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AUSTRALIAN Pacing Gold purchase First String added another feature to his collection when triumphant at Albion Park last night. Winner of last season’s Group One Qbred Triad Final, First String returned to successfully defend his title for trainer Craig Cross. Pleased with the three-year-old’s performance, Cross has elected to extend First String’s Queensland campaign. “He will stay up there for another run to try and pick up his bonus,” Cross said. “We’ve got two-year-old which will be going up for the APG series in a few weeks, so he will stay until then and come back with those. “After that he will have a short freshen-up before we take aim at the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge.” With Luke McCarthy holding the reins, First String settled midfield from his second row draw as Left A Terror led from the pole. Angled three-wide during the middle stages the son of Roll With Joe was sent forward to test the pacemaker from the ‘death seat’. Forging his way to the front at the top of the home straight, First String staved off a late challenge from Lifes Black to score by a head, with Left A Terror three metres away third. Rating 1:57.3 over 2138 metres, the gelding stretched his record to seven wins and three placings from 16 starts for earnings of $121,860. “He went enormous,” Cross said. “It was good to see him bounce back last night as he went terrible in Bathurst, but I discovered after the race he had an abscess in his foot. “With his foot fixed and the way he worked on Tuesday before heading up, I knew he was ready to win.”   APG Media

“Pressure? What pressure? I’m too old for pressure. I’m even too old to get excited these days,” joked Australia’s number one trainer, Grant Dixon. The Tamborine horseman was referring to his champion four-year-old pacer, Colt Thirty One, when asked how he felt when the TAB opened him $1.05 to win Saturday night’s Listed $25,000 QBRED 4YO Triad Final at Albion Park. "I don't take any notice of what the TAB says. If it I did I'd be a wreck. All I worry about is having my horses spot on come race-night, and so-far Colt Thirty One has done everything we have asked of him this preparation," 46-year-old Dixon said. Colt Thirty One, who is Queensland’s best pacer and the state’s current Horse-of-the-Year, has drawn three on the second line (10) in Saturday’s 2,138m mobile. However, the way he won his trial at Albion Park on April 2, he’d still be at minuscule odds, even if he drew 20. "That was his first hit-out since late January and Trista (Dixon) drove him confidently. It was what we needed going into Saturday night,” Dixon said. Dixon initially sat parked with the son of Mach Three before letting him loose down the back straight the last time. The pair then strolled up the home straight to win by an increasing 7.9m, under a hold. The winning time was 1:58.8 with a 1:55.1 mile rate. His sectionals were 28.6, 30.8, 28.7, and 27.1. “That was a nice run. He’s fit and ready to race. I’ll see how he progresses throughout autumn and winter and then take it from there. I’m not one to look too far ahead,” Dixon said. “Potentially this fella is up there with Majestic Mach as the best I’ve had.” That’s a big call considering Majestic Mach won 35 of his 94 starts, including four Group One events, between March 2012 and September 2017. He also placed 20 times, paced a 1:53.9 mile and banked $796,397. Colt Thirty One has so far won 23 of his 35 starts, placed in seven others, sprinted a 1:53.2 mile, and has banked $453,345. Both pacers were bred and owned by Kevin and Kay Seymour. "He's a bit of a dud isn't he. Not much at all really," joked Seymour. Then he switched to serious mode. "The reason he's done so well is because Grant has managed him perfectly. He's only four and he’s looked after him and not over-raced him. He once told me that to get a good long-term open grade horse you have to take your time with them. "For that reason I think Colt Thirty One will make a nice grand circuit horse one day and Grant should have a top Free-For-Aller for several years to come. “Mr Feelgood is the best horse Kay and I have raced and Colt Thirty One is the best that we have bred.” Colt Thirty One is seventh of nine foals of out of the 2000 maiden Vanston Hanover mare, Charm personified. His older sister, Charming Allie (by Mr Feelgood) recorded a 1:53.9 mile and won 18 races and $266,329. She also nailed four Group Two races and ran second in the Group One $75,000 Queensland Oaks in 2014. Colt Thirty One won his first Group One at Albion Park on July 15, 2017 when he was too smart in the $100,000 QBRED 2YO Triad Pace. He also won the QBRED 3yo Triad a year later under Group Two conditions. Colt Thirty One also cleaned up a quality Victoria Derby three-year-old field at Melton's Tabcorp Park on January 27 last year. That race was worth $200,000 pocketing his owners a cool $114,000 for that win. He also placed in the Breeders Crown 2 and 3yo Finals in 2017 and 2018. Dixon has won Queensland Horse-of-the-Year previously with Majestic Mach and the 1990 Jeremy Laurence black colt, Jeremy Lee (22 wins and $216,971). "I was working for Dad (Bill) when he trained Speed Ace (1991 Speed King gelding). He was Queensland Horse-of-the-Year as well. He won 15 races ($130,274)," Dixon said. Dixon is currently Australia's top trainer with 187 victories - 31 clear of second-placed Emma Stewart. He also sits fourth on the national driving premiership with 118 wins behind Chris Alford (228), Greg Sugars (138), Ryan Warwick (123).   