Day At The Track
Racing Queensland

Asking for the best ways to spend $53m

IF you are given the opportunity to disburse $53 million in varying amounts to Queensland racing clubs for capital investment in long-term infrastructure, you must be very confident of your abilities in this area, or you seek advice. The decision-makers at Racing Queensland, mindful of the need to "get it right", have played the "advice card" and engaged the services of Deloitte Brisbane in a consultative and advisory capacity. The following impressive statement is taken from the Deloitte Brisbane website. It indicates a reassuring level of self confidence in the company's ability to meet RQ's requirements. "With a well-connected and professional team of more than 480 people and over 50 partners, we are leading providers of assurance, advisory, taxation and consulting services. Ours is a high performance culture that thrives on the strength and success of its people. It's a culture that sets us apart from the rest. Represented by the Deloitte Seven Signals, we take pride in the 'way we do business,' and it shows." Feedback from a teleconference last Monday between members of the Marburg Pacing Association executive and the Deloitte team appears to support a belief that the "wizards" want all the facts, before formulating any opinions or offering any advice. Mattgregor worth watching INTEREST is at Menangle tonight when the up and coming Mattgregor, from the McMullen-Turpin team, goes around against older horses in the $100,000 Bohemia Crystal Free For All. Among the field are last year's Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, Tiger Tara, Major Crocker and Tac Tate. With eight wins from 14 outings and a loose assessment of C5-M0, Mattgregor has shown exceptional ability from the start of his career. Connections feel that he will acquit himself well in top company. After tonight, the gelded son of Rob Roy Mattgregor will head home to Patrick Estate for a break before being set for the Winter Carnival at Albion Park. Lodge for sale AFTER a career in harness racing covering 64 of his 79 years, Bernie Wilson has put Runnymede Lodge on the market. Wilson, who in his younger days in Sydney put the polish on NSW Oaks winner and later good producing broodmare Negro Dancer, cites the depressed state of harness racing in Queensland at the present time. The veteran further believes that there is little light evident at the end of the current tunnel. Runnymede Lodge is on 50 acres with an irrigation licence on Warrill Creek and has accommodation for a minimum of 40 horses plus a huge list of harness and associated horse equipment. Ring Bernie on 5464 3349 for a yarn about better days. Some earn big dollars I KNOW times are tough, but not for all of us. Having spent considerable time in the belief that Thursday at Redcliffe, with its current prize money set at just short of $3000, was a meeting set aside for the moderate horse and the hobbyist trainer, I was amazed to see an Albion Park Saturday night field go round this Thursday in a lowly R4 and better event. The winner, Forever Texas, stopped the clock at 1-57.4. The seven runners have career earnings of $942,697 at an average of $134,671. Only one runner had earnings less than $100,000. It is debacles such as this which lead to the exodus of the battlers. When will enough be enough for the top 10%? Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 1-3-5: Forty Seven Flash (M.Elkins)- Monarkmac (T. Dixon)- Always Prompt (G. Dixon). R2: Quinella 1-8: Supaliner and Itsallaboutlu (S. Graham). R3: Quinella 1-8: Stawbs Ideal Act and Days End (Madi Dux). R4: Quinella 1-8: The Duke Downunder (S. Doherty) and Sams Cam (S. Graham). R5: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Fours Enuf Tas (L.Weidemann)-Sports Chaton (G. Dixon)-Real Social (N. Dawson). R6: Box trifecta 1-7-8: Alleluia (G. Dixon)-The Space Invader (Madi Dux)-Polished Rocks (M. Neilson). R7: Quinella 1-2: Ivegotalife and Joys A Babe (T. Dixon). R8: E/w 5: Im Jack Black (G. Whitaker). R9: E/w 5: Shezabonnygem (G. Dixon). Honour board A new face on the trainer's side of the leader board this week with Purga-based Steve Bunz taking the honours with three winners. They included a Sunday outing to Tamworth, NSW. King of the drivers was Nathan Dawson who landed four for the term, three of which were for Steve Bunz. The most pleasing was five drivers on two winners apiece. Albion Park, February 17: Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Sicilian Slumber (Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, February 18: Zac Mac (Danielle McMullen for Darren Hooper); Reservation Road (Narissa McMullen); Sweet As Candy (Matt Elkins for Vic Frost). Tamworth, February 19: Change the Nation (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Emargee (Ricky Gordon). Albion Park, February 21: Rock With Sam (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Abitgoingonhere (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz). Redcliffe, February 22: Projectile (Matt Elkins for Kerry Smith); Ima Sea Storm (Nathan Dawson for Graham White); Royal Taz (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Trentleigh (Hayden Barnes for D.R. Pollock). Redcliffe, February 23: Our Champion (Gary Whitaker for Mal Charlton); Soi Cowboy (Gary Whitaker for Ken Belford). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

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Our Dream About Me scratched

Harness Racing New South Wales advises that Our Dream About Me, which is engaged in the Macarthur Square Ladyship Mile (Group 1) at Tabcorp Menangle Park tonight is scratched from the race. Trainer Mr M Purdon informed HRNSW Stewards that after training Our Dream About Me this morning, at the Menangle Park Training Centre, he was not completely satisfied with the mare and at 7.38am requested it be scratched from the race. The first emergency for the Ladyship Mile, Tact Hayleys Delight, is taking the run and will start from barrier nine. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600       

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$750,000 Mile likely to be a nail-biter

