Day At The Track

Despite a number of attempts, the  team hasn't been able to track down the identity of the infamous caller of Swedish racing but it's fair to say he's a bit of a character. From a brutal jockey spray to some outrageously bad early crows, here is some of his 'finest' work ... One time he called a jockey a "bloody idiot" Most punters have probably given a jockey a verbal clip in the heat of the moment but it's rare to hear a caller throw curry in a hoop's direction. Back in 2016, our favourite international racing broadcaster wasn't impressed when jockey Jan-Erik Neuroth went looking for an inside run in a race at Jagersoro and, boy, didn't he let everyone know about it. "What a bloody idiot he is!" He fumed. The horse, Angel Love, actually went on to win but the result didn't placate the caller, who delivered a feisty post-race rant. "What an incredible stupid ride by Neuroth. I get more and more irritated when I see what he did in the first race today." It's probably fair to assume that he may have had a krona or two on said favourite earlier in the day. "What a bloody idiot he is!" - Fired up caller.  Early crow 1 Somebody really needs to inform this bloke of the old saying, 'you should never go the early crow'. Last July he had a fair dinkum Barry Crocker when he declared 'Ragamuffin' home in a Monte race at Orebro as the horse led by a huge margin into the straight. Unfortunately for both the caller and punters who followed his directive to head to the payout queue, the power of the 'mozz' came to the fore and Ragamuffin went off stride and was disqualified.  "It's all over, you can go to the payout queue. Ragamuffin's not going to lose this one," he exclaimed. "Go and fetch your money early. Sorry, they have to weigh in first, but it's all over bar the shouting. "Number five, Ragamuffin, makes a break! So I was too early ... Ragamuffin will be disqualified."    "So I was too early." Whoops ... Early crow 2  The European summer of 2017 was certainly an eventful one for the colourful caller. His early crow at Orebro followed a similar sin at Visby in the previous month, where he also incorrectly dished out the "you can go to the payout queue" line. "It's all over, you can go to the payout queue! They're not going to catch her." "Sofia Adolfsson (aboard Senoria Edel, the outside horse in the video below) is just too darn good.  "As they come up to the line, it's going to be close but as they get to the line, it's not Sofia Adolfsson. It's number five, Enor Terdus, that causes a major upset."   "You can go to the payout queue!" Or not.  Why call when you can sing?  Not content with just calling the finish of a harness race at Solvalla in January, old mate decided to break into a song about wine as 'Chenin Blanc' went to a clear lead in the straight. However, his effort to spice things up nearly ended in disastrous fashion because while he was concentrating on his vocal performance, he seemed to miss the fact another horse was charging down the outside. Fortunately for his sake, Chenin Blanc just managed to hang on.  Despite his series of mishaps, the lively broadcaster refuses to do away with his flamboyant style and just last week he delivered a bizarre call even by his standards. We're not sure whether he was calling through his pocket or not but he spent much of a 1640m harness race at Aby berating driver Christoffer Eriksson. After potting Eriksson's tactics on a number of occasions - at one stage he implored him to use his "noggin" - he later backtracked and apologised when the horse he was piloting (Rajah Press) maintained a healthy lead early in the straight. However, it wasn't long before Eriksson was back in the caller's bad books when Rajah Press got nutted on the line.  "Thanks Christoffer Eriksson for messing it up for everybody!" He fired post-race.  By Isaac Ling Reprinted with permission of The Punters Site  

Chief harness racing steward Barbara Scott will give written notice of possible action against trainers and reinsmen who have made derogatory comments about her on social media. Stewards said yesterday they had fined stablehand Jason Huston $1000 after inquiring into improper social media comments he made in February. “There will be more in this situation,” Scott said. “I’ll be sending letters to licensed people who have breached rules through social media comments. Trainers and reinsmen will be among those who receive letters.” Racing and Wagering WA chief executive Richard Burt defended Scott from a social media campaign early this year. In a media statement on March 1, Burt said there had been inaccurate commentary on social media. “Ms Scott is not leaving her position as chief steward of harness racing,” he said. “Despite some recent inaccurate commentary on social media, she is not the subject of any investigation or inquiry. “RWWA is delighted with Ms Scott’s performance and dedication. She has our full support and confidence. Action will be taken by RWWA when licensed persons’ conduct detrimentally affects the welfare and integrity of racing.” Scott was appointed chief steward at Gloucester Park early last year. Huston, who pleaded guilty to having made improper comments about Scott on February 24, had $500 of his fine suspended on the provision he did not breach RWWA’s social media rules in the next 12 months. Reinsman Gary Hall has been fined $800 after pleading guilty to using an unacceptable whip action when driving Liberty Rose in the Group 1 WA Oaks (2536m) a fortnight ago. By Ernie Manning Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Cowra Harness Racing Club president Darryl Davis couldn’t be happier with the fields for this Sunday’s Carnival of Cups meeting. The biggest race day on the club’s calendar has attracted some of region’s best trainers and horses who will go head-to-head in the eye-catching nine race program. “There’s some really nice horses isn’t there. There’s talent in every race to be truthful,” president Darryl Davis said. Nathan Turnbull and his pacer Parramatta are aiming to defend their Cowra Cup victory on Mother’s Day last year when they go around in Sunday’s $12,250 Tri Tech Refrigeration Cup (2520m).  