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Jake Davis not only drove his first winner at Albion Park on Saturday night (April 6) but he also kept up a family tradition dating back a couple of decades. Davis and his father Leigh made the 970km journey from their Browns Creek stable near Bathurst, to campaign six horses in Queensland. They were rewarded for their efforts when Studleigh Kristen, despite facing the breeze for much of the 2138m Pace (Race 11), careered away for a dominant victory over Call Me Yours and Caesars Astrum.  Travelling to Albion Park is something the Davis family have done since Jake’s grandfather, Ray, started racing standardbreds in Queensland a couple of decades ago. “Dad drove the 13 hours to get here with the team the week before last and I arrived here on Thursday night after the races. I will head home again next Sunday to do my main job on our dairy farm,” Jake said. The 26-year said he had been driving for almost a decade. “That was about the time when Dad last campaigned horses up here. He drove them back then. I’m over the moon. Tonight was my first drive at Albion Park and I loved it." Jake said. “I won’t forget the night in a hurry. It’s something I wanted to achieve when I knew we were coming up here. The team will stay for about four or five weeks, depending on how they go." Davis had two drives at Albion Park on Saturday. He finished a close-up second behind Rays Choice in the third event, and then thanks to a very confident drive he steered Studleigh Kristen to victory in the final event. “I don’t mind sitting parked with her. About 70 per cent of the time I’ve sat in the ‘death seat’ and she's gone on to win races. She’s as tough as old boots and can stay all day. I was delighted with that performance. She felt the winner a long way from home,” Davis Jr said. Studleigh Kristin drew six of seven and settled last early before Davis sent her to sit parked at on ‘Alan Border Field corner’ the first time. That's where they remained until the home straight. Davis then gave the mare some rein and she left them to it winning by an increasing 9.7m. She paced the 2,138m mobile in 2:37.2 with a 1:58.3 mile rate. Her sectionals were: 32.1, 30.5, 28.2, and 28.1. It was the Kenneth J 6-year-old mare's 11th win in 83 starts. She's also placed 22 times and banked $69,666 in purses. "She's a lovely, tough mare, who always gives her best. We paid $3,000 for her at the Sydney Yearling Sales. As a 2-year-old she wouldn't steer straight and Dad wanted to get rid of her, but there was no way Pop (grandfather) was going to let him do that," Davis said. "She started her career as a 3-year-old and has consistently been in the money since. She is always well backed. I think she will do well up here," he added. Davis Senior and Studleigh Sonny won at Redcliffe Paceway on Thursday, three days after Studleigh Stride and the same driver ran second at Albion Park (Monday). The Davis’ originally housed their horses at John McCarthy’s property, but these days they park up at Peter McMullen and Chantal Turpin’s barn at Patrick Estate. “We love it up here and our horses have already performed well with two firsts and two seconds from four starts. We also have another 12 horses at home, mostly yearlings and 2-year-olds, I have to get back and tend to,” Davis said. One of the other highlights on Saturday was the running of the Jack Waltisbuhl Memorial. His family on-course to watch the Darrel Graham trained and Kylie Rasmussen driven $38.50 outsider, Platinum Roulette, get up and win. Mr Waltisbuhl raced horses in the 1970s and 1980s and  enjoyed multiple successes with Penny Express, Bulltossa, and Fiery Tan. He raced and won at tracks all over Queensland including Amberley, Redland Bay, Lawnton, Capalaba, Cleveland Showgrounds, Redcliffe Showgrounds, Kedron Park, Rocklea and of course Albion Park.    Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Egmont Park Stud will become the naming rights sponsor to four prominent juvenile feature races to be run at Albion Park, including the 2-year-old Group 1 QBred Triad Finals for both sexes set to be run on July 20, the final night of the TAB Winter Carnival. Egmont Park Stud Master, Peter Bell said in signing the sponsorship agreement “we are always happy to encourage and support harness racing in Queensland.     The other two Egmont Park Stud sponsored races will be the 2-year-old QBred Breeders Classic Finals scheduled for April 13. “The Albion Park Harness Racing Club is delighted to secure Egmont Park Stud’ sponsorship for these prestigious races,” APHRC Chairman David Fowler said. “These races regularly promote the best in our younger ranks and are often a springboard to bigger and better things.” “Egmont Park has long been the trail blazer in Queensland breeding and the club has also enjoyed a close association with the nursery.” “It's wonderful for their brand to be associated with these feature races", Fowler said. As part of the sponsorship, Egmont Park Stud will also play host to a special function for owners that have qualified starters for the 2-year-old Triad Finals to be held at Albion Park on Blacks A Fake night July 20.   Albion Park

She won the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in 2017 and now Queensland’s recently crowned Australian Female Drivers champion, Narissa McMullen, has another burning ambition. “I want to drive a Group One winner now. That’s my next goal. In the meantime I just want to keep driving winners and become a better driver,” the Fernvale resident said. The talented 24-year-old reinswoman finished top of the 12-strong table with 79 points at Saturday's Australian Female Drivers Championship at Albion Park. Her points came via wins behind Annika Magic and Subtle Delight in heats two and five; and she also finished second and fourth behind Shards Halo (Heat 1) and Cool Scoter (Heat 3). KerryAnn Turner (NSW) was runner-up with 75 points, while Victorian harness racing legend Kerryn Manning, and McMullen’s cousin Kelli Dawson, finished tied for third with 54 points apiece. McMullen said it was always good to