If Lazarus is to cap one of the great summers in New Zealand harness racing history, he is going to have to do it the hard way. That is the reality of tonight's A$750,000 Miracle Mile, the centrepiece of a stunning night at Menangle where Kiwi horses are favoured to win five group ones inside 140 minutes. The meeting is the strongest held at Menangle since it opened in 2008 but good as the support card is, the Miracle Mile is the race people will remember, especially if Lazarus wins. After his New Zealand Cup demolition job, a similar display in the Victoria Cup and bullying wins in the NZ Free-For-All, Chariots of Fire and Ashburton Flying Stakes, if Lazarus wins tonight his body of work sits alongside the golden summers of Christian Cullen, Christopher Vance and Chokin. But first he has to win and to do that he may need to add a new string to his bow. Lazarus is at his most crushing when able to lead and run consistently searing sectionals which deter challengers before rolling into a quick last 800m. But there is next to no chance of him leading tonight and trainer-driver Mark Purdon admits that if a fast tempo allows him to drive the champ sit-sprint something special could unfold. "I have never really had the chance to drive him cold before and I think he might love it," said Purdon. "I am pretty sure Hectorjayjay will lead and if he tries to go slow then I might have to come sit parked. "But if the pressure is on and we follow the right horse into the race, then he might come out and really sprint." With Lazarus likely to settle midfield at best in a race where swooping victories are rare, those who take the short odds tonight could be in for some uncomfortable times. But he is still the best horse in the race and Purdon believes having a week off from racing has helped bring both him and stablemate Our Waikiki Beach on. "They sprinted up together well on Thursday morning and I am sure they will both be better than in the Chariots two week ago." Purdon has already had one win going into tonight's meeting, where he trains all five New Zealand favourites. Auckland Cup winner Our Dream About Me, who has struggled with corns, passed a NSW stewards-ordered vet check yesterday and is almost certain to start in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile. "She had a small corns issue and we have been working hard to get her to the race. "She hasn't missed any real work but it is going to be tough for her without a lead-up race and while she is a great mare, Piccadilly Princess has to be at least as good a chance now." Purdon favours Vincent from the ace draw over stablemates Ultimate Machete and Motu Meteor in tonight's NSW Derby, while Partyon's inside second line draw in the NSW Oaks may not be as bad as it looks. She follows out a fast beginner in Takara Truffle and may be able to get a tactical advantage over arch-rival Petacular. The night's other Group One pace looks the trickiest for the Kiwis, with Have Faith In Me and Chase The Dream both coming off hard summers into an even free-for-all tonight. - NZ Herald Read more by Michael Guerin  Email Michael Guerin

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The hard way

If Lazarus is to cap one of the great summers in New Zealand harness racing history he is going to have to do it the hard way. That is the reality of tonight’s A$750,000 Miracle Mile, the centrepiece of a stunning night at Menangle where Kiwi horses have favoured to win five group ones inside 140 minutes. The meeting is the strongest held at Menangle since it opened in 2008 but as good as the support card it, the Miracle Mile is the race people will remember, especially if Lazarus wins. After his New Zealand Cup demolition job, a similar display in the Victoria Cup and bullying wins in the NZ Free-For-All, Chariots of Fire and Ashburton Flying Stakes, if Lazarus wins tonight his body of work sits alongside the golden summers of Christian Cullen, Christopher Vance and Chokin.   But first he has to win and to that he might need to add a new string to his bow.  Lazarus is at his most crushing when able to lead and run consistently searing sectionals which deter challengers before rolling into a quick last 800m.  But there is next to no chance of him leading tonight and trainer-driver Mark Purdon admits if a fast tempo allows him to drive the champ sit-sprint something special could unfold. “I have never really had the chance to drive him cold before and I think he might love it,” said Purdon.  “I am pretty sure Hectorjayjay will lead and if he tries to go slow then I might have to come sit parked.  “But if the pressure is on and we follow the right horse into the race then he might come out and really sprint.”With Lazarus likely to settle midfield at best in a race where swooping victories are rare, those who take the short odds tonight could be in for some uncomfortable times.  But he is still the best horse in the race and Purdon believes having a week off from racing has helped bring both him and stablemate Our Waikiki Beach on.  “They sprinted up together well on Thursday morning and I am sure they will both be better than in the Chariots two week ago.”Purdon has already has one win going into tonight’s meeting, where he trains all five New Zealand favourites.  Auckland Cup winner Our Dream About Me, who has struggled with corns, passed a NSW stewards-ordered vet check yesterday and is almost certain to start in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile.  “She had a small corns issue and we have been working hard to get her to the race.  “She hasn’t missed any real work but it is going to be a tough for her without a lead-up races and while she is a great mare, Piccadilly Princess has to be at least as good a chance now.”  Purdon favours Vincent from the ace draw over stablemates Ultimate Machete and Motu Meteor in tonight’s NSW Derby while Partyon’s inside second line draw in the NSW Oaks may not be as bad as it looks.  She follows out a fast beginner in Takara Truffle and may be able to get a tactical advantage over arch rival Petacular.  The night’s other group one pace looks the trickiest for the New Zealanders, with Have Faith In Me and Chase The Dream both coming off hard summers into a even free-for-all tonight. Michael Guerin

