Day At The Track

The Autumn Harness Racing Carnival came to a close in Launceston on Saturday night with the Group 2 Ladbrokes Easter Cup, which saw Scooterwillrev lead home a locally trained trifecta. There has been plenty of harness racing in Launceston over the past three weeks, and it continues again this week with racing on Sunday night anda. program also being held in Devonport on Friday night. The Stars Scooterwillrev – was brilliant in the 2021 Easter Cup after stepping straight to the lead in the 2698-metre event. He was well rated in front by Gareth Rattray, who claimed his first Easter Cup. It was also the first win in the race for trainer Craig Hayes who did an outstanding job to get the pacer to peak second-up in the Group 2 race. Lightning Jash – Victorian trainer Kate Hargraves has a handy strike rate when she brings horses to the Apple Isle, and this Autumn Carnival mission was no different when she claimed the first feature two-year-old race in the state for the year, the Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes with Lightning Jash. Driver Alex Ashwood said the pacer would have a spell before tackling some features later in the season. Wave The Hat – claimed the time-honoured Allen Williams Memorial Final for the maiden pacers. The pacer enjoyed a solid early tempo before proving too good in a race that was a survival of the fittest late. Be Major Threat – showed brilliant standing start manners to settle in a forward position to take out the Kevin Gillies Memorial, ending up behind the leader, reinsman Ben Woodford drove a patient race working into clear racing room at the top of the home straight to go on a score a narrow win. Moonlite Bay – was undoubtedly one of the more impressive winners of the Launceston card when 1.1s outside Scooterwillrev’s 2200-metre track record. After working forward in a handy lead time, the pacer was then forced to hold the lead with the first three-quarters of the final mile all recorded under 30.0s and was still able to prove too strong late. Multiple Winners Hobart – Friday afternoon Ben Yole – training quartet; Yellow Taxi, Southern Gnp, Lives A Jungle and War Chest. Conor Crook – driving double; Beau Garcon and Southern Gnp. Launceston – Saturday evening Alex Ashwood – driving double; Lightning Jasha and Moonlite Bay. Tasracing Calculated Sectionals Hobart – Friday afternoon My Ultimate Romeo 56.84s, Ol Titch 57.19s, Live For Peace 57.22, Ifbutzandmaybes 57.30s and Black Ops 57.32s. Launceston – Saturday evening Easter Cup: Izaha 55.68s, Yorkshire 55.71s, Ryley Major 55.75s, Our Princess Tiffany 55.90s and Our Princess Tiffany 55.90s. Remaining races: Be Major Threat 55.99s, Gone And Forgotten 56.02s, Sea Double Ugrant 56.06s, Still Hungover 56.14s and The Red Moon Rising 56.38s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Hobart – Friday afternoon Hit’s: Ifbutzandmaybes $6.00 into $5.50, Southern Gnp $41 into $12 and War Chest $6.00 into $3.90. Defied The Drift: Beau Garcon $2.05 out to $2.30, Yellow Taxi $17 out to $21, Life A Jungle $10 out to $14 and Top Hanover $3.40 out to $4.60. Missed: Magic Owens $3.40 into $2.50, My Ultimate Major $3.30 into $2.40, Keep Playing $9.00 into $6.00, Mach Charm $9.00 into $5.50, Eye See Double $3.70 into $2.90, Heza Rummage $8.00 into $5.50, Black Ops $3.70 into $2.90 and Guys Bettor Bet $4.40 into $3.20. Launceston – Saturday evening Hit’s: Lightning Jash $1.26 into $1.20, Wave The Hat $10 into $9.50 and Jaffa Josh $1.40 into $1.14. Defied The Drift: Debt Till We Part $14 out to $16, Barooga Rock $2.40 out to $3.00, Micton Aroha $5.50 out to $6.50, Scooterwillrev $9.00 out to $17, Be Major Threat $10 out to $18, Moonlite Bay $5.00 out to $7.00 and Racketeers Boy $1.90 out to $2.25. Missed: Always A Stride $5.50 into $4.00, Origin Tara $11 into $8.00, Kennys Killer $3.30 into $2.90, Tommys Denial $2.90 into $2.50, Willie Go West $2.50 onto $2.00, The Red Moon Rising $2.25 into $1.70, Deadly Assassin $5.00 into $4.40, Stormont Star $7.50 into $6.00 and Some Dan $26 into $15. Trial File Devonport – Monday evening Four trials were held on Monday where Liam Older had his first night of driving at the trials and he walked away with a winner when the Ben Yole-trained Aha Reaction recorded the quickest mile rate of the night in 2m 1.9s for the 1930-metre trip. Racing outside the leader, the gelded son of Auckland Reactor proved too tough over the concluding stages for the leader, Maybe Jack, with a half-head separating the duo. Other winners included: Booker Bay (2m 9.3s), Family Feelgood (2m 9.0s) and Christian Jaz (2m 4.1s) Week Ahead Friday: Devonport host Friday night racing where the $12,000 Patrons Marathon is the feature race for horses with a national rating of 70 or better over the 2645-metre trip. Saturday: Carrick Park trials revert to the Saturday morning time slot, with the first trial scheduled for 9:00. There is plenty of Tasmanian interest at Menangle, with Ignatius contesting a Group 3 event, plus his stablemates Zhukov Leis and Jigamaroo going around. Jigamaroo will be driven by Charlie Castles, who will be having his first metropolitan drive outside of Tasmania. Sunday: Launceston race once again with a Tier One meeting in the twilight zone. Monday: Trials will be held in Hobart from 17:30.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Diego and Mirragon are good things at Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park, according to members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. TABradio colleagues Matt Young and Hayden King have made Diego their best bet on a fantastic night of pacing, featuring the Group 1 WA Oaks. “Diego has a beautiful draw and should trail through nicely and be able to put them away whenever Junior wishes to do so,” Young said. “He looks the winner.” And Young agrees. “Diego is simply a class apart from rivals this Friday.” King said. “I think the backline draw will prove no object and he can win in any way he chooses. He has the high speed of a promising horse who will reach loftier heights than this.