get one over family members, especially brother Peter. “He’s my only brother and the only one older than me. I’m probably more competitive with him and my sisters than I am my cousins," she said. “It was great to see Kelli do so well. Nathan (Dawson) is also a cousin so there’s a few of us out there. I’ve only just started to take it all in. I’m so happy,” McMullen said the morning after her nailing her first Australian title." McMullen and her siblings, Peter and Danni-elle have all won BOTRA Queensland Juniors Driving titles as well. McMullen, who works at her parents – John and Jennette’s stable at Glamorgan Vale, said she celebrated with a night out. “It was an amazing feeling and even though I was 13 points ahead going into the last heat I never took anything for granted. I just had to focus,” McMullen said. “Only this morning has it really started to sink in. I’m so proud." There were seven heats of the AFDC on Saturday and two other tote races. McMullen carried on her winning ways in the ninth event – in track record time. She steered the Stephen Cini trained Quietly Spoken along the passing lane to win the feature 1660m trot in 1:59.3, which equated to a 1:55.6 mile rate. “It’s been a night to remember. Stephen had this mare spot on tonight,” McMullen said immediately after the $9,000 trot. According to Saturday's racebook, McMullen has now driven 726 winners and had 6,560 drives. She vividly remembers her first win. “That was Miniature Classic for Ron Sallis at Albion Park (October 18, 2010). My brother ran second (Southern Pacific),” she said. Dad - John, who won the Australasian Junior Driving title in 1986, and Mum - Jennette were “super proud”. “All four of our kids (including Taleah) are fierce rivals on the track and enjoy bragging rights at the Monday night family dinner," Jenette said. “Pete, Narissa and Danni-elle have always been competitive since their pony trot days. Pete was very proud last night though, ringing me on his way home to tell me Narissa proved she is the best female driver in Australia. “He said she drove six out of seven ‘top races’, and the only bad drive for the night was on his horse." She said doing the hard yards and driving ordinary horses had taught Narissa to be a good driver. “Her hard work and has dedication paid off’. Dad’s (John) quote is: ‘All his years of advice have finally paid dividends’. That’s tongue in cheek as he is a very hard task master as everybody at the track knows,” Jenette said. She said her daughter studied Science and Journalism for a year after leaving school and gave that up for her love of horses. “Narissa trained and owned a top horse called Bettor Draw who finished third in an Interdominion heat in Brisbane in 2015. Then he ran fourth in the Bohemia Chrystal at Menangle a few weeks later," Jenette said. “He was a super horse to her and led Narissa to move to Sydney for six months to train. Murano was another nice horse that Narissa had. He won great horse about 15 races. “In 2015 she won the Lady Drivers Group 2 Invitation race on Inters day as well. That was probably her most successful year. “As you can tell, I am very proud of all my kids." Meanwhile, McMullen’s three wins added another $600 to the Women’s Cancer Team Teal Fundraiser. She finished the February 1 to March 9 campaign with the most wins (23). Women in fact won eight of the nine races carded last night, ensuring another $1600 was added to the final pot, which totalled more than $11,000. Competitors in last night’s 2019 Australia Female Driving Championship were: Narissa McMullen and Kelli Dawson (QLD), Hannah Vandongen (TAS), Samantha Gangell (TAS), Kerry Ann Turner (NSW), Ellen Rixon (NSW), Madeline Young (WA), Emily Suvaljko (WA), Lisa Ryan (SA), Kaela Hryhorec (SA), Kima Frenning (VIC), and Kerryn Manning (VIC). Duane Ranger

Enjoy the driving talents of Leonard Cain while you can. The 19-year-old concession driver will leave his native Queensland in March to further his career in Western Sydney. The south-east Queensland horseman is one of the state’s leading concession drivers.  He is currently employed by his father, Errol, at Logan Village. As of today (Feb 21) Cain had reined home 48 winners and 114 place-getters ($361,712) from 482 drives this season. “It’s still to be confirmed but it is likely to happen within the next month. Noel Daley is returning home from the United States. He was one of their best up there and he’s going to set up a stable not too far from Menangle," Cain said. “It will be a great opportunity to work with someone who has so much harness racing knowledge both here and abroad. I’ve loved it here but I want to further my career in a bigger city working for a world renown trainer. “I really enjoy driving. I started in September 2016 and I’m not sure how many winners I’ve driven. I’d say it would be around the 150 mark,” Trinity College (Beenleigh) educated Cain said. Last Friday he drove the Kerry Smith trained Annika Magic to win race nine, and then three days later at the same venue he won behind the Wayne Graham trained Boulder City, in race six. Cain has seven drives this Saturday night at Albion Park, including Annika Magic in the first event for C4 or better pacers. "She won well from barrier three here last week and even though she's drawn three on the second row this time, she only needs a decent run to be right in it again," Cain said. However he thought the Peter Greig trained Bodhi Tree was a better winning chance in the feature event - the Kevin & Kay Seymour $21,160 Open Pace (race seven). "He's a nice horse who has copped a tough race. He hasn't raced for a month and will be much better for the run. He's won 23 races and has drawn well enough (4) to get a good trip," Cain said. "I think Bodhi Tree will put in a strong effort. He would be my best winning chance on Saturday." The gifted