Day At The Track
Denis Smith, harness racing

Check out these Qld Winter Carnival bonuses

The Queensland harness racing winter carnival offers plenty, starting on May 23 and running until July 27. The finale of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the Group 1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is the biggest event on the calendar with the best horses from around Australasia vying for the honour of being crowned the Grand Circuit champion for the 2017/18 season. More than $1 million in prizemoney is up for grabs. A total of four Group 1 events will be staged while 14 Group races are scheduled catering for both pacers and trotters. Its 10 unmissable weeks of high quality harness racing action spread across two venues - Albion Park and Redcliffe. To celebrate the final Grand Circuit race of the season, RQ and UBET are offering owners and trainers 100,000 more reasons to race their best in Queensland this winter. That's in the form of: A $50,000 bonus: If a horse can win both the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake (split $40,000 to owner and $10,000 to trainer); $15,000 bonus: If a horse is placed in both the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake (or wins one and is placed in the other) - split $12,000 to owner and $3000 to trainer; The Trainers Grand Slam Bonus $20,000: Trainer bonus if a trainer wins two or more of the following - Queensland Derby, Blacks A Fake Queens-land Championship, Queens-land Oaks, Queensland Trotters Cup. International bid THE focus shifts to the diagonal gait as Australia bursts back on to harness racing's European stage. Victorian trotting mare Maori Time received an invite to Sweden's greatest race. Maori Time will leave Australia's shores on May 9 to contest the May 27 Elitloppet at Stockholm's famed Solvalla race track. Harness Racing Australia CEO Andrew Kelly said the invitation was a great result for connections and afficianados of the Victorian trotter. Owner and breeder Fred Crews and trainer Brent Lilley have both long awaited the invitation, which was pursued soon after Maori Time produced an Australian record smashing 1:51.5 mile rate when saluting at Menangle on February 24. The eight-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur and the Sundon mare Sundonna has faced the starter on 66 occasions for 24 wins, 19 placings and $421,301, posting an impressive best rate of 1-51.5. Owner/breeder Fred Crews got the best end of Sundonna with two other of her progeny, Happy Maori and Maori Law each winning 12 races and earning $89,365 and $86,669 respectively. Nineteen years back, another Victorian Knight Pistol went to Scandanavia in the care of rising superstar Kerryn Gath. The gelded and entirely pacing bred son of The Contender and the Lopez Hanover mare Pacealong annexed the Harley Davidson Classic in the course of his travels. Knight Pistol retired with 66 wins from 181 starts in Australasia, having accumulated $612,203 in the process. Both Maori Time and Knight Pistol were blessed with blistering speed, and it could be held that the pacing gene in both their bloodlines is responsible for this. There is no doubt that there has been a quantum leap in the speed of the average trotter in the last decade, but where does it really come from. Trotters AGM IN our backyard, the Annual General meeting of the Queensland Square Trotters Association will be held in the Marburg Community Hall on Monday night at 7pm. All those with an interest in the traditional trotter are invited to come along and bring suggestions for improving the Queensland profile with you. Marburg Show TRAINERS, don't forget that the Marburg Pacing Association will host a two hour segment at the Marburg Show on Saturday, May 12. There will be exhibition races with all starters receiving appearance money. Winners and placegetters to receive vouchers. Watch this space. Charges thrown out THE long running "match fixing” charges, which have hung over Warwick based former trainer Dayl March for 12 months, were thrown out by the Brisbane Magistrate's Court. March, who was arrested by police in the first instance, had his training and driving licences suspended. When those licences expir-ed , March applied for a stablehand's licence. This was also refused, placing the trainer in limbo. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 1-2: Lancelot Bromac (N Dawson) and Geronimo Beau (T Dawson). R2: E/w 4: Deano Robyn (G Dixon). R3: Quinella 1-8: Bettabe Perfect (P McMullen) and Smooth Showgirl (V Langdon). R4: Box trifecta 1-2-11: Ima Grumpy Possum (I Ross)-Village Witch (N McMullen)-Mafuta Vautin (D Graham). R5: E/w 4: Feel The Faith (T Dixon). R6: E/w 1: Ruato Bay (N McMullen). R7: Quinella 9-11: Anychance (K Rasmussen) and Mattgregor (P McMullen). R8: E/w 3: Fire One (G Dixon). R9: Quinella 10-12: Soldier Of Fortune (I Ross) and Argyle Beack (P McMullen). R10: Quinella 5-6: Mister Gunsen (T Dixon) and Our Dainty Lady (A Sanderson). Honour board The driver's side of the leader board remains volatile with Narissa McMullen topping for the first time this week with six wins. It's more widely spread on the trainer's list, headed by Chantal Turpin preparing three winners. Most pleasing is Playnserious (Gary Litzow, Headwin for Allan Godwin and Buddy Babcock for Nikki Chalk). Ipswich factor: 35/49. Albion Park, April 13: Exceptional Mach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Ina Great Place (Adam Richardson); Clintal Do (Nathan Dawson for Richard March); Our Major Day (Narthan Dawson for Richard March); Got The Goods (Trent Dawson). Albion Park, April 14: Jackeroo Bromac (Chris Petroff for Trevor Lambourn); Village Witch (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Playnserious (Gary Litzow); Rockonbye (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Comigal (Gary Whitaker for Brett Cargill). Marburg, April 14: Scott Tom (Nathan Dawson for Mick Benham); Headwin (pete Mcmullen for Allan Godwin); Lucky Ned Pepper (Adam Richardson); Argyle Beach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Rowdys Ace (Narissa McMullen). Albion Park, April 17: Amillion Promises (Adam Sanderson for Shannon Price); My Ajaye (Hayden Barnes for Josh Moore); Bet Im Special ( Danielle McMullen for Shannon Price); Subtle Delight (Gary Whitaker for Don Hancock); Tuesdays Fella (Nathan Dawson for Trevor Lambourn); Just Say Go (Trevor Lambourn for Jay Edmunds); Fifth Edition (Pete McMullen for Ron Sallis); Govinni (Darrell Graham for Al Barnes). Redcliffe, April 18: Surface To Air (Justin Elkins for Greg Elkins); It's All Go (Justin Elkins for Matt Elkins); The Frame (Darrell Graham); Always A Jewel (Narissa McMullen for Shawn Grimsey); Armbros Lad (Danielle McMullen for Steve Coombs. Redcliffe, April 19: Day Tourer (Matt Elkins for Alex Cain); Milly Bromac (Narissa McMullen for Steve Bunz); Proby One (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Bob Gage (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Swaffham Water (Kelli Dawson for John McMullen); Buddy Babcock (Nikki Chalk); Oyster Stride (Matt Elkins for Kay Crone). by TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett

Court throws out race-fixing cases

Race-fixing cases against harness racing participants Dayl March and Leonard Cain were dismissed in Brisbane Magistrates’ Court this week, leaving the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and the Racing Crime Squad red-faced. Both decisions cited a lack of evidence as the reason for the dismissals. The cases of March and Cain were the first match-fixing charges to be contested in court relating to QRIC’s harness racing investigations, which were conducted by the Racing Crime Squad. Last October, Barton Cockburn pleaded guilty to three charges of match fixing, pertaining to races in November 2016 and was fined $5000. Soon after, Michael Grant also pleaded guilty to different charges relating to the same inquiry. At the time, Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said Cockburn’s conviction “should put an end to industry speculation about whether the Commission would be able to gather sufficient evidence to obtain convictions”. “I hope the fact that two of the three people we’ve charged so far have now pleaded guilty will be a reflection of the evidence that was gathered in these matters,” Barnett said at the time. However, Cain and March chose to defend the charges and their cases were thrown out of court on Wednesday and Thursday. It is understood in the case of trainer-driver March, the Magistrate indicated there was insufficient evidence to proceed and the charges were subsequently withdrawn. Harness driver Leonard Cain had his race-fixing case dismissed in the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court.  In the case of Cain, a harness driver, it is understood the prosecution asked for more time to produce witnesses, but the submission was rejected and the case dismissed. Both QRIC and the Queensland Police Service declined to comment on the March and Cain dismissals on Friday. March has been sidelined and unable to compete since having his license suspended in April last year. Initially he did not seek a stay of proceedings because he had hoped the matter would be resolved quickly. Later, when it became apparent the case would drag on, he was denied the stay. Originally published as Race-fixing cases thrown out of court   By Nathan Exelby   Reprinted with permission of news.com.au    

