Day At The Track

A sensational mile victory by Bubbled Up in the Nevele R Fillies Series Heat 2 at Methven last weekend highlighted the success of another of the Breckon Farms harness racing syndicates.  Raced by The Perfect Ten Syndicate, Bubbled Up smashed the clock in a race record 1-55.9 on the grass surface at Mt Harding Raceway on Sunday and in doing so went very close to the 1-55 track record set by top pacer A.G's White Socks in the Green Mile in 2017. Driven by Tim Williams the effort of Bubbled Up was even more remarkable when you consider the filly had to do all the work herself, leading from the outset and also after being pressured hard by the two Robert Dunn trained runners during the race. At the finish the American Ideal filly still had half a length to spare from the speedy Greg and Nina Hope trained Kendra who flashed home late, with third going to another Hope trained runner Mossdale Art. Sundays win was special for Tim Williams as it gave him the milestone of his 400th winner from 3338 lifetime drives. The Perfect Ten Syndicate is the fifth such syndicate established by Ken Breckon of Breckon Farms, following in the footsteps of the already highly successful The Good Sports Syndicate, Super Seven Syndicate, The Top Ten Syndicate and Six of the Best Syndicate. Heat 3 of the Nevele R Fillies Series is at Ashburton on 23rd February with the $140,000 final at Addington on the 10th May. Bubbled Up winning at Methven on Sunday Breckon Farms have 26 yearlings entered for sale at this years inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland on the 18th of February 2019. Three of those yearling fillies are by American Ideal the sire of Bubbled Up. Lot 6 - Needamargarita is a filly by American Ideal from Fellamongstabeauty by Bettor's Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 12 - Allamericanlover is a filly by American Ideal from Goodlookinbabe by Mach Three from from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 12 - Allamericanlover Lot 12 - Allamericanlover Lot 96, Simply Shaz, an American Ideal filly from Simply Stunning. This filly is a first foal from black type race winning Art Major mare. Lot 96, Simply Shaz American Ideal has produced ten millionaires in North America in total. Four have been fillies including his richest progeny American Jewel 1:48.2s ($1,834,823) and also the champion current North American three-year-old filly of the year Yourmycandygirl 1:48.2 ($1,497,000). American Ideal has produced the winners of over $87 million to date in North America. In New Zealand he is the sire of progeny that has earned $7.5 million to date and in Australia he has progeny earnings of over $10 million to date.  Therefore, American Ideal now belongs to the $100 million club an outstanding achievement. He best performing mare in New Zealand is The Orange Agent ($516,974) and in Australia, American Ideal has produced two millionaires to date. They are Bling It On 1:50.8 ($1,656,656) and Soho Tribeca 1:53.8 ($1,103,374)  Harnesslink Media

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green is delighted at Patrickthepiranha drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night and is confident the WA-bred gelding will continue on his winning ways. “He gets away good from the arm and he’s got better with every run,” he declared. “And I’m confident that Patrickthepiranha is quick enough to hold the lead. He’s shown that at his previous runs. “Having his first run for a month is not a concern; he’s down the beach a fair bit and has also been working well. He hoppled today (Tuesday) and went really good, working by himself. Last Friday he worked with a few others and I was very happy with him.” Patrickthepiranha is aiming to extend his winning sequence to seven. He is unbeaten at six starts as a three-year-old and Egerton-Green (who has driven the gelding at all of his nine starts for seven wins, a first-up fifth and a third placing) said he was “probably” the best three-year-old he has driven. “I was fortunate to have driven Bechers Brook as a three-year-old last season (when he won the Battle of Bunbury and the Group 2 Western Gateway Pace before finishing a fast-finishing head second to King of Swing in the WA Derby),” he said. “They are two different horses. Bechers Brook was more of a sit and kick horse and Patrickthepiranha is more versatile; he can lead, sit-kick and is tougher.” Patrickthepiranha is prepared by ace Banjup trainer Colin Brown, who trained and drove The Hard Ball Get when he won the 2002 Caduceus Club Classic from Roadless Travelled and Sacre Bleu. Brown also won the Classic as a driver with David Hercules in 2010 and Ohokas Bondy in 2011. Patrickthepiranha’s chief rivals Shockwave and Franco Edward will need luck after drawing out wide. Shockwave, the winner of seven races from 17 starts, will begin from barrier No. 7, with Franco Edward, a winner at eight of his 12 starts, on his outside. Shockwave is in sparkling form and his seven starts this season have produced four wins and three placings. He is trained at Baskerville by Ryan Bell and will be driven by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who has won the classic behind Latte (2003), Ulrich (2004), Alberts Fantasy (2006), Gracias Para Nada (2012), Northview Punter (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015). Shockwave has revealed sparkling gate speed from barrier five at his past two starts for easy all-the-way wins over 1730m and 2130m. Whether he can cross to the front from barrier seven this week is debatable. Franco Edward, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, made most of the running when beaten into second place by the fast-finishing Sweet N Fast over 2536m last Friday night. That followed two convincing wins over 2185m at Pinjarra at his two previous starts. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the classic seven times, will be represented by the consistent and improving Eloquent Mach, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald from the outside of the back line. Eloquent Mach notched his fourth win from ten starts when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on determinedly to win from Know When To Run over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. He faces a far tougher assignment against much stronger opposition on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko, last season’s leading driver, is hoping for a change of fortune with the highly-promising Gee Jay Kay, who will start from, the No. 3 barrier for trainer Vicki Lea. Gee Jay Kay is still somewhat green, but has performed meritoriously at his three outings as a three-year-old with a second, a third and a fourth behind Shockwave. “His trial at Byford on Sunday was really good,” Suvaljko said. “He needs to sit and come over the top. He’s got some good horses to beat, but he’s up to them. It’s a good draw, but not a great draw.” Gee Jay Kay dashed over the final quarters of the 2150m trial in 28.9sec. and 27.1sec. and finished second to Another Snag. Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Ryan Warwick chalked up his 100th winner for the season when he drove Hasani to a hard-fought victory in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night and he is quietly confident of keeping up the good work by steering Bettor Aim to victory in the Better Your Industry With TABtouch Pace on Friday night. Hasani, a promising Courage Under Fire five-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was Warwick’s only drive on Tuesday night and came after he and the Bonds landed a treble with Ana Afreet, Our Alfie Romeo and Mighty Conqueror at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. The Bond camp and Warwick will have a comparatively quiet night on Friday night with three runners Courage Tells, Bettor Aim and Mitch Maguire and Warwick declared that Bettor Aim would prove hard to beat, saying with typical conservatism: “He’ll be thereabouts.” Bettor Aim, a New Zealand-bred four-year, has raced exclusively in Western Australia and, with Warwick in the sulky in all of his 18 starts for eight wins, three seconds and two thirds, has a bright future. Bettor Aim, who is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line, finished last in a field of nine at his latest appearance, last Friday fortnight when he began from barrier nine, raced four wide early and then raced roughly when he contacted his own sulky. He then was hampered by a flat tyre, which was punctured 600m from home. Therefore there were many valid excuses for the failure. A week earlier he led and won very easily from Better Be Lively over 1730m and at his previous outing he finished stoutly to be second to Handsandwheels over 2130m. 40-year-old Warwick holds a commanding lead in the WA drivers’ premiership table, with 100 wins from 259 drives a winning percentage of 38.5 which is, by far, the best in Australia this season. He has now topped the century five seasons in a row 124 wins in 2014-15 (a winning percentage of 52), 124 (53.9%) in 2015-16, 176 (55.7%) in 2016-17 and 135 (59.3%) in 2017-18. Warwick’s 100 wins gives him a big lead on the WA premiership table over Chris Lewis (71 wins) and Gary Hall Jnr (63). Asked if he dreamt of heading the WA list for the first time this year, Warwick replied: “I’m not too worried about it. I never thought I was good enough to win a premiership, to be honest. But Greg (Bond) is pushing hard for it. It’s an ambition of Greg’s for me to be leading driver. “I work more on strike rates. If my strike rate is good, I’m happy. If I drove 50 winners and was running at 30 per cent I’d be stoked. As long as I’m fit and healthy I’ll keep driving, but I don’t see myself still driving at 65.” Warwick drove his first winner at 16 or 17 years of age when he was successful behind Neurology (trained by his father Colin) at Northam. He named Lookslikelightning as the best horse he has driven and the Glenn Pellew-trained Three Half Whites as the fastest he has sat behind. “When you start comparing them with all the outstanding Bond-trained horses, it gets too hard,” Warwick said. “Mitch Maguire is quick and so is El Jacko. Ana Malak is good and so is Dodolicious, Galactic Star and many, many others.” Warwick drove Ana Malak to victory in the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic and the Group 1 Golden Nugget late last year and he was excited at driving that horse’s full-brother Ana Afreet, a three-year-old colt, at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.           Ana Afreet made a splendid debut in the 2185m event, winning a helter-skelter affair in which a couple of horses galloped in the first lap and another ran off the pegs. Ana Afreet settled in sixth position and after avoiding interference he took the sit behind the pacemaker and then moved off the pegs 500m from home, dashed to the front at the 420m mark and raced away to win by five lengths from Tuakana, with a final quarter in 28.8sec. “There was a lot of traffic and a lot of scenarios that were thrown at him,” Warwick said. “It was his first start in a race and he didn’t seem fazed by any of them. The ability is there and I was pleased with his effort. He and Ana Malak look identical and their attitudes are laid back. You don’t even know that they are stallions; they’re very similar, very chilled out. They save their energy and don’t do anything stupid.” Warwick also said that he was delighted at the progress being shown by Mighty Conqueror, who showed commendable adaptability and composure to overcome difficulties before winning at Pinjarra on Monday. He started off 20m in a 2631m stand and settled in sixth position in the breeze, six lengths from the leader Rocknroll Beachboy before he broke gear, became unbalanced and galloped after a lap. He lost a couple of lengths before returning to a pace and then continued in the breeze before getting to the front 470m from home and holding on to win from Tactile Sensation. That was Mighty Conqueror’s eighth win from 12 starts. While Warwick has posted his century, Greg and Skye Bond are poised to reach this milestone. They have had 278 starters this season for 99 wins in WA and lead the trainers’ premiership table from Gary Hall Snr and Ross Olivieri, who have each prepared 45 winners this season.   Ken Casellas

Lightly-raced five-year-old Herrick Roosevelt has made a full recovery from leg surgery and champion trainer Gary Hall Snr is confident the New Zealand-bred gelding can make a successful return to racing after an absence of 421 days by winning the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be Herrick Roosevelt’s first start since he led and held on grimly to win the $50,000 Christmas Gift by a short half-head from Walkinshaw in December 2017 and his first-up prospects have been enhanced by drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in this week’s Group 2 feature event over 2130m. The Christian Cullen pacer has not appeared in recent trials, but Hall said he was fit and ready to run a big race. “His work in this preparation has been the best of his career and he’s a quick beginner and smart frontrunner,” he said. Herrick Roosevelt, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, underwent surgery after winning the Christmas Gift when he developed a cyst in a stifle joint in a back leg. He has raced only 18 times (all in Western Australia) for ten wins and six placings for stakes of $138,206. The Halls are seeking to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. They were successful last year when Chicago Bull, favourite at 10/1 on, raced four wide early, took the lead after 650m and defeated stablemate Ohoka Punter by four lengths. Herrick Roosevelt is likely to be tested seriously by dependable iron horse Vultan Tin, who is in grand form for Coolup trainer Phil Costello and reinsman Chris Voak. Vultan Tin will start from barrier four and Voak is expected to make full use of the hardy seven-year-old’s good gate speed. “The worst case scenario will be working in the breeze,” Voak said. Vultan Tin maintained his excellent form when he was first out from the No. 4 barrier, but was unable to cross the polemarker Mr Mojito and then raced without cover before taking a narrow lead in the final stages and being beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mitch Maguire over 2130m last Friday night. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 27.7sec. A week earlier, Vultan Tin led from barrier two and gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Group 2 2536m City of Perth Cup by just under two lengths from the flying El Jacko. The final sections were run in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. Talented reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to underestimate Handsandwheels, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier No. 6. “He raced four back on the pegs and didn’t get a clear run in the last lap when sixth behind Mitch Maguire last week,” de Campo said. “He was unlucky and if he’d got a run he would’ve gone close to winning. He’s got another tricky draw this week and I haven’t yet decided on my tactics.” Mitch Maguire, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a brilliant sit-sprinter who is capable of overcoming his wide barrier at No. 7. He won for the ninth time from his past 15 starts and for the 23rd time from just 38 starts when he was sixth at the bell and finished powerfully to beat Vultan Tin last week. Shannon Suvaljko said that he was expecting the lone back-line runner Always Arjay to gain a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Herrick Roosevelt and then figure in the finish. The Nathan Turvey-trained and driven Simba Bromac will reappear after a month’s absence, but the gelding faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Simba Bromac warmed up for the race with a stylish all-the-way victory in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he was unextended in dashing over the final 400m in 26.9sec. in beating Chelsea Royale by 19 metres.   Ken Casellas

AUSTRALIA’S most successful driver says he doesn’t fear the country’s most exciting pacer in Saturday’s $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle.  And Chris Alford says he even has a surprising plan how to beat Ignatius with Victorian star Poster Boy.  Ignatius started the week as the TAB favourite for Saturday night’s great four-year-old mile but has lost that honour to Chase Auckland, even after he sat parked outside him and beat him last Saturday.  That would seem to be punters rallying for the Purdon-Rasmussen training factor as well as Chase Auckland having the ace draw.  But Chris Alford, the most successful harness driver in Australian history with over 6700 wins, says he can beat both of them with Poster Boy.  The latter has only met Ignatius twice and beaten him both times as well as winning the NSW Derby this time last year.  Add that to a comeback win over Inter Dominion star Spankem two starts ago and a walk in the park at Melton last Saturday and Poster Boy’s $5.50 bookies quote starts to look inviting.  One of the reasons for the value is his widish draw at barrier seven but Alford says rather than track Ignatius, who many expect to see parked again, he wants to stay in front of him.  “I think we are every bit as good as him,” he offers.  “And we are drawn inside him so my first plan would be to stay in front of him. “This has always been a good horse because he has real speed but now he has developed the stamina to go with it.  “So he could be in for a very good season.” The Chariots has gone from being a great four-year-old race to one of the fastest miles run in Australasia every year and the winners now become genuine contenders for the Miracle Mile, as shown by the performances of Have Faith In Me (won Miracle Mile), Lazarus (third) and Jilliby Kung Fu (second) in recent season.  But whether Poster Boy is ready for a Miracle Mile on March 2 should be win on Saturday will be up to trainer Emma Stewart. “Emma and Clayton (Tonkin, partner) have a great record at Menangle and they are one of the few stables from down here where the horses don’t need a run on the track before they showed their best up there.  “Their horses are just so tough and they suit Menangle because their is nowhere to hide.” Poster Boy is Alford’s only drive on Saturday night but he is confident about the classic chances of Kualoa (NSW Oaks) and Centenario (NSW Derby) in coming weeks.   Michael Guerin  

$315,000,000 Million and counting, that’s the progeny earnings of the most influential dual hemisphere stallion in history, his name is Bettor’s Delight. Affectionally, known as ‘The King’, Bettor’s Delight still leads the way at the ripe age of 21 years old.    They say the young replace the old, in the breeding shed but Bettor’s Delight belies that myth! Bettor’s Delight progeny are built to last, his progeny continue to be part of any age group racing, anywhere, anytime!   Come yearling sale time, he is always part of the action. At Karaka on Monday, February 18th, prominent New Zealand nursery Woodlands Stud, have consigned 19 sons and daughters of Bettor’s Delight.   The draft are all for genuine sale and come from New Zealand’s best families. All Woodlands Stud yearlings are meticulously prepared by stud master Tony Grayling and his staff. No stone is left unturned in our yearlings’ preparation from the day they are born.   We invite you to inspect our yearlings at Karaka from Friday the 15th of February.   We will also be parading our yearlings on Sunday 17 th of February at 2.30pm as part on the New Zealand bloodstock yearling parade.   Woodlands bred and sold yearlings continue to win on the race track. Recent sales purchases include Spanish Armada, I’m Another Masterpiece, stunning recent 2yo debut winner Line Up, Henry Hubert, Jesse Duke and Supreme Dominator, all of these classy standardbreds are by Bettor’s Delight!   If you are looking for a yearling purchase at Karaka in 2019, look no further than this year’s Woodlands Stud draft.   Remember Bettor’s Delight has shaped the standardbred breeding industry like no other stallion!   Lot 11 Bettor's Delight - Its All On   Lot 20 Bettor's Delight - Kamwood Lady     Lot 59 Bettor's Delight - Mersault Lot 140 Bettor's Delight - Diamond Like Lot 144 Bettor's Delight- Dream Offer   Any inquires regards our draft to Stacey Markham on 021 595492 or Mark Hughes on 0451 650707     Stacey Markham

