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THE GOOD 2019 Queensland Horse of the Year, Colt Thirty One, has returned from a brief spell in fine fettle to press his credentials for successive titles. In two runs back this preparation, the Grant Dixon-trained entire has shown his versatility to overcome gate seven on successive occasions; the first in a tough fighting win, the second in a swooping finish. Resuming over the 2,138-metre distance on September 12, Dixon sent his star pupil to sit outside the leader, Northview Hustler, where he was able to show plenty of grit in scoring victory by a one-metre margin. Second-up on Saturday night in the Remembering Son Of Pearl Pace, the barrier draw was again unkind, landing the outside front-line gate, this time over the 1,660-metre trip. As the field was released, Dixon stayed out of the early pace battle that ensued, easing ‘Chester’ to find position in the running line. With Justalittle Torque repelling Maywyns Best through the first quarter, the clock was stopped in a sizzling 26.5 seconds. That drew an early move from Ashley Locaz, working forward from the 1100-metre mark, expending plenty of petrol in working forward. The move saw Maywyns Best flagged on to take control, with Ashley Locaz moving to the position outside the leader. With the speed on, Dixon made his move at the 500-metre mark, pushing Colt Thirty One around the field to loom into the contest strongly. Balancing up for the stretch drive, the Colt had bullets to fire, arriving for a strong 1.51.2 mile-rate victory, a new career personal best for the five-year-old. In claiming the 40th win of his career, it was the 35th time that Colt Thirty One has been successful at Albion Park. This moves the Dixon-trained star into the top 10 for most victories at The Creek, Queensland’s headquarters of harness racing. Sitting equal with Melton Multimax and the former star mare Happy Haldon on 34 wins heading into Saturday night’s race, the win pushed Chester to 35 and outright ninth on the list. Another three wins will move Colt Thirty One equal to three of the greatest Queensland trained pacers of any era, and amazingly all three campaigned at the same time. Be Good Johnny, Cobbity Classic and Blacks A Fake all finished their careers with 38 victories at Albion Park. Arguably the greatest ever, Blackie missed a cheque just twice in his 50 appearances at headquarters, adding 10 placings to his 38 victories. Colt Thirty One has made it to 35 wins from 49 outings at The Creek, placed a further 12 times having also missed a top-three finish just twice thus far. Returning in such dominant fashion, Chester looks set to further his record with successive Horse of the Year titles looking well within his grasp.   THE BAD While track resurfacing works were scheduled to be completed with the transfer of just the Tuesday and Friday meetings at Albion Park, the process involved has seen two further meetings transferred to Redcliffe this week. The delay has been necessitated by advanced surveying work to be undertaken, and these advanced works will allow accurate track levels to be surveyed and recorded. Despite the disappointment for the Albion Park Club to lose the Saturday and Tuesday meetings, the long-term benefits are worth the short-term loss. The transfer represents a great opportunity for Redcliffe to play host to metropolitan racing. Officially opened just last week, the upgraded facilities were the result of the Club securing a Government grant to complete works that included a new stabling complex and upgrades to the race day facilities for drivers and stewards. Fresh off the track undergoing maintenance resurfacing in the past fortnight, it bodes well for a top night at The Triangle this Saturday night.   THE MILESTONE It has been a long time between drinks for Deception Bay based trainer Stephen Bunz, yet his perseverance has never waned throughout the season. In the extended season, Bunz had yet to prepare a winner, not through lack of effort or attempts as he continued to toil away looking for an elusive winner. That determination was rewarded last Thursday at Redcliffe when Bunz broke the drought to land his first winner for the season when Rayong Princess was successful in the opening event of the day. In recording her third career victory - the second under Bunz care - the Rob Roy Mattgregor mare also broke a drought of her own. The last victory the mare recorded came back in April of 2018, driven on that occasion by Adam Richardson. This time around Paul Diebert took the drive, leading throughout in claiming victory by a half-head margin. Owned by Bunz in partnership with Matthew Greentree, it was a day to remember for Greentree as he recorded his first double as an owner. Just thirty minutes after Rayong Princess was successful, Greentree drove Sixpenny Red to victory, a mare he was gifted and is trained by Graham Dwyer. Coming with a well-timed run, four-year-old mare Sixpenny Red rushed by the leader to claim victory by just over 10 metres, the eighth win of her career.   