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Former rising star ready to comeback

Waldenburg looked to have a big harness racing career after his two-year-old season.  One of the top performers of his crop, son of Bettors Delight won a semi-final of the Breeders’ Crown before finishing second behind Three Over Three in the Final. As a three-year-old Waldenburg won the Simpson Memorial and was placed in the Victoria Derby, beating home Restrepo.  He qualified for another two Group One races that season, but after suffering a leg issue, was sent for a well-earned break.  As a four-year-old Waldenburg was back on the sidelines due to another a leg injury according to his trainer Blake Fitzpatrick.  “Waldenburg suffered an injury to his leg in a paddock accident after only a couple of runs back as a four-year-old, which was really disappointing,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve had him back in work for about five months this time and he is holding up really well. The leg is no longer an issue…he has had two trials back and I think he is ready to go back to the races.” Waldenburg trialled yesterday when he charged up on the back of dual Inter Dominion winner Beautide to hit the line full of running. “I was really happy with his trial this week,” Fitzpatrick said. “There was improvement from the first trial, so now I will look to put him into a race for M0 horses on Saturday week.” “He is only lightly-assessed at this stage and I think he will do a good job because I thought that there were some nice horses in his age group and he competed with them very strongly as a two-and three year-old.”     HRNSW Media

Nathan Jack - Lovely drive to get Just Leave home at Shepparton last night

Kiwi bred trotter has a big future

Former Kiwi five year old Monarchy/Rob The Nest gelding Just Leave (Nathan Jack) was gigantic in winning the Betta Home Living Cohuna Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2190 metres at the Shepparton trots on Tuesday March 31.   Stepping cleanly from 20 metres to settle nice and handy with Kains Boy jumping straight to the front from barrier four before surrendering to the Kari Males trained Secret Kiss which started outside the front line, Just Leave went into a wild gallop shortly after the start appearing to put himself out of business.   Gradually making up the lost ground to be last in the running line at the bell, Just Leave trailed the 30 metre backmarker Just Call Me Earl forward three wide in the final circuit before making the home turn very wide.   Producing a brilliant turn of speed on straightening, Just Leave charged down the outside of the track to record a runaway 3 metre victory over the pacemaker in a mile rate of 2-05, with Kains Boy holding down third after a cosy trip.   Raced by former Kilmore trucking magnate Jack Knight, Just Leave trained at Avenel by Wayne Potter had recorded three wins since crossing the Tasman.   The wraps were huge on beautifully bred first starter Showgun Thomas in the Betta Home Living Mansfield 2-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres, however the gelded son of Bettors Delight and Forest Charm could manage only third behind the all the way victor Casino Tommy.   Trained and driven by Kilmore’s Robbie Walters, John Street North/Casino Princess gelding Casino Tommy began brilliantly from gate three to lead throughout in a mile rate of 2-02.6, defeating Combined Interest from last by 2.5 metres. Showgun Thomas (one/one – three wide home turn) was a neck away in third place.   Local Lemnos trainer/driver Mark Pitt provided a shock result to the Betta Home Living Finley 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres, when Village Jolt/Our Beebee Pocket gelding To The Rescue greeted the judge in a mile rate of 1-59.6 at Supertab odds of $38.60.   Leading out from the pole, To The Rescue was restrained to allow the heavily backed Three Mugs In (gate five) to take over giving him the run of the race.   Using the sprint lane, To The Rescue finished best to score by a head from a death-seating Yankee Strutter, with Three Mugs In 2.7 metres away in third place.   Shepparton (Lemnos) partners Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack combined to land the Betta Home Living Echua Eureka Series (Heat 4) for C0 class over 2190 metres with Lis Mara/Gee Cam five year old entire Last Issue.   Pushing through from gate three on the second line to receive a lovely one/one passage, Jack not happy with the tempo sent Last Issue forward to take over from Blazing Orion at the bell and was never headed, winning by an easy 14.8 metres in advance of Tragic (three back the markers) and Blazing Orion which trailed the winner after crossing Ok Why Me prior to the bell. The mile rate 1-59.1.   Four year old Real Desire/Live Love Laugh gelding Hazpazzaz brought up two wins in a row when successful in the Betta Home Living Seymour Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1690 metres in a brilliant rate of 1-55.   Trained at Sunbury by Justin Livingstone for the Livingstone family, Hazpazzaz driven by Brian Gath starting from the extreme draw spent most of the race at the rear of the field, with NSW visitor Peking Duck (David Moran for Kim Hillier) assuming control running into the first turn.   Still a “mile” off the leaders on turning, Happazzaz weaving in-between runners sprouted wings halfway up the running to blouse the pacemaker by a nose in a tricky finish, with Glenferrie College (one/four – five wide home turn) a half neck away in third place.   The Betta Home Living Deniliquin Pace Final for C1 class which qualified in the heats held the previous Thursday, went the way of heat winner Nothings Final for Undera trainer Glenn Freeman and Avenel based reinsman Mark Pitt.   Given a sweet trip one/one from gate two on the second line following the favourite Indiana Angel (gate two) also a heat winner which shadowed another heat winner in Magic Moment Lombo (gate three), Nothings Final was eased three wide on turning and ran home strongly to register a neck victory over a game Indiana Angel and Tennaya along the sprint lane off the back of the leader.   The  mile rate a slick 1-55.9.   A five year old gelded son of P B Bullville and Timid Lady, Nothings Final has fronted the starter on 52 occasions for 10 wins.   Bendigo (Junortoun) owner/trainer Gary Donaldson has a terrific percentage ratio and landed the Betta Home Living Kyabram Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2190 metres with consistent six year old Art Major/My Gentle Persuasion gelding Bazzas Art in a rate of 1-59.   Driven by Melton based Zac Phillips, Bazzas Art was eased to the tail of the field from gate six, with polemarker Philtra Phella leading out before being crossed by  Stormed Out, while the hot favourite Smo coming off a second in the recent Echuca Cup was trapped on a limb from gate five before going forward to join the pacemaker.   Gaining a beaut ride home three wide on the back of Riseandriseagain in the final circuit, Bazzas Art cruised up to Smo which had led on turning in the straight, before coasting to the wire 5.8 metres ahead of Forbidden Forest (one/one) after working out of gate four, with Smo weakening to finish 2 metres away in third place.   The mile rate 1-59.1.   Punters went home on a much needed happy note when smart Bettors Delight/Dont Answer That filly Morton Plains trained at Shelbourne (Bendigo) by Larry Eastman scored in the Betta Home Living Cobram Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres.   Driven by Chris Alford, Morton Plains a stablemate of Victoria Derby winner Menin Gate raced in the same interests was first up since mid-January and raced in the open from gate four throughout.   Surging past the leader Bright And Sonny approaching the home turn, Morton Plains ($1.70) although under pressure kept on giving and giving to the wire, scoring by a half head only  in 1-58.7 over Just Knew (one/two) and The Pix (one/three).   Len Baker - Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Beaudiene Boaz - Looking to bounce back in the Western Gateway Classic this week

