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Bartley all smiles after maiden win

There could not have been a bigger smile in Australasia – harness racing-based or not – than the one Ellen Bartley sported at Temora last night. Having her fifth drive, Bartley registered her maiden victory in what promises to a fruitful career in the sulky. Naturally pleased with the result, Bartley stated the win was just as much a relief as it was a thrill. “I was pretty confident before the race, but things didn’t pan out as expected,” Bartley said. “The plan was to go forward for the front and then hold the lead, but she came out roughly and we ended up behind the leader. “In the end it worked out well, which is great. To get my first win is very exciting and I was just so thrilled heading back to scale. “Even though it was a tight finished, I was just so excited and caught up in the moment as I felt we’d won.” Partnering Good Girl Shirl, Bartley settled the mare behind the pacemaker, Beauknowsbrownie, which set a modest tempo during the middle stages. With the leader tiring leaving the back straight, Good Girl Shirl appeared to be in a hopeless position before Bartley was able to squeeze through traffic at the top of the home straight. Sprinting solidly, the daughter of Elsu grabbed the front in the last stride to score by a neck from The Queens Portrait, with Miss Marnie a metre-and-a-half away third. “I was a little worried on the home turn, but thankfully we were able to get an opening,” Bartley said. “After that she finished well, which was great.” Covering the mile in 2:02.9, Good Girl Shirl extended her record to four wins and four placings from 17 starts for trainer Matthew Painting. Although based in New South Wales, Bartley is a Vicbred sister to talented reinswoman, Rebecca, who has been among the state’s top five concession drivers during the past few years. Admitting sibling rivalry is part of their relationship, Bartley, hopes to emulate her sister’s feats within the industry. “I will be happy if I can achieve as much as Bec has in such a short time,” Bartley declared. “Bec has done so well and to do what she’s done would be wonderful. “There’s no rivalry between us…well maybe a little!” A late starter as a driver, Bartley, 21, realised her passion lies within harness racing after spending two years at university. “I moved to Wagga to get my Bachelor of Equine Science, but after two years I decided it wasn’t for me,” Bartley explained. “I wanted to give driving ago, so I have stayed in New South Wales with my boyfriend, Blake Jones. “In a couple of years I would like to move into training, but for now I’m loving driving.” PAUL COURTS

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Canola Cup could be Goulburn-bound

Goulburn harness racing trainer Brad Hewitt drove two Canola Cup heat winners at Eugowra last weekend and believes one of the pair will prove very hard to beat in Monday’s $20,000 Final.  Hewitt is the trainer of Luksam, which he will drive him in the decider, while his father David will partner former kiwi trained mare Holm Three. “Luksam has drawn the back row and Holm Three will start off the front, so she is probably the better chance just because of the barriers,” Hewitt said. “Luksam was only having his second run back from a very long break. First-up he was a little bit disappointing after trialling well, but he travelled to Bathurst by himself and was really nervy when he arrived.” After disappointing Luksam was sent back to the trials, and after a strong performance at Menangle, Hewitt was expecting a better performance. “The Menangle trial was really good, but I still didn’t think he could beat Karloo Ten Seventy on Sunday,” Hewitt said. “When he got his chance in the straight he finished it off really nicely. “In the Final if they go too slow he’s got enough ability that I have the option of putting him into the race, but that will all depend on how everything unfolds.” Holm Three has only been in Australia a short time and really impressed with a strong performance. “We didn’t really know what to expect because she had only been in Australia for two and a half weeks, but she was forced to work very hard for the first part of the race and then relaxed, so I think she is going to win more races,” Hewitt said. “New Zealand race caller Mark McNamara told us about her when she was racing over there. “He sends us a few names every now and then and we liked her so a few owners stepped up and bought her.” GREG HAYES

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McCarthy testing the water with Cullen

An interstate trip for the beginning of harness racing’s Grand Circuit is on the cards for up-and-comer Blazin N Cullen. Should the former Kiwi perform to expectations at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night, trainer John McCarthy will head north for the Queensland Pacing Championship on October 25. While that sounds simple enough, Blazin N Cullen first has to compete against the likes of reigning Inter Dominion champion Beautide, speed machine, Suave Stuey Lombo, and proven campaigner Seel N Print. Admitting he is “testing the water” with the gelding, McCarthy is confident Blazin N Cullen can handle the step up in grade. Given Blazin N Cullen’s record since crossing the Tasman it’s easy to understand why McCarthy has faith in the five-year-old. Blazin N Cullen boasts five wins and two placings from eight local starts, including a 1:51.9 victory at the world class venue a fortnight ago. “We bought him as a nice horse and so far he has done everything we have asked of him,” McCarthy said. “He has improved with every run and has the feel of a good horse about him. “It is a big step up this week, but I’m happy to be testing the water with him to see just where he is at. “I’m hoping he measures up as For A Reason is being aimed at the QPC and I think he would be the right horse to go with him.” Predicting another quick time over a mile, McCarthy believes Blazin N Cullen will have no trouble staying in touch with the field after drawing barrier two. Blessed with brilliant gate speed, Suave Stuey Lombo is expected to lead from gate seven, while Beautide will begin from the outside of the front line. “I’ve got no doubt he can follow the speed, but whether he still has a turn of foot at the end we will wait and see,” McCarthy said. “I just don’t know if he can come off high speed and still run a quick quarter. “He has gone 1:51.9, but 1:49 and change against this quality of field is another story.” An exceptionally-bred pacer, “it’s a crying shame” Blazin N Cullen is a gelding according to McCarthy. By top sire Christian Cullen, Blazin N Cullen is from Rye Hanover, which is a sister to Red River Hanover, Rustler Hanover and Rocknroll Hanover. “He has unbelievable bloodlines on both sides,” McCarthy said. “It’s a crying shame he is a gelding as he would have to be one of the best bred pacers in the world.” PAUL COURTS

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Top prizes in free Insider Access contest!

