Day At The Track

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today handed down its decision in relation to an appeal lodged by licensed persons Lisa Bartley, Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt against the decision of the HRV Stewards to invoke Australian Harness Racing Rules 183(c), 183(d) and 15(d) after they were found guilty of charges under Section 195C of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). The HRV RAD Board considered submissions from all parties on 9 November 2018, and today determined that the appeal be dismissed. Therefore, from midnight on 23 November 2018, all licenses held by Lisa Bartley, Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt are suspended, any horses owned or trained by them are prevented from racing or trialling and they are excluded from attending any racecourse. The full decision of the HRV RAD Board can be viewed here.   Harness Racing Victoria 

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Mighty Conqueror will make his first appearance at Gloucester Park when he contests the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship on Friday night and owner-trainers Greg and Skye Bond have high hopes that he will extend his winning sequence to four to strengthen his claims for a start in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic in a fortnight and the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget two weeks after that. Mighty Conqueror arrived in Western Australia five months ago and has scored an effortless victory at Kellerberrin and two stylish wins at Pinjarra in considerably weaker company than he will meet this week. This will be a serious test for the son of American Ideal who has won at six of his seven starts. He will be handled by Ryan Warwick and has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line of the 2130m event. Mighty Conqueror possesses excellent gate speed, but so does several of his handily-drawn opponents, Think About Me (barrier one), Bechers Brook (three) and Golden State (five). Mighty Conqueror led and won by more than six lengths at Kellerberrin before leading and sprinting the final 400m in 27sec. to beat Carrera Mach by a length at Pinjarra. He revealed his versatility at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when Warwick restrained him from barrier six and the gelding settled down in tenth position before he showed sparkling speed to dash forward and take up the running about 1200m from home and then cover the final three quarters in 29.1sec., 29.1sec. and 26.9sec. He won by 19.6m from Danny Del Vito. Mighty Conqueror showed splendid gate speed at his final appearance in New Zealand, in a 2200m event at Invercargill on May 26 when he was first out from barrier four. He was restrained after 200m to take the sit behind Smooth Mara and was eased off the pegs 300m from home, took the lead 150m from the post and won from the fast-finishing Young Conqueror, his elder half-brother. The Bonds will also be represented in Friday night’s race by Bright Diamond, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier six. Bright Diamond is in fine form, with his past ten starts producing six wins, three seconds and one third. Mighty Conqueror’s toughest rivals loom large as the Mike Reed-trained pair of Bechers Brook and Golden State and the polemarker Think About Me, who has won at each of his past four starts and will be driven by Stuart McDonald. He is prepared by Gary Hall snr, who is in New Zealand. Dylan Egerton-Green will handle Bechers Brook, who has raced 19 times for ten wins, seven placings and $143,143 in stakes. Bechers Brook warmed up for his important assignment this week when he finished stoutly from sixth at the bell to be second to the brilliant Jack Mack over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. He is generally recognised as a powerful sit-sprinter, but he also possesses excellent gate speed. Golden State, a winner at seven of his 16 starts, has wonderful potential and has impressed with his sizzling gate speed. He will be driven by Mark Reed, who could well attempt to steal a march on his rivals by using the horse’s early brilliance. Pinjarra trainer Aiden Warwick has two runners, Shadow Maker (Nathan Turvey) and Sweet N Fast (Aldo Cortopassi). Each show considerable promise, but they face hard tasks this week from wide draws. Our Corelli’s prospects also slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) and the Justin Prentice trained and driven gelding will lead a lot of luck to overcome this significant disadvantage. Our Corelli has set the pace and won at three of his past four outings, one at Gloucester Park and two at Pinjarra, but he will be at liberal odds from his poor draw. Ken Casellas 

Aussie warhorse Tiger Tara could find himself facing the same problem at Addington today that he did three days ago. But if he doesn’t, then he should win the $200,000 New Zealand Free-For-All. The big black stallion wowed fans and even rival trainers with his huge second in the New Zealand Cup after sitting parked before just going down to Thefixer, who used the passing lane to grab him. Tiger Tara has what looks to be the worst possible draw at barrier nine, the outside of the front line, in today’s 1980m mobile pace but has real gate speed and should be across most of his rivals early should driver Todd McCarthy want. But that still leaves him with the same problem as he faced on Tuesday — the likelihood he could be left parked outside a Purdon-Rasmussen horse. The most likely is Cruz Bromac, who will relish the return to the mobile and blasted to the lead to win the Len Smith Mile at Menangle over the winter. If driver Natalie Rasmussen chooses to use that speed he could lead again and then the whole question of the race may be whether she lets Tiger Tara assume the pacemaking role or not. If he leads then it is hard to imagine him beaten unless the passing lane horse, a Cruz Bromac or Jack’s Legend, got him for raw speed. But his $2.70 fixed odds quote does look appealing because if he was drawn better he would be closer to $2 and that may not be the huge factor it looks at first glance.   Michael Guerin

