Bettors Fire

Bettors Fire set to create history

Star pacer Bettors Fire is on the verge of creating harness racing history by becoming the first pacer to win the time-honoured Navy Cup for the second time, according to the eight-year-old’s trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper. Harper has the New Zealand-bred gelding in tip-top condition for $35,000 Navy Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The group 3 feature event has been run 45 times and no pacer has been successful twice. Harper trained and drove Bettors Fire to an all-the-way victory over Ima Rocket Star in the 2536m Navy Cup in October 2013. That was Bettors Fire’s first win in a metropolitan-class race. Bettors Fire has set the pace and won at each of his past three starts, over 2536m and 2130m (twice) at Gloucester Park. However, the son of Bettor's Delight is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven on the front line on Friday night. And several of his rivals have sparkling gate speed. “This is a very nice field, containing several very nice horses,” Harper said. “I’m hoping Bettors Fire can get across and find the top again. However, I’ll be keeping my options open. There is no plan to cut the ribbons and come out guns ablazing. “But he’s got that natural gate speed that enables him to roll forward and make some ground pretty quickly. Whether horses on his inside will hand up is open to question. “The great thing about my horse is that he’s so versatile and has so many strings to his bow. We can leave our options open; we can roll forward and we can go back and sit him up. He’s not a one-trick pony and can win from any position. It would be nice to win another Navy Cup, a race my Dad (Lindsay) won behind Digger of Fortune in 2003.” Harper said that Bettors Fire had thrived since winning the Spring Pace from Copagrin and Libertybelle Midfrew last Friday week. “He did it easily and got a nice cheap run before hitting the line strongly after a final quarter in 27.2sec.” he said. “Touch wood, everything is going really well with him. Thankfully, things have gone really smoothly and he’s had some pretty easy runs with some very cheap early sectionals. “I’d say that his best run in four starts in this campaign was his first-up effort when he finished powerfully from well back to be a nose second to Cyamach in fast time over 1730m.” Harper is realistic enough to concede that Friday night’s race will be no walk in the park for Bettors Fire, a winner of 30 races and $527,152 in prizemoney.  The gelding will need to be close to his peak to defeat the brilliant Elegant Christian and the highly-regarded Beaudiene Boaz. Clive Dalton, trainer of Elegant Christian, declared the lightly-raced six-year-old would go forward from his outside barrier (No. 9 on the front line) and was ready to run a super race. “He’s a genuine winning chance,” Dalton said. “There is a bit of speed on his inside, but we’ll definitely go forward. It’s no good going back over 2130m which is his pet distance.” Elegant Christian, a winner at 19 of his 35 starts, was a heavily backed 3/1 on favourite from barrier one when he reappeared after an eleven-week absence last Friday week. But Elegant Christian galloped badly at the start before making up a great deal of lost ground to finish seventh, just over four lengths behind the winner Bettors Fire. Clint Hall did not knock Elegant Christian about and the pacer went to the line without Hall releasing the ear plugs. “It was a disaster, but it was a great run,” said Dalton. “He pulled up super and his work has been good.” Beaudiene Boaz, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start out wide at barrier eight on Friday night and the five-year-old’s many admirers will be looking forward to the stallion returning to top form after disappointing unplaced efforts at his past three outings. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said that the Cup was far from a foregone conclusion and he said that ideal barriers would suit his runners Red Salute and Our Blackbird. Red Salute (Chris Voak) will start from the No. 1 barrier, with Our Blackbird at No. 2. Red Salute has a losing sequence of 20 and Our Blackbird’s losing run stands at 18. “I consider Our Blackbird has more of a winning chance than Red Salute,” Olivieri said. “They both get out quickly and are capable of leading. Red Salute led and beat Our Blackbird on the track this morning (Tuesday), but I still think Our Blackbird is the better of my two runners. “Our Blackbird couldn’t get clear when an unlucky fifth behind Bettors Fire last Friday week and he had no luck when fifth behind Phoenix Warrior at his previous start.” Ken Casellas