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has amended its racing calendar to make Sunday, April 2, a racing-free day, enabling the industry to focus on the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale and Australian Pacing Gold Autumn Yearling Sale on that day. The Kilmore meeting set down for that date has been moved to Tuesday, April 4, and will remain a daytime fixture. "HRV has made this change in the interests of those important sales," HRV Interim General Manager Operations Shane Gloury said. "We want to give everyone the opportunity to attend and consider a purchase at the APTS and APG sales and having a racing-free day allows for this to happen." Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards advise that all horses engaged in the $750,000 AINSWORTH GAME TECHNOLOGY MIRACLE MILE (Group 1), including the emergency runners, underwent veterinary examinations this morning. Stabled in the HRNSW Retention Facility, all horses were observed in their work by Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Don Colantonio. All horses were passed by the Veterinarian. Other Integrity updates; INTEGRITY UPDATE – HAVE FAITH IN ME Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards advise that Have Faith In Me, which is engaged in Race 6 - The Bohemia Crystal Free For All (Group 1) at Tabcorp Menangle Park on Saturday night, was examined this morning at the Menangle Park Training Facility and passed by the HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Don Colantonio. Stewards have ascertained that although veterinary examinations in New Zealand had identified that Have Faith In Me from an early age as having a kidney condition, thought to be similar in nature to kidney stones, extensive investigation in December last year has identified that the horse has congenital malformation of the kidneys.  Specialist veterinary opinion is that the condition is not considered to have effect on the horse’s performance. During investigations Stewards became aware that in December last year Have Faith In Me was diagnosed with lameness in both hocks and knees and received veterinary treatment.  In early February, Trainer Mr Purdon confirmed that Have Faith In Me received further veterinary treatment which involved therapeutic injections. INTEGRITY UPDATE – OUR DREAM ABOUT ME Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards advise that Our Dream About Me, which is engaged in Race 4 – Macarthur Square Ladyship Mile (Group 1) at Tabcorp Menangle Park on Saturday night, was examined this morning at the Menangle Park Training Facility and passed by the HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Don Colantonio.  As a precaution Dr Colantonio will further examine the mare again tomorrow morning. Investigations have revealed that following the mare’s official trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, a deep seated corn was identified following which protective shoeing was undertaken and the condition was treated by the Purdon stable.  Mr Purdon has stated that after his arrival in Sydney on Wednesday, Our Dream About Me had been reshod with bar plates and he considers the mare’s condition to have continued to improve.   MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600            AMANDA RANDO   MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER       HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES   22 Meredith Street Bankstown NSW 2200   PO Box 1034 Bankstown NSW 1885   T: 02 9722 6600 E: arando@hrnsw.com.au T: @Amanda_Rando   W: www.harnessmediacentre.com.au | T: twitter.com/hrnsw_harness | F: facebook.com/hrnsw              

It won't be long before Hannah Van dongen has to make a decision between becoming an apprentice jockey or grinding out a career in the harness racing industry. Van dongen has been riding trackwork in her home town of Longford for various trainers for a year but when her father Craig Van dongen decided to reacquaint himself with harness racing as a trainer his daughter was keen to help out. At Carrick last Saturday the father and daughter teamed up to produce their first win with Regal Idea and to make it a real family affair the horse is owned by Hannah's mother Carol Williscroft. Hannah Van dongen had Regal Idea settled in the one-out line and travelling sweetly to the bell and when she eased out three-wide to get a cart home the gelding was always likely to win. Van dongen had to get busy on her charge over the final 200 metres but he knuckled down to his task and grabbed race leader Thirlstane King close to home to score a narrow but impressive win. "It was great to get my first winner on a horse trained by Dad and owned by Mum," Hannah Van dongen said. Having spent many years honing her riding craft at pony club and equestrian events she decided to try her hand at trackwork riding and she took to it like a duck to water. She rides work for Longf0rd-based trainer Ken Hanson and she is used by other local trainers when available. "I have always enjoyed equestrian horses as a kid and a few years ago, Dad decided to get back involved in the industry. From there the opportunity arose to work for Barrie and Todd Rattray where I gained a lot of harness racing experience." She is kept very busy these days with trackwork at Longford starting at 5.30am and once her duties there are finished she heads out to harness trainer Chester Bullock's training complex at Riverside for the rest of the day. Peter Staples