How would you like to win a set of $1,400US custom race bike wheels from Forward Motion Technologies, perhaps a full set of RazorHorse shoes, maybe a five gallon bucket of Lifeline Horse Supplement or a $100 Amazon gift card? These prizes, plus more - 13 in total - will be given away in Harnesslink’s month long Insider Access “Win The Wheels Contest” throughout October. All you have to do is sign-up for our fortnightly newsletter, Insider Access, by the end of October. It’s as simple as that (and be age 18 or older too). No fees, no charges, you can unsubscribe at any time (we suggest you at least wait until after the prizes are drawn), no hidden costs whatsoever, totally free to enter. Can’t make it any simpler than that! Insider Access is a great newsletter which keeps you informed on news and opinions in harness racing that you won’t get on any other website or magazine, even our own Harnesslink! Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing as you view the current issue of Insider Access.  “We are so pleased that some of our advertising sponsors have come on board for this special promotion,” said John Curtin, founder and CEO of Harnesslink. “I want to thank the people at Forward Motion Technologies, Lifeline Horse Supplement and RazorHorse for joining us and donating these great prizes. So take a moment to go on our site and check out the companies and see what prizes you might win.” At the end of October everyone who has signed up for the newsletter, even those who already get Insider Access, will be drawn at random. The first 12 names selected will win either the horse supplement or RazorHorse shoes and the 13th winner will get the set of sulky wheels, shipped to their residents, no matter what country you live in. A reminder that everyone who signs up must be age 18 or older in order to win. All winners will be notified via email and proof of age and proper mailing address will be verified. For the complete rules and regulations for the contest click here. Just click below to visit the three sponsors of “Win The Wheels Contest.” https://forwardmotiontechnologies.com/ http://horse.watchthemthrive.com/horses/elite/ http://www.razerhorse.com/

Queensland trainer-driver combination of Shaun Gillespie and Brittany Graham dominated the Tamworth meeting on Monday, winning three of the seven races including the feature event The Dash For Cash Final. Graham has had a tremendous start to the season and has already driven 10 winners - four of those in New South Wales. “I’m pretty sure we will make the trip back to Tamworth at some stage of the season, especially around Golden Guitar time plus the conditioned racing really suits Shaun's horses,” Graham said. “It is hard for me to get there all the time because I am studying a Bachelor of Business full-time at Griffith University, but I am really enjoying splitting my time between the horses and study.” Graham treble has catapulted her to fourth on the NSW Concession Drivers’ Premiership and sits third on the Queensland equivalent. “My Dad (Darrel) has been giving me the opportunities to drive some very nice horses like Emperor Montana and Montana Falcon and I’ve had some great support from other trainers as well,” Graham said. “To win the Dash For Cash Final with Shootforthestarzzz was a great feeling. She was beaten in her heat after leading, but she had raced on the Saturday night before at Albion Park, and then we had a few issues making the trip down which made it a longer trip than it would normally be.” Shootforthestarzzz sat outside the leader, however, Graham admits she thought about dropping in behind the pacemaker. “It did go through my mind to get in behind the leader, but then I thought we had come a long way and I didn’t want to go home and be unlucky, so in the end I was happy to be outside them,” Graham declared. “The track surface on Monday was really good and was a credit to the club.” GREG HAYES

Friday night’s Laser Electrical Ballarat Lightning Mile is shaping as an exciting spectacle for harness racing fans. With $50,000 on offer – consisting of $30,000 in stake and $20,000 in bonuses – the 1609-metre sprint has assembled a strong field. The bonuses are broken down to $10,000 if the winner breaks Smoken Up’s 1:53.1 track record set in last year’s Mile and another $10,000 if Smoken Up’s state mark of 1:51.1 is lowered. The ‘swift seven’ are headed by established star Keayang Cullen and newcomer Maximan. Successful at his three starts since crossing the Tasman, Maximan has been kept fresh since his inspirational free-for-all win at Tabcorp Park Melton. On that occasion, the Andy Gath-trained gelding was headed along the home straight only to fight back to win in an effort reminiscent of Smoken Up! The stylish son of Armbro Operative will begin from barrier five, with Keayang Cullen drawn on his outside. Winner of his last seven starts, Keayang Cullen will be first-up since his Breeders’ Crown Free-For-All triumph in August. The Marg Lee-trained son of Christian Cullen trialled in sensational fashion at Ballarat last weekend, equalling the 2200-metre track record with his 1:55.4 performance. Popular identity Paul Rowse is hoping to be both the presenter and recipient of the feature’s trophy. Along with his role as Ballarat’s chief executive, Rowse is the trainer of Savesomtimetodream, which will come from gate two. A handy son of Village Jasper, Savesomtimetodream has won two of his last five starts, with two thirds also to his credit. Thanks to the generous gesture of trainer Lance Justice, Smoken Up will lead the field onto the track ahead of the Group Three event. PAUL COURTS

