Southbound: Talented rookie Catcha Lefty is heading to Melbourne for the Australasian Breeders Crown series

Queensland juveniles off to Melbourne

Queensland harness racing rookie pacers Catcha Lefty and Get In The Groove have been confirmed by their respective connections as targeting the upcoming Australasian Breeders Crown in Melbourne. Both pacers are already feature race winners, in fact, both scored in their respective Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Finals at Albion Park back on June 20. And both have already qualified for the semi-finals at Ballarat on August 22 following their respective victories in qualifying heats at Albion Park on July 10. Both pacers will head south together. And stable together, with Clinton Welsh. Catcha Lefty is prepared by husband and wife combination of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte while Get In The Groove is prepared by husband and wife combination of Grant and Trista Dixon. The Dixon’s are no strangers to tackling the Breeders Crown after winning the two-year-old fillies consolation last year with Feel The Faith plus running third in the three-year-old final with Alleluia. But it’s entirely new for Cini and Monte. The Village Jasper – Lefty gelding is yet to miss the board in 9 starts this season which includes 7 victories. “We’re keen to get down there and give it a real shot; he’s the only horse we’ve ever paid up with this series and we’ll take our opportunity." "He’s a nice horse and he’s qualified, we’re due to fly out on the 17th and I’m hoping we can secure a race start with him next week which will keep him ticking over just nicely.” Cini said. Both horses haven’t raced since July 18 at Albion Park in the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Finals. Catcha Lefty finished a close-up third behind Leos Best and Roarn in 1;54.8 after working hard throughout while Get In The Groove crashed to the track after being wiped out by Victorian filly Heavens Trend at the 300m marker. Get In The Groove bounced back with a stylish trial victory at Albion Park last night (Tuesday) coming off the speed to win the workout in a mile rate of 1;58.6 with a final split of 27.6 seconds. The Mach Three – Get Happy filly is raced by her breeders Kevin and Kay Seymour. “We’re keen to give her an opportunity against the best fillies available, we think she has good ability and we’re prepared to head south and Grant is confident she has taken no harm from that nasty incident at Albion Park in the Triad Final, it was a good trial.” Seymour said. Get In The Groove has won 3 of her 5 starts to date. A Queensland trained runner is yet to win a 2yo Breeders Crown Final but have tasted success in the 3yo division through the deeds of Fleur De Lil and Tip Your Hat. Chris Barsby

Aaron Lambert

Queenslander home from North America

Australian native Aaron Lambert has returned home. The Queensland horseman has called North America home since moving there over a decade ago, originally starting as a groom with Mark Kesmodel and then Noel Daley before making the transition to be a successful harness racing trainer trainer. Since making the move, Lambert has never returned home, focused on getting himself established and providing for his family, married to his wife Lynn and their three children. Based in the ultra-competitive New Jersey area at Winner’s International Farm, Lambert has worked hard to build his clientele and numbers and his persistency has paid off with a number of talented performers originating from his barn. His best performer is quite clearly, Dynamic Youth. Lambert selected him from the 2010 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg. The son of Bettor's Delight and the Western Hanover mare Always True was an $85,000 yearling purchase and went through the ring named Altdelete Hanover. He is the first of six foals from his dam and the only one of her progeny to earn more than $100,000. At his most recent start, Dynamic Youth broke through the million dollar barrier in earnings following his fifth placing in the $500,000 Benjamin Franklin Final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono behind Luck Be Withyou in a mile of 1;49.0. His biggest victory came in 2012 when successful in the Cane Pace at Tioga Downs where he defeated Pet Rock. He took at lifetime mark of 1;48.1 at age four when successful at The Downs which equaled the world record for a 1000m sized track. In total, Dynamic Youth has won 24 races in his career to date while amassing $1, 022, 907 in stake earnings. He was voted the 2013 Pennsylvania Horse of the Year for his performances in overnight events at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Fellow countryman Andy McCarthy has been a consistent partner of Dynamic Youth during his career. Other top performers for Lambert include Townslight Hanover, Mr Massimo and Sharks Legacy among others. Lambert will catch up with his family and friends in Brisbane after flying into Sydney earlier this week. The talented horseman gained his basic skills from his father, Jim, a noted horseman in his own right.   Chris Barsby