This Miracle Mile and the support card that goes with it shapes as one of the best we have seen.  Our Aussie correspondent ADAM HAMILTON casts his expert eye over the major races at Menangle On Saturday night. RACE 7 - MIRACLE MILE  Think LENNYTHESHARK (6) is the value. Primed after three runs from a break, huge second in this race last year and drawn best of the big trio. HECTORJAYJAY (10) should still blast across and lead, but how much petrol will have to spend from yet another bad draw? The draw is tricky LAZARUS (8) and don’t think we’ve seen his NZ Cup form in Aussie yet this trip. Still a huge chance of course. BLING IT ON (3) didn’t enjoy sitting parked last week. Vic and Hunter Cup runs fantastic. Drawn well, respect. SMOLDA (1) could place from the pole. SALTY ROBYN (5) and OUR WAIKIKI BEACH (4) also place hopes.  SUGGESTED BET: Something win LENNYTHESHARK (6) if $6 or better and HECTORJAYJAY (10) is $5 or better.    RACE 5 - NSW DERBY  On what we’ve seen from him Aussie, VINCENT (1) just needs to stay out of trouble to win. His Vic and NSW Derby heat wins were simply breathtaking. What gate speed will he show? Can he get straight away from the marker pegs if crossed early? ULTIMATE MACHETE (7) is the query. Unstoppable in NZ this season, but raced flat even though he did a power of work last week. Wouldn’t surprise to see a return to his best and a huge threat if we that. MOTU METEOR (5) keeps improving. So much speed. Dexter aboard. Respect. OUR LITTLE GENERAL (2) never looked happy last week. Better for the experience, Vic Derby win good and drawn well. Rough show.  SUGGESTED BET: VINCENT (1) to win if $2 or better     RACE 3 - NSW OAKS  The draw has opened this right up. Happy to be on MISS GRACELAND (5) each-way. Well held by PETACULAR (14) last week, but gets the chance to push forward and get a big head start on key rivals this time. Should be fitter as well. PARTYON (11) will need some early luck from inside back row. Class act, unbeaten, but this by far her biggest test. PETACULAR (14) has come back a brute this season. Controlled the heat and dashed home too quick, but very different from this draw. Expect an aggressive drive. Major player. TAKARA TRUFFLE (1) is on the up, good behind PARTYON in the heat and draws well. DONT THINK TWICE (10) was big after finding trouble in heat. Awful draw. Place.  SUGGESTED BET: MISS GRACELAND (5) each-way at $6 or better     RACE 4 - LADYSHIP MILE  Such a tricky race made harder by big queries over the champion mare OUR DREAM ABOUT ME (9). Hasn’t raced since that awesome Auckland Cup win on New Year’s Eve and hasn’t paced well in two recent Menangle trials, most notably Tuesday when she bobbled much of the trip. Can’t take the short odds on that. The old champ FRITH (2) gets her chance from great draw. Likely leader, fitter for strong first-up showing. A PICCADILLY PRINCESS (10) was monstrous last week and might have to be again from extreme draw, but gee she’s going well.  ROCKER BAND (3) blasted out to lead and upstage A PICCADILLY PRINCESS at Melton last time. Drawn well again and kept fresh. Definite claims. AMERETTO (4) resumed with a ripping run last week. Fitter, handy draw, keep safe. CYCLONE KATE (5) is back in form. Led and won without looking ultra-impressive last time. Tricky draw with so much speed inside. Rough show.  SUGGESTED BET: Something on FRITH (2) if $5 or better and ROCKER BAND (3) is $8 or better.     RACE 6 - BOHEMIA CRYSTAL FFA  Not sure where to look here. Ripper race, but so many chances. TIGER TARA (2) ran well at first start for Kevin Pizzuto stable here last week and 2400m should suit better than a mile last week. Should be improved and drawn well. Roughie with a big chance is AZTEC BROMAC (12). Actually made-up ground and didn’t have much racing room in 26sec flat last quarter behind Lennytheshark last week. Obviously needs luck from draw. HAVE FAITH IN ME (14) is obviously well down on his Miracle Mile-winning form of last year, but racing as though 2400m will suit and down in grade. TACT TATE (11) is drawn to have a cosy run and had no racing room late last week. Respect. LETS CHASE THE DREAM (7) needs luck from draw, but must be kept safe. MACH DORO (13) caught the eye last week as well. Not hopeless.  SUGGESTED BET: TIGER TARA (2) if $5 or better and something small each-way AZTEC BROMAC (12).     SUMMARY  BEST BET: R5 N1 Vincent (if $2 or better)  BEST VALUE: R3 n5 Miss Graceland (each-way if $6 or better)  BEST ROUGHIE: R6 n12 Aztec Bromac

Harness racing driver Ryan Warwick, the leading reinsman in Western Australia this season, is planning to get Our Jimmy Johnstone away to a flying start in a bid to win the $50,000 Governor’s Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Our Jimmy Johnstone, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six on the front line in the group 2 event and his chief rival Im Full of Excuses is more favourably drawn at barrier four. “At this stage, I’ll probably adopt similar tactics as I used when Our Jimmy Johnstone won the RWWA Cup (2536m) last Friday night,” Warwick said. Our Jimmy Johnstone began brilliantly from the No. 8 barrier last week and sped to the front after 80m. Im Full of Excuses was restrained back to last from the outside barrier (No. 9) before he finished solidly from ninth at the bell to be fourth, three lengths behind Our Jimmy Johnstone. “I’ll probably come out as hard as we can,” Warwick said. “My initial thought was if we come out, we’ve got to come out full bore to be able to cross Im Full of Excuses. He’s the horse to beat. If we cross (to the front) we should win. You can’t afford to give him (Im Full of Excuses) a head start. He gave us a head start last week and we beat him. “The thing in our favour is that this week’s race is over 2130m and if we come out and don’t get to the front it’s not the end of the world. If it was a race over 2536m and to burn early would cost you a bit of petrol. Our Jimmy Johnstone has won from the breeze.” There is little doubt that Chris Lewis will make a bold bid to send the Ross Olivieri-trained Im Full of Excuses to an early lead. Drawn inside of Im Full of Excuses are Ohoka Kentucky, Shardons Rocket and Red Salute, all of whom possess good gate speed and have won races after setting the pace. A victory by Im Full of Excuses would give Olivieri, owner Merv Butterworth and Lewis their second success in a Governor’s Cup. The Butterworth-owned and Olivieri-trained Chief Thundercloud started from the No. 1 barrier when Stuart McDonald drove him to an all-the-way win over Dredlock Rockstar and Cyamach in last year’s Governor’s Cup. Lewis was successful behind the Tony Svilicich-trained Has The Answers in 2010. The Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker is in top form and should be running home strongly in the final stages. He will be handled by Michael Grantham, with stablemate Lisharry, awkwardly drawn at barrier five, to be driven by Gary Hall jun. Bronze Seeker maintained his excellent form when he started out wide at barrier seven and was eighth at the bell before charging home late, out five wide, to be second to Our Jimmy Johnstone last Friday night. Ryan Bell will drive Our Jimmy Johnstone’s stablemate Condrieu (barrier seven) and Dylan Egerton-Green will be the new driver for the Mike Reed-trained Kiwi Legend (No. 8). Each pacer faces a tough task from an unfavourable barrier. Ken Casellas