The Lagoon's Nathan Turnbull is for a busy day on Sunday.   The Lagoon-based gelding is a serial feature race winner having already this year won the Smooth Satin, Oberon and Parish Cups on his home track at Bathurst. “The Cup will be strongly contested. It should be a really good race with plenty of a talented horses. The whole day should be good,” Davis said. Davis’-trained nine-year-old gelding Fantasy Level was the initial emergency for the Cup however he has since scratched the veteran pacer to start in the Mr Embroidery Pace (2110m). “He ran well the other day. It takes a few for him to get going with his older age but he certainly didn’t disgrace himself,” Davis said of Fantasy Level’s fifth placed finish last start. Stablemate Dot Ayou is aiming for a third straight victory and a spot in a $20,000 Country Series Final to be raced at Menangle next Saturday. She’ll be driven by Nathan Turbull in the second of two Menangle Series Heats. “Dotty is in a fairly tough Menangle heat with some really nice horses. She’s going well now five starts for five checks so I’m very happy with her. Nathan’s driving so there’s someone good to steer and the horse is fit but there’s plenty in it and there’ll be pressure all the way. I just hope she can get out and lead,” Davis said. Other Cowra interest on the day are Colin Fliedner’s trained Gold Onyx in race four and Gregory Cattell’s Mammals Spark in race two. Davis wanted to thank all the sponsors including NSW Harness Racing, Tabcorp Park and TAB as well as local sponsors including Tri Tech Refrigeration, the Agostino and Muddle families, Mr Embroidery, Marks Pumps, Cowra Veterinary Centre and Travealy Horse Drawn Carriages. Racing starts from 11.44am with the Cowra Cup to jump at 3.47pm. Reprinted with permission of The Cowra Guardian

RACE 5 – ALBANY HARNESS RACING MEETING 16 FEBRUARY 2018 Stewards recently finalised a number of inquiries that had been adjourned from Race 5 at Albany on 16 February 2018. Background Race 5 at Albany on 16 February 2018 was a standing start race.  After the start, MELTON EXPRESS (W. Andrews) was fractious and as a result made contact with CRIMSON FLOYD (T. Stone) which had begun from 30 metres.   This resulted in W. Andrews being dislodged from the sulky but remaining on his feet and T. Stone being dislodged and returning to his feet immediately.  Both drivers continued to retain hold of the reins with no horses falling to the track and therefore both horses and drivers were cleared from the track quickly with the track being cleared to continue racing after approximately 20 seconds. The remaining horses and drivers continued in the race however in the back straight on the first occasion, J. Justins (CHUCK NORRIS), M. Young (ESTOCADA) , L. Inwood (ACROSS THE WAY) and T. Wheeler (FOUR NEEDED) all began to restrain their horses to varying degrees, with CHUCK NORRIS and ACROSS THE WAY being pulled up to a walk, ESTOCADA being restrained and losing ground and FOUR NEEDED being impeded and losing ground when caught behind ACROSS THE WAY which was under restraint.  DREDLOCK ROCKSTAR (A. Markham) continued on in the race and improved around the horses that were being restrained and worked to the lead.  DREDLOCK ROCKSTAR won the race. After being caught behind ACROSS THE WAY, T. Wheeler was able to gain clear running with FOUR NEEDED and although initially cautious, then obtained a trail on DREDLOCK ROCKSTAR and continued on and completed the race, being placed second, beaten 8 metres. After restraining ESTOCADA and losing ground, M. Young continued on and completed the race, being placed third, beaten 42 metres. After restraining ACROSS THE WAY to a walk, L. Inwood continued on and completed the race, being placed fourth, beaten 380 metres. After restraining  CHUCK NORRIS to a walk, J. Justins continued on and completed the race, being placed fifth, beaten 732 metres. The all clear was delayed to allow Stewards to review the race and interview all drivers.  In determining it was a race, Stewards took into account that no horse suffered interference in the race, all horses were afforded a fair start, there was no obstruction on the track and it was solely the action and decisions of drivers that affected the outcome of the race. Inquiries into the tactics adopted by drivers was adjourned. Inquiries Finalised At the resumption of the inquiry, further evidence was taken from L. Inwood, T. Wheeler, M. Young and J. Justins.  Assistance was provided to M. Young and J. Justins throughout the inquiry from RWWA Driving Master Mr Trevor Warwick. Stewards issued a charge under Rule 149(2) to L. Inwood, M. Young and J. Justins 149(2) A driver shall not drive in a manner which in the opinion of the stewards is unacceptable. The particulars being that in the opinion of stewards it was unacceptable for drivers to restrain their horses and lose ground when the track was clear for racing and no sirens had been sounded.  In determining penalty stewards took into account: It is a drivers primary obligation to give their horse every opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing The action of drivers resulted in their horses losing ground which affects their finishing position The action of drivers resulted in punters, owners and trainers being financially disadvantaged It is not acceptable for drivers to take matters into their own hands Drivers that intentionally restrain their horse in a race, some to a degree that the horse came to a walk is an integrity issue and will lead Stewards to question the motives of drivers This type of action by drivers is detrimental to the harness racing industry in that  horses that are not allowed to run on their merits will result in a loss of confidence from punters. That any penalty must be a general deterrent The guilty pleas of the drivers Their offence history and previous penalties under this Rule. The following penalties were issued: L. Inwood  (ACROSS THE WAY) – Suspension of licence for 6 weeks J. Justins  (CHUCK NORRIS) – Suspension of licence for 4 weeks M. Young  (ESTOCADA) – Suspension of licence for 4 weeks Stewards took no action against A. Markham (DREDLOCK ROCKSTAR) or T. Wheeler (FOUR NEEDED).   Barbara Scott, Chief Steward Harness Ph: 9445 5176  