The 2017 Melbourne Cup crowd

Australian betting market dominated by racing

Australia’s multi-billion dollar betting industry has undergone great change in recent years as the ubiquity of smartphones (86% of Australians now use a smartphone as their main phone) and the prevalence of sports betting apps allows Australians to gamble from the comfort of their own couch, on the wide open road, or even from the stands at the game. To understand the scope of gambling in Australia means gaining insight into what Australians bet on and who is doing the betting. The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports delve into Australian gambling habits in depth including detailed analysis of betting and sports betting, poker machines, casino table games, keno, lotteries and scratchies. Sports betting has gained prominence in recent years but analysing the overall betting market shows that racing – whether horse racing, harness racing or greyhound racing – still commands nearly 75% of the Australian betting market. Horse racing is the dominant form of betting comprising 50.9% of the betting market with a further 12.5% bet on greyhound racing and 11.4% bet on harness racing. Sports betting itself equals 25% of the money Australians bet in 2017 and this is dominated by the two major football codes which comprise more than half of Australian sports betting. 7.6% of money bet in Australia is on NRL/State of Origin markets just ahead of the 6.8% bet on AFL related events. The balance of 10.7% is spread around all other sports including tennis, cricket, basketball, swimming, football, netball, cycling and many others. Australian betting market – December 2017 Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422.   Australians aged 35-64 and those from NSW and Victoria most likely to bet Australians who like a bet, whether on the Melbourne Cup, Australian Open tennis, football codes of one sort or another, Ashes cricket, big sporting events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Cup or a myriad of other sports available here and overseas, come in all shapes and sizes. Analysis of the 10.5% of Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months reveals there are noteworthy differences with the proportion of Australians having a bet by age increasing until Australians reach retirement age at which point the likelihood of having a bet plunges. Only 7.2% of Australians aged under 25 have had a bet in the last three months compared to 9.3% of those aged 25-34 years old, 11.3% of those aged 35-49 years old and 12.6% of 50-64 year olds – the highest of any age group, before dropping to 10.2% of Australians of retirement age (65+). Analysing betting patterns by State & Territory shows a rougher co-relation. Australians in our two largest States are most likely to bet: 11.5% of Victorians and 11.1% of those from New South Wales (including ACT) have had a bet in the last three months. The likelihood of betting is underneath the national average in the all other States with 9.8% of those in medium-sized Queensland and Western Australia having a bet, 8.1% of South Australians and only 7.2% of those in Australia’s smallest State of Tasmania. The Northern Territory, which is home to many of Australia’s sports betting agencies due to favourable gambling laws, bucks this trend with 11.1% of NT residents having a bet in the last three months. Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months: Age & State Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422. Michele Levine, CEO, says Australians love of sport is well-known and for a sizeable number of Australians having a punt adds an extra something to the contest: “Over 2 million Australians aged 18+ (10.5%) have had a bet in the last three months whether on horse racing, greyhounds, or sporting events like the AFL, NRL, tennis, cricket or any of thousands of other sports available to bet on whether the sporting contest is undertaken here in Australia or almost anywhere around the world. “It is hardly surprising that Australians having a bet are far more likely to be men (13.9% of Australian men aged 18+) than women (7.3%) whilst there is a strong co-relation between age and the likelihood of having a bet. 12.6% of Australians aged 50-64 years old have had a bet in the last three months – clearly higher than any other age group compared to only 7.2% of younger Australians aged 18-24 years old. “Intriguingly the likelihood of having a bet also co-relates fairly well to the size of the State an Australian is from. The most likely Australians to have a bet are those from Australia’s largest States of New South Wales (11.1%) and Victoria (11.5%) whilst the least likely are from Australia’s two smaller States of South Australia (8.1%) and Tasmania (7.2%). “This disparity is likely related to the lack of professional sporting content available in smaller markets. As a comparison there are 17 professional AFL/NRL/Super Rugby/A-League clubs in New South Wales, 14 in Victoria, 7 in Queensland and 3 each in Western Australia and South Australia. There are no professional football clubs in Tasmania. “The relatively high proportion of Northern Territorians who’ve had a bet at 11.1% does buck this trend, however its worth remembering that the Northern Territory has long been a home to many Australians sports and horse racing betting companies due to the favourable laws in the jurisdiction. “To gain deeper insights into who the Australians that like to have a bet are, and more importantly, how much they are spending and betting when taking a punt, the series of Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports are an essential analytical resource to learn more about Australian gamblers and punters. “The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports cover not only horse racing and sports betting, but also casino table games, keno, lotteries, scratchies tickets and poker machines.”   For comments or more information please contact: Roy Morgan - Enquiries Office: (+61) (03) 9224 5309 askroymorgan@roymorgan.com   Reprinted with permission of Roy Morgan

Ashlee Grives, harness racing

Ashlee Grives tackling a different double

Having two horses race in Sydney on the same day might not seem out of the ordinary, but when Bathurst harness racing trainer Ashlee Grives prepares two hopefuls on Saturday it will be a little different. Her first runner in action – Spirit And Fire – will be at Royal Randwick, while later that evening Grives’ attention will switch from thoroughbred to standardbred when Isle Of Man attends the Menangle Park harness racing meeting. A four-year-old More Than Ready x Amelia’s Dream gelding, Spirit And Fire will contest the $60,000 Highway Handicap (1,200 metres). He joined Grives’ team this year after previously being trained by the Hawkes brothers. Grives is the not the only Bathurst trainer who will be hoping for success in the Highway Handicap, with Dean Mirfin’s Keymaster included in the field. It will be the six-year-old gelding’s first start at Randwick and Mirfin will be looking for him to improve on his fourth placing last start at Warwick Farm. Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate  

