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The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18   By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media

The 2013-14 harness racing SA Young Drivers Challenge series was completed at Betezy Park Globe Derby, last Friday night. In what turned out to be a tight finish, Jacob Kerridge scored full points in the last heat enabling him to take out the Challenge. His win on Beau Artist for trainer Geoff Neilson earned him 17 points and took his point score average to 10.17 from six drives. It was Jacob’s second winner in the six race series. Michael Smith, who won the 2013 Challenge finished second on 10.0 points from 4 drives after finishing second on Friday on Lift Me Up. Shane Turner, who lead the average points after five races, eventually finished third on 9.0 points average from six drives. From the six races, five different drivers recorded wins, ensuring the ‘spoils’ were shared around. Apart from Jacob, Byron Hornhardt, Aaron Bain, Jake Webster and Shane Turner each drove a winner. A special presentation will be made to Jacob at the track in the next couple of weeks. Thanks to the trainers that supported the series; it is hoped that the drives have assisted in the development of the young drivers. Congratulations to each of the drivers who competed in the series, which began back at the end in January. Also thank-you to concession claiming drivers, Megan Gee and Michael Harding; while they were not eligible for the Challenge, they helped to fill the fields when not enough young drivers were available. The final average points score were (number of drives in brackets): Jacob Kerridge (6) -             10.17 Michael A Smith (4) -           10.0 Shane Turner (6) -                9.0 Aaron Bain (6) -                   7.67 Byron Hornhardt (5) -            7.6 Matthew Smith (2) -              7.0 Jake Webster (6) -                7.0 Brett Lowe (6) -                    5.5 Tiana McMahon (4) -             5.5 Luke O'Connor (5) -               3.4 (A minimum of 4 drives required to be eligible for Challenge Trophy) by Peter Smith, Racing Operations Manager

There were winners left, right and centre after the opening race at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. The Menangle track was a “first-up” winner with horses coming from everywhere in the closing stages of the final heat of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship as the Peter Walsh-trained Little Red Cloud got the money with a 1:59.9 mile rate over the 2400m journey. Tasmanian reinsman Dylan Ford may have also given a hint of things to come for his fellow Tasmanian Beautide in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final later in the day when he brought Little Red Cloud with a well-timed run up the middle of the track to score. All the competitors in the Young Drivers Championship rated the track in remarkable condition despite persistent showers over the weekend, with every runner accorded a fair run. Still none were more satisfied than New Zealand’s Andre Poutama, who finished seventh with Im Blue Double Dee, but accrued enough points to take the series from another Kiwi, Samantha Ottley. Poutama, from New Zealand’s North Island, went into the race with a 13 point lead and was desperate to avoid running in the last couple to jeopardise his chances of winning the overall series. Little Red Cloud grabbed Poacher (Aaron Bain) in the shadows of the post, with Condagen (Josh Duggan) third. Trainer Peter Walsh’s good run continued in the Lexus International Lady Drivers Invitational when Narissa McMullen led all-the-way with his pacer Essbee Doubleyou. The Queensland reinswoman took the son of Presidential Ball straight to the top from barrier nine where they dictated terms throughout. Rolling through the quarters in 27.1, 29.0, 28.5 and 27.4s, which resulted in a slick mile rate of 1:52.0, again proving the track was in fine order for the string day of racing ahead. Bathurst reinswoman Amanda Turnbull finished second with Medal Of Honour while the Tasmanian Kate MacLeod finished third with Ballochbuie. Harness Racing NSW

