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The well supported monthly Ultimate Tools Trotters Cup series is set to continue into the new racing season with local businessman and high profile owner Greg Mitchell not only extending but increasing his sponsorship program of the Albion Park run events. In thanking Mr Mitchell for his continued support, Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman David Fowler said, 'This is great news, the series proved very popular last season and with the added bonuses for next season I am sure it’s popularity will continue to grow'. Over the next twelve months there will be five Discretionary Handicaps, two Band Handicaps and five Mobile races scheduled for the trotters with two of the Discretionary and two of the mobile races to carry increased prize money of $20,000 each. As well as the monthly rug and trophy on offer, the much sought after trainers and drivers cash bonus will also continue with winning drivers and trainers each receiving $250 cash and the winning trainer an additional $500 Ultimate Tools gift voucher. The first of the four $20,000 races will be a 1660 metre mobile and has been scheduled for 31 August with the remaining planned for 26 October (2138 metre Discretionary Hcp), 29 February 2020 (2138 metre Mobile) and 27 June 2020 (2647 metre Discretionary Hcp). The remaining monthly Ultimate Tools Trotters Cups will be run on the last Saturday of each month and carry prize money of $13,200.   Albion Park Media

TRAINER Chris Frisby sick of chasing Tiger Tara with his stable star Our Uncle Sam. In four meetings, Our Uncle Sam is yet to beat Tiger Tara home, but everything favours Frisby’s pacer to turn the tables in Saturday night’s $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park. “This is our chance the way the barriers have fallen and how well we’ve got ‘Sam’ going into the race,” Frisby said. “If we can find the lead, and I think there’s a great chance we can, we won’t be handing-up to Tiger if he comes attacking. We’ll make him do all the work.” Our Uncle Sam has run second to Tiger Tara at their past three meetings, including in the Inter Dominion final and Hunter Cup. “But the difference this time is Tiger is drawn the back row and we’ve drawn so well (gate two),” Frisby said. “I also really believe we’ve got ‘Sam’ as good as we can have him. “We were really confident heading into the Sunshine Sprint last week, but Alta Orlando wiped us out at the start and that was the end of that. “We were due for some luck and we’ve got it with the draws this week. And the 2680m suits him better than sprint racing as well.” Aussie TAB punters agree with Frisby’s confidence, having quickly backed Our Uncle Sam from $3.60 into $2.80 since Tuesday morning’s barrier draw. He could challenge for favouritism with Tiger Tara already easing from $2.40 to $2.60. Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto remains confident despite the barrier draw blow. All of Tiger Tara’s three Group 1 Aussie wins have come from front row draws. “The draw makes it harder, but I’ve got the horse where I want him. That (Menangle) win the other night was easy and it topped him off nicely,” he said. “Everything tells me he’s at least as good, if not better, than last time in work.” Queensland’s pin-up horse Colt Thirty One is the other major player as a $4.80 shot from the back row (gate 11). He was beaten after burning to hold the front last week, but it again showed he’s at his most lethal coming from off the speed.   Adam Hamilton

IN the moment after Self Assured’s first Albion Park win a few weeks back, Mark Purdon said the pacer “could be a bit special.”  Another two wins down the track and the lightly-raced three-year-old has grabbed the tag as the most exciting pacer in Australasia.  You simply had to see his win in Saturday night’s Group 3 South-East Derby to believe.  Self Assured, having just his fifth start, came from the back row around the field to sit parked and was still good enough to rundown Australia’s best three-year-old, Lochinvar Art, albeit only by a whisker in the last stride.  Wait for this … Self Assured’s closing splits outside the leader were 53.4 and 26.1sec.  Quietly-spoken stand-in driver Kylie Rasmussen was of praise in her conservative way.  “He’s very good to be able to do that. He’s so inexperienced and still learning, too,” she said.  Self Assured’s 1min54.1sec mile rate for 2138m smashed the race record set by Duplicated last year.  It’s hard to critical of Lochinvar Art given the times he ran, but Self Assured simply went better, while the other All Stars’ runner, Jesse Duke, finished a close third after sitting one-one on Self Assured.  Self Assured will be favourite to extend his winning streak to six and land the first “major” of his fledgling career in next Saturday’s $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby.  Lochinvar Art and Jesse Duke will be there again.  But it could be another stablemate, megsastar filly Our Princess Tiffany, who is Self Assured’s main threat next week.  Purdon said a dominant Queensland Oaks win would see the filly progress to the Derby and Our Princess Tiffany was definitely dominant last night.  Kylie Rasmussen took the daughter of Art Major to the front from gate four and won as she liked by 12m in a race record 1min54.7sec for the 2138m. Not much slower than Self Assured went.  Purdon expects to be back driving for the Derby next week, but wasn’t clear on which of the stable trio he would drive.  Luke McCarthy is expected to stay on Jesse Duke with Purdon and Kylie Rasmussen driving one of Self Assured or Our Princess Tiffany.    Adam Hamilton