Tintin In America - Has a very smart two year old in Zee Dana

Son of Tintin In America wins Breeders Crown heat

This Tuesday's harness racing meeting was at Shepparton and close finishes were the order of the night which featured two heats of the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for Two Year Old Colts & Geldings over 2190 metres. Heat eight went the way of the local training - driving combination of Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack with Tintin In America/Zwish gelding  Zee Dana. Driven by Nathan, Zee Dana led out from the pole, before taking cover on the well fancied ex-Kiwi Code Black to enjoy the run of the race. Assisted by third elect Born To Rocknroll moving from mid-field racing for the bell to keep the leader honest, Zee Dana made full use of the sprint lane to register a soft 1.3 metre victory over Code Black, with Born To Rocknroll 3.2 metres away in third spot. The mile rate was 1-58. Heat nine saw Vicbred Super Sires victor Shadow Sax continue on his winning way with a strong victory in a rate of 1-59.4, much to the delight of popular owner/breeders Russell and Pam Hockham. Trained by Emma Stewart  and driven by Gavin Lang, Shadow Sax who is getting better with every run, possied one/one from outside the front row with Peter Manning’s one time boom pacer Christmas Jolt leading from the pole with Greg Sugars aboard. Not happy with the tempo, Lang vacated the prime spot mid-race to park in the open and Shadow Sax outstayed his rivals, scoring by a neck after the pair drew away at the straight entrance. Swan Hill winner Betanotblink was 10.5 metres away after trailing the pacemaker. A gelded son of Shadow Play from the handy racemare Miss Saxony, Shadow Sax has fronted the starter on nine occasion for five wins, the last three in succession. Rockbank area trainer Rob O’Connell and stable reinsman Zac Phillips snared the Hunter Rural Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres with five year old Falcons Icon/Alkaliner gelding Jialiner in a rate of 2-00.7. Burning away from gate four, Jialiner was untroubled to lead throughout in  defeating Lights And Music which trailed using the sprint lane to no avail, the margin 2.1 metres, with Brother Rabbit 8.9 metres away after following the pair. Jialiner is raced by Peter Earl and partners who have won many races with horses using the “Liner” moniker. Riverina (Wagga Wagga) trainer Russell Campbell combined with Gavin Lang to land the Shepparton BMW 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres with Sportswriter/Aflyin Home Lombo filly Lombo Newsy Scoop. Driven brilliantly, Lombo Newsy Scoop settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, weaving in-between runners in the last lap before dropping down to the inside approaching the home turn. Using the sprint lane, Lombo Newsy Scoop finished best to gain the day by 5.2 metres in two minutes even over Wantalinga Dream off a three wide trail last lap and first starter Mesmeric which led for the final circuit after crossing Major Missile at the bell. Five year old Righteous Hanover/Jasmin Korikina gelding Black Jasmin recorded his first victory since May 2013 when victorious in the 1st division of the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres. Trained at Gingarre (G/V) by former New South Welshman Greg Lewis, Black Jasmin driven by Ben Gledhill was given the run of the race one/one from gate five, with the Narrandera visitor To Infinitynbeyond leading from the pole. Taken three wide at the top of the straight, Black Jasmin in a punishing finish prevailed by a nose over Tee Da Green (one/one) out wide, with Boardwalk Emperor  (three back the markers) using the sprint lane to be a half head away in a thrilling finish. The mile rate was 1-58.5. The second heat was taken out by another border hopper in 3-Y-0 Flight Path/Maud gelding Quagmire giving Zac Phillips a driving double. Trained at Cobbity by Belinda McCarthy, Quagmire led throughout from the pole, scoring by a neck from Our Grasshopper which trailed in 1-57.2. Bubbas Princess rushed home from last at the bell to finish third 28.8 metres away. Sit sprinting specialist Awesome Mattjesty chalked up his 8th victory in 62 outings (4 this season), when successful in the Neatline Homes Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres. Driven by “Rocket” Rod Petroff for Coimadai trainer Steve Zammit, Awesome Mattjesty starting from inside the second row was given a charmed passage following the poleline leader Tennaya, before steaming home along the sprint lane to register a nose victory in advance of Bettor Atom off a three wide trail from near last in the final circuit, with Royal Deviate (one/one at bell – three wide home turn) a half neck away third in another tight finish. The mile rate was 1-57.1. Speaking of tight finishes, the Equine After Care Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2190 metres was a ripper, with local trainer Stephen O’Donoghue’s No Tomorrow blousing Forbidden Forest in a finish with had all guessing the result including caller Dan Mielicki. Driven by the stable’s Bec Bartley, No Tomorrow a 5-Y-0 gelding by Life Sign from Cobbity Cobbity was sent forward after starting outside the front line to park outside the leader Forbidden Forest which had moved around Ramblenroller which flew away from gate four. With the pair being joined by Nor Nor West three wide approaching the home turn, the three went head and head to the wire with No Tomorrow getting the judge’s nod by a nose in 1-58.8, with Nor Nor West first up since February just weakening over the concluding stages to be 1.9 metres away in third place. Len Baker

Chris Lewis - Went for Lovers Delight over Dynamite Dude for Friday night

Lewis opts for Lovers Delight

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive Lovers Delight in preference to the richly-talented six-year-old Dynamite Dude in the $35,000 Howard Porter Memorial over 2130m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lewis has been in the sulky in all of Dynamite Dude's 18 starts in Western Australia for 12 wins, one second, four thirds and a fourth placing. But he chose to drive the Stephen Reed-trained Lovers Delight for two main reasons --- because the gelding put up a tremendous performance to finish a close second to the brilliant Waylade last Friday night and because he drew much better at barrier four on the front line, with Dynamite Dude out wide at barrier No. 8. He also considered that Lovers Delight's winning prospects were better, taking into account that he is harder in condition after several excellent runs in his current preparation, whereas Dynamite Dude will be making his first appearance since setting the pace and winning the Autumn Championship from Crombie and Northview Punter on March 6. Both Lovers Delight and Dynamite Dude are being aimed at the $1.8 million TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. Strong performances in the months leading up to the series will enhance their prospects of earning a start in the championship. The New Zealand-bred Lovers Delight has a 41 per cent winning record (19 wins from 46 starts) as well as recording ten seconds and three thirds. He was a 24/1 chance in a 2536m mobile event last Friday night when he started from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. He settled at the rear before Lewis sent him forward with a three-wide burst after a lap. He moved into the breeze before Waylade (who followed his run) assumed the position outside the pacemaker Bettors Fire 1300m from home. Waylade burst to the front with 250m to travel and Lovers Delight ran home with great determination to finish second, only a half-length from the winner, who rated a smart 1.55.7. Ross Olivieri, who trains Dynamite Dude at Oakford, said that he would engage Matt White to replace Lewis in the sulky behind the Victorian-bred six-year-old. Olivieri said that Dynamite Dude had scored an impressive trial win against moderate opposition at Byford last Sunday week. Dynamite Dude dashed over the final quarters in 29.1sec. and 28.2sec. and rated 1.593 in beating stablemate Awesome Desire by more than seven lengths. "First-up from barrier eight I don't see him troubling the scorer," Olivieri said. "It would be nice for him to be a running on fourth or fifth." "I plan to give Dynamite Dude about five or six runs before the interdominion series; two starts in August, two in September and two in October." Olivieri also will be represented by Our Blackbird (Stuart McDonald) and Red Salute (Chris Voak) in the Porter Memorial this week. He gives Red Salute a place chance from the inside barrier and is hoping that Our Blackbird has some luck after starting out wide from barrier seven. Our Blackbird has finished second at each of his past four starts after finishing strongly to win from Lovers Delight and Red Salute over 2100m. Lewis is hoping that Lovers Delight will give him his second success in the Porter Memorial, after scoring with Hilarion Star in 1992. Lovers Delight is likely to vie for favouritism with Bettors Fire, Classic American and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, will start from barrier five and Harper is likely to steal a march on the opposition by sending the classy six-year-old to an early lead before dictating terms in front. Bettors Fire began brilliantly from barrier six last Friday night and set the pace before wilting to fifth behind Waylade over 2536m. The shorter journey will be in his favour this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone, another interdominion championship prospect, is in grand form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he cannot be underestimated. Our Jimmy Johnstone impressed when he set the pace and won convincingly from Our Blackbird and This Time Dylan over 2130m last Friday week. "Drawing the inside of the back row hurts," said Greg Bond. "It's not an ideal draw and I'll leave the tactics to Colin (Brown). "I'm happy with his work and am looking forward to the Inters." Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has four runners in the Porter Memorial, Classic American, Northview Punter, Crusader Banner and Vapour He has trained and driven two winners of the feature event --- Make The Rules (1999) and Its Written In The Stars (2000). Classic American appeals as his best chance. He will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and should be storming home. He has finished with a powerful burst to win 2503m standing-start events at his past two outings. Ken Casellas

