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Artistic in full "Flite" for rich APG Series

If there was an award for the best early season two-year-old then Artistic Flite would be leading the charge for Anton Golino and harness racing connections, but it won’t get any better for his rivals if the well-travelled horseman’s predictions are correct. After already snaring the Bathurst Gold Crown in tough fashion, his trainer is expecting improvement to come from the talented juvenile son of Artistic Fella. “He hasn’t put in a bad run, he’s pretty tough and I think every race he has won he’s sat outside the leader so he’s been pretty good from the start,” Golino said. “I think he will get better. By the end of the season you will see the best of him. “I don’t think he has ever really been wound up as far as I don’t do much with him in between runs so I can’t see why he won’t keep going.” And with the $322,000 APG final looming if he can navigate his way through Friday night’s semi-final, the challengers are lining up. Artistic Flite and Follow The Stars will renew acquaintances this week while Mach Doro will be lying in wait assuming he makes it through. “He was very good last start, he got into a little bit of trouble coming to the turn but he hit the front and I think he switched off a little. He came out of it super though,” Golino said.  “We’re going to have to try and get off the rail at some stage. I don’t give John any instructions though so whatever he chooses to do I’ll be fine with it.  “Ideally if we can make the final of the Gold and then bring him home for a little freshen up before the big races at the end of the season.” Artistic Flite, who also ran third in the Rod Fitzpatrick Memorial, has been rated the $4.50 second favourite by HRV form expert Jason Bonnington. Follow The Stars is the odds-on elect at $1.40 while Monivae is the only other horse in single figures at $6. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Australia

Harness Racing at Bankstown

Night racing returns to Bankstown

'Night racing returns to Sydney's Bankstown Paceway with the running of the Feehely Memorial on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014,' Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender has told Harnesslink. 'Originally founded, in 2006, as a tribute to beloved Bankstown Paceway life member and standardbred owner, trainer and reinsman Ned Feehely - immediately recognizable by his distinctive pink and purple silks - the race was renamed the Ned and Jean Feehely Memorial in 2012, following the passing of Ned's wife, Bankstown Paceway life member Jean Feehely, who was also a tireless volunteer and supporter of harness racing here at Bankstown,' Ms Lavender said. 'In October 2012, Mrs Feehely was also posthumously honored as the Harness Racing New South Wales Volunteer of the Year for her lifetime of dedication and commitment to Bankstown Paceway,' Ms Lavender added. Ned and Jean's son, Bankstown Paceway life member and Brisbane businessman Laurie Feehely, said his late parents' association with Bankstown Paceway dated back to the 1950s, when unofficial races, known as gymkhanas, were held at the Condell Park show ground track on the first and third Sunday of each month. 'Mum [Jean Feehely] would take nominations from home and collate the fields on the kitchen table,' recalled Mr Feehely, who owns and operates the race sponsor, Airport and Regional Corporate Cars. 'After Bankstown Paceway acquired its official racing license [in March 1965], Mum [Jean Feehely] would continue to take the nominations for Bankstown and Lithgow racing fields, and she would take them over to Harold Park for the handicapper,' Mr Feehely said. 'Mum [Jean Feehely] always worked for Bankstown for the love of the harness racing sport itself and the people associated with it. She derived great enjoyment in helping in any way to promote the industry and, of course, to watch Dad [Ned Feehely] race in the pink and purple - her favourite colours,' he said. 'Dad and Mum [Ned and Jean Feehely] were involved in the early mobile barrier design for handicapping. It was called the "brown barrier" - not having much knowledge of design, it eventually failed. But it was used at the Bankstown track for handicapping from scratch back to 48 yards. 'It was a walk up mobile with tapes that went over the top of the horses on release. Dad [Ned Feehely] was a plasterer and a builder by trade - and, so, the Bankstown Paceway stables were built with him leading a working bee. 'The materials were all donated by Bankstown Paceway members, by Harry Westwood, by Ray Fitzpatrick, by Wally Thompson, by Jacky Binskin, by Roy Treasure, by Max Truer [Senior], and by Dad [Ned Feehely], to name a few. 'I have no memory of Mr Eldridge being involved in [the actual construction of] the stables - only that he was an original [Bankstown Paceway] committeeman, who was stricken with cancer and died around the time that they were built. However, the stables were named after him because of the original concept that he had in mind. 'Mum [Jean Feehely] was heavily involved in the very early establishment and licencing of Bankstown Paceway as a harness racing club. She also helped establish the Bankstown Trotting Recreation Club - doing all of the paperwork, all of the correspondence, and she later worked on the office side of this until her retirement. 'She was well into her late sixties when she finally retired, and a surprise dinner was organised for her at the Trotting Club. Mum and Dad [Jean and Ned Feehely], even during their later years, had stabled horses at Condell Park. Dad [Ned Feehely] was also the time keeper at Bankstown Paceway. 'Whenever Mum and Dad [Jean and Ned Feehely] visited my family and me in Queensland, they could only ever stay for a short time - during the intermission between race meetings at Bankstown. That is because the pull to return to their beloved race club, Bankstown Paceway, was so strong,' Mr Feehely added. Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, will see the 9th running of the Airport and Regional Corporate Cars Ned and Jean Feehely Memorial. Past winners of the race include: Silent Judge (2006), House Master NZ (2007), Just Radish (2008), Jemas Glory (2009), Valiant King NZ (2010), Blaze of Art (2011), Chips McFadden (2012) and Four Jokers (2013). The Legends of Bankstown Gala Race Night will be held at Sydney's Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 - with Race 1 set to start at 5.25 pm. Entry is free and families are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner or they can purchase club priced food and drinks from the racecourse kiosk. Bookings for the $40 per head three course race night buffet dinner can also be made on 02 9708 4111. Megan J. Lavender  