Star harness racing reinsman Gary Hall jun. has given punters a valuable lead by deciding to drive Soho Jackman in preference to Crusader Banner in the $22,500 TABtouch Cranley Memorial Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall drove both pacers to effortless victories last Friday night when Soho Jackman, at his first appearance for six months, came from tenth in the middle stages to race without cover before dashing away to score by more than a length over Walter James, rating 1.59.6 over 2536m, and Crusader Banner was equally impressive when he surged home from sixth and last at the bell to win by just under three lengths from Diamonds A Blaze, rating 1.55.5 over 1730m. The Cranley Memorial will be decided over 1730m and Hall is bubbling with confidence that five-year-old Soho Jackman will prove too speedy for his six rivals, including up-and-coming four-year-old Crusader Banner, who will be driven by his brother Clint. Both pacers are prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. "Soho Jackman is a good horse who begins fast and I expect him to lead from barrier one and win," Hall jun. said. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is adamant that Soho Jackman is not a past-the post proposition. He gives his runner, the Victorian-bred six-year-old Real Hammer, a strong winning chance. Real Hammer, a winner at 13 of his 56 starts has been an erratic and hard-to-control pacer for much of his career, which included a stint under the care of Hall sen. when Hall jun. drove him eight times for two wins. Real Hammer has a history of racing erratically and pulling hard. Real Hammer has not appeared for six weeks, when he was inclined to hang in and raced at the rear before finishing last behind Zacs Nuggett over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Real Hammer, a noted frontrunner, charged home from the rear to win a race over 2185m at Pinjarra at his previous outing. He was an all-the-way winner, rating 1.55.6 over 1730m at Gloucester Park three starts before that. Olivieri said that Real Hammer was becoming far more tractable following some gear changes. "He went to Byford on Sunday morning and you wouldn't believe how well-mannered he was in his trial," he said. "He came out very well from behind the mobile and sat behind the pacemaker Sensational Gabby before finishing second to her, coming home in 57.8sec. and 27.1sec. "I was very pleased with the trial and the draw (No. 2) for Friday night. I'm using a new lugging bit on him and he raced tractably. Whether he does it in a race, I don't know. I have also made a change to his head gear and he will race with block blinkers. He ran with the blinkers in Sunday's trial and they are settling him down instead of stirring him up." Hall jun. said he considered Real Hammer to have no hope of beginning fast enough to wrest the early lead from Soho Jackman. "If Soho Jackman is to be beaten, it will be by Crusader Banner," he said. Crusader Banner has been untroubled to win at his past three starts in which his average winning margin has been 11 metres. Chris Lewis has chosen to handle Real Hammer in preference to speedy frontrunner Blissfull Boy, who will start from barrier three. Trainer Kevin Charles has engaged Dylan Egerton-Green to drive Blissfull Boy. The Hall camp has a third runner in the event, The Ragpickers Dream, who faces a tough task from the No. 6 barrier. The New Zealand-bred seven-year-old has a losing sequence of 16 and will be driven by Kim Prentice. The Cranley Memorial has been run nine times and Hall sen. and Hall jun. combined to win with El Padrino, who raced without cover before getting to the front 520m from home and then holding on to defeat the fast-finishing Dhoni by a nose in 2012, after finishing second with Im Themightyquinn in 2008 and third with My Jasami in 2011. Lewis was successful with the Alan Bell-trained Mister Veejays Fella in 2009. Williams to drive Zacs Nuggett Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson has engaged Robbie Williams to drive Zacs Nuggett in the McInerney Ford Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the eight-year-old should maintain his excellent form by proving too tough for his 11 rivals over his pet journey of 2536m. Zacs Nuggett is an M3-class performer and is able to contest Friday night's event restricted to M0 to M2-class runners with Howson taking advantage of Williams's concession as a junior reinsman. Zacs Nuggett has the ability to overcome the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. Williams, who will be having his first drive behind the West Australian-bred pacer, looks set to send Zacs Nuggett forward in the first lap to race in the breeze outside either Grand Cru or Tuapeka Kahu. Grand Cru (barrier two) and Tuapeka Kahu (three) are smart frontrunners, with the Mike Reed-trained Grand Cru bringing up his second win in a row with an all-the-way success over 2620m at Northam on Tuesday of last week and Tuapeka Kahu (trained by Greg and Skye Bond) finishing an encouraging second behind Jaccka Felix last Friday night after all-the-way wins in successive starts in August. Howson drove Zacs Nuggett at his most recent outing, last Friday week, when the hardy gelding raced three wide early and then in the breeze before winning from Bet Your Life and Romulus over 2130m. "He has thrived since that win and should again prove hard to beat," Howson declared. Williams also has bright prospects with Dashing Christian, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Gannon's Pacing Colours Pace. Williams will attempt an all-the-way victory with the New Zealand-bred eight-year-old who has been unplaced at his past two starts from back-line draws, following an all-the-way success with Williams in the sulky, over 2130m on August 29. Dashing Christian is one of five runners in Friday night's race who are prepared by ace trainer Gary Hall sen. The other Hall runners are Soho Highroller (Micheal Ferguson), Some Kinda Tactics (Stuart McDonald), Heez Orl Black (Tom Buchanan) and Jaccka Felix (Dylan Egerton-Green). Heez Orl Black is racing keenly and is capable of a bold showing from barrier two on the back line. The richly-talented Bettors Fire also makes strong appeal at his second appearance after a lengthy spell. Bettors Fire, to be driven by his trainer Kyle Harper, is the class runner and should fight out the finish, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. He covered a lot of extra ground when a splendid first-up sixth behind Some Kinda Tactics over 1730m last Friday week. Three Blind Mice poised for first-up win Brilliant, lightly-raced pacer Three Blind Mice should make a triumphant return to racing and send punters home on a happy note by winning the final event, the 2130m Alltools Pathway Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Busselton trainer-reinsman Matt White said that Three Blind Mice was on target to contest the feature events for four-year-olds this season, including the McInerney Classic and Golden Nugget Championship. "That's the plan, to have him peaking for those big races," said White, who has taken over the preparation of Three Blind Mice from the gelding's part-owner Barry Howlett. White recently acquired his A-grade trainer's licence and has already prepared five winners. Three Blind Mice gave a superb performance to set the pace and win the WA Derby from Elegant Christian and Machtu early last April. He then led and won at Bunbury and Harvey at his following two starts before going for a spell. White took Three Blind Mice to Pinjarra to contest a 2185m trial on Sunday morning and was fully satisfied with his performance, finishing a head second to the pacemaker Awesum Teddy, rating 1.58 after dashing over the final two 400m sections in 28.4sec. and 27.9sec. "It was a good hit-out," White said. "Three Blind Mice sat behind the leader before finishing strongly," he said. "They rolled along a bit and he hit the line together with Awesum Teddy. "From barrier four on Friday night I'll probably roll forward and I'd like to think he will get to the front. He's only a C2-class pacer and his next start probably will be in the country." The only possible danger to Three Blind Mice on Friday night appears to be smart four-year-old High Courage, who will be driven by Gary Hall jun. for his father, leading trainer Gary Hall sen. High Courage, who has won at six of his 18 starts, will begin from the outside of the front line. An easy all-the-way winner over 2130m at Gloucester Park three starts ago, he had an extremely tough run in the breeze when a fighting third behind stablemate Crusader Banner over 1730m last Friday night. "He's race fit and will make a race of it with Three Blind Mice," said Hall jun. "However, the draw makes it tough for High Courage." Prentice hoping for winning run to continue Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice, fresh from winning with Tasmanian Bromac at Pinjarra on Monday and Kiralin and Bettor Dreams at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, has high hopes of ending the week on a high note by driving promising four-year-old Where Dreams Grow to victory in the first heat of the Melbourne Cup Luncheon Preux Chevalier Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The WA-bred Where Dreams Grow has struck a purple patch with four wins and a second placing from her past six starts. She has fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the back line. However, Prentice is quietly confident that she will prove to be an excellent each-way chance, with her chief rivals Harriet Elisabeth (barrier three on the back line), Diamonds A Blaze (barrier seven) and Robyns C C (six) drawing poorly. "Where Dreams Grow has the ability to win from the No. 12 barrier," Prentice said. "She has been going very well and felt super at her latest outing, at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. "She felt really good and switched on at Pinjarra and repeating that performance she should finish in the money on Friday night and qualify for the final. She's reasonably strong and pretty quick as well. "She has got a tricky draw, but the three who appear hardest to beat have all drawn awkwardly. I'll see how things pan out early and then I'll probably put her into the race at some stage." Prentice said that he would nominate Kiralin for the second heat of this event in a bid to qualify her for the final. He has been training Kiralin, a five-year-old by Elsu, for four weeks and produced her in fine fettle for her first start since mid-August. Prentice is also looking forward to driving standing-start specialist Multibet for the first time on Friday night when the Jess Moore-trained seven-year-old begins from the inside of the front line in the Sky Racing Handicap over 2503m. Multibet ran home solidly on the inside from eighth at the bell to finish third behind Medley Moose and Bashful Compton in the group 3 Kalgoorlie Cup at huis latest outing. Earl of Charity a real bargain Young horseman Michael Young, Courtney Burch and Brett Archibald made a wise decision to out lay just $6000 six weeks ago to purchase Victorian-bred trotter Earl of Charity. The seven-year-old will start from the inside of the front line in the $17,500 Slater Gartrell Sports Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night and reinsman Gary Hall jun. is full of confidence that he will maintain his winning form. "If he gets away in the stand and leads I don't think they'll see which way he went," Hall said. "If he doesn't lead, he could still win. He's quite a nice horse and as long as he settles, he can come from anywhere." Earl of Charity is trained by Gary Hall sen. and he made an impressive debut for the Hall stable when he started from the 30m mark, and despite breaking in running, he was prominent throughout before winning from Keepyaguardup and Conquer All over 2503m last Tuesday week. "He was in good form when we got him, but had a few issues, with pulling," Hall jun. said. "I think that being in a big stable has helped him and he has settled down a lot. He never used to get away in stands. He got away at his first start for us, off 30m. And he did get away off the front in a trial. "Late in August Michael Young approached the owners, but he didn't really expect them to sell. However, they agreed to sell him for $6000." Young seized the opportunity to buy the gelding, who was due to contest a race at Pinjarra a couple of days later. He agreed to let part-owner Terry Wegner start him at Pinjarra, with the proviso that the two parties share any prizemoney. Earl of Charity, who had won at his previous start, repeated the dose with Wegner guiding the gelding to victory over Idle Maple and All Flair. The new owners had an immediate return and gained half of the $4485 first prize. Then Earl of Charity earned $4550 with his first-up success with the Hall camp. by Ken Casellas