The prolific winning Mista Shark, classy mare Bettor B Chevron and the speedy Tisadream are just three of the harness racing star bets found by members of the WA Trotting Media Guild for Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park. Last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe is very keen on the Andrew De Campo-trained, Aiden De Campo-reined Tisadream in the ninth event. “The star bet for me is the classy Tisadream, who has led all the way to win at his last two starts here,” Lowe said. “Drawn to lead and should bring up a hat-trick of wins.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas believes the Skye Bond-trained Bettor B Chevron can break a losing sequence of seven in the opening event. “A massive drop in class should enable Better B Chevron to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line,” Casellas said. “The smart four-year-old mare with a winning record of 43 per cent is my best bet on a good, competitive program.” TABradio’s Matt Young and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft are keen on the Michael Brennan-trained Mista Shark. “Mista Shark resumes from a spell and I am of the belief he is above average and looks set to return to the winners’ circle on resumption,” Young said. And Havercroft is in agreement. “Mista Shark had won eight starts in a row before being unplaced as a beaten favourite in the Northam Cup,” Havercroft said. “That run was out of character for him and expect a bold showing when he resumes in a heat of the Pure Steel series.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes last-start winner Art Keeper can continue on with his winning work. “Art Keeper won from the pole last week and has now drawn inside the back line,” Manning said. “But he should again be hard to beat if enjoying just a little luck in running. The gelding, from Skye Bond’s powerful stable, scored stylishly last Friday and has been prominent at Gloucester Park in each of his past five starts.” Longshot maestro Pat Harding is in the camp of the ever consistent Lord Willoughby. “I think Lord Willoughby can make it two wins in a row,” Harding said. “He has been very consistent and with Shannon Suvaljko aboard and the advantage of barrier one he should give punters something to smile about on what I think is a very difficult night.” Guild president Wayne Currall is happy to forgive Risk’s last-start failure. “Risk never got into the sprint race won by Our Zak Whitby a fortnight ago,” Currall said. “I expect him to be driven more positively over the 2536m and he has the class and ability to handle this field.” VALUE BETS Stuart: I think the value bet is Lightning Jolt, who was placed from this draw four starts ago. Luckless and unplaced at three runs since. Better suited here and can figure in the finish. Ken: For value, I’m looking for a spirited performance from Importer Exporter, the 20m co-backmarker in race eight. He continues to impress with his wholehearted finishing bursts. Matt: Responder is a horse who goes well on the fence and he’s nicely drawn here. With average luck will be powering home at decent odds. Ryan: De La Tourbie won from the breeze three starts ago at Narrogin and her two runs since have been sound. She’ll be at long odds from another wide draw on Friday but could bob up. Ernie: Glenferrie Arch has won only once from 22 Gloucester Park starts, however she impressed when scoring a Pinjarra victory last month and again caught the eye when a subsequent city runner-up. Pat: Ardens Concord has been very consistent over four starts from a spell and I think, with Chris Voak aboard, he should be a good winning bet. Wayne: Courage Tells ran a game second behind Bettors Fire four starts ago. He has a good trailing draw and can upset likely odds-on favourite Dana Duke, especially if polemarker Shes Artful holds the front. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting Wayne Currall

Highly promising four-year-old Im Rockaria looks set to make a successful return to harness racing after impressive victories in recent trials at Pinjarra. The Michael Brennan-trained gelding will be driven by Michael Grantham from the 10-metre mark in a 2503m stand, the Alltools Gift Vouchers Handicap, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Im Rockaria, who will be having his first start for four months, performed stylishly on a heavy track in a 2185m mobile trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week. After settling down in third place in the five-horse trial, Im Rockaria dashed to the front after 500m and relished his pacemaking role as he sped over the final quarters in 28.5sec. and 28sec. to beat Ideal Tyson by two and a half lengths at a 1.57.5 rate. In a 2185m trial a week earlier, Im Rockaria led early and then sat behind the pacemaker Well Enough Said before finishing determinedly to beat that pacer by a head, rating 1.59.8. The New South Wales-bred Im Rockaria, who has amassed $200,293 from 15 wins and four placings from 32 starts, has raced only once in a stand when he was successful over 2503m at Gloucester Park two starts ago, on January 12 when he started from 10m and raced in seventh position before starting a three-wide move (with cover) 1100m from home. He took the lead at the 250m mark and won from Idealindiamonds and Importer Exporter. Im