That is one of the slogans that young, passionate and positive Canadian horse trainer, Anthony MacDonald lives by. That same Anthony MacDonald is about to arrive in Australia for a series of Seminars in Victoria and New South Wales, the details of which are included at the bottom of this article. The downunder trip for Anthony is being is being Sponsored by Club Menangle , the NSW Owners Association and Australian Pacing Gold. Anthony MacDonald and his wife Amy commenced a Syndication Company in Ontario about 3 years ago under the name of TheStable.ca. After a slow start in their first year, The Stable now has in excess of 600 individual owners involved in ownership of over 140 horses. In Canada you are able to purchase as little as 1% in a Syndicate and hence the slogan  “ Own a Little  ..  And Love It A Lot “. Anthony’s philosophy is focused on providing fun and excitement in owning an equine athlete and not on the gambling aspect of horse racing. He readily acknowledges that his success is based on four simple but essential ingredients ; 1.   Communication with Owners. 2.   Providing Good Customer Service . 3.   Use of Modern Technology. 4.   Fixed Costs per Month Anthony is a true down to earth horseman.  He was born and raised in Kingston, Prince Edward Island which is one of three Provinces (along with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) that make up the Canadian Maritimes on the far East Coast of Canada. He was born into a Harness Racing family .  His older brother Mark is a champion driver in North America (probably best known here in Australia for driving Mr Feelgood to victory in the 2006 Little Brown Jug and also the regular driver of American Ideal), whilst his younger brother, James, is the reigning World Champion driver, a title he won in 2017. Anthony himself is no slouch in the gig either having driven over 3,000 winners in his homeland, although it is fair to say that he now concentrates more on training and communicating with his owners. The Maritimes have provided North America with some of its finest horsemen.  Aside from the MacDonald clan, the likes of Carl and Jody Jamieson, Dr Ian Moore (trainer of Shadow Play and numerous other outstanding Pacers), Brent McGrath (trainer of the legendary Somebeachsomewhere), Greg Peck (trainer of the freaky trotter Muscle Hill), as well as one of the greatest horsemen of all in time in Joe O’Brien all grew up and developed their horse skills in those glorious Maritimes. The story of how Anthony and Amy MacDonald became involved  in Syndication is also an intriguing one .  Make sure you start up your car and drive to one of the venues to hear the full story. Anthony MacDonald is Passionate and Positive about Harness Racing and his message is contagious.  You will love to catch the bug that the Mac Message will give you. DATES AND VENUES Bendigo Club, Victoria           from 7pm - Thursday 21st Feb Club Menangle, NSW            7pm - Monday 25th Feb Bathurst Club, NSW              7pm - Tuesday 26th Feb. Newcastle Club, NSW           7pm - Thursday 28th Feb In addition he will be interviewed by John Tapp at the Harness Breeders Yearling Parade at Warwick Farm on Friday, 1st March.  The Parade will commence at 7pm.   John Coffey

Just six weeks after arriving in Brisbane from NSW to pursue a career as a professional trainer/driver, talented young horseman Ben Battle has finally broken through for a well deserved win. Ben steered home the 'ever consistent' six year old pacer Whiskey Blaze to a 'heart stopping' half head victory at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon. Since arriving in Brisbane, Ben has guided the gelded son of Kenneth J to three second placing's in succession at Albion Park, plus a hard hitting fourth, prior to saluting the judge with a meritorious victory, albeit by the barest of margins. Two races later and Ben was back in the action again, aboard Whostolemypigeon, but this time it was a different scenario, going under by a half head, after sitting 'parked' throughout the entire trip. "At the end of the day, I am really pleased that the stable is finally starting to fire and getting rewarded," a reservedly excited Ben said. "I'm hoping that now that we've finally broken through, more wins may come our way for my team. "I only have ten horses currently in my stable, but if I can keep achieving results, then I'm hoping that I might a be able to build on that," he concluded. Without doubt, and judging by the way that he is acquitting himself in Queensland to date, that may be sooner .. rather than later !!   Ken Davis

Matt Craven is well positioned to scratch a lifetime itch as he circles the wagons for an almighty tilt at Saturday night’s Terang Co-Op Pacing Cup. A Queen of the Pacific, Queensland Derby, Need For Speed and a Home Grown Classic are but a few of the titles in the stable’s keeping and the trainer-driver would love to add this year’s beefed up edition of his local cup to his mantelpiece. “It’d be nice to win a Terang Cup that’s for sure, it’s the home cup and it’s very significant prizemoney,” Craven said of Saturday night’s feature, which has ballooned from $35,000 to $60,000 in stakes. “It’s always been a big night. If you go back through the honour roll, plenty of nice horses have won Terang Cups – Blacks A Fake, Sokyola, Sunshine Band – it’s definitely not an easy cup to win and this year will be no different. I’d love to win one, that’s for sure.” Craven has thrown everything at it, with stable star Cant Refuse drawing gate five, recent addition Egodan to start from the pole and Hamilton Pacing Cup winner Wardan Express from the second line. And, in a further exhibition of the stable’s depth, Roy George is the first emergency, a status briefly bestowed on stablemate Master Moonlite before the latter was scratched after a fracture was found in his sesamoid. He will have surgery on Friday and Craven said he was “hopeful we will get him back to racing”. More pleasing is that Cant Refuse carries a clean bill of health into his first start since being a late scratching for the February 2 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. “Cant Refuse has been a headline horse for the stable for a few years,” Craven said. “He did us terrifically proud in the Inter Dominion, then it didn’t go to plan when he was a late scratching on Hunter Cup night. “He just had a little nick on his leg and there was some swelling in his tendon and we didn’t want to risk it, but he was back to normal within