Barynya was too strong in her Tasmanian Oaks victory

Barynya battles Oaks contenders

Heats of the Victoria Oaks will be a headline of Friday night’s Anzac Day harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton but it might not be left to the Victorian’s to share the prize as Tasmanian invader Barynya crosses the Apple Isle. Following the clinic that Beautide has put on this season, confidence from down south is brimming but Dick Eaves remains cautiously optimistic as he tries to firstly qualify for, and then win, one of the classics. But there is reason to remain positive because the little filly, who is a half-sister to Lombo Navigator has won seven from 10 including her last six straight. They may all have been in Tasmania but a gritty win in the Tasmanian Oaks over Victorian filly Sandy Kay has set the scene for an intriguing showdown this Friday night. “It’s the same old story, when you go for these sort of races you come up against the best so whether she is capable of measuring up I guess we will find out on Friday,” Eaves said. “She had a pretty hard run in the Oaks over 2600 metres. She got dragged back and then she worked forward and sat outside the Victorian Sandy Kay and got the better of her in the straight and they got home in a pretty good last half. “It’s probably going to come down to how quick she can get home because some of those horses can run 26.5sec quarters so it’s going to be difficult.” The second row barrier might appear on paper as a further stumbling block however the respected Tasmanian trainer is of the opinion that it could be her greatest asset come race time. “I don’t mind the back row draw, coming off the trip over I think the best place for her is probably going to be trailing up and she’s proved that she can race in any style and still get the job done so I’m not too concerned. We will just be hoping for some hustle and bustle early.” Eaves said. “I think this filly has the ability to match up and I think the better class she races in, the better she will go. “We will head back to Tasmania after this but if she races well it will give us a good guide on the future because she is eligible for the Vicbred Super Series and the Breeders Crown.” Barynya has been marked a $14 fourth favourite with Harness Racing Victoria Form Expert Jason Bonnington with Whereibylong the $2.50 favourite over Mindarie Priddy at $3 and Quick Draft at $4.50. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

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Relatives win seven of eight at Hamilton

It’s fair to say yesterday’s meeting at Hamilton was a family affair. The first race was won by Glen Craven aboard his aunties horse Salute Branch, before his brother Matthew (Craven) took over and won the next four in a row. Matt also finished second in a further three races on the eight race card. “It’s probably my best day ever as far as wins go,” enthused Matthew Craven. “I’ve won four races at Mount Gambier and Horsham before but I have never finished so many seconds as well,” he added. Craven’s four victories were for four different trainers. “The first race that I won on the card was for a fella (P Ralph), who I have known for a long time that doesn’t train many horses. So it was great to win a race for him as he is a top bloke,” said Craven. “And my other three victorious were all for trainers that have supported me a lot in the past, he added. But it didn’t stop their either as Matthew’s brother Glen was successful again in a later race, while his cousin Jason Lee also made a trip to the winners circle, giving the family seven wins out of just eight races. “Gavin Lang spoiled the party and beat me in the last race,” quipped Craven, who could have just as easily won five races on the card. “I had the option to drive Citysneak, but I gave the drive up to Glen (Craven) so I could drive I Wantano and he beat me a half-head the buggar,” laughed Craven. “But overall it was a great day for the whole family. There is no doubt about that,” he concluded.   By Mitchell Robertson