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas are equally buoyant about the winning prospects of Mirragon. “Victorian import Mirragon looked back to peak form when running on strongly in a Gloucester Park win last Friday night,” Manning said. “The four-year-old, who often competed in Melbourne feature events, proved his class with four Melton victories. He launched a WA career by winning last February 8 and is now chasing his fourth victory since joining Debra Lewis’ stable.” Casellas is on the same page as Manning. “Mirragon is the youngest runner in the sixth event at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the four-year-old has a decided edge in class over his seven rivals,“ Casellas said. “It’s therefore a simple and straight-forward task of nominating him as my best bet for the evening. Mirragon sped over the final 800m in 55.9sec. last Friday when he dashed home from fourth at the bell to snatch a last-stride victory over Plutonium.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is keen on Nota Bene Denario, a former Kiwi pacer who makes his Australian debut for the Gary Hall stable. “Nota Bene Denario hasn’t raced for over six months but would have derived benefit from his trial win at Byford on Sunday,” Havercroft said. “He won six times and was placed on another 22 occasions in a 49-start New Zealand career – that record suggests he should be more than competitive at his local debut.” Longshot guru Pat Harding has opted for Miss Limelight as his best bet on the 10-event card. “After a tough afternoon at GP last Friday, punters and tipsters could fare better this week,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in race three with No. 2 Miss Limelight. She has run some good places and is due for a win. I think she will do well in this fillies and mares pace.” Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart has opted for Battlescard as his best for the night. “Have to forget Battlescard’s last start and go on his previous runs, most of which were wins,” Wishart said. “With the low draw he should find the pegs and be very hard to beat in front.” Media Guild president Wayne Currall is sticking with his best bet from last week in Boom Time, who didn’t win but finished a game third behind Mirragon. “Boom Time has run two slashing thirds at his past two starts after doing all the bullocking work in the breeze,” Currall said. “This is a race in which there looks to be plenty of pace, so if Chris Voak can give Boom Time an easier run I think he can salute at good odds.” VALUE BETS MATT: Manofthepeople wasn’t a bad run last start, steps well and looks a suitable race to earn. HAYDEN: Whoswhointhezoo has been in career-best form recently. He now steps up in class, but comes up with the pole draw. The times he has been running suggest that he is a big chance in anything he contests. ERNIE: Henwood Bay, the winner of 15 races, gets his chance to break a 17-start losing run when he begins from barrier two. The Errol Ashcroft-trained gelding finished second at Gloucester Park on March 26 after being held up. He came from three back on the pegs to run fourth last Friday night. KEN: For value, I suggest Savvy Bromac in race three. She caught the eye when she sprinted home fast from last to finish second to her smart stablemate Heavens Showgirl last Friday. RYAN: Whoswhointhezoo has shown a return to form in recent runs and gets the benefit of an inside draw here. Good each-way prospect from the pole. PAT: My value bet comes up in race six with No. 4 Mr Kiwi. He had a win five starts ago and I believe Gary Hall Jr can guide him to victory at a good price. WARREN: This is a rare city run for Budd Sidewinder, but he comes to town off a good last start win. Loves the stand and not a bad draw for him. Great each-way bet. WAYNE: I’m expecting the WA Oaks to be run at high-speed and some of these fillies will be “feeling the pinch” at the end of a gruelling 2536m trip. One filly who should relish the distance is Royal Essence. Her toughness has been on show at her past three starts where she’s done it hard outside the leader. If she can get an economical run in transit, she’ll be storming home at the business end for young Emily Suvaljko. It’s great to see Bill Crabb, the former long-time photographer at GP, and Robbie Dewar, the former Sunday Times trotting writer, being honoured with races named after them. Both gentlemen have been wonderful servants of harness racing in WA. To view all of the media guild tips click here. Good punting.   Wayne Currall

On paper, Perfect Major stands out as a star bet in the opening event, the 2130m Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Perfect Major, prepared by Ross Olivieri, is one of four stablemates in the field of seven, and Voak had the choice of driving Perfect Major, Stefsbest or Carrera Mach. Perfect Major will be having his first start since he led and finished third behind Cyclone Banner over 2130m on December 18. He had raced against superstar Chicago Bull and other star pacers at each of his four previous starts following wins at his first four appearances in WA. He finished third behind Chicago Bull and Shockwave in the Cranley Memorial, eighth behind Chicago Bull in the Fremantle Cup, won from Chicago Bull in the RWWA Cup and then finished fifth behind Vultan Tin and Chicago Bull in the WA Pacing Cup. Voak is now somewhat puzzled at Perfect Major’s seemingly disappointing form in three recent Byford trials in which he raced in the breeze and finished a close fourth behind Ace Bromac, third in a field of three behind Gran Chico, and a three-length second behind Alice Kay on Sunday morning after racing without cover. “It doesn’t look like that he is going any good,” said a perplexed Voak. “His trials have been ordinary. However, his work during his previous preparation wasn’t much good. But when he went to the races, he was a totally different horse. He ran fifth in the WA Pacing Cup, so he must have some chance, first-up.” Olivieri also was guarded in his prediction of how Perfect Major would perform on Friday night, saying: “He probably needs the run.” Perfect Major will start from the outside in the field of seven, and Voak will wait and see how the race unfolds before deciding on his tactics.        