Day At The Track

FORMER brilliant pacer Alta Christiano, who is now making an impact at the stud with his first Victorian crops, will stand this season at the newly established Tipperary Equine Stud, Young (NSW), of Luke Primmer and Seryn Adams. Alta Christiano – a member of NZ’s noted Black Watch family – could make a real contribution to the NSW breeding scene. His service fee is $2,200 including GST and his progeny are eligible for the $500 Colonial Stallion rebate being a colonial bred Group 1 winning New South Wales-based stallion. Alta Christiano, a striking bay horse, foaled in 2009 in New Zealand was represented by his first crop as two-year-olds last season. In his first season he left 78 foals, and of these he had 30 to the races half-way through their three-year-old season, and 20 were winners – a remarkable 66 percent winners-to-starters and 26 percent winners-to-foals. Of 16 two-year-old starters this season, five are already winners and they have won in four different States, while eight have been placed from only 59 foals. From his first crop he sired a talented colt in Im Sir Blake, who has won six races this season including the $25,000 Northern Region Championship and Mildura Guineas, and a smart filly in Fake News, who won seven of her 19 starts including the WA Country Derby. Martys Party, winner of the SA Southern Cross Consolation, the $100,000 Westbred 2YO Classic placegetter Lady Valasca, Ginatiano (Albion Park), Georgie Mae and Our Virtuoso have been other winners by Alta Christiano from his initial crop. While his second crop is headed up by the smart Will The Wizard, winner of the $25,500 QBred Breeders Classic in 1:57.5, Suing You, who has won three of her four starts, and Aces Daughter, a heat winner of the Southern Cross and runner-up in the $50,000 Final. Alta Christiano, who won 13 races and was twice placed in a brief career, could have developed into a Grand Circuit performer, but for a leg injury sustained as a two-year-old. He won his first four starts as a juvenile including the Group 3 NZ Kindergarten Stakes in 1:57.6 and the NZ Yearling Sales Graduate and was placed in the $250,000 NZ Yearling Sales Series Final. After being sold to Perth interests for a huge amount, Alta Christiano had a further 10 starts as a three and four-year-old in Western Australia and tasted defeat only once! Among his successes were the $200,000 WA Derby, in which he sat parked before scoring in runaway fashion, and the Group 2 $50,000 Western Gateway in a track record rate of 1:55.4 for 2130 metres. He took his lifetime mark of 1:54.2 racing three-wide and winning under a hold at Gloucester Park. Gary Hall, who trained him throughout his Australian career, said: “Of all the top sons of Christian Cullen he had the gait that was closest to ‘Cullen’ himself as I’d seen. He’s got all the attributes you could want in a horse – he’s fast, he can stay and he’s great gaited.” By Christian Cullen, a multiple 1:50 sire and a 1:50 broodmare sire in a notable stud career, Alta Christiano, a grand type of individual is out of Right This Time, by Fake Left from Able Reason, by Vance Hanover from She’s Reasonable, by Noodlum from a grand producer in Black Watch, who founded a family which has met with success not only in NZ, but in Australia and in America. The branch of the Black Watch family to which Alta Christiano belongs has probably been the most successful. A top racemare in her own right, Black Watch left six individual winners and is the grand-dam of the ‘Cups King’ The Unicorn, the NZ Oaks winner Pacific Flight, Reba Lord (ID Cons.), NZ 2YO Filly of the Year Megaera, and others.   Peter Wharton

BATHURST reinsman Mitch Turnbull reached the milestone of driving 250 winners last week which also saw him reach the end of his concession driving claim. The win came after Turnbull steered Phizzwizard home in the first race at Bathurst last Wednesday, making that the duo’s third win together. In Turnbull’s short career he has driven in 2031 races resulting in 250 wins and 505 placings, with one of his most memorable wins being the Enacon Group Bathurst Mayors Cup at this year’s Gold Crown Carnival aboard Courtsinsession. The six-year-old gelding has earnt his place as Turnbull’s favourite, providing him with five wins and five seconds out of the 10 times they have crossed the finish line together. “He’s been very consistent and is going really well at the moment,” Turnbull said. “Conviction is also another favourite of mine because we ran second in the Breeders Challenge Group 1 Final, he’s probably the best horse I have driven.” Although having spent time with leading trainers in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, Turnbull’s greatest influences have been his father Steve (Turnbull) and sister Amanda (Turnbull). Both leading trainers and drivers themselves, Steve and Amanda have helped Turnbull in his driving and training career. “Steve has been great to have as a father and a boss and both he and Amanda have been a massive help with driving and training the horses,” he said. Although he no longer has a claim, Turnbull has many goals still ahead of him including training his own team one day. With father Steve looking to slow down in the future, Turnbull hopes that he will be able to expand his career as a trainer. “Hopefully within the next three years I’ll have my trainers’ licence and a small team of horses, I’m hoping to slowly expand as Steve winds down,” Turnbull claimed.   by Amy Rees