Rockaria certainly is unlikely to have things all his own way in an event in which he will clash with talented standing-start performers Lord Willoughby, Better Scoot, Importer Exporter and Tommy Be Good. The Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby will have many admirers after drawing the pole position on the front line. Confident reinsman Shannon Suvaljko said that planned an all-the-way victory with the ultra-consistent four-year-old who has raced 18 times this season for seven wins, seven seconds and four thirds. Better Scoot is an extremely promising six-year-old in the Forrestdale stables of Skye Bond. He has not raced since finishing second to Master Jaxon in a 1823m mobile event at Narrogin in October 2016. Two starts before that Better Scoot finished second to Im Full of Excuses in the Kalgoorlie Cup, a stand over 2518m. Importer Exporter and Tommy Be Good share the back mark of 20m and are sure to be prominent. They are experienced standing-start performers who are racing in fine form. Ken Casellas

“He’s working in terrific style at home and should be ready to rumble on Friday night and so it’s onwards and upwards,” declared harness racing trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper when assessing the prospects of veteran pacer Bettors Fire in the Alltools Online Store Pace at Gloucester Park. However, Harper declined to declare Bettors Fire a “good thing” in the seven-horse field in the 2130m event. Bettors Fire, an M20-class pacer with a record of 96 starts for 36 wins and 21 placings for earnings of $737,619, will start from the outside barrier, with M4-class mares Sheer Rocknroll (barrier one) and Maczaffair (two) gaining preferential treatment as the only mares in the race.  “It’s a tricky race,” Harper said. “Obviously, Bettors Fire is the class runner, but that doesn’t mean anything from a bad draw. I’ll leave all options open. Seven is a draw from which to fly the gate. But we probably don’t need to. We’ll weigh up our options and see what the early speed is like. “I’m happy with the horse who seems to thrive this time of the year. You could probably go two ways fire him off the arm and he’d be hard to beat. Or you could sit him up and if there’s any pace in the race he should prove hard to beat. “Sheer Rocknroll is a very good frontrunner and so, too, is Maczaffair. Vultan Tin probably won’t be able to cross Maczaffair, while Shandale has had a couple of starts back and should be pretty close to his best form. He’s hard to run down when he gets the advantage on you. “And The Bucket List is a very classy horse. All seven runners should be close enough to fight out the finish.” Whatever the outcome of Friday night’s race, Bettors Fire is certain to have a tougher time than he did last Friday week when he ambled to the front from barrier two and dawdled over the first two quarters of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 29.9sec. before sprinting over the final sections in 28.1sec. and 27.4sec. He held on to defeat Our Jimmy Johnstone by just over a half-length, with Shandale finishing solidly into third place.  Leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko declared that Maczaffair would go out hard in a bid to lead. “She loves to lead and we plan to roll along,” he said. Maczaffair won the Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes over 2130m last Friday night when she started from the No. 3 barrier and got to the front after 300m. The lead time was a fast 35.7sec. before Maczaffair relaxed and ran the opening two quarters of the final mile in 30sec. and 30.6sec. She increased the tempo with final quarters in 28.9sec. and 27.8sec. when she fought on grimly to beat Eden Franco by a half-head. Shandale and The Bucket List warmed up in style for this week’s event when they finished with powerful bursts to dead-heat for second behind Our Jimmy Johnstone over 2130m. Shandale surged home from fifth at the bell and The Bucket List rattled home from eighth with a lap to travel. Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred harness racing five-year-old Ohoka Darcy is overdue for a change of luck and has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 16 by winning the Milwaukee 18V Fuel Heavy Duty Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. On the surface, this appears to be a bold prediction, taking into account Ohoka Darcy’s 11th placing behind Art Keeper in a 2130m event last Friday night and the fact that he has managed just two placings (thirds) from his past 11 runs but Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey is bullish about the gelding’s winning chances, saying that Ohoka Darcy had been racing without luck in recent outings. Turvey has engaged champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive Ohoka Darcy. Lewis has driven the gelding only twice for two victories by a half-head and a head in a heat and the final of the Kersley Pace at Gloucester Park last November. “Ohoka Darcy is going good, but he hasn’t had any luck at all of late,” said Turvey. “So, he will be driven aggressively this week. The main danger is Risk, who has drawn nine and we’ve drawn six. I reckon we should get to the breeze and keep it. He’s got a really good record from the breeze and Chris has a perfect record with him.” Ohoka Darcy started out wide at barrier nine last Friday night when he was restrained to the rear. He raced in last position and was hampered for room in the final lap when 11th behind Art Keeper. A week earlier, Ohoka Darcy started from barrier four and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back before finishing a well-beaten fourth behind Whozideawasthis, who sprinted over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.2sec. Ohoka Darcy has the credentials to be a good winner. He is by Courage Under Fire and is a full-brother to Lanercost, wo raced 45 times for 30 wins and nine