A sparkling track workout on Tuesday morning has Major Reality in peak form for her attempt at Gloucester Park to become only the fourth harness racing mare to win the $50,000 Empress Stakes two years in a row in the 48-year history of the Group 2 feature event. Driven by Tom Buchanan, Major Reality set the pace and gave a powerful display to defeat her talented stablemate The Parade in the workout and astute Boyanup horseman Justin Prentice is full of confidence the five-year-old will make a successful defence of her crown. Prentice is due to return to Perth on Thursday after a ten-day trip to New Zealand and is looking forward to driving the Art Major mare, whose winning prospects soared when she drew the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 2536m event. Prentice was in New Zealand on a buying mission 12 months ago, when he had three runners in the 2016 Empress Stakes in which Major Reality made the most of starting from the No. 1 barrier when she started at 5/4 on and, with Brayden Green in the sulky, she scored a stylish all-the-way victory over Tricky Styx. Major Reality warmed up for Friday night’s big race with a stylish workout on Tuesday morning. “She worked very well with The Parade and I believe that if she is able to hold the front she will be extremely hard to beat on Friday night,” Buchanan said. “Major Reality led up (in the workout) and The Parade (Bailey McDonough) sat on her back, and they got home really good. Major Reality was doing it very easy on the line and won by about a neck.” Buchanan said that Prentice had been somewhat disappointed with Major Reality’s performance in the WA Pacing Cup three starts ago when she led from barrier one before fading to eighth behind Chicago Bull. “She had been backed up from her unplaced run in the Fremantle Cup a week earlier,” Buchanan said. “She seems to perform better when she is raced fortnightly. She won the Empress prelude a fortnight ago and her work since has been really good.” Major Reality, one of six New Zealand-bred mares in Friday night’s field of eight (after the scratching of Ideal Alice), has won at 19 of her 32 starts and has earned $366,596. The only mares to have won the Empress Stakes two years in a row have been Bellagena (1971-72), Golden Goddess (three in a row in 1997-98-99) and Sensational Gabby (2014-15). Kiwi Cloud won the event in 1977 and 1979. The six-year-old The Parade will be contesting the Empress Stakes for the third time. She finished third in 2015 and seventh last year. The Parade, who has earned $392,999 from 21 wins and 15 placings from 53 starts, was most impressive in winning a 2100m trial at a 1.57.2 rate at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park track on Wednesday of last week, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven on Friday night. “It was a very pleasing performance,” said Buchanan, who drove the mare in the trial. “She rolled to the front after 300 to 400m, led up and got home in 55.5sec. with the plugs still in. The 2536m on Friday night will suit her down to the ground. But she will definitely need a lot of luck from out there, with Major Reality and Bettor Be Supreme drawn inside of her. If she had drawn barrier one she would have been hard to beat.” The Parade will be driven for the first time by Gary Hall jun., who drove Aussie Made Lombo to victory in the 2013 Empress Stakes. Bettor Be Supreme, a winner at 12 of her 20 starts and trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett, is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night and will have many admirers. She is a splendid frontrunner and Chris Lewis, who has won the Empress Stakes a record eight times, could well make a spirited bid for the early lead. Bettor Be Supreme’s winning sequence of five was broken when she failed in the 2100m Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. She revealed dazzling speed from barrier seven to burst to the front after 50m and after opening quarters of the final mile in 30.2sec. and 29sec. she sped over the third quarter in 27.7sec. before wilting to finish seventh, five lengths behind Bettor Reward, with a final section of 27.8sec. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are seeking their first win in an Empress Stakes and will be pinning their hopes with consistent six-year-old Jungle Jewel, who sat behind the pacemaker Major Reality and finished fourth behind her in last year’s Empress Stakes. Jungle Jewel, a winner of 16 races, has also chalked up 29 minor placings. She has a losing sequence of 26, but has been placed at six of her past seven starts. She will start from the No. 4 barrier and reinsman Ryan Warwick said that she was ready to perform strongly after several solid recent efforts. “She is going really well, but has lost that little bit of brilliance she had when she was at her best,” he said. “She just hasn’t got that 200m devastating run anymore and she’s now more one-dimensional. But she can figure in the placings.” Ken Casellas

For American Boy to achieve a winning strike rate of 62 per cent is an outstanding harness racing performance and he possesses the speed and strength to overcome a wide barrier and win the $25,000 Westside Auto Wholesale Lewis final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old, prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and to be driven by his son Gary, gets his chance to make amends for his shock defeat at 10/1 on in a 2536m event last Friday week. He started from the outside barrier (No. 9) and had a torrid run when beaten a half-length by 75/1 outsider Foxy Dame. He was trapped three wide for the first 700m and then was forced to work in the breeze before getting to the front 520m from home. A week earlier, he raced without cover before winning convincingly from Our Regal Ideal over 2130m. This week American Boy, who has raced 26 times for 16 wins and seven seconds, will start out wide at barrier eight and will need to be at his top to win from the Greg and Skye Bond-trained in-form trio of Bettor Offer, Our Regal Ideal and Bungalow Bill. Bettor Offer, to be driven by Ryan Warwick from the No. 6 barrier, makes strong appeal. He began speedily from barrier six to lead after 100m in a qualifying heat last Friday night. He rated 1.57.1 over the 2130m and was untroubled to win by just under two lengths from Commander Chapel, who fought on gamely after racing without cover. Warwick said that with fast beginners, particularly Kimba Bay, on his inside that Bettor Offer was unlikely to be able to lead this week. But he commended Bettor Offer for his wonderful turn of foot and predicted that the gelding would be able to unwind a powerful burst and prove hard to beat. Bungalow Bill, who challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead in a 2130m event last Friday night, will start from barrier seven and will be driven by Ryan Bell, who drove Our Regal Ideal when he set the pace and held on to win by a head from Twoandahalf Tigers in another 2130m event last week. Our Regal Ideal will be driven by Mitch Miller from the prized No. 1 barrier and Bell said he was impressed with the five-year-old’s win last week. “He was pretty tenacious,” Bell said. “He was taken on in a fast lead time and he is definitely a top three chance this week. The draw has made it a good race in which Bettor Offer is probably the class horse. “I was quite happy with the way Our Regal Ideal kicked on last week. At the 200m I thought I was gonzo, but he actually kept coming the more they came at him. I think he should be able to hold up this week. He held up easily last week when I just gave him a flick at the start and he held up quite comfortably.” Ken Casellas