Three more heats of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship were held at Bathurst last night. Sam Ottley picked up a win in the first heat. Andre Poutama also had a good night, gaining three placings and increasing his lead in the Championships. In the first heat Sam started her night strong with a win in the third heat of the Championships and first heat of the night. She drove the horse brilliantly and was able to hold off Dylan Egerton-Green from Western Australia who finished in second. Andre stuck on for a good third and Simon McMullan’s horse tired after having to work hard early. Andre continued his great run in Heat 4, holding on for 2nd after sitting parked throughout. Simon came into 7th place and Sam’s runner got back and failed to run on. Heat 5 saw Andre finish the night well, bringing up another 3rd placing. He has now had 5 drives in the Championship for a win and three placings. Sam ran home late for 6th and Simon came in 9th. Andre has a strong lead of 13 points. The current leader board after the first five heats is as follows: 1st        Andre Poutama NZ North            49 2nd       Dylan Egerton-Green – WA         36 3rd        Amanda Turnbull - NSW             35 4th        Aaron Bain – SA                        34 5th        Narissa McMullen - QLD            32 5th        Samantha Ottley – NZ South      32 7th        Aiden De Campo - WA               29 8th        Dylan Ford - TAS                       28 9th        Joshua Duggan - VIC                 27 10th      Simon McMullan – NZ                23 Heats continue at Young tonight in Heat 6 (5:53pm NZT) & Heat 7 (6:33pm NZT). Full fields are below. 2014 AYDC - Young - Thursday 26 February - Heat 6 - 5.53pm (NZT)   Form Horse Driver 1 6r155 GLADS GRIN (Em 1)   2 24327 CASINO LASS Joshua Duggan (C) 3 667s1 STARZZZ IN ORDER Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 4 34832 CLAIRE ELIZABETH Aaron Bain (C) 5 64538 KENNETH LLOYD Amanda Turnbull 6 75231 JACK RUSTLER Andre Poutama (C)  ---------- Second Row ----------  7 1r251 BRYCE COOPER Aiden De Campo (C) 8 21215 PINEGROVE Narissa McMullen (C) 9 5172s HOME IN INDIANA Samantha Ottley (C) 10 46252 FUI FUI Simon McMullan (C) 11 53484 CHIEF FAIRMAN Dylan Ford (C)   2014 AYDC - Young - Thursday 26 February - Heat 7 - 6.33pm (NZT)   Form Horse Driver 2 63257 BEETSON Narissa McMullen (C) 3 12315 PERFEZIONE Dylan Ford (C) 4 65119 KYALLA LUKE Samantha Ottley (C) 5 22114 GENERAL ATWORTHY Simon McMullan (C) 6 44113 USHER NZ Dylan Egerton-Green (C)  ---------- Second Row ----------  7 71120 BEE MINE Aaron Bain (C) 8 55748 GREY NOMAD SCRATCHED 9 41081 COOGEE COOGEE Amanda Turnbull 10 38392 TRANSACTION NZ Andre Poutama (C) Harness Racing New Zealand

The first heats of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship were held at Tabcorp Park Menangle last night. In the first heat Sam Ottley made the most of her inside draw and went to the lead and set the pace throughout, her horse tired but managed to hold on for 5th. Simon McMullan had a good trip in the one-one and ran home for a nice second. Andre Poutama settled at the back and couldn’t make up much ground in a fast-run race. The second and last heat of the night saw the tables turn and Andre led all the way on the favourite to win in a mile rate of 1.52.8! Sam’s horse galloped behind the mobile and Simon’s broke on the home turn, they both finished near the back. Andre is now leading the Championships with 19 points on the board. Simon is sitting 5th= and Sam in 7th. Heats are continued tonight at Bathurst, with Heat 3 run at 8.37pm, Heat 4 at 9.40pm and Heat 5 at 10.11pm. Australasian Young Drivers Championships - Heat 3, Heat 4 and Heat 5 fields 2014 AYDC - Bathurst - Wednesday 26 February - Heat 3 - 8.37pm (NZT)  Form Horse Driver 1 51s24 WARNER Narissa McMullen (C) 2 45s19 AURORA SCOTT Dylan Ford (C) 3 77268 IM NO LADY Aiden De Campo (C) 4 97124 PRINCE RAYMAC Simon McMullan (C) 5     s2811     CORZAN    EFFECT    NZ    (Em    1)         Samantha    Ottley    (C) 6 1s483 VAMPISH HANOVER SCRATCHED 7 34232 ONAJOYRIDE Aaron Bain (C)  ---------- Second Row ---------- 8 1211s ABERCROMBIE ALICE Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 9 s1821 MARQUEZ Andre Poutama (C) 10 6291s AUSSWIN Joshua Duggan (C) 11 31635 TULHURST JAILBREAK Amanda Turnbull 2014 AYDC - Bathurst - Wednesday 26 February - Heat 4 - 9.40pm (NZT)  Form Horse Driver 1 35344 MYSTERIOUS BLISS Amanda Turnbull 2 s4399 SUNSHINE FILLY (Em 1) 3 76586 TRULY MISS TERIOUS NZ Joshua Duggan (C) 4 26s11 OH SO SWEET Andre Poutama (C) 5 35241 RAGING RHUBEN NZ Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 6 25333 CRACKERJACK JO Aaron Bain (C) 7     5s303     DANCELITTLEBABY         Samantha    Ottley    (C)  ---------- Second Row ---------- 8 13763 GRIN FOR MISS Simon McMullan (C) 9 2s322 SO KOOL HARRY Aiden De Campo (C) 10 s6313 WILLIAM PETER Dylan Ford (C) 11 72688 BEEJAY EMDEE Narissa McMullen (C) 2014 AYDC - Bathurst - Wednesday 26 February - Heat 5 - 10.11pm (NZT)  Form Horse Driver 1 11191 SMOKIN BOPPER NZ Dylan Ford (C) 2 56543 SIGNORY SHANNON Simon McMullan (C) 3     44727     JOANNIE    PONY         Samantha    Ottley    (C) 4 62345 GETALOADAHER Narissa McMullen (C) 5 0460s MINERS LANE Aiden De Campo (C) 6 11222 PRECIOUS M NZ Andre Poutama (C) 7 11238 TANGLES NZ Amanda Turnbull  ---------- Second Row ---------- 8 11117 HIGHVIEW CONALL NZ Aaron Bain (C) 9 24439 RED VEE HANOVER Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 10 607s2 TRUCKER Joshua Duggan (C) Harness Racing New Zealand