The unplanned Sydney trip has been profitable for Turpin/McMullen racing stables. A team of seven pacers from the Patrick Estate stables of Chantal Turpin and her husband Pete McMullen ventured south owing to the issues with the Albion Park track and they’ve reaped the rewards. Already successful at TABCORP Park, Menangle has been stable stars Mattgregor and Watch Pulp Fiction while Bull Market and Laughing Emoji have also registered victories. Opononis Bliss has managed two minor placings while former New Zealand pacers Some Excusesomwhere and Itz Major Look were unplaced in just one start to date. With the Brisbane summer carnival and a return to Albion Park imminent, the team will be heading back up the highway in the next week. But not all. “At this stage, we have Laughing Emoji, Opononis Bliss, Itz Major Look and Watch Pulp Fiction heading home. Bear (Mattgregor) is racing again this weekend and then he’s joining Darren Binskin while Bull Market has been sold to Leon Jurd and Some Excusesomwhere will head to Jarrod Alchin next week.” Turpin said. On Tuesday, the husband and wife stable combined for a double after Bull Market and Laughing Emoji both proved triumphant. Both pacers recorded new personal best times with Bull Market taking a mark of 1:51.5 while Laughing Emoji rated 1:52.9. Their victories follow on from Mattgregor winning last Saturday night while Watch Pulp Fiction and Bull Market both scored the previous week. And with solid success during their brief stay, they’re reluctantly returning home. “We have absolutely loved it down there, we’re based on the track at Menangle and the facilities are outstanding and the other trainers are very accommodating so it makes it difficult to leave but we have obligations up here. A return trip next year is already being planned and we can’t wait to have another crack at it. “We plan on starting Watch Pulp Fiction in the open features during the summer carnival, that’s as long as he gains a start. That’s the reason why we are leaving Mattgregor down in Sydney; he’ll probably get left out of these upcoming features so we figure its best to keep him in Sydney on the bigger track. “He looks a good chance again this weekend and Pete will fly down on Saturday and take the drive, he did a good job last week rating good time over the longer distance and being first-up. He’s back at the mile trip this week and should prove very competitive; it will be interesting to see what ranking he holds for the Inter Dominion if he wins again.” Final rankings for the Melbourne Inter Dominion series will be released next week. The stable have several runners engaged at Redcliffe this weekend. Representing the stable tomorrow (Friday) is Happy Feelings, Exceptional Mach, Heavens Hurricane and Imthe Golden Child with McMullen driving the quartet. On Saturday night, the stable starters are Always My Mate, Bells Beach House and Argyle Beach with Turpin driving the trio while taking a catch drive aboard Amajorjo for her father Tony. “Argyle Beach looks our best chance at Redcliffe across the weekend, she’s a classy mare with great speed and very consistent form,” Turpin said. “This mare will be making a trip to Sydney next year, we’re thrilled with the way she has performed for Ross (Patrick – owner).” She added. Since the 2013/14 season, Turpin has trained over 100 winners each term. Turpin has trained 11 winners while McMullen has driven 29 winners in Queensland so far this season. Chris Barsby

Talented mare The Charging Moa has run her final race in Queensland. The New Zealand bred daughter of Changeover – Special Ops has proven to be a great money-spinner for her connections winning 13 of her 16 races in the Sunshine State. And 11 were recorded at Albion Park. A winner of four Rising Stars Finals at Albion Park, the speedy type recorded a personal best time of 1:53.8 in winning one of her finals. At her most recent start on November 3 at Redcliffe, The Charging Moa finished an unlucky fourth as favourite behind Sweet As in a time of 1:57.4 for the 1780m event. Leading horseperson Kylie Rasmussen was the most recent trainer of the mare where she won 3 of her 8 starts under her tutelage. A talented sit-sprint type, The Charging Moa is headed to Victoria to join the stables of Dean Braun. Ultimately, the mare could end up in North America given the huge success ‘downunder’ mares have experienced over the past twelve months spearheaded by the ex-Braun trainee Shartin among many others. The Charging Moa ranks as a half-sister to Bettor Ops (9 wins - $92k). **********************************************************************   Broodmare Smooth Class achieved a rare result last night (Wednesday). The French Chef mare produced the quinella result in the UBET Pace at Redcliffe when Took Your Time defeated older brother Spondooley. Both pacers are sired by Grinfromeartoear. And both geldings are raced by Perth based owner Tanya Graham and prepared by her highly respected father Wayne. Young gun Leonard Cain took the winning drive behind Took Your Time while Wayne partnered Spondooley. Took Your Time (better known as Fletch) takes his record to 6 wins from 24 starts while Spondooley (aka Nash) has won 21 of his 210 starts. Their combined prizemoney now sits at $168,287. “It was a massive thrill seeing the boys fight out the finish, it didn’t matter who won as long as they both did their best. It’s very satisfying; they provide me with the opportunity to get home as much as I can because they’re my Flight Centre account.” Graham said. Based in Perth, Graham operates the Gloucester Park Garrards Horse & Hound store. The Graham family is synonymous in Queensland harness racing circles after racing the likes of Sparkling Melody, Yahoo Buckaroo, Albert Aralar, Mach Alert and reigning Albion Park Horse of the Year Glenferrie Hood.   ********************************************************************** Former multiple Queensland premiership winner Alan Donohoe is back in town. Based in Victoria for the past decade, Donohoe has returned home and prepares his small team of pacers at Alberton, south of Brisbane. His blue silks with a yellow diamond are very familiar to punters. Venturing to Redcliffe last night (Wednesday) with his first starter since relocating, Donohoe finished as runner-up behind Montana Express aboard race favourite Gunrneedrbigrboat in the Darren Ebert & Co Pace. Donohoe has prepared and won many features in Queensland with the likes of Armada Miss, Grants Law, Penny The Pussycat, Academy Award, Devils Dream, Pocket Battleship and Stratum among many others. His haul of state and metropolitan premierships is very impressive; State Drivers Premiership winner 86/87 90/91 94/95 97/98 98/99   Metro Drivers Premiership winner 90/91 91/92 94/95 95/96 97/98 98/99   Metro Trainers Premiership winner 94/95 95/96 Donohoe never won a State Trainers Premiership. **********************************************************************   A trio of classy mares was back in action earlier this week (Tuesday). Four-year-old mares Lisa Lincoln, Fame Assured and Aqua Miss all lined up in a Redcliffe trial over 1780m and performed as expected. The Melissa Gillies trained Lisa Lincoln led throughout defeating the Grant Dixon duo of Fame Assured and Aqua Miss in the 1780m workout. The winning mile rate was 1:58.3 with sectionals of 31.2, 28.8, 29.5 and 29.2 seconds. With a return to Albion Park imminent, expect to see these mares back in action shortly. ********************************************************************** Star Of Montana has scored himself a summer vacation. The exciting prospect, formerly prepared by legendary Auckland horseman Barry Purdon, has failed to handle the heat and humidity of a scorching Queensland spring. As a result, new trainer Darrel Graham is now left to radically change his upcoming engagements. “He’s basically melted under the Queensland sun; I was happy with the early stage of his preparation but as we got deeper, it got hotter and he hasn’t coped at all. To be fair, it has been very trying weather patterns lately with plenty of storm activity but he’s not worth risking or pushing on with so he’s out until February.” Graham said. The Art Major gelding was being readied for the upcoming Victoria and New South Wales Derby classics early next year but now the ultimate target has become the home town Queensland Derby in the middle of winter. A return trip to Purdon was considered before sending him to the spelling paddock. “I asked Dean (Shannon – owner) if he wanted him to go back to Barry for a shot at some of these bigger races but he wanted him back in the paddock, he believes he will acclimatize in time. “The Queensland winter carnival followed by a trip to Melbourne for the Breeders Crown if his form warrants it is the key focus now; they’re both in cooler conditions which will help. “It’s disappointing because we have a good opinion of him and thought he was up to the standard required to be very competitive in those southern features.” Shannon races talented three-year-old Belle Of Montana, a tidy Alexandra Park winner on debut back on October 26. The Bettors Delight – Lady Cullen filly is likely to head to Brisbane next year in preparation for the Queensland Oaks.   Chris Barsby

New Zealand Cup hero Thefixer is staying home — not just from the Inter Dominions in Australia but from Addington on Friday too. Trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen were expected to decide on Wednesday between the Inter Dominion series which begins in Victoria on December 1 and starting Tuesday’s NZ Cup winner in the NZ Free-For-All at Addington on Friday. In the end, they decided on neither. “He was a tired horse, as you might expect, after the Cup and the best thing for him now is an easy time,” said Purdon. “So we will let him miss the free-for-all and while we thought about the Inters I don’t think he needs to be part of that series just yet. “So he will stay here, get ready for the Auckland Cup (December 31) and if we decided to go to Aussie later it will be more likely to target a one off race, like a Hunter Cup.” A similar northern programme also beckons stablemate Dream About Me, who finished third in the Cup and will miss both Friday and the Inter Dominion to be aimed at the Queen of Hearts at Alexandra Park on December 14 and then the Auckland Cup, which she won two years ago. “If she wins the Queen of Hearts it has the bonus of qualifying her for the Ladyship Mile in Sydney later in the summer,” explains Purdon. “I watched the Cup video again and saw just how hard she tried on Tuesday. She went great but I don’t want to back her up.” The All Stars, who won a remarkable eight races from nine they contested on Tuesday, are still likely to have Inter Dominion runners headed by Cruz Bromac with others like Spankem and All U Need Is Faith also possible chances. But while impressive intermediate grade pacer Turn It Up has been thrown into the big time in the $200,000 Free-For-All on Friday he is a very unlikely Inter Dominion contender. Cup runner-up Tiger Tara has again been savaged by the draw for the free-for-all, drawing the outside of the gate at barrier nine while the big winner was Jack’s Legend with barrier one. Tuesday’s group one trot hero Speeding Spur has secured his second perfect draw of the week in the $300,000 Dominion, New Zealand’s richest trot in which he will start from barrier four. That is made even more fortuitous by the fact most of the other pre-draw favourites, Marcoola, Great Things Happen, Kyvalley Blur and Temporale, have drawn the second line, suggesting they will all be giving Speeding Spur a start. Michael Guerin