North West Coast harness racing fans will have the opportunity to see the best pacer racing in the state up close and personal tonight at the Devonport Raceway. The brilliant Todd Rattray-trained Harjett, winner of this year’s Easter Cup, will be shooting for its seventh straight win in his Heat of the Maxfield Drilling Raider Stakes, the Tasmanian four-year-old Championship. The Rocknroll Hanover-Our Zellweger dual Group 3 winner has won ten of its fourteen starts for owners the Rattray Family Trust and Wayne McLaughlin and will start a raging hot favourite for tonight's Heat and Final. The Tony Peterson-trained Usain Jolt is yet to recapture its two and three-year-old form but at his best would represent a danger if the popular pick was to find trouble and will have the services of leading reinsman Ricky Duggan. Sea Double Ugrant, trained by Peter Dornauf is in line for a winning hat-trick after two slashing victories in Launceston with Mark Yole in the cart but find itself taking on the silk department tonight. The Granny Smith Prelude for the four-year-old mares will be a keenly contested affair with Resurgent Dream, El Jays Mystery and Volkova Leis three of the leading chances. Gareth Rattray will partner the Shelley Barnes prepared mare Volkova Leis and is confident of a forward showing. "It's an even field, she has won two of her last four starts, we have drawn the second line along with the top chances El Jays Mystery and Resurgent Dream, Sophias Angel is going well too with two wins in a row, so I will be looking to push up early and try to get a handy position," said the champion reinsman. Gareth also takes the reins on Stagger Lee, winner of last week's 6TYo Free-For-All in Launceston.  in race two the Degree C Quality. "He bolted in last week and drawn anywhere else but inside the second line over 1930-metres I would have thought he was close to a certainty but now we are going to need a little luck in the final circuit." Gareth also faces a stiff task with the backmarker Chief Destroyer in the Sheffield Cup coming off the 30-metre Handicap. "The Chief will be well suited by the 2645-metre journey, the further the better for him, he gives 100% everytime he steps out and that's a big advantage when your driving horses like that," said Gareth. "Major Callum is similar in race five, we are out the back on the 20-metre mark, but he's won seven from the stand for Brooke Hammond, he begins well so I will look to get away smartly and make an early move." The first of an exciting nine-event card at Devonport gets underway at 16.29 and can be viewed via the live stream service at tasracing.com.au By Shane Yates

The Skye Bond-trained El Jacko won’t start at any fancy price, but several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have labelled the five-year-old gelding as the best of good things at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe, Guild president Wayne Currall and veteran tipster Bill Brindley have all made El Jacko their star bet. Manning spoke for his colleagues when he said El Jacko should atone for his defeat at headquarters last week by Whozideawasthis. “El Jacko confirmed his quality when winning from The Accumulator two starts ago,” Manning said. “He then endured a tough run when he faced the breeze and ran second to Whozideawasthis last Friday night. He has the impressive tally of six wins and four places from 13 starts at GP.” TABradio’s Matt Young is keen on Bad Round. “Bad Round comes up with a good controlling draw and looks the leader and the one to beat,” Young said. “Doesn’t appear to be much mid-race pressure and I think he'll go the trip.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas believes WA Derby runner-up Bechers Brook can go one better on Friday night. “Victorian-bred Bechers Brook possesses a sizzling late burst of speed and this vital ingredient should carry him to victory on Friday night,” Casellas said. “He gave a superb performance in the WA Derby last Friday week when he was 11th on the home bend before charging home, six wide, to finish second, just a head behind King  Of Swing. He is my best bet on a somewhat tricky 10-event card.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft agrees with his colleague. “Bechers Brook should relish a massive drop in class on his recent outings,” Havercroft said. “His finishing effort when second in the WA Derby was ridiculously good, making ground when six wide on the home turn from a near impossible position.” Longshot king Pat Harding is prepared to give the disappointing Tuas Delight another chance. “Although the heavily backed Tuas Delight put in a shocker last Friday night, I think he can redeem himself in the opening event this week,” Harding said. “Obviously Lord Willoughby and The Accumulator will be his main rivals, but I think Tuas Delight can get punters off to a good start.” VALUE BETS Ernie: Smackwater Jack, an Auckland and Gloucester Park winner this season, has been out of luck when checked and caught on the inside at his past two starts. Stuart: My value bet is Bad Round, who ran a good third at Pinjarra on Monday after breezing. Held up at previous run here. Well drawn in not an overly strong field.  Wayne: Ohoka Darcy flew home last Friday for a most unlucky third. Goes up in class but has drawn to get a soft run and could surprise at odds. Bill: Major Catastrophe back down to a mile, held himself in good stead during the Nights Of Thunder series, should run very well even from a tough barrier. Matt: Besotted, in the last, is getting back to his better form. It’s an even race and he was unlucky last start. Ken: Oneonthewood has been unplaced at his past five starts, but he caught the eye with his strong-finishing fourth behind Jimmy Mack at GP on Tuesday of last week. Ryan: Springsteen never got a look when held up in the Kellerberrin Cup on Sunday. His prior form hadn’t been too bad and this isn’t a strong field. Pat: A good win by The Bucket List a fortnight ago. Nice to see him return to form and I think he can repeat the dose this week in the eighth race. Good punting.

Bathurst trainer Bernie Hewitt is on track for his most successful harness racing season this decade after a treble at Parkes on Wednesday night lifted him to 60 wins. As he steered both Little Bit Dusty ($3) and Taylors Mill ($8) to victory and Amy Rees got the job done for him aboard Lifes A Jungle ($4.60), Hewitt moved up to fourth spot on the Harness Racing NSW trainers’ premiership list. He is on track to not only better his 69 wins from last season, but better the mark of 89 victors in 2015-14. As well as having trained 60 winners as of Thursday morning – including College Chapel in last month’s Group 1 Bathurst Gold Crown final – Hewitt has enjoyed 46 runner-up finishes and 52 third placings. Hewitt’s effort aboard two-year-old filly Taylors Mill was arguably the highlight of his treble at Parkes given it was her maiden win. She showed gate speed to take the lead from barrier three and wasn’t headed in a 3.6m win recorded in a mile rate of 2:02:1. Dubbo trainer Barry Lew finished the meet with a pair of placings following Karloo Threeothree’s second-placed finish in the Terry Brothers Carpet Court Pace (2040m) while the returning Ben Twofifty finished third in the Harness Breeders NSW Bonus Scheme Three Year Old Pace (2040m). By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Daily Liberal

The management committee of the Nanango Agricultural, Pastoral and Mining Society Inc would like to take this opportunity to welcome our members, patrons, community and all members of the public to our 109th annual show including harness racing, to be held on Saturday April 28, 2018. We are looking forward to bringing you an entertainment-filled day catering for all ages. Our show society is very excited to announce there will be no pavilion entry fees again this year, thanks to the generous sponsorship of IGA Nanango. Whilst we strive to maintain our agricultural heritage, we continually work to ensure the event is relevant for today's show goers. As well as our traditional features, including woodchop, rodeo, livestock events, pavilion displays, fireworks, trade displays, junior judges competitions, live music and entertainment, food stalls, bar and barbecues, Miss Showgirl and Rural Ambassador, some of our other attractions for 2018 are mini trots, Luke's Snake Kingdom, Noah's Racing Pigs, harness racing, hot shoeing and farriering, and so much more. As usual, without the dedication and commitment from our volunteers, members and sponsors, the show would not be the success that it is. The society would like to thanks our major sponsors, the Queensland Government Department of Infrastructure and Planning, Heritage Community Branch Nanango, IGA Nanango and South Burnett Regional Council, as well as our other sponsors, for their generous support towards our show. With the amount of work that goes into running a show, one of the most appreciated things is people coming to enjoy it. We look forward to seeing you here on April 28. by Nanango Show Society Committee