HRV RAD Board Panel - Brian Collis QC, John Denahy, Dr Hugh Millar The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered charges issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Ahmed Taiba. Mr Taiba pleaded guilty to a charge under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 173(1) that reads: A driver shall not bet in a race in which the driver participates. The particulars of the charge being that in Race 2 at the Wedderburn meeting at Maryborough on 20 January  2012 Mr Taiba placed a win bet on the horse Wahush, via a Betfair betting account listed in his name, when he then drove Wahush in the relevant race. After considering submissions from HRV Stewards and Mr Taiba regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $1500. Mr Taiba also pleaded guilty to a charge under ARHR 239A that reads as follows: A person whose conduct or negligence has led or could lead to a breach of the rules is guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charge being that during the period of February 2009 to November 2013, Mr Taiba was at all relevant times the account holder of 3 separate wagering accounts with Sportsbet, Betfair and Tabcorp. During this period, Mr Taiba was negligent in allowing the access and use of such accounts to family members and or associates for betting purposes, when Mr Taiba then participated as a driver in such races. After considering submissions from HRV Stewards and Mr Taiba regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $500. In imposing each penalty, the HRV RAD Board acknowledged Mr Taiba’s guilty plea, co-operation in relation to the investigation and a previous unblemished record in 20 years as a licensed participant in the harness racing industry. HRV RAD Board Hearing – Alison Chisholm HRV RAD Board Panel - Brian Collis QC, John Denahy, Dr Hugh Millar The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190(1) against licensed ‘A’ Grade Trainer Mrs Alison Chisholm. ARHR 190(1) reads as follows:     A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under ARHR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mrs Chisholm related to a pre-race blood sample taken from the horse ‘Yourworthwaitingfor NZ’ prior to it competing in Race 3, the ‘Stan & Bernice Lythgo Pacers Handicap’, at Maryborough on 20 February 2014.  Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the blood sample collected from ‘Yourworthwaitingfor NZ’’ revealed the sample contained a prohibited substance, that being alkalinising agents as evidenced by a total carbon dioxide (TCO2) concentration in excess of 36.0 millimoles per litre in plasma. Mrs Chisholm pleaded guilty to the charge and after considering submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a $7,000 fine upon Mrs Chisholm.  In imposing this penalty, the HRV RAD Board noted Mrs Chisholm’s early guilty plea, co-operation with the investigating Stewards and clean record over a period in excess of 20 years as a licensed participant. Under ARHR 195, the HRV RAD Board ordered that ‘Yourworthwaitingfor NZ’ be disqualified from Race 3 conducted at Maryborough on 20 February 2014. Harness Racing Australia

From Norway, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Italy, most every state and provience in the USA and Canada, Europe to South America, names for the harness racing Standardbred filly by Somebeachsomewhere from the mare, Put On A Show, are flying in from around the world. It is not too late for anyone who has yet to enter the contest to get their name choice submitted to try and win the $2,500 cash prize in Harnesslink’s “Name the Foal Contest.” So far nearly 600 names have been submitted for the foal. Her caretakers at Hanover Shoe Farms say, “She is a bold and brassy filly who has a mind of her own. She is very playful but never strays too far from her mother’s side.” There are new photos and also a video of the filly with this story so you can check her out while coming up with the prize winning name. The prize money has been sponsored by the owners of Put On A Show, Richard and Joanne Young of Florida, along with the Somebeachsomewhere Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, PA. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest. You must be age 18 or older and a legal resident of the country you live in. All entries must be submitted in English. Just click on the link below and fill out all the required information. The name cannot be more than 18 letters and/or spaces combined per the rules of the United States Trotting Association (USTA). Any name that has been used in the past 15 years cannot be entered. You can check on your name suggestion to make sure it has not yet been used by going to the free service at the USTA by clicking this link http://pathway.ustrotting.com/search/. Just type in the name of the horse and click. You will then see if the name is already being used. Contestants have until midnight on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 to enter the contest. Contestants are allowed to enter only one name for the foal per email address and only one winner will be allowed per household. Within one week after the deadline date, owners Richard and Joanne Young will select up to five (5) approved names for the foal. They will draw by lot to declare the official name of the foal. If there is only one person that submitted the winning name, that contestant will be declared the official prize winner and receive the entire $2,500. If there are four (4) entries or less with the same name, there will be a drawing in descending order with those entrants dividing $1,000 evenly and the final name drawn being the ultimate winner and get $1,500. If there are more than 5 entries of the same name, all those entries will be placed in a drawing and the first four (4) names drawn will receive $250.each and the final name drawn will receive $1,500. To enter the “Name the Foal Contest” click on this link. The official rules for the competition (in detail) can be obtained by clicking on this link. Please take a moment and read the official rules so you are familiar with the regulations. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

TASMANIAN harness racing trainer-driver James Rattray is confident his stable star Beautide can end his season on a high by winning the $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday afternoon. Beautide joined an elite group when he snared the Miracle Mile-Inter Dominion double this season and after a week off after his Inter win he returned to the track to score a solid win at Menangle as his final lead-up to the Len Smith Mile. Rattray is pleased with his stable star's condition going into Sunday's assignment and win lose or draw the gelding will be dispatched to the spelling paddock for a six-week break. Listen to what James Rattray had to say about Beautide's chances on Sunday and what is in store for the brilliant five-year-old. By Peter Staples

Victoria's leading Metropolitan trainer David Aiken will take a strong team to Coolamon's all trotters day on Anzac Day as part of Harness Racing NSW's Carnival Of Cups. Aiken will have a two pronged attack in the $25,000 La Coocaracha, a feature mares event with Spidergirl and Vics Cheval both engaged. "I will have two runners at Melton on Friday night but I will be heading to Coolamon for the day, I try and support the club with its all trotters meeting and my mother's family comes from Barmedman so I normally catch up with a large number of relatives," Aiken said. "I have 45 cousins on my mother's side of the family and a lot of them are from that part of New South Wales, towns like Harden and Temora, so there is normally a big cheer squad for the stable if I do have runners in and I think it will be a pretty similar story again this year." Spidergirl last raced when winning the Breed For Speed Gold Final at Melton on Great Southern Star night last month but has been to the trials at Shepparton. "I am really happy with Spidergirl, I took her to the trials and she went two minutes for the 2100 metres and did it very comfortably. She worked really well on Tuesday and when I pulled up I said to my son Josh I think she is working better now than she was when she won the Breed For Speed Final." "Spidergirl has the class edge on Vics Cheval but I am very happy with her as well, she has come a long way in a short period of time and a lot of that is because she has really grown into herself this season." Aiken also trains talented trotting mare Cold Sister but believes in time Spidergirl and Vics Cheval will surpass her efforts. "Cold Sister is a tremendous trotter, she has won 14 races and more than $180,000 in prize money but I think these two mares will end up doing more than what she has been able to do in her career, I have pretty big opinions of both of them." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing | Harness Racing New South Wales |                