Despite his disillusioned state, harness racing trainer Lance Justice has decided not to disappoint Smoken Up’s fans. Annoyed by the suspensions he received at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night, Justice aired his frustrations on Facebook, during which time he stated he is no longer willing to promote the industry until the “powers to be...get in the real world”. Justice had previously agreed to take Smoken Up to Ballarat for Friday night’s Laser Electrical Lightning Mile. As the defending champion and track record holder, Smoken Up was set to lead the field onto the track for the $30,000 feature. A long time critic to what he believes is a lack of industry promotion, Justice cancelled Smoken Up’s appearance only to realise he was focusing his frustration in the wrong direction. Justice has often aired his believe the industry falls short in promoting its champions – both equine and human - unlike the thoroughbreds, which constantly pushes its stars into the limelight. “No more... I have decided I will not do anymore for harness racing, sorry Ballarat, Trigger and I won't be there,” Justice wrote. “After Friday night’s display by the powers to be I just can't be bothered anymore it’s hard enough to make ends meet without being told you are not allowed to drive for five weeks. “Have a look at the replays and tell me where anybody was interfered with or lost their chance to get the best result. He says to the powers to be “Get in the real world. I bet if I told you no pay for five weeks you would not be smiling.” Although he has since confirmed Smoken Up will make an appearance at Ballarat, Justice remains adamant a revamp of penalties is required in Victoria. “The stewards are too heavy handed,” Justice declared. “There is no defining difference between light, medium or heavy interference, and as such, it’s just bang...this is the sentence. “It’s mandatory sentencing gone mad. “Imagine we start pointing out the mistakes the stewards and staff make and say no pay. “HRV have done plenty wrong, but they don’t lose their wages.” Justice’s Facebook post received 215 likes and 63 comments of support, with four people sharing the post. Julija Brosnan’s remark echoed Justice’s opinion by posing the question: “How many professions do you know that penalise a misdemeanour by taking away a person’s livelihood?” Justice received three weeks for tightening when driving Im Barney Rubble two victory and two weeks for interference when partnering Machin Out to third behind Mark Dennis. Im Barney Rubble Machin Out The stewards’ report reads: Driver Lance Justice was found guilty of a charge under Rule 163(1)(a) which deals with causing interference in that shortly after the start he shifted Im Barney Rubble NZ down the track when not sufficiently clear of Asoka NZ (Alison Chisholm), tightening that gelding and causing it to shift down onto Cut For An Ace (Geoff Webster), that was tightened onto Alchemy NZ (Jason Hackett) and resulted in Onedin Hustler NZ (Greg Sugars) also being tightened, contacting the near-side wheel of Alchemy NZ and racing roughly. After considering submissions on penalty that included Mr Justice’s record, his driving frequency and the interference caused, Mr Justice had his license to drive in race suspended for a period of three weeks to commence at a time to be fixed. Driver Lance Justice was found guilty of a charge under Rule 163(1)(a) which deals with causing interference in that racing around the home turn he shifted Machin Out up the track when not clear of Artoc NZ (Chris Alford) causing that horse to be checked by its driver and The Baggy Green (Laura Crossland), which was racing to the outside of Artoc, to also be checked by its driver. After considering submissions on penalty that included Mr Justice’s offence record, driving frequency and the level of interference, Mr Justice had his license to drive in race suspended for a period of two weeks that was deemed to be cumulative to the suspension incurred in Race 5 and to commence at a time to be fixed. PAUL COURTS