Harness racing was the big loser of the distribution in Western Australia, receiving just six per cent of the $10.6 million increase in funding. Nine races will be run at metropolitan Saturday meetings and prize money for midweek city and inner provincial meetings in Western Australia will be boosted from August 1. Racing and Wagering WA announced a number of changes yesterday to thoroughbred racing for the 2019-20 season as part of its $168.4 million distribution to the three codes. The Roma Cup (1200m), Belmont Sprint (1400m), Hyperion Stakes (1600m) and Strickland Stakes (2000m) will be run for $200,000 after stakes for the Group 3 features were lifted by $50,000. Prize money for the Group 2 Ted van Heemst Stakes (2100m) has been cut to $250,000 from $400,000 and the Group 3 AJ Scahill Stakes (1400m) has also been reduced to $200,000. Seven races will be scheduled for metropolitan and inner provincial midweek meetings, which will allow for an additional race to be scheduled on Saturdays. “A $30,000 race for Westspeed Platinum horses will be added to every Saturday meeting,” RWWA manager of commercial racing and planning David Hunter said. “It should be popular with breeders and owners.” Maidens and handicaps run at midweek city meetings will be run for $20,000 and $25,000 respectively. The purses for two-year-old, three-year-old and no metro wins in the last year races have been boosted to $30,000. Jockeys’ race and trial riding fees will also be increased. RWWA has also made a provision in its stakes budget for a dedicated race day for Westspeed and Westspeed Platinum horses. “It is only a concept at the moment. We will consult with the breeders’ association and possibly look at it for the next calendar year,” Hunter said. RWWA has increased club funding and prize money for greyhounds to introduce seven-day-a-week racing for the code. Harness racing was the big loser of the distribution, receiving just six per cent of the $10.6 million increase in funding. Trainer Adam Durrant has a feature race in mind for Come Play With Me if he completes a winning hat-trick at Belmont Park on Saturday. “He’ll run on Saturday and then go to the Strickland Stakes two weeks later,” Durrant said.   By Jay Rooney   Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Young Armstrong harness racing trainer Leroy O’Brien is the first to admit that a small amount of luck has gone a long way. But whether it’s been good fortune, hard work or perhaps an eye for detail, 27 year old O’Brien and his father and co-trainer Danny have been certainly reaping the rewards. Their latest success was courtesy of super-impressive Im Sir Blake (Alta Christiano NZ-Jupiters Darling (Dream Away) in the $25,000 Mitavite Northern Region Championship at Mildura last Thursday. The pacer, driven by Kerryn Manning (her second success in the feature event) was awesome in winning by 20 metres in 1.58-3. Click here for the race replay of the Northern Region Championship  “It’s a five-hour road trip to Mildura, but we’re not complaining because we’ve gone up there three times and come home with three winners,” O’Brien said. Im Sir Blake was a touch unlucky not to go through the Championship series undefeated. He was awesome in winning his first heat at Swan Hill late last month, and then galloped across the line at the next round of heats at Ouyen, only to be relegated from first to second. O’Brien paid the bargain price of $4000 for Im Sir Blake as a yearling at a Shepparton All-aged mixed sale – the same sale where two years earlier he snapped up a then-unraced Imprincessgemma for a rock-bottom “$900 plus GST”. “The filly caught my eye just in the way she carried herself and Im Sir Blake looked like a well-gaited type,” Leroy said. “We are very lucky to have some horses with so much ability.” Imprincessgemma (Village Jolt-Melody Strike (In The Pocket), raced by Leroy and his mum Sharryn, has won 11 from 25 starts for $107,000. Im Sir Blake, owned by Leroy and his dad Danny, has won seven for $58,000. Their other stable racehorse is Michelle Wonson-owned 2yo trotter Molly’s Purse, a recent winner of the $30,000 Group Two NSW trot final at Menangle. “I have to be honest and say we’ve had some nice offers to buy Im Sir Blake, but it’s sort of a lifetime thing with him,” O’Brien said. “My dad deserves the horse and does most of the work with him. Im Sir Blake waits at the gate for him – they’re really the best of mates,” he said. “I’d probably rate the horse as the best I’ve ever had although a trotter we had, Suave Jay, equalled the Mildura track record a couple of years ago and he went okay. “But Im Sir Blake is super quick and can do a bit of work. He’s a lovely little fella and I think we’ll now aim him at the upcoming Sires.” O’Brien said the horse was named after his sister Kirsty’s oldest child, Blake, while her daughter Gemma comes into play in Imprincessgemma. The father and son training partnership has been “on fire” this season with 15 wins and nine placings from 29 starts, for $106,000 in stakes. It’s a real family affair as Danny, a mental health nurse, and Leroy, a plumber, do as much as possible at the stables before heading off to work. Mum Sharryn, a disability support worker, is, according to Leroy, the backbone. “Mum feeds up and helps out wherever she can, and my fiancée Kristy also does a great job. You just need that massive support to keep ticking along,” he said. Leroy and Kristy recently became engaged and nine weeks ago welcomed son Tommy into their lives. “You could say that it’s all happening,” Leroy said laughing. “I suppose we’ve fallen on our feet with a lot of good luck, but you still have to put in the work for the success to keep coming,” he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Prolific Queensland owner-breeder, Kevin Seymour, described Colt Thirty One’s gutsy 1:52.9 mile rate victory at Albion Park on Saturday as the best of his 28 wins. It was also a personal best time, and in doing so the reigning Queensland Horse-of-the-Year went past $500,000 in stake money. Then immediately after watching the C6 and faster $13,000 pace with Seymour and his wife Kay, the Brisbane couple announced that the tough son of Mach Three and Charm Personified (by Perfect Art) would stand at Egmont Park Stud when he retires. “He’s only four, but that is the plan when he does eventually end his racing career. That was a phenomenal win, the best I’ve seen from him. Even better than his Victoria Derby win at Melton last year. “I always thought he would make a decent 5-year-old open class pacer, but he’s now doing things at four I never expected him to do. I think he will hold his own against the guns here at the