Western Gateway Classic looks wide open

An intriguing barrier draw has thrown the Slater Gartrell Sports Western Gateway Classic into the melting pot at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but crack New Zealand-bred three-year-olds Beaudiene Boaz and Kiwi Legend should enhance their reputations and their prospects in the WA Derby by fighting out the finish of the $50,000 group 2 feature event. The random draw did neither any favours, with Beaudiene Boaz drawing out wide at No. 6 on the front line in the 2536m race and Kiwi Legend No. 3 on the back line. Denny Crane, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Tact Major, prepared by Gary Hall sen., is favourably drawn at No. 2. Both geldings possess good gate speed and are capable of setting the pace and proving hard to beat. However, the Mike Reed-trained Kiwi Legend was so impressive at his Australian debut when Mark Reed drove the 11/2 chance to a superb all-the-way victory over Military Master and All Aussie Boy at a 1.54.7 rate in a Derby Prelude last Friday night that astute punters are sure to support him with confidence, despite his back-line draw. That was Kiwi Legend’s third start in a race, and he has yet to be extended in winning all three. The back-line draw should prove no great handicap to Kiwi Legend, who showed his class at his debut when he came from 13th at the bell to score an easy win over 2400m at Wyndham on February 1 when he sped over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Kiwi Legend ended Beaudiene Boaz’s winning sequence of seven when that pacer started at 3/1 on and worked hard in the breeze before he began to hang in approaching the back straight in the final circuit of last week’s race. Soon after that he met with severe interference when Kiwi Legend shifted up the track. Beaudiene Boaz then gave ground over the concluding stages and finished in eighth position, 13 lengths behind Kiwi Legend. Reinsman Gary Hall jun. informed the stewards that he eased Beaudiene Boaz down in the final stages after the colt had dropped the bit and was reluctant to race competitively. Beaudiene Boaz won with such authority at his previous seven starts that it is difficult to visualise him not bouncing back with a vengeance and fighting out the finish this week. Hall sen. is full of hope that Beaudiene Boaz will give him his fourth win in the Western Gateway after scoring with The Falcon Strike (2001), Alta Christiano (2013) and Elegant Christian (2014). Clint Hall drove Elegant Christian to an all-the-way victory from the No. 1 barrier and he is hoping to repeat the dose this week with Tact Major, who has won at three of his six starts. Tact Major can improve on his fifth behind Kiwi Legend last when he met with interference in the back straight in the final lap after enjoying an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. Denny Crane should be prominent from his inside barrier. He raced wide early from barrier four last week, was restrained to the rear and did not show up when ninth last week. He has won at seven of his 18 starts and can do much better. The Ross Olivieri-trained Military Master should be prominent from the inside of the back line. He started from the same barrier in last week’s Derby prelude before racing three back on the pegs and finishing determinedly to be second to Kiwi Legend. Blythwood trainer Gary Elson has a high opinion of Red Hot Major and the colt should be prominent from barrier four on the front line. The only filly in the event is the Jesse Moore-trained Tricky Styx, a winner at eight of her 15 starts. She will start from No. 5 on the front line and possesses a powerful finishing burst. But she faces a stern test against the colts and geldings. John of Arc poised to atone Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has six of the nine runners in the Slater Gartrell Sports Midland Super Store Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he looks certain to win with John of Arc, the lowest assessed horse in the field. John of Arc is the least experienced runner in the field, with 16 starts for ten wins and four seconds. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old has an M 0 classification, but he should prove far too good for his rivals, three of which are on an M1 mark, four on an M2 mark and one (Notabadexcuse) on an M3 mark. There were excuses for John of Arc’s shock defeat at 5/2 on when a close and most unlucky second to the frontrunning Meet George Jetson last Friday night. John of Arc was having his first start for nine months and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position. But he was hemmed in for most of the final circuit before Gary Hall jun. got him into the clear approaching the home turn. John of Arc then contacted a wheel of another runner just before the home turn, raced roughly and lost momentum before charging home, four wide, to fail by one metre to overhaul Meet George Jetson. This week John of Arc will start from barrier three on the front line and should prove too classy for the opposition, which includes stablemate Mohegan Sun, who was a smart all-the-way first-up winner over The Court Jester last Friday fortnight before racing in seventh position and finishing ninth behind Smokey The Bandit last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Shane Tritton - Buying up big in New Zealand