TWO things firmly stamped Tiger Tara as the horse to beat in next Saturday night’s $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park.  First was his ultra-impressive winning return at Menangle last night (Saturday).  And second was the upset win of veteran Ohoka Punter in last night’s (Saturday) Group 1 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park.  No disrespect to Ohoka Punter, but the fact he beat boom stablemate Colt Thirty One and others will surely have put a spring in the step of Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto.  Colt Thirty One was crunched into $1.45 favourite, but had to blaze a 26sec opening quarter to hold the front from Alta Orlando and was always some query after that for a horse who hasn’t be used off the gate much.  Trainer-driver Grant Dixon slowed a dawdling 32sec second split, but it was evident at the top of the straight Colt Thirty One had a battle on his hands and the four-year-old was unable to hold-out his rising 10-year-old stablemate along the sprint lane.  It was a Dixon and owner Kevin Seymour quinella, but not in the order punters wanted.  Ohoka Punter snatched a 1.3m win with young driver Paul Diebert aboard in a cosy 1min53.2sec mile rate, well outside Im Themightyquinn’s 1min50.4sec race and track record.  It was by the far the biggest win for Diebert, who moved from NSW to work for Dixon just before last Christmas.  “It’s unbelievable. Kevin (Seymour) was at me all week saying this old horse would run a great race,” Diebert said.  The much-travelled Ohoka Punter will be chasing his second Blacks A Fake win next week, having won it when trained and driven by Nathan Purdon.  But Tiger Tara looms ominously after pacing a 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2300m first-up at Menangle.  “He ran home in 54.8 and 27.1 and Todd (McCarthy, driver) was stoked,” Pizzuto said. “He did it so well and now it’s off to Queensland.  “I’m not sure exactly when I’ll take him up, but his last workout will be here so it’ll be later in the week.”  It was Tiger Tara’s first run since finishing fifth in the Miracle Mile more than four months ago.   Adam Hamilton

Fifty-six days after winning the biggest race of his career, Hayden Barnes, now wants to win his first Group event at Albion Park on Saturday night. The 23-year-old Tallegalla horseman won the Listed Flashing Red Pace at ‘The Creek’ on May 18, and tomorrow night he has five drives on the second night of the TAB Racing Queensland Winter Carnival – three of which are Group events. All five of his steers are trained by his father Al. He rated Lincoln Road as his best winning chance, even though he’s not in a Group race. “All of my drives on Saturday can win but they will need luck in the running and for the favourites to go poorly. I couldn’t believe that Trojan Banner is paying $71 to win the (Group Three) South East Derby, especially when he opened up as third favourite for next week’s Queensland Derby. “In saying that Self Assured and Lochinvar Art are both short-priced favourites and that’s why our fella is at long odds,” Barnes said. Barnes’ other Group One drives are behind Lincoln’s Girl in the $100,000 Queensland Oaks (7.33pm) and Northview Hustler in the $100,000 Sunshine Sprint (8.39pm). “Our Princess Tiffany is going to be very hard to beat from the draw (4) in the Oaks, and Northview Hustler could get some of it if Colt Thirty he can hold the lead. We should be one-out-and-one-back, or two-out-and-two-back at worst,” he said. Barnes said it was every driver’s dream to win any races, especially when the big money is up. “I’ve been driving six or seven years now and I’m still trying to get that elusive Group win. It’s something we all dream of, and to have three drives on one of our biggest nights of the year is a great thrill. “The horses are a real credit to Dad. He has done a great job with them. It’s going to be a great night. People from Lincoln Farms in New Zealand are coming over. All up I heard there’s about 30 or 40 coming over – so no pressure,” Barnes said. “If it doesn’t work out this Saturday, then there’s always another big night to come seven days later. No matter what the race, or where it is, it’s still very important tome that I beat home my brother (Brendan),” he added. Barnes went through his book of drives for Racing Queensland. Here’s what he had to say (with draws and TAB odds): Race 3: The Al Barnes trained VISARI (2)  $1.70 – “Even though he’s the favourite, this is still a tricky race for him, especially over the 2,138m. He’s better with a sit. He’s racing real well at the moment and just needs luck. If he gets a good trip he will go close. We sat on Trojan Banner’s back last start and he dropped the bit and then got going again in straight. Each-way.” Race 5: The Al Barnes trained TROJAN BANNER (11) $71 – “The short-priced favourites in this explain his large win price. When the odds came out for next week’s Derby he was quoted as a $5 third favourite. Northview Hustler is our current stable star, but next year I think it might be this fella. He’s going to develop into a real nice 4-year-old. If he gets a nice trip he can give them a shake-up. He follows speed real well.” Race 6:  The Al Barnes trained LINCOLN’S GIRL (2) $34 – “If she doesn’t pull she goes real well. If she pulls she doesn’t run on. Then again if she settles she can run in the top five here. She’s a rough place show if she can get a nice trip. If she gets that she won’t be too far away.” Race 7: The Al Barnes trained LINCOLN ROAD (2) $5.50 – “He’s racing real well. The wet track didn’t suit him last week and this time he drops back in grade. He is a nice each-way show in this. He’s my best chance of the night with the trip.” Race 8: The Al Barnes trained NORTHVIEW HUSTLER (10) $16 – “With the second row scratching he now follows out the favourite, Colt Thirty One, which will help. I’d say Grant (Dixon) will/lead with him and stablemates Our Uncle same and Alta Orlando should go and have a look outside Colt Thirty One. At worst I should be one or two back in the second line. If I don’t have to pull him out until the 300m he should be right in the hunt. If we do get one go at them I would rate him an each-way chance.”   Racing Queensland Media