teenager has a strong book of drives on Saturday. He will line up in seven of the 10 races carded. “I don’t usually have this many. I’m grateful people are starting to recognise my driving. I love it and just want to keep getting better. I’m looking forward to a busy Saturday night,” Cain said. Cain will drive in the first five races. He also liked the prospects of the Ryan Veivers trained Ima Top Tycoon in the fifth event for C2 or better pacers, despite the second line draw. "One on the second row will actually suit him because if he can get handy on the fence he has a lethal last 100m sprint in him." Cain also thought the Brian McCall trained Rocknroll Music could test them from a nice draw in the eighth event, which is also for the C2 and faster pacers. "He's drawn three and is better than his last two runs suggest. He's tough and has a bit of speed. He's also a genuine type who should be right in this," Cain said. Footnote: Cain brought up his half century at Redcliffe yesterday (Thursday) when he won the first two races on the nine-strong card. He saluted behind the Errol Cain trained Modern Thought, and the Ben Aldons trained Night Ninja respectively. by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland  

Slice of Heaven has 100,000 reasons to maintain his solid form-line at Albion Park on Saturday night. Trainer Donny Smith, said he was now on top of the five-year-old gelding’s feet problems, and if he continued to race the way he has been, then a trip to Sydney was on the cards. “I’ve had him for just on a year now and he’s never felt this good. There’s a $100,000 race on Miracle Mile night at Menangle I’d like to take him south for that,” Smith said. “But for him to get there he’s going to have to keep doing what he’s been doing – and I think he can." The $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile will be held on Saturday March 2. On Saturday Slice Of Heaven will make his open class debut in the richest race - the $14,580 Congrats C. J. Gerrard Oam C/7+ Pace. The son of Rocknroll Hanover has copped the widest second row draw (12). "(Glenferrie Hood) and Lilac Flash are the horses to beat, but my fella can win if things go his way," Smith said. "Drawing 12 isn't so bad because we might be able to get on 'Glenferrie's' back and get into the race that way. I'm looking forward to his open class debut because there's some nice horses in the race and I know he can measure up." Slice Of Heaven has won three of his last four starts including a close-up victory over last season’s Horse-of-the-Year, Colt Thirty One, at the same venue seven days ago. "He's had a few niggles over the years and when he came to us (from J J Alchin – NSW) I knew within a month he was better than average. He’s come ahead leaps and bounds," Smith said. “I told the staff he’s the best we’ve got. That was last April and he’s gone on to prove us right. He did have soft feet and it's taken a while for them to harden up, but I seem to be on top of that, which really pleases me." Smith said he didn’t train Slice Of Heaven like a champion. "He's got quite a bit of untapped potential. I just train him like I do any of the other horses. He’s yet to be tapped into," he said. “Yes he can win on Saturday. We need him to warrant a trip to New South Wales." Slice of Heaven, the winner of 14 of his 34 starts (and $77,653), was bred in New Zealand by Harvey Kaplan of the Jordash Breeding Trust. He was the fifth foal of 10 out of the unraced 2003 Kiwi mare, Pacific Rocket - She's Mighty. Smith said he was sold to Alchin and his clients for $52,000 at a Ready To Run Sale before he was two. Alchin trained him to win five of his 22 starts before Smith took over the training duties in March last year By Duane Ranger For Racing Queensland

Tomorrow is the day lady drivers all around Australia and New Zealand will hang up their traditional white driving pants and replace them with Teal pants for a very worthy cause. For the next six weeks (between February 1 and March 10) these ladies will form “Team Teal”, an awareness and fundraising campaign that connects the harness racing industry with Women’s Cancer Foundation. Each time a female driver wins a race they secure funds for ovarian and gynaecological cancer research conducted by the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG). While the campaign initiated in Victoria in 2014, it has since grown to an international status with hundreds of reinswomen wearing teal driving pants last year, securing a total of 315 winners and close to $200,000 in donations. This year they strive for more with the fundraising goal set at $250,000. As in tradition the campaign ends with the Australian Female Drivers Championship, this year being staged at Albion Park on March 9. Narissa McMullen and Kylie Rasmussen will represent Queensland in the multi-race series and therefore have been selected as Queensland’s Teal Ambassadors who will also wear Teal driving silks throughout the campaign. McMullen has been the most successful Queensland female driver while driving in her teal pants for the past two campaigns, in which she has accumulated a total of 19 winners. “It’s great that we are back driving in the teal pants again this year, getting a winner is always great but to raise money for such a worthy cause while doing so is even better,” McMullen said. The harsh reality is that this year, more than 1400 women in Australia alone will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Over 900 of these same women will die from the disease. The Women’s Cancer Foundation strives to change these statistics, however we need your help to raise much needed funding to support their research projects and raise awareness. Donation buckets and Teal merchandise will be available at Albion Park as well as many other harness clubs. You can also donate directly at https://donate.everydayhero.com/d/XS0leTYXVguOJ1_hqCb5_w/amount   Albion Park