Chris Lewis to drive John of Arc for the first time

John of Arc resumes at Gloucester Park

“Everything is on track for the Inters for John of Arc and I’m very excited about his return to harness racing this week,” said Herron trainer Clive Dalton. The injury-plagued John of Arc will start from the outside in a field of eight in the 2130m TABtouch Super Pick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Dalton is confident that the Courage Under Fire seven-year-old will resume with a victory. John of Arc has not appeared since finishing seventh behind My Hard Copy in the WA Pacing Cup last January, but Dalton declares that the gelding should prove too talented for his rivals. This will be John of Arc’s first start for Dalton and the New Zealand-bred gelding will be driven for the first time by Chris Lewis. “John of Arc has got suspensory ligament problems, but he’s sound at the moment,” said Dalton, who is setting him and stablemate Elegant Christian for the rich TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. “He’s pretty strong and I think he’s a class above the opposition in this week’s race. “I’ll speak to Chris and we’ll work out a little plan. Initially, we’ll probably come out and have a look and Chris will then decide on his tactics. “If he goes back and then they slacken off, he’ll go forward to the breeze.” John of Arc, placed at each of his three starts in New Zealand, has had 23 starts in Western Australia for 16 wins and two placings. He will clash with five-year-old Ima Connoisseur, who is in dazzling form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, having won in fast time at each of his past three starts, the latest being in Kalgoorlie last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to win the Mount Eden Mile. Ima Connoisseur rated 1.55.2 over the 1750m journey after sprinting over the final 800m in 56.4sec. He also raced without cover before winning from smart stablemate Risk at a 1.53.4 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park two weeks earlier. That followed an all-the-way win over Our Ideal Act, rating 1.56.5 over 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Bonds will also be represented by Burning and Bettor Offer, while Gary Hall sen. will pin his faith on the lightly-raced eight-year-old Toretto, who will be having his third start after an absence of 15 months. Ken Casellas

Maddison Brown & Gota Good Looadda

Maddison Brown out to repeat the dose

Maddison Brown will be out to replicate Gota Good Lookadda’s all-the-way victory last Friday night when she drives the Rich And Spoilt seven-year-old in the $25,000 final of the TABtouch Interdominion at Gloucester Park Warwick final over 2130m at harness racing headquarters on Friday night. Gota Good Lookadda’s prospects soared after she drew the prized No. 1 barrier. She started from barrier two last Friday night when she led and won from Mon Lamour and Suzies Gem at a 1.58.9 rate in a qualifying heat. Suzies Gem, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo, again looms as a tough opponent, even though she will have to overcome the distinct disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight. Suzies Gem started from the No. 9 barrier last Friday night when she raced four and three wide before getting to the breeze 400m after the start. She worked hard in the breeze and fought on doggedly. Her previous form was hard to fault. Hidden Bad, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, scored an impressive victory in a qualifying heat last Friday week and will have many admirers in the final. A 16/1 chance at her first outing for six weeks, she started from barrier seven and settled down in ninth position. Turvey sent her forward, three wide after 720m and she then raced in the breeze outside the pacemaker Sea Cider before forging to the front 250m from home. She dashed over the final 400m in 28.7sec. and won by 5m from Forever Remembered. This ended a losing sequence of ten (which included only one placing) and improved her record to 45 starts for 13 wins and 14 placings. “She should have benefited from that run and has worked well since,” Turvey said. “But she has a tricky draw at No. 3. There’s no particular reason why she returned to form. I just gave her a break and hoped that would do the trick. “I wouldn’t say that she has bounced back to her best, but at least her win was an indication of perhaps better things to come. Going back a year she was quite a nice mare and I thought she would go through a few grades. But obviously things went a bit pear-shaped. Forever Remembered, trained at Collie by Errol Ashcroft, has sound each-way prospects after drawing favourably at barrier two on the back line. She will be driven by Kyle Harper, who was impressed with her powerful three-wide finishing burst from last approaching the bell to be second to Hidden Bad last Friday week. “That run was super,” Harper said. “She’s just a lovely high-speed horse who is always dangerous if she gets the right trip. Barrier two on the back line should suit her and she should get a nice trip through.” Ken Casellas

Cardigan Boko and connections after winning at Gloucester Park 30th October 2015

Cardigan Boko is ready to fire

Swedish-bred trotter Cardigan Boko has recovered from a life-threatening injury and illness and will reappear after an 11-month harness racing absence when he contests the Book Your Melbourne Cup Lunch at Gloucester Park Trotters Mobile at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And trainer Clive Dalton is enthusiastically declaring that the stylish black stallion by Varenne will prove mighty hard to beat on his return to action. “He hasn’t raced for almost 12 months and isn’t quite 100 per cent fit yet,” Dalton said. “But he is flying and is right on top of his game. I never say a horse is a certainty, but he’s a world-class animal.” Soon after Cardigan Boko notched his 16th win from just 25 starts, winning easily from Prince Eddie and Heez Speedy Gonzalez at Gloucester Park last October, he cracked an off-side pastern and then got colic which developed into a twisted bowel which required surgery. “He is lucky to be alive, really,” said Dalton, who said that he would advise Chris Lewis to make use of the horse’s brilliant gate speed from out wide at barrier seven.       Cardigan Boko will clash with Sunnys Little Whiz, who has scored effortless wins for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and driver Kiara Davies at her first four starts in Western Australia. The New Zealand-bred Sunnys Little Whiz has not been extended in her WA victories in which her average winning margin has been three lengths. She will start from barrier five and Davies will be anxious to steal a march on her rivals by dashing Sunnys Little Whiz to an early lead. Adding further interest to the race will be the return of Armed Force, who has impressed in winning at nine of his 22 WA starts for trainer Gary Hall sen. Armed Force, who will be having his first start for three months, will start from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Apart from Cardigan Boko, Dalton will be represented by Ropeburn, Lightning Joy and Nico Serrano. Ropeburn, driven by Michael Grantham, ran a strong trial for Friday night’s race when he gave a bold frontrunning display to win from Reminder Call and Xen on over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