three days. He’s had plenty of work, so it shouldn’t affect him too much.” Craven will take the reins of the six-year-old and is optimistic he can shape the race. “He has reasonable gate speed and is good enough to hold his own and then work forward,” Craven said. “We will look him to have a forward running. “If Roy George doesn’t start he will be in to barrier four and is probably a chance to dictate the race, either outside the leader or if he finds the front. “When you look at his run when he sat in the breeze and won against Motu Gatecrasher (at Melton on November 10) he showed he is more than capable of doing work.” In his second start for the stable Egodan will also likely be prominent early having impressed in his South Australian Cup fifth placing on Saturday night. “His run on Saturday night, we thought he went super. He had no luck in the running and the horse who held him out three wide was gone at the 600,” Craven said. “He still ran home for fifth and did a terrific job. He is only new to the stable, but has come from Kevin Pizzuto’s and is in very good order.” And then there’s Wardan Express, who’s drawn the second row and is the long shot of the trio. “He come to the stable last year as a C2 who hadn’t won in 12 months and he has progressed to an M2 and won a Hamilton Cup, so he has done a massive job for the stable.  “It’s another step up and from the draw this will be really hard. We will look to drive him conservatively and look for the short cuts.” Despite having a quarter of the field Craven is very wary of the challenges that present in a field of quality and depth. “(Born To Rocknroll) is a very, very good horse. He has a tricky draw, so it won’t be easy for him. I would put his stablemate, Maraetai, in as one of the main dangers. He is a very progressive horse. He’s more than up to a race like this. “Both of Geoff (Webster’s) are racing well, you’ve only got to look at the Hunter Cup for a reminder of what Flaming Flutter can do. We’ve got an enormous respect for the whole field.”   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Middletown, NY--- Goshen Standardbred Horse Sales has announced that the 2019 Goshen Yearling Sale will be held on Sunday (Sept. 8) at the Mark Ford Training Center in Middletown, NY. The date marks the fifth anniversary of the sale that has grown into the pre-eminent harness racing outlet for buying New York bred trotters and pacers within the Empire State. The Goshen Yearling Sale has annually offered high quality stock from top breeders that include Hanover Shoe Farms, Winbak Farm, Blue Chip Farm, Concord Stud, Cameo Hills Farm and Boxwood Farm and has presented well-bred yearlings that are eligible to the lucrative New York Sire Stakes program each year. The sale has grown into the state's preferred Standarbreds yearling venue for both the buyer and consignor. "We are excited to announce this year's date and to get things rolling towards another great sale" said Mark Ford, President of the Goshen Standardbred Horse Sales Co. "Last year's sale was a great success and many of the horses purchased there will be making their raceway debuts only a few months from now in preparation for stakes season." Some notable stakes-winning alumni of the Goshen Yearling Sale from the last two years include Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker 1:50.4, $463,546), Scuola Hanover (A Rocknroll Dance-So Artsi 1:50.4, $234,558), Natalie Hanover (Chapter Seven-Nanticoke Hanover 1:54.1, $189,305), Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe-Wild Retreat 1:51.2, $185,287), Venier Hanover (Well Said-Valmctorian 1:53.3, $154,300), Shes A Billionair (Artiscape-She's Game 1:54.3, $145,618), Ostro Hanover (Betterthancheddar-Ozmopolitan 1:52.1, $134,156), Teasin N Pleasin (Cr Excalibur-Brontease 1:58, $121,745), Box Of Luck (Lucky Chucky-New DVD 1:56h, $105,625) and Major Blake (Art Major-Bet Your Life 1:51.4, $84,408). The sales facility is located at 90 Slaughter Road, Middletown, NY, which is within a ninety-minute drive of many major race tracks and training centers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, making it a very convenient location to buy your next champion. All information regarding the fifth annual Goshen Yearling Sale will be available at www.goshenyearlingsale.com when it becomes available. For any other inquiries please contact Mark Ford directly at 973-568-3253 (cell) or by email at fordstable@frontiernet.net . By Tim Bojarski, for Goshen Standardbred Horse Sales  

The harness racing industry has the extremely rare opportunity to purchase one of the few fillies to capture the prestigious Hambletonian. Hambletonian champion Atlanta, the first filly to capture the Hambletonian in 22 years with her 2018 victory, won eight races and more than $1 million this past season. The daughter of Chapter Seven - Hemi Blue Chip never finished worse than third as a sophomore, and along with her coveted victory in the Hambo added wins in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, her Breeders Crown elimination, Empire Breeders Classic elimination and final and two New York Sires Stakes events to her resume.   Atlanta will receive the Dan Patch Award as 2018's Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in the U.S on February 23. Atlanta was listed on www.OnGait.com on Tuesday night (February 12) with a starting bid of $500,000. The now four-year-old is entered in an online auction with bids closing Friday, February 15 at 1:00 p.m. According to the listing, Atlanta is "selling to the highest bidder due to a true partnership dispute" with current owners listed as Rick Zeron, Crawford Farms, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant. On January 9, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued Zeron a fine of $10,000 and suspension of 180 days, which he has since appealed. "After a well-deserved vacation, she is back jogging at Sunshine Meadows in South Florida as she prepares for her 2019 campaign," the owner's statement on Atlanta continued. "Staked to the world." From OnGait.com