The Albion Park Harness Racing Club is delighted to acknowledge the Australia Day honor of OAM General Division to Chris Garrard. Chris  received his OAM for services to harness racing and our club has been a major beneficiary of his service, knowledge and generosity over many years. A long time Club member, Chris has served on committee on more than one occasion. As the patriarch of the family's various business interests over several decades, Chris has, and continues to be, a major sponsor. The time-honored Garrards Sunshine Sprint is an excellent case in point. Yet his faith and financial support of the harness racing industry extends well past Albion Park to many clubs throughout Australia and New Zealand. And that faith and support is also clearly demonstrated through his continued owning and breeding interests. What must also be said is Chris' unwavering support of the grass roots participants in our business. From a personal point of view, I have known Chris and his family for almost 40 years and his OAM is a wonderful acknowledgement to his contribution to the harness racing industry. A popular man but never afraid to take a stand, his word is his bond. Congratulations "CJ"   David Fowler - Albion Park Harness Racing Chairman

Form guide for Harness Racing at Albion Park Tuesday 8th of January RACE ONE MISTER OZ (5) is knocking on the door with placings in 3 of his past 5 starts the latest in open company on Sat night. Finding the pocket trail he was solid to the line when 8m from the winner IVANOV. He closed strongly here 2 starts back and from the 30m tape can cash-in. NORTHERN MUSCLE (6) will strip fitter after returning from a freshen here over the 2138m last start. Starting fav he was working home in good order wide out but was no match for the winner who skipped clear. Putting together a stretch of 4 wins in his past 6 he looms as a danger in this. JUSTABITLIKEMUM (2) will take further benefit from her latest run when 2nd up from a break. Her return run had merit after striking trouble and with a safe getaway can give some cheek here. EL SWAVO (4) went back-to-back with success in similar races before meeting some tougher types at his past 3 runs. His run last start was a nice effort against open performers and he can chime in here. SELECTIONS: MISTER OZ (5), NORTHERN MUSCLE (6), JUSTABITLIKEMUM (2), EL SWAVO (4) SUGGESTED BET: MISTER OZ (5) to win   RACE TWO OUTLAW FELLA (1) will be tightened from his latest start when returning from a break. Starting from gate 5 he worked forward to find the breeze and was in for the fight when only 4m from the winner. He finds his best gate in recent outings and can look to capitalise. LUCIFERS LEGEND (4) is also 2nd up from a break and comes out of the same race as OUTLAW FELLA. Starting from the 2nd line in that contest he was angled to the pegs for a cosy trip and was hitting the line in good order when 7m from the winner. Fitter he can find position and be closing late.   IMA GRUMPY POSSUM (8) did some early work in a slick opening panel on Sat night and after finding cover was strong to the line when only 4m from the winner. With a cosy trip on offer here look for her taking a closing shot. LANCELOT BROMAC (9) has started to work his way back into some form after going through a lean patch. He found the line nicely last start behind SIR JULIAN and with early options is in the mix here. SELECTIONS: OUTLAW FELLA (1), LUCIFERS LEGEND (4), IMA GRUMPY POSSUM (8), LANCELOT BROMAC (9) SUGGESTED BET: OUTLAW FELLA (1) to win     RACE THREE GOD SAKE (1) chased gamely to hold 3rd behind MAJOR CROCKER at Menangle 2 starts back and then when returning to Qld didn’t have many things in his favour when down the line behind COURAGEOUS LEO. He started fav last time out and from the ace gate here he looks to get his chance to atone. THE MUSE (8) will be sweating on the 1 looking for an all the way effort as that will bring her right into contention. Finding the pocket trail last start she chased hard when holding on for the bronze behind the in-form LINCOLN ROAD. With the cosy trip available she will be ready to strike. EVERYTHING (9) had a dip for the front last start and despite looking to have crossed couldn’t get to the pegs. Takin cover in the run he then never had a shot at them. Racing tough in previous starts he can throw down a challenge in this. GRINVIL (6) took on mares company on Saturday when chasing home well to be 4m from the winner DARKERSHADEOFPALE. The wider gate hurts her chances but she can be thereabouts with even luck. SELECTIONS: GOD SAKE (1), THE MUSE (8), EVERYTHING (9), GRINVIL (6) SUGGESTED BET: GOD SAKE (1) to win     RACE FOUR MONTANA CHIEF (1) was after a hat-trick of victories last start when forced to work hard in the breeze from gate 4. With the solid tempo he couldn’t see it out when fading in the closing stages to finish mid-field. He took them all the way from this gate over the 2138m 2 starts back and can dictate here. JUST DEAL IT (10) made her debut back on Dec 18 when starting from gate 1 she was given plenty of time balance up and take a trail. When sent into space she hit the line nicely and extended away in good style to victory. With the experience from that run she will be a big threat in this. PINUP BOY (8) was working home wide off the track last start and hitting the line in good order to grab the silver when 5m from the winner TUESDAYS FELLA. He will be coiled and ready to strike after a soft trip. ONE OFF (6) has been down the line at his past 2 starts after finishing in the top 3 in 7 successive starts when arriving in Aus. Finding a spot without being too far back will be key here and he can chime in late. SELECTIONS: MONTANA CHIEF (1), JUST DEAL IT (10), PINUP BOY (8), ONE OFF (6) SUGGESTED BET: Flexi trifecta 1-6-8-10     RACE FIVE STEVIE DEE (3) had been struggling to show her best until her last start when finding a suitable target and from a long way back in the pack was able to finish over the top to score. Only 6m from VALTONA in a mares qualifier the start prior, she can go back-to-back in a wide open contest.   