placings for stakes of $509,121. Lanercost’s victories included the Australian Derby in Launceston and the Tasmanian Derby in Hobart in March 2010 and the Chariots of Fire at Menangle in April 2011. Risk, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for Forrestdale trainer Skye Bond, is a strong stayer and is expected to be a short-priced favourite. He started from barrier nine in a 1730m sprint last Friday week when he was restrained to the rear at the start. He raced wide in the final circuit and finished eighth behind the pacemaking Our Zack Whitby. A week earlier Risk gave a powerful performance to win easily from Campora over 2536m. He began speedily from barrier seven but was unable to wrestle the lead from the polemarker Luis Alberto. He then raced in the breeze before charging to the front 350m from home and scoring in effortless fashion. Turvey is also optimistic about the chances of Dana Duke in the 2130m Alltools, The Name Says It All Pace. Turvey has engaged Deni Roberts to drive Dana Duke and with her claim as a junior driver, the seven-year-old has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line. Dana Duke extended his losing sequence to 11 when he started at 6/4 on and led from barrier two in a 1730m event and wilted in the final stages to finish a close third to Ideal Tyson (who rated 1.52.8) and Chal Storm. The pace was a cracker and the 400m sections of the final mile whizzed by in 28.3sec., 28.6sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec. Dana Duke drops considerably in class this week and Turvey said that the gelding would appreciate contesting a race without Ideal Tyson as a rival. “Dana Duke has good gate speed and he likes to bowl along,” Turvey said. “If he gets caught in the breeze he’s likely to over race and drive everyone mad. However, I anticipate him getting to the front and he hasn’t been beaten too many times when he has set the pace.” Ken Casellas

Banjup trainer harness racing Annie Belton is a good judge of horseflesh and she has no regrets about outlaying $26,000 to purchase Lady De La Renta at the 2016 Perth yearling sale. The filly has won at five of her 15 starts for earnings of $74,769 and she has bright prospects of adding $30,225 to her prizemoney by winning the Group 2 $50,000 Alltools Diamond Classic for three-year-old fillies over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lady De La Renta has a losing sequence of five, but reinsman Chris Voak declared that he was quietly confident of success, saying that he expected the filly to improve sharply on her ninth placing behind Our Major Mama in the WA Oaks last Friday week when she started out wide at barrier seven and was trapped wide early before being restrained to the rear. “I expect her to be close to her best this week,” Voak said. “I liked the feel she gave me when I worked her on the track on Tuesday morning.” Lady De La Renta will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line on Friday night and Voak is planning to send the filly forward from the start in a bid to take up the running. An even field of fillies will contest the Diamond Classic and luck in running will play an important part, with Oaks winner Our Major Mama starting from barrier six and her promising stablemate De La Tourbie facing a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). The Michael Brennan-trained Miss Sangrial fared poorly in the draw and will need luck from barrier eight, with star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. She is a talented filly who has raced 31 times for ten wins and 11 placings. Brennan is hoping that Miss Sangrial will make amends for her narrow defeat when favourite at 10/1 on in the Two-Year-Old Diamond Classic early last June. Miss Sangrial started from barrier one and set the pace before being overhauled in the final stages to be defeated by a short half-head by fast-finishing outsider Cimorene. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be represented by Retort (barrier two) and Veiled Secret (seven). Mitch Miller will drive Retort, a winner at Narrogin two starts ago, and Shannon Suvaljko will handle Veiled Secret, who is showing steady improvement and has won at her past two starts, at Narrogin and Bunbury, after working hard without cover. Orphan Reactor, prepared at Capel by Andrew de Campo, will have admirers after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. The filly is a good frontrunner who began fast from barrier seven two starts ago before setting the pace and winning over 2185m at Pinjarra. Lady De La Renta is bred to be a good winner. She is by American stallion Well Said and is the second foal out of Jet Laag mare Flylika Bird Lombo, a winner of seven races and $53,975. Flylika Bird Lombo is out of Decethree Lombo, who produced 11 winners, including Lombo Skyrider, an outstanding juvenile who won 14 races in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia as a two and three-year-old. Lombo Skyrider was a prolific winner in America and was retired after having 321 starts for 63 wins, 84 placings and $841,611 in prizemoney. Ken Casellas