Talented reinsman Clint Hall is confident that injury-plagued four-year-old Elegant Christian will atone for his unlucky defeat when a solidly-supported 7/4 favourite in a 2503m stand last week by winning the Ross North Homes Handicap over 2907m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred gelding will start off the 10m mark and should prove too classy for his ten rivals. Elegant Christian settled down in seventh position in last week's event before Hall dashed him forward after a lap in a bid to get to the breeze outside the pacemaker Hez Got The Nod. But he was kept out three wide on the next two bends before eventually getting to the breeze 1350m from home. He took a clear lead with 450m to travel before being overhauled 200m later by stablemate Classic American. He then refused to give in and fought on doggedly to finish a neck second to Classic American. "You would have to say that he was somewhat unlucky last week when things didn't pan out the way we wanted," Hall said. "After I decided to move around the field I was caught out there (three wide) longer than I wanted to be." "It was not so much the period I was out there, but the fractions we were running around the corner." Hall said that the long journey would not trouble Elegant Christian, who is being set for the 3309m Marathon Handicap the following Friday night. "Elegant Christian is a week-by-week proposition, but at the moment he hasn't got any problems," he said. "After winning at Gloucester Park last September he damaged his nearside foreleg." "This required surgery to relieve some pressure on the back of his fetlock and after the operation the leg looks somewhat deformed." "He resumed racing with a win in May, but the leg problem flared up again." "We are still treating the leg and taking more precautions to manage it better." Elegant Christian, who is being set for the interdominion championship later this year, has won at 11 of his 15 starts and he should add another win to his record this week by proving too speedy for Danieljohn, who is racing keenly for Mundijong trainer Bruce Hawkins with three wins from his past seven starts. Ken Casellas

Ima Connoisseur continues to improve in leaps and bounds and Greg Bond, who trains the three-year-old in partnership with his wife Skye, predicts that the gelding will end a losing sequence of six by outpacing his rivals in the 2130m Gate Bar And Bistro Pathway Pace over 2130m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "He's working great and from barrier two he should be leading and I'd be surprised if anything will be able to get over him," Bond said. The Bonds, who landed a treble with Kinda Black, Baileys Gold and Ohoka Squire at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, also will be represented in the Pathway Pace by Holy Grail, the only other three-year-old in the race. Colin Brown will drive Ima Connoisseur and Chris Lewis will handle Holy Grail, who will start from barrier five on the front line. Holy Grail, whose past four starts have produced two wins and two seconds, has bright prospects of finishing second to Ima Connoisseur. Ima Connoisseur impressed last Friday night when he started from barrier eight and raced three wide early before working hard in the breeze outside Blissfull Boy and eventually getting to the front on the home turn and fighting on gamely to finish a 2m second to brilliant colt Beaudiene Boaz over 1730m. Greg Bond is more than pleased with the improvement shown by Ima Connoisseur in recent months. "I've put the foot down and have been racing him more consistently," he explained. "He wasn't that well gaited and we just decided to take the approach of racing him weekly where possible and even sometimes twice weekly." "He was a slow learner and wasn't smooth in his gait." "Now he's becoming a lot more of a racehorse, with the extra experience, and hopefully he'll head for the Golden Nugget." "His second to Beaudiene Boaz last week was meritorious." "I know that Beaudiene Boaz had him covered, but he didn't dog it and fought it out right to the line." "And two starts before that he ran second to Waylade at Pinjarra, and that's a sign that he's really come on as a horse." "We'll give him a little break shortly and then bring him back for the four-year-old feature races." Bond also is confident that Condrieu (Wanneroo Club Pace) and Phoenix Warrior (Garrards Horse And Hound Pace) will prove hard to beat. Both pacers will be driven by Colin Brown. Phoenix Warrior is not well drawn at barrier eight on the front line in the 2536m event, but Bond said though he considered the four-year-old was slightly disappointing when fourth behind My Mate Stride as a 2/1 on favourite, he expected him to do better this week. "The race wasn't run to suit, and driven positively this week I expect him to perform well." "He's a horse I have a lot of time for." His chief rival looms as Spectactular, who will be having his first start for five months. Trained by Gary Hall sen., Spectactular has won once and been placed twice from his first four starts in WA after arriving from New Zealand. Clint Hall said that Spectacular had had a lot of issues. " I think that we've got him over his foot problems now, but he could be vulnerable over 2536m first-up. However, he's a class animal." Condrieu bounced back to his best form last Friday night when he began speedily from barrier five, set a brisk pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 57.2sec. to win easily from Soho Lennon at a 1.55.5 rate over 2130m. He faces a sterner test this week from the No. 9 barrier. "There's probably a bit too much speed inside him this week," Bond said. "I'll leave it up to Colin (Brown) to assess the situation when the gate goes." "Over the 2536m he'll probably work into the race a bit later on." Ken Casellas