Ryan Bell will replace Aiden de Campo as Sky Art’s harness racing driver when the New Zealand-bred five-year-old contests the Retravision Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Capel trainer Andrew de Campo engaged Bell after his son Aiden received a 21-day suspension for a driving infringement at Bunbury last Saturday night. Aiden de Campo drove Sky Art to an impressive victory at 5/1 in a 2536m mobile event at Gloucester Park last Friday night when the gelding was sixth, three back on the pegs at the bell, before easing off the pegs in the back straight and then charging home, five wide, to hit the front 75m from home and racing away to score by 5m from Eastwood Factor. That was the gelding’s tenth win from 57 starts and ended a losing sequence of 13. Sky Art returns to a standing-start event this week and will begin from barrier two on the front line. “I sat behind him at his previous start, in a stand at Pinjarra,” Bell said. “And he gave me quite a good feel. The race was run slowly up front and Sky Art sprinted home quite good in a slick (27sec.) final quarter.” Sky Art raced in fourth position in an Indian-file affair. Bell said that he did not expect Sky Art to be able to jump to the front at the start, with noted frontrunner Importer Exporter drawn ideally at barrier one. “Sky Art begins nice and safely and he’s the type of horse you don’t have to worry about too much at the start. You just let him settle and save him for his speed at the end.” The Chris Winston-trained Importer Exporter will be handled by Kyle Harper and makes strong appeal. He has had only 33 starts for eight wins, ten seconds and two thirds. He raced three back on the pegs and ran home solidly when third behind Cut For An Ace over 2503m last Friday week. Bell was a late replacement for the suspended Aiden de Campo behind Handsandwheels in a 2130m Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon and the Mach Three gelding gave a bold frontrunning display to win in good style from Tiza Wish and Bettor Be Lively. Ken Casellas

Ross Waddell’s Pacing WA and Trotsynd Pty Ltd, Gloucester Park Harness Racing’s licenced syndication arm, have entered into an exciting new partnership. Over the past two years, Ross Waddell has bought horses at the Perth yearling sales and set up partnerships. These included the Group One winners Red Hot Roxy and The Real Ideal. While Trotsynd had ten syndications for the Western Australian Trotting Association, which featured purchases of yearlings as well as tried horses from New Zealand, the best performers were Group One winner Hail The Judge and open class pacer Franco Amon. The two organisations have come to an agreement which will see the partnership buy and syndicate horses from the 2017 Perth yearling sales on Sunday 5 March, held at Belmont race track. “I cannot be happier with our new partnership” said Waddell “Pacing WA has had a lot of success with introducing new owners to harness racing through our partnerships, however having the ability to syndicate with Trotsynd should help take it to another level” The horses that are purchased will be syndicated into twenty shares each. “It’s an exciting opportunity” said Trotsynd Secretary Michael Radley “We have looked at what Ross has done over the past two years and think we can help grow the ownership base through our syndication licence. “Our discussions have been around how we can improve the owner experience and the syndicate members will receive regular newsletters and video updates from when the horse is bought, through to breaking-in, trialling, and hopefully racing and winning. There will also be social functions” said Radley. Chairman of Trotsynd, Chris Pye echoed Radley’s comments. “I’m delighted that Trotsynd has been reinvigorated and I’m looking forward to an exciting partnership with Ross and Pacing WA”. Once the horses have been secured by Pacing WA and Trotsynd a prospectus will be available on specific horses offered for syndication on the Gloucester Park website www.gloucesterpark.com.au and expressions of interest can be made through info@gloucesterpark.com.au. Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 February 2017 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 February 2017

APG TV will once again be active in Sydney, bringing you the best insights from Australia's leading harness racing breeders, vendors, preparers and trainers. In Melbourne, APG TV produced over 50 individual clips, featuring over three hours of footage, and the plans are to go even bigger in Sydney. We'll be uploading pre-sales vision and interviews throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, before heading to Menangle to follow the progress of APG graduates as they tackle some of the big races on Miracle Mile night. APG TV will be back at the sales on Sunday to bring you all the sales day highlights from the Ladbrokes APG Sydney Sale. APG TV is available via the APG website, or by clicking here  

More than half of the top 20 stallions on the current national Sires’ premiership have harness racing progeny in the Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale, to be held on Sunday, March 19 starting at 11am at the Bathurst Showground. Art Major, second on the list, has seven nominations (3 colts and 4 fillies), the third placed Courage Under Fire has a filly, while Grinfromeartoear, sixth on the table, has three (2 colts and a filly). Other Top Ten stallions with entries are Sportswriter with 13 (6 colts and 7 fillies), Rock N Roll Heaven seven (5 colts and 2 fillies), Four Starzzz Shark four (2 colts and 2 fillies), Modern Art (2 colts), Live Or Die (a filly), McArdle (a filly) and Badlands Hanover (a colt). There are 35 different stallions with stock listed in the catalogue. Other established sires with multiple representation include Million Dollar Cam seven lots (3 colts and 4 fillies), Lombo Pocket Watch six (2 colts and 4 fillies), Western Terror four (a colt and 3 fillies), Mr Feelgood four (a colt and 3 fillies), Always A Virgin three (a colt and 2 fillies), Artistic Fella (2 colts), Shadow Play (2 fillies) and Changeover two (a colt and a filly). The first-season sire Shoobee’s Place, a 1:49 winning son of Artsplace who stands at Paul Carmody’s Lochend Stud, has the biggest draft at the sale with 13 (6 colts and 7 fillies). Exciting, young sires with their first crop racing as two-year-olds this year are Auckland Reactor nine lots (4 colts and 5 fillies), Betterthancheddar (3 fillies) and Smiling Shard (a colt and a filly). Besides Shoobee’s Place, other rookie sires represented are Caribbean Blaster 10 lots (4 colts and 6 fillies), Peter Rock eight (3 colts and 5 fillies), Alta Christiano six (5 colts and a filly) and A Rocknroll Dance four (a colt and 3 fillies). For a copy of the catalogue send an email to graemeboard56@gmail.com or an SMS to Graeme Board on 0408 636 273. Catalogues are also available from the Bathurst Harness Racing Club. Pedigrees are available on the website www.graemeboard.com  Click on the Bathurst Gold Crown yearling sale link. Peter Wharton