Winter Carnival. “He’s going as good as he ever has and Grant’s got him in the best condition of his life. He’s come back extra this time in so retirement is still a wee way off yet,” Seymour said. The Grant Dixon trained and driven Colt Thirty One had to be good to win on Saturday. Even though he was a hot $1.30 favourite Dixon still had to sit back and bide his time from the widest second row draw over the 1,660m mobile. “To sit near last and then make a move two-wide and then three-wide without cover for most of the last lap was astounding. He did it all on his own. “And over the mile and he was still running on at the end. That’s the toughest performance I have seen from him. He’s really starting to come back to form now. This is his first year in open company and we are so proud of him. We now just have to be careful not to break his heart.” Colt Thirty One had 3.8m to spare over Lincoln Road and Hayden Barnes in Saturday’s Silks Trackside Marquee Pace. He stopped the clock in 1:56.5 with 27.2, 30.5, 28.3, and 27.4 sectionals. The talented bay entire has now won 28 of his 41 starts and placed in eight others for $500,592 in purses. “He’s now doing things as a late 4-year-old that I never expected. He’s the best horse we’ve had with Grant,” Seymour stressed. Seymour said he would race through until next month’s Winter Carnival and then the Seymours and Dixon would get together to discuss the horse’s racing future. “I don’t want to look too far beyond the Winter Carnival, but he’s proved he can win down south and the way he’s going he would be a worthy Queensland representative no matter where he races. “Grant’s a family man and doesn’t like to travel away too much, however I think this horse could persuade him to campaign him outside of Queensland. “Grant told me he was still giving at the line. He was quite ecstatic really – really delighted with the win.” Seymour believed that being a son of Mach Three would help Colt Thirty immensely when it was eventually time for the entire to stand at stud. “He will make a great sire. My objective is to stand a high quality son of Mach Three at stud (him), and a top-line son of Bettor’s Delight. We will announce the latter one later. “Regardless of what’s in store for Colt Thirty One on the racetrack, his progeny will be around for many years to come,” Seymour said. “I think he will put Queensland on the map as a stallion as well,” he added. Meanwhile, it was a night for the McMullen family at ‘The Creek’ on Saturday. Siblings Narissa, Dannielle and Peter drove six winners on the 10-race programme. Narissa won behind the horse she owns, trains and drives in race five – Tom Me Gun. She also saluted behind the Mark Rees trained Karinya Mully and the Ron Sallis trained Maybetothemax in races seven and nine. Younger sister, Dannielle, was successful behind the Stephen Cini trained Clarry in race two, and then half an hour later triumphed behind the 4-year-old mare her partner Ryan Veivers trains – Getoutnwalk. Older brother Peter, aka ‘Leader Peter’ won the last race thanks to a perfect front-running steer behind the Bill Crosby trained Slippery Jade from the two gate.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Locally owned and trained nine-year-old harness racing pacer Ned Pepper has continued to produce unbelievable form by taking out his third regional Country Cup by winning at Peak Hill, New South Wales on Sunday afternoon.  Owned by Terry Jenner and trained by wife Katie Jenner, Ned Pepper made it three wins in Country cup class by defeating a strong field that included placegetters Tuapeka Glory and Hidden Courage in a mile rating of 1:58.7.  Ned Pepper got away nicely from gate three and settled behind early leaders Dazzle Me and Royal Story. He moved outside Royal Story at the top of the bend and showed superior speed down the home straight to clinch victory over the 2250m journey. Angela Hedges was again in the gig as she was for Ned Pepper's win in the Dubbo Stayers Pacers Cup on May 24. Ned Pepper and connections after the win at Dubbo last month.   He'd previously taken out the Leeton Pacers Cup and the more recent Dubbo Stayers Pacers Cup to take his career winnings to more than $131,000. His record now includes 18 wins and 28 minors, a great effort for the veteran pacer.  With a best winning mile rate of 1:55.5 to his credit, and a winners cheque of $7,200 from his win at Peak Hill, many around the district are hoping the wins keep coming for the likeable couple who have invested many hours of hard work in their small but successful team. Young harness racing trainers Todd Day, Troy Fletcher and Mark Cullen entered pacers in Menangle Series heats raced at Goulburn on Monday afternoon. Fletcher's-trained seven-year-old mare Mah Koo Loo Queen was looking to capitalise on good recent form including a win at West Wyalong and three second placed finishes at Bathurst, Canberra and Wagga. By Stuart Maxwell Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness

Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding will give Roll With Lachlan another taste of top-class harness racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday ahead of his push for a place in the $150,000 Breeders Challenge final. The Newcastle Derby champion qualified for June 22 semi-finals in the three-year-old colts and geldings series with second to Leonidas at Newcastle on May 31. Although safely through, Roll With Lachlan will take on NSW and Tasmanian Derby winner Max Delight in another heat on Tuesday. "We thought we'd give him another run for the fitness and to get him running the quick times at Menangle that he's not used to," Harding said. "He needs the run, but he's been going all right." Cessnock trainer Clayton Harmey's Stephens Spirit will also contest the heat. Harmey has Straddie in the second heat and Tralee Rocks in the fillies qualifier. Keinbah trainer Roy Roots jnr will look to get My Anna Rani into the semis of the 3YO fillies series. Harding hopes Roll With Lachlan's brother, Rocknlachlan, can qualify for the four-year-old Breeders Challenge decider through the semis on June 22. He was second at Peak Hill on Sunday. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