Today, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards, commenced an inquiry into a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that the substances boldenone, nandrolone and 5alpha-estran-3beta,17alpha-diol were detected in a post race urine sample collected from VINNY CHASE subsequent to that horse winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday, 14 June 2016. The “B” sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Melbourne. The inquiry also considered a further report from the ARFL that the substances boldenone, nandrolone and 5alpha-estran-3beta,17alpha-diol were detected in an out of competition urine sample collected from VINNY CHASE at the registered training establishment of Mrs B McCarthy on 15 July 2016. Mrs McCarthy appeared and was represented by Solicitor Mr Matthew Hammond. Mrs McCarthy was issued with the following charges: Pursuant to AHRR 190 (1),(2) & (4), which reads; (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. (2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence. (4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse. That as the registered she did present VINNY CHASE to race at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 14 June 2016 with prohibited substances in its system. Pursuant to AHRR 190A (1) (a); 1)  When a sample taken at any time from a horse being trained or cared for by a licensed person has detected in it any prohibited substance specified in sub-rule (2):- (a)  The trainer and any other person who was in charge of such horse at the relevant time shall be guilty of an offence.    That as the registered trainer at the relevant time on 15 July 2016, she did have VINNY CHASE in her care, when a urine sample upon anaylsis revealed it to contain prohibited substances in contravention of Rule 190A (2)(r). Mr Hammond on behalf of his client, Mrs McCarthy sought an adjournment to consider the charges and to provide further expert evidence.  Stewards adjourned the inquiry until 11am on Wednesday, 26 October 2016. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government.   Reid Sanders - CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER p: (02) 9722 6600 • e: rsanders@hrnsw.com.au www.harnessmediacentre.com.au   Vinny Chase at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 14 June 2016

Mildura’s awash with the festive spirit and those who have kicked up their heels this country music season are urged to let the good times roll on at the harness racing trots on Saturday night. The Murray River city is always a magnet for those enjoying school holidays and this is only magnified in September when the tunes come to town, according to Mildura Harness Racing Club secretary Mark Kemp. “There are good vibes, the place is packed,” Mr Kemp said. “Saturday night’s trotting races coincide with the Melbourne Country Music Festival, which has several thousand people in the city for 10 days. “The school holidays adds to the numbers in the area and brings several people to the trots in addition to our usual loyal band of supporters.” Mildura’s trots track, at the Eleventh St showgrounds, will host an eight-race card on Saturday night beginning at 5.55pm and featuring the $10,000 Mildura Working Man’s Club Pace, when The Dapper Don will go head-to-head with Gollahman and Lets Elope. “The trots are someplace nice to come after the AFL grand final and enjoy a good, entertaining night,” Mr Kemp said. “There will be eight races and the racing will be exciting and at a very crowd-friendly track, which I’m sure the visitors will enjoy.” There will be great prizes to be won, including a $500 Flight Centre travel voucher, which has been donated by the race night’s sponsor Mildura Working Man’s Club, whose members will be admitted free on production of their current membership. Dining packages can be snapped up for just $30 each and include a delicious three-course meal, admission, a race book and reserved table in the first floor dining room. Details: www.milduraharness.org.au Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Mildura, Saturday 01 October 2016 Form guide for Mildura, Saturday 01 October 2016