Tamworth harness racing followers have seen an emerging star in the making – Pete’s Big Jim. Kudos to Sawyers Gully trainer Stacie Elliott who has done a sterling job with the two-year-old pacer. On Monday, Pete’s Big Jim received an invitation to contest the Harness Jewels, Group 1 Emeralds for two-year-old colts and geldings at Cambridge Raceway in New Zealand on June 2 with a prize purse of $A138,292  prize money for each pacing event. Elliott has trained Pete’s Big Jim to two wins and four placings from nine starts. He has now elected to hand over the preparation for the NZ campaign to Menangle-based and former Hunter team Shane and Lauren Tritton for the Jewels. Pete’s Big Jim emerged as a possible Jewels contender when finishing second behind College Chapel in the Group 3 Sapling Stakes at Menangle in February. Team Tritton were already heading to the Jewels with two-year-old filly Platinum Revolution. After winning a heat of the Leeton Breeders Plate on debut in January, Pete’s Big Jim featured at the Tamworth Paceway for his next career win in April, taking out the Nev Brown Memorial. Owned by Canberra-based golf businessman and former golf pro Peter Kohlsdorf, who has had a keen interest in the sport since the late 1960s, this is the first time he has actually owned a pacer by himself without a syndicate. Kohlsdorf once finished second in a pro am event to Jack Nicklaus. Hats off also to Maitland reinsman Peter Hedges who has driven Pete’s Big Jim in all of his race starts. THE Hetherington stables at Narrabri will be eagerly awaiting the release of the barrier draw for Limousine Livia in the $20,000 Tabcorp Park Menangle Country Series Final to be contested at Menangle on May 26.  After missing a berth in the Tamworth heat on May 4 when the mare finished third to Last Party (Guy Chapple -MR 2.01.6 for 1609m), trainer Jarred Hetherington headed to Newcastle last Saturday night to win that heat with a MR of 1.58 for 1609 metres. Limousine Livia then stepped out at the Maitland meeting on Monday to back up for another win with her stats now recording 16 starts for six wins and four placings. Other winners in the series staged so far and looking for a favourable draw are Joes Star of Mia at Forbes from the Steve Turnbull stables with a MR of 1.57.3 for 1680 metres, and Untitled from the Brad Hewitt stables at Wagga with a MR of 1.55.6 for 1755m, which was also a track record. The last leg of the series will be conducted at Cowra on Sunday as part of Cowra’s Carnival of Cups meeting. SADLY, this week we saw the tragic passing of Strathlachlan Andy at a Cranbourne harness meeting. Strathlachlan Andy was raced by the Harding family, who are former residents of the north-west now based at Bobs Farm in Newcastle. Geoff handled the training of Strathlachlan Andy, while eldest son Matthew was the owner and youngest son James took the reins on occasion. Undertaking a campaign in Victoria under the training of Michael Stanley, Andy had two starts with a second in the Swan Hill Anzac Cup at his first start before a win at the Cranbourne meeting, going 1.55 for 1720 metres. A race fall at Cranbourne on Saturday night saw Strathlachlan Andy suffer a fracture mid-shaft on his near-hind cannon bone and the horse was humanely euthanised on the track. With a career that spanned 73 race starts for 26 wins and 24 placings, some of Andy’s achievements were: 2015 - Harness Racing NSW 2015 Country Cups Champion and broke track records at Tamworth and Armidale. 2015 and 2016 - Wins in the Cootamundra Cup. 2015 and 2016 – Wins in the Armidale Cup. 2018 - Finished third in the Armidale Cup to Clintal Do. 2015 – Win of the Narrabri Cup. 2014 – Heat and Final win of the Muswellbrook Cup. 2015 – Win in a heat of the Tamworth Golden Guitar before taking out the $25,000 Listed Classic Final of the Prydes Easifeed Golden Guitar. 2014 – A heat win of the Menangle Where Horses Fly at Forbes before taking out the $25,000 Listed Classic Final at Menangle where his personal best mile rate of 1.53.9 was recorded for 1609 metres. 2014 – Won a heat of the Maitland Inter City Pace before finishing sixth to All Eyes On Us in the Group 3 Final. HARNESS racing will return to the Tamworth Paceway on May 25. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Haras des Trotteurs and Yabby Dam Farms are delighted to announce the arrival at their Ballarat stud of exciting new stallion En Solitaire, who is the first son of French siring phenomenon Ready Cash and will be available fresh to breeders in both Australia and New Zealand for the upcoming season. Yabby Dam Farms owner Pat Driscoll has bought a 50% share in the stallion with En Solitaire’s breeder Jean Pierre Dubois who stands Love You and a bevy of France’s top stallions at the prestigious Haras de la Brosse in Normandy. Breeders in Australia and New Zealand will this season be able to access the genetics of the French siring sensation Ready Cash who has dominated European trotting since with the likes of 15 time Group 1 winner Bold Eagle and Group one winners Readly Express, Bird Parker, Django Riff, Charly du Noyer, Cash Crowe, Brillantissime, Avila, Vash Top, Vamp Kronos and recent winner Traders. Bred on same cross as the sensational Bold Eagle and the Group winning new sires Atlas des Joudes and Cash And Go, En Solitaire represents the cutting edge of French breeding which is taking the trotting world by storm. Ready Cash, his sons Bold Eagle and Brillantissime and established sires Orlando Vici and Love You are in high demand in Scandinavian trotting powerhouses Sweden and Norway, producing horses which this year won the likes of trotting’s most prestigious race the Prix d’Amerique in France. En Solitaire is from a Love You sister to millionaire group one winning sire Kaisy Dream, and group winning sire Paisy Dream plus 15 other winners including two others who subsequently stood at stud in France. Sold for a big sum after showing outstanding ability as an early 2YO, En Solitaire suffered a serious injury in transit to his new owners and was returned to Haras de la Brosse and was subsequently, unable to stand up to training in time to take part in the rich age-group racing programme which ultimately decides French stallion careers. French racing opportunities are based solely on earnings, and En Solitaire lost a race against time in order to take part in the 4YO season and Haras de la Brosse reluctantly pulled the pin. En Solitiaire will however be put into training in Australia at Yabby Dam Racing’s adjacent stable at Cardigan under Anton Golino with a view of competing in Australasia if he is able to recover fully from his injury, but this will not affect his ability to serve mares during the