From the moment Ella Johansson saw him, there was a connection. The colt's name was Captain Bean and Ella spotted him as soon as she and her parents, harness racing trainer Nancy and driver Marcus Johansson, arrived in Harrisburg to look at yearlings the day before the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale. Ella, who accompanied her parents only because it seemed a better option to sitting at her brother's baseball tournament, implored her mother to buy him. Nancy also liked the colt, but knew acquiring him might be easier said than done. She put together a group of owners interested in buying the horse, set a budget, and on the opening day of the sale waited for Captain Bean to enter the auction ring. Ella, watching the live stream of the sale at home in New Jersey, waited too. Ella knew what the group was prepared to spend and when Captain Bean eventually sold for $85,000 she knew who had the winning bid. "We got him!" she exclaimed to Marcus in the kitchen. And a year later, her enthusiasm for the colt, now known as Captain Crunch, is undiminished. "He was the first horse that I saw," 13-year-old Ella said, recounting her initial moments with Captain Crunch. "We walked in and he was there. He was big, he was pretty; a very sweet horse. I petted him. "He's sweet and he's nice. He's just fun to be around." Said Nancy, "He's big, but he's gentle with her. He lets her pet him and he plays with you. He's as nice as a 2-year-old colt can be. If you spend a couple minutes with him you can't help but to like him. He's got unbelievable charisma." Captain Crunch, who was renamed by Ella and Nancy's mom Christina Takter, has won five of eight races this year. His most recent start came Oct. 27 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he won the $600,000 Breeders Crown championship for 2-year-old male pacers on a cold, rainy night. Ella greeted him in the winner's circle with a kiss. "He stood like a perfect gentleman, like he always does," Nancy said. Captain Crunch's next start is Saturday at the Meadowlands in the sole $20,000 elimination for the Governor's Cup, which is one of the Fall Final Four stakes for 2-year-olds at the Big M. The top-seven finishers will join bye recipients Blood Money, Semi Tough, and Sugar Factory in the $469,300 final on Nov. 24. The elimination winner will draw from posts one through six for the final. Scott Zeron will drive Captain Crunch, who starts from post eight in the field of 10. Prior to each race, Ella offers words of encouragement to Captain Crunch via FaceTime. "I just tell him good luck," Ella said. "Win." "When they FaceTime he's paying attention to what she's saying, like he's listening," Marcus added. "It's kind of funny." Captain Crunch is a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Sweet Lou and $2.78-million-earner Bettor Sweet. In addition to the Breeders Crown, his wins include divisions of the Nassagaweya and International Stallion Stakes (in a career-best 1:49.1). His only off-the-board finish was in his Metro Pace elimination in September, when he came up sick. The colt is owned by 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "He's a good-looking horse," Marcus said. "He's got a great personality. He's happy all the time. He's always in a good mood. I like horses like that. If you walk into work and see someone who is miserable, you become miserable even if you were happy. He's the first horse on the end (of the stable). I park my car there so I can go and see him. It starts out the day good." And while one might expect Ella to be a horse-crazy kid given her environment, it is not the case. "As much of a horse girl that I am, she's not," Nancy said, laughing. "She doesn't care about the horses much at all." Captain Crunch is the exception, which has made his season all the more special. "We live a crazy life, on the road a lot," Nancy said. "It's almost like joining the circus. So it's nice when (our kids) see we're working hard and it's paying off and they feel involved in that." For the record, Ella's brother, Marcus Jr., has a favorite horse as well. His is also a 2-year-old colt pacer, Caviart Rockland. "They each have a horse that they follow," Marcus said. "It's 'their' horse. It makes it fun for all of us." The stakes in addition to the Governor's Cup that make up the Fall Final Four are the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old female pacers, Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, and Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters. Eliminations were unnecessary for the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds. There will be two eliminations Saturday for the Valley Victory. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, DE. and Fall Four eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 15) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $193,750, the 3-year-old colt trotters will race for $210,150, the purse for the 3-year-old filly pace is $159,350 and the 3-year-old filly trotters will race for $183,900. On Saturday night (Nov. 17) Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations in each of the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be two $20,000 eliminations in the Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers. Eliminations were not required in the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters and the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras teamed up for a Grand Circuit double in Thursday evening's (Nov. 8) Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds at Dover Downs, combining with Super Schissel and Blood Money in their respective divisions. Super Schissel made his move from the pocket with five-sixteenths to go en route to an easy 1:56 win in the $158,000 Matron 2-year-old colt and gelding trot, contested as a non-wagering event before the main program. After yielding early control to Lindy's Crazy Hall (David Miller) on approach to the first turn, Yannick Gingras kept Super Schissel close from the pocket through early splits of :28.2 and :58.1. Midway up the backstretch, the son of Uncle Peter and Bavarde angled out and strode to the lead immediately, putting a quarter-length on Lindy's Crazy Hall by three-quarters in 1:27.2 before drawing off handily. Holiday