The end is near for Run Fatboy Run. But it will be just the beginning in many ways. The New Zealand bred gelding continues to race in good form for Patrick Estate harness racing trainer Chantal Turpin but his assessment is beginning to become a little tight meaning he’s becoming hard to place so his owners can’t maximize their return. Run Fatboy Run won’t become a pacer that races in claiming events. Instead, he will return to his native country and live the life of luxury once his racing days are complete on Australian soil. Originally, Run Fatboy Run was sent to Sydney where he joined the stables of Nicole Molander and tasted immediate success at Menangle on October 26, 2014. With Molander moving to Victoria, the Julius Caesar gelding also headed south but it was only a short stint after failing in all three starts forcing a move back to Sydney where he joined the stables of Blake Fitzpatrick. But with only two victories coming from an 18 start stint with Fitzpatrick, connections decided to move him further north. The move has reignited the fire for the big striding pacer. As it stands, Run Fatboy Run has won five races for Turpin with the potential of a few more before time is called. All five victories have come at Albion Park. “Fatboy has been a handy type for the stable and we’ve enjoyed having him as a member of our team, it didn’t start off so well for him so we made some adjustments with his gear and work and he’s been much better for it.” Turpin said. “He’s quite versatile, he’s led and he’s been very good coming off the pace to win some of his races. I enjoy driving him and I know Pete (McMullen – husband) also enjoys driving him too. He’s a lovely horse to work with and I’m sure he’ll enjoy his retirement when the day arrives.” Turpin added. Run Fatboy Run has won two of his four starts to date this season and starts this Friday at Albion Park. He will start from gate six in the Noel & Chris Denning Pace, an event over the distance of 2138m. Run Fatboy Run is owned by Andrew, Ricky & Earl Gutsell along with Neil Thwaites. by Chris Barsby Fields for Albion Park, Friday 30 September 2016 Form guide for Albion Park, Friday 30 September 2016

It's been a big week for Bruce and Vicki Edward, and it has come smack bang at the end of a big harness racing season. Today new life reinvigorated their Durham Park farm, on Ballarat’s outskirts, when their new crop of yearlings arrived at the farm, which has been in a state of rebuild since being razed by fire last December. Their arrival, less than a month after mares returned to the property, signal a significant milestone and comes just days after the Edwards were anointed Woodlands Park Victorian Breeder of the Year. “It’s a bit of a boost up,” Mr Edward said of the award. “It has been a year of highs and lows and this is definitely one of the highs.” The honour was announced at Harness Breeders Victoria’s awards on Saturday night, when the 2015-16 season was celebrated. They put something of a full stop on a season Mr Edward won’t soon forget. “We had the big fire the week before Christmas, which was basically a wipe out,” he said, reflecting on the December 19 blaze that destroyed fencing, stables and their Durham house. “The remarkable thing was every horse survived, I have no idea how. "Alabar was very helpful, because all of our horses were sent up there. The fences are all done, the stables are built and we are getting there. It’s been an enormous amount of work.” While on some levels, the Edwards are starting again, the reality is they’ve come a long way in a relatively short time since having their first taste of the trots a decade ago. “I bought a couple of horses with David Murphy as part of a syndicate about 10 years ago,” Mr Edward said. “I had the farm, it was an interest and a hobby and I was heading towards retirement. I had no family in harness racing or deep-seated links, but I had an extensive background in agricultural breeding.” And so from that modest start his interest bloomed. “I bought a handful of cheap mares to basically learn with and then I decided to get into the filly aspect of it,” Mr Edward said. “I bought them as young fillies and raced them with the aim of them becoming broodmares. "I bought 14 or 15 US mares over three or four years and half a dozen from New Zealand. Our issue was our mares, nobody knew them, so we had to be patient at the sales and wait for them to perform.” And perform they did, no more than this year when Petacular, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Ideal Priority, dominated two-year-old fillies ranks and Ideal For Real was a force among the four-year-olds and looks destined for Grand Circuit success. Both were babies from the Edwards’ breeding barn and led to them being awarded breeder of the year. “I certainly was not expecting the award. We are a relatively new on the breeding scene and I’m sure that are many others more experienced and with many winners. “I keep track of all of the (foals as they go on). I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it. This is the exciting part of the year, we have had our first foals and I am very excited. “It’s been a tough year, but we are getting noticed now and the top trainers are buying our horses, including Mark Purdon, Clayton Tonkin and Andy Gath.” But it’s not just those big names in Edwards’ aim. “We have a slightly different outlook, our slogan is we have a yearling for everyone,” he said. “We like to have sales toppers, but to also get quality yearlings who can be serviced by cheaper stallions and sell for less, and to be honest a lot of those are the horses who have performed very well.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Harness racing trainer-driver John Newberry has made a stunning return from serious injury, winning tonight at Bendigo aboard Diamond Ace in the CV Batteries Pace. Wife Maree, who tonight stayed home to feed the horses while John and son Matt attended the Bendigo trots, was yet to speak to John about the win but said her husband would be thrilled to have achieved victory aboard "his favourite horse" at his first drive back since fracturing vertebrae and suffering head injuries in a race fall at Shepparton in late June. “He had head injuries and suffered fractures to T2 through to T9 vertebrae,” Maree said. “The main worry was the head injury because he was unconscious for eight minutes. He had short-term memory loss.” John spent the night in Shepparton Hospital before being flown to Royal Melbourne where he spent the next week. Once discharged John struggled with being stuck at home. “He was back in the sulky within a week. After about three days at home he wandered to the stables,” Maree said. “But it was at least a month before he started to do the trip to the track and back. Now he’s back driving jog teams and fast work.” Diamond Ace scored tonight over 2150m by 2.9m over Animated in the C5-C7 CV Batteries Pace, suggesting a country cups campaign could be on the cards for the six-year-old by Extreme Three out of Diamond Cove. “That’s his favourite horse so that will always stick in his mind I’m sure,” Maree said. Maree said son Matt, 22, who drove Thrilling Jolt into third place in the TAB Fixed Odds On-Course Pace tonight, was also enjoying his training and driving. “He’s going well but he’d love to be able to get a few more drives,” she said. “He’s got a trotter that he bred that is not far off called All Hall. He’s a half-brother to Just Call Me Earl and The Majestic.” The Newberry family is based at Bunbartha, almost 20 minutes out of Shepparton. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