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IF you are given the opportunity to disburse $53 million in varying amounts to Queensland racing clubs for capital investment in long-term infrastructure, you must be very confident of your abilities in this area, or you seek advice. The decision-makers at Racing Queensland, mindful of the need to "get it right", have played the "advice card" and engaged the services of Deloitte Brisbane in a consultative and advisory capacity. The following impressive statement is taken from the Deloitte Brisbane website. It indicates a reassuring level of self confidence in the company's ability to meet RQ's requirements. "With a well-connected and professional team of more than 480 people and over 50 partners, we are leading providers of assurance, advisory, taxation and consulting services. Ours is a high performance culture that thrives on the strength and success of its people. It's a culture that sets us apart from the rest. Represented by the Deloitte Seven Signals, we take pride in the 'way we do business,' and it shows." Feedback from a teleconference last Monday between members of the Marburg Pacing Association executive and the Deloitte team appears to support a belief that the "wizards" want all the facts, before formulating any opinions or offering any advice. Mattgregor worth watching INTEREST is at Menangle tonight when the up and coming Mattgregor, from the McMullen-Turpin team, goes around against older horses in the $100,000 Bohemia Crystal Free For All. Among the field are last year's Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, Tiger Tara, Major Crocker and Tac Tate. With eight wins from 14 outings and a loose assessment of C5-M0, Mattgregor has shown exceptional ability from the start of his career. Connections feel that he will acquit himself well in top company. After tonight, the gelded son of Rob Roy Mattgregor will head home to Patrick Estate for a break before being set for the Winter Carnival at Albion Park. Lodge for sale AFTER a career in harness racing covering 64 of his 79 years, Bernie Wilson has put Runnymede Lodge on the market. Wilson, who in his younger days in Sydney put the polish on NSW Oaks winner and later good producing broodmare Negro Dancer, cites the depressed state of harness racing in Queensland at the present time. The veteran further believes that there is little light evident at the end of the current tunnel. Runnymede Lodge is on 50 acres with an irrigation licence on Warrill Creek and has accommodation for a minimum of 40 horses plus a huge list of harness and associated horse equipment. Ring Bernie on 5464 3349 for a yarn about better days. Some earn big dollars I KNOW times are tough, but not for all of us. Having spent considerable time in the belief that Thursday at Redcliffe, with its current prize money set at just short of $3000, was a meeting set aside for the moderate horse and the hobbyist trainer, I was amazed to see an Albion Park Saturday night field go round this Thursday in a lowly R4 and better event. The winner, Forever Texas, stopped the clock at 1-57.4. The seven runners have career earnings of $942,697 at an average of $134,671. Only one runner had earnings less than $100,000. It is debacles such as this which lead to the exodus of the battlers. When will enough be enough for the top 10%? Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 1-3-5: Forty Seven Flash (M.Elkins)- Monarkmac (T. Dixon)- Always Prompt (G. Dixon). R2: Quinella 1-8: Supaliner and Itsallaboutlu (S. Graham). R3: Quinella 1-8: Stawbs Ideal Act and Days End (Madi Dux). R4: Quinella 1-8: The Duke Downunder (S. Doherty) and Sams Cam (S. Graham). R5: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Fours Enuf Tas (L.Weidemann)-Sports Chaton (G. Dixon)-Real Social (N. Dawson). R6: Box trifecta 1-7-8: Alleluia (G. Dixon)-The Space Invader (Madi Dux)-Polished Rocks (M. Neilson). R7: Quinella 1-2: Ivegotalife and Joys A Babe (T. Dixon). R8: E/w 5: Im Jack Black (G. Whitaker). R9: E/w 5: Shezabonnygem (G. Dixon). Honour board A new face on the trainer's side of the leader board this week with Purga-based Steve Bunz taking the honours with three winners. They included a Sunday outing to Tamworth, NSW. King of the drivers was Nathan Dawson who landed four for the term, three of which were for Steve Bunz. The most pleasing was five drivers on two winners apiece. Albion Park, February 17: Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Sicilian Slumber (Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, February 18: Zac Mac (Danielle McMullen for Darren Hooper); Reservation Road (Narissa McMullen); Sweet As Candy (Matt Elkins for Vic Frost). Tamworth, February 19: Change the Nation (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Emargee (Ricky Gordon). Albion Park, February 21: Rock With Sam (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Abitgoingonhere (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz). Redcliffe, February 22: Projectile (Matt Elkins for Kerry Smith); Ima Sea Storm (Nathan Dawson for Graham White); Royal Taz (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Trentleigh (Hayden Barnes for D.R. Pollock). Redcliffe, February 23: Our Champion (Gary Whitaker for Mal Charlton); Soi Cowboy (Gary Whitaker for Ken Belford). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times
Harness Racing New South Wales advises that Our Dream About Me, which is engaged in the Macarthur Square Ladyship Mile (Group 1) at Tabcorp Menangle Park tonight is scratched from the race. Trainer Mr M Purdon informed HRNSW Stewards that after training Our Dream About Me this morning, at the Menangle Park Training Centre, he was not completely satisfied with the mare and at 7.38am requested it be scratched from the race. The first emergency for the Ladyship Mile, Tact Hayleys Delight, is taking the run and will start from barrier nine. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600       