Hangover (Tim Tetrick) rallied belatedly from last to take second, 3-1/2 lengths back, while Union Forces (Scott Zeron) took third over the fading Lindy's Crazy Hall. Super Schissel is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Al Libfeld and Perry Soderberg. Blood Money ($8.00) sustained an uncovered bid out of midfield through the final half-mile of the $213,000 Matron 2-year-old colt and gelding pace and held off a late charge from Sugar Factory to narrowly prevail in 1:51.1. Gingras, wearing the colors of Diamond Creek Racing, floated Blood Money up the pegs to protect a close stalking spot behind dueling leaders Love Me Some Lou (Corey Callahan) and Mangogh (Brett Miller) through a sharp :26.3 quarter, but the pair were relegated to fourth when No Mas Amor (Tim Tetrick) pushed clear with nine-sixteenths to go after losing cover. At the :54.3 half-mile juncture, Gingras angled the Sweet Lou-Blood Diamond colt off the pegs, and he responded immediately to accelerate, press the pace, and take the lead under urging past three-quarters in 1:22.4. No Mas Amor gave way on the far turn, but Sugar Factory (David Miller) loomed off live cover to pose a late threat. Blood Money was driven out off the home turn and all the way to the winning post to keep the lunging Sugar Factory a head at bay. Reigning Deo rallied from last down the grandstand side to take third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 1,462.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,450; 3. David Miller - 1,182.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 709; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 653.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,344.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,168; 3. Tony Alagna - 721.5; 4. Julie Miller - 481; 5. Jim Campbell - 437. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 294.6; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 283.5; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 262; 5. Robert Key - 234. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands with the finals for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds -- the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid -- along with the TVG finals for older trotters and pacers of both sexes. In addition, Dover Downs will host eliminations for the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

East Rutherford, NJ - Entries for the lucrative Freshman Fall Final Four stakes were taken today at The Meadowlands. Both filly races, the Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid required no elimination races, the Governor's Cup a single elimination and the Valley Victory with two elimination heats on Saturday, November 17.   All of the $1.8 million finals will be raced on Saturday, November 24.   The ten pacing fillies entered for the $391,250 Three Diamonds will go directly to the final and are listed in alphabetical order with driver and trainer:   Alkippe T.Tetrick L.Toscano Beautyonthebeach D. McNair G. McNair Love At First Bite A. McCarthy J. Takter Michelon's Filly M. Miller E. Miller Prescient Beauty D. McNair G. McNair Renaissance Lady K B. Sears N. Parker Summer Charm T. Tetrick R. Burke Sylph Hanover M. Kakaley R. Burke Warrawee Ubeaut Y. Gingras R. Burke Zero Tolerance D. Miller J. Holloway   The ten trotting fillies entered for the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid will go directly to the final and are listed in alphabetical order with driver and trainer:   Asiago B. Miller J. Takter Can't Touch It B. Sears J. Takter Caviart Jenny A. McCarthy N. Johansson Evident Beauty D. Miller R. Norman Fate Smiled M. Kakaley R. Burke Jezzy's Legacy R. Schnittker R. Schnittker Miss You Kelly T. Tetrick B. Lauer Princess Deo A. McCarthy N. Daley Sonnet Grace Y. Gingras R. Burke Stella Jane C. Callahan J. Butenschoen   The $469,300 Governor's Cup drew 13 declarations. The conditions require that byes to the final be offered to the top money winners in descending order. The connections of Captain Crunch and Reigning Deo declined the bye and will race in a single $20,000 10 horse elimination race with three colts to be eliminated from the final.   Accepting the three offered byes were the connections of Blood Money, Semi Tough and Sugar Factory. Those three will join the seven moving successfully from the elimination race to next week's final. The elimination winner will draw from posts 1-6 for the final.   The elim entrants are listed here in alphabetical order with the driver and trainer.   Artie's Ideal M. Miller E. Miller Captain Crunch S. Zeron N. Johansson Duddie's Lor A. McCarthy N. Daley Escapetothebeach T. Tetrick T. Alagna Lyons Johnnyjnr T. Tetrick J. Gillis Mac's Power D. Miller M. Silva Mangogh B. Miller B. Saunders Reigning Deo A. McCarthy B. Pelling Waterway B. Miller T. Alagna Yacht Week C. Lind S. Lind   The $435,900 Valley Victory took 15 declarations and will require 2 $20,000 elimination races. Elimination winners will draw from posts 1-6 for the final.   The elimination entrants are listed here in alphabetical order with the driver and trainer.   Battenberg C. Callahan J. Holloway Chin Chin Hall P. Wrenn M. Wrenn Divine Spirit A. McCarthy B. Pelling Forbidden Trade B. McClure L. Blais Gangham Style KS E. Abbatiello A. Svanstedt Hudson River B. Sears J. Takter No Drama Please A. Miller J. Miller Prospect Hill A. Miller J. Miller Quiksilvr Bluechip A. McCarthy L. Wallin Reign Of Honor D. Miller R. Norman Seven Hills C. Callahan J. Butenschoen Southwind Avenger D. Miller R. Norman Super Schissel Y. Gingras J. Takter Trix And Stones S. Zeron C. Jamieson Union Forces S. Zeron D. Cecere   The draw for the elimination races will be completed later today and available on the Meadowlands website.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands      