Pinjarra harness racing trainer Michael Brennan has completed arrangement for exciting gelding Nathans Courage to travel to Victoria to contest the rich Breeders Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings. Brennan will accompany Nathans Courage on a flight from Perth next Tuesday week and Chris Voak will drive the son of Courage Under Fire in a semi-final of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat the following Saturday night. Brennan is hopeful that Nathans Courage, a stylish all-the-way winner at Gloucester Park at his only two starts, will qualify to run in the $288,000 final at Melton on Sunday August 30. "He should go well," Brennan said. "He's a lovely little horse, a professional racehorse and he's so relaxed." Two of Nathans Courage's most serious rivals appear to be Our Waikiki Beach and Zee Dana. Our Waikiki Beach, trained by New Zealander Mark Purdon, is unbeaten at his ten starts and has amassed $324,081. He sped over the final quarters in 27.1sec. and 27.8sec. and rated 1.56.3 when he scored a four-length victory in a heat of the Breeders Crown over 2300m at Menangle on July 21. He won the group 1 Australian Pacing Gold, covering the 1609m journey in 1.54.3 at Menangle in April and he won the 1609m NSW Breeders Challenge final in 1.53.7 at Menangle in June. Zee Dana notched his second win from three starts when he sat behind the pacemaker and finished strongly along the sprint lane to win a heat of the Breeders Crown at a 1.58 rate over 2190m at Shepparton on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

Trained in Ireland by harness racing Mark and William Flanagan, Meadowbranch DJ is only two points off the top in the Anglo-Irish Inter Dominion series after three rounds. The final stage, back at the distance he set a track record at in round one, will be run on Sunday in Portmarnock, Ireland. The current leader he needs to beat is his duelling partner from across the sea, Brywinsmagicpotion. The now retired to stud Mystery Chase racked up twenty-nine wins at the track and amassed prize-money of $774,677. He was a sub 1:50 performer and won the Meadowlands Pace Consulation as a three year-old. However his best achievement has to be finishing second to Somebeachsomewhere, the day he broke the world record and put himself into the harness racing history books. He now stands at stud at Meridian Farms in High River, Alberta. His full brother, three years his junior, was purchased at the Harrisburg Standardbred Horse Sales in Hanover when Meadowbranch Stables bought his pregnant dam. They originally went to buy Mystery Chase, but found themselves the under bidders, thus settling for his full brother. Meadowbranch DJ since has not disappointed his connections; with over twenty thousand pounds sterling in prize money as a multiple free-for-all winner. He dominated the curtain raiser to the Anglo-Irish Inter Dominion series at York in June, breaking the track record in his ten-length romp. The chief challenger from Great Britain however, Brywinsmagicpotion, wasn’t allowing Mystery Chase’s brother to have it all his own way, fighting back to beat him in the second round. It was a gutsy performance and unsurprisingly another track record fell by the wayside as the pair pushed past breaking point to secure the sole ticket to Australia. At York last Saturday, both had to settle for second and third, as the Scottish Astounding led from pillar to post to take the third stage, in the third track record in as many races. He however can’t win overall, having missed the second stage. This confirms the race as a two-horse event, with Brywinsmagicpotion just ahead with it all to play for come Sunday. For Mark and William Flanagan winning the series would give them a second chance in Australia, having taken Sable Matters in 1997 to the Inter Dominion but for him to pick up an injury at the last moment. Mark Flanagan concluded “We’ve done it before, why not do it again? Dermot Weld won the Melbourne Cup, why couldn’t we win the Inter Dominion?” By Michael Andrews

Star harness racing pacer Menin Gate, trained at Shelbourne by Larry Eastman for a group of owners from Birchip in the Mallee, will take on a field of 3yo male pacers in Heat 10 of the IRT Breeders Crown for 3yo colts and geldings at Lord’s Raceway on Thursday night. Menin Gate has been Australasia’s dominant 3yo this season, winning the Sires Classic at Ballarat, the Vicbred Super Series Final, a heat and the final of the Victoria Derby, then in Queensland, the  Gold Coast Derby, and the Queensland Derby.  Menin Gate has amassed $377,548 in winning 10 of his 15 starts. He has drawn barrier 5 of 10 starters in race three, due to start at 7:30 PM. Chris Alford will pilot Menin Gate, who is likely to start a short-priced favourite. Eastman, who hadn’t trained a Group 1 winner prior to this season but now has four of them, said he was “stoked” with Menin Gate’s win at Albion Park 10 days ago in 1:55.1 (54.7). “He’s really come on,” the trainer said, pointing out a patient, carefully planned preparation was paying dividends. Menin Gate’s Birchip owners are rejoicing in the success of the “Birchip Bull”, as he is also known. In fact the whole town is. Local priest Father Eugene even halted a recent service temporarily to inform the congregation: “Menin Gate just won”. The people erupted in applause. “He is the people’s horse, I suppose,” Eastman acknowledged. “He’s got that ring about him now and it’s good for him and it’s good for the sport.” Noel Ridge