More reinforcements for the Tritton barn

Hunter Valley harness racing trainer Shane Tritton has been busy purchasing New Zealand stock for stable clients in an attempt to secure his first NSW trainers’ premiership. Tritton has finished inside the state’s top five trainers during the past five years and has been runner-up in the past two behind Bathurst horseman Steve Turnbull. One of the new stable recruits is well-performed pacer Glenlochar, a son of Elsu which boasts a third behind Adore Me in 1:51.6 earlier this year. “Glenlochar is a nice horse and with that run behind Adore Me at Cambridge in track record time he is a good addition to my stable,” Tritton said. “I’m excited to buy a horse who may just love the mile racing at Menangle. He arrives in Australia on a good mark (C4) as well, so I think is he a very good purchase by Shannon Hoffman.” Hoffman also owns former Kiwi pacer and Hunter Cup placegetter Easy On The Eye. “Other former New Zealanders that have joined the stable include Ohoka Royal, Bubbaloobah, Sambucca Joe and Change Gear,” Tritton said. “There are a few more to come after Easter as well, it is an exciting time for my stable.” Tritton prepared Saturday night’s Bathurst Gold Chalice winner Artistic Flite and has confirmed the three-year-old’s next run will be in the Newcastle Derby. “Yes the Newcastle Derby is on May 2 and that is a race that I will now target with Artistic Flite,” Tritton said. “After that he is off to Queensland for the Seymour series, but will be back in New South Wales for the Breeders’ Challenge series. “We’ve been winding him up towards this because he knew he had so many feature races towards the end of the season.” Salty Robyn will head to New Zealand for the Sires’ Stake and possibly the Harness Jewels. “He isn’t eligible for much here in Australia, so he’s definitely going to go to New Zealand for the Sires’ and hopefully the Jewels, but that decision is out of my hands,” Tritton said. Suave Stuey Lombo and Easy On The Eye have been aimed at Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 26. “They’ve both had a chance to freshen up after their Inter Dominion campaigns and we are looking forward to the Len Smith Mile, but it looks to be a strong race with Beautide set to compete,” Tritton said. HRNSW Media

Star Tasmanian-owned and bred pacer Beautide delivered an early message to his likely harness racing opponents in the upcoming Len Smith Mile when he powered his way to an impressive trial win over 1609 metres at Menangle yesterday. Beautide was having his first hit-out since winning his second Inter Dominion Championship at Menangle last month. With his trainer James Rattray in the sulky, Beautide began well from the outside gate (8) and settled second behind the leader. When Rattray eased his stable star off the fence to challenge he quickly drew alongside the leader and went on to easily win the trial by a metre. Beautide stopped the clock at 1.54.7 and ran home his last half mile (800m) in 55.3 seconds without being fully extended. He is likely to have another trial before trying to make it successive Len Smith Miles with that Group 1 race over 1609m to be run at Menangle on April 26. Watch trial: courtesy of TrotsTV Peter Staples

Michael Stanley’s Hilltop Hustler looks well-placed in Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup. The Redan five-year-old gelding will come out of barrier nine in the 2570-metre race, which carries stake money of $25,505. Hilltop Hustler won at Horsham two starts back in the $8505 O’Keefe before a game third off a 20- metre handicap in the Boort Pacing Cup on March 15. “At Boort he pinned the ears back and had a real crack,” said Stanley, who trains and drives Hilltop Hustler. “He’s a tough little bugger. He leaves everything out on the track … He should be hard to beat.” Hilltop Hustler is a winner of 12 races from 52 starts for stake earnings of $107,626. He has placed on a further 13 occasions. At about this time last year he won the Warragul Pacing Cup defeating Lovable Larrikin by 1.3 metres and Savesomtimetodream by seven off equal marks. The latter, trained by Paul Rowse at Ross Creek, has to spot Hilltop Hustler 10 metres from the stand start conditions at Ararat. “It’s not going to be easy from the second row but he’s working as good as ever,” Stanley said of his runner. “It’s an even sort of field.” Stanley withdrew Hilltop Hustler from a recent Melton meeting because the pacer had a virus. But a round of antibiotics has cleared up the charge’s ailment and he’s expected to be fit and firing for the Ararat feature. Twelve horses have accepted for the Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup, which will be run at 10pm. Club secretary Lloyd Grice said former AFL player turned RSN radio host Mick McGuane would be on-course master of ceremonies at Ararat, filing roving reports over the microphone and helping run the punters’ club. “It’ll be great having Mick there,” Grice said. Patrons can purchase punters’ club tickets for $10 and they essentially can’t lose, because everyone who purchases a $10 ticket will receive a $10 TAB voucher. “You’ve got your money back before there’s even been a race won,” Grice said. The club has organised plenty of children’s activities but the club is hoping to attract a mix of patrons including families, punters and people just keen for a great social outing. “There’ll be plenty for the families but there will be plenty for everyone,” Grice said. “We’re hoping to get a great crowd for the Easter Saturday meeting. “We’ll even have the Easter Bunny there handing out some goodies for the kids.” A $1000 TAB voucher will be won on the night via Harness Racing Victoria’s TAB Trots Selfies competition with patrons simply having to post a “selfie” on to facebook.com/trotselfies with the most creative entry taking the coin. The 10-race card gets under way at 6.25pm with the last at 11pm. The Clive Reid Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup will also be held at 8.30pm with in-form Death Defying sure to prove hard to beat with Nathan Jack in the sulky for trainer Kari Males. The Ararat Cup meeting is a leg of the TAB Trots Country Cups Carnival.  CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER  