To own, train, breed, and drive a Group One winner for the first-time in more than 40 years service to harness racing would be “life-changing” for Logan Village horseman Doug Lee. Those were the 62-year-old’s exact words when asked what it would mean to finally crack a big one. “I’ve won a couple of Group Threes, and it would mean so much to my family and even the horse’s family if he got up. “Justabitnoisy’s family dates back to my grandfather’s (Snowy Finn) 1952 U Scott mare, Snow Jane, who produced Snow’s Interdominion Trotting Champion, Bay Johnny back at Globe Derby Park in 1976,” Lee said. “Winning on Saturday would mean the world to me. To win a Group One with a horse that dates back to my grandfather’s days would be precious. He was the one who got me into harness racing soon after I left school in the early 1970s,” he added. Lee and Justabitnoisy have drawn ideally at three in Saturday’s Group One $50,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Queensland Trotters Cup. “It’s a nice draw but this fella is a sit and sprint type, who will have to be saved for one run. Hopefully I can get a nice position with him an then he can show the sprint he has got,” Lee said. Justabitnoisy goes into the 2,647m standing start event having won 15 of his 90 starts and placed in 35 others for $129,851. His last two starts have really impressed Lee. Last week the 6-year-old Lawman gelding was beaten 1.8m by the current Queensland Trotter-of-the-Year, Our Overanova. But it was the start before that had Lee looking twice at his stopwatch. “The night we were beaten a short head by Majestic Courtney that horse set a new track record mile rate of 1:59.9 mile rate. My fella started from 10 metres behind that night and we timed him at 1:59.4. “That is very good form going into this race because Majestic Courtney is no slouch and she’s got a tougher front row draw (8) to contend with this time. In saying that she will be tough to beat, and from the draw I’m hoping we will be right in it again,” Lee said. Lee works a team of 12 south of Brisbane, which includes six trotters. “I got the racing bug from my grandfather. I was born in Blacktown (NSW) and have been in Queensland seven years now. We made the move because it was just too far to travel to Menangle and back from where we were living at the time. In total it was about an eight-hour return trip.” Justabitnoisy won the group Three Jim McNeill Trot in 2016 and then he repeated the dose with Scorched in the same race in early March this year. “When the whips are cracking hopefully we will be close to or on the pace. Winning this race would mean so much to me,” Lee emphasised. Whatever happens at 9:12pm, Lee will be hoping his star trotter doesn’t emulate the meaning of his mother’s name. That late 1997 Riegle Lobell mare, Justabitlooney, won 14 races and placed 31 times ($62,621) for Lee between June 2000 and November 2004.   Racing Queensland

Mark Purdon is back home and won’t drive two of his stable stars at Albion Park’s Group 1 meeting on Saturday. Instead, he’ll be watching on TV at home and hoping his troublesome eye infection recovers in time to be drive in the Group 1 Queensland Derby a week after. “I certainly wasn’t going to be right this week and your eyes are so important, so I’ve booked other drivers for the two races,” Purdon said. Kylie Rasmussen will drive $1.10 favourite Our Princess Tiffany from an ideal gate four in the $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks and buzz pacer Self Assured (gate 10) in the Group 3 South-East Derby. Luke McCarthy has landed the drive on Jesse Duke (gate five) in that Derby. “The horses are in great hands,” Purdon said. “Tiffany can and should improve on what she did winning last week. She’s drawn well and I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t win again. “I thought Self Assured’s win was enormous last week. I’d lean to him even though he’s drawn the back row in the Derby this week. Jesse Duke has the better draw and I’m sure he’ll run another big race.” Purdon reaffirmed plans for all three of his stars to come together in Saturday week’s Group 1 Queensland Derby. “If Tiffany comes out and wins really well this week then she’ll join the boys in the Derby,” he said. “As for drivers, if I’m ok then I’d drive Tiffany or Self Assured and Kylie (Rasmussen) will drive the other. I’d like to keep Luke (McCarthy) on Jesse Duke.” The big winner from today’s (Tuesday) barrier for the $100,000 Group 1 Sunshine Sprint was local star Colt Thirty One. “Barrier two is great. Draws are so important, especially in sprint races here (Albion Park). It’s a huge help,” Colt Thirty One’s trainer-driver Grant Dixon said. In contrast, recent Group 1 Len Smith Mile winner Majordan was dealt a huge blow with a back row draw (gate nine), negating his blazing gate speed and love of leading. The other key runners are Inter Dominion runner-up Our Uncle Sam (gate four) and classy former Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow (gate six). Colt Thirty One has already been crunched from $2.20 into $1.75 on the Aussie TAB from Majordan ($4), Our Uncle Sam ($5) and Cash N Flow ($9).   Adam Hamilton