IMA TOP TYCOON (9) was closing out in good order from a long way back at Redcliffe 3 starts back to be 3m from the winner in solid time. He finished best through a strong closing 800m split to score at Marburg 2 starts back and was tough from the breeze last start. Despite the gate he can feature.   MACHIN OUT (10) went back from a wide gate last start and then was never in the hunt against the closing tempo. That followed a run where he didn’t have a great deal of luck and he can be sharper here. GOODTIME STRIDE (4) has been 5m from the winner at each of her past 2 starts with the latest a tidy effort from the 2nd line over the Redcliffe 2040m. With the right trip she will be in the mix. SELECTIONS: STEVIE DEE (3), IMA TOP TYCOON (9), MACHIN OUT (10), GOODTIME STRIDE (4) SUGGESTED BET:     RACE SIX BALLYMORE BOY (9) took on a qualifier last start and after racing wide to find the position outside the leader he was in for the fight when 6m form the winner COURAGEOUS LEO. Absolutely luckless the start prior when probing for space that never arrived. With a nice trail through early he can break a run of frustrations. MARETTI (5) features in a stable change and will line up for Cristina Monte for the 1sttime. His run 4 starts back was strong when fighting in the breeze and only beaten a half-neck and last start he was grabbed late after doing some early work. Despite the tricky gate he will be right in the fight. MACHEASY (4) made the most of the passing lane on Sat night to claim a 2nd division qualifier. Finding the front form gate 6 the start prior he was grabbed right on the line and will be close here. KEY LARGO (2) started fav on Sat night and was forced to do the heavy lifting after pressing ahead from gate 6. He can hold an early spot here and if limiting the work can be in a great spot to strike. SELECTIONS: BALLYMORE BOY (9), MARETTI (5), MACHEASY (4), KEY LARGO (2) SUGGESTED BET: BALLYMORE BOY (9) to win     RACE SEVEN LIFEONTHEBEACH (11) rolled forward from gate 7 over the 2138m here 2 starts back and was working in the run when fighting gamely to claim the silver behind CHARMING MAJOR. He started fav last start and after easily holding the lead threw his chances away with a gallop. With some good temp in this he can atone. TOM ME GUN (10) is racing in good touch and has been in the money at 5 of 7 starts since returning from a spell. He closed out strongly last start when a 2m 2nd to the in-form LINCOLN ROAD which followed a tough run from the breeze. With even luck from the tricky gate he can challenge. SOMWHEREOVARAINBOW (4) will take further benefit from his latest run when 2nd up from break. Beaten for early speed from gate 2 he was closing out strongly when 2m from the winner. He will be in the mix. MY SECRET TORQUE (1) will be 2nd up after returning at Redcliffe when using the passing lane following a cosy run to grab a 1m 2nd to LIFEINHEAVEN. With the options from the gate she looks a place contender. SELECTIONS: LIFEONTHEBEACH (11), TOM ME GUN (10), SOMWHEREOVARAINBOW (4), MY SECRET TORQUE (1) SUGGESTED BET: LIFEONTHEBEACH (11) to win   Racing Queensland    

The 2018 Racing Queensland summer carnival came to a dramatic close last night (Saturday) at Albion Park. But to the delight of punters, both favourites saluted in their respective features. The Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup featured reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One and the mighty four-year-old prevailed by a nose margin defeating Smooth Showgirl and Avonnova in the 2138m mobile start event. Starting from the outside of the second-line (gate 13), trainer/driver Grant Dixon set alight his richly talented performer early and circled three-wide before parking outside of the race leader Glenferrie Hood. With a strong speed being set, Colt Thirty One was able to overpower Glenferrie before withstanding the late finishing burst of Smooth Showgirl who came via the passing lane. It was a nose margin in favour of Colt Thirty One ($1.75) over Smooth Showgirl ($9.50) while Avonnova ($23) was further 2.4 metres away in third. The winning mile rate was 1:55.0 – sectionals of 30.2, 28.4, 28.4 and 28.8 seconds. The victory was Colt Thirty One’s 20th at Albion Park and 23rd overall while remaining unbeaten in four starts this campaign. “He went well and had to fight hard in the straight, I knew it was close but I’m really proud of his effort.” Dixon said. The Mach Three – Charm Personified entire is raced by his breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour. The next major assignment for Colt Thirty One will be the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle in February. In the trotting feature, the Sydney trained Monaro Mia proved victorious defeating Miracle Rising and Needle in the Gr.2 $40,770 Egmont Park Stud Darrell Alexandre Memorial Trotting Championship Final. Slowly away and ending up nearer last than first, trainer/driver Darren Hancock bided his time back near the rear before taking off three-wide with a lap remaining in the 2647m standing start feature. Entering the back straight, Hancock seized the opportunity and sent his big striding mare into overdrive and quickly established a race winning lead. At the finish, Monaro Mia ($2 fav) defeated Miracle Rising ($10) by 3 metres with a further 8.4 metres back to Needle ($5.50) in third. The winning mile rate was 2:04.1 with the final 800m metres covered in sectionals of 28.7 and 28.6 seconds. “A big thanks to Uncle Brian and my son Corey who have looked after the mare and the rest of the team up here over the past three weeks, this mare has thrived and got better each start.” Hancock said. Monaro Mia is raced by Glenn Holland who was trackside for the victory. And the victory takes the mare’s prizemoney total past $100,000. In the $14,999 King of the Claimers Final, victory went the way of Rory Mach for trainer Darrel Graham and driver Jacob Wallace while the $21,160 C2/C5 event was taken out by classy mare Fame Assured who sprintlaned to beat stablemate Aqua Miss in a time of 1:53.6. Both mares are prepared by Grant Dixon. Another metropolitan card of racing is scheduled for next Saturday night. Racing Queensland