There is nothing better for a trainer or driver in harness racing to have a well laid out plan realised, especially if it is a feature race. That's how it panned out for trainer Paul Hill and driver Ricky Duggan who teamed up to win the $10,000 Launceston Pacing Club's Belmont event with smart two-year-old filly Chica Bella. "On paper we thought she could lead from the pole, get away with some soft sectionals midrace and then sprint home," Duggan said. "That's exactly how it panned out and the filly did exactly what we thought she was capable of doing," he said. In a small field of six Chica Bella had no trouble in retaining the lead from the inside spot after a short stoush with Twentythreered that ended up facing the breeze with the well-backed first starter Guesstamate trailing the leader with Scorchin Safari in the one-out-one-back position. When Twentythreered dropped off turning for home Duggan called on Chica Bella to sprint and she delivered the goods to score by 1.3 metres from Guesstamate that ran home along the rails with Scorchin Safari over three metres away third. Chica Bella is owned by the trainer's wife Julie Hill who bred the filly and races her with her brother-in-law Robert Hill and step-son Scott Hill. The trainer says the daughter of Cardmaster Hanover showed ability from day one. "She has been a nice, easy going filly from the outset and has never missed a beat since she's been in work," Hill said. "Other than stepping out of her gear for a few strides when off the second line on debut she has been faultless." "We targeted the Launceston Belmont and now that she has learned how to win she will be competitive when we step her out in a heat of the Sweepstakes in Hobart next month," Hill said. Peter Staples

Spudvegas is the 13th foal from broodmare Colada Hanover to race, but when he won on debut at Goulburn yesterday, he did something most of his siblings have been unable to do.  Of his 12, only two have won at their first race start. Left Stranded scored at Gloucester Park in 2006, while the first horse in the family to achieve the feat was the quadruple Inter Dominion winner Blacks A Fake. Blackie, as he was affectnionately-known, debuted at the Gold Coast on August 6, 2003. Spudvegas is owned by Wayne and Ann Lamb and was bred by popular breeder Eric Basham.  Basham enjoyed the victory and watched the races on the television from his home in Young. “My wife Rosemary and I watch all of the horses race that we breed,” Basham said. “Rosemary even gets the trials off the internet so we can watch them too, they are still our babies. “There are only two more foals after Spudvegas, the next filly is named Goinsenial and she was purchased by the Rattray family, while I have leased out the last filly out of Colada Hanover.” Colada Hanover died within 24 hours of giving birth to Colada Hanover, and while Basham could not have saved the mare, he still questions himself. “She had the foal just before sundown and she was fine, my son got up to check on her at 1am the next morning and she was ok, but when I went to check on her at dawn, she was dead,” Basham explained. “The vets told me there was nothing I could have done and she most likely suffered an internal bleed after giving birth, but it was still very traumatic at the time.” Since then Basham has had some issues of his own including a broken back. “In August last year I had two young horses in a yard and I was trying to put a headstall on one of them, and while I was doing that, the other horses bit the one I was working with on the bum and I was thrown to the ground, the sound my back made was like that of a whip being cracked,” Basham said. “I managed to get up, but it has been a long recovery. There was a lot of pain, and while it has now healed, I find it difficult to stand or sit in the one position for long periods of time.” Basham confirmed he decided to lease the final foal from Colada Hanover to a vet from Young after she provided him and Rosemary with a lot of help. “The filly was a poddy foal and she was a bit backward, I had her running with the colts as a weanling and Jantien Saltet my vet said to me I’m going to take that filly and feed her up,” Basham said. “She did that and it has made a great difference to the filly, so I offered to lease her to Jantien for all of her help. It was the least I could do.” By Art Major, Spudvegas is trained by leading horsewoman Belinda McCarthy. HRNSW Media

Peter Gadsby and Brian Lockwood were great mates, they raced Double Identity and enjoyed some great highs with the Miracle Mile winner. While the pair remained good friends, they pursued other harness racing interests several years ago. However, early last year they decided to go into partnership with trainer Harry Martin again with an unraced son of Blissfull Hall. Gadsby named him Double Event and he won three races in his first season of racing. Tragedy struck on November 24 last year when Brian Lockwood passed away suddenly, but Double Event still races on in the colours that Double Identity made famous, yellow with dark blue hooped sleeves. The five year old resumes from a short break on Thursday night at Penrith in the first heat of the Carousel and Gadsby is hoping he can win again in memory of his good friend. "I've experienced some great thrills in harness racing with my horses but some of the times my wife Wendy and I spent with Brian and his wife Shirley were unforgettable," Gadsby said. "We had just started racing horses together again and reliving the good old days with Double (Identity) when he passed away unexpectedly, it was terrible." Double Event has won three races already this year and has continued to improve with an impressive last start victory over My General Lee. "Harry has always had an opinion of him, but he has just thrived on racing at Menangle and his last start win was very good because he rated 1:52.7 in winning." "I'm hoping that Double Event wins a good race in memory of Brian, and the Carousel definitely fits into that category, first though he has to qualify for the final by winning on Thursday night." Gadsby won the Carousel in 2005 with Smooth Crusa. "He was a nice horse and after winning the Carousel in May of 2005 he was raced in the Tasmanian Inter Dominion less than twelve months later." "The Carousel is a race that is won by nice horses that's for sure." Monifieth (2013), Gold King (2002), Sailors Corner (1999), Warwick Lad (1998) and Highview Ana (1996) are all former winners of the Gr. 2 event. Greg Hayes