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) announced today that the current Australian Driving Champion, Todd McCarthy, had been selected to be Australia’s representative in the prestigious 2019 World Driving Championships in Sweden. “Australia is fortunate to have so many skilled and talented drivers at present, with selection not made any easier with the criteria based on a balance of merit, performance, presentation, attitude, adaptability to conditions and promotional opportunities,” HRA Chairman Mr Michael Taranto said. “The HRA Executive considered a number of drivers for selection and all would have been fine representatives of our country.  That said, we can only send one representative and I have no doubt Todd will perform well in the demanding series and be a wonderful ambassador for Australian harness racing, ” he said. The World Driving Championship was established in 1970 and is held every two years, in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference. The last series was conducted in Canada in 2017 and was won by the local host hero, James McDonald. James McDonald will return to defend his title alongside McCarthy and 10 other drivers (12 in total) from Sweden, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway and United States of America. The 2019 Championship runs from 24 May to 31 May and consists of 24 Heats across 6 race meetings at 5 different racetracks.  The Series begins at Solvalla, Stockholm, at meetings on 24 (4 Heats) and 25 May (1 Heat) before moving to Lindesberg on 27 May (5 Heats) and Eskilstuna on 28 May (5 Heats).  The fourth leg is 29 May at Rättvik (4 Heats) before the 31 May finale at Gävle (5 Heats). Todd McCarthy will be attempting to emulate the feats of two Australian drivers who have won the World Driving Championship – Queenslander Keith Addison in 1975 and Ted Demmler of Victoria in 1987. Harness Racing Australia

Queensland’s best juvenile filly of last season, Smart As Camm Be, will by-pass the Group One $200,000 New South Wales Derby on March 2 for Group racing in the sunshine state. The talented Cammibest - Too Smart For You (by Famous Forever) filly and her trainer Kylie Rasmussen finished a neck-second behind Grant Dixon's I'm No Outlaw back at the Albion Park Trials yesterday (Tuesday). It was Smart As Camm Be's first run since winning the Group One $100,000 QBRED Triad 2yo Fillies Final at Albion Park on July 21 last year, with a slick 1:55.7 mile rate. “She went well and will trial again next week. I have been happy with her progress but she is still behind the eight ball. She’s not as forward in her preparation that I would like," Rasmussen said. “She had a great 2-year-old season but it took it’s toll on her. She suffered from bone chips in her knee and we had to put her out for a fair while to recover. “She’s fine, but just needs more time than less than a month to prepare for a big race against Australia’s and New Zealand’s best 3-year-olds." Last year's Queensland 2yo Pacing Filly-of-the-Year, had a brilliant first-up season in 2017-2018. She won five of her seven starts from March 27 until July 21 - the last five in a row. As well as her Triad victory, Smart As Camm Be also won the $25,000 Listed Classic QBRED Breeders Classic. Yesterday she sat parked for the last lap and cruised to the line under a big hold. Rasmussen had her fourth in the running line early from gate six (of seven) in behind the eventual winner, I'm No Outlaw. Dixon then took I'm No Outlaw to the lead at the bell, and Smart As Camm Be followed him to sit in the death seat. A slow third quarter of 29.5 saw the duo both cruise to the line without being asked for any big effort. The final sprint was in 27.3. The winner's time for the 1660m mobile: 2:02.1 (mile rate 1:58.4). “I’m working a team of about 30 at the moment and this girl is up there with Lilac Flash and Mr Kalypso as the best of them,” said Rasmussen. Mr Kalypso had his first run back at Albion Park yesterday as well. It was his first race since winning a C2-C5 pace at the same venue on December 1. It was also his first defeat in eight starts at Queensland harness headquarters. The son of Art Major got too far back in the running and was three-wide and parked when the acid went on in the last lap. Mr Kalypso then finished a gutsy two-metre fifth and will have derived much benefit from the run. Meanwhile, Rasmussen will be looking to emulate her feats of 2010 and 2011 with her former female star, the 2007 Famous Forever mare, Forever Gold. She won won the QBRED 2yo Fillies Final in 2010 and then the following year nailed the QBRED 3yo Fillies Final and the prestigious Group One Queensland 3yo Oaks. Smart As Camm Be has so far won five of her seven starts and placed in one other for $88,088 in career stakes. "The QBRED 3yo fillies Final (April 13) and the Group One $100,000 Queensland Oaks (July 13) are her main priorities for her now," Rasmussen said.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

The induction of Robert Peters, Gary Hall Jnr, David Hamer and Old Comrade are several of the highlights of the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame inductees that were announced today by Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA). They are among twelve new members across the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound codes who will receive their accolades when the star-studded WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame ceremony is conducted at Crown Perth on February 28. The 2019 class of intakes in WA racing’s highest honour includes five horses, three associates, two trainers and one jockey, driver and greyhound. Peters’ elevation is recognition for his unprecedented achievements and feats on the race track as a breeder, owner and administrator. He has amassed more than 1350 victories across Australia including over 200 at stakes level. At the end of the last racing season Peters had won seven Perth Cups, nine Derbies, thirteen Oaks, four Kingston Town Classics, two Railway Stakes, an Australian Cup, Emirates Stakes and two Goodwood Handicaps. Gary Hall Jr shares the privilege of becoming the second member of his family to join the elite of WA harness racing after his father Gary Hall Snr’s induction as a trainer in the 2014 intake. Hall Jr has been Perth’s champion driver for nine seasons, a tally exceeded by fellow inductees Fred R Kersley (17), Frank Kersley (11) and Chris Lewis (10). A winner of 54 Group races, including three Inter Dominions Championships, Hall Jnr is one of only five drivers to have passed the 2000 career wins mark in Western Australia. Hamer’s elevation as a greyhound trainer is remarkable when you consider the Victorian-born arrived in Perth with no background or experience in the sport. Hamer was a five-time leading trainer and prepared three Greyhound of the Year Champions: Pearl King (1980), Icy Monaro (1982) and Blue Echo (1984). Hamer’s biggest win was the Group 1 Perth Cup with Legatee (1984). Hamer’s star chaser, Blue Echo, who won 22 of 26 starts in WA, including seven feature races, will also be an inductee later this month. Thoroughbred Inductees Easingwold (Horse) F (Ted) McAuliffe  Old Comrade (Horse) R G (Bobby) Morley (Jockey) Robert Peters (Associate) Harness Inductees Gary Hall Jnr (Trainer/Driver) Jack Morris (Horse) John Hunt (Associate) Mick Lombardo (Associate) Norms Daughter (Horse) Greyhound Inductees Blue Echo (Greyhound) David Hamer (Trainer)   RWWA