A desperate Sam Kavanagh admits he went outside the rules to try to end a frustrating run of second placings by his horses. That desperation led to him to contact Dr Adam Matthews, a former employee of the Flemington Equine Clinic who Kavanagh says arranged for his horses to be treated by harness racing identity John Camilleri. Kavanagh fronted a Racing NSW inquiry on Monday sparked by elevated cobalt levels and caffeine found in Midsummer Sun after he won the Gosford Cup in January. The long-running stewards' investigation uncovered several substances in the trainer's stable including Vitamin Complex which was found to contain 175 times the level of cobalt normally found in a supplement. Kavanagh said he sourced the Vitamin Complex from Dr Tom Brennan, a partner in the Flemington Equine Clinic, who has also been charged. The trainer told the inquiry he had arranged with Matthews for Midsummer Sun to be treated on the day of the Gosford Cup. He had previous dealings with Matthews who made up 10 "yoghurt" drenches which Kavanagh paid for in late 2014 by putting money into a TAB account operated by Matthews' wife. Until recently, Matthews had not been available to give evidence to the inquiry but spoke via telephone link on Monday. He denied ever discussing the drenching of horses with Kavanagh. "I said to Adam Matthews I was sick of running second and he said he could introduce me to John Camilleri," Kavanagh said. Matthews said he knew Camilleri as a bloodstock agent and was also acquainted with Paul Sequenzia, a controversial harness racing owner. He said Sequenzia and Camilleri had owned at least one horse together. "I was one of the vets Paul Sequenzia used," Matthews said. Further evidence relating to Matthews' betting accounts was held in camera. Earlier, stewards rejected a submission from counsel representing Brennan that cobalt was not a prohibited substance. They said they were satisfied under the rules of racing, cobalt was considered prohibited because it had an effect on the blood system. Brennan has pleaded not guilty to administering cobalt but has admitted giving false evidence at a previous hearing. He has been named by Kavanagh as the source of the Vitamin Complex. Kavanagh also questioned whether high levels of cobalt could be maintained by the use of registered products containing small doses of cobalt. Midsummer Sun returned a level of 550 micrograms per litre of urine after he won the Gosford Cup on January 9, well above the national threshold of 200. In early February, Midsummer Sun broke his leg after a barrier trial at Rosehill and had to be euthanised. An autopsy revealed his cobalt level to be 79. By Caryl Williamson Reprinted with permission of the Bloodstock.co.au site

Ricky Duggan might have to be content with finishing second on this season's driver's premiership but he managed to reduce the margin on Gareth Rattray by two at the harness racing meeting at  UBET Park in Hobart on Sunday night. Duggan drove a treble at the meeting starting with Tales of the City for Tony Petersen that was forced to go back from his wide draw (6) but had enough on his rivals to forge clear over the concluding stages to defeat Fortino with a triple dead-heat for third comprising Glamour Art, Cemento Rapido and Master Paige. Duggan then combined with trainer Juanita McKenzie to win aboard quality mare Queens Advocate and the much improved No Undies Sundie. Queens Advocate has won her past five starts and is unbeaten only once in seven outings since joining McKenzie's stable. The former New Zealand mare has now had 39 starts for nine wins and eight minor placings and if she continues to improve as McKenzie expects then she could shape as a contender for the feature mares' races over the Christmas-New Year period including the George Johnson. She has been well placed by McKenzie who has a good opinion of the four-year-old by McArdle from Genes West(NZ). No Undies Sunday has been quietly going about her business with this latest win her third from 10 starts and she also has notched three minor placings. The treble took Duggan's season tally to 65 but still 25 off Rattray who is attempting to make it to 100 winners. Rattray kept his hopes of notching 100 winning drives alive by winning aboard Our Percius in the Time Stands Still Pace (division 1) over 2090 metres. With four meetings remaining Rattray will need to be at his brilliant best in the cart to achieve the feat. Peter Staples

Master harness racing trainer Mark Purdon became a two-time Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic winner today at Maryborough. Purdon’s rising star filly High Gait produced a flawless performance in the 2190-metre stand-start Group 1 to score a 2.7-metre win in a mile rate of 2:06.3. High Gait is by Muscles Yankee out of quality producer Regal Volo. She is a full-sister to Breeders Crown winner Our Twentyten. High Gait’s 65secs first half set the filly up to dash home. She got home in 58.4secs, holding off runner-up Missandei comfortably with Sundons Courage third. High Gait has won six races from seven starts, her only defeat coming when second in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton. by Cody Winnell

The big harness racing day at Maryborough today with its sole focus on the straight out trotter is akin to the holy grail for followers of the squaregaiter. The jewel in the crown today was the $75,000 Victoria Trotting Derby which drew together the best Australian three year old trotters with the undisputed New Zealand champion three year old Speeding Spur. Speeding Spur's main problem was that he drew barrier 13 which was the outside of the second line in the ten horse field. Due to scratchings there was only four runners on the front line and Josh Dickie, the driver of Speeding Spur took advantage of the small front line and sent the son of Pegasus Spur forward from the start and grabbed the lead within the first 200 metres. Blue Sky Commander settled into the trail behind Speeding Spur with My Arya facing the breeze. Second favourite Illawong Armstrong circled the field mid-race to sit outside Speeding Spur but he really latched on and as a result there was no let up in the hot speed as he pulled himself into the ground. Turning for home Speeding Spur still held the front but was being attacked on all sides. Blue Sky Commander and Kerryn Manning were issuing a challenge up the passing lane after their soft trip while Amarula and John Caldow were finishing on stoutly centre track. However as he has done all season in New Zealand, Speeding Spur kicked bigtime when he was challenged and was drawing away again at the line with Josh Dickie giving a little victory salute as he hit the line. Blue Sky Commander ran into second with Amarula battling the last bit to run third. Amarula's run was full of merit as she did have a short gallop in the score up but was with the field at dispatch. Speeding Spur trotted the 2690 metres in 3:21.8, a mile rate of 2:00.7 which was a new track record. Trained by Josh and John Dickie at Clevedon in South Auckland, todays win by Speeding Spur was his 11th from 14th starts as a three year old and took his seasonal earnings over the $250,000 mark. His win today from barrier 13 after being attacked savagely mid race in track record time is further proof if any was needed that he is a superstar in the making. New Zealand breeders would have had a big smile on their faces post race as the first three home were all bred in New Zealand and that carried on the great record that New Zealand bred trotters have in Australian age group classics. Harnesslink Media    