Gallant harness racing gelding Motu Crusader is on target to win consecutive Easter Cups following his impressive heat win at Launceston last Sunday night. Motu Crusader over came off a 40-metre handicap to score in style, suggesting he has lost none of the power he showed to win last year’s Easter Cup. With Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, the eight-year-old stepped well and made up ground gradually before unleashing a powerful sprint to emerge triumphant over Riverboat Jasper and rising talent Ardlussa Express. Trainer Zeke Slater was thrilled with Motu Crusader’s effort. “If I had have been asked two weeks ago whether the horse was going as well as last year I would have said no, but in the past week he has come on really well and tonight he showed me he’s back to where he needs to be to win another Easter Cup,” Slater said. Motu Crusader dead-heated for second in his heat last year before going on to win the Final convincingly. The remaining Easter Cup heat was won by Victorian-owned gelding Rule Like A King, which is being prepared for the feature by Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. Driven by Hillier, Rule Like A King rolled to the front soon after the start, and when challenged along the home straight, he had no trouble fending off his rivals. The son of Mach Three scored comfortably from another Victorian, Outrageous El, with Tasmanian Cup winner Star Chamber third. PETER STAPLES

We are all aware of the term Gentleman Jim. While few may know its original, the moniker has no more deserving place than serving as a prefix for harness racing’s legend Jim Hurley. A true Gentleman Jim in every sense, Hurley was a star, which has sadly been lost to the industry with his passing at the age of 90. In a career spanning more than five decades, Hurley won more than 1000 races, including being associated with 1964 Inter Dominion winner, Minuteman. Trained and driven by Eric Hurley, Minuteman was part-owned by Jim, his brother and their sister, Phyllis. Just last January, Hurley trained Heza Presidente to compete in the South Australia Cup…a race Minuteman captured in 1966. Harnesslink and the entire Australian harness racing community extends its sympathy to Hurley’s family and friends. PAUL COURTS

Life has been tough for astute harness racing trainer Sam Dimarco in recent times, but he has every reason to smile at the moment. Battling depression, Dimarco returned to the industry last year and has enjoyed a sensational rate of success. Leading the charge is boom youngster Shadow Runner, which is unbeaten from four starts, including the Bathurst Gold Crown. Driven by Michael Formosa, Shadow Runner worked hard from his second row draw before scoring by a short half-head from Karloo Damajor. In a ‘blanket finish’, Sams The Master was a half-head away third. “It got tight at the finish, but he got there, which is the main thing,” Dimarco said. “I’m rapt, couldn’t be happier. “That’s my first Group One win and to share it with my daughter Marissa, who owns Shadow Runner is amazing.” Covering the last half in 57.2 seconds, Shadow Runner rated a brilliant 1:55.7 for the 1730-metre trip, smashing the race record set by Jaccka Taurus in 1999 by 2.4 seconds. To be given a brief let-up, the gelded son of Shadow Play will then be set for the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge. “He is already bucking around in the paddock and ready to go again,” Dimarco said. “You wouldn’t even know he’d raced on the weekend. “I will give him an easy week, then get ready for the Breeders’ Challenge.” PAUL COURTS

Star Tasmanian harness racing participant Gareth Rattray reached a great milestone in Launceston last night where he notched his 1000th win. Rattray ended the program with a double to expand to take his season total to 59 wins. It was Holme On The Bayou which provided Rattray with the magical milestone. Reaching such a mark at the age of 29 is quite a remarkable feat and it is clear Rattray is already is one of the greatest Tasmanian reinsmen. Last December, Queenslander Peter McMullen became the youngest Australian driver to record 1000 wins when successful behind Ezi Days at Albion Park. McMullen was 23 years, four months, and 18 days old. Popular reinswoman Amanda Turnbull set the previous mark when she partnered Forever Texas to glory at Peak Hill last June. Turnbull was 24 years and 4 months, which bettered Morgan Woodley 24 years and eight months. Others to reach 1000 wins at a young age include Luke McCarthy (25 years, one month and two days), Kerryn Manning (25 years, eight months and seven days), Gary Hall junior (26 years, seven months and 17 days) and Greg Sugars (26 years, eight months and seven days). As for Rattray, he is just the fifth Tasmanian to achieve the feat – the others being is father Barrie Rattray (1567 wins), Neville Webberley (1369), Ricky Duggan (1332) and the late Darrel Alexander (1315). Rattray is on target to win his 10th consecutive drivers’ premiership given he is 25 clear of his nearest rival Ricky Duggan. Rattray, twin to Inter Dominion winning horseman James, began driving in 2001, and after winning his first driver’s premiership in 2005/06, has dominated the state’s driving ranks. If he wins this season’s drivers’ title he will be only three premierships behind the great Jack Stamford. Gareth’s father Barrie won 11, while Neville Webberley and Bert Lewis each won seven. Along the way Rattray has represented Tasmania on numerous occasions, winning the Australasian Young Driver’s Championship twice. He also represented Australia at the World Driving Championships in Europe in 2009. Rattray is no stranger to winning feature races with the following just a few of his major successes:  •Tasmania Cup 2012 (Motu Crusader) and 2013 (Motu Crusader). •Tasmanian Derby 2015 (Mister Lennox). •Hobart Pacing Cup 2005 (The Grouse), 2009 (Yakuza), 2013 (Benediction) and 2014 (Spot Nine). •Evicus Stakes (2YO fillies) 2008 (Karalta Crown) and 2010 (Benediction). •Dandy Patch (2YO colts and geldings) 2008 (Cody Maverick). •Globe Derby (3YO) Stakes 2011 (Beautide). •Raider Stakes (4YO) 2010 (Babyitsu). •Granny Smith (4YO Mares) 2007 (Death and Taxes). •2YO Sweepstakes 2010  (Benediction), 2011 (Cloudy Delight) and 2012 (Pachacuti). PETER STAPLES