WE all know about the huge advantage on playing at your home ground in a major sporting event. Queensland’s best pacer Colt Thirty One will have that and more when he tackles the most significant challenge of his career in next Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Sunshine Sprint. As well as the overwhelming support of an adoring home crowd, Grant Dixon’s stable star has the most amazing record at his home track, Albion Park. He’s raced 33 times at “The Creek” for 28 wins, two seconds, a third and a fourth. And Dixon thinks he’s never had the four-year-old better. “Everything has fallen into place with his preparation and he’s matured into the complete racehorse now,” he said. “I’m sure sheer speed is his best asset against the absolute top horses, but he’s versatile.” Colt Thirty One capped his preparation with a dominant win over the longer 2680m trip at Albion Park last night. “I didn’t think I could beat Northview Hustler from the draw, but when he was trapped wide and going back, I took the chance to get going and was lucky enough to find the front,” Dixon said. “I got going fairly early and they came at him late, but he did it well and, importantly, seems to have come through it really well. “Now we just need a draw. They are so important up here at the moment with the times we are running.” The barrier draw for the Sunshine Sprint is Tuesday morning. _______________________________________________________________________________________ WHEN Mark Purdon used the words “could be a bit special” about Self Assured last week, everybody took notice. And, just seven days later, we all saw why. Self Assured’s win, when driven by Kylie Rasmussen, in last night’s (Saturday) Group 3 JC McMullen (2138m) was mesmerizing. To come and sit parked about the older and classy former Kiwi pacer Alta Orlando and easily beat him was a phenomenal effort. They paced a 1min54.5sec mile rate for the 2138m, but blazed home in 55 flat and 27.7sec. Self Assured beat Alta Orlando, who was having his first from for the Craig Cross stable, by 2.8m with another 16.2m away to third-placed Dazzle Me. It took Bettor Delight three-year-old’s record to four wins from as many starts and affirmed his status as a rising star of the sport. Self Assured gets this week off then heads to the $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby, most probably against stablemates Jesse Duke and Our Princess Tiffany, at Albion Park on July 20. Our Princess Tiffany opened her Queensland campaign with a strong and hard-fought win over Miss Striesand in last night’s South-East Oaks. Stand-in driver Kylie Rasmussen was forced to sit parked and always felt in control despite the margin only being a half-neck. “I had to urge her a bit near the line, but apart from that she felt great,” Rasmussen said. “She hadn’t raced since June 1 and will be better for the run.” Our Princess Tiffany backs up in the Queensland Oaks next Saturday and is also expected to tackle the boys in the Derby a week after.   Adam Hamilton

In a funding package delivered by Racing Queensland to the three racing codes earlier this week came the announcement under the harness racing section that the Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint will have a prize money increase to $100,000 and rightfully be returned to Group 1 status. The 2019 running of the Group 1 $100,000 Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint will be conducted at Albion Park on Saturday evening July 13 on the second night of the TAB Winter Carnival. Chris Garrard (OAM), the long term sponsor of the Sunshine Sprint said ‘the announcement was great news not only for participants in Queensland but the entire harness racing industry. This is the Sunshine State and it is a race that Queenslanders can claim as their own’. He then joked ‘I only wish that I could get one good enough to race in it’. Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman David Fowler thanked the Garrard family on behalf of the Club for their continuous long term sponsorship of this time honored and prestigious feature event. The Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint is certainly worthy of its Group 1 status, since the races inception in 1969 when the bonny mare Teeny Reena partnered by Brian Hancock took out the inaugural edition of this sought after feature there has been a cavalcade of champions over the years that have also added their name to the honour board. Koala King won it in 1976, four years before going on to win the 1980 Inter Dominion and the legendary Paleface Adios became the first horse to win the race twice, backing up his 1973 win with another success in 1978. On the opening night of the new Albion Park 5/8th mile track in 1983, Joe Ilsley drove Amazing Trick to victory in a time of 1.59.4 to break the two minute barrier with Queenslander Wondai’s Mate successful in 1986 while another Inter Dominion winner in Thorate won it in the bi-centennial year of 1988. Into the new millennium and more big names of harness racing were etched onto the trophy including ‘Hall Of Famer’ Blacks A Fake with victories in 2007 and 2011, Mr Feelgood in 2010, Avonnova in 2015 and Hectorjayjay going back to back in 2016 and 2017. West Australian, Im Themightyquinn set the Albion Park track record for the mile journey of 1.50.4 when saluting for the father and son Hall stable in 2014.  Silks Trackside Marquee and the famous seafood buffet will be open during the course of the TAB Winter Carnival on Saturdays 6, 13, & 20 July with bookings available by phoning the Club on 07 3262 2577.   Albion Park Harness Racing