Pacing superstar Im Themightyquinn has thrown off the effects of injuries and illness and is poised to make a triumphant return to racing by proving too fast for his eight rivals in the $21,000 Memorial Day Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night, despite the significant disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line in the 2130m feature event. The nine-year-old champion, who pulled up sore after finishing second to Im Victorious in the 1730m Members Sprint at Gloucester Park last October, looks a picture after a thorough preparation from leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and punters are excited at the prospect of supporting him at his first start in a race for 196 days. A month ago he sped over the final 400m of a track workout at Hall's Serpentine training establishment in 27.1sec. and he has improved considerably since then. Im Themightyquinn, winner of 51 races from 102 starts for earnings of $4,377,016, goes into Friday night's race with a splendid first-up record, having won at his first outing after a spell in each of his three previous preparations. Star reinsman Gary Hall jun.is certain not to set Im Themightyquinn alight in the early stages and to allow the champion to drift back to the rear before making use of his sizzling speed at a later stage in the race. Hokonui Ben, winner of the WA Pacing Cup in January, has fared well in the random draw and is sure to appreciate the distinct advantage of starting from the prized No. 1 barrier. Trainer Aldo Cortopassi will be anxious to set the pace and he certainly will be mindful of the prospect of an early challenge for the lead from Polak, who is capable of mustering great pace from the No. 5 barrier. Hokonui Ben appeals as the main danger to Im Themightyquinn. He set the pace and held on to win narrowly from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m two starts ago. And then he finished an excellent fourth behind Finbar Abbey in the 2902m Easter Cup on Thursday of last week when he started off 40m and sustained a spirited finishing burst. However, it is difficult to visualise Hokonui Ben or any other runner seriously challenging Im Themightyquinn. Victory for Im Thenmightyquinn would give the Hall father-and-son combination its first success in the Memorial Day Stakes, an event which has been held annually since Ken Ford drove Halt to victory in 1959. Hall sen. now has high hopes that Im Themightyquinn will end his several near misses in the Memorial Day Stakes. Hall has trained the runner-up in five memorial Day Stakes --- Zakara (1991), Bengeeman (2003), Patches (2006), Dartmoor (2009) and Whos Mistake (2013). Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who will be represented by Red Salute, has won the event twice. He scored with Captain Lee (Chris Lewis) in 1995 and Tsunami Lombo (Morgan Woodley in 2011). Chris Voak will drive the consistent Red Salute, who should gain an ideal passage after starting from barrier two on the back line. PERSISTENT THREAT POISED FOR FIVE IN A ROW Persistent Threat was the most impressive of the three heat winners on Tuesday of last week and he possesses the versatility and natural speed to make the greatest appeal in the $100,000 WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Advance Attack gelding, trained in Bunbury by John Graham, fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line, which is a serious disadvantage over the sprint journey of 1730m. However, Persistent Threat has shown wonderful versatility in winning at his only four starts, in which he has been driven with plenty of confidence by Tom Buchanan. He reappeared after a two-month absence in a qualifying heat of the Sales Classic last week when he started from the No. 5 barrier and was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell before Buchanan sent him forward, three wide, 650m from home. He ran home fast and won, hard held, by a length from Lot twenty One, rating 1.58.6. Persistent Threat's first three starts were in January and February when he was not fully extended in winning twice at Pinjarra and once at Bunbury. His gross time in his heat last week was 2min. 7.5sec., which compares more than favourably with the times recorded by the other heat winners, Blacklist (2min. 8.3sec.) and Ezygatboy (2min. 9.5sec.). Ezygatboy and Blacklist are much more favourably drawn in the final than Persistent Threat, something which is sure to hearten the connections of both geldings. Ezygatboy will start from barrier two on the front line and Blacklist will start on the inside of the back line. Ezygatboy, to be driven by his trainer Garry Butler, made a stylish debut in winning his heat, in which he was restrained from barrier six and was sixth at the bell before he produced a sparkling late sprint to win by a length and a half from, Nitro lad at a 2.0.5 rate. Blacklist, trained and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, also made a smart debut when he raced three wide for the first 500m before bursting to the front 1100m from home and scoring easily by one and a half lengths from Bettor Twisted, rating 1.59.4. He is related to former champion The Falcon Strike and will have many admirers. Captain Oats, a Rich And Spoilt colt trained by Courtney Burch, drew the prized No. 1 barrier and he will be popular with punters. Reinsman Gary Hall jun. will be out to repeat his effort in this event in 2010 when he set the pace with hot favourite Blissfull Boy from barrier one and won the classic from Touch of Tango and Bettors Ace. The No. 1 barrier also proved a decisive factor in this race 12 months ago when Chris Lewis drove Mister Jadore to an all-the-way victory over Swagga (driven by Hall) and Lukey (driven by Suvaljko). ISABELLA JANE HAS FAMILY TRADITION TO UPHOLD Talented filly Isabella Jane has a family tradition to uphold when she contests the $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Byford trainer David Thompson is hoping that she will follow in the footsteps of his stable star David Hercules, whom he prepared for his victory over Tiger Reed Lombo and Grinjaro in a version of the WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in May 2009. The other version of the 2009 classic was won by Ballas Arockstar. Isabella Jane is by American stallion Sportswriter and is a half-sister to David Hercules, who has amassed $805,444 in prizemoney from 29 wins and 31 placings from 87 starts. Like A Dame, the dam of David Hercules and Isabella Jane, has also produced smart pacers in Gran Tarino and Hugh Victor. Like A Dame's dam Hold Tight produced Fake Embrace, winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in March 2004. Isabella Jane, to be driven by Colin Brown, has raced only once --- for a strong victory in a heat of the Sales Classic on Tuesday of last week when, she started from barrier four and raced three wide for the first 550m before moving to the breeze and eventually getting to a narrow lead with 250m to travel. And then she impressed by dashing right away from her rivals and winning by three lengths from Choccywoccy, who finished strongly, out five wide, after enjoying a soft run three back on the pegs. Isabella Jane will not have things all her own way in the final on Friday night after drawing out wide at No. 6 on the front line. She is likely to receive plenty of opposition, particularly from three back-line runners, Straittothehilton, Choccywoccy and La Mia Juliette. Straittothehilton will have admirers from the inside of the back line. Her effort when third behind Isabella Jane and Choccywoccy in the qualifying heat was full of merit. She started from the outside of the front line and broke into a gallop soon after the start, dropping back to last. She was still last at the bell before rattling home, six wide on the track. La Mia Juliette, trained and driven by Peter Tilbrook was a 46/1 outsider when she made a successful debut in a heat of the classic on Tuesday of last week. She was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell before finishing strongly to beat the pacemaker Lovers Prayer. Chris Lewis, who has driven the winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies six times, will handle the polemarker Maddyann Maree for Harvey trainer Peter Kimberley. Maddyann Maree possesses good gate speed and has shown promise with a second, a third and three fourths from her five starts. She goes into the race with the distinct advantage of the No. 1 barrier. Lewis has won the classic with Miss Booth (1991), Parthenon (1994), Backin A Jiffy (2000), Hindu Sitara (2003), Amongst Royalty (2006) and Fidelius Charm (2008). ALTA CHRISTIANO HAS EVERYTING IN HIS FAVOUR A return to mobile racing, a reduction in distance and the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line are the three ingredients which should ensure that star four-year-old Alta Christiano returns to the winning list when he contests the $25,000 Del Basso Smallgoods The Johnson final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The chunky New Zealand-bred stallion, trained by Gary Hall sen., should make amends for his defeat as the 7/4 on favourite in the 2902m Easter Cup on Thursday of last week by proving too smart for his rivals in this week's event over 2130m. He suffered his first defeat in Australia last week when he began slowly from a standing start and settled down almost 60m behind the early pacemaker Hez Got the Nod. He dashed forward in the first circuit to get to the front after 950m and was not caught until the final 70m when a close third behind Finbar Abbey and Polak. Alta Christiano possesses excellent gate speed and relishes the task of leading in his races. Clint Hall should get him straight to the front and then lead his 11 rivals a merry dance. Shirlz Sensation, one of seven four-year-olds in the race, is in top form and has given powerful performances to win at his past three outings, all over 2130m and all after he had covered extra ground. But his prospects diminished considerably when he drew the outside barrier on the front line. A perfect draw on the inside of the back line has enhanced the place prospects of the Colin Brown-trained Erskine Range, who looks set to trail Alta Christiano throughout the race. However, it is unlikely that he has the ability to outsprint Alta Christiano in the final stages. Vapour, trained by Gary Hall sen., has been running home powerfully for teenager driver Lauren Jones in several recent starts and the four-year-old, who will start from the back line, should again be prominent in the concluding stages. by Ken Casellas