The brilliant Muscle Hill filly Jolene Jolene equalled the world record for harness racing two-year-old trotting fillies on a mile track of 1:52.2 held by Mission Brief (also by Muscle Hill) when she captured an $84,250 division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Thursday (September 25). Jolene Jolene, who led from the half-way mark, made it four wins and three placings from eight starts and increased her stakes tally to $207,527. In fact, Muscle Hill is the sire of four of the fastest 12 two-year-olds in 2014 and four of the fastest 12 three-year-olds from his first two crops of 81 and 82 foals. Meanwhile, Southwind Stryker, a two-year-old Muscle Hill colt, won his $78,400 division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Friday (September 26) in a new lifetime mark of 1:53.8. Jolene Jolene and Mission Brief are the co-fastest juvenile trotters in 2014, while Southwind Stryker is the equal second fastest juvenile male trotter.  SS Poseidon, another Muscle Hill youngster, posted his second win in the $40,000 Harold Dancer Trot at Freehold on Thursday(September 25), while Odds On Amethyst, a Muscle Hill three-year-old gelding, earned a new speed badge of 1:52.2 winning at The Red Mile on Friday (September 27). Muscle Hill is currently ranked third on both the 2YO and 3YO Sire premierships and is the leading North American-based sire of two and three-year-olds available 'Down Under'. From only two crops of racing age Muscle Hill has produced 20 in the 1:55 list, 14 $100,000 winners and four world champions. Lucky Chucky, the Stallions Australasia studmate of Muscle Hill, is the second leading first-crop sire in 2014 and ninth on the overall two-year-old list ahead of great sires such as Andover Hall, Credit Winner, S J's Caviar and Muscles Yankee. An established 1:55 sire, Lucky Chucky's four fastest two-year-olds include two fillies and two colts and his richest include two fillies and three colts. Lucky Chucky has averaged 110 mares per season to date and this season he served 105 mares standing at Winbak Farm, New York for a fee of US$7,500.. Peter Wharton  