The City of Canterbury Bankstown Council Cup of Harness Racing will take place at Sydney's Bankstown Paceway next week - on Friday, November 23rd, 2018. 'Our new expanded spring racing carnival both articulates and contributes to the development of the aspirations, values and beliefs of Canterbury Bankstown's diverse population by engaging and connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds in the spirit of what has evolved into not only a time honoured local cultural celebration, but an internationally recognised and televised sporting event,' Bankstown Paceway treasurer Megan Lavender told Harnesslink. 'Featuring an action charged series of harness racing culminating in the City of Canterbury Bankstown Council Cup and Mayoral Races on Friday, November 23rd, 2018, the 2018 Carnival will also include a family fun night for each and every member of your household,' Ms Lavender said. 'The City of Canterbury Bankstown Council Cup Carnival - part of our nation's six billion dollar equine industry - is also a major stimulant of local economic growth and development for the City of Canterbury Bankstown and its harness racing businesses and families by attracting harness racing competitors to our area from across Australia and New Zealand, stimulating demand and creating jobs for hard working families,' she said. 'Targeting sporting and racing enthusiasts, as well as animal lovers, from across Australia, the Carnival also represents a social and cultural celebration for people of all ages, and in particular families, with this year's event scheduled to include a range of on course activities. 'With the continued support of the City of Canterbury Bankstown Council, the Carnival not only ensures the provision of an enjoyable, affordable and accessible activity, but contributes to promoting the positive image of Canterbury Bankstown - our industries and our people - as a sporting and cultural capital. By hosting the City of Canterbury Bankstown Council Cup, our city ensures its place as a city of progress on the world map of harness racing - a place where interesting happens,' Ms Lavender added. The City of Canterbury Bankstown Council Cup Carnival Race Night will be held on Friday, November 23rd, 2018, at Bankstown Paceway, with the first race set to start at 6.33 pm.   Megan J. Lavender

As far as elite drivers go, the name of Natalie Rasmussen is clearly in the conversation. The trailblazing girl from Queensland can drive.....and she can drive fast. But it’s the soft hands and gentle approach that puts her in rare air. Her collection of big race trophies includes Inter Dominions, Miracle Mile, Queensland Pacing Championships and Auckland, Victoria and Hunter Cups. Rasmussen has led the way for female drivers by becoming the first to win the Inter Dominion, Queensland Pacing Championship plus the Auckland, Victoria and Winter Cups. All of the above mentioned are Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit events, the best of the best. And the latest trophy to the mantelpiece, the Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup, another Grand Circuit feature. Rasmussen produced another polished display to land the 3200m stand start feature, getting race favourite Thefixer away safely before taking the early lead from Star Galleria and then handing over to stablemate Dream About Me. It was typical of her normal poise and guile in big pressure events. The victory puts her alongside fellow Australian Kerryn Manning as the only female winners of the famed feature. Rasmussen also co-trains the winner in partnership with Mark Purdon. After a long delay following a botched attempt the first time around with the starting strand becoming entangled with Eamon Maguire, runners were called back and forced to stand to attention again. But the delay had no effect on Rasmussen or Thefixer with a safe beginning made and landing in a dangerous position while key rivals navigated some early traffic and jostled for positions. Sitting patiently in the trail, Thefixer followed Dream About Me and saved much needed energy, the lead time was covered in 1:57.8. Sole Aussie raider Tiger Tara soon made his move and circled three-wide before parking outside Dream About Me, he maintained strong pressure onwards. Approaching the home turn, Dream About Me and Tiger Tara sprinted as strong as they could and actually had Thefixer losing their backs but Rasmussen went to work and the nuggety little stayer knuckled down and picked up via the passing lane to defeat a gallant Tiger Tara with Dream About Me filling third place. The winning margin was a head with a half-length back to third. The winning time was 3:53.9 - the mile rate was 1:57.6. “I can retire happily now that I’ve finally won this race,” Rasmussen declared. “That was so so close but we got there, he’s been a project horse of mine for some time and he’s such a great little stayer, we got a great run but I was worried when the sprint went on but he fought all the way to the finish and he was brave. It wasn’t an ideal campaign with the hoof abscess but things worked out well.” It was her 7th drive in the New Zealand Cup. Her victories on New Zealand soil now tally 237 from 612 drives while amassing more than $7.9 million. The All Stars stable has now won 4 of the past 5 editions. And the efforts of super sire Bettors Delight can’t go unnoticed, his 5th straight winner of the Cup plus a trifecta! Thefixer is by Bettors Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Tosti Girl and came at a cost of $47,000 at the 2015 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka. The next leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit is the Inter Dominion in Melbourne on December 15.   Chris Barsby