The Skye Bond-trained El Jacko won’t start at any fancy price, but several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have labelled the five-year-old gelding as the best of good things at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe, Guild president Wayne Currall and veteran tipster Bill Brindley have all made El Jacko their star bet. Manning spoke for his colleagues when he said El Jacko should atone for his defeat at headquarters last week by Whozideawasthis. “El Jacko confirmed his quality when winning from The Accumulator two starts ago,” Manning said. “He then endured a tough run when he faced the breeze and ran second to Whozideawasthis last Friday night. He has the impressive tally of six wins and four places from 13 starts at GP.” TABradio’s Matt Young is keen on Bad Round. “Bad Round comes up with a good controlling draw and looks the leader and the one to beat,” Young said. “Doesn’t appear to be much mid-race pressure and I think he'll go the trip.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas believes WA Derby runner-up Bechers Brook can go one better on Friday night. “Victorian-bred Bechers Brook possesses a sizzling late burst of speed and this vital ingredient should carry him to victory on Friday night,” Casellas said. “He gave a superb performance in the WA Derby last Friday week when he was 11th on the home bend before charging home, six wide, to finish second, just a head behind King  Of Swing. He is my best bet on a somewhat tricky 10-event card.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft agrees with his colleague. “Bechers Brook should relish a massive drop in class on his recent outings,” Havercroft said. “His finishing effort when second in the WA Derby was ridiculously good, making ground when six wide on the home turn from a near impossible position.” Longshot king Pat Harding is prepared to give the disappointing Tuas Delight another chance. “Although the heavily backed Tuas Delight put in a shocker last Friday night, I think he can redeem himself in the opening event this week,” Harding said. “Obviously Lord Willoughby and The Accumulator will be his main rivals, but I think Tuas Delight can get punters off to a good start.”   VALUE BETS Ernie: Smackwater Jack, an Auckland and Gloucester Park winner this season, has been out of luck when checked and caught on the inside at his past two starts. Stuart: My value bet is Bad Round, who ran a good third at Pinjarra on Monday after breezing. Held up at previous run here. Well drawn in not an overly strong field.  Wayne: Ohoka Darcy flew home last Friday for a most unlucky third. Goes up in class but has drawn to get a soft run and could surprise at odds. Bill: Major Catastrophe back down to a mile, held himself in good stead during the Nights Of Thunder series, should run very well even from a tough barrier. Matt: Besotted, in the last, is getting back to his better form. It’s an even race and he was unlucky last start. Ken: Oneonthewood has been unplaced at his past five starts, but he caught the eye with his strong-finishing fourth behind Jimmy Mack at GP on Tuesday of last week. Ryan: Springsteen never got a look when held up in the Kellerberrin Cup on Sunday. His prior form hadn’t been too bad and this isn’t a strong field. Pat: A good win by The Bucket List a fortnight ago. Nice to see him return to form and I think he can repeat the dose this week in the eighth race. Good punting.   Wayne Currall

Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. is delighted to be reunited with talented harness racing pacer The Bucket List, who looks a star bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night, despite starting from the back mark of 40 metres in the 2503m Book A Private Box Handicap. Hall has driven the New Zealand-bred eight-year-old only once --- 504 days ago when he brought the 14/1 chance home with a spirited burst from sixth at the bell to finish second to the 5/1 on favourite Hectorjayjay in a 2536m heat of the Interdominion championship at Gloucester Park on December 2, 2016. Hall replaces the Michael Brennan-trained gelding’s regular reinsman Michael Grantham, who is recovering from a broken hand. Grantham was in the sulky when The Bucket List smashed superstar Im Themightyquinn’s track record for a 2503m stand with a runaway victory by more than eight lengths from the pacemaker The Real Nadal last Friday week. The Bucket List started off the 20m mark and revealed sparkling speed when he took off three wide from last in a field of ten 750m from home, surged to the front at the 300m mark and rated 1.57.1 which lowered Im Themightyquinn’s record rate of 1.57.9 set when he started from 30m and ran on from tenth in the middle stages to beat Christopher Three by three lengths on July 23, 2010. The Bucket List, who has raced 91 times for 21 wins, 24 seconds and 11 thirds for stakes of $408,301, has a remarkable record in standing-start events. He had 39 starts in New Zealand for eight wins and 16 placings. Seven of those starts were in stands for three wins and three placings. In Western Australia The Bucket List has contested 16 standing-start races for eight wins, five seconds, two thirds and one fourth. That means that he has had 23 starts in stands for 11 wins, ten placings, one fourth and one sixth. Shannon Suvaljko, who will drive frontmarker The Real Nadal, said that the gelding, trained at Serpentine by Amber Sparks, has close to returning to the winning list. “The Real Nadal ran a good race when he led and finished second to The Bucket List at his most recent start,” Suvaljko said. “But The Bucket List beat him pretty easily. However, The Real Nadal meets The Bucket List on 20m better terms.” Tommy Be Good (30m) and Importer Exporter (20m) should be prominent, along with The Real Nadal. Tommy Be Good warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style when he finished full of running to win easily from All The Whispers and Red Hot Roxy in a 2150m mobile trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He dashed over the final 400m in 27.5sec. Importer Exporter, trained at Oakford by Chris Winston, is a capable standing-start performer who impressed when he raced in fifth position before finishing strongly to win the 2902m Easter Cup from Bettors Fire and Runrunjimmydunn last Friday fortnight. A new drive for Hall will be behind the Nathan Turvey-trained Carter Micheal, who will start out wide at barrier No. 7 in a field of nine in the final event, the TABtouch --- The Brand That Funds The Industry Pace. Carter Micheal, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old who has won at 12 of his 31 starts, is sure to be a short-priced favourite. But he is certainly far from being a good thing after disappointing efforts when a beaten favourite at each of his past three starts. Carter Micheal, a 2/1 on fancy at Narrogin last Saturday night, set a dawdling early pace, with opening quarters of the final mile in 31.6sec. and 30.7sec. before covering the final sections in 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. He was overhauled 25m from the post by McArdles Gem, who finished fast after enjoying a perfect sit behind the pacemaker. Carter Michael has had 25 starts in Western Australia for 11 wins and seven placings. But his nine appearances at Gloucester Park have produced no wins and just three placings. His chief opposition is likely to come from Walkabout Creek, Shes Artful and Shardons Rocket. Walkabout Creek (barrier one) and Shes Artful (No. 2) possess good gate speed and are capable frontrunners. The 13-year-old Shardons Rocket will start from the outside barrier and will have admirers at his 360th start after his sound second to Raffaello after racing in the breeze last Friday night. Ken Casellas

This Friday evening will see the 2018 edition of the Lizzie of Rosslands Kidz Kartz Rising Stars Drivers Series wrap up at Alexandra Park. Fittingly held alongside the triple header Group One meeting at Alexandra Park, the Lizzie of Rosslands challenge will find the winner of the 2018 Kidz Kartz Driver of the Year, showcasing the tremendous growth and contribution Kidz Kartz is making to harness racing nationwide. The annual series sees 12 drivers from New Zealand and Australia compete over six races at Cambridge and Alexandra Park. The competitors and their clubs are: Isabella Cassar age 15 (Newcastle Maitland, Australia), Jake Bigeni age 14 (Penrith Nepean, Australia), Zev Meredith age 15 (Franklin), Lillian Bouzaid age 17 (Taranaki), Kendra Rogers age 12 (Waikato), Sophie Woodhouse age 15 (Otago), Natasha Kyle age 16 (Southland), Sam Thornley age 16 (Canterbury), Navana McLachlan age 14 (Kumeu), Nathan Darby age 14 (Franklin), Katelyn Veacock age 13 (Kumeu) and Jordyn Bublitz age 14 (Waikato). The first round of heats were held at Cambridge Raceway on Wednesday night, with ponies provided of similar abilities from the Northern Kidz Kartz clubs. The results of the first heats were: Race 1 – 1st Zev Meredith; 2nd Nathan Darby; 3rd Sam Thornley Race 2 – 1st Sam Thornley; 2nd Jake Bigeni; 3rd Jordyn Bublitz Three further heats will be held at Alexandra Park, and presentations to the winner will be made afterwards. This year will be the final time the series will be known as the “Lizzie Of Rosslands Series” with the new name next year to be the “Kerry and Helen Hoggard Memorial Rising Stars Drivers Series”. The Hoggard family have been supporters of the series and Kidz Kartz from the very start and Marilyn Hoggard feels now would be a good time to change the series name to remember the contribution that her late husband Kerry and daughter Helen made. Kerry was one of the most widely respected and enthusiastic supporters of harness racing in New Zealand and raced stock under the Rosslands Stud banner with Marilyn and Helen. He was also heavily involved with HRNZ Board. Helen loved harness racing and was a keen student of the stud book. She was very involved in the selection of yearlings which included former Jewels winner, Lizzie Maguire. Helen was a big supporter of Kidz Kartz and generously purchased a pony for Franklin Kidz Kartz in Cossack, who is still racing today with the club. Kidz Kartz would also like to thank their other generous sponsors during the series: Dunstan Feeds, Breckon Farms, Kendayla Park, Chaff Chaps, Woodlands Stud, Taranaki Kidz Kartz, Tui Ribbons, PhotoForce Photography – with further thanks to Alexandra Park and the Alexandra Park starting crew, Cambridge Raceway and their starting crew, Aaron White and Magness Video ltd. Good luck to all competitors, and well done to our Kidz Kartz clubs nationwide for the hard work and dedication given to supporting our next generation of industry participants. For more information please visit the Lizzie Of Rosslands Kidz Kartz Rising Stars 2018 page on Facebook.   HRNZ Marketing  