Unless your name was harness racing driver Wayne Hill on Sunday afternoon at the trots, you really may have missed out on a win. Driving five winners from the seven races and add to that a second place, I'd say he would have been quite happy on the road home.  One damper on his day may have been the last past the post position on Jodis Choice, but I think he could probably look past that one. This particular race had been won by Tossup from the Dominic Tattoli stables.  Tossup has been under the Tattoli banner since November 2016 and in that time has now had twelve wins, all on the Port Pirie track.  Tossup is a beautifully presented five year old bay gelding and as all of the Tattoli horses, looks in good condition and fit. It is obvious that this team put in the time and effort on their horses, and it pays off.  Tossup finished seven meters in front of Ashleigh Dunkley's Kentsford Kenny and Canelliesparkle, one of the Afford owned and trained horses.  The first event of the day had been the McMahon pace and after having horses at Globe Derby Park on Saturday night and winning the last race with Buriton Bailey, Shane Loone took out the first race with Regal Knight, driven by Ken Rogers. He also had another in the first race, driven by Corey Johnson, but this one did not score as well.  Corey would not have been too perturbed though as he would have still been celebrating his first win on Saturday Night at Globe Derby.  Not too bad for a lad of sixteen and has only been driving for a few months. And what about this titbit - Emerging Art, which Corey had driven had paid a starting price of $51.10, whoohoo! Regal Knight's Mile Rate for this race had been 1.55.9, and that is not too slack at all.  Mind you, he had only just got to the line in first place, Reva, with Wayne Hill on board, had run one of his best races since returning from a spell and had been beaten only by a short half head. Nothing gets much closer than that. The Tooth Fairy looks like her problems have been sorted out, the headcheck has been removed and her visor also is missing and didn't she run like a charm.  Her gate speed takes something to be beaten in her class of horse and she led all the way, not putting a foot wrong. Challenged in the home straight by Marcello and Disclosure, she did not falter and went on to win by almost two metres.  The Tooth Fairy has been waiting to break through and now that her problems are sorted out, hopefully, she may show more success.  She is only a three year old and is by the same sire as Riverina Ava, Princess Pickles and Trapper Two. Mile rate for the race had been 1.59.9. Although Ryan Hryhorec had three horses nominated for the day, he had been unable to drive any one of them.  Hryhorec had a bit of an accident, hurting his shoulder, and will be out of action for another couple of weeks, however, Wayne Hill was able to steer Springfield Desire to the winning post.  The Waylon Hornhardy stables seen a couple of good wins, the last two events on the programme. Ronzel Grinner, a seven year old gelding, showed how it was done in the Elders Insurance Pace. In a fast time of 1.56.3, Wayne Hill had driven Ronzel Grinner to perfection and had managed to hold off Barney Fella to take out the event.  Barney Fella had made the charge, using the Sprint Lane, but had not managed to catch the winners. Wayne Brodie's Atomic Blue Chip had run on in third place.  Going back to where I was talking about Ryan Hryhorec being injured, it is great news that Dani Hill is only about five weeks away from being back on the track.  This will give brother Wayne some competition once again and he just loves racing against her. That sibling rivalry thing I guess - not that they would take it too seriously off the track - but on the track would be another thing!  The Aaron Bain stables had brought three horses to compete, and this was great to see. With Wayne Hill , again, at the helm, Trent From Punchy ran a great race to finish off the race a metre and a half in front of Callmedemaro, a Justin Brewin trained horse.  Idrather Rahma, was another trained by Dominic Tattoli. At Globe Derby on Saturday night, it had been the Victorian team of Emma Stewarts that had taken home three first place-getters, including the win of Pandering in the Final of the $100,000 "Allwood". Pandering is a two year old Courage Under Fire colt and his share of the winning had been a very nice $57,500.  Another Courage Under Fire offspring in the winning circle last week had been Forte Courage. Trained by Ryan Hryhorec, he had taken him over to Mildura for a run. And what a run it had been.  Sitting at the rear of the field in the back straight, the nitro button had been pushed and what a display of strength and speed had been seen.  He had passed the complete field like it was standing still and had gone on to a mighty win. Quite impressive.  It was announced this week that the SA Government will be putting $24 million dollars into the racing, harness racing and greyhound industries, over a four year span. I have been told that the harness racing industry receives approximately 10 per cent of that amount. Does that seem really fair, as harness racing is a struggling industry also.  I read the reports in The Advertiser and the Sunday Mail and it certainly did appear all about the thoroughbred racing sector.  The Sunday Mail did happen to have a short report from the chairman of the greyhounds but there was no mention of trotting and no interviews with anyone from the harness racing industry. I guess that says it all. Our next meeting is Saturday night June 23rd., the last meeting for three months. I still can't get my head around it. But until then see you at the Track! By Sue Penny Reprinted with permission of the Recorder