THE WILDCARD One Change remains unbeaten in Queensland since joining the Vicki Rasmussen stable after another strong performance when successful at Albion Park at his most recent start. Sitting back as the leader Will The Wizard was out in front in ‘catch me if you can’ tactics, driver Shane Graham allowed One Change to slide up towards the leader. With a third quarter blitz of 26.9 down the back stretch, Graham continued to edge closer and approaching the home turn, put the power on to take the lead. Forging clear in the run to the judge, a fast-finishing Bombadier Jujon loomed up, but left his run too late with One Change holding on to claim victory by a neck. The win equalled the three-year-old track record at Albion Park, matching the mark set just last month by Crunch Time in a 1.51.1 mile. The previous record of 1.52.1 set by Burnaholeinmypocket had stood since June 2015. In securing the Ultimate Tools sponsored 3YO event, One Change took his superb record to 12 wins from 18 starts, with the colt sure to be a major player in any feature he contests this year. THIS WEEK As a result of Albion Park’s track resurfacing works, Redcliffe will play host to the next eight successive Queensland harness meetings, starting on Tuesday September 22 through to October 1. This Friday will see heats of the popular Pot Of Gold Series held over the 1780 metre distance. Those progressing to the Final will compete over the 1,660-metre distance at Albion Park on Friday October 2, with total stakes of $10,860 on offer. Trainers and owners are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the updated programme and distance amendments that are a result of the Saturday and Tuesday meetings being transferred to Redcliffe. Of interest in the calendar this Saturday is a 2040-metre event for the square gaiters to be keenly contested. For horses with no band assessment, it is effectively a qualifier for the trotters and on current numbers should provide a highly competitive event, with the likes of Doug, Skyline, Jeddy R Ya Ready, Aveross Don and Miss Invasion all possible nominations for the event.   by Darren Clayton

Catch up on the weekend’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD How do you categorise the feeling of owning a winner, training a winner, or driving a winner? Combine all three, and that is a feeling that not many in the sport get to achieve. Add a milestone to the mix and there is a whole lot more thrill, excitement and satisfaction. Hayden Barnes was able to achieve that on Saturday night with the victory of Gee Up Neddy, a horse that he owns on lease, trains, and drove to victory in claiming the ninth race on the card at Albion Park. The win was also the 400th occasion that H L Barnes has been successful as a driver in his career, was number 70 for the season and the second leg of a winning double for the night. The first leg of the double was courtesy of Northview Hustler, a horse trained by Al Barnes - Hayden’s father - who was successful in the Open Class event. Utilising gate one to full advantage, Hayden was wearing his proverbial balaclava, able to steal a crazy 61.4 second opening half, a time unheard of in the open class ranks. With the short-priced favourite Ashley Locaz forced to cut the breeze first-up from a spell, Barnes was sitting on a flush hand and after a very steady 28.6 third split only had to turn and burn up the stretch. Doing exactly that, Northview Hustler had 2.3 metres to spare on the line for the easiest of victories and an even easier armchair drive. “I thought we were a good chance if I could pinch a cheap quarter, but as it turned out, I was able to get away with 3 and once that happened I knew they wouldn’t run him down, he was bolting around the bend,” Barnes said. Claiming career win 399 with Northview Hustler, the elusive 400 was within reach in a season that had been underwhelming for Barnes, as he lamented some lost opportunities. Fast forward 152 minutes to Race 9, and the milestone was made official. “It was a relief to finally get to 400 wins, after a lean period in the second half of the season,” Barnes said. “It is good to get it out of the way as Brendan (Barnes), Matt (Elkins) and I were all heading towards 400 so we had a little rivalry of who would get there first.” With his younger brother Brendan and Elkins both eclipsing the mark some months back, Hayden was finally able to crack the milestone with a Saturday night success. In an ironic twist, it has likely become more memorable through the circumstances by being reached with Gee Up Neddy. Thinking that he was a place chance following from his run last week, Gee Up Neddy was safely away, although not quite in the position that many expected. “I thought I would be on the back of Havana Magic who looked the leader but the fence did not worry me at that speed,” Barnes said. “They were going too quick and I was pretty confident once I angled off the fence.” That confidence was well-placed when popping up into the running line at the 500-metre mark when Havana Magic began to wilt under the torrid trip. In a tempered and controlled drive thereafter, Gee Up Neddy arrived for a deserved win, his fourth for Barnes. In fact, it has been a successful period for the eldest of the Barnes brothers, with Hayden also owning shares in a number of other winners in recent weeks. Buying shares to provide an interest outside of his Queensland stable, Barnes has ventured into some talented horses placed in various stables around the country. Needabacardi, One Night Out, Dreamee, Stylish Trend and Ohoka Jimmy are the newest additions, with Barnes holding a percentage share in each.   