Harness racing’s excitement machine, Guaranteed, faces an arduous first-up task at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Returning from a 13-week break, Guaranteed is engaged in the popular Melton Plate for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Not only has the son of Artsplace drawn awkwardly in barrier six, the $50,505 feature has attracted a solid field of up-and-comers. Disappointed with the draw, Stewart remains positive Guaranteed can mark his comeback with a victory. “The draw isn’t the best, but that’s racing,” Stewart said. “From there, once the mobile pulls away, it’s all up to Gavin (Lang, driver). “Like all horses coming back from a spell, he is still fresh, but his work has been terrific and he has also trialled well. “We’ve got no doubt he will play a big role in the finish.” Citing Bettor Rock On as the main danger, Stewart believes Upanatom is the interesting runner, with Young Modern also to be treated with respect. Unbeaten from six Australian starts, Bettor Rock On will begin from the outside of the front line for astute mentor Ross Sugars. The classy son of Bettors Delight was a first-up winner at the same venue a fortnight ago. Prepared by Amanda Grieve, Upanatom is another former Kiwi which has made a splash since crossing the Tasman. Making a rapid transition through the country grades, the son of Christian Cullen has won eight of his nine Aussie starts. To begin from gate four, Upanatom finished second behind Glenferrie Ej in his first run from a five-week break at Geelong last Thursday. One of two Michael Stanley-trained runners, Young Modern has been in sensational form, winning his last five starts. By Modern Art, the gelding will be joined on the second line by his stablemate, Hilltop Hustler. “There are some very nice types in the field,” Stewart said. “Although the draw hasn’t been the best to him either, Bettor Rock On is the one to beat.” PAUL COURTS

Ricky Duggan needs no introduction in Tasmanian harness racing circles having been one of the state’s best reinsmen for the past two decades. Last season he was again dominant in the sulky, and while he finished second to Gareth Rattray in the drivers’ premiership, his term was capped by two honours that were bestowed upon him at the recent annual awards dinner. Duggan, 45, won the Halwes Medal which is awarded to an industry participant for his or her achievements throughout the season. But what really pleased Duggan was his induction into the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame…being included in the inaugural intake of the HOF was the icing on the cake for the popular reinsmen. Duggan has long been considered one of the finest Tasmanians to sit in a sulky, with his list of feature race wins clearly justifies his induction. Duggan’s achievements include: 1310 wins; Leading Driver four times - 1997/98 (68), 2002/03 (54), 2003/04 (59) and 2004/05 (78), seven Dandy Patch Finals, five Devonport Cups, four Raider Stakes, three Easter Cups, three Globe Derby, Granny Smith and Bandbos Finals, two Evicus Finals, Danbury Park Cups and Two-Year-Old Sweepstakes and a Metropolitan Cup. PETER STAPLES

One of harness racing’s forgotten stars will take a major step towards resurrecting his once booming career. Sidelined through leg injury for more than two years, Philadelphia Man will trial at Tabcorp Park Melton this afternoon. Touted as a Grand Circuit performer in the making for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Philadelphia Man has been hampered by bad legs since capturing a Breeders’ Crown heat at Kilmore in July 2012. A tough son of Art Major, Philadelphia Man won his last seven starts, including the Group One Vicbred Super Series. Pleased to have the stallion close to a racing return, Stewart stated Philadelphia Man will be taken along slowly, with no set plans in mind for the pacer. “At this stage we are just happy to have him trialling,” Stewart said. “He got to the trials this time last year, but never made it to the races, so we’re just hoping he can keep going. “We’ve got no specific races in mind for him at this stage…just see how he is after each run.” PAUL COURTS

You all know Caribbean Blaster is a fantastic harness racing competitor which is a four-time Group One winner. You know he is by leading stallion Bettor’s Delight from one of Australasia’s hottest maternal families. And you know he is a truly magnificent looking stallion with exceptional conformation. What you may not be aware of is that if you breed your mare to Caribbean Blaster this season his owners will rebate the cost of registering and freeze branding your foal in 2015 anywhere in Australia! Furthermore, the generosity is not limited to one foal per customer – it is available for as many Caribbean Blaster foals as you breed. It should also be noted the offer is in addition to Harness Racing New South Wales’ Colonial Stallion Rebate of $500 for making the Breeders Challenge series sustaining payments. Owners of local mares only need to register their foal with HRNSW to claim the colonial stallions rebate, while for interstate mares simply tear off the slip on the bottom of the Service Certificate and send into HRNSW - it will cost $275, but you will receive $500 back from HRNSW! This all means that a service to Caribbean Blaster will not cost you as much as you think. Caribbean Blaster’s service fee after a 20 per cent discount (if you qualify) is $2200 (incl GST) minus the HRNSW Colonial Stallion Rebate of $500 & less $185 registration costs brings the cost down to $1515 (incl GST)! In Victoria your Caribbean Blaster foal will cost as little as $1660 (incl GST). It all adds up to a great deal! To book your mare into Caribbean Blaster please contact Alabar on (03) 5859 2201 or visit our website – www.alabar.com.au.