As well as being a passionate Perth stud owner, Bob Fowler is also highly regarded as a successful and canny businessman. But a busy life doesn't stop him for a minute from keeping up to speed with news in the harness racing world, even more so if it's close to his heart. Fowler and his wife Marilyn own picturesque Allwood Stud at Bullsbrook, 45 minutes from the WA capital city, and would have been chuffed with news of a recent Bathurst winner. Chestnut filly Dancelikeanangel (Fly Like An Eagle-She Can Dance (Village Jasper USA) went to the line untouched to take out the Rock N Roll Heaven Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2yo fillies heat. After beginning nicely from the gate, trainer-driver of Dancelikeanangel, Brad Hewitt ducked in behind the well-supported leader Didnt I (Amanda Turnbull). The tempo was solid as Turnbull rolled along in splits of 29.8, 30, 28 and 29.3. When the leading pair skipped away from the other runners, the stage looked set for a two-horse war. But when Hewitt popped out turning for home, he packed too many guns and cruised home in impressive fashion. The mile rate for the 'babies' was 1.56-6 for the 1730 metre trip. Dancelikeanangel is from the first crop of Fly Like An Eagle progeny to race in Australia. Three have so far raced, with Dancelikeanangel a winner and the other two placed - Tequila Tequila (Fly Like An Eagle-Little Fib (Village Jasper ) second in a heat of the Bathurst Gold Tiara and Here's Your Bonus (Fly Like An Eagle-Cherry's Angel (Badlands Hanover) a runner-up in a heat of the Leeton Plate. The Bathurst win was only the second start for Dancelikeanangel, who ran sixth at her debut a few weeks earlier. Hewitt went back to the trials at Menangle last week and the pacer impressed track watchers with a 1.58 win, so connections could certainly be excused for being excited about the $50,000 fillies' Group Two final on July 13. Fly Like An Eagle is coming up to his fifth season at Allwood Stud Farm and with his first foals now racing, it appears his exceptional speed as a juvenile is being passed on. As a 2yo Fly Like An Eagle took out the Group One Emerald at Ashburton on Harness Jewels Day and also won the Group One Cardigan Bay Stakes. Crowned as 2YO of the Year in NZ, he set a record over 1700 metres with a mile rate of 1.55-9. He later went onto win two more Group One events and lowered the colors of the likes of Smolda, Christen Me, Sushi Sushi, Caribbean Blaster and Sir Lincoln (aka Lincoln Royal). Fly Like An Eagle also won the New Zealand Derby. And who could forget his sensational victory in the 2012 Breeders Crown Final for 3yo colts and geldings - easily the best of his eight wins on Australian soil. It's no secret the Fowlers were overjoyed to finally secure the stallion after chasing him for years. The winner of over $756,000, Fly Like An Eagle was under the ownership of the Muscara Group of North America. He is arguably the best colonial-based stallion on stud duties here. His sire is the former multimillion-dollar champ Mach Three, who has left his mark around the world by siring a plethora of big race stars. (Mach Three was humanely euthanized in January, 2017, after breaking a hind leg in a freak paddock incident). Fly Like An Eagle is out of a Falcon Seelster mare and brings the blood of Overtrick, Most Happy Fella, Light Brigade, U Scott and Volomite - one of the best NZ maternal families you could find. The Allwood Stud Farm sires are Fly Like An Eagle ($3000 inc GST), Follow The Stars ($3000 inc GST), Rock N'Roll World ($4000 inc GST), Lombo Mandingo ($1100 inc GST) and Tinted Cloud ($1100 inc GST). Bob and Marilyn Fowler Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

COMEBACK star Soho Tribeca will chase the NZ Cup, but not the Auckland Inter Dominion. The gifted pacer returns from almost a year out when he tackles next Saturday night’s Italian Cup at Melton. Trainer-driver Mick Stanley will then keep him based in Victoria, bypassing features in NSW and Queensland, to focus on an NZ Cup raid. “Obviously everything depends on how well he comes back, but you have to plan ahead and Rob (Watson, owner) I have talked through it all,” Stanley said. “The Inter Dominion, with the four runs in two weeks, just isn’t the right way to go with him after the injury he’s had. “But Rob is super, super keen on the NZ Cup and so am I. “We’re building everything around the NZ Cup at his main target this year.” But shaping plans for Soho Tribeca is just part of the exciting but challenging equation for Stanley, who boasts by his strongest stable ever. Two of his stars, Rackemup Tigerpie and Soho Burning Love, won feature races at Melton last night (Saturday). Rackemup Tigerpie’s sparkling first-up win in the free-for-all was both exciting for him and a great guide for Soho Tribeca’s progress. “They work together at home and trialled together last week where Soho Tribeca did a bit more work and Rackemup Tigerpie just edged him out,” Stanley said. “The way Rackemup won last night really gave us confidence Tribeca was right on target for next week.” Rackemup Tigerpie was first-up since finishing down the track in the Chariots of Fire at Menangle on February 16. It was the end of a campaign where he raced through the grades with 11 wins, but the best run was a mighty second to Thefixer in the Ballarat Cup. Stanley drove him with confidence despite being first-up and made an early move around the field from a back row draw to sit parked for the second half of the short 1720m race. Despite doing all the work, Rackemup Tigerpie powered to the front and top of the straight and held-on well to win by 1.7m in a 1min54.7sec mile rate, including a 55.7sec last half. “The Vicbred 4YO series is next for him in a couple of weeks. Poster Boy will be a good measuring stick in that, but I’m sure this horse has comeback better than last campaign,” Stanley said. “The best part of last night’s win for me was how quickly he dropped them when I said go at the top of the straight. He couldn’t do that last time in work and it’s a great asset to have.” Rackemup Tigerpie has the Vicbred, Breeders Crown 4YO and a dip at the Victoria Cup in October to prove to Stanley he should chase the biggest open-class features next season. Just 30 minutes after Rackemup Tigerpie’s winning return, Soho Burning Love had an easier job finding the lead after the start and cruising to a dominant 5.5m win over last-start Group 1 winner and favourite Pistol Abbey in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for the 2240m. “She’s off the Vicbred 4YO mares’ series next and she’s got the Breeders Crown 4YO as well. I’d say she’d head across to Perth for their Group 1 mares’ race later in the year as well,” Stanley said.   Adam Hamilton