Stefsbet, a smart first-up winner over Gee Jay Kay at Pinjarra two starts ago, will be handled by Shannon Suvaljko from barrier five; Chris Playle will drive Carrera Mach from barrier four, and Olivieri’s other runner, Kiwi Bloke will start from the No. 1 barrier with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Making up the field will be recent winners Extradite, Thomson Bay and Rakasinc. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred six-year-old Nota Bene Denario looks a good bet at his Australian debut when he starts from barrier No. 1 in the Allwood Stud Farm Pace, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The son of American stallion Well Said, Nota Bene Denario excelled in standing-start events in New Zealand where four of his six wins from 49 starts were in stands, three over 2400m and one over 2700m. He gave a sample of his ability when he won a 2150m mobile trial at Byford on Sunday morning for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. Driven by Gary Hall Jnr, Nota Bene Denario was not bustled at the start from the outside (No. 6) barrier and the gelding settled down in fourth position, five lengths behind the leader. He then enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before being switched three wide 650m from home and then taking the lead 100m later on his way to victory over Bettor My Dream, rating 1.59.9 after final quarters of 29.8sec. and 29.4sec. Nota Bene Denario meets moderate opposition and should be capable of winning, with his chief rival likely to be veteran pacer Budd Sidewinder, who ended a losing sequence of 36 when he raced without cover in the middle stages before scoring an easy win in the 2590m Wagin Cup on Thursday of last week. “Nota Bene Denario’s trial was good, and he should go close on Friday night,” said Hall Snr. The Hall camp also has bright winning prospects with Diego in the 2130m Westral Pace in which the New Zealand-bred five-year-old will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Diego, a winner at nine of his 32 starts, drops appreciably in class after seconds behind Mighty Conqueror and Miracle Moose at his past two appearance. Diego impressed last Friday when he ran home powerfully from fifth at the bell to be second to Miracle Moose over 2130m, with the final 800m being run in 55.5sec. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Galactic Star is poised for his 31st  win after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2536m In Appreciation of Bill Crabb Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The evergreen eight-year-old, who will be driven by ace reinsman Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is an excellent frontrunner who has set the pace at seven of his Gloucester Park victories. He has been unplaced from poor draws at his past three runs since he led from barrier four and won from Vultan Tin and Bletchley Park over 2536m when he dashed over the final 800m in 55.5sec. Galactic Star began out wide from barrier seven when he worked hard in the breeze for most of the 2130m journey before wilting to finish sixth behind his talented stablemate Mighty Conqueror, who led from barrier one and defeated Diego and Runaway Three last Friday week. Mighty Conqueror faces a sterner test this week when he will start from the outside barrier in a field of nine. He will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green. Adding interest to the race will be the return to action of six-year-old Jack Farthing, a New Zealand-bred pacer in the stables of Justin Prentice. Jack Farthing won at his WA debut when he ran on to beat Braeview Bondi over 2536m last October. Then, after finishing third behind Chicago Bull and Shockwave at his next start, he was unplaced in top company at his following three starts before being sent for a spell. Jack Farthing warmed up for his return to racing in fine style with a most encouraging win in a seven-horse trial over 2185m at Pinjarra last Wednesday week. He raced in last position before Aiden de Campo eased him off the pegs and sent him forward with a lap to travel. Jack Farthing finished strongly to gain a last-stride victory over Aliman and Jack Mac in a three-way photo finish. The final 400m sections were covered in 27.9sec. and 27.5sec. and the winner rated 1.56.6. Jack Farthing will start from barrier four and Prentice is confident of a good first-up performance. “The trial was good, and Aiden was happy with him,” said Prentice. “He settled really well which is obviously the main thing. “He is up to the class, but first-up over 2536m we will be on the cautious side, and, hopefully, he’ll hit the line strongly.” Phil Costello’s nine-year-old Vultan Tin is in excellent form and should make a bold bid for victory. He will start out wide at barrier eight and Emily Suvaljko is likely to send him forward to race in the breeze. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is happy with Im Full Of Excuses draw at barrier two, and said that after working strongly this week, the nine-year-old was capable of a bold showing. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

Chris Voak, last season’s champion driver in Western Australia, is delighted that Black Jack Baby has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $150,000 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he is planning for an all-the-way win in the testing 2536m classic event for three-year-old fillies. “We have been drawing badly for so long, and now she gets her chance to lead,” he said. “Nothing can cross her and she has been beaten only once when she has set the pace.” Black Jack Baby, bred, owned and trained by Shane Quadrio, has won at 11 of her 20 starts. She has set the pace in eight of her races, with her only defeat being at her fifth race start, as a two-year-old in the Western Crown Classic when she was second, a half length behind Rumour Has It. She has enjoyed the luxury of the No. 1 barrier only once, and that was nine starts ago when she led early and then raced three back on the pegs before finishing eighth, nine