Tabcorp Park Menangle will host two Group 1 events this Sunday afternoon. Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion winner Beautide is set to compete in the Len Smith Mile and looks hard to beat while lightly raced two year old filly Rosie Oreilly looks to be the biggest danger to kiwi youngster Supersonic Miss in the Australian Pacing Gold Final. Rosie Oreilly is trained by Danny Thackeray and has pulled up extremely well after her fourteen metre victory in the semi final. "She has pulled up really well and hasn't missed a feed since her semi final so I couldn't be happier with her," Thackeray said. "I have decided to stay here in New South Wales rather than travelling home, she has settled in really well here at Jack Primmer's property, it is a great set-up and there is plenty of green grass to keep her happy." Thackeray is based at Euroa in Victoria and enjoyed his first trip to Menangle although admitted the supposed 'hoodoo' for travelling horses did concern him before Saturday night's performance. "Rosie Oreilly got a soft lead but it was the first time I have taken runners to Menangle and it was nice to get a winner, my other filly Artistic Angel finished sixth in her semi and wanted to hang a bit in the run and she will compete in the consolation." "I was aware that some horses from Victoria have come to Menangle for the first time and have struggled and that was in the back of my mind but the big track didn't seem to create any issues for my pair." Rosie Oreilly has always showed ability but Thackeray confirmed there has been solid improvement in the lead up to her debut run at Melton earlier this month. "She always showed enough without being a star but as we got closer to the races she just kept on getting better and better, I still think she will be a better three year old, she's very long legged and has a bit of growing still to do." "Rosie Oreilly is paid up for everything so I will take her home after the APG and think about the Vicbred and the Breeders Crown but at the moment I am just concentrating on Sunday." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing | Harness Racing New South Wales |