There are not that many mystery novels on the bookshelves (or internet) that center around harness racing, but recently author Tina Sugarman penned Horse Flesh, a novel that for many will be an enticing read. This fiction novel enters the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, and is an exhilarating debut from an insider.  While many in the industry may take offense to the outright knocks on the industry, one must remember this is fiction and the author’s right to “jazz it up” to make it a riveting read to outsiders, should be taken into consideration. Then again, with all the recent controversy surrounding the Little Brown Jug last week, the events in this novel may seem to be spot on. The story features a brilliant harness racing driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, and a veterinarian caught between two worlds. These are just some of the players in Horse Flesh, where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred.  I found the book to be fascinating, very fast paced and with shocking twists and turns. At first I was turned off as the book did not “grab me” right off the bat and I was not happy with some of the demeaning references to the industry as an insider. As I read on and understood the characters that made up the novel, I had trouble at times to put the book down. It drew me into the read to see where the story was going, what was going to happen to some of the stars and how was author Tina Sugarman going to tie this all together in the end. She did a superb job with some great insights that people in the industry should consider. She got the job done and her HORSE FLESH is a breakthrough debut novel set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh read.  Tina’s blending of the life events of four yearlings into becoming racehorses was very well done and woven nicely into the novel. The paperback version is very thick, over 700 pages of small type, so some might want to get the Kindle or Nook version. And don’t expect to read this one overnight! Tina Sugarman writes from her personal experiences and gives a compelling insight into the world of harness racing. She has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm nearby Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. This novel is available through all major booksellers. by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

One of the most amazing harness racing stallions ever with 7,000 mares bred to date, 29 millionaires produced and $234 million in progeny earnings world-wide, Bettor's Delight has nothing left to prove. Click on the link below to see what this stallion has achieved throughout the world because I do not believe any other stallion has even got close. Bettor's Delight is the current leading money winning sire in four countries, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Not just for this year but for the last four years running. Thats unreal and incredible. No other stallion in history has achieved that feat. Enjoy the read on Stallion Sphere here.  

Breeders are reminded that bids for the Horsham Harness Racing Club’s trotting tender close with the Club on Friday September 30th. The tender is for a service to the Woodlands Stud NZ stallion Pegasus Spur CA and represents a great opportunity for the lovers of the trotting gait to breed yet another Group 1 winner from this outstanding strike-rate entire. Interested breeders are invited to tender for a service (imported, fresh, chilled semen) to Pegasus Spur (value $AU3300). Tender forms and further information may be obtained by email from horsham.harness@bigpond.com  or by phone on 0427 857411.  Tony Logan