Albion Park Summer Carnival has attracted many talented types and they will be showcased in tomorrow night’s AQWA Constructions Christmas Cup and AQWA Constructions Forever Gold Mares Open. Continuing Christmas Cup night tradition, a visit from Santa has been arranged after race 3 at approx. 6.45pm. The carnival opening night was staged last Saturday where the John McCarthy trained Rakarolla NZ sailed to victory in the AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint. It was the second time McCarthy has prepared the winner of the feature race named in honour of his former champion, the previous was Washakie in 2011. Mr Kalypso and trainer/driver Kylie Rasmussen were successful in the AQWA Constructions 2018 APHRC Member’s Cup. This was the horse’s seventh consecutive victory. Punters will appreciate that wagering service provider UBET is offering a number of attractive exotic betting propositions for this Saturday night’s meeting, spearheaded by a $25,000 First 4 Jackpot Pool on race 1 scheduled for 5:42pm EST. Additionally, $3,000 jackpot Trifectas are listed on races 3, 4 and 5 as well as a $2,500 Quadrella jackpot is listed for races 2 to 5. For the most up to date form analysis and selections refer to Racing Queensland harness racing specialist Darren Clayton’s deliberations on the meeting: http://www.harness.org.au/punting/punters-corner/form-analysis/?keyNum=234308 The opening event on the huge value packed 10 event card gets under way at 5:42pm EST. For further information contact the Club on 07 3262 2577 or info@aphrc.com.au Visit the Club website at www.aphrc.com.au   Albion Park Harness Racing

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

Classy performer January may have run her final race in Queensland. Negotiations are well advanced which could see the Cammibest – Ice Princess mare do her future racing in North America. In recent years, the desire of North American owners to purchase ‘downunder’ fillies and mares has grown exponentially given the success of Shartin, Nike Franco, Barynya, Delightful Memphis and Firebby among many others. The debut performance of all-conquering Australian and New Zealand three-year-old Filly of the Year Shez All Rock is eagerly anticipated. January, a last start winner at Albion Park on September 22 has raced in good form since joining the stables of Kylie Rasmussen winning 7 of her 22 starts. Placed at her past five starts, January proved too good defeating race favourite Mandy Kriden in the Changeover @ Burwood Stud Mares Pace over 2138m while recording a winning mile rate of 1:58.3. A winner of 13 of her 59 starts to date, her earnings now exceeds $100,000 following her latest victory. A graduate of the Redcliffe Yearling Sales, January displayed natural ability with a string of top efforts during her rookie season which culminated with placings in the $80,000 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series Final and the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED 2yo Fillies Triad Final at Albion Park. January ranks as a half-sister to Perfection On Ice (10 wins), Silent Promises (1 win) and Modern Black Magic (2 wins). Chris Barsby

Kiwis Clive and Rona McKay have raced a long list of top horses, but Muscle Factory is potentially the best yet. Rona went a step further after Muscle Factory’s mind-blowing $100,000 Group 1 Australian Gold Brisbane Graduate final at Albion Park last night. “I’ve been waiting 80 years for this moment, for this horse to come into my life,” she beamed after the presentation. “This is so exciting. Did you see how easily he won it and the time he went?” Muscle Factory paced a smoking 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1660m capped by mesmerizing closing splits of 27.4 and 26.8sec. His winning margin was a whopping 37.9m, reviving Queensland memories of 1999 when Courage Under Fire won the Gold Coast Derby by 48.75m. “He’s still raw and has so much to learn. I can’t wait to get him out for a spell now and being him back as a three-year-old,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. “I know this is a strong crop, but after a break I’ll be surprised if there are many better three-year-olds next season than him.” The McKay’s snared a large slice of Muscle Factory’s ownership following a conversation Rona had with Tritton on Miracle Mile night. “I told Shane and Lauren to buy us a nice two-year-old if they found one, but Clive said we already had enough horses,” Rona smiled. Adam Hamilton