Racing Queensland will launch the inaugural $30,000 Stallions Australasia Springboard Series for 2YO trotters at Albion Park this month. Following a number of recent initiatives to support breeding and racing opportunities, the introduction of the Springboard Series – complemented by a new $10,000 2YO QBRED feature on August 16 – has been strategically developed to enhance the trotting gait in the Sunshine State. In addition to three $5000 heats at Albion Park on June 25, July 9 and July 23, a $15,000 final will be staged on August 2. Stallions Australasia will also provide a complimentary service to one of their leading sires, Wishing Stone, to the winning connections of the Springboard Series final. The sponsorship follows RQ’s announcement to expand the definition of a QBRED trotting stallion to include those registered within Queensland for whom only frozen semen is available in Australia. In addition to Wishing Stone, Stallions Australasia’s other stallions who will fall under QBRED for the 2019/20 breeding season include Trixton, Muscle Hill, Southwind Frank and Royalty For Life. “The Springboard Series forms part of RQ’s strategy to grow the trotting gait in Queensland,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said. “We’re grateful for Stallions Australasia’s support and for their willingness to stimulate breeding and racing opportunities in the Sunshine State “Following the success of QBRED for life – the nation’s premier state-based incentive scheme – there’s never been a better time to race trotters in Queensland.” While there are no eligibility restrictions other than age for the Springboard Series, a minimum of three starters are required for each heat, with those qualifying for the final required to have contested at least two heats. The 2YO series will be complemented by a 3YO series in 2020 to provide further development and racing opportunities for juvenile trotters. In recent years, RQ has launched a number of new initiatives for trotters including: A $2000 first-win bonus (paid upon any trotters first win in Queensland, providing the horse is trained by a Qld trainer); Removing the age restrictions under the ‘QBRED for life’ bonus structure that provides a $10,000 first win bonus and $7500 second win bonus for any QBRED trotters that win a race with a stake value higher than $4500; The introduction of a monthly Trotters Cup thanks to Ultimate Tools; and The ‘Breed-a-trotter’ promotion in conjunction with Haras De Trotteurs at the 2018 Winter Racing Carnival.    Click here to see further information on the RQ’s QBRED for life initiative.   RQ Media