TWO of the “queens” of Aussie harness teamed to win South Australia’s richest race at Globe Derby last night (Saturday). Emma Stewart booked Swedish young gun Kima Frenning for exciting colt Pandering and they raced away to win the inaugural $100,000 Group 1 “The Allwood” final by 12.5m from Andy Gath’s Night Spirit. Female drivers snared the trifecta with NSW youngster Ashley Hart aboard Night Spirit and local Lisa Ryan aboard third-placed Ammicchi. __________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN claimer With Gusto has a special place in Chris Alford’s heart. Last year he gave Alford his 400th win of the that season and last Friday night he provided the champion driver’s 300th win of this season – still with almost three months of the season remaining. It moved Alford to tweet after the race: “Got to love ‘with gusto’ (sic) can find a milestone race to win, last season win 400 this season win 300, #gogussy.” Alford recently turned 51 and is driving better than ever. He sits poised on 99 career Group 1 wins. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter McLovin is issuing the challenge to Tornado Valley for the crown as stable star in Andy and Kate Gath’s barn. While Inter Dominion champ Tornado Valley is out spelling, McLovin has been building quite the CV. The six-year-old’s 12 starts since joining the Gaths’ stable have returned seven wins, two seconds and two thirds. And his latest win, in last Friday night’s Bendigo Trotters’ Cup, was the best of his career. McLovin chased hard early from a 20m backmark, did all the work outside the and plunge runner Cruisin Around and powered away to win as he liked in a track record 2min0.3sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip. We’ve really liked him since he got here. He’s got lots of speed for a trotter, but he really showed some toughness winning that way (at Bendigo),” driver Kate Gath said. The Gaths toyed with a Rowe Cup raid earlier this year, but the way McLovin is racing, he looks ideal to accompany Tornado Valley to the Dominion Trot and/or Auckland Inter Dominion later this year. In other stable news, the Gaths exciting three-year-old trotter Majestuoso snared his biggest win in the Group 3 Holmfield at Melton last night. The son of Majestic Son broke after the start and lost about 20m, then circled the field sit parked and rundown the leader, Georgias Pride, to win by 1.6m in a 1min59.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The big question is whether heavily-backed favourite All The Muscles was going to beat him when he switched back to the sprint late to challenge, but went into a gallop. Majestuoso struggled for manners at two and won just two of his nine runs, but has returned better and more reliable with six wins from seven runs this season so far. __________________________________________________________________________________ IT hasn’t taken long for former Kiwi driver Trent Lethaby to make an impact in Queensland. Lethaby, who had stints with Brent Mangos and Jay Abernathy, is now with one of Australia’s top trainers Grant Dixon in Queensland. And, at just his sixth drive for the new boss, he led throughout to win by a whisker aboard Rocknroll Emma at Albion Park last night (Saturday). “It’s bloody great here. I’ve been here four weeks or so, but I’m loving it,” Lethaby said. __________________________________________________________________________________ COLT Thirty One remains Queensland’s best pacer and a serious player for the upcoming Winter Carnival. As good as recent Kiwi import Northview Hustler has been winning all his three Queensland runs, Colt Thirty One has a bigger score on the board … at least for now. Grant Dixon’s four-year-old reminded everyone how good he was with a powerhouse and very quick free-for-all win at Albion Park last night (Saturday). He settled near last over the 1660m from a back row draw, but sustained a long three-wide run around the field without cover to win running away by 3.8m. And the mile rate was a blistering 1min52.9sec. Whether he can beat the interstate raiders in upcoming Group 1 races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake remains to be seen, but Colt Thirty One certainly has the sheer speed to be very dangerous with the right run. __________________________________________________________________________________ RENOWNED giant-killer Loorrim Creek barnstormed his way to another upset win in the free-for-all at Menangle last night (Saturday). The race was expected to see emerging star Ignatius return to winning form, but instead Loorrim Creek roared home to snatch a neck win over the much-improved Franco Totem with Ignatius a tiring third. Admittedly Ignatius was first-up from a freshen-up and did all the work outside leader, Letspendanitetogetha, in a solid 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2300m. Ignatius now heads to the semi-finals of the NSW Breeders Challenge on June 22 before the final eight days later and a possible Queensland winter campaign. On the same card, Victorian trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan snared the Group 3 Go Girlfriend final with their improving mare Rocknroll Pearl, who led throughout to win easily in a slick 1min52.8sec mile. And former Kiwi pacer Cullenburn made it four wins (and a second) from his five Aussie runs for Craig Cross when he paced a slick 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2300m. __________________________________________________________________________________ ONE of Aussie harness racing’s great “non-winners” is a new horse since a stable switch. As