Betezy Park Globe Derby became a sea of PINK on Saturday night when the harness racing Lady Drivers Challenge came to town.   Their were four heats on the program with the locals taking first blood when Gina Bell steered Veddy Veddy Good home in the first heat with another South Australian Danielle Hill the runner up with Lighting Shark, but from then on it became the Lisa Miles show.   The talented Victorian won the next two heats with Mount Gambier pacer Flaming Hero and Apocalypse Dream. They were two of the best drives one would ever see. Flaming Hero unleashed a powerful finishing burst while Apocalypse Dream Miles sat up one out and one back coming with a well a timed run to claim Star Brutus by three meters.   Taking an unassailable lead into the final heat Miles managed to claim third spot with Weaponry behind the Ellen Tormey driven Maywyns Zephyr.   With two of the first three finalist in the inaugural Leigh Plunkett Scholarship competing in the event BOTRA and HRSA made presentations to Ellen Tormey the winner from Victoria, runner up local junior driver Aaron Bain, who has also been selected to represent South Australia in the upcoming Australasian Junior Drivers Championship in NSW over the Inter-dominion carnival, and Narissa McMullen who was third place getter in the scholarship.   Despite the extreme heat a good crowd witnessed some brilliant racing and some very talented lady drivers who got to travel back to their motel in style in a Pink Hummer.   Gary Newton      

Harness racing stars from both sides of the Tasman will go on display when the Lexus Of Parramatta 2014 Australasian Young Drivers Championship is conducted during the 2014 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Championship Sydney. Ten of the most talented reinsmen and women in Australasia will gather in Sydney and do battle for points in ten events at five race meetings, including the final heat on TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final day. In addition the group will visit Steve Turnbull's training establishment near Bathurst and participate in social activities along with attending the Inter Dominion Ball, Barrier Draw and Calcutta. Representatives and details are as follows; NSW Amanda Turnbull NZ Simon McMullan NZ North Island Andre Poutama NZ South Island Samantha Ottley QLD Narissa McMullen SA Aaron Bain TAS Dylan Ford VIC Joshua Duggan WA Aiden De Campo WA Dylan Egerton - Green Heat Location Day Date D/N   Heat 1 Tabcorp Park Menangle Tuesday 25 February Day   Heat 2 Tabcorp Park Menangle Tuesday 25 February Day   Heat 3 Bathurst Wednesday 26 February Night   Heat 4 Bathurst Wednesday 26 February Night   Heat 5 Bathurst Wednesday 26 February Night   Heat 6 Young Thursday 27 February Day   Heat 7 Young Thursday 27 February Day   Heat 8 Bankstown Friday 28 February Day   Heat 9 Bankstown Friday 28 February Day   Heat 10 Tabcorp Park Menangle Sunday 2 March Day Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |    

Harness Racing SA was blessed with the presence of Ohoka Nevada in Season 2010/2011 and without a doubt his performance on the track had him the deserved and undisputed winner of the '2010/2011 SA Horse of the Year'.

The 2011 South Australia Trotters Carnival is the pinnacle for square gaiters on the harness racing calendar each year in the Festival State and over seven days starting Saturday Night all focus will turn towards the action on the track at Globe Derby Park.

Wideford Hill has wasted little time to burst onto the harness racing scene in South Australia for Les Harding winning the N D & J A Giles 2011 Strathalbyn Pacing Cup at his third appearance in the festival state.

The Port Pirie public are always keen to turn out and support the club and get amongst the action let alone this week when the best of the best are out to claim the prestigious harness racing title. With five heats of the Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation Series tonight and eleven drivers all capable of gaining maximum points in one of their steers, the points will become vital when piloting outside chances.

Glengowan has looked to have the 2011 Country Graduation at his mercy since winning the opening harness racing heat at Kapunda on Mach 17 that is until the Leah Harvey pair Zuccharino and The Darl emerged as challengers.

Sound System has been knocking on the door to win a feature race and make a break through into the harness racing big league in South Australia and on Sunday afternoon he did just that by winning the 2011 Franklin Island Victor Harbor Pacing Cup.

Glengowan arrived in South Australia and joined forces with the Jon Kingston-Mayne harness racing stable in mid December and looked a juvenile on the rise. Three months on and Glengowan has claimed the three biggest three year old races in South Australia to date.

On March 14 2009, Village of Dreams claimed his first harness racing victory on the big stage winning the Gawler Derby, two years on the son of Village Jasper has matched it with the best on the grand circuit and is back to claim the 2011 Gawler Gold Cup.

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