Smart New Zealand-bred harness racing five-year-old El Jacko still has difficulty in negotiating the final bend in his races at Gloucester Park, but he has the class to overcome this wayward habit and win the 2130m Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace on Friday night. The Skye Bond-trained El Jacko will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line and Ryan Warwick is likely to adopt similar tactics he used last Friday night by using the gelding’s gate speed to forge forward in the early stages in a bid for the lead or to race outside the pacemaker. Last week El Jacko raced three wide early and then outside the pacemaker Courage To Live before taking the lead 450m from home. He was still in front approaching the home turn, but began to hang in and went inside some marker pegs before being overhauled in the final 110m by Whozideawasthis and finishing a 4m second to that pacer. Hardest for El Jacko (a winner at 13 of his 29 starts) to beat is likely to be Arthur Lowe, who will be driven by Jocelyn Young from barrier two on the back line. Arthur Lowe, trained by Nathan Turvey, was restrained from barrier eight in a 2536m event last Friday night when he impressed in finishing strongly from ninth at the bell to be second to Futurist. McArdles Gem also will have admirers after his victory over Carter Micheal at Narrogin last Friday night when he sat behind the pacemaking Carter Micheal before finishing with a strong burst. Warwick will start the program on Friday night with new drives from outside the Bond stable. He will handle Tisadream from the favourable barrier two in the opening event and The Spinster from barrier five in race two. He will drive Tisadream for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo in the Book Into the $50 Beau Rivage Buffet Special Pace, with the handy four-year-old resuming after a three-month absence. Tisadream, who finished third to stablemate Handsandwheels in the WA Derby in April 2017, is capable of a bold first-up showing. However, Aiden de Campo gave punters a valuable lead by opting to drive stablemate The Accumulator from barrier eight. The Accumulator started from the No. 9 barrier in the Clarke final last Friday night and maintained his excellent form when he was last in the middle stages and sustained a strong three-wide burst from seventh at the bell to finish fourth behind Whozideawasthis. This followed The Accumulator’s splendid second to El Jacko the previous week when he fought on grandly after racing without cover. The Accumulator is expected to vie for favouritism with The Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby, who looks an excellent chance from the favourable No. 3 barrier on the front line. Lord Willoughby Was buried in eighth position at the bell before flashing home to finish third to Whozideawasthis and El Jacko last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko, the State’s leading harness racing driver, is looking forward to driving smart three-year-olds Our Angel of Harlem and Golden State at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he gives both Mike Reed-trained pacers excellent prospects of winning. Our Angel of Harlem is drawn awkwardly at barrier six on the front line in the 2130m Bridal Expo at Gloucester Park Pace, a prelude of the WA Oaks in which she faces a strong challenge from Liberty Rose, who has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. “From the inside draw, Liberty Rose is probably the one to beat,” Suvaljko said. “However, Our Angel of Harlem is versatile. We have a few options; she can lead, sit or breeze. And she’s spot on for the grand final (the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 4).” Our Angel of Harlem won an Oaks prelude last Friday night when she started from the outside of the back line, settled at the rear and dashed forward after 900m to race outside the pacemaker Amelias Courage before getting to the front 80m from the post and winning by a neck from Amelias Courage, with Lady De la Renta in third place. She sprinted home over the final 400m in 27.5sec. and rated 1.58.1 over the 2536m journey. Friday night’s 2130m event will pose no great problems for Our Angel of Harlem, but Suvaljko said that the filly’s favourite distance was 2536m. “That’s her best distance; it gives her time to relax,” he said. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. spoke with confidence about Liberty Rose’s chances on Friday night, saying that the filly was talented and tough and that he was confident she would set the pace and prove very hard to catch. The New Zealand-bred Liberty Rose won impressively at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park at her first two starts in Western Australia before a broken carrier strap forced Gary Hall jun. to retire her mid-race in last week’s event won by Our Angel of Harlem. The Michael Brennan-trained Miss Sangrial will have admirers and should run a bold race after she had no luck in last week’s prelude when she was cast back in the field behind a tiring runner in the final circuit. Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Chris Lewis, will start and should enjoy a perfect passage behind the expected pacemaker Liberty Rose. The Colin Brown-trained and driven Amelias Courage should clinch a start in the Oaks final with another stout-hearted performance. She will start from barrier five on the front line and should be in a prominent, forward position throughout. Golden State will start out wide at barrier eight in a field of nine in the www.gloucesterpark.com.au Pace over 2130m spoke with confidence about the New Zealand-bred colt’s prospects in an event which is likely to be dominated by Golden State, his stablemate Bechers Brook and the Aiden Warwick-trained Sweet N Fast. Golden State began brilliantly from barrier eight in the 2536m WA Derby last Friday week and he set a solid pace before wilting in the final stages to finish eighth behind King of Swing. He was an all-the-way winner over 2130m two starts before that. “Golden State doesn’t have to lead,” Suvaljko said. “He’s probably better if you don’t have to use him from out there (barrier eight). There’s nothing between him and Bechers Brook and most of the time Golden State can beat Bechers Brook over 2130m.” Bechers Brook, who will again be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, should prove hard to beat, even from the outside barrier (No. 9). He was most impressive in the WA Derby when he charged home, six wide, from 11th on the home to finish a head second to King of Swing. Adding considerable interest to the race will be the appearance of Christian Cullen gelding Sweet N Fast, who will be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for trainer Aiden Warwick. Sweet And Fast possesses good gate speed and there is a strong chance he could be set alight in the early stages. His four WA starts have produced three wins and a second placing. Ken Casellas

