6 million in prizemoney respectively. There will be eight of Majestic Son’s progeny catalogued in February – one lot in Auckland and seven lots in Christchurch. Muscle Hill, who is widely regarded as the greatest trotter of the modern era, is heading for his third consecutive Trotting Sires Premiership in America with his progeny in the southern hemisphere also performing at the elite level. There will be six of his yearlings available to secure at the upcoming Sale. Twice-crowned New Zealand Leading Sire of Trotters, with progeny like Monbet (NZ), Great Things Happen (NZ) and Enghein (NZ), the first commercial crop in New Zealand from Love You will be on offer at the Sale with 16 yearlings catalogued. Muscle Mass was the world champion trotter as a two-year-old and has passed on his speed to many of his progeny including Custodian (NZ) and Heavyweight Hero (NZ). He will be represented by 12 yearlings at the Sale. The fastest son of Champion Sire Cantab Hall, Father Patrick, will offer his first southern hemisphere crop at the upcoming Christchurch Sale with a draft of seven yearlings. The sire of Australasia’s fastest trotter in Maori Time, and the likes of Speeding Spur (NZ), Pegasus Spur will have an offering of four yearlings in February. Other trotting sires of note include Angus Hall (three lots catalogued), Quaker Jet (three), Andover Hall (two), Peak (two), Bacardi Lindy (one), Master Glide (one), Orlando Vici (one),Sebastian K (one), Trixton (one) and Windsong Espoir (one). Auckland Sale at Karaka – click here to view catalogue Day 1 will commence on Sunday 17 February with parades of trotting and pacing yearlings from 2.30pm. Day 2 will see the first of the yearlings going under the hammer with sale of 145 Trotters and Pacers commencing at 10.30am. Christchurch Sale at Canterbury Agricultural Park – click here to view catalogue Day 3 will kick-off on Tuesday 19 with parades of Trotters from 11.00am and parades of Fillies and Colts from 11.45am. Selling will then commence at 4.00pm with 50 Trotters. Wednesday 20 will see the final yearlings go through the ring with the sale of 206 Pacers from 10.00am.

In recent months Eden Franco and Maczaffair have stamped themselves as the best two pacing mares in Western Australia and the connections of those pacers and harness racing fans in general have been predicting a tantalising showdown between the two in the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But the result of the random barrier draw has clouded the issue and has revived the hopes of some of the other combatants, including the courageous Gotta Go Gabbana, the seasoned and well-performed veteran Tricky Styx and rising four-year-old stars Our Angel of Harlem and Lady De la Renta. Eden Franco, trained and driven by the evergreen Colin Brown, and Maczaffair, prepared by the equally astute horseman Mike Reed, have clashed in races only four times with the honours shared two victories to each mare and two seconds to Eden Franco and two fourths to Maczaffair. The barrier draw has thrown this week’s classic into the melting pot, with Eden Franco faring badly, drawn on the outside (No. 9) on the front line, while Maczaffair will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line. Brown has a high opinion of Eden Franco and is looking for a change of luck after Eden Franco started from the prized No. 1 barrier in the Mares Classic 12 months ago and was a strongly-supported 4/1 chance. She set a solid pace, but was swamped in the final 100 metres when she was at a distinct disadvantage when the deafeners failed to release. She finished fourth behind Ideal Alice, Ameretto and Quite A Delight. Brown is hoping for his first success in the Mares Classic or its predecessor the Mares Mile. Three years ago, he drove $78.80 chance Jungle Jewell for Greg and Skye Bond when she surged home from ninth on the pegs at the bell, and sixth at the 100m, to finish second to the pacemaking Nike Franco and in 2010 he was third behind 10/9 on favourite Ima Spicey Lombo with Greg Bond’s Little Big Sister, who finished boldly from tenth at the bell. Eden Franco’s part-owner Jim Currie was a part-owner and trainer of 10/1 tote chance Smoking Again, who set the pace from barrier three and won comfortably from the polemarker Country Change in the 2009 Mares Mile. Eden Franco is generally considered simply as a frontrunner. But Brown does not agree with that, saying after driving the mare to a four-length victory over Alfa Queen in the 2130m Norms Daughter Classic last Friday week that she was quite versatile. “Everybody thinks that she’s just a one-trick pony, but at home she can run very quick times when held up. She’s got high cruising speed on the track at home and runs 27-second quarters hard-held.” Eden Franco started from barrier four in the Norms Daughter Classic and burst to the front after 250m. Maczaffair started from the inside of the back line and raced three back on the pegs in fifth position. She was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final stages and went to the line full of running to finish a most unlucky fourth. Then, last Friday night Maczaffair was a 10/1 on favourite from the No. 1 barrier when she was not extended in setting the pace, sprinting over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. and winning