The $60,000 Southern Cross Finals for harness racing three year olds were held at Port Pirie last night and both the Colts/geldings and fillies divisions fell to warm favourites. Three year old colts/geldings Final Hez The One was a dominant favourite here even though he was poorly drawn at one on the second line. The well supported Blurred Lines with Mark Billinger in the bike grabbed the early lead from barrier five from another well supported runner in Officianado who settled into the trail. Danni Hill had Hez The One off the inside not long after the start but the son of Jeremes Jet settled a fair way back in the running line. Billinger was able to get away with a couple of cheap quarters in front which forced Danni to bring Hez The One forward three wide with just over a lap to go. The speed really went on from the 800 metres with the quarter down the back in 27.2 and Blurred Lines was the first to surrender passing the 500 metres mark. Danni shot Hez The One clear and he comfortably held them off for an impressive win. Officianado just as comfortably held second with Hit Maka battling on well for third. Hez The One paced the 2050 metres in 2:35.2, a mile rate of 2:01.9 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 30.4. It was the 14th win from just 23 starts for the Rebecca East trained colt and took his earnings over the $120,000 mark Three year old fillies final On paper this looked a bit like an Emma Stewart benefit and that is exactly how it turned out. Even though she drew one second line, Lovelist was a pronounced favourite while Starburst Girl the stablemate was the second favourite. The one filly that could have possibly upset the Emma Stewart pair in Whats Emma Got, blew any winning chance she had when she galloped early when being rushed off the gate. Mark Billinger worked Lovelist off the inside early in the race and grabbed the lead after 500 metres. Starburst Girl in the hands of Anthony Butt worked hard for the first 600 metres from her wide second line draw before finding the death seat outside Lovelist.  Mark Billinger was in no real hurry in front, before upping the tempo passing the 800 metres mark. At that point Danni Hill sent Whats Emma Got forward but she was posted three wide when the speed went on and was having trouble hanging on to the Stewart pair passing the 400 metres. Lovelist opened up a handy break turning in and although Starburst Girl kept coming she never looked a serious winning threat. Whats Emma Got showed real tenacity to keep going and hold third after such a hard run.  Lovelist paced the 2050 metres in 2:33.1, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 28. It was the 13th win from just 24 starts for the daughter of Always A Virgin and took her earnings over the $130,000 mark. It was a night to remember for Mark Billinger who drove the winners of three of the four $60,000 finals on offer. Harnesslink Media  

Last night Port Pirie stepped onto harness racing's big stage when it hosted this years finals of the $60,000 Southern Cross series. The two year old finals were like chalk and cheese with the fillies looking a one horse race while the colts and gelding section looked a lot more even. South Australian reinsman Mark Billinger was the star of the show winning both two year old finals Two year old colt/geldings final  The two best horses here on paper both drew poorly and as a result the race was thrown wide open. The Art Major gelding Rap Artist drew three on the second line while the Mach Three gelding  Presidentmach drew five on the second line which really evened up the contest. The Big Show from barrier three lead early while trainer / driver Mark Billinger followed him through from the second line with Rap Artist but was left parked out three wide for over 600 metres before finding the death seat. Danni Hill settled Presidentmach back early but took off three wide with a lap to go and ranged up outside the leaders at the 400 metres mark. As they turned for home The Big Show still had the front but was grabbed by a very game Rap Artist 50 metres out who then just held off an equally game Presidentmach who just kept coming. To make it more interesting, Jumping Jolt flashed late for a very close third just in front of The Big Show who battled on gamely. The mile was cut out in 1:58.3 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 30.1. It was a great race with the first two home putting up huge efforts. Two year old fillies final On paper this looked a one horse affair and thats how it panned out. The Rock N Roll Heaven filly Rocknroll Magic from the Emma Stewart barn drew beautifully at barrier three and driver Mark Billinger let her work to the front under her own steam after 300 metres and from there it was a one horse show. Given her head by Mark at the 500 metres mark, Rocnkroll Magic raced away and won easing down by a huge 23 metres. The Rocknroll Hanover filly Rockfromcork ran home well along the inner for second in front of the Union Guy filly, Little Miss Piggy who battled on for third but the winner was in a class of her own She paced the mile in a smart 1:57.8 with closing sectionals of 57.4 and 29.1 and won with a lot in hand. The task of Rocknroll Magic was made a touch easier when stablemate and second favourite Celebrity Guest was involved in an early skirmish which extinguished her chances. Rocknroll Magic has now won eight from eleven in her debut season and looks a filly of the highest class. Harnesslink Media  