If Lazarus is to cap one of the great summers in New Zealand harness racing history, he is going to have to do it the hard way. That is the reality of tonight's A$750,000 Miracle Mile, the centrepiece of a stunning night at Menangle where Kiwi horses are favoured to win five group ones inside 140 minutes. The meeting is the strongest held at Menangle since it opened in 2008 but good as the support card is, the Miracle Mile is the race people will remember, especially if Lazarus wins. After his New Zealand Cup demolition job, a similar display in the Victoria Cup and bullying wins in the NZ Free-For-All, Chariots of Fire and Ashburton Flying Stakes, if Lazarus wins tonight his body of work sits alongside the golden summers of Christian Cullen, Christopher Vance and Chokin. But first he has to win and to do that he may need to add a new string to his bow. Lazarus is at his most crushing when able to lead and run consistently searing sectionals which deter challengers before rolling into a quick last 800m. But there is next to no chance of him leading tonight and trainer-driver Mark Purdon admits that if a fast tempo allows him to drive the champ sit-sprint something special could unfold. "I have never really had the chance to drive him cold before and I think he might love it," said Purdon. "I am pretty sure Hectorjayjay will lead and if he tries to go slow then I might have to come sit parked. "But if the pressure is on and we follow the right horse into the race, then he might come out and really sprint." With Lazarus likely to settle midfield at best in a race where swooping victories are rare, those who take the short odds tonight could be in for some uncomfortable times. But he is still the best horse in the race and Purdon believes having a week off from racing has helped bring both him and stablemate Our Waikiki Beach on. "They sprinted up together well on Thursday morning and I am sure they will both be better than in the Chariots two week ago." Purdon has already had one win going into tonight's meeting, where he trains all five New Zealand favourites. Auckland Cup winner Our Dream About Me, who has struggled with corns, passed a NSW stewards-ordered vet check yesterday and is almost certain to start in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile. "She had a small corns issue and we have been working hard to get her to the race. "She hasn't missed any real work but it is going to be tough for her without a lead-up race and while she is a great mare, Piccadilly Princess has to be at least as good a chance now." Purdon favours Vincent from the ace draw over stablemates Ultimate Machete and Motu Meteor in tonight's NSW Derby, while Partyon's inside second line draw in the NSW Oaks may not be as bad as it looks. She follows out a fast beginner in Takara Truffle and may be able to get a tactical advantage over arch-rival Petacular. The night's other Group One pace looks the trickiest for the Kiwis, with Have Faith In Me and Chase The Dream both coming off hard summers into an even free-for-all tonight. - NZ Herald Read more by Michael Guerin  Email Michael Guerin
If Lazarus is to cap one of the great summers in New Zealand harness racing history he is going to have to do it the hard way. That is the reality of tonight’s A$750,000 Miracle Mile, the centrepiece of a stunning night at Menangle where Kiwi horses have favoured to win five group ones inside 140 minutes. The meeting is the strongest held at Menangle since it opened in 2008 but as good as the support card it, the Miracle Mile is the race people will remember, especially if Lazarus wins. After his New Zealand Cup demolition job, a similar display in the Victoria Cup and bullying wins in the NZ Free-For-All, Chariots of Fire and Ashburton Flying Stakes, if Lazarus wins tonight his body of work sits alongside the golden summers of Christian Cullen, Christopher Vance and Chokin.   But first he has to win and to that he might need to add a new string to his bow.  Lazarus is at his most crushing when able to lead and run consistently searing sectionals which deter challengers before rolling into a quick last 800m.  But there is next to no chance of him leading tonight and trainer-driver Mark Purdon admits if a fast tempo allows him to drive the champ sit-sprint something special could unfold. “I have never really had the chance to drive him cold before and I think he might love it,” said Purdon.  “I am pretty sure Hectorjayjay will lead and if he tries to go slow then I might have to come sit parked.  “But if the pressure is on and we follow the right horse into the race then he might come out and really sprint.”With Lazarus likely to settle midfield at best in a race where swooping victories are rare, those who take the short odds tonight could be in for some uncomfortable times.  But he is still the best horse in the race and Purdon believes having a week off from racing has helped bring both him and stablemate Our Waikiki Beach on.  “They sprinted up together well on Thursday morning and I am sure they will both be better than in the Chariots two week ago.”Purdon has already has one win going into tonight’s meeting, where he trains all five New Zealand favourites.  Auckland Cup winner Our Dream About Me, who has struggled with corns, passed a NSW stewards-ordered vet check yesterday and is almost certain to start in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile.  “She had a small corns issue and we have been working hard to get her to the race.  “She hasn’t missed any real work but it is going to be a tough for her without a lead-up races and while she is a great mare, Piccadilly Princess has to be at least as good a chance now.”  Purdon favours Vincent from the ace draw over stablemates Ultimate Machete and Motu Meteor in tonight’s NSW Derby while Partyon’s inside second line draw in the NSW Oaks may not be as bad as it looks.  She follows out a fast beginner in Takara Truffle and may be able to get a tactical advantage over arch rival Petacular.  The night’s other group one pace looks the trickiest for the New Zealanders, with Have Faith In Me and Chase The Dream both coming off hard summers into a even free-for-all tonight. Michael Guerin
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