great a trainer as Gary Hall Sr is, Luis Alberto was an exasperating pacer in his care and continually found ways to go close but very rarely winning. Luis Alberto moved to the care of Debbie Lewis, wife of champion driver Chris, and has roared through the grades to win a free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was his eighth win in just 16 starts for Lewis. Luis Alberto’s latest win was a big upset as a $61 outsider against the likes of King Of Swing (sixth), My Hard Copy (fourth), Whoideawasthis (fifth) and Vultan Tin (11th) in a slick 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The win came just 30 minutes after Debbie and Chris Lewis combined to win the feature race of the night, the 4&5YO Westbred Mares’ final (2130m) with exciting Advance Attack mare The War Nurse. In other highlights of the night, Gary Hall Sr’s emerging star Ideal Liner won easily again, making it seven victories from just 10 starts. And Justin Prentice’s emerging three-year-old Know When To Run won as he liked in a good field with Gary Hall Jr aboard. __________________________________________________________________________________ BUZZ juvenile Mirragon suffered a surprise defeat when second to Youaremy Sunshine in the Youthful Stakes (1730m) at Melton last night. Touted as being the equal of any juvenile seen so far this season, Mirragon had a lovely trip and always looked the winner, but was beaten on his merits by Damian Burns’ Hurrikane Kingcole colt in a slugging finish. They paced a sizzling 1min53.8sec mile rate.   Adam Hamilton

A $10.5 million funding package will be delivered to Racing Queensland’s three codes from next week. Late last year, the Queensland Government announced it would fund a $26 million prize money increase for the thoroughbred code to be delivered in two stages. They were: - An immediate $18 million increase effective November 1, 2018; and - A further $8 million in six months following the implementation of reform measures. At the same time, the Government and RQ agreed to co-fund a $5.5 million increase for the greyhound and harness codes in 2018, with RQ providing an additional $2.5 million in 2019 following the implementation of similar reform measures. Across the three codes, $34 million will be delivered to address industry viability and long-term sustainability with the latest funding increase to commence from June 17. “Racing Queensland remains extremely grateful to the Queensland Government for their funding support,” RQ Chairman Steve Wilson said. “As an industry, we were committed to delivering reform measures and enhancing our viability, long-term sustainability and competitiveness with other racing jurisdictions. “Over the past six months, significant progress has been achieved, and while more work still needs to take place, I look forward to further progress as we deliver on our strategic and commercial priorities.” As part of the additional $8 million in thoroughbred funding, RQ will abolish starters’ fees to significantly reduce the cost to race in Queensland. “The removal of starters’ fees will benefit all thoroughbred representatives,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said. “We’ve also made a concerted effort to elevate mid-week metropolitan prizemoney, while our SEQ participants indicated that a weekly feature race would be warmly received.” Late last year, the greyhound code received a $3.5 million increase and a further $1.5 million will now commence, while the harness code earlier received a $2 million increase and will now realise an additional $1 million. “By allocating funds in such a broad manner across all three codes, RQ aims to drive improved field sizes which benefits wagering revenues which underpin our industry,” Mr Parnell said. Thoroughbred highlights include: - Removal of starters fee: $2.5m benefit to owners across all Queensland race meetings; - Metropolitan Saturday restricted races increased from $45k to $50k (+10%); - Metropolitan mid-week prizemoney raised from $30k to $35k (+17%); - Mid-week metropolitan maidens raised to $27.5k (+10%); - A feature $30k race to be programmed at SEQ Provincial meetings on a weekly basis (GCTC, ITC and SCTC); and - Northern Provincial midweek increased to $17,000 and Saturday Provincial 2 meetings to $15,000. Racing Queensland

Launceston trainer Brian Stanley landed the first blow of the Elderslie Horse Care Two-Year-Old Fillies Sweepstakes Series with A Spanish Dance (pictured) taking out the opening heat in Hobart on Friday night. A Spanish Dance’s best performance going into the Sweepstakes was a third behind Brookwillrock in the Devonport Belmont, but she broke her maiden status with an impressive all-the-way win over 1609 metres. “She has always shown me she’s had her share of ability, she’s no superstar but she’s honest and when she found the early lead my confidence level grew,” said Brian. “The favourite Radiant Red ran the gate out wide and looked a chance of leading but Rod (Ashwood) is a naturally aggressive driver and was able to slip up underneath from gate three and find the pegs first, from there he rated her perfectly grabbing a cheap second section (33.2 seconds) which gave her plenty in reserve when the final challenges came.” Brian bred the A Rocknroll Dance – Guernica filly and is looking to press on through the Sweepstakes and onto the Sires Stakes. “There is another heat of the Sweepstakes next week but at this stage she will be staying at home as she has qualified for the final, she’s eligible for the Sires so she deserves her chance and I don’t want to overexert her as the two series are very close together,” said Brian. “It appears a very even season in the fillies division, in the main whoever has been able to find the lead has gone on to win the race, A Spanish Rose capitalised on it in Hobart, hopefully luck can go her way again this season.” The Robert Gillie prepared two-year-old Canbe Doc scored a promising debut victory in the Elderslie Horse Care Colts & Geldings Sweepstakes. The Caribbean Blaster – Little Miss Doc gelding was sent out the popular pick and led comfortably from the mobile but came under enormous pressure over the concluding stages when headed down the home running by Karalta Courage. Gareth Rattray got down to work with Canbe Doc and the youngster dug deep to regain the lead and score by 2 1/2-metres.   Shane Yates