TALENTED Tasmanian harness racing trainer Rodney Ashwood stated he got a “real buzz” out of preparing the winner of the David Medhurst Memorial Pace at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart last Sunday night. Ashwood was close friends with Medhurst, who sadly lost his life at a young age in a car accident last year at a time when he was making an impact as a trainer-driver. Ashwood’s mare Belliciouslips led throughout when rated perfectly by promising novice driver Wade Rattray, son of veteran trainer Kent Rattray. “Wade is a very good young driver and he did a great job rating the mare superbly,” Ashwood said. “I try and give the young drivers as many opportunities as I can because they are our future and I think we need to look closely at doing what we can to keep them in the game.” Belliciouslips showed good gate speed to lead from the front line, and when seriously challenged along the home straight, the daughter of Sutter Hanover responded like a good horse to draw clear for comfortable victory. It was only the mare’s 14th start, but it was her sixth win and Ashwood is confident she can add to her tally as the season progresses. Belliciouslips won twice at two, while last season she beat Australian and Tasmanian Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year, Barynya, in a $10,000 fillies’ event at Hobart. PETER STAPLES

Boom harness racing star Lennytheshark is back in work. Spelled as the result of a “niggling leg problem”, Lennytheshark will be taken along slowly with the prospect of a December return. Spending 11 months on the sidelines after damaging his offside front tendon, Lennytheshark returned last May to win his six starts for new trainer David Aiken. Following his Vicbred Super Series success, the son of Four Starzzz Shark was sent back to the paddock due to soreness in his nearside front leg. “He had a niggling leg problem, which we could have pushed on with, but we had his long term future in mind,” Aiken said. “It could have become a lot worse, so the choice of sending him to the paddock was easy. “A lot of work was put into getting him to get him back from the tendon injury, so keeping him sound will always be the priority.” Lennytheshark is in light work with Patrick Ryan, private trainer of owner Kevin Riseley, and is due to return to Aiken’s property by the end of October. Should all go according to plan, the five-year-old will be targeted at Victoria Cup in January, followed by the Inter Dominion heats in February. “Patrick is working him up at Kevin’s place and he will come to me when he is just about ready to trial,” Aiken said. “I’m not quite sure when he will be back at the races, but it will probably be around Christmas time. “The Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion are the aim with him at this stage.” PAUL COURTS