lengths behind the winner Cordero over 2185m at Pinjarra on January 4 this year. Voak said that he has not been disappointed with Black Jack Baby’s fourth placings at each of her past two starts (behind Newsy and Unconditional) when she was restrained from wide barriers. “In those races Black Jack Baby was four deep on the last bend, spotting the leaders three lengths,” he said. “This week, she is going to be three lengths in front of her rivals, and they will have to come wide. Her sectionals in those races were the fastest last halves, with times of under 56sec.” Black Jack Baby will be having her first start over 2536m. Her only appearances in races beyond 2130m have been two starts over 2185m at Pinjarra for an eighth and a second placing. The only runners to have contested a race beyond 2400m are Bettor Beach Belle and Just For Love, who fought out the finish of the $25,000 Country Oaks over 2569m at Bunbury last Saturday week. Bettor Beach Belle, trained by Terry Ferguson, led early and then trailed the pacemaker Just For Love before finishing strongly to win the event by a neck from that filly, with final quarters of 28.9sec. and 27.8sec. Michael Grantham guided Bettor Beach Belle to victory in the Country Oaks, but he has opted to handle the Michael Brennan-trained Miss Boudica on Friday night. Aiden de Campo will drive Bettor Beach Belle for the first time in this week’s race. Bettor Beach Belle will start from the inside of the back liner and should enjoy a good trip behind Black Jack Baby. Miss Boudica, a winner at Gloucester Park in December at Northam last month, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice is looking for a strong showing from Always An Angel, a talented filly who has won at six of her 11 starts. She returned to close to her best form last Friday week when she started out wide at barrier eight, settled in last position in the field of ten, dashed forward three wide to move to the breeze at the bell and finished second to Newsy. Always An Angel again will be driven by Gary Hall jnr. “I thought Always An Angel was back to herself last start when she ran a really strong last 1200m,” said Prentice. “It was a really good lead-up for the Oaks after I was slightly disappointed with her couple of runs before that. The draw (barrier five) is not perfect; it could be worse, so I can’t complain.” Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown is happy with the progress of his filly Joelene, who is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2. She has been placed at four of her five starts as a three-year-old, including seconds behind Black Jack Baby at her past two outings. “We’ll try to settle as close as we can, and hopefully do a job,” said Brown. “She hung a bit at her latest start when I expected her to have gone better. We have straightened her up, and she should go better. She is a good honest little filly and should be competitive.” Star trainers Greg and Skye Bond are sure to be prominent with their three runners, last-start winners Newsy and Unconditional and Booraa, a newcomer from New Zealand who will start from barrier three at her Australian debut. Ryan Warwick will drive Newsy, who should enjoy an ideal passage after starting from barrier two on the back line. Newsy has won in dashing style at her past two starts and should fight out the finish. Unconditional, an all-the-way winner from the promising Royal Essence last Friday will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the No. 6 barrier, and Deni Roberts will handle Booraa from barrier three. Booraa has shown promise at her four starts this season for two wins, a second and a third, in New Zealand. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

Cran Dalgety’s attitude to Krug drawing the outside of the front in tonight’s $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm NZ Derby is refreshingly simple. “As long as he didn’t draw the inside of the second line I was going to be happy,” says Dalgety. While some might argue barrier nine, which will become eight with the emergencies out, isn’t much better Dalgety says he has the horse power to handle it. “I see mainly positives from there,” he said. “At least out there he is master of his own destiny and he probably can’t find bad luck. So if he is good enough he can still win.” Krug has already shown he can do freakish things when in the zone as we all saw in the Northern Derby when he half bolted on Tony Herlihy but still smashed his opponents. It is a similar field tonight and key rivals like Ragazzo Mach and American Dealer have drawn the second line but there is still plenty of gate speed in B D Joe (4), It’s All About Faith (5) and Shan Noble (8) between Krug and the marker pegs which is where so many Derby winners come. Dalgety says he won’t be giving Blair Orange any driving instructions but with six horses drawn behind him on the second line he would envisage Orange won’t be pulling back. So can Krug work for maybe the first 800m and win the Derby? “I think he can because he is better than when he won the Flying Stakes two weeks ago,” says Dalgety matter of factly. “I always expected he would be because I eased off him after his Derby win up in Auckland and he was going to improve on what he did after the Flying Stakes. “But I am surprised how much he has improved. His work on Monday was at another level and he is a fair way better than he was last start.” That would suggest if Krug, and it is a huge IF, he can muscle his way to the front then this is his Derby to lose. But if he can’t that would most likely mean horses like B D Joe, It’s All About Faith or Shan Noble had got there first and their drivers were willing to roll the dice. That might cost them the race but it could also cost Krug.. and punters. The most likely sweeper would be American Dealer if the leaders play rough and hard early while Ragazzo Mach trialled on Tuesday and broke 55 seconds for his last 800m so can be forgiven his last start loss.  But so often Derby winners come from the marker pegs and two horses who could end up there are B D Joe first and then Shan Noble potentially getting the lead off the increasingly-confusing It’s All About Faith.  