In flight now back to the States, I have the opportunity to share additional observations and thoughts about the Down Under racing scene stemming from my month long Harness Racing related travels throughout New Zealand and Australia. While this has probably been about my fifteenth Down Under trip in the last eighteen years, the pace of Industry change is staggering and the challenges confronting the Down Under racing scene daunting. Both the general malaise felt by most North American industry participants, and the general negativity of crucial North American Industry trends, are evident Down Under. While the symptoms may differ, the underlying problem of relevancy in a new competitive environment seems to be afflicting the Industry worldwide. Lack of parimutuel handle, long a North American Harness Racing problem outside of the Meadowlands and Woodbine/Mohawk, is increasingly a problem. Down Under Corporate bookmaking companies like Betfair have taken huge amounts out of parimutuel pools, and fixed odds betting is now the pre-eminent vehicle for most significant wagers. This impacts both the Industry's bottom line and the ability of tracks to offer viable on site wagering. The Down Under structure of racing is totally different from ours, with Governmental, regulatory, and track management following a completely different model, but the siphoning off of betting dollars to these Corporates is threatening Down Under racing as off shore and on line betting is diverting North American wagering dollars from Industry and Governmental coffers. In this regard, New Zealand's new Minister in charge of racing has recently announced the hiring of a prominent Aussie Thoroughbred breeder and administrator to assess New Zealand's business model with an eye toward aligning all functional aspects to better regulate, coordinate, and optimize New Zealand's three breed racing industry. This is a much needed outreach, and all reports indicate that the individual chosen has a proven track record on point, but I think that an opportunity to really reassess NZ's industry structure looking at all global alternatives is being missed. The Aussie structure is very similar to that of NZ, and optimization might well require a fresh look at all alternatives. I am also concerned by the lack of a Harness Racing advocate in the mix, as Thoroughbred interests have a long history of structuring everything to suit their interests, often to the detriment of Harness Racing  interests. Just look at the fact that SKY/TAB still block international simulcasting of Down Under Harness Racing into the North American market while blithely saturating North America with Thoroughbred product! Hopefully, the speed with which one person can propose necessary changes will outweigh the dangers of Thoroughbred parochialism and lack of a comprehensive, globally focused analysis. Both in Australia and New Zealand, the Harness Racing industry is suffering from the effects caused by their lack of control of their own product. That is potentially a fatal flaw that, thankfully, we have not yet let happen in North America! The tracks have had all their simulcast/streaming rights assigned by contract to Sky/Tab. To be fair, the complicated Down Under racing income model has some compensating pluses - such as participation in income streams generated by other breeds and from sports betting - but they have become a supplier of racing product to a behometh that values only quantity of product supplied for wagering. As a result, race quality, programming quality, and international marketing opportunities suffer significantly. I spent a few evenings watching races on SKY and I could not believe how boring, annoying, and frightening the experience was! There was basically no race commentary, no interesting interviews or discussions, no soul at all..just wall to wall racing with dog, harness, and thoroughbred races immediately back to back. There is no concern to promoting racing, only to creating gambling addicts, which should be alarming to all! In the old days, many of the Down Under tracks, like many of ours' in North America still do, had really interesting programming of their races. That is totally gone now! A very interesting development is in play in NZ, where it appears the sale of PGG auction operations to NZ Bloodstock is in the works. There is a perceptive article on this subject on Harnesslink, suggesting that the harness industry, itself, should take over direct ownership and control of industry auctions as a means of keeping within the industry the approximately NZ$800,000 to a million dollars of net profit that these sales would generate to a lean, well run operator. The article suggests, and I agree, that these monies could provide a significant cash infusion to an industry in dire need of just that. In the short term, with good management and creativity, there is no reason that Alexandra Park and Addington could not take over operation of these sales to be held on site at their tracks. In North America, Hanover shoe farm's' brilliant strategic move in running the world famous Harrisburg yearling sale has been a major economic boon accelerating their ability for growth and investment. Both in Australia and New Zealand the industry would probably be wise to go in house with auctions! A few thoughts on various points....the best Down Under horses are now AT LEAST as good as North America's best! Absolutely no question about that! And they achieve this without the kind of veterinary support that we have....creating a truly international pacing championship race would make real sense now! It would need a huge purse ($)1 million, travel and quarantine solutions, big publicity, and be at the right time of the year (probably October/November). And it would probably be best raced every two years, alternating between hemispheres. Not easy, but this is the type of event that could be thoroughbred-like in its' popularity and global marketability. North American tracks should take a page from their Down Under cousins by having a special "birdcage" or room, where the track hosts (and toasts) winning owners after each race. They also supply a flash drive of the race, champagne, great conversation, and small, but nice, gifts! A gesture to owners worth it's weight in gold! Victorian racing is hamstrung by its' economic pressures resulting from years of poor management. They carry $28 million in debt and lost about $1.5 million last year. As a result, they hired a turn around specialist from outside the industry, and David Martin is delivering! Racing Victoria is slightly profitable this year. Amazing, as without corrective action, losses this year would've been in excess of $3 million! Sadly, because of racing's strange business model in Australia, this turn around was accomplished thru creation of more races at the expense of smaller fields and less interesting racing. Good for the short term bottom line, bad for racing long term, a fact realized by Mr. Martin. But to get to tomorrow, today has to be survived, and Mr. Martin has travelled throughout Victoria trying to explain the current state of affairs and the reasons behind Victorian racing strategy. This effort is admirable, and I sense that he is building a lot of good will even from those who don't like the remedy he is pushing. We need far more of our Industry leaders Down Under and in North America to follow suit. Racetrack owners and top management need to get out of the Board Room and communicate/interact with all elements of the Industry. There is no other way for our industry's administrators to understand the emotions and problems at play, and to hear the breadth of opinions they need to encounter to chart the right course. Too many of our leaders hide in ivory towers, oblivious to the thoughts, perceptions, and concerns - as well as opportunities - that are apparent to just about everyone else in the industry! What our industry needs everywhere is PASSION! It transforms, it motivates, and it is contagious! And racing's doldrums have eviscerated passion. Our leaders would sometimes be better served to make passionate mistakes than impassionate, reasoned decisions. Ours' must be an industry of passion, it is the only model enabling survival! On this front, I was extremely impressed with the Directors of Alexandra Park, Menangle, and Penrith. They are present most, if not all, nights when the tracks race. They are well dressed, pay attention to detail, are welcoming and observant. They are lifetime lovers of the game and they care! It was their real passion for the sport and their job that impressed me, their hospitality was a mere by product of that. Throughout this trip I met an incredible array of trainers, owners, drivers, grooms, agents, administrators,and racing officials....it was one of my most pleasant and enlightening trips! I could continue with quite a few additional observations, but perhaps on reflection I will at a later date. And, oh yes, I spent a lot of time with the almost twenty pacers and trotters that I have Down Under (with my cousin, Marc), and with our three trainers Down Under...and loved (almost) every minute of it! Gordon Banks

The life of a standardbred horse after harness racing commitments will take centre stage at Horsham Harness Racing Club's 2018 Pacing Cup meeting on Sunday. Nine-time winning pacer Kenny Trickem and former accomplished trotter Waikare Aristocrat have made a seamless transition to a new career under saddle and will appear at The Weekly Advertiser Pacing Cup celebration as ambassadors for Harness Racing Victoria's Harness Education and Rehoming, HERO, program. Cup patrons will have an up-close-and-personal opportunity to meet both horses as part of a new promotion called 'Pat Your HERO'. Waikare Aristocrat, 'Toff', has been involved with HERO since its inception. The 10-year-old trotting-bred gelding notched 15 wins for $124,160 in stakes from 69 race starts and worked his way down to metropolitan class before retiring in July 2015. He now regularly attends country cup and feature race meetings. HERO program manager Tanya McDermott, whose family bred and raced the son of Safely Kept, said the gelding thrived on human attention and demonstrated the renowned standardbred temperament "Toff is a people horse but has a special affinity with children," she said. "He likes nothing better than getting out and about and has travelled to all parts of the state to promote HERO. "He is also an accomplished show performer and enjoys trail and recreational rides. When he's not working for HERO, he is an excellent nanny, babysitting his yearling niece." The other HERO horse in Horsham, Kenny Trickem, was a favourite of trainer Luke Bryant's stable and has recently completed his re-education for riding under the care of Warren Cochrane at Cobe Lodge. Ms McDermott said Kenny Trickem, the son of Stonebridge Regal, last raced in September 2017 and was now available for sale to a loving forever home. She added that the horse had a magnificent nature and was 'very' laid back under saddle. "Kenny is a gem. His racing owners were passionate about finding him the perfect life after racing opportunity and he will be the ultimate trail-riding companion for his new owner," she said. "He is so entirely relaxed and loves to get out in the bush. Not much happens in a rush in Kenny's world, he epitomises the standardbred temperament we all love." Now in its third year, HERO is designed to create positive pathways for standardbred horses exiting racing, catering for horses that had ended their career and others that fail to make it to the track. "HERO works directly with the harness-racing industry, its breeders, owners, trainers and drivers," Ms McDermott said. "The program's focus is the facilitation of opportunities for standardbreds to transition from training to appropriate long-term retirement homes, primarily as ridden or pleasure harness horses. "Since HERO's inception, the support from all sectors of the harness-racing community has been extraordinary, not only those involved with the hands-on care and training of horses, but also sponsors, administrators and the like. "As a result, more standardbreds than ever before are placed into loving life after racing homes, which is a very satisfying outcome. "With the financial support of both HRV and the State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund, we are providing tangible financial and practical support for retrainers and heightening the profile of standardbreds who make amazing pleasure horses after their racing life has concluded." People seeking further information about the HERO program can visit www.hrvhero.com.au, email hrvhero@hrv.org.au or phone 0407 413 156 during business hours.   TANYA McDERMOTT