LONGFORD-based harness racing trainer Barrie Rattray would love to be at Menangle on Sunday night to watch his star five-year-old Beautide tackle the $100,000 Len Smith Mile but instead he will be toiling away at Devonport where he has a truck load of runners at the feature meeting. Rattray will hitch up four of the 10 runners in the $30,000 Raider Stakes for four-year-olds in Devendra, Divas Delight, Pachacuti and Rykov leis and they are rated amongst the top five chances to win the race. Pachacuti could not have been more impressive in wining his Raider Stakes heat in Launceston last Sunday week and he also was impressive in winning in Hobart at his previous outing that was his first run back in the state after a filed interstate campaign. Devendra has done nothing wrong this campaign and had it not been for a flat tyre endured during a race in Hobart two starts back his form has been outstanding. Rykov Leis has quietly gone about his business in recent months winning twice and placing second three times from his past five starts but his task won't be easy on Sunday night as he starts from the outside of the second row. Listen to shat trainer Barrie Rattray had to say about his Raider Stakes runners and his two-year-olds in earlier races. By Peter Staples  

West Wyalong will host its Carnival Of Cups meeting this Sunday afternoon and with several feature races set down for decision a great day of harness racing is ensured. The club will run the $12,000 West Wyalong Pacers Cup with a $9,000 three year old race while the C0 pacers will compete in an $8,000 final after qualifying in heats last weekend. Lombo Madam Lashe was impressive winning her heat on Saturday and trainer Blake Jones expects her to be hard to beat in the final. "She went really good, she probably just needed those two runs back from a spell to get her fully fit after having a long time off, but I was very happy with her performance and she won easily," Jones said. "After she competed in the Vicbred final last season she ended up developing a stress fracture in her hip so she needed some time to get over that but she has been working up nicely, she's still not the soundest of mares but she should be able to punch through the grades." Kennedy Creek will have his first run back in the West Wyalong Cup and although he hasn't raced since June last year, Jones is hoping for a strong performance. "The owner worked up Kennedy Creek and sent him to me about six weeks ago and I have been looking for a race for him for about the last three or four weeks but Sunday's race looks a pretty good starting point for him." "He has had three trials to prepare him for this campaign and he has been working really well so I think he will run a good race first up." Jones is working a team of nine horses currently which according to him is the perfect number. "It's pretty full-on with the nine in work so I'm happy with the size of the stable at the moment, I don't think I would want anymore." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Harness Racing New South Wales |                

Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV) President, Dr Tony Britt, welcomes Desiree Pettit to the newly created part-time role of Executive Officer. The role will be responsible for developing a range of new initiatives and consolidating the current platform of the Association’s activities in representing Victoria’s Standardbred breeding industry as a kindred  body with Harness Racing Victoria. This autonomous role will work with the Executive and Committee in complimenting their work for breeders, studmasters and breeder owners & members. This role will further develop the Association’s service delivery, particularly in digitisation and communication. Pettit’s prior corporate and management roles within racing, not-for-profit and marketing industries ensure a broad range of skills will be brought to the role. In addition, she has extensive and varied experience, involvement and knowledge of both equine racing codes over a considerable period. Pettit holds degrees in Business (Marketing) and Arts (Sport & Event Management) from Victoria University, along with post graduate qualifications, and industry specific training. HRV Media

Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) would like to thank the outgoing NSW Minister for Racing, the Hon. George Souris, for his valuable contribution to the harness racing industry over the past three years. The Coalition Government was elected to office in 2011 and subsequently fulfilled its $5 million pre-election promise for country racing (incorporating all three codes). HRNSW received $650,000 from this fund which was used as a platform for a much needed plant and equipment rollout across all tracks and training facilities that ultimately cost $2 million. Mr Souris played a pivotal role in the Race Fields Legislation outcome and was a strong supporter of the HRNSW/NSW Harness Racing Club (NSWHRC) Inter Dominion Tender (2013-15). "Mr Souris has spent 23 years on the front bench and was a Minister of three Cabinets under the Greiner, Fahey and O'Farrell Governments which is a wonderful achievement", HRNSW Chairman Rex Horne said. "We appreciate his support and wish him well in the future as he continues his good work as the State Member for the Upper Hunter." Premier Mike Baird's Cabinet reshuffle was announced today and includes the Hon. Troy Grant as the new Minster for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts. Mr Grant is the State Member for Dubbo. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |              