There is little doubt Krug is the best horse in tonight’s Derby and his draw may not matter.  But there is a reason only the elite win both our Derbys, because it is so hard to do and you almost certainly have to be an open class star of the future to complete the classic double.  Maybe Krug is.   TOP OF THE TROTS: THESE TROTTERS CAN MAKE YOU MONEY PUNTING INB NZ TONIGHT 1: Bolt Vs Son: Bolt For Brilliance (Addington R6, No.1) appears to hold the aces over Sundees Son (6) in the NZ Trotting Champs because from the one draw he has the option to lead or at least stay in front of his arch rival. The way they both trotted last start, if Bolt For Brilliance is in front and dialled in then Sundees Son will need to improve two lengths to beat him so the $2.80 bookie quote is very fair. 2: The anchor: Five Wise Men (R8, No.7) has been so dominant over this three-year-old crop this year it is hard to find a horse to beat him in the Trotting Derby. He has looked all along like he would be even better over distance so the step up to 2600m suits and it is surprising he opened at $2.30 because he will probably start in the red. 3: Manners the key: Both Gaz Man (8) and Call Me Trouble (12) could gallop in race three at Alex Park and that would ruin their chances over 2200m. But one of them, maybe both, should get it right and if they do one of them should be winning so they make sense as a split bet, probably more heavily weighted toward Call Me Trouble. 4: American Pride (Addington, R10, No.12): Needed the run fresh up and gets Mark Purdon back in the sulky tonight. Has crucial 10m advantage over the other favourites which could make the difference tactically. 5: Temporale (Alex Park, R7, No.6) may face a 20m handicap over 2200m but he only only has four rivals and he did beat Bolt For Brilliance fair and square last start. Small fields can be tricky but with any drag into the race he might be too fast for them as his handicap may really only mean settling last.   by Michael Guerin

World champion Warrawee Needy, who stands at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga, was credited with his 14th individual winner from his first crop when the three-year-old Hurricane Hussler emerged successful at its second harness racing start at Maryborough recently. The Grogfather, another of Warrawee Needy’s initial crop, won twice at Bathurst in the space of a week, rating 1:54.1 and 1:55.6. Warrawee Needy boasts a 30 percent winner-to-foals strike rate with his first Australian stock. Tintin In America, the companion sire to Warrawee Needy at Yirribee, left winners in three different countries last week. Nimah Franco NZ scored her 10th win at Albion Park in 1:57.4, Onesmartfella won for the fourth time at Wyndham, New Zealand, while Kiwi Tintin NZ was successful at Saratoga Raceway, New York in 1:56.4. Renaissance Man, the latest addition to the Yirribee Stud sire roster, left winners in either side of the country. The smart Trittrittbangbang posted his sixth win and earned a new speed badge of 1:56.2 at Kilmore, while Addisyn notched her third success from her last four starts at Collie (WA). To round out another big week, Spirited, a daughter of thrice NSW Sire of the Year Million Dollar Cam, posted win No. 5 at Albury.     by Peter Wharton

When Tom Burdett and his dad Jack decided to give horse training a go, the local Horsham Harness Racing Club, in the Victorian Wimmera, found one of its most loyal volunteers. “That was 42 years ago. We didn’t have any background in training trotters, but I was young and keen, and we decided to give it a try,” Tom said. “Dad was the trainer and I was the owner, and it’s fair to say we didn’t have a lot of success – but I did find that I loved working with horses.  You either love them or hate them, they say, and I came down on the right side!” Tom jumped the fence to hold a horse on the track one day, and someone at the club seized the chance to sign him up as a volunteer track attendant – and Tom was recently presented with an award by the club for his 40 years’ continuous service. “We gave the training away, because we were just finding it was too expensive, and I still wanted to learn more, so I started working for a local trainer here (the late) Clive Rees.  And I’ve also loved being a barrier attendant for the trots and the gallops ever since,” Tom said. “As well as the horses, it’s the people.  I’ve got to know a lot of the trainers and drivers, as well as the stewards and I’ve met a lot of lovely people through the years – they do appreciate the job you do.” When it comes to volunteers, the Horsham Club breeds a loyal bunch.  The president Terry Lewis said Tom was the third club volunteer to be recognised for long service (more than 40 years), along with Kevin Pymer and Kevin and Lesley Lane. “Tom began as a barrier attendant back when our club was racing at the Horsham Showgrounds at night, so his role worked well around his full time job, working for the local council,” Lewis said. “But once we moved to the racing club site, and day meetings, Tom made sure his days off were always rostered around his ‘trots days’, which is a fairly big commitment.  All the drivers love him and I don’t think he’s ever missed a meeting, come rain, hail or shine,” he said. “Like all clubs, we struggle a little bit to attract younger volunteers, so we well and truly value the fact that we have long-serving people who are so dedicated. The volunteers bring a different degree of connection and commitment to the sport.  They have a real affiliation for harness racing, but from a different perspective.” Lewis said the club had been on a strong growth trajectory since making the move to the gallops track and was eagerly awaiting the expected opening of an expanded Tabaret and trackside hospitality facility in August. “We wouldn’t be running $60,000 Pacing Cups, $25,000 Trotters Cups and our big National and NZ Drivers Invitational if it wasn’t for the Tabaret we opened here back in 1996,” he said. “It has given us so much extra discretionary funding and allowed us to do things around the club and with our racing, that wouldn’t have been possible without that revenue.  “So we’re pretty excited about the expansion.  It’s nearly $3 million dollars’ worth of work, but it will make the world of difference to our facilities with a new bistro overlooking the track and bringing a whole new dining and entertainment experience to the area and our meetings.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