Harness racing fans can take a step back in time at Easter Sunday's Warragul Cup meeting, by viewing a memorabilia display. An area of items relating to the Warragul Cup will be on display in the undercover area outside the Sponsors Room. And courtesy of the family of the late Gippsland trainer, John Collins, items on display will include race trophies won by the great local pacer of the 1960's, Macaree. Macaree's colours, and original all leather harness, will also be on show along with photographs and scrapbooks. The brilliant pacer, an idol of Melbourne Showgrounds crowds, was only 15 hands high and earned the nickname "The Little Bulldog." The tiny horse was full of courage, winning 56 races including the 1967 Lightning Mile at Harold Park, the Stawell Cup and numerous Melbourne events. He ran in the 1967 Miracle Mile, and also placed second twice in the Kilmore Cup from 48 yards and 60 yards behind. It is fifty years since Macaree won the 1965 Warragul Cup from a 48 yard handicap. It is also sixty years since the first Warragul Cup was held in 1955. John Collins also trained several other smart pacers, including Annastere, the filly who beat the boys to win the 1972 Victoria Derby. It is expected that Annastere's winning sash from the Derby will also be on display. A video screen will show old trotting races from Warragul throughout the day and various rare photos, including the photo finish print from the first Warragul Cup, will be on display. The Warragul club is always keen to hear from people who have items of interest relating to the club that can be copied to add to their collection. Sunday's meeting features the $25,000 Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup, and action kicks off just after Noon. Kyle Galley

The rich QBRED Breeders Classic Finals were staged at Albion Park last night (Friday) and provided great harness racing. The Gr.2 three-year-old finals were worth $50,000 each while the Listed four-year-old finals were worth $25,000 each. The night coincided with the culmination of the Racing Queensland Girls On Track race series. In the 3yo Fillies final, the Phil Mitchell prepared Cullens Jewel made full use of her front-line draw and led throughout to score a convincing victory defeating Mathilda Diventa and Feel The Faith. Race favourite Bettorthanspecial finished fourth. Cullen Jewel rated 1;58.5 for the 2138m journey while covering her final half in 57.5 seconds. Mark Dux took the winning drive on the American Ideal – Cullens Cameo filly. It was her biggest victory to date and her fourth overall. Smart pacer Admiral Bronski took honours in the 3yo Colts and Geldings final after a brilliant tactical drive from leading reinsman Shane Graham. After starting from a second-line draw, the Art Major – Bronski Gorgeous colt whipped around the field at the 1200m mark and took the lead away from race favourite A Good Chance before handing back over at the 800m marker. Admiral Bronski finished quickly via the sprintlane and held off the fast finishing burst of Jack Malone with Uncle John filling third. Race favourite A Good Chance finished fourth. Admiral Bronski rated 1;58.0 for the 2138m journey with the final half covered in 58.9 seconds. Trained by Mick Grant, Admiral Bronski is now the winner of 7 races from 23 starts. In the 4yo divisions, the favourites proved too classy for their rivals. Flashy chestnut Mafuta Vautin, trained and driven by Darrel Graham, led throughout in the Entires and Geldings final defeating Mister Higgins and The Duke Downunder. Bred and raced by Linda Graham, the Rollon Bigred – Ashleysplace gelding has now won 9 of his 13 career starts. Mafuta Vautin rated 1;57.9 for the 2138m journey while finishing off in 58 seconds. In the 4yo Mares final, Charming Allie worked her way to the front and defied running down in the home straight defeating Beef City Safari and Morethanmeetstheye. Bred and raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, the Grant Dixon trained and driven mare claimed her 17th career victory from 27 starts. The Mr Feelgood – Charm Personified mare rated 1;59.0 for the 2138m journey while running her last half in 57.1 seconds. Congratulations to all winners and their respective connections. Racing Queensland