upcoming season. En Solitaire is likely to provide a great outcross for New Zealand mares, bringing a powerful mix of the most modern bloodlines seen repeatedly in world class horses. EN SOLITAIRE carries the breed changing US stallion Speedy Somolli, and the highly influential French stallion Caprior doubled up in the maternal line, through the combination of his dam Daisy Chain and of course his sire, Love You who has been so successful with New Zealand mares. En Solitaire will stand alongside fellow European stallions, exciting Group winner Used To Me, is part owned by la Perrière and Love You entire Dreamcatcher, who is part-owned by French stud Haras des Rouges Terres. Like Haras des Trotteurs other resident stallions, all of EN SOLITAIRE's New Zealand foals are Vicbred eligible. The stud fees for all Haras des Trotteurs stallions will be announced in the near future. Harnesslink Media  

Rookie pacer Minted Montana stamped himself as a genuine winter carnival contender following his dominant harness racing debut victory at Albion Park today (Tuesday). The Mr Feelgood – Montana Secrets gelding sat without cover in the Cammibest @ Burwood Stud 2yo Pace before racing clear from Ginger Micky and Give Me A Go in a brilliant time of 1:56.0. Sectionals were covered in 27.5, 29.9, 28.5 and 30.3 seconds. It’s the fastest time of the season to date by a juvenile pacer in Queensland. Minted Montana showcased his talent when successful in his qualifying trial at Redcliffe on May 2 when scoring impressively rating 2:00.8 for the 1780m public trial. Raced by his breeder Dean Shannon, Minted Montana was a buy back from last year’s Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale at a cost of $2500. Montana Secrets, a daughter of super sire Christian Cullen went winless in two career starts at the Gold Coast back in 2012 before being retired to stud. Her first foal is the filly Our Dasher (by Lanercost), an eight start maiden to date. Minted Montana is the second foal from Montana Secrets while the mare has another colt on the ground, also by Lanercost. Montana Secrets is closely related to the likes of My Field Marshal, Foreal, Regal Dash, Askmenow and Delightful Dash among others. Prepared by Donny Smith and handled by Darrel Graham, the big striding gelding will have his next start at Redcliffe in a heat of the Yearling Sale Series next Wednesday (May 23). The Gr.1 $100,450 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series Final is scheduled for Friday, June 1. Another likely target is the Gr.1 $100,450 QBRED Triad Final for 2yo Colts and Geldings is programmed for July 21, the final night of the Albion Park carnival. Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | 

It is more than 30 years since a team of Aussies so large and talented raided New Zealand harness racing. You have to go back to the 1995 Christchurch Inter Dominion, won by champion Aussie stayer Golden Reign, when this many talented Australian horses crossed the Tasman to tackle the Kiwis at home. Seven Australian pacers or trotters have been invited to contest seven different Harness Jewels finals at Cambridge racetrack, two hours south of Auckland, on Saturday week. They include exciting open-class pacer Jilliby Kung Fu, champion young trotter Wobelee, flying mare Carlas Pixel and record-breaking three-year-old filly Shez All Rock. Surely Australia has the ammunition to finally post the first win by an Australian-trained raider at the Harness Jewels in the 12 years. Australian-trained horses have gone close to claiming one of the Jewels. Our first raider and subsequent Miracle Mile winner Divisive ran second to Monkey King in the 2007 Jewels final for four-year-old pacers at Ashburton. Another 11 Australians have contested Jewels races since and the closest they have come is a pair of seconds, courtesy of Mr Mojito and One Muscle Hill at Ashburton last year. Given the depth and quality of this year’s seven raiders, one will be essential, but the bar should be set at two or more. Depending on final fields and crucial barrier draws, Australian horses could be favourite or at least be right near the top of betting in four, five, maybe even six Jewels’ races. Here is an early look at the seven Aussie invitees and how they stack-up on Saturday week. 2018 NZ HARNESS JEWELS — THE AUSSIE RAIDERS SHEZ ALL ROCK (3yo pacing filly): She’s a special filly. Has blasted her way to stardom winning the heat and final of the NSW Oaks and heat and final of the Victoria Oaks. First filly since Jane Ellen in 1988 to win NSW/Victoria Oaks double. I’m sure she’s at least as good as Elle Mac and we get to line them up in the NZ Oaks this week. JILLIBY KUNG FU (4yo pacing entire/gelding): Australia’s most exciting pacer. So much to like about the way he powered his way to the 4YO Bonanza win. He ran super time winning the Chariots Fire and did such a terrific job when second to My Field Marshal in the Miracle Mile. Light preparation for this, but goes well fresh. Certainly some depth in this division with Eamon Maguire, Star Galleria, More The Bettor, AG White Socks, etc, but could any of them have done what he did in the Miracle Mile? WOBELEE (3yo trotting colt/gelding): Such a talented yet fascinating horse. Oozes talent, but far from the complete package. Great to see him blow them away in the NSW Trotters’ Derby last time, but not ideal him having a gallop at the start. Certainly respect Winterfell and to a lesser extent Majestic Man. If the right Wobelee turns up and does it all right, then look out! CARLAS PIXEL (4yo pacing mare): Keen to see how she goes against Australia’s best mares in the Group 1 Queen of the Pacific at Melton this weekend. Beat a hot field winning the Group 1 Ladyship Mile in February and two runs since have been excellent without winning. I think she’s got NZ contenders like Bonnie Joan, Utmost Delight and Seaswift Joy covered at her top.   