I suddenly have the urge to go to Mildura. That is not to say I haven’t had the urge to go to Mildura before. I am told it is a lovely spot inhabited by friendly people. And I have even been invited there by the Mildura club for Cup week before, which shows either they have never met me or they are far too silly. To clarify, I won’t actually be attending Mildura Cup week 2021 because the Trans Tasman bubble thing doesn’t kick in for another week. But the key thing is part of me wants to be there. Just like part of me wanted to be in Bathurst two weeks ago. Hell, I even had some regrets I wasn’t at Wagga last Sunday and I don’t know where Wagga is. (It is in NSW, right?) And that is one of the strengths of the bigger harness racing carnivals in the more remote areas. They even get people in OTHER countries watching these regions and wanting to go there. Consider this: You ever watched Kaikoura Cup day on Sky and thought, well, that is on the bucket list? And I know people who have flown from Australia to go to the Jewels in Ashburton and Cambridge even though they couldn’t find either on a map. Just outside the town I grew up in is a place called Kumara, population 400 that can swell to 10,000 for their one annual race meeting. It's worth it, just don’t plan anything the few days after. These wonderful remote places with their funny tracks and the small country stables defending their honour against the invading big city bullies are the stuff local legends are made of. For racing (think the 'Bool) and harness racing they are a strength to be embraced and promoted, as SENTrack's Trots Life is doing this week. I have been to Royal Ascot, the Kentucky Derby, the Arc, Sha Tin and the Melbourne Cup and they are all wonderful experiences, racing moments of awe. But the carnivals in the small town are where you feel you can reach out and touch the horses, because some times you actually can. You find yourself in bars and restaurants with the owners but also trainers and drivers, the heroes of the industry, and you might even find yourselves wanting, not for financial reasons, to win that local Cup, Crown or Nuggets (that is Kumara). Harness racing can sell that. In these days when people can’t go to Ascot or Longchamp, we can tell them how special Mildura can be. The clubs can back that with the most loved of Down Under traits, local hospitality. We can rally the local bars and ask them to adopt the visitors as these carnivals can be an escape from life because Mildura isn’t Melbourne or Melton and that is good for the soul. We should lace it into our radio and television coverage, reminding people these are places they can drive to for a holiday sometimes without leaving their state, because smaller centres feel a bit like the good old days. And if you back a winner, money won on holiday is just about the best currency in the world. So let's sell our regional carnivals. Let us remind people racing isn’t just numbers, speed maps and betting restrictions. Remind them it can still be fun, a break from normal life. Just tell them to bring the Panadol. by Michael Guerin

Alabar will present a draft of 31 yearlings on behalf of clients and ourselves at this weekend’s Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale at the Oaklands Sales Complex. The draft represents an amazing amount of quality ranging from siblings to stars through to the first of second foals of outstanding racemares. Siblings to Shez All Rock (pictured), Make Mine Cullen, Cover Of Darkness and Excel Stride, to name but a few, will be on offer. While buyers will also have the opportunity to secure the first yearlings offered at auction from Arms Of An Angel 1:49.5, Illawong Helios (Vic Trotters Derby – Gr.1) and Illawong Shimmer (Vicbred Platinum Homegrown Classic – Gr.1). We are particularly excited about the debut crop of Vincent. They have been very well received at auctions around Australia and New Zealand selling up to $215,000. We will offer three by this exciting stallion including a powerful colt out of stake winning mare Our Santa Catalina who is bred to Northern Hemisphere time. To view photos and videos of each yearling please click here. This draft features a yearling for everyone and we encourage all buyers to come find your next star in Barn F at the Oaklands Sales Complex.   Alabar at The Barn

Down Under Pacer proves tough in latest harness racing victory. Never Say Never N a very well bred son of Bettors Delight from mare of strong bloodlines Maid In Splendour showed big heart when winning at Hoosier Park in Illinois on Saturday. The 8yo settled fourth in the single file running line throughout the running and peeled from a pocket to start a solo run towards leaders at the half mile mark, which was reached in 55.2 seconds. Turning into the stretch the leader shot clear but driver Trace Tetrick urged Never Say Never N right the way up the long straight of Hoosier Park to hit the lead just strides before the winning post and win in a time of 1:51.1. Tyler George trains the down under gelding that took home the $27,250 prize money. In his down under racing career this colt only had five race starts for one win but impressed throughout to soon be exported to the United States.    