Electrifying two-year-old harness racing filly Pelosi, who has set tongues wagging with some astonishing performances in recent weeks, has pulled up as bright as a button from her first Group One success. Owner-breeder Wayne Honan said the horse would now be aimed at the New South Wales Breeders' Challenge series, which culminates with a $125,000 final at Menangle on June 30. "There's heats at Newcastle and then semi-finals leading into the big one. So, all going well, there's exciting times ahead. After that she will head for a spell," Honan said. "We always thought she would be something special because she looked the goods from day one, being well-gaited and unlike a few others in that breeding, didn't brush her knee. "Anna (Woodmansey) has done an exceptional job in training Pelosi. She only has two in work (the other being Photozen), but she is so thorough and spends every spare minute with them. And I have to say that both horses can be a bit 'different' at times." Owner-breeder of Pelosi Wayne Honan with trainer Anna Woodmansey --Dan Costello photo The impeccably bred Pelosi (American Ideal USA-For Dear Life (Life Sign USA) is now the fastest filly Queensland has ever produced. She scored the biggest win of her short career when successful in last Saturday night's $150,000 APG 2YO final at Albion Park. Prepared at Chambers Flat by hobby trainer Anna Woodmansey, who works in a high school administration office, Pelosi has now won four of her five lifetime starts. While the win provided Woodmansey and popular reinsman John Cremin with their first ever Group One victories, Honan has been one of Australia's most successful trainer-drivers over the years. In the heady days of the 1970s and 80s, Honan and his late legendary father Jack, of Killarney Stud, Canowindra, were a formidable team, preparing big teams of up to 35 horses. "One of our first decent horses I can recall was a mare named Fine Jade. She won the Queensland Oaks and then went onto be the dam of Prince Jade ($114,921), Genesee ($58,211), Glens Fine Jade ($25,110) as well as some others," Honan said. "As well as the Canowindra stables, we also had a property near the late and great Ron Peace at Donnybrook, near Melbourne. "The recent Brisbane wins brought back some fond memories because we made many trips north with our horses to the annual Winter Carnival over the years. We'd be based at Albion Park, but would also compete at Redcliffe and even down to Tweed Heads on the Queensland/New South Wales border. "We made a lot of friends and won some nice races during those campaigns." Pelosi comes from a successful family line boasting outstanding Group race victories, but gets her name from American congresswoman, the energetic and determined Nancy Pelosi. The 79-year-old was first elected in 2007 and is now in her third term as the speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Honan said the name seemed a fitting one for the feisty daughter of American Ideal. "From what I can see, Nancy gives President Trump heaps - she goes hard and wants to be the best. So there's a bit of meaning there," he said. For Dear Life, dam of Pelosi, was a brilliant racehorse, winning 14 races from 28 starts for over $322,000. And grand dam, the Stature mare Express Post, was exceptionally fast. "When I won the Pink Bonnet with her at Harold Park, she lowered the previous race record by three seconds. She was awesome and ended up with 11 wins from 18 starts," Honan said. In the breeding barn, Express Post was a sensation. Petousa (by Western Hanover) won $180,000 in stakes, stallion Flightpath (Artsplace) won nearly $290,000 before retiring to stand at stud and For Dear Life (Life Sign) won $322,000. Honan retains Petousa, while Moama horseman Tony Peacock has For Dear Life at his St Fort property. For Dear Life has an Always B Miki weanling colt and will be served by American Ideal this coming season. Pelosi, driver John Cremin, Anna Woodmansey and Wayne Honan --Dan Costello photo  For John Cremin, recognized as one of the Sunshine State's favorite sons, the APG Group One win was much deserved. "Cremmo", as he's known, who turns 56 next Sunday (coincidentally the same day wife Tanya celebrates her birthday) got an early present he won't forget for a long time. "I've probably been driving for nearly 40 years, so I was overdue for a win in a Group One. I guess Pelosi is proof that you're never too old as far as a driver goes!" he said. "Perhaps some might say that my years of experience are now paying off. But as a young fella I wouldn't have handled horses with little idiosyncrasies like her. With a little bit of age and experience it's finally come to me!" Cremin was quick to label Pelosi as the best of her age that's he's ever driven. "She's definitely by far the best - the complete package. She relaxes beautifully and is so versatile. My only worry is to keep her out of trouble," he said. Cremin, who trains a team of six as well as being a respected farrier, is looking forward to the coming NSW campaign for Pelosi with the memory of a Newcastle win under his belt with Home of Jack in the Cup in December 2005. Watch the Pelosi win video replay here!   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

YET to return home from his current one, Jilliby Nitro is already on target for another interstate trip. Speaking after Jilliby Nitro’s Australian Pacing Gold triumph at Albion Park just moments ago, trainer Marg Lee outlined her plans for the boom freshman. Set to embark on a long float trip to Victoria, Jilliby Nitro will be given a light week before being prepared for the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge. The futurity culminates in a $125,000 Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle on June 30. Menangle’s Training Centre is also part of Lee’s itinerary on the way home. “The long float home won’t seem so bad now after that win,” Lee said. “We will stop Menangle to use the Aquagait on the way home as we have had a few little issues with him like a bit of a sore back and couple little things. “We’ll see how he pulls up from tonight, but all going well, he will be back in Menangle next month for the Breeders’ Challenge.” Driven by Lee’s son Jason during his latest Group One success, Jilliby Nitro began quickly to lead from barrier two as Be Happy Mach worked overtime on his outside. Fending off the initial challenge at the top of the home straight, Jilliby Nitro sprinted to a three-and-a-half metre win from Yejele Hammer, with Be Happy Mach battling on bravely to be a half-head away third. Rating 1:53.6 over 1660 metres, the son of Bettors Delight stretched his record to four wins and a second from five starts for earnings of $210,095. “It was a super win,” Lee said. “He did it so well. “He has done a terrific job to win the Bathurst Crown and now this. “He’s got a good nature and settles anywhere he goes which is great and is just a lovely horse.” Lee’s trek home was made even more pleasant in the following race when Jilliby Bandit - also an APG purchase - scored from Saloon Passage and Colt Thirty One. “Bandit and Nitro are friends at home, plus this was a suitable race for him, so he made the trip as a companion,” Lee said. “He might also go to Menangle with Nitro too.”   APG Media