« Article Archive
USA
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Europe
Loader
Loader
The Queensland harness racing winter carnival offers plenty, starting on May 23 and running until July 27. The finale of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the Group 1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is the biggest event on the calendar with the best horses from around Australasia vying for the honour of being crowned the Grand Circuit champion for the 2017/18 season. More than $1 million in prizemoney is up for grabs. A total of four Group 1 events will be staged while 14 Group races are scheduled catering for both pacers and trotters. Its 10 unmissable weeks of high quality harness racing action spread across two venues - Albion Park and Redcliffe. To celebrate the final Grand Circuit race of the season, RQ and UBET are offering owners and trainers 100,000 more reasons to race their best in Queensland this winter. That's in the form of: A $50,000 bonus: If a horse can win both the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake (split $40,000 to owner and $10,000 to trainer); $15,000 bonus: If a horse is placed in both the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake (or wins one and is placed in the other) - split $12,000 to owner and $3000 to trainer; The Trainers Grand Slam Bonus $20,000: Trainer bonus if a trainer wins two or more of the following - Queensland Derby, Blacks A Fake Queens-land Championship, Queens-land Oaks, Queensland Trotters Cup. International bid THE focus shifts to the diagonal gait as Australia bursts back on to harness racing's European stage. Victorian trotting mare Maori Time received an invite to Sweden's greatest race. Maori Time will leave Australia's shores on May 9 to contest the May 27 Elitloppet at Stockholm's famed Solvalla race track. Harness Racing Australia CEO Andrew Kelly said the invitation was a great result for connections and afficianados of the Victorian trotter. Owner and breeder Fred Crews and trainer Brent Lilley have both long awaited the invitation, which was pursued soon after Maori Time produced an Australian record smashing 1:51.5 mile rate when saluting at Menangle on February 24. The eight-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur and the Sundon mare Sundonna has faced the starter on 66 occasions for 24 wins, 19 placings and $421,301, posting an impressive best rate of 1-51.5. Owner/breeder Fred Crews got the best end of Sundonna with two other of her progeny, Happy Maori and Maori Law each winning 12 races and earning $89,365 and $86,669 respectively. Nineteen years back, another Victorian Knight Pistol went to Scandanavia in the care of rising superstar Kerryn Gath. The gelded and entirely pacing bred son of The Contender and the Lopez Hanover mare Pacealong annexed the Harley Davidson Classic in the course of his travels. Knight Pistol retired with 66 wins from 181 starts in Australasia, having accumulated $612,203 in the process. Both Maori Time and Knight Pistol were blessed with blistering speed, and it could be held that the pacing gene in both their bloodlines is responsible for this. There is no doubt that there has been a quantum leap in the speed of the average trotter in the last decade, but where does it really come from. Trotters AGM IN our backyard, the Annual General meeting of the Queensland Square Trotters Association will be held in the Marburg Community Hall on Monday night at 7pm. All those with an interest in the traditional trotter are invited to come along and bring suggestions for improving the Queensland profile with you. Marburg Show TRAINERS, don't forget that the Marburg Pacing Association will host a two hour segment at the Marburg Show on Saturday, May 12. There will be exhibition races with all starters receiving appearance money. Winners and placegetters to receive vouchers. Watch this space. Charges thrown out THE long running "match fixing” charges, which have hung over Warwick based former trainer Dayl March for 12 months, were thrown out by the Brisbane Magistrate's Court. March, who was arrested by police in the first instance, had his training and driving licences suspended. When those licences expir-ed , March applied for a stablehand's licence. This was also refused, placing the trainer in limbo. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 1-2: Lancelot Bromac (N Dawson) and Geronimo Beau (T Dawson). R2: E/w 4: Deano Robyn (G Dixon). R3: Quinella 1-8: Bettabe Perfect (P McMullen) and Smooth Showgirl (V Langdon). R4: Box trifecta 1-2-11: Ima Grumpy Possum (I Ross)-Village Witch (N McMullen)-Mafuta Vautin (D Graham). R5: E/w 4: Feel The Faith (T Dixon). R6: E/w 1: Ruato Bay (N McMullen). R7: Quinella 9-11: Anychance (K Rasmussen) and Mattgregor (P McMullen). R8: E/w 3: Fire One (G Dixon). R9: Quinella 10-12: Soldier Of Fortune (I Ross) and Argyle Beack (P McMullen). R10: Quinella 5-6: Mister Gunsen (T Dixon) and Our Dainty Lady (A Sanderson). Honour board The driver's side of the leader board remains volatile with Narissa McMullen topping for the first time this week with six wins. It's more widely spread on the trainer's list, headed by Chantal Turpin preparing three winners. Most pleasing is Playnserious (Gary Litzow, Headwin for Allan Godwin and Buddy Babcock for Nikki Chalk). Ipswich factor: 35/49. Albion Park, April 13: Exceptional Mach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Ina Great Place (Adam Richardson); Clintal Do (Nathan Dawson for Richard March); Our Major Day (Narthan Dawson for Richard March); Got The Goods (Trent Dawson). Albion Park, April 14: Jackeroo Bromac (Chris Petroff for Trevor Lambourn); Village Witch (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Playnserious (Gary Litzow); Rockonbye (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Comigal (Gary Whitaker for Brett Cargill). Marburg, April 14: Scott Tom (Nathan Dawson for Mick Benham); Headwin (pete Mcmullen for Allan Godwin); Lucky Ned Pepper (Adam Richardson); Argyle Beach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Rowdys Ace (Narissa McMullen). Albion Park, April 17: Amillion Promises (Adam Sanderson for Shannon Price); My Ajaye (Hayden Barnes for Josh Moore); Bet Im Special ( Danielle McMullen for Shannon Price); Subtle Delight (Gary Whitaker for Don Hancock); Tuesdays Fella (Nathan Dawson for Trevor Lambourn); Just Say Go (Trevor Lambourn for Jay Edmunds); Fifth Edition (Pete McMullen for Ron Sallis); Govinni (Darrell Graham for Al Barnes). Redcliffe, April 18: Surface To Air (Justin Elkins for Greg Elkins); It's All Go (Justin Elkins for Matt Elkins); The Frame (Darrell Graham); Always A Jewel (Narissa McMullen for Shawn Grimsey); Armbros Lad (Danielle McMullen for Steve Coombs. Redcliffe, April 19: Day Tourer (Matt Elkins for Alex Cain); Milly Bromac (Narissa McMullen for Steve Bunz); Proby One (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Bob Gage (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Swaffham Water (Kelli Dawson for John McMullen); Buddy Babcock (Nikki Chalk); Oyster Stride (Matt Elkins for Kay Crone). by TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times