Talent comes in many forms. And in many shapes and sizes. But for Luke McCarthy, as a kid growing up in Bathurst, all he wanted to do was horses, or harness racing to be more precise. He would shadow his father John with the family horses, always keen and eager to learn as much as possible.  The young country kid dreamed big. And when the family packed up their home and headed to the ‘big smoke’ of Brisbane, young McCarthy put plans in place. As a fresh-faced teenager, he captured much of the public imagination with his precocious talent and his unparalleled skillset in the sulky which netted many features in a short space of time. Owners and trainers alike were flocking to utilize his services on race day. It was all but impossible not to fall for him, so splendid were his gifts, so endearing his personality. From a very young age, he was destined to become a big time harness racing driver. And he can drive fast. Never fussed on achieving high academic grades, he watched time tick by at school until the bell sounded so he could get home and grade his equine students on the family property. He would mark his calendar and counted the days down until the next set of school holidays so he could spend time with the likes of famous Turnbull clan at The Lagoon and the legendary Brian Hancock. His thirst for knowledge was unwavering. He would ply his trade at every available opportunity, always looking to hone his style after watching as much vision as possible. His first drive resulted in success, steering Castle Belles to victory at Redcliffe on March 5, 1999. Now boasting over 2200 lifetime victories, McCarthy has firmly established himself as one of the best big race drivers in the sport. His winning drive behind Muscle Hill (widely regarded as the greatest trotter of all-time) in the 2009 World Trotting Derby at DuQuoin, Illinois is a clear illustration of his talent. He has 55 Gr.1 victories while 12 have come via the Grand Circuit. And 8 of those Grand Circuit triumphs have come at his favourite track – Albion Park. This weekend, he can add to that tally. McCarthy will partner star mare Carlas Pixel in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. The Dean Braun trained mare must overcome gate 13, the outside of the second-line in the 2680m mobile feature. Gambling giant UBET has listed Carlas Pixel as a $10 chance. “We’ve got a good shot; I know the draw looks bad on paper but I still think she’s good enough to win, she felt so strong last week and should improve a little further with the extra week up here. We just need a strong first lap which will bring us right into it.” McCarthy said. Carlas Pixel thrashed her rivals in her Queensland debut when brilliantly winning the Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes against her own sex. History is against the fairer sex in this event, first staged in 1969, only one mare has proven successful, champion mare Tailamade Lombo scored back in 2000. McCarthy guided Cobbity Classic to victory in 2004 followed by Slipnslide (2005/06), Mr Feelgood (2010/11), Washakie (2012), Ideal Scott (2013) and For A Reason (2014). During a decade long reign, only Blacks A Fake (2008/09) stopped a McCarthy family clean sweep of the Sunshine State feature. Now based in Sydney near Menangle, McCarthy has only scored one Grand Circuit victory in his home state, he took the winning drive behind Washakie in the 2010 Treuer Memorial when defeating Blacks A Fake while other Grand Circuit triumphs have come via Melbourne with For A Reason and Mr Feelgood (Victoria Cup) while Bling It On (Hunter Cup - 2017) is his most recent winner. And while he craves more success on the Grand Circuit, he’s chuffed with what he’s got and where he’s got it. “Make no mistake, I love driving at Albion Park and enjoy getting back there as often as I can. I suppose because we had so much family success at the track and because it provided a perfect spring board to where we are now, it makes it a special place and we all have so many great memories. “While I’ve been lucky enough to drive on so many great tracks around the world, I still rate Albion Park as my favourite venue to drive at. All of us (Luke, Andy & Toddy) boys kicked off our careers here in Brisbane and we’ve all won big races here too along with dad. “I don’t take these victories for granted, it’s hard to get horses good enough for this grade let alone winning them. I can vividly remember all of my big race triumphs at this track and hopefully there’s another one just around the corner.” Judging by his recent efforts over the past three Saturday nights, his form is as good as ever. From 23 drives, McCarthy has landed 12 winners including his quintet last weekend. Interestingly, with all the glory he has achieved in Queensland, McCarthy has never won a state drivers premiership. However, he has dominated the metropolitan drivers’ premiership. McCarthy secured the Albion Park premierships during the 2001/02, 02/03, 03/04, 04/05, 05/06, 06/07 and 2009/10 seasons. His strike rate this season currently sits at 1 win in every 4 drives. His biggest season came via the 2006/07 term when he landed 164 winners. And only once during the past 17 seasons has McCarthy missed the century mark (2008/09 – 90 wins). Another feature McCarthy is chasing this weekend is the Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Derby. He will partner boom pacer and race favourite Duplicated who starts from the coveted inside draw. Like Carlas Pixel, Duplicated hails from the stables of Braun. “This is a very serious prospect; he surprised me in a very good way last week when taking my first drive behind him. He was sharp and will improve plenty from the run; he’s got great stamina and a very high cruising pace. “I’m really looking forward to driving him again, he’ll be spot on and he’s the horse to beat. Dean’s a great trainer and a pleasure to drive for; I know he’s excited about the weekend too.” Duplicated is rated as a $1.40 elect with UBET. The McCarthy/Braun combination struck last year when they combined to win the Queensland Oaks with Shartin, now considered the best pacing mare in the world following a spate of big race victories in North America and Canada this year. Luke McCarthy Rates His Top 5: Muscle Hill ("and by a fair margin") Be Good Johnny Mr Feelgood Slipnslide Bling It On Special mentions – Famous Forever and All Speed Hanover. McCarthy will turn 36 in November this year. Chris Barsby

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