The New Zealand Trotting Cup doesn’t cut in half. And Thefixer and Tiger Tara won’t receive the same prize money for the bravery at Addington yesterday. But while only the former will have his name etched on the most famous trophy in New Zealand racing, the latter shared the glory in a $800,000 thriller. Thefixer at just his 16th start held off the Australian iron horse in a pulsating finish, one that confirmed no matter how many stars are missing the New Zealand Trotting Cup is that rare equine contest that always produces a fairytale. But this fairytale has two heroes. Thefixer overcame soreness just six weeks ago which threatened to derail his Cup campaign and then recorded the second fastest time in the history of the great race, only his former stablemate Lazarus having gone faster two years ago. Lazarus was all muscle and flash, the bully who taunted his Cup rivals with an arrogant 10-length win. But this time trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen had to earn their Cup, cajoling Thefixer back to his best because only his best would do. After a dreaded false start he got the second attempt right then led and trailed Dream About Me. From there it was his race to lose but lose it he almost did. Because while Thefixer was enjoying the perfect run for driver Rasmussen, Tiger Tara came three wide to sit parked and break the seemingly unbreakable Dream About Me in front. At the 200m mark he looked set to produce one of the gutsiest Cup wins in history only for Thefixer to rally, an equine Rocky Balboa defying the bigger, strong Apollo Creed. Every centremetre Rasmussen saved on the marker pegs made the difference but the runner up was so magnificent it almost felt like their were two Cup winners. The magnificence of Tiger Tara in defeat doesn’t detract from what the winner achieved though. This was, after all, just his 16th start and Thefixer hadn’t come through the glamour of age group races and has earned his stripes in the big time the old fashioned way. Being so untapped and new his options are numerous, with Purdon and Rasmussen to sit down today and decide whether he heads to the Inter Dominion in Victoria starting December 1, a decision which will impact on whether he starts in the NZ Free-For-All this Friday. “He is a very brave horse because he was out on his feet at the top of the straight but he just kept coming,” said Rasmussen, who joins Kerryn Manning as only the second female driver to win the Cup. One horse certain to be in both the Free-For-All and at the Inter Dominion is Tiger Tara, who greatness isn’t in his raw ability but in the organ beating under his rib cage. He quite simply covered lengths more than the other placegetters and produced a run that would have won more than 100 of the NZ Cups run since the first in 1904. “He was great. There really isn’t a lot more he could have done,” said driver Todd McCarthy. “I thought I had them once I got past Dream About Me but the other little horse just wouldn’t go away.” On a day where the Purdon-Rasmussen team won a scarcely believable eight out of the nine races they contested they may have unearthed their next champion in Ultimate Sniper in the $170,000 Sires’ Stakes. He came from the second line to sit parked and record a searing time to remain unbeaten after four starts, suggesting if he can hold together he could even be the best horse in the all-conquering stable in 12 or 18 months. On any normal day his supersonic effort would have earned him skiting rights for the meeting. But not yesterday. Yesterday he has to share that with Cup winner. And the Cup runner-up. Michael Guerin

Custom Cantab brings a career-long streak of 28 on-the-board finishes to Thursday's $183,900 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Dover Downs, which will be the filly's first start at a harness racing track other than Hoosier Park. Custom Cantab, who is 6-1 on the morning line, heads to the event off a win in the Crossroads of America on Nov. 2. The triumph was her 12th in 16 races this season. Trained and co-owned by Chris Beaver, Custom Cantab has 14 wins, 10 seconds and four thirds in her career and earnings of $643,936. In addition to the Crossroads, her victories this year include a division of the Pegasus Stakes and the Indiana Sire Stakes championship. She finished second to Manchego in the Moni Maker Stakes and has not finished worse than second in 13 races since surgery to correct an entrapped epiglottis. Custom Cantab will start the Matron from post six with regular driver Peter Wrenn. Breeders Crown champion Lily Stride is the 2-1 morning-line favorite from post three, with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Mark Harder. Plunge Blue Chip is the 5-2 second choice from post one with trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. "We were up in the air whether to start her again, but everything checked out on her and I'd been anxious to see how she would race against a top field to get some perspective," Beaver said. "We plan on racing her next year. She's probably not as valuable as a broodmare as some of those fillies are, but she's a really nice racehorse. "I think she will be staked to some of the mare races and maybe some of the 4-year-old races. I wouldn't be staking to everything. I'd like to space out her starts. Maybe she won't be good enough, but the way she acts, she's never let a horse get away from her. She's always been competitive." Dover Downs host the four Matrons for 3-year-old trotters and pacers Thursday. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. (EST). Six Pack is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in the $210,150 colt and gelding trot, followed by Met's Hall at 8-5. Dorsoduro Hanover is the 2-1 choice in the $193,750 colt and gelding pace, which also includes Jimmy Freight (5-2) and Lather Up (7-2). Youaremycandygirl is the 5-2 favorite in the $159,350 filly pace, where she will see familiar rivals Alexa's Power (7-2) and Percy Bluechip (9-2). Custom Cantab is a daughter of Mr Cantab out of Custom Model. Beaver bought Custom Model's first foal, the Chocolatier-sired My Ghost Bi, for $3,000 at the 2011 Lexington Selected Sale and the gelding made $75,852 lifetime. Beaver bought Custom Cantab, the mare's third foal, for $6,000 at the 2016 Hoosier Sale. "I knew the family and thought she was something nicer than what the mare had thrown before," Beaver said. "I kind of studied crosses and I thought the mare would cross with Mr Cantab, but I can't say I had any idea she would turn