He won the Bathurst Gold Crown Final in exciting fashion and now Jilliby Nitro will hunt for his second Group 1 prize when he heads to Albion Park on Saturday night. A brilliant winner of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club's annual two-year-old colts and geldings feature on March 29, the Victorian youngster has been sent north for the rich Australian Pacing Gold Final. Second in his heat at Melton when first-up for a month, the previously unbeaten colt has drawn barrier two in the $350,000 decider. Jilliby Nitro will slot into the pole for trainer Marg Lee once the emergency is removed from the equation. "It is a good draw and hopefully we can take full advantage of it," Lee said.  "He has gate speed and will go forward from there." Arriving in Queensland on Tuesday afternoon, Jilliby Nitro is expected to improve from his qualifier with Lee confident she can capture her second APG Final. Lee prepared Jilliby Jitterbug to secure the fillies' division in 2005. Jilliby Jitterbug was driven by Lee's son, Jason, who will take the reins behind Jilliby Nitro. "He arrived in Queensland with Jason today and seems to have handled it okay," Lee said.  "He's had bit more work into him since the heat and that run has also done him good. "He's going very well and will be ready for this." Lee has also sent Jilliby Bandit to the Sunshine State as a travelling companion, with the five-year-old drawn barrier six in the following race on the card. Successful in Melton last weekend, Jilliby Bandit is a brother to Jilliby Jitterbug with the pair by Rock N Roll Heaven from 2008 APG champion, Keppel Bay. "Jilliby Bandit is in good form and went well last week," Lee said.  "He and Nitro are friends at home, plus there was a suitable race for him, so he made the trip as a companion to make Nitro feel relaxed. "He will also be hard to beat." Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Former Riverina young gun Cameron Hart is happy to call Sydney home at the moment – and it appears city life is agreeing with him.   The junior driver posted the 200th winner of his relatively short harness racing career at Brisbane’s Albion Park last Saturday and he’s a model of consistency in the sulky, with his win-place ratio running at more than 50 percent.   And the 20-year-old showed particularly fine touch over the past week.    An enviable winning streak kicked off at Penrith on Thursday when Hart landed the win with eight- year-old gelding Raffaella (Mach Three-Slipinn (Holmes Hanover) for his boss Shane Sanderson.   He then got the money in Brisbane on Saturday, again for Sanderson, with Castalong Shadow (Shadow Play-Leslie Jay (Grinfromeartoear) and followed up at Sunday’s Wagga Cup meeting with a win on Beetson (Art Major-Erin Jean (Classic Garry) in the feature event.   “I’ve been clocking up a few airline frequent flyer points with the travel I’m doing, but I’m not complaining because travel is a big part of the industry and we all have to do it in one way or another,” Hart said.   “It was a bit of a pain when there were no suitable flights to get back to Wagga for the cup, and I had to do a four-and-a-half hour road trip after getting back from Brisbane,” Hart said.   “But it’s worth it when you get the win.”   Hart is hitting the road again today (Thursday) for another Carnival of Cups meeting, hosted this time by Coolamon. He is booked to drive Brobenah Boy for Guy Retallick in the $10,200 Cup and Flaneur for Gary Lang in a C1 event.   “It will be a huge day. It always is at Coolamon and I’m going to enjoy being there, that’s for sure,” Hart said.   The trip to Coolamon will be almost back on home turf. The rising star reinsman grew up at Junee, just 30 kilometres down the road and it seems a career in harness racing was almost inevitable.   Hart’s mother Michelle is a niece of the late Alan Harpley who steered the mighty Welcome Advice to a 1972 Inter-Dominion grand final win. And it also didn’t hurt Hart’s prospects that Junee and the wider Riverina is home to some of Australia’s best horsemen and horses.   “There’s certainly a good bit of pedigree there and in addition, Bruce Harpley, a well-known trainer- driver, is my second cousin,” Hart said.   “So, I guess it was pretty much a sure thing that I was going to head into the sport,” he said.   The pathway to a harness racing career began at the age of five when his parents purchased a pony and the youngster got heavily involved in the mini trotters.   “That was a great learning ground and all of us had heaps of fun,” he said.   Later on, Kim Hillier loaned Hart a pony called Energizer and the pair took all before them.   “We won all the big ones. The Inter-Dominion, Miracle Mile and State Championships for the ponies. I can still remember the first time I competed at Menangle with Energizer and it seemed like a huge circuit,” Hart said.   Flashback to 2014 – young Riverina pony trots competitors Tegan Judd, Jordan Seary (who is also a promising young driver) and Cameron.   As he got older, every spare minute at home would be spent off helping his uncle, Michelle’s brother, Trevor White, a household name in harness racing circles in the Riverina.   “I would help Uncle Trev with trackwork when I was only 12, and three years later mum and dad agreed to let me go there and work full-time,” he said.   “It was an awesome time and I learnt so much about training, care and feeding.   “Uncle Trev also showed faith in me as a driver as well, and he gave me my first race drive on a horse called Ideal Investment at Albury in April, 2016.”   The horse won, two days later, at his second drive, Hart tasted more success at Canberra with Ravishing Girl for Sloys Company and trainer Noel Morris.   “I suppose I could say that it went downhill from there!” he laughed.    It obviously wasn’t the case, but the popular young reinsman’s good humor, along with his natural ability, provided him with plenty of opportunities.   He showed rapid improvement and a cool head beyond his years racking up an eye-catching tally of 60 wins in his first season of driving . “While I enjoyed driving at country meetings, it was always on my mind to get to the city when the time was right,” Hart said.   It was a matter of waiting for a break and it came when Cameron’s sister Ashley, 21, also a driver (now in Victoria with Andy and Kate Gath) approached Menangle-based Shane (Sanderson) regarding job vacancies.   “That was my lucky day because I couldn’t have wished for a better place to work – Shane and his wife Naomi have been awesome,” Hart said.   Hart is now the stable driver for the Sanderson team, and says the timing for him was fortunate.   Shane Sanderson and Cameron Hart (Courtesy Ash Brennan Photography)   “Shane and Naomi have kept building the team and getting stronger horses, so that’s been fantastic for me. It’s not only driving good horses that helps you to be a better driver, but also driving against the best as well.   “While Shane provides me with the most driving opportunities, David Waite is also good and several other outside stables.   “The recent Wagga win was my third Group 3 success, with the other couple at Menangle. I’m just so glad I made the move.   “Sydney is a fantastic city and I’m really enjoying the racing side of it. And in my leisure time I’m finding my golfing is improving!”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