Popular Gippsland harness racing trainer and driver Daryl Woolcock lost a lengthy battle with illness on Easter Monday. As well as being a thorough gentleman Daryl trained and drove pacers and trotters for decades, ending up at Koo Wee Rup. He had multiple wins with Tiffany Valley and Tamara Valley in the 1980's and in more recent times winners included Heeza Hudson (Warragul Horse of the Year) and Hudson Pacemaker. Perhaps his best horse was the talented trotter Pepperell Dancer, who won the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup at Warragul on the Easter weekend in 2008, plus also won the Bruce Skeggs and Yarra Valley Trotting Cup races, as well as winning metro races at Moonee Valley and Melton. Hudson Pacemaker and Pepperell Dancer were both later sold interstate, where Daryl's training ability helped the horses go on to numerous city successes. In the early 1990's Melbourne race caller David Raphael, who later went on to a distinguished career broadcasting in Hong Kong, dabbled briefly in trots driving and got his start in the sulky, and in race broadcasting, with the assistance of Daryl. Meanwhile local filly Queen Of Pop will be back in Sydney this Saturday night for the rich Australian Pacing Gold two-year-old fillies Final, after running second in a qualifying race at Menangle Park last Saturday night. Kyle Galley

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If there was an award for the best early season two-year-old then Artistic Flite would be leading the charge for Anton Golino and harness racing connections, but it won’t get any better for his rivals if the well-travelled horseman’s predictions are correct. After already snaring the Bathurst Gold Crown in tough fashion, his trainer is expecting improvement to come from the talented juvenile son of Artistic Fella. “He hasn’t put in a bad run, he’s pretty tough and I think every race he has won he’s sat outside the leader so he’s been pretty good from the start,” Golino said. “I think he will get better. By the end of the season you will see the best of him. “I don’t think he has ever really been wound up as far as I don’t do much with him in between runs so I can’t see why he won’t keep going.” And with the $322,000 APG final looming if he can navigate his way through Friday night’s semi-final, the challengers are lining up. Artistic Flite and Follow The Stars will renew acquaintances this week while Mach Doro will be lying in wait assuming he makes it through. “He was very good last start, he got into a little bit of trouble coming to the turn but he hit the front and I think he switched off a little. He came out of it super though,” Golino said.  “We’re going to have to try and get off the rail at some stage. I don’t give John any instructions though so whatever he chooses to do I’ll be fine with it.  “Ideally if we can make the final of the Gold and then bring him home for a little freshen up before the big races at the end of the season.” Artistic Flite, who also ran third in the Rod Fitzpatrick Memorial, has been rated the $4.50 second favourite by HRV form expert Jason Bonnington. Follow The Stars is the odds-on elect at $1.40 while Monivae is the only other horse in single figures at $6. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Australia
'Night racing returns to Sydney's Bankstown Paceway with the running of the Feehely Memorial on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014,' Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender has told Harnesslink. 'Originally founded, in 2006, as a tribute to beloved Bankstown Paceway life member and standardbred owner, trainer and reinsman Ned Feehely - immediately recognizable by his distinctive pink and purple silks - the race was renamed the Ned and Jean Feehely Memorial in 2012, following the passing of Ned's wife, Bankstown Paceway life member Jean Feehely, who was also a tireless volunteer and supporter of harness racing here at Bankstown,' Ms Lavender said. 'In October 2012, Mrs Feehely was also posthumously honored as the Harness Racing New South Wales Volunteer of the Year for her lifetime of dedication and commitment to Bankstown Paceway,' Ms Lavender added. Ned and Jean's son, Bankstown Paceway life member and Brisbane businessman Laurie Feehely, said his late parents' association with Bankstown Paceway dated back to the 1950s, when unofficial races, known as gymkhanas, were held at the Condell Park show ground track on the first and third Sunday of each month. 'Mum [Jean Feehely] would take nominations from home and collate the fields on the kitchen table,' recalled Mr Feehely, who owns and operates the race sponsor, Airport and Regional Corporate Cars. 'After Bankstown Paceway acquired its official racing license [in March 1965], Mum [Jean Feehely] would continue to take the nominations for Bankstown and Lithgow racing fields, and she would take them over to Harold Park for the handicapper,' Mr Feehely said. 'Mum [Jean Feehely] always worked for Bankstown for the love of the harness racing sport itself and the people associated with it. She derived great enjoyment in helping in any way to promote the industry and, of course, to watch Dad [Ned Feehely] race in the pink and purple - her favourite colours,' he said. 'Dad and Mum [Ned and Jean Feehely] were involved in the early mobile barrier design for handicapping. It was called the "brown barrier" - not having much knowledge of design, it eventually failed. But it was used at the Bankstown track for handicapping from scratch back to 48 yards. 'It was a walk up mobile with tapes that went over the top of the horses on release. Dad [Ned Feehely] was a plasterer and a builder by trade - and, so, the Bankstown Paceway stables were built with him leading a working bee. 'The materials were all donated by Bankstown Paceway members, by Harry Westwood, by Ray Fitzpatrick, by Wally Thompson, by Jacky Binskin, by Roy Treasure, by Max Truer [Senior], and by Dad [Ned Feehely], to name a few. 