PLATINUM REVOLUTION (2yo pacing filly): Real “pro” of a filly with a dash of class — just what you’d expect from Shane and Lauren Tritton. She’s no star, but has shown enough in her best runs to say she can be competitive. Whether she can beat the best “All Stars” locals like Princess Tiffany and Kayla Marie is the big question. Rough chance. CUSTODIAN (4yo trotting entire/gelding): Great to see him returning to where he won the 2YO Jewels final when part of the All Stars barn. Nursed back from injury with a campaign specifically aimed at this by Nathan Jack. Sure to be primed, but will need the right draw and luck to beat the leading locals like Enghien, Habibti Inta and Musculus. Rough chance. PETES BIG JIM (2yo pacing colt/gelding): Great to see connections riding the wave of a fairytale invite. Best pointer is second to College Chapel — who ranks in Australia’s top 2/3 juveniles — in a 1min52.6sec Menangle Mile on February 24. You’d also expect improvement with the recent switch to Shane/Lauren Tritton barn. Still hard to seeing causing ripples against big guns like Jesse Duke and Another Masterpiece. Reprinted with permission of The Herald Sun

Footage taken at Brennan Racing HQ in Pinjarra today shows one of the stable’s brightest new stars undergoing a workout in heavy sand with ex-jockey-cum-harness racing reinsman Michael Grantham in the saddle.  Mista Shark has drawn gate three in the third heat of the Pure Steel series at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I’m happy with the draw...” said trainer Michael Brennan “...with him it doesn’t matter too much, as long as he gets around safe I will be happy” The son of Four Starzzz Shark scored eight wins on the bounce last preparation, including a win in the $50,000 San Simeon Final on Inter Dominion Grand Final night. “He appears to have come back a much better horse, he is a beast...” exclaims Brennan “...he’s big and strong, just like a Shark.” Mista Shark under saddle at Brennan Racing By Scott Hamilton  

Producing a sustained powerhouse display of speed and stamina, Untitled broke the harness racing track record at Wagga on Tuesday night which is likely to stand the test of time. Untitled clocked a mile rate of 1.55.6 – seemingly an unheard of speed for the 1755 metres – to better the previous benchmark held by Florist at 1.56.5 The five-year-old raced wide, burst to the front and opened up a gap on his rivals from the 500 metres to defeat a gallant Rocking. Trainer-driver Brad Hewitt now holds two track records at Wagga which are likely to remain untested before the move to the new harness racing complex at Wagga later this year. Our Triple Play won the Wagga Cup over 2575 metres in March and now Untitled has set a new mark which is unlikely to be bettered. Untitled's track record performance “I don’t worry too much about records. The prize money in these country series races is great and you get to race for a $20,000 final at Menangle,” he said. “He has always been a nice horse and he just took my eye when he was a C0 with his previous trainer. He is a C5 class horse now and is doing a great job. “We own him so it makes it a bit better. “He has run well in some nice races before this at Menangle and I knew when they were going so fast in front it would suit him.”  Untitled winning at Wagga in 2016 when with Matthew Harris Untitled has won 10 of his 41 starts with a further 14 placings for earnings of $56,000. He will now go onto a $20,000 final at Menangle on March 26 – the same night the other country series heat winner, Arma Hot Shot, will run in a final after her impressive victory. She clocked one second slower than Untitled, but still ran a slick 1.56.6 impressing trainer-driver Neil Day. Day was pleased to see the mare deliver after a slight setback leading up to her previous start. “She fought on really when the the second horse, Geldof, challenged her,” he said. “She has always been a good mare, from a strong family, and hopefully she can run up to that effort in the final.” Reprinted with permission of The Daily Advertiser

Following a review of the South Australian Concession/Young Driver series the Harness Racing South Australia Board has agreed to recommendations to amend those races in which the Concession/Young drivers can compete The effect of the changes being that any horse driven by a Concession/Young driver, who has not driven 50 career winners and who, during the current racing season, has not driven in excess of five winners as at the close of driver declarations, will not be penalised (subject to the exclusions prescribed in the rule) should that horse win. The intent of the rule being to assist those young drivers, who are embarking on their driving careers, to gain greater experience and opportunity.                       The new Local Rule which takes effect as of Friday 1st June 2018 reads as follows; 15      (1)     In every Race which is not: (a)     a Race for two and three-year old’s; (b)   a Group or Listed Race (b)     a Race with a purse greater than $7,000.00 or less than $2001.00 (d)     a Race restricted to invited drivers; or (e)     a Race in which the Board determines allowances may not be claimed; a horse, which is not prevented by any of these Rules from competing in that Race, and which is driven by a Concession Driver, who has driven not more than 50 career winners, and who has not driven more than 4 winners during the current racing season, shall not be liable to any penalty should it be placed first. (2)   Notwithstanding Rule 15 (1) a driver may claim, during the currency of a race meeting, the same allowance to which he was entitled when the declaration of drivers for that race meeting officially closed. (3)   No horse may claim any relief provided in Rule 15 (1) more than once in their lifetime. For further information please contact: ROSS NEAL | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (08) 8285 2899 •