by 10m from Gotta Go Gabbana over 2130m. Both Eden Franco and Maczaffair are capable over the 2536m journey. Eden Franco has won over 2600m and 2503m and Maczaffair has won twice and finished second three times over 2536m. Tricky Styx, now in the Capel stables of Andrew de Campo, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Aiden de Campo is sure to attempt to set the pace with the seven-year-old and will be hoping to keep all challengers at bay. This will be Tricky Styx’s third appearance in the Mares Classic. She started out wide at barrier nine and finished solidly from 11th at the bell to be fifth behind The Parade in 2016 and last year she began out wide at barrier eight and was always well back, finishing tenth behind Ideal Alice. Four-year-old Our Angel of Harlem, a stablemate of Maczaffair, cannot be underestimated, even from the wide draw at No. 8. Her two runs since resuming from a spell have been encouraging and she will have the services of champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Mares Mile with Jilsander (2007) and Ima Spicey Lombo (2010). Chris Voak, who set the pace with the Chris King-trained Leda McNally and won the Mares Classic from Famous Alchemist and Sensational Gabby in 2013, will be in the sulky behind the Annie Belton-trained Gotta Go Gabbana, who is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. Gotta Go Gabbana has impressed with her courageous efforts on the past two Friday nights when she had a tough run in the breeze before fighting on grandly for a third behind Eden Franco and a second to Maczaffair. Gotta Go Gabbana’s stablemate Lady De La Renta will be driven by Kim Prentice and she impressed at Gloucester Park last Tuesday week when she unwound a powerful finishing burst to win easily from Shes Artful and Jasmin Amal.   Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Our Max Phactor arrived in Western Australia completely unheralded at the end of August and has been a revelation under the care of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, with his 11 starts in the State producing ten wins and a close second placing. And this remarkable run of success follows his modest career in New Zealand where he managed just nine wins from 70 starts. He has also shown exceptional qualities here as a standing-start specialist, with six wins from six stands, whereas he had ten runs in stands in New Zealand for one victory by a nose over the marathon trip of 3150m on the grass track at the spacious Hawera circuit. Ryan Warwick, in dazzling form in the sulky, has driven Our Max Phactor in all his races for the Bond camp and he is hoping that the Art Major gelding will maintain his winning ways when he starts off 20m (virtually 10m because there are no runners off the front) in the Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, it is unlikely to be simply a walk in the park for Our Max Phactor, who will clash with other smart New Zealand-bred pacers in Mr Mojito and As Happy As Larry. Mr Mojito, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start off 20m at his second appearance after a year’s absence. The six-year-old has raced only 28 times for 11 wins (seven in New Zealand, one in WA and three in Victoria). He resumed racing when he began off the 40m mark in a 2631m event at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he moved forward in the first lap and then worked hard in the breeze before finishing an excellent first-up second to Saying Grace, with final quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.9sec. Mr Mojito was brought to Perth by ace New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon at the end of 2016 when the gelding won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship, beating Nathans Courage at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m. A week later he was the 2/1 favourite in the Group 1 Golden Nugget, but wrecked his chances by hanging badly and he finished fifth behind Soho Tribeca, Nathans Courage, Chicago Bull and Natural Disaster. Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning brought Mr Mojito to Perth late last year to contest the Inter Dominion Championship series in which he was unplaced in three heats. He has spent the past year in rehabilitation with Olivieri and he has the class to seriously test Our Max Phactor on Friday night. Seven-year-old As Happy As Larry is prepared and driven by Robbie Williams and he has been impressive in four outings since resuming from a spell. He raced wide in the early stages and then had a tough passage in the breeze when a fighting second to Mitch Maguire in a 2503m stand last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Columbus, OH - Beginning with the harness racing foal crop of 2019, the primary means of USTA horse identification will be the microchip. "Microchipping provides a more safe, efficient and reliable way to identify horses," said USTA Director of Registry T.C. Lane. "The microchipping process is less stressful for the horse than freeze branding or a lip tattoo. In addition to its identification capability, the Merck microchips also can read the horse's body temperature quickly in a non-invasive fashion, which is a great benefit in monitoring the horse's health." To watch a video explanation and demonstration of the