Loveable larrakin harness racing trainer-driver Tim Mortlock is sure to be wearing his trademark huge smile for weeks to come. Mortlock, of Maryborough, combined with young gun reinsman James Herbertson to land longshot winner Seemepearlywhites (Grinfromeartoear-Numismatic (Elsu) at his home track on Thursday afternoon. "It was a nice surprise because we've only had the horse for a short time," Mortlock said. "I actually took her to the trials four days before the races and she pulled her brains out. We ran fourth in a five-horse trial, so I decided to change her bit and hope for the best," he said. "I wasn't all that concerned because I thought with the race being over the short trip of 1609m that they'd keep rolling along up front and she wouldn't have a chance to pull." And with Mortlock's hunch playing out perfectly, and aided by another polished driving display by Herbertson, it all unfolded for the best with Seemepearlywhites scoring comfortably by nearly seven metres at 30/1. "When 'Herbie' landed in the one-one sweet seat and sat patiently until the 350m mark, I was hoping she'd run on - I actually said to my mum Helen before the race that I thought the horse would go real good or real bad with the gear change," Mortlock said. RACE REPLAY: https://www-harness-org-au.akamaized.net/vic/MHC06061905.mp4 "At home she just jogs around on a loose rein, but I knew I was in trouble at the trials from the moment I turned her around to score up - she was off and going," he said. Mortlock said he ended up with Seemepearlywhites when she was purchased by former Queenslander Greg Eeles, now based at Maryborough. "Greg didn't really have room for her and fortunately I did," he said. "As a youngster, Greg helped out my Pop (Jack Hargreaves) at Korong Vale before he headed off to Queensland." (The late Jack Hargreaves was an icon of the sport-probably his greatest moment in a 34-year career was winning the 1969 Miracle Mile with Adaptor, later sold to USA for $250,000.) Mortlock said he's been involved in the sport "forever". "When I was growing up, I really didn't have a choice because I was carted off to the trots with dad (Robert) and mum. But I really didn't complain - I looked at it as a day off from school!" he said. "My involvement would be well over 40 years. But it's been lots of fun and days like the Maryborough win are special." Apart from Seemepearlywhites, Mortlock has two youngsters in his stable. "My work can sometimes take me away from home, so it's getting harder to do them all with the shorter daylight hours, but one thing's for certain, I'll make sure I get to train Seemepearlywhites," he laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The $50,000 Globe Derby Harness Racing Stakes final looks like going to the Rattray family for the fifth time in nine years at Mowbray on Sunday night. But, barring bad luck, it should be a different member of Tasmania's most successful harness racing dynasty lining up to collect the trophy. The Kent Rattray-trained Sunny Sanz will be at almost unbackable odds after his dominant win over a similar field in last week's prelude. Rattray's brother Barrie won the race in 2011 with Beautide and again in 2013 with Pachacuti while Barrie's son Todd has won the past two with Harjeet and Izaha. Todd's brothers Gareth (Beautide) and James (Pachacuti) also appear on the honour roll as winning drivers. Rattray family patriarch Wayne won the third running of the race back in 1985 with Napoleon Stone when it was open to fillies and also scored in 1991 with Karalta Jet. Sunny Sanz won his only three starts as a two-year-old before being sidelined by injury. He has won two of his three starts since returning, suffering his only defeat behind smart filly Spoilt Sport in Hobart when Rattray said he "got fired up." His prelude win was outstanding as he lost ground after locking wheels with a tiring runner in the back straight. He appears to be clearly the best horse in the final and it would be hard to begrudge him a win. "I feel like we left a lot of money on the table last season when he got injured and this is a good opportunity to make up for some of that," Rattray said. By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission from The Examiner

Millers Forest harness racing trainer Chris Bourke will chase a first group race success when Que Sera competes in the Go Girlfriend Series Final at Menangle Park on Saturday night. Que Sera has won three of 22 starts for Bourke since coming to his stable last December. The four-year-old will start from gate nine of 10 in the $30,000 group 3 mares race on Saturday night after securing a place with second to Love My Sister in a heat at Newcastle on May 31. Que Sera (Auckland Reactor), with Blake Fitzpatrick to drive, was $41 with TAB on Friday and Bourke was not discounting her chances. "It's good to make the final in any group race," Bourke said. "They are all an even bunch and lightly assessed. "There's a couple of good ones, of courses. [Luke] McCarthy's got one out of the good mare Fleur De Lil, Love My Sister, that won the Newcastle heat ours came second in. She's a handy type. "Ours has pulled up good, and it just all depends how the race is run. "She's drawn bad but she's got no gate speed anyway.  "All the better ones are in the same boat except the good one from Queensland, [Rocknroll Pearl], it's got a bit of gate speed." Morisset trainer Mark Callaghan and his son Jack have a busy night across the Menangle and Newcastle meetings on Saturday night. The stable has genuine chances with Vega Star in the first and Downunder Stride in the fifth at Menangle. Jack will drive strong hopes Repartee in race eight and Glenn Ford in the fourth at Newcastle for his dad. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of the Newcastle Herald