Tuesday 30th March Dover Downs DE Need Luck N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $8,000   Monticello Raceway NY Epaulette A – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $6,700   Northfield Park OH Rub Of The Green N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $6,800   Saratoga Harness NY Gunpower N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $6,750 Waimac Attack N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $7,700 Kiwi Tintin N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $3,850   Yonkers Raceway NY I’m Benicio N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $10,500 Galante N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $17,000 Mighty Santana N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $15,500 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Benhope Rulz N, 3rd Alta Leroy N   Western Fair Raceway CA Fcee N – Time: 1:59.3, Stake: $4,400 Firebby A – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $7,000   Wednesday 31st March Northfield Park OH Mackeral A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $5,200 Dixie Star N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $3,600   Saratoga Harness NY Rckaroundtheclock N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $5,100 Dibaba N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $7,200 Gina Grace N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $3,600   Thursday 1st April Dover Downs DE Trojan Banner N – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $9,000 Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $10,000 Jacks Shadow N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $14,000   Monticello Raceway NY Our Regal Ideal A – Time: 2:00.0, Stake: $2,600 Machtu A – Time: 1:58.3, Stake: $3,900   Yonkers Raceway NY Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $12,000 Bronskimackenzie A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $22,000 Jossie James A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $15,500   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Ready To Rumble N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $11,000   Friday 2nd April Freehold Raceway NJ Majestic Sunrise A – Time: 1:59.0, Stake: $5,000   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN El Jacko N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $10,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Billy Badger N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $8,800   Meadowlands NJ Bettor Not Bitter A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $8,750   The Meadows PA Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $7,200   Western Fair Raceway CA Smoke N Reactor N – Time: 1:58.0, Stake: $10,000 Flossie N – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $9,000   Saturday 3rd April Freehold Raceway NJ Statesman N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $7,875 Mister Spot A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $7,700   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Never Say Never N – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $27,250   Meadowlands NJ Bechers Brook N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $13,500 Franco Totem N – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $16,500 Colossal Stride A – Time: 1:50.0, Stake: $27,500   Miami Valley Raceway OH Statham N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $10,000   Northville Downs MI Salty Robyn N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $8,000 Classic American N – Time: 1:59.0, Stake: $4,400   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Foo Fighter N – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $16,000 Tam Major A – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $11,200   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

The four-year-olds came to the fore on Mildura Pacing Cup heats night with Silent Major and Mach Dan succeeding to roll into Saturday’s final on winning notes. Silent Major’s toughness held him in good stead in the first heat as he outboxed his rivals in a riveting battle, and then Mach Dan reaffirmed his Cup favoritism with a convincing six-metre win in the second. They will be joined in Saturday’s $60,000 final by Like A Wildfire, Egodan, Major Meister and Assasinator, who finished second to fifth in the first heat, as well as second heat qualifiers Sonny Weaver, Somewhere Secret, Malcolms Rhythm and Bulletproof Boy. For Silent Major the performance brought an eighth win in 24 starts since joining Aaron Dunn’s stable for owner Stephen Blacker and reaffirmed his star quality, having traded blows with favourite Like A Wildfire and succeeded in a brutal affair. Assassinator produced the early burn for Scott Ewen but the front runner enjoyed little respite after finding the lead, with Kate Gath advancing Like A Wildfire to his outside and then Silent Major pressing the pace three-wide. Turning it into a survival of the fittest was right in Dunn’s playbook. “He’s tough,” he told Trots Vision of Silent Major. “I thought I was going to be outside the leader, but when there were a couple of moves in the race I thought ‘beautiful’. “I thought I might get up there beside the favourite, put a bit of curry to him and hopefully out tough him.” And that he did, drawing clear to win by a neck to win in a 1:58.0 mile rate. “He kept coming,” Dunn said. “He probably does lose a little bit on the point of the home turn, (but) he just keeps plugging. The other horse probably died on the run, which helped a bit.” He’ll need to be tough again to finish the job on Saturday night, but will be drawn to advantage on his lead rivals. Principle among those is Mach Dan, who Greg Sugars drove with dominant authority in the second heat. The Emma Stewart-trained Mach Three gelding followed through quickly off the second line, with Sugars maintaining track advantage over his lead rivals and by the end of the first lap he had found the lead with Sonny Weaver on his back and stablemate Somewhere Secret on his outside. That made for a much slower affair than the opening heat, covering the first 1800 metres almost four seconds slower, with Mach Dan pressing the pace in 28.7s and 27.8s final quarters to gain separation and win by six metres. “He’s an absolute gem of a horse to drive, makes my life a lot easier,” Sugars told Trots Vision. “He got a great run through at the start, was able to find the front in the early stages and was too fast in the straight. Very good heat run.”   HRV - Michael Howard