out as good as this. I was just hoping to get a horse that was competitive in the sire stakes." Beaver, who owns Custom Cantab with Donald Robinson and R.B.H. Ventures, is not concerned about the filly going on the road for the first time and racing on a five-eighths-mile oval compared to Hoosier Park's seven-eighths track. "She trains on a little farm track, so she should be all right," Beaver said. "I think she would be good on any size track because even if she was struggling in the turns she would let you help her. She knows what she's supposed to be doing. "She's smart. She can leave all you want and let a horse go, settle in a hole, and follow without using any more energy than necessary. She's been racing on the front a lot lately because she's been the favorite, but she is great off a helmet. She knows how to take care of herself and put herself in position to stay close. She is an extremely professional horse." For Thursday's complete Dover Downs entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Diamond Creek Farm is pleased to announce that champion harness racing pacer, Sweet Lou is fully booked and closed in 2019.  Sweet Lou has served a full book of prestigious mares for the past four years and looks to continue that tradition into the future with another high quality group of mares in 2019.    His 2 year olds excelled on the track, including Breeder's Crown champion and world record holder Warrawee Ubeaut and Matron Stakes Winner, Blood Money.  In Harrisburg this past week, his yearlings sold for an average of over $66,000, with a profit of over eight times his stud fee in 2017.  He remains the #1 sire of two year olds by average earnings.    "We are grateful to all the breeders who have continued to support Sweet Lou," says Diamond Creek's Adam Bowden, "They are now being rewarded for their early support by the return on investment they have seen through the yearling sales and on the racetrack."    In 2019, Sweet Lou's stud fee has been bumped to $12,500 as an effect of the success he has found in the sales ring and on the track.     Sweet Lou is the only sire in history that has a two-year-old filly and colt that has a sub 1:50 mark. They are;   Warraee Ubeaut 1:48.3 the fastest two-year-old in history and the fastest two-year-old filly in history.   No Mas Amor 1:49.1 the fastest two-year-old colt in 2018.   Warrawee Ubeaut 1:48.3   Here is the average earnings for the top ten pacer sires in North America to date; Sire Foals in 2018 Money per Starter ==== ===== ======== ===== =========== SWEET LOU 97 68 $2,960,943 $43,543 CAPTAINTREACHEROUS 113 77 $3,292,016 $42,753 BETTORS DELIGHT 122 78 $2,727,760 $34,971 SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE 113 78 $2,657,962 $34,076 HESTON BLUE CHIP 27 16 $544,930 $34,058 ALWAYS A VIRGIN 81 44 $1,274,106 $28,956 BIG JIM 61 26 $727,856 $27,994 ART MAJOR 97 60 $1,620,460 $27,007 AMERICAN IDEAL 89 62 $1,574,238 $25,390 SAGEBRUSH 22 11 $264,658 $24,059 From Diamond Creek Farm

Mark Purdon has taken his place alongside two other greats of harness racing by training the winner of his sixth New Zealand Trotting Cup today with Thefixer. Today's win by Thefixer takes Purdon's number of training wins in the race to six which equals the six wins trainers James Bryce and Cecil Devine have also had in the country’s biggest harness race. Natalie Rasmussen drove a perfect race to win her first New Zealand Cup as a driver giving her the race she always wanted to win. "New Zealand is home now. To come here and win this race, it means everything. I could happily retire now," she joked. She paid tribute to Mark Purdon on trackside after the race. "Mark and I are just soulmates, we run our business together, we work together, we live together, we are best friends. I am really lucky to have him in our life. He's just a wonderful, wonderful horseman and I am just really proud of our whole team, right from the top all the way through." Thefixer trailed for the majority of the race and just when it looked like the Australian visitor Tiger Tara was in for a hard fought win, Thefixer poked up the passing lane for a narrow head victory. Thefixer ran the 3200m stand in 3-53.9 which was only 0.8 of a second outside the race record set by the mighty Lazarus in 2016. The last 800m was run in 55.6 seconds. Tiger Tara fought gamely for second after working hard during the running and race leader Dream About Me battled on to hold down third. Cruz Bromac was a touch unlucky getting clear air late and running home well into fourth. All Stars Stables had a day to remember winning 8 of the nine races they contested which surely must be some sort of record in itself.   Harnesslink Media    

Harness racing has a new superstar and his name is Ultimate Sniper.  On a perfect Canterbury day the showy looking Bettor's Delight colt won a grinding finish in the the 3yo $170,000 Sires Stakes Final at Addington Raceway. Trained by the all conquering All Stars Stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Ultimate Sniper had to sit parked on a hot pace but found extra reserves in the home straight to wear down his stablemate Jesse Duke who trailed and battled well to be only three-quarters of a length away at the line.  Heisenberg ran third after setting a hot pace in front and Mighty Flying Art ran home well for fourth. Ultimate Sniper ran the 1980m mobile in a lightning time of 2-19.0 for the 1980m mobile, a mile rate of 1-52.9 with the last 800m cut out in a super quick 54.6 and 400m in 28 seconds. Driver Natalie Rasmussen gave a lot of credit to the horses toughness in the run. “This guy is very similar to his big brother Ultimate Machete,” she said. “He just does not know when to give up and just fights right to the line. “Jesse Duke had the run to beat him today but my fella has a hell of a motor and was just too tough. The win was the fourth for the day for the All Stars Stable who also won with Having The Faith in Race 2, Winterfell in Race 3 and also with All U Need Is Faith in Race 4   Harnesslink Media