New Zealand-bred star Bit Of A Legend is ready to make his 2019 debut in Saturday's (Feb. 16) $44,000 Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway and trainer Peter Tritton says the 10-year-old stallion looks as good as ever. Last year, Bit Of A Legend won five of 21 races, finished second seven times, and earned $549,315. His victories included the Battle of Lake Erie in a career-best 1:49.4 around Northfield Park's half-mile oval and he was runner-up in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship, Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial, and Dan Rooney Invitational. Since arriving in the U.S. in 2016, Bit Of A Legend has won 26 of 77 races and earned $1.79 million. Other top wins include the Gerrity, Bobby Quillen Memorial, and Molson Pace in 2017 and the 2016 Levy championship. "To me, he seems to be coming up every bit as good as he did last year and the year before," said Tritton, who trains Bit Of A Legend for Vonknoblauch Stable LLC. "He's probably a little more forward this year than he was last year. We gave him a month off, but we couldn't give him much more because he got too full of himself. But he had a really good break. I'm very happy with where he is at the moment." Bit Of A Legend, driven regularly by Jordan Stratton, is a son of Bettor's Delight out of Soky's Legend. He was a two-time Australasian Breeders Crown champion Down Under, where he won 20 times and earned $659,686, giving him lifetime earnings of $2.45 million. Tritton will use the next month to prep Bit Of A Legend for the Levy Series, which begins March 16 at Yonkers. The series consists of five preliminary rounds followed by a $200,000-added final on April 20. "With any luck through the series he should be right there," Tritton said. "We'll give him one or two more runs before the (preliminary rounds). The beauty of him is that he can go right through without a break. He enjoys his work and Jordan looks after him pretty good. "I just hope we can get through the series and get to the final and draw good. I thought he could have won the last couple if he had drawn better, but he drew the outside both times. It's hard to win those finals from the outside." Tritton is planning to keep Bit Of A Legend on a schedule similar to previous years, although he might not stake the stallion to events on bigger tracks. Bit Of A Legend is winless in eight starts on tracks larger than a half, with two on-the-board finishes. "He can go around the big tracks, but he's so slick on a half and can get around those corners so quick," Tritton said. "I think he loses his advantage on the big tracks, where some of them gain an advantage." Bit Of A Legend is one of 10 horses in Tritton's stable. Three other New Zealand-breds could compete in series action at Yonkers, with Pacing Major pointed toward the Levy and mares Sell A Bit and Shezza GNP penciled in for the Blue Chip Matchmaker. "Pacing Major is not as good as Legend, but he's a good racehorse," Tritton said. "With the right trip he can go (1):51 around Yonkers. He's done it a couple of times. I think he'll acquit himself quite well. "In the Matchmaker, I'll run Shezza GNP. She's probably not good enough to win, but she'll be right there. She can go with those mares. I may run Sell A Bit. She's qualifying on Friday. She's getting close to a million dollars. I'd love to get her to a million dollars. I think I might give her another shot at it. "We'll keep our fingers crossed. We just need a bit of luck." For Saturday's complete Yonkers entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

To the Editor, The Northern Irish Standardbred Association (NISA) has been the recognised body for harness racing in Northern Ireland for more than 50 years. It is a “not-for-profit” organization where all work promoting and legislating harness racing in the region is performed by democratically elected committee members and volunteers. Tracks ran by NISA through the years included Antrim, Racetime, Dundrod, Tyrella and most recently Annaghmore. NISA have always enjoyed a mutually respectful working relationship with their counterparts in Britain, the British Harness Racing Club (BHRC) and in the Republic of Ireland with the Irish Harness Racing Club (IHRC). In the early 2000s NISA embarked on a partnership approach with the IHRC and ITHRF, the largest club in southern Ireland, whereby the IHRC would become the overall governing body for the sport on the island of Ireland with equal democratically elected representatives (comprising of 3 reps each and a round-robin style of electing chairmen, an equal period of time as chairman for each jurisdiction). The IHRC was suddenly and mysteriously disbanded however in 2015 by the then IHRC chairman Mark Flanagan and a new organization formed called the Irish Harness Racing Association. This was registered as a private limited company, with the chairman personally hand-picking “lifetime directors” to be appointed to this company. Immediately NISA was concerned and duly voiced their concerns. At no stage did they agree in writing that this was the best way forward for their members in Northern Ireland but assurances were given that it would be a fully democratically run organisation for all matters pertaining to harness racing and that all monies transferred over by the members in all 3 original clubs would be accounted for in a clear and transparent manner and these monies would be “ring fenced” for promotions in their own respective regions. With trepidation, the NISA tentatively progressed to working with this private limited company “on a trial basis” according to NISA’s Collective Committee “and subject to democratic selection and equal representation from each club”. But within a year, difficulties came to the surface between NISA and the IHRA. The direction that the IHRA were taking started to alarm the majority of the members of NISA. E-mailed and written queries about finances and other matters went for the most part was never responded to. NISA committee members were neither consulted with during the collation of the Indecon Report, an Irish government backed document outlining a 5-year future strategy for the sport. Fundamental rule changes and national handicap system alterations would be announced and immediately implemented by the IHRA without consultation and without warning. The IHRA refused to engage, had no AGMs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and produced no sets of annual accounts for 2015, 2016, 2017 (information as of December 31st 2018) for analysis despite continuous requests by NISA committee members for same. NISA and its members became more and more aghast at the way the IHRA was being run.       