‘Adventurous, mischievous, naughty, boisterous’ - the words used to describe harness racing driver Michael Grantham by his family members growing up as a kid. There wasn’t a lot that Michael wouldn’t do as a young kid, from reversing his dad’s trucks down the narrow Epsom Ave driveway at their home in Ascot, to galloping around the Ascot backtrack on his pony ‘Chilly’, or tearing his pee wee 50 around his nana’s backyard, not to mention the training wheels that had been taken off of his bike as a toddler. It was obvious from a young age that Michael, better known as ‘Micky G’, would have some sort of involvement in the racing industry with his dad Mark being a former jockey and owner of Grantham’s Horse Transport and his mum Kellie a well known then Ascot trainer.   After learning to ride on his chestnut Shetland Chilly, Grantham started riding track work for his mum at the age of 14. With his education still being a priority, Grantham was still studying at the time he signed up for his apprenticeship as a jockey and in 2010 he had his first ride finishing 6th at Northam Race Club aboard the Adam Durrant trained, Secret Bullion.    In 2007 twin brothers Tommy and Nathan Berry made the move to Perth where Nathan joined the Kellie Grantham stables as an apprentice.   Grantham formed a close friendship with the brothers and in 2011 landed a 3 month stint in Sydney with Chris Waller.   Grantham lived with Tommy during his time there and had the pleasure of riding track work for Gai Waterhouse and Gerald Ryan.   He describes Tommy and Nathan as one of the biggest influences in his career as a jockey and experienced great sadness with the passing of Nathan in 2014. Another major influence within his riding career was his multi-tasked mum.   Starting to face a battle with his weight, Kellie went to extreme measures to assist Grantham and played a major role in his career as his manager and master as well.  Although his career as a jockey was short lived due to weight issues, Grantham walked away with 97 winners from just short of 1,000 rides. An inspiration to his current harness career is his Aunty Lara, who has her fair share of knowledge within the racing industry being Lou Luciaini’s foreman for a number of years, and Uncle, well-known Group One winning harness trainer and Olympic Gold medalist Michael Brennan.    Brennan assisted Grantham with his health and well being as a jockey, travelling into the Ascot stables several times a week to train with him and keep his nutrition balanced.    Now combining as a strong trainer/driver partnership in the Harness Racing game, Grantham and Brennan are enjoying successes with class horses such as Billies A Star and the part family owned The Bucket List. At the time, Brennan was stable foreman for Gary Hall Snr.  Grantham started driving track work for Brennan and Hall Snr a year after hanging up the silks and decided that he would make the switch from saddle to sulky not long after.   It was only months after he started driving track work that Grantham had his first trial for Brennan on Bledisloe.    In March 2014 Grantham drove his first winner for trainer and father of long-term girlfriend Maddison, Colin Brown on Deflector.   Other than steering around the horses, Grantham received his truck licence at just 17 years of age and now also works full-time transporting horses for his father at Grantham’s Horse Transport.   With several trips to Broome under his belt this year already and staring recently on the show ‘Outback Truckers’, Grantham travels approximately 300kms a day, juggling shifts between harness meetings. With no future intentions to train, the now 21 year old is enjoying life the way it is and looking forward to potentially having his first drive in the prestigious harness race, the Inter Dominion, later this year. Favourite holiday destination: Broome Favourite childhood memory: Being so close with my sister Claire Best looking person in Harness Racing: Stephanie Smith because I can’t split it between Aiden De Campo and Dylan Edgerton-Green Favourite food: Nana’s food By Ashlea Brennan

Jane Ellen has long been regarded as one of the best standardbred mares ever produced in Tasmania and last Saturday night her efforts on the racetrack were recognised when she was inducted into the Tasmania Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Jane Ellen ended her racing career with 30 wins and 10 minor placings from 50 starts for $374,993 in stakes from January 1988 to February 1991, which these days would equate to close to $1 million. She had the distinction of having never been beaten in a race by another filly or mare and her feats when in the care of the late Vin Knight have been lauded by the harness racing historians. Jane Ellen was bred in Tasmania by Karen Dornauf and she was trained by Peter Dornauf until she left the state to be prepared by the late Bob Knight at his Kilmore stables in Victoria. Her major wins were a heat of the 1990 Inter Dominion in South Australia, the Victorian and NSW Oaks in 1989 and the following year she captured the Paleface Adios Print (NSW), Victoria Cup Consolation, Mildura Cup (Vic), Ladyship Cup (NSW) and the 19912 George Johnson in her state of birth (Tasmania). Unfortunately Jane Ellen failed at stud with the exception of one of her three foals Golden Magic that won 15 and placed 14 times from 33 starts for John Justice in Victoria. Other horses inducted to the Hall of Fame were Bandbox, considered one of the best of her time (1945-49) and Our Globe that won multiple heats of two Inter Dominion series' (1939-40) and he also sired 158 winners. Peter Staples  

One of Tasmania's most successful trainer-drivers Wayne Rattray has been inducted into the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Rattray was inducted at a gala awards night at the Country Club Resort in Launceston last Saturday night. The veteran trainer-driver-breeder began the dynasty of the Rattray name in harness racing and his personal achievements sit comfortably alongside the very best the state has produced. He was leading trainer six times from 1984 to 1990 and as a reinsman from 1975 to 1999 he notched 284 winners and along the way collected multiple feature race wins. Some of his feature wins include the 1985 Group 1 Tasmanian Pacing Championship with Napoleon Stone that he partnered to victory and they also won the Tasmanian Oaks, Globe Derby Stakes in the same year. His other Tasmanian Championship winner was Karalta Bay in 1989. One of the best horse's he trained was Cody Maverick that was the state's best 2YO in 2007-08 season winning every feature juvenile event he contested as well as a Breeders Crown semi-final in Victoria. Listen to what Wayne Rattray had to say after being inducted into the Tasmanian harness racing Hall of fame. Peter Staples