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Waldenburg looked to have a big harness racing career after his two-year-old season.  One of the top performers of his crop, son of Bettors Delight won a semi-final of the Breeders’ Crown before finishing second behind Three Over Three in the Final. As a three-year-old Waldenburg won the Simpson Memorial and was placed in the Victoria Derby, beating home Restrepo.  He qualified for another two Group One races that season, but after suffering a leg issue, was sent for a well-earned break.  As a four-year-old Waldenburg was back on the sidelines due to another a leg injury according to his trainer Blake Fitzpatrick.  “Waldenburg suffered an injury to his leg in a paddock accident after only a couple of runs back as a four-year-old, which was really disappointing,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve had him back in work for about five months this time and he is holding up really well. The leg is no longer an issue…he has had two trials back and I think he is ready to go back to the races.” Waldenburg trialled yesterday when he charged up on the back of dual Inter Dominion winner Beautide to hit the line full of running. “I was really happy with his trial this week,” Fitzpatrick said. “There was improvement from the first trial, so now I will look to put him into a race for M0 horses on Saturday week.” “He is only lightly-assessed at this stage and I think he will do a good job because I thought that there were some nice horses in his age group and he competed with them very strongly as a two-and three year-old.”     HRNSW Media
Former Kiwi five year old Monarchy/Rob The Nest gelding Just Leave (Nathan Jack) was gigantic in winning the Betta Home Living Cohuna Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2190 metres at the Shepparton trots on Tuesday March 31.   Stepping cleanly from 20 metres to settle nice and handy with Kains Boy jumping straight to the front from barrier four before surrendering to the Kari Males trained Secret Kiss which started outside the front line, Just Leave went into a wild gallop shortly after the start appearing to put himself out of business.   Gradually making up the lost ground to be last in the running line at the bell, Just Leave trailed the 30 metre backmarker Just Call Me Earl forward three wide in the final circuit before making the home turn very wide.   Producing a brilliant turn of speed on straightening, Just Leave charged down the outside of the track to record a runaway 3 metre victory over the pacemaker in a mile rate of 2-05, with Kains Boy holding down third after a cosy trip.   Raced by former Kilmore trucking magnate Jack Knight, Just Leave trained at Avenel by Wayne Potter had recorded three wins since crossing the Tasman.   The wraps were huge on beautifully bred first starter Showgun Thomas in the Betta Home Living Mansfield 2-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres, however the gelded son of Bettors Delight and Forest Charm could manage only third behind the all the way victor Casino Tommy.   Trained and driven by Kilmore’s Robbie Walters, John Street North/Casino Princess gelding Casino Tommy began brilliantly from gate three to lead throughout in a mile rate of 2-02.6, defeating Combined Interest from last by 2.5 metres. Showgun Thomas (one/one – three wide home turn) was a neck away in third place.   Local Lemnos trainer/driver Mark Pitt provided a shock result to the Betta Home Living Finley 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres, when Village Jolt/Our Beebee Pocket gelding To The Rescue greeted the judge in a mile rate of 1-59.6 at Supertab odds of $38.60.   Leading out from the pole, To The Rescue was restrained to allow the heavily backed Three Mugs In (gate five) to take over giving him the run of the race.   Using the sprint lane, To The Rescue finished best to score by a head from a death-seating Yankee Strutter, with Three Mugs In 2.7 metres away in third place.   Shepparton (Lemnos) partners Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack combined to land the Betta Home Living Echua Eureka Series (Heat 4) for C0 class over 2190 metres with Lis Mara/Gee Cam five year old entire Last Issue.   Pushing through from gate three on the second line to receive a lovely one/one passage, Jack not happy with the tempo sent Last Issue forward to take over from Blazing Orion at the bell and was never headed, winning by an easy 14.8 metres in advance of Tragic (three back the markers) and Blazing Orion which trailed the winner after crossing Ok Why Me prior to the bell. The mile rate 1-59.1.   Four year old Real Desire/Live Love Laugh gelding Hazpazzaz brought up two wins in a row when successful in the Betta Home Living Seymour Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1690 metres in a brilliant rate of 1-55.   Trained at Sunbury by Justin Livingstone for the Livingstone family, Hazpazzaz driven by Brian Gath starting from the extreme draw spent most of the race at the rear of the field, with NSW visitor Peking Duck (David Moran for Kim Hillier) assuming control running into the first turn.   Still a “mile” off the leaders on turning, Happazzaz weaving in-between runners sprouted wings halfway up the running to blouse the pacemaker by a nose in a tricky finish, with Glenferrie College (one/four – five wide home turn) a half neck away in third place.   The Betta Home Living Deniliquin Pace Final for C1 class which qualified in the heats held the previous Thursday, went the way of heat winner Nothings Final for Undera trainer Glenn Freeman and Avenel based reinsman Mark Pitt.   Given a sweet trip one/one from gate two on the second line following the favourite Indiana Angel (gate two) also a heat winner which shadowed another heat winner in Magic Moment Lombo (gate three), Nothings Final was eased three wide on turning and ran home strongly to register a neck victory over a game Indiana Angel and Tennaya along the sprint lane off the back of the leader.   The  mile rate a slick 1-55.9.   A five year old gelded son of P B Bullville and Timid Lady, Nothings Final has fronted the starter on 52 occasions for 10 wins.   Bendigo (Junortoun) owner/trainer Gary Donaldson has a terrific percentage ratio and landed the Betta Home Living Kyabram Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2190 metres with consistent six year old Art Major/My Gentle Persuasion gelding Bazzas Art in a rate of 1-59.   Driven by Melton based Zac Phillips, Bazzas Art was eased to the tail of the field from gate six, with polemarker Philtra Phella leading out before being crossed by  Stormed Out, while the hot favourite Smo coming off a second in the recent Echuca Cup was trapped on a limb from gate five before going forward to join the pacemaker.   Gaining a beaut ride home three wide on the back of Riseandriseagain in the final circuit, Bazzas Art cruised up to Smo which had led on turning in the straight, before coasting to the wire 5.8 metres ahead of Forbidden Forest (one/one) after working out of gate four, with Smo weakening to finish 2 metres away in third place.   The mile rate 1-59.1.   Punters went home on a much needed happy note when smart Bettors Delight/Dont Answer That filly Morton Plains trained at Shelbourne (Bendigo) by Larry Eastman scored in the Betta Home Living Cobram Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres.   Driven by Chris Alford, Morton Plains a stablemate of Victoria Derby winner Menin Gate raced in the same interests was first up since mid-January and raced in the open from gate four throughout.   Surging past the leader Bright And Sonny approaching the home turn, Morton Plains ($1.70) although under pressure kept on giving and giving to the wire, scoring by a half head only  in 1-58.7 over Just Knew (one/two) and The Pix (one/three).   Len Baker - Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria
An intriguing barrier draw has thrown the Slater Gartrell Sports Western Gateway Classic into the melting pot at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but crack New Zealand-bred three-year-olds Beaudiene Boaz and Kiwi Legend should enhance their reputations and their prospects in the WA Derby by fighting out the finish of the $50,000 group 2 feature event. The random draw did neither any favours, with Beaudiene Boaz drawing out wide at No. 6 on the front line in the 2536m race and Kiwi Legend No. 3 on the back line. Denny Crane, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Tact Major, prepared by Gary Hall sen., is favourably drawn at No. 2. Both geldings possess good gate speed and are capable of setting the pace and proving hard to beat. However, the Mike Reed-trained Kiwi Legend was so impressive at his Australian debut when Mark Reed drove the 11/2 chance to a superb all-the-way victory over Military Master and All Aussie Boy at a 1.54.7 rate in a Derby Prelude last Friday night that astute punters are sure to support him with confidence, despite his back-line draw. That was Kiwi Legend’s third start in a race, and he has yet to be extended in winning all three. The back-line draw should prove no great handicap to Kiwi Legend, who showed his class at his debut when he came from 13th at the bell to score an easy win over 2400m at Wyndham on February 1 when he sped over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Kiwi Legend ended Beaudiene Boaz’s winning sequence of seven when that pacer started at 3/1 on and worked hard in the breeze before he began to hang in approaching the back straight in the final circuit of last week’s race. Soon after that he met with severe interference when Kiwi Legend shifted up the track. Beaudiene Boaz then gave ground over the concluding stages and finished in eighth position, 13 lengths behind Kiwi Legend. Reinsman Gary Hall jun. informed the stewards that he eased Beaudiene Boaz down in the final stages after the colt had dropped the bit and was reluctant to race competitively. Beaudiene Boaz won with such authority at his previous seven starts that it is difficult to visualise him not bouncing back with a vengeance and fighting out the finish this week. Hall sen. is full of hope that Beaudiene Boaz will give him his fourth win in the Western Gateway after scoring with The Falcon Strike (2001), Alta Christiano (2013) and Elegant Christian (2014). Clint Hall drove Elegant Christian to an all-the-way victory from the No. 1 barrier and he is hoping to repeat the dose this week with Tact Major, who has won at three of his six starts. Tact Major can improve on his fifth behind Kiwi Legend last when he met with interference in the back straight in the final lap after enjoying an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. Denny Crane should be prominent from his inside barrier. He raced wide early from barrier four last week, was restrained to the rear and did not show up when ninth last week. He has won at seven of his 18 starts and can do much better. The Ross Olivieri-trained Military Master should be prominent from the inside of the back line. He started from the same barrier in last week’s Derby prelude before racing three back on the pegs and finishing determinedly to be second to Kiwi Legend. Blythwood trainer Gary Elson has a high opinion of Red Hot Major and the colt should be prominent from barrier four on the front line. The only filly in the event is the Jesse Moore-trained Tricky Styx, a winner at eight of her 15 starts. She will start from No. 5 on the front line and possesses a powerful finishing burst. But she faces a stern test against the colts and geldings. John of Arc poised to atone Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has six of the nine runners in the Slater Gartrell Sports Midland Super Store Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he looks certain to win with John of Arc, the lowest assessed horse in the field. John of Arc is the least experienced runner in the field, with 16 starts for ten wins and four seconds. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old has an M 0 classification, but he should prove far too good for his rivals, three of which are on an M1 mark, four on an M2 mark and one (Notabadexcuse) on an M3 mark. There were excuses for John of Arc’s shock defeat at 5/2 on when a close and most unlucky second to the frontrunning Meet George Jetson last Friday night. John of Arc was having his first start for nine months and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position. But he was hemmed in for most of the final circuit before Gary Hall jun. got him into the clear approaching the home turn. John of Arc then contacted a wheel of another runner just before the home turn, raced roughly and lost momentum before charging home, four wide, to fail by one metre to overhaul Meet George Jetson. This week John of Arc will start from barrier three on the front line and should prove too classy for the opposition, which includes stablemate Mohegan Sun, who was a smart all-the-way first-up winner over The Court Jester last Friday fortnight before racing in seventh position and finishing ninth behind Smokey The Bandit last Friday night. Ken Casellas
Hunter Valley harness racing trainer Shane Tritton has been busy purchasing New Zealand stock for stable clients in an attempt to secure his first NSW trainers’ premiership. Tritton has finished inside the state’s top five trainers during the past five years and has been runner-up in the past two behind Bathurst horseman Steve Turnbull. One of the new stable recruits is well-performed pacer Glenlochar, a son of Elsu which boasts a third behind Adore Me in 1:51.6 earlier this year. “Glenlochar is a nice horse and with that run behind Adore Me at Cambridge in track record time he is a good addition to my stable,” Tritton said. “I’m excited to buy a horse who may just love the mile racing at Menangle. He arrives in Australia on a good mark (C4) as well, so I think is he a very good purchase by Shannon Hoffman.” Hoffman also owns former Kiwi pacer and Hunter Cup placegetter Easy On The Eye. “Other former New Zealanders that have joined the stable include Ohoka Royal, Bubbaloobah, Sambucca Joe and Change Gear,” Tritton said. “There are a few more to come after Easter as well, it is an exciting time for my stable.” Tritton prepared Saturday night’s Bathurst Gold Chalice winner Artistic Flite and has confirmed the three-year-old’s next run will be in the Newcastle Derby. “Yes the Newcastle Derby is on May 2 and that is a race that I will now target with Artistic Flite,” Tritton said. “After that he is off to Queensland for the Seymour series, but will be back in New South Wales for the Breeders’ Challenge series. “We’ve been winding him up towards this because he knew he had so many feature races towards the end of the season.” Salty Robyn will head to New Zealand for the Sires’ Stake and possibly the Harness Jewels. “He isn’t eligible for much here in Australia, so he’s definitely going to go to New Zealand for the Sires’ and hopefully the Jewels, but that decision is out of my hands,” Tritton said. Suave Stuey Lombo and Easy On The Eye have been aimed at Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 26. “They’ve both had a chance to freshen up after their Inter Dominion campaigns and we are looking forward to the Len Smith Mile, but it looks to be a strong race with Beautide set to compete,” Tritton said. HRNSW Media
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