Whereas the old IHRC was open to public scrutiny, fully answerable to members queries over financial matters and accountable to members for all finances through the publication of sets of accounts, the IHRA on the other hand being a private limited company seemed to feel that they had no obligation to respond to requests from licence holders, that they could not be held accountable and seemed to feel that they were not legally obliged to be transparent with monies received in membership fees, race fees, allocation of purses etc. The NISA found this very difficult to overcome as its members had become accustomed to, for over 50 years, being part of a democratically run club, with all club members having an equal voice and vote and all financials published and available for public scrutiny. Along with the IHRA’s non-democratic, non-consultative dictatorial style of governing the sport in Ireland NISA found the ongoing reduction in the promotion of standardbreds in favour of French bred trotters particularly hard to swallow during that time. This began with the IHRA becoming more and more entrenched with the “Le Trotteur Francais” initiative in 2014. In simple terms, there is vast over production of trotters in France and in order to balance this out, other countries are persuaded to import this overflow in favour of receiving some form of grant-aid payment from the French to top up prizemoney locally and promote this unique breed. There are very strict guidelines before French grant aid is given including the proviso that French bred trotters are forbidden to race with trotters bred in other countries. The IHRA took this one stop further however and went for full membership of the UET in 2015. This again was without consultation with NISA. It’s well documented that the UET will not accept a country for full membership of their organisation unless they agree to “not promote pacing” (these criteria of membership are clearly defined and documented on the UET website) and it was widely publicised that the IHRA were given a 10-year timeline to tip the balance of French trotters over pacers in order to maintain full UET membership. The IHRA have done remarkably well in the promotion of French trotters over pacers over the past 5 years. Take the list below as a prime example. This is the number of French trotters versus pacers competing on the final day of the season at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin for the past 5 years: 2014 - 10 trotters and 31 pacers 2015  - 36 trotters and 29 pacers 2016 - 29 trotters and 24 pacers 2017 - 22 trotters and 16 pacers 2018 - 25 trotters and 6 pacers It’s truly alarming that the number of pacers entered for the past 5 years is as follows: 31, 29, 24, 16, 6 and this is factual data, not opinion. These numbers speak for themselves. Just 2 major events per annum are now recognised as responsible for keeping the breeding numbers of pacers up in Ireland - the Vincent Delaney Memorial Series and the annual Sire Stakes (which are privately organised race meetings just using Portmarnock as a staging venue). It’s widely regarded that if it wasn’t for these 2 events there would be very little encouragement to breed or race pacers in Ireland. The standardbred pacer population would wither rapidly to almost extinction within a decade in this country.   Another example of why the pacers are dropping in numbers is the prizemoney issue. Whilst some pacing races have had little or no “added prizemoney” at Portmarnock and Annaghmore Raceways in 2018, there were recorded incidences were purses were even less than the amount of collected entry fees for these respective races. How many owners or trainers could tolerate this situation, where your pacing horses weren’t even racing for their own entry fees money back in purses? Enough was enough at the onset of racing in 2018 and NISA decided en-masse with to withdraw support for the IHRA. A decision was made to revert back to its original status that had held firm for over 50 years. It would once again become the primary recognised body for the sport of harness racing in Northern Ireland and no longer fall under the remit of the IHRA. It has renounced all agreements that the IHRA may have negotiated in 2015/6/7/8 with the UET, Le Trotteur Francais, STAGBI, Horse Sport Ireland and the Department of Agriculture amongst others (NISA claim they were not consulted beforehand on these agreements made by the IRHA and therefore cannot legally recognise them as to this day they are not privy to the contents of these signed agreements). It also refutes any claim by the IHRA to being the sole governing body for the whole of Ireland for harness racing. NISA in particular do not agree with the registration of Standardbreds with Horse Sport Ireland. This makes a fundamental shift from being classified as a racehorse (of which harness racing Standardbreds are recognised the world over) to a sport horse – therefore ineligible for all available government grant money for the horseracing industry.  NISA have now sought recognition from the BHRC (Northern Ireland is part of Britain) and wishes to either come under licence of the BHRC or operate as an autonomous body (but recognised by the BHRC as a governing body for the sport in this jurisdiction) NISA have leased Racetime Raceway in Lisburn, near Belfast in the United Kingdom with the intention of staging full harness racing meetings in Northern Ireland in 2019 under the same rules and handicap system of its fellow counterparts in the UK. Whilst NISA has no issue with Le Trotteur Francais initiative, they believe it should not come at the expense of the Standardbred pacers, and cite that as part of the UK has got the balance right with 2 differing organisations – The BHRC for Pacers and Trot Britain solely for French trotters with both working in harmony to promote harness racing in conjunction with each other. This is the ideal model for Ireland too believes NISA. One goal both NISA and the IHRA share is the need for more promotion of the sport of harness racing and that means more tracks opening like Racetime Raceway, more participants and more fans. Acknowledging the right to each other’s existence and governing their own jurisdictions with mutual respect for each other’s members is a must. NISA can only go forward with organisations where equal rights and democracy prevail. It is abundantly clear that IHRA in its current guise uphold neither. NISA as a Standardbred organisation will support licencing and are willing to take entries from anywhere in the Republic of Ireland, the UK or anywhere horse owners find themselves unaccommodated by developments and agreements between the IHRA and UET. From Thomas Bennett, for the NISA