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Star pacer Bettors Fire is on the verge of creating harness racing history by becoming the first pacer to win the time-honoured Navy Cup for the second time, according to the eight-year-old’s trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper. Harper has the New Zealand-bred gelding in tip-top condition for $35,000 Navy Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The group 3 feature event has been run 45 times and no pacer has been successful twice. Harper trained and drove Bettors Fire to an all-the-way victory over Ima Rocket Star in the 2536m Navy Cup in October 2013. That was Bettors Fire’s first win in a metropolitan-class race. Bettors Fire has set the pace and won at each of his past three starts, over 2536m and 2130m (twice) at Gloucester Park. However, the son of Bettor's Delight is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven on the front line on Friday night. And several of his rivals have sparkling gate speed. “This is a very nice field, containing several very nice horses,” Harper said. “I’m hoping Bettors Fire can get across and find the top again. However, I’ll be keeping my options open. There is no plan to cut the ribbons and come out guns ablazing. “But he’s got that natural gate speed that enables him to roll forward and make some ground pretty quickly. Whether horses on his inside will hand up is open to question. “The great thing about my horse is that he’s so versatile and has so many strings to his bow. We can leave our options open; we can roll forward and we can go back and sit him up. He’s not a one-trick pony and can win from any position. It would be nice to win another Navy Cup, a race my Dad (Lindsay) won behind Digger of Fortune in 2003.” Harper said that Bettors Fire had thrived since winning the Spring Pace from Copagrin and Libertybelle Midfrew last Friday week. “He did it easily and got a nice cheap run before hitting the line strongly after a final quarter in 27.2sec.” he said. “Touch wood, everything is going really well with him. Thankfully, things have gone really smoothly and he’s had some pretty easy runs with some very cheap early sectionals. “I’d say that his best run in four starts in this campaign was his first-up effort when he finished powerfully from well back to be a nose second to Cyamach in fast time over 1730m.” Harper is realistic enough to concede that Friday night’s race will be no walk in the park for Bettors Fire, a winner of 30 races and $527,152 in prizemoney.  The gelding will need to be close to his peak to defeat the brilliant Elegant Christian and the highly-regarded Beaudiene Boaz. Clive Dalton, trainer of Elegant Christian, declared the lightly-raced six-year-old would go forward from his outside barrier (No. 9 on the front line) and was ready to run a super race. “He’s a genuine winning chance,” Dalton said. “There is a bit of speed on his inside, but we’ll definitely go forward. It’s no good going back over 2130m which is his pet distance.” Elegant Christian, a winner at 19 of his 35 starts, was a heavily backed 3/1 on favourite from barrier one when he reappeared after an eleven-week absence last Friday week. But Elegant Christian galloped badly at the start before making up a great deal of lost ground to finish seventh, just over four lengths behind the winner Bettors Fire. Clint Hall did not knock Elegant Christian about and the pacer went to the line without Hall releasing the ear plugs. “It was a disaster, but it was a great run,” said Dalton. “He pulled up super and his work has been good.” Beaudiene Boaz, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start out wide at barrier eight on Friday night and the five-year-old’s many admirers will be looking forward to the stallion returning to top form after disappointing unplaced efforts at his past three outings. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said that the Cup was far from a foregone conclusion and he said that ideal barriers would suit his runners Red Salute and Our Blackbird. Red Salute (Chris Voak) will start from the No. 1 barrier, with Our Blackbird at No. 2. Red Salute has a losing sequence of 20 and Our Blackbird’s losing run stands at 18. “I consider Our Blackbird has more of a winning chance than Red Salute,” Olivieri said. “They both get out quickly and are capable of leading. Red Salute led and beat Our Blackbird on the track this morning (Tuesday), but I still think Our Blackbird is the better of my two runners. “Our Blackbird couldn’t get clear when an unlucky fifth behind Bettors Fire last Friday week and he had no luck when fifth behind Phoenix Warrior at his previous start.” Ken Casellas
“Everything is on track for the Inters for John of Arc and I’m very excited about his return to harness racing this week,” said Herron trainer Clive Dalton. The injury-plagued John of Arc will start from the outside in a field of eight in the 2130m TABtouch Super Pick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Dalton is confident that the Courage Under Fire seven-year-old will resume with a victory. John of Arc has not appeared since finishing seventh behind My Hard Copy in the WA Pacing Cup last January, but Dalton declares that the gelding should prove too talented for his rivals. This will be John of Arc’s first start for Dalton and the New Zealand-bred gelding will be driven for the first time by Chris Lewis. “John of Arc has got suspensory ligament problems, but he’s sound at the moment,” said Dalton, who is setting him and stablemate Elegant Christian for the rich TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. “He’s pretty strong and I think he’s a class above the opposition in this week’s race. “I’ll speak to Chris and we’ll work out a little plan. Initially, we’ll probably come out and have a look and Chris will then decide on his tactics. “If he goes back and then they slacken off, he’ll go forward to the