'I have no memory of Mr Eldridge being involved in [the actual construction of] the stables - only that he was an original [Bankstown Paceway] committeeman, who was stricken with cancer and died around the time that they were built. However, the stables were named after him because of the original concept that he had in mind. 'Mum [Jean Feehely] was heavily involved in the very early establishment and licencing of Bankstown Paceway as a harness racing club. She also helped establish the Bankstown Trotting Recreation Club - doing all of the paperwork, all of the correspondence, and she later worked on the office side of this until her retirement. 'She was well into her late sixties when she finally retired, and a surprise dinner was organised for her at the Trotting Club. Mum and Dad [Jean and Ned Feehely], even during their later years, had stabled horses at Condell Park. Dad [Ned Feehely] was also the time keeper at Bankstown Paceway. 'Whenever Mum and Dad [Jean and Ned Feehely] visited my family and me in Queensland, they could only ever stay for a short time - during the intermission between race meetings at Bankstown. That is because the pull to return to their beloved race club, Bankstown Paceway, was so strong,' Mr Feehely added. Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, will see the 9th running of the Airport and Regional Corporate Cars Ned and Jean Feehely Memorial. Past winners of the race include: Silent Judge (2006), House Master NZ (2007), Just Radish (2008), Jemas Glory (2009), Valiant King NZ (2010), Blaze of Art (2011), Chips McFadden (2012) and Four Jokers (2013). The Legends of Bankstown Gala Race Night will be held at Sydney's Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 - with Race 1 set to start at 5.25 pm. Entry is free and families are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner or they can purchase club priced food and drinks from the racecourse kiosk. Bookings for the $40 per head three course race night buffet dinner can also be made on 02 9708 4111. Megan J. Lavender  
Heats of the Victoria Oaks will be a headline of Friday night’s Anzac Day harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton but it might not be left to the Victorian’s to share the prize as Tasmanian invader Barynya crosses the Apple Isle. Following the clinic that Beautide has put on this season, confidence from down south is brimming but Dick Eaves remains cautiously optimistic as he tries to firstly qualify for, and then win, one of the classics. But there is reason to remain positive because the little filly, who is a half-sister to Lombo Navigator has won seven from 10 including her last six straight. They may all have been in Tasmania but a gritty win in the Tasmanian Oaks over Victorian filly Sandy Kay has set the scene for an intriguing showdown this Friday night. “It’s the same old story, when you go for these sort of races you come up against the best so whether she is capable of measuring up I guess we will find out on Friday,” Eaves said. “She had a pretty hard run in the Oaks over 2600 metres. She got dragged back and then she worked forward and sat outside the Victorian Sandy Kay and got the better of her in the straight and they got home in a pretty good last half. “It’s probably going to come down to how quick she can get home because some of those horses can run 26.5sec quarters so it’s going to be difficult.” The second row barrier might appear on paper as a further stumbling block however the respected Tasmanian trainer is of the opinion that it could be her greatest asset come race time. “I don’t mind the back row draw, coming off the trip over I think the best place for her is probably going to be trailing up and she’s proved that she can race in any style and still get the job done so I’m not too concerned. We will just be hoping for some hustle and bustle early.” Eaves said. “I think this filly has the ability to match up and I think the better class she races in, the better she will go. “We will head back to Tasmania after this but if she races well it will give us a good guide on the future because she is eligible for the Vicbred Super Series and the Breeders Crown.” Barynya has been marked a $14 fourth favourite with Harness Racing Victoria Form Expert Jason Bonnington with Whereibylong the $2.50 favourite over Mindarie Priddy at $3 and Quick Draft at $4.50. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria
It’s fair to say yesterday’s meeting at Hamilton was a family affair. The first race was won by Glen Craven aboard his aunties horse Salute Branch, before his brother Matthew (Craven) took over and won the next four in a row. Matt also finished second in a further three races on the eight race card. “It’s probably my best day ever as far as wins go,” enthused Matthew Craven. “I’ve won four races at Mount Gambier and Horsham before but I have never finished so many seconds as well,” he added. Craven’s four victories were for four different trainers. “The first race that I won on the card was for a fella (P Ralph), who I have known for a long time that doesn’t train many horses. So it was great to win a race for him as he is a top bloke,” said Craven. “And my other three victorious were all for trainers that have supported me a lot in the past, he added. But it didn’t stop their either as Matthew’s brother Glen was successful again in a later race, while his cousin Jason Lee also made a trip to the winners circle, giving the family seven wins out of just eight races. “Gavin Lang spoiled the party and beat me in the last race,” quipped Craven, who could have just as easily won five races on the card. “I had the option to drive Citysneak, but I gave the drive up to Glen (Craven) so I could drive I Wantano and he beat me a half-head the buggar,” laughed Craven. “But overall it was a great day for the whole family. There is no doubt about that,” he concluded.   By Mitchell Robertson
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