“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

Queensland’s best juvenile filly of last season will vie for her 10th consecutive win in Saturday night's $50,000 Group 2 QBRED Three-Year-Old Fillies Triad Final at Albion Park on Saturday- the Group Two Q-Bred 3yo Fillies Triad Final. Thirty-two minutes earlier the 'boys' will also compete for $50,000 in the only other Group 2 race of the evening - the QBRED Colts and Gelding Final. There are also four other Listed $25,000 events on the 10-race card. “If she (Smart As Camm Be) performs well on Saturday, and there’s no reason why she won’t, then we may take her for a quick hit and run mission to the Victoria Oaks in a couple of weeks,” her Stanmore trainer/driver, Kylie Rasmussen said. “It all depends on flights and what her owners have to say,” she added. The Group One $150,000 Victoria Oaks will be run at Melton’s Tabcorp Park in a fortnight (Saturday April 27). Sadly for Smart As Camm Be’s 12 opponents, the brilliant daughter of Cammibest and Too Smart For You (by Famous Forever) has drawn (3), and looks set to lead them all the way over Saturday's 2,138m mobile. She's also in mint condition. “She’s never been better. She took a wee while to come back from her spell, because she did suffer a little setback early in the season when a virus went through the barn. “But now she is bigger and stronger than she ever has been,” Rasmussen said. Last July Smart As Camm Be won the equivalent 2yo Triad Final as the $1.80 favourite. She drew six in that $100,000 Group One event and got up by a neck with a sizzling 1:55.7 mile rate. Smart As Camm Be has won all four of her starts this season at Albion Park on February 26, March 19, March 27, and April 2. Don't expect to get a big win dividend this time around either. Her win prices so far in 2019 have been $1.20, $1.22, $1.08, and $1.30. “She trialed well in February too and has got stronger with each run since then. She had a great 2-year-old season but it took it’s toll on her. She suffered from bone chips in her knee and we had to put her out for a fair while to recover (July 21-February 12). “I’m just so pleased she’s a healthy horse and is now back to where we want her to be. I think she can only get stronger as the season develops. If her 3-year-old season is as good as her 2-year-old one, then we’ll be rapt,” Rasmussen said. The slow start to the season was largely why Smart As Camm Be by-passed the Group One $200,000 New South Wales Derby in Sydney on March 2, in preference for Group racing in the ‘Sunshine State’. “She just wasn’t ready – and now she is,” Rasmussen said. Last year's Queensland 2yo Pacing Filly-of-the-Year, had a brilliant first-up season in 2017-2018. She won five of her seven starts from March 27 until July 21 - the last five in a row. As well as her QBRED victory, Smart As Camm Be also won the $25,000 Listed Classic Q-Bred Breeders Classic. Rasmussen will be looking to emulate her feats of 2010 and 2011 with her former female star, the 2007 Famous Forever mare, Forever Gold. She won the Q-Bred 2yo Fillies Final in 2010, and then the following year nailed the QBRED 3yo Fillies Final and the prestigious Group One Queensland 3yo Oaks. “The (Group One) $75,000 Queensland Oaks (July 13) is her main priority after this month," Rasmussen said. Smart As Camm Be has so far won nine of her 11 starts and placed in one other for $105,560. “I’m working a team of about 30 at the moment and this girl is up there with Lilac Flash and Mr Kalypso as the best of them,” said Rasmussen.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

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