BATHURST’S Chris Frisby is undoubtedly one of the hardest working trainers in New South Wales but last weekend the “bigger than life” character showed how committed he is after making trips to Dubbo on Saturday night with two of his youngsters before returning home and then heading to Wagga Wagga the next day for the Ladex Riverina Mares Championship Consolation with his stable star Jenden Strike. “Anthony and the rest of my staff were all away for Easter, so I had no alternative but to make the trips myself,” said Frisby. “While we did not win a race at Dubbo, I was happy enough with Rosarito which ran second behind inform colt Falcons in a heat of the Parkes/Dubbo Series and Our Aunty Ash in the two-year-old.” But on Sunday at Wagga, Frisby had plenty to smile about when Jenden Strike produced a top staying effort to win the Mares Consolation while Uncle Jord, which he part owns, scored a narrow win in the consolation of the Milbrae Quaries Riverina Championship for the Entires and Geldings. “I was very happy with Jenden’s performance as after having a hard run early, she fought on so well to win,” Frisby said. “Even though she was challenged by the runner up, Amanda (Turnbull) never panicked, and I thought our mare showed just how classy she is. “I really feel she was unlucky not to have been in the big one after a making a mistake in her heat.” Jenden Strike is now on her way to Queensland and will have a two-week let up before Frisby heads to the Sunshine State with a team of eight horses for their carnival. “I was pleased with Uncle Jord’s effort too . . . Craig and Abbey Turnbull have done a great job with Jord, Abbey summed up the race perfectly and made her winning run at the right time,” Frisby said. “It is a nice feeling knowing that I can send my better horses to other trainers like Craig, confident that they will be looked after and well placed in races. “At Bathurst tonight, I thought that Aunty Bella and The Grogfather are my best chances of winning. “Bella’s run in the Bracelet consolation on Crown night was enormous to finish third from the bad draw while The Grogfather won well last week and should be too classy with Amanda aboard.”   HRNSW MEDIA | Michael Dumesny

2020 was a year like no other, with the breeding season kicking off on 1 September under a cloud of uncertainty due to COVID-19, a raft of new Breeding Regulations, an uncertain economic outlook, lockdowns and transported semen interruptions. But the renowned resilience of Standardbred breeders has again shone through with all indications that records will tumble and trends reverse in what has been a stunning year and turnaround. The cut-off for Studs to load services for the 2020/21 Breeding Season passed on 31 March, and although there are still some Studs yet to load all of their services, once this administration is complete, Harness Racing Australia (HRA) is confident of officially reporting more than 5,000 services for the 2020/21 breeding season. Should this eventuate, that will be at least 355 services more than last season (4,645) and the first time since 2017/18 that more than 5,000 services have been recorded in a single breeding season. On current figures, total services have already increased 6% year on year, while for “Colonial Stallions” the increase is almost 10% on 2019/20 figures. The number of Registered Stallions also rose to 196 in 2020/21, which was eight more than the previous year (188). It is hoped that full details will be published by HRA on 12 April, which is well advanced from previous years. For more information, please contact Andrew Kelly on 03 9227 3000 or akelly@hra.com.au   Harness Racing Australia

Buyers at the inaugural Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction on Sunday looking for a trotter with star potential should not go past Lot 174. The only nomination from Lang Bloodstock, of Chris and Haley Lang, the bay colt, by the French champion Orlando Vici out of the New Zealand mare Top Of The Anvils. has everything – he looks the part, he’s a natural trotter and has a great pedigree. His sire, Orlando Vici, a prolific winner on the European Grand Circuit, has had the amazing score of having sired 10 individual winners from his first Australian crop of 11 foals. His progeny include the NSW Derby winner Xebec, the Vicbred Final placegetter Brandlo Prince, Beau Garcon (Breeders Crown 2YO Silver), Deneuve Star, Adelle, Just Believe (Vicbred 3YO Silver) and Orlando Storm. On his dam’s side, the colt has winners and ‘black type’ all down his pedigree page. There’s an Inter Dominion champion, an Oaks winner, a Bill Collins Sprint victor, a NZ Trotting Free-for-all winner and a NZ 2YO Colt and Filly Trotter of the Year. Top Of The Anvils, the colt’s dam, left the multiple Group placegetter Parisian Amore (1:59.7) and the Vicbred Homegrown Classic heat winner Saint Germain with her first two foals.  She is a half-sister to a fine trotter and Oaks placegetter in Courchevel, the NZ Oaks winner and Breeders Crown placegetter Chevron Express and the NZ Sales Classic victor Thebestlove. The colt’s grand-dam, the NZ 2YO Filly of the Year Kathy Galleon, was a half-sister to six winners including a champion trotter in Galleon’s Sunset, a winner of 14 races and $343,849 including the 2008 Inter Dominion Grand Final, and the NZ 2YO Trotting Colt of the Year The Ultimate Galleon. In the back removes of the colt’s pedigree are trotters of the calibre of Last Sunset (NZ Trotting Free-for-all and two ID heats), Real Deal Yankee (NZ Hambletonian), Great Getaway and Tricky Ric.   Furthermore, Last Sunset figures as the sire of the former top racemare She’s An Image, the dam of an Andover Hall colt offered by Lang Bloodstock at last year’s APTS sale which fetched the equal highest price of $55,000. Interestingly, the colt’s family is crossing particularly well with stallions boasting European blood. Parisian Amore, Saint Germain, Courchevel and Thebestlove were all sired by European stallions as is the case with Lot 174, a son of Orlando Vici. “You can’t fault him. He’s a well grown, muscular colt and he’s very correct,” Chris Lang said. To arrange an inspection and for further information phone Haley Lang on 0436 475 659.   by Peter Wharton