Race-fixing cases against harness racing participants Dayl March and Leonard Cain were dismissed in Brisbane Magistrates’ Court this week, leaving the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and the Racing Crime Squad red-faced. Both decisions cited a lack of evidence as the reason for the dismissals. The cases of March and Cain were the first match-fixing charges to be contested in court relating to QRIC’s harness racing investigations, which were conducted by the Racing Crime Squad. Last October, Barton Cockburn pleaded guilty to three charges of match fixing, pertaining to races in November 2016 and was fined $5000. Soon after, Michael Grant also pleaded guilty to different charges relating to the same inquiry. At the time, Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said Cockburn’s conviction “should put an end to industry speculation about whether the Commission would be able to gather sufficient evidence to obtain convictions”. “I hope the fact that two of the three people we’ve charged so far have now pleaded guilty will be a reflection of the evidence that was gathered in these matters,” Barnett said at the time. However, Cain and March chose to defend the charges and their cases were thrown out of court on Wednesday and Thursday. It is understood in the case of trainer-driver March, the Magistrate indicated there was insufficient evidence to proceed and the charges were subsequently withdrawn. Harness driver Leonard Cain had his race-fixing case dismissed in the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court.  In the case of Cain, a harness driver, it is understood the prosecution asked for more time to produce witnesses, but the submission was rejected and the case dismissed. Both QRIC and the Queensland Police Service declined to comment on the March and Cain dismissals on Friday. March has been sidelined and unable to compete since having his license suspended in April last year. Initially he did not seek a stay of proceedings because he had hoped the matter would be resolved quickly. Later, when it became apparent the case would drag on, he was denied the stay. Originally published as Race-fixing cases thrown out of court   By Nathan Exelby   Reprinted with permission of news.com.au    
Australia’s multi-billion dollar betting industry has undergone great change in recent years as the ubiquity of smartphones (86% of Australians now use a smartphone as their main phone) and the prevalence of sports betting apps allows Australians to gamble from the comfort of their own couch, on the wide open road, or even from the stands at the game. To understand the scope of gambling in Australia means gaining insight into what Australians bet on and who is doing the betting. The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports delve into Australian gambling habits in depth including detailed analysis of betting and sports betting, poker machines, casino table games, keno, lotteries and scratchies. Sports betting has gained prominence in recent years but analysing the overall betting market shows that racing – whether horse racing, harness racing or greyhound racing – still commands nearly 75% of the Australian betting market. Horse racing is the dominant form of betting comprising 50.9% of the betting market with a further 12.5% bet on greyhound racing and 11.4% bet on harness racing. Sports betting itself equals 25% of the money Australians bet in 2017 and this is dominated by the two major football codes which comprise more than half of Australian sports betting. 7.6% of money bet in Australia is on NRL/State of Origin markets just ahead of the 6.8% bet on AFL related events. The balance of 10.7% is spread around all other sports including tennis, cricket, basketball, swimming, football, netball, cycling and many others. Australian betting market – December 2017 Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422.   Australians aged 35-64 and those from NSW and Victoria most likely to bet Australians who like a bet, whether on the Melbourne Cup, Australian Open tennis, football codes of one sort or another, Ashes cricket, big sporting events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Cup or a myriad of other sports available here and overseas, come in all shapes and sizes. Analysis of the 10.5% of Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months reveals there are noteworthy differences with the proportion of Australians having a bet by age increasing until Australians reach retirement age at which point the likelihood of having a bet plunges. Only 7.2% of Australians aged under 25 have had a bet in the last three months compared to 9.3% of those aged 25-34 years old, 11.3% of those aged 35-49 years old and 12.6% of 50-64 year olds – the highest of any age group, before dropping to 10.2% of Australians of retirement age (65+). Analysing betting patterns by State & Territory shows a rougher co-relation. Australians in our two largest States are most likely to bet: 11.5% of Victorians and 11.1% of those from New South Wales (including ACT) have had a bet in the last three months. The likelihood of betting is underneath the national average in the all other States with 9.8% of those in medium-sized Queensland and Western Australia having a bet, 8.1% of South Australians and only 7.2% of those in Australia’s smallest State of Tasmania. The Northern Territory, which is home to many of Australia’s sports betting agencies due to favourable gambling laws, bucks this trend with 11.1% of NT residents having a bet in the last three months. Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months: Age & State Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422. Michele Levine, CEO, says Australians love of sport is well-known and for a sizeable number of Australians having a punt adds an extra something to the contest: “Over 2 million Australians aged 18+ (10.5%) have had a bet in the last three months whether on horse racing, greyhounds, or sporting events like the AFL, NRL, tennis, cricket or any of thousands of other sports available to bet on whether the sporting contest is undertaken here in Australia or almost anywhere around the world. “It is hardly surprising that Australians having a bet are far more likely to be men (13.9% of Australian men aged 18+) than women (7.3%) whilst there is a strong co-relation between age and the likelihood of having a bet. 12.6% of Australians aged 50-64 years old have had a bet in the last three months – clearly higher than any other age group compared to only 7.2% of younger Australians aged 18-24 years old. “Intriguingly the likelihood of having a bet also co-relates fairly well to the size of the State an Australian is from. The most likely Australians to have a bet are those from Australia’s largest States of New South Wales (11.1%) and Victoria (11.5%) whilst the least likely are from Australia’s two smaller States of South Australia (8.1%) and Tasmania (7.2%). “This disparity is likely related to the lack of professional sporting content available in smaller markets. As a comparison there are 17 professional AFL/NRL/Super Rugby/A-League clubs in New South Wales, 14 in Victoria, 7 in Queensland and 3 each in Western Australia and South Australia. There are no professional football clubs in Tasmania. “The relatively high proportion of Northern Territorians who’ve had a bet at 11.1% does buck this trend, however its worth remembering that the Northern Territory has long been a home to many Australians sports and horse racing betting companies due to the favourable laws in the jurisdiction. “To gain deeper insights into who the Australians that like to have a bet are, and more importantly, how much they are spending and betting when taking a punt, the series of Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports are an essential analytical resource to learn more about Australian gamblers and punters. “The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports cover not only horse racing and sports betting, but also casino table games, keno, lotteries, scratchies tickets and poker machines.”   For comments or more information please contact: Roy Morgan - Enquiries Office: (+61) (03) 9224 5309 askroymorgan@roymorgan.com   Reprinted with permission of Roy Morgan
Having two horses race in Sydney on the same day might not seem out of the ordinary, but when Bathurst harness racing trainer Ashlee Grives prepares two hopefuls on Saturday it will be a little different. Her first runner in action – Spirit And Fire – will be at Royal Randwick, while later that evening Grives’ attention will switch from thoroughbred to standardbred when Isle Of Man attends the Menangle Park harness racing meeting. A four-year-old More Than Ready x Amelia’s Dream gelding, Spirit And Fire will contest the $60,000 Highway Handicap (1,200 metres). He joined Grives’ team this year after previously being trained by the Hawkes brothers. Grives is the not the only Bathurst trainer who will be hoping for success in the Highway Handicap, with Dean Mirfin’s Keymaster included in the field. It will be the six-year-old gelding’s first start at Randwick and Mirfin will be looking for him to improve on his fourth placing last start at Warwick Farm. Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate  
Loader
Loader

Additional Articles