microchipping process hosted by the USTA's Wendy Ross with Midland Acres' doctors John Mossbarger and Bob Schwartz, click here. Not all horses will need to be microchipped immediately, but by 2021, all horses that race in the United States at all USTA member tracks (including county fairs) will be required to be identified with a microchip. All USTA ID Technicians are trained to implant microchips and will also continue to collect a DNA sample from each horse to send to the approved laboratory. All horses that have been previously freeze branded by the USTA will be required to be microchipped by a USTA ID Technician. Horse owners have the option to microchip stallions as well as broodmares. For foals of 2019, the microchipping fee is incorporated into the registration. All others with an existing freeze brand (racehorses, broodmares, stallions, etc.) can be implanted for a fee of $35 per head. The USTA has agreed to allow those that choose to continue to freeze brand the foals of 2019 to do so. That $75 fee must be prepaid to the USTA in addition to the normal registration fee and there are no discounts for multiple horses at any location with this arrangement. All USTA extended pari-mutuel racetracks will be equipped with readers to identify horses and county fair officials that will be responsible for identifying horses will be required to have them as well. As a USTA Member Benefit through our partnership with Merck Animal Health/HomeAgain, Bio thermal Scanners are available at the discounted, introductory rate of $279 for a BlueTooth model and $69 for the smaller standard unit. Industry participants (tracks/individual members/associations) can purchase a universal scanner for their own purposes at a reduced rate via our supplier by contacting the USTA at 1.877.800.8782 or by ordering via myaccount.ustrotting.com. In addition, Merck has agreed to partner with the USTA, for free, a lifetime subscription to their HomeAgain rescue services, which is a proactive network of veterinarians, rescue facilities and volunteers who are immediately notified in an attempt to help locate lost animals. The program maintains owner contact information that proactively prompts owners to update it during the annual membership renewal process and through other member communications. This is an added benefit for horses that are in need of rescue or connected via the USTA's Full Circle program. There are multiple reasons why microchips are a superior means of identification including: • Microchips in general offer a faster/more efficient and less stressful means of identification and require less time to implant than freeze branding or lip tattooing, providing greater convenience for farm visits. • Can measure a temperature in only a few seconds compared to rectal reading that might take several minutes. • Is a safe, unobtrusive way to uniquely identify individual horses. • Provides a less stressful way to alert owners of health problems through temperature sensing (EHV-1), which makes preventive care easier. • Allows for monitoring temperature during and after surgery or procedure, where minimal disturbance is desired. • Alerts owner to possible sub-clinical indications of potential infectious diseases. • Ideal for both young and pregnant stock. Improved technology has eliminated the concerns about the microchip moving after implantation. With Merck’s patented Bio-Bond® process, the microchips are encased in an insert micro-capsule made of bio-compatible material. The process enables the animal's tissue to permanently anchor the microchip at the desired anatomical site. HomeAgain/Destron Fearing microchips stay where they should for the health of the animals and for reading convenience. Any registration or identification question can be addressed by contacting the USTA Member Services team at memberservices@ustrotting.com or by calling the USTA office at 1.877.800.8782. U.S. Trotting Association | 6130 S. Sunbury Rd. | Westerville, OH 43081-3909  

As if there was not enough excitement in the camp more is coming as Chase Auckland readies for a brief northern campaign and then an assault on the Chariots of Fire when he is likely to clash with Spankem all going well. Chase Auckland was the pre-eminent three year old last season before going amiss in the latter part and he has had a patient buildup through the spring toward an Australian campaign. “He is ready to go to the trials now and after that he would head north” Natalie said “He’s doing great. We would probably give him a race at Cambridge even though it is not a qualifying race for the Chariots now and then he would head over for those leadup races for that. “Spankem will stay over here for the Bonanza ($A100,000 January 26) and then go on to Chariots trail. Chase Auckland and will probably go straight to Sydney. Chase Auckland won eight of his nine starts at three and ran second to stablemate Sicario in the other earning nearly $400,000 for his Alabar Farms Syndicate who are naturally his greatest fans. He had a minor hiccup in the spring which crossed out the NZ Cup meeting and the Auckland Cup. That could be a blessing in disguise as he faces a busy summer and autumn all going well. He is likely to trial next Tuesday at Rangiora. Ultimate Machete trialled on Wednesday and won well. A decision has yet to be