« Article Archive
USA
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Europe
Loader
Loader
Queensland harness racing rookie pacers Catcha Lefty and Get In The Groove have been confirmed by their respective connections as targeting the upcoming Australasian Breeders Crown in Melbourne. Both pacers are already feature race winners, in fact, both scored in their respective Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Finals at Albion Park back on June 20. And both have already qualified for the semi-finals at Ballarat on August 22 following their respective victories in qualifying heats at Albion Park on July 10. Both pacers will head south together. And stable together, with Clinton Welsh. Catcha Lefty is prepared by husband and wife combination of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte while Get In The Groove is prepared by husband and wife combination of Grant and Trista Dixon. The Dixon’s are no strangers to tackling the Breeders Crown after winning the two-year-old fillies consolation last year with Feel The Faith plus running third in the three-year-old final with Alleluia. But it’s entirely new for Cini and Monte. The Village Jasper – Lefty gelding is yet to miss the board in 9 starts this season which includes 7 victories. “We’re keen to get down there and give it a real shot; he’s the only horse we’ve ever paid up with this series and we’ll take our opportunity." "He’s a nice horse and he’s qualified, we’re due to fly out on the 17th and I’m hoping we can secure a race start with him next week which will keep him ticking over just nicely.” Cini said. Both horses haven’t raced since July 18 at Albion Park in the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Finals. Catcha Lefty finished a close-up third behind Leos Best and Roarn in 1;54.8 after working hard throughout while Get In The Groove crashed to the track after being wiped out by Victorian filly Heavens Trend at the 300m marker. Get In The Groove bounced back with a stylish trial victory at Albion Park last night (Tuesday) coming off the speed to win the workout in a mile rate of 1;58.6 with a final split of 27.6 seconds. The Mach Three – Get Happy filly is raced by her breeders Kevin and Kay Seymour. “We’re keen to give her an opportunity against the best fillies available, we think she has good ability and we’re prepared to head south and Grant is confident she has taken no harm from that nasty incident at Albion Park in the Triad Final, it was a good trial.” Seymour said. Get In The Groove has won 3 of her 5 starts to date. A Queensland trained runner is yet to win a 2yo Breeders Crown Final but have tasted success in the 3yo division through the deeds of Fleur De Lil and Tip Your Hat. Chris Barsby
Australian native Aaron Lambert has returned home. The Queensland horseman has called North America home since moving there over a decade ago, originally starting as a groom with Mark Kesmodel and then Noel Daley before making the transition to be a successful harness racing trainer trainer. Since making the move, Lambert has never returned home, focused on getting himself established and providing for his family, married to his wife Lynn and their three children. Based in the ultra-competitive New Jersey area at Winner’s International Farm, Lambert has worked hard to build his clientele and numbers and his persistency has paid off with a number of talented performers originating from his barn. His best performer is quite clearly, Dynamic Youth. Lambert selected him from the 2010 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg. The son of Bettor's Delight and the Western Hanover mare Always True was an $85,000 yearling purchase and went through the ring named Altdelete Hanover. He is the first of six foals from his dam and the only one of her progeny to earn more than $100,000. At his most recent start, Dynamic Youth broke through the million dollar barrier in earnings following his fifth placing in the $500,000 Benjamin Franklin Final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono behind Luck Be Withyou in a mile of 1;49.0. His biggest victory came in 2012 when successful in the Cane Pace at Tioga Downs where he defeated Pet Rock. He took at lifetime mark of 1;48.1 at age four when successful at The Downs which equaled the world record for a 1000m sized track. In total, Dynamic Youth has won 24 races in his career to date while amassing $1, 022, 907 in stake earnings. He was voted the 2013 Pennsylvania Horse of the Year for his performances in overnight events at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Fellow countryman Andy McCarthy has been a consistent partner of Dynamic Youth during his career. Other top performers for Lambert include Townslight Hanover, Mr Massimo and Sharks Legacy among others. Lambert will catch up with his family and friends in Brisbane after flying into Sydney earlier this week. The talented horseman gained his basic skills from his father, Jim, a noted horseman in his own right.   Chris Barsby
This Tuesday's harness racing meeting was at Shepparton and close finishes were the order of the night which featured two heats of the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for Two Year Old Colts & Geldings over 2190 metres. Heat eight went the way of the local training - driving combination of Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack with Tintin In America/Zwish gelding  Zee Dana. Driven by Nathan, Zee Dana led out from the pole, before taking cover on the well fancied ex-Kiwi Code Black to enjoy the run of the race. Assisted by third elect Born To Rocknroll moving from mid-field racing for the bell to keep the leader honest, Zee Dana made full use of the sprint lane to register a soft 1.3 metre victory over Code Black, with Born To Rocknroll 3.2 metres away in third spot. The mile rate was 1-58. Heat nine saw Vicbred Super Sires victor Shadow Sax continue on his winning way with a strong victory in a rate of 1-59.4, much to the delight of popular owner/breeders Russell and Pam Hockham. Trained by Emma Stewart  and driven by Gavin Lang, Shadow Sax who is getting better with every run, possied one/one from outside the front row with Peter Manning’s one time boom pacer Christmas Jolt leading from the pole with Greg Sugars aboard. Not happy with the tempo, Lang vacated the prime spot mid-race to park in the open and Shadow Sax outstayed his rivals, scoring by a neck after the pair drew away at the straight entrance. Swan Hill winner Betanotblink was 10.5 metres away after trailing the pacemaker. A gelded son of Shadow Play from the handy racemare Miss Saxony, Shadow Sax has fronted the starter on nine occasion for five wins, the last three in succession. Rockbank area trainer Rob O’Connell and stable reinsman Zac Phillips snared the Hunter Rural Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres with five year old Falcons Icon/Alkaliner gelding Jialiner in a rate of 2-00.7. Burning away from gate four, Jialiner was untroubled to lead throughout in  defeating Lights And Music which trailed using the sprint lane to no avail, the margin 2.1 metres, with Brother Rabbit 8.9 metres away after following the pair. Jialiner is raced by Peter Earl and partners who have won many races with horses using the “Liner” moniker. Riverina (Wagga Wagga) trainer Russell Campbell combined with Gavin Lang to land the Shepparton BMW 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres with Sportswriter/Aflyin Home Lombo filly Lombo Newsy Scoop. Driven brilliantly, Lombo Newsy Scoop settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, weaving in-between runners in the last lap before dropping down to the inside approaching the home