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There could not have been a bigger smile in Australasia – harness racing-based or not – than the one Ellen Bartley sported at Temora last night. Having her fifth drive, Bartley registered her maiden victory in what promises to a fruitful career in the sulky. Naturally pleased with the result, Bartley stated the win was just as much a relief as it was a thrill. “I was pretty confident before the race, but things didn’t pan out as expected,” Bartley said. “The plan was to go forward for the front and then hold the lead, but she came out roughly and we ended up behind the leader. “In the end it worked out well, which is great. To get my first win is very exciting and I was just so thrilled heading back to scale. “Even though it was a tight finished, I was just so excited and caught up in the moment as I felt we’d won.” Partnering Good Girl Shirl, Bartley settled the mare behind the pacemaker, Beauknowsbrownie, which set a modest tempo during the middle stages. With the leader tiring leaving the back straight, Good Girl Shirl appeared to be in a hopeless position before Bartley was able to squeeze through traffic at the top of the home straight. Sprinting solidly, the daughter of Elsu grabbed the front in the last stride to score by a neck from The Queens Portrait, with Miss Marnie a metre-and-a-half away third. “I was a little worried on the home turn, but thankfully we were able to get an opening,” Bartley said. “After that she finished well, which was great.” Covering the mile in 2:02.9, Good Girl Shirl extended her record to four wins and four placings from 17 starts for trainer Matthew Painting. Although based in New South Wales, Bartley is a Vicbred sister to talented reinswoman, Rebecca, who has been among the state’s top five concession drivers during the past few years. Admitting sibling rivalry is part of their relationship, Bartley, hopes to emulate her sister’s feats within the industry. “I will be happy if I can achieve as much as Bec has in such a short time,” Bartley declared. “Bec has done so well and to do what she’s done would be wonderful. “There’s no rivalry between us…well maybe a little!” A late starter as a driver, Bartley, 21, realised her passion lies within harness racing after spending two years at university. “I moved to Wagga to get my Bachelor of Equine Science, but after two years I decided it wasn’t for me,” Bartley explained. “I wanted to give driving ago, so I have stayed in New South Wales with my boyfriend, Blake Jones. “In a couple of years I would like to move into training, but for now I’m loving driving.” PAUL COURTS
Goulburn harness racing trainer Brad Hewitt drove two Canola Cup heat winners at Eugowra last weekend and believes one of the pair will prove very hard to beat in Monday’s $20,000 Final.  Hewitt is the trainer of Luksam, which he will drive him in the decider, while his father David will partner former kiwi trained mare Holm Three. “Luksam has drawn the back row and Holm Three will start off the front, so she is probably the better chance just because of the barriers,” Hewitt said. “Luksam was only having his second run back from a very long break. First-up he was a little bit disappointing after trialling well, but he travelled to Bathurst by himself and was really nervy when he arrived.” After disappointing Luksam was sent back to the trials, and after a strong performance at Menangle, Hewitt was expecting a better performance. “The Menangle trial was really good, but I still didn’t think he could beat Karloo Ten Seventy on Sunday,” Hewitt said. “When he got his chance in the straight he finished it off really nicely. “In the Final if they go too slow he’s got enough ability that I have the option of putting him into the race, but that will all depend on how everything unfolds.” Holm Three has only been in Australia a short time and really impressed with a strong performance. “We didn’t really know what to expect because she had only been in Australia for two and a half weeks, but she was forced to work very hard for the first part of the race and then relaxed, so I think she is going to win more races,” Hewitt said. “New Zealand race caller Mark McNamara told us about her when she was racing over there. “He sends us a few names every now and then and we liked her so a few owners stepped up and bought her.” GREG HAYES
An interstate trip for the beginning of harness racing’s Grand Circuit is on the cards for up-and-comer Blazin N Cullen. Should the former Kiwi perform to expectations at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night, trainer John McCarthy will head north for the Queensland Pacing Championship on October 25. While that sounds simple enough, Blazin N Cullen first has to compete against the likes of reigning Inter Dominion champion Beautide, speed machine, Suave Stuey Lombo, and proven campaigner Seel N Print. Admitting he is “testing the water” with the gelding, McCarthy is confident Blazin N Cullen can handle the step up in grade. Given Blazin N Cullen’s record since crossing the Tasman it’s easy to understand why McCarthy has faith in the five-year-old. Blazin N Cullen boasts five wins and two placings from eight local starts, including a 1:51.9 victory at the world class venue a fortnight ago. “We bought him as a nice horse and so far he has done everything we have asked of him,” McCarthy said. “He has improved with every run and has the feel of a good horse about him. “It is a big step up this week, but I’m happy to be testing the water with him to see just where he is at. “I’m hoping he measures up as For A Reason is being aimed at the QPC and I think he would be the right horse to go with him.” Predicting another quick time over a mile, McCarthy believes Blazin N Cullen will have no trouble staying in touch with the field after drawing barrier two. Blessed with brilliant gate speed, Suave Stuey Lombo is expected to lead from gate seven, while Beautide will begin from the outside of the front line. “I’ve got no doubt he can follow the speed, but whether he still has a turn of foot at the end we will wait and see,” McCarthy said. “I just don’t know if he can come off high speed and still run a quick quarter. “He has gone 1:51.9, but 1:49 and change against this quality of field is another story.” An exceptionally-bred pacer, “it’s a crying shame” Blazin N Cullen is a gelding according to McCarthy. By top sire Christian Cullen, Blazin N Cullen is from Rye Hanover, which is a sister to Red River Hanover, Rustler Hanover and Rocknroll Hanover. “He has unbelievable bloodlines on both sides,” McCarthy said. “It’s a crying shame he is a gelding as he would have to be one of the best bred pacers in the world.” PAUL COURTS
How would you like to win a set of $1,400US custom race bike wheels from Forward Motion Technologies, perhaps a full set of RazorHorse shoes, maybe a five gallon bucket of Lifeline Horse Supplement or a $100 Amazon gift card? These prizes, plus more - 13 in total - will be given away in Harnesslink’s month long Insider Access “Win The Wheels Contest” throughout October. All you have to do is sign-up for our fortnightly newsletter, Insider Access, by the end of October. It’s as simple as that (and be age 18 or older too). No fees, no charges, you can unsubscribe at any time (we suggest you at least wait until after the prizes are drawn), no hidden costs whatsoever, totally free to enter. Can’t make it any simpler than that! Insider Access is a great newsletter which keeps you informed on news and opinions in harness racing that you won’t get on any other website or magazine, even our own Harnesslink! Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing as you view the current issue of Insider Access.  “We are so pleased that some of our advertising sponsors have come on board for this special promotion,” said John Curtin, founder and CEO of Harnesslink. “I want to thank the people at Forward Motion Technologies, Lifeline Horse Supplement and RazorHorse for joining us and donating these great prizes. So take a moment to go on our site and check out the companies and see what prizes you might win.” At the end of October everyone who has signed up for the newsletter, even those who already get Insider Access, will be drawn at random. The first 12 names selected will win either the horse supplement or RazorHorse shoes and the 13th winner will get the set of sulky wheels, shipped to their residents, no matter what country you live in. A reminder that everyone who signs up must be age 18 or older in order to win. All winners will be notified via email and proof of age and proper mailing address will be verified. For the complete rules and regulations for the contest click here. Just click below to visit the three sponsors of “Win The Wheels Contest.” https://forwardmotiontechnologies.com/ http://horse.watchthemthrive.com/horses/elite/ http://www.razerhorse.com/
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