breeze.” John of Arc, placed at each of his three starts in New Zealand, has had 23 starts in Western Australia for 16 wins and two placings. He will clash with five-year-old Ima Connoisseur, who is in dazzling form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, having won in fast time at each of his past three starts, the latest being in Kalgoorlie last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to win the Mount Eden Mile. Ima Connoisseur rated 1.55.2 over the 1750m journey after sprinting over the final 800m in 56.4sec. He also raced without cover before winning from smart stablemate Risk at a 1.53.4 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park two weeks earlier. That followed an all-the-way win over Our Ideal Act, rating 1.56.5 over 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Bonds will also be represented by Burning and Bettor Offer, while Gary Hall sen. will pin his faith on the lightly-raced eight-year-old Toretto, who will be having his third start after an absence of 15 months. Ken Casellas
Maddison Brown will be out to replicate Gota Good Lookadda’s all-the-way victory last Friday night when she drives the Rich And Spoilt seven-year-old in the $25,000 final of the TABtouch Interdominion at Gloucester Park Warwick final over 2130m at harness racing headquarters on Friday night. Gota Good Lookadda’s prospects soared after she drew the prized No. 1 barrier. She started from barrier two last Friday night when she led and won from Mon Lamour and Suzies Gem at a 1.58.9 rate in a qualifying heat. Suzies Gem, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo, again looms as a tough opponent, even though she will have to overcome the distinct disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight. Suzies Gem started from the No. 9 barrier last Friday night when she raced four and three wide before getting to the breeze 400m after the start. She worked hard in the breeze and fought on doggedly. Her previous form was hard to fault. Hidden Bad, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, scored an impressive victory in a qualifying heat last Friday week and will have many admirers in the final. A 16/1 chance at her first outing for six weeks, she started from barrier seven and settled down in ninth position. Turvey sent her forward, three wide after 720m and she then raced in the breeze outside the pacemaker Sea Cider before forging to the front 250m from home. She dashed over the final 400m in 28.7sec. and won by 5m from Forever Remembered. This ended a losing sequence of ten (which included only one placing) and improved her record to 45 starts for 13 wins and 14 placings. “She should have benefited from that run and has worked well since,” Turvey said. “But she has a tricky draw at No. 3. There’s no particular reason why she returned to form. I just gave her a break and hoped that would do the trick. “I wouldn’t say that she has bounced back to her best, but at least her win was an indication of perhaps better things to come. Going back a year she was quite a nice mare and I thought she would go through a few grades. But obviously things went a bit pear-shaped. Forever Remembered, trained at Collie by Errol Ashcroft, has sound each-way prospects after drawing favourably at barrier two on the back line. She will be driven by Kyle Harper, who was impressed with her powerful three-wide finishing burst from last approaching the bell to be second to Hidden Bad last Friday week. “That run was super,” Harper said. “She’s just a lovely high-speed horse who is always dangerous if she gets the right trip. Barrier two on the back line should suit her and she should get a nice trip through.” Ken Casellas
Swedish-bred trotter Cardigan Boko has recovered from a life-threatening injury and illness and will reappear after an 11-month harness racing absence when he contests the Book Your Melbourne Cup Lunch at Gloucester Park Trotters Mobile at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And trainer Clive Dalton is enthusiastically declaring that the stylish black stallion by Varenne will prove mighty hard to beat on his return to action. “He hasn’t raced for almost 12 months and isn’t quite 100 per cent fit yet,” Dalton said. “But he is flying and is right on top of his game. I never say a horse is a certainty, but he’s a world-class animal.” Soon after Cardigan Boko notched his 16th win from just 25 starts, winning easily from Prince Eddie and Heez Speedy Gonzalez at Gloucester Park last October, he cracked an off-side pastern and then got colic which developed into a twisted bowel which required surgery. “He is lucky to be alive, really,” said Dalton, who said that he would advise Chris Lewis to make use of the horse’s brilliant gate speed from out wide at barrier seven.       Cardigan Boko will clash with Sunnys Little Whiz, who has scored effortless wins for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and driver Kiara Davies at her first four starts in Western Australia. The New Zealand-bred Sunnys Little Whiz has not been extended in her WA victories in which her average winning margin has been three lengths. She will start from barrier five and Davies will be anxious to steal a march on her rivals by dashing Sunnys Little Whiz to an early lead. Adding further interest to the race will be the return of Armed Force, who has impressed in winning at nine of his 22 WA starts for trainer Gary Hall sen. Armed Force, who will be having his first start for three months, will start from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Apart from Cardigan Boko, Dalton will be represented by Ropeburn, Lightning Joy and Nico Serrano. Ropeburn, driven by Michael Grantham, ran a strong trial for Friday night’s race when he gave a bold frontrunning display to win from Reminder Call and Xen on over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas
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