turn. Using the sprint lane, Lombo Newsy Scoop finished best to gain the day by 5.2 metres in two minutes even over Wantalinga Dream off a three wide trail last lap and first starter Mesmeric which led for the final circuit after crossing Major Missile at the bell. Five year old Righteous Hanover/Jasmin Korikina gelding Black Jasmin recorded his first victory since May 2013 when victorious in the 1st division of the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres. Trained at Gingarre (G/V) by former New South Welshman Greg Lewis, Black Jasmin driven by Ben Gledhill was given the run of the race one/one from gate five, with the Narrandera visitor To Infinitynbeyond leading from the pole. Taken three wide at the top of the straight, Black Jasmin in a punishing finish prevailed by a nose over Tee Da Green (one/one) out wide, with Boardwalk Emperor  (three back the markers) using the sprint lane to be a half head away in a thrilling finish. The mile rate was 1-58.5. The second heat was taken out by another border hopper in 3-Y-0 Flight Path/Maud gelding Quagmire giving Zac Phillips a driving double. Trained at Cobbity by Belinda McCarthy, Quagmire led throughout from the pole, scoring by a neck from Our Grasshopper which trailed in 1-57.2. Bubbas Princess rushed home from last at the bell to finish third 28.8 metres away. Sit sprinting specialist Awesome Mattjesty chalked up his 8th victory in 62 outings (4 this season), when successful in the Neatline Homes Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres. Driven by “Rocket” Rod Petroff for Coimadai trainer Steve Zammit, Awesome Mattjesty starting from inside the second row was given a charmed passage following the poleline leader Tennaya, before steaming home along the sprint lane to register a nose victory in advance of Bettor Atom off a three wide trail from near last in the final circuit, with Royal Deviate (one/one at bell – three wide home turn) a half neck away third in another tight finish. The mile rate was 1-57.1. Speaking of tight finishes, the Equine After Care Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2190 metres was a ripper, with local trainer Stephen O’Donoghue’s No Tomorrow blousing Forbidden Forest in a finish with had all guessing the result including caller Dan Mielicki. Driven by the stable’s Bec Bartley, No Tomorrow a 5-Y-0 gelding by Life Sign from Cobbity Cobbity was sent forward after starting outside the front line to park outside the leader Forbidden Forest which had moved around Ramblenroller which flew away from gate four. With the pair being joined by Nor Nor West three wide approaching the home turn, the three went head and head to the wire with No Tomorrow getting the judge’s nod by a nose in 1-58.8, with Nor Nor West first up since February just weakening over the concluding stages to be 1.9 metres away in third place. Len Baker
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive Lovers Delight in preference to the richly-talented six-year-old Dynamite Dude in the $35,000 Howard Porter Memorial over 2130m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lewis has been in the sulky in all of Dynamite Dude's 18 starts in Western Australia for 12 wins, one second, four thirds and a fourth placing. But he chose to drive the Stephen Reed-trained Lovers Delight for two main reasons --- because the gelding put up a tremendous performance to finish a close second to the brilliant Waylade last Friday night and because he drew much better at barrier four on the front line, with Dynamite Dude out wide at barrier No. 8. He also considered that Lovers Delight's winning prospects were better, taking into account that he is harder in condition after several excellent runs in his current preparation, whereas Dynamite Dude will be making his first appearance since setting the pace and winning the Autumn Championship from Crombie and Northview Punter on March 6. Both Lovers Delight and Dynamite Dude are being aimed at the $1.8 million TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. Strong performances in the months leading up to the series will enhance their prospects of earning a start in the championship. The New Zealand-bred Lovers Delight has a 41 per cent winning record (19 wins from 46 starts) as well as recording ten seconds and three thirds. He was a 24/1 chance in a 2536m mobile event last Friday night when he started from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. He settled at the rear before Lewis sent him forward with a three-wide burst after a lap. He moved into the breeze before Waylade (who followed his run) assumed the position outside the pacemaker Bettors Fire 1300m from home. Waylade burst to the front with 250m to travel and Lovers Delight ran home with great determination to finish second, only a half-length from the winner, who rated a smart 1.55.7. Ross Olivieri, who trains Dynamite Dude at Oakford, said that he would engage Matt White to replace Lewis in the sulky behind the Victorian-bred six-year-old. Olivieri said that Dynamite Dude had scored an impressive trial win against moderate opposition at Byford last Sunday week. Dynamite Dude dashed over the final quarters in 29.1sec. and 28.2sec. and rated 1.593 in beating stablemate Awesome Desire by more than seven lengths. "First-up from barrier eight I don't see him troubling the scorer," Olivieri said. "It would be nice for him to be a running on fourth or fifth." "I plan to give Dynamite Dude about five or six runs before the interdominion series; two starts in August, two in September and two in October." Olivieri also will be represented by Our Blackbird (Stuart McDonald) and Red Salute (Chris Voak) in the Porter Memorial this week. He gives Red Salute a place chance from the inside barrier and is hoping that Our Blackbird has some luck after starting out wide from barrier seven. Our Blackbird has finished second at each of his past four starts after finishing strongly to win from Lovers Delight and Red Salute over 2100m. Lewis is hoping that Lovers Delight will give him his second success in the Porter Memorial, after scoring with Hilarion Star in 1992. Lovers Delight is likely to vie for favouritism with Bettors Fire, Classic American and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, will start from barrier five and Harper is likely to steal a march on the opposition by sending the classy six-year-old to an early lead before dictating terms in front. Bettors Fire began brilliantly from barrier six last Friday night and set the pace before wilting to fifth behind Waylade over 2536m. The shorter journey will be in his favour this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone, another interdominion championship prospect, is in grand form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he cannot be underestimated. Our Jimmy Johnstone impressed when he set the pace and won convincingly from Our Blackbird and This Time Dylan over 2130m last Friday week. "Drawing the inside of the back row hurts," said Greg Bond. "It's not an ideal draw and I'll leave the tactics to Colin (Brown). "I'm happy with his work and am looking forward to the Inters." Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has four runners in the Porter Memorial, Classic American, Northview Punter, Crusader Banner and Vapour He has trained and driven two winners of the feature event --- Make The Rules (1999) and Its Written In The Stars (2000). Classic American appeals as his best chance. He will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and should be storming home. He has finished with a powerful burst to win 2503m standing-start events at his past two outings. Ken Casellas
Loader
Loader

Additional Articles