made on whether he will trial again before heading north. Courtesy of All Stars Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 5, 2018 -- Caught widest in a four-ply battle for the early lead, Expose Yourself persevered, eventually crossed over and had just enough late to capture Wednesday's harness racing $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Expose Yourself had to work hard on the sloppy track to overcome post 9 and needed nearly all the opening three-eighths to reach the point. The 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Muscle Shirt tired in deep stretch but found enough for Dave Palone to hold off Chapter Too by a neck in 1:56.2. Glidinthruparadise rallied for show. Ron Burke trains Expose Yourself, who triumphed for the 11th time this year and boosted her lifetime bankroll to $176,961, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Trainer Randy Bendis enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the program features a $1,510.10 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Western Australia’s sole representative in the 2018 Inter Dominion Series Galactic Star is well placed to make Saturday week’s final, following his third placing in the second round of heats at Ballarat last night. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer sits third behind Cruz Bromac and Im Pats Delight in the rankings with one round of heats remaining at Cranbourne on Saturday night. Galactic Star won the opening heat at Melton last Saturday and continued his good form in last night’s 1710m second round of heats. The Bettors Delight gelding was posted wide in the early stages of last night’s heat, before he was able to settle in the running line in fourth spot. Reinsman Todd McCarthy then got the gelding into clear room at the top of the straight and he was able to run on strongly into third spot. Greg Bond said he was pleased to get another significant lot of points, which almost guaranteed him a spot in the final on December 15. “We were very happy with the performance, given the bad gate,” he said. “Nothing was coming from behind on the night, so we made the plan to follow Mach Doro out of the gate which we knew we may get posted three wide. “Eventually he was able to get a trail and he found the line really well.” Bond said he expected Galactic Star would only need to finish in the top eight of his heat on Saturday night to secure his spot in the final. Galactic Star has again drawn on the outside of the second line on Saturday night in barrier 10 and Bond said the stable wouldn’t take the race lightly, despite the fact a spot in the final looks assured. “The three main chances in Wrappers Delight, Spankem and Galactic Star are in eight, nine and 10 respectively,” he said. “We go in trying to win every race and Saturday night will be no exception. “He should finish in the top three or four depending on the run we get.” Galactic Star is a $9.75 chance with TABtouch to take out the Inter Dominion. Meanwhile, Bond said all of his four-year-olds were in good order following last Friday night’s Yes Loans 4YO Classic at Gloucester Park. He indicated Bettor Aim, who was scratched from the Group 1 event, was on track to make a full recovery in time for Friday week’s Golden Nugget.   Tim Walker

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Kylie Hughes. ARHR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Ms Hughes related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Nevada Rocket’ after it won Race 2, the ‘Mildura Holden Pace’, at Mildura on 22 February 2017. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, at a concentration greater than 200 µg/L. This result was confirmed by the Racing Science Centre in Brisbane. The HRV RAD Board considered the statements of Investigative Steward Neal Conder, RASL Scientific Manager Paul Zahra and veterinary consultant Professor Paul Mills. Ms Hughes pleaded guilty to the charge, before the HRV RAD Board heard submissions on penalty from both parties. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Ms Hughes’ 25- year involvement in the industry, her good record over this period of time, and her guilty plea. Also considered were the circumstances of a partially concurrent Harness Racing New South Wales matter that led to this inquiry being adjourned on 28 September 2017, and resulted in Ms Hughes being disqualified between 20 April 2017 and 3 September 2019. The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences. In handing down its penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted the significance of the rules in relation to prohibited substances in harness racing, the importance of conducting races fairly and with integrity, along with the protection of horses and the participants involved in the industry. In considering all of these matters, the HRV RAD Board imposed a 12-month disqualification. It was ordered that the disqualification be backdated to commence on 28 September 2017, the date of the original hearing, and be served concurrently with the HRNSW penalty. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Nevada Rocket’ be disqualified from Race 2 at Mildura on 22 February 2017 and that the placings be amended accordingly. HRV RAD Board Panel: Judge Graeme Hicks and Rod Osborne.   Harness Racing Victoria