THE BAD It has not been all plain sailing with Gee Up Neddy this season, with the gelding disqualified from a race in October 2019 after returning a positive swab. After some anxiety and concern into how the positive became, Neddy had the race taken off him under the rules, however no conviction or penalty was imposed on Barnes once the circumstances were identified. Following a mid-year spell, it has taken some time to get Gee Up Neddy back fully fit, with the conditions on Saturday night certainly working in his favour. Returning to the front line from the inside lane was a bonus with the eldest Barnes brother confident a top-three placing could be achieved with the nine-year-old gelding. “His run last week was good and I thought from the draw he was a solid top-three hope as I thought he was nearly back to where he should be,” Barnes said. With the disqualification and the disappointment of a season where things have not entirely gone as hoped, it has certainly ended on high. However, the racing bug bit back, with five winners in the past week, a metro double and the elusive 400 having quickly changed Barnes’ plans to reconsider his career.  “I actually was not going to renew my licence, I need a break and have had a lean spell so I was not going to bother,” Barnes said.  “After Saturday night and five for the week, I thought I better get back into it.” Winning form is the best form and it has kept Hayden in the game - for now.   THE WILDCARD Trevor Barsby was a fearless opening batsman for Queensland that has the honour of scoring a century in the State’s first ever Sheffield Shield victory. Barsby also faced up to some of the best bowlers in the world to have ever played the game of cricket, names like Garner, Marshall and Ambrose. Donny Smith was involved in a Sheffield Shield squad and was a member of the Wynnum Manly’s first ever Brisbane A Grade title when defeating the Greg Chappell led Souths outfit. Smith also faced one of the most lethal bowlers of the time in Jeff Thomson. Matt Elkins represented Queensland in his junior years where he was an accomplished player that rates Cameron Gannon as the fastest bowler he has faced. Gannon was the leading wicket taker in the most recent Shield competition and has since left Queensland after signing with Western Australia. On Saturday night, Barsby, Smith and Elkins combined to form a dynamic three-prong attack with the victory of Coolie Kid in Race 5 at Albion Park. While Barsby has had previous success as an owner, the latest victory ended a quest to achieve Saturday night glory, a goal that ‘Tank’ had been chasing for some time. A recent acquisition from New South Wales, Coolie Kid is raced by Trevor Barsby, his partner Mary Bragagnolo, his mother Lorna, along with Ian Barsby. The gritty win by the five-year-old gelding suggests the innings is far from over and that there are more runs in store.   THE MILESTONE With the 2019/20 season facing various changes as a response to the COVID pandemic, club and state premierships that involve horses will continue through to December 31. However, training, driving and other premierships that are for participants have been finalised, with the Queensland and National training title again going to Grant Dixon, rounding out the term with 290 winners. It will be the eighth time that Dixon has claimed National honours in the past nine years, with 290 winners his third highest total, surpassed only by the mammoth 340 in 2018/19 and 291 in the 2017/2018 season when finishing second to Emma Stewart. This season has seen the Dixon stable secure victories in Victoria, New South Wales and of course Queensland. Leading the stable charge has been star three-year-old Governor Jujon, who also sits in the National Starters Top Twenty with a season that has returned ten wins and over $190,000 in stake earnings. Highlights were Group victories in the South-East Derby, Colts & Geldings Triad Final, Redcliffe Sales Series 3YO Final and the Simpson Memorial. The Gov also notched up heat wins in both the Victorian and New South Wales Derby. Colt Thirty One recorded six wins for the season and took the stable to all three eastern-seaboard States, as well as to the North Island of New Zealand for the 2019 Inter Dominion. Season highlights for the five-year-old were Group victories in the Swan Hill Cup and the Queensland Cup at Albion Park. With the stable producing the quality juvenile talent to complement the established stars in The Gov and Chester, the likes of Jasper, Chamonix, Fond Memories and True Stepper will hold Dixon in good stead for another big season ahead.   THIS WEEK It is another packed week in Queensland harness racing with meetings to be held every day of the week. Kicking off the bonanza will be an eight-race card at Redcliffe on Monday night which will signal the end of the premierships for the 2019/20 season, with race 8 on the card also the last harness event in Australia for the season. Albion Park will play host to its regular weekly schedule, that takes in racing on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Redcliffe has its standard Wednesday night and Thursday fixtures as well as the added Monday night card. The seventh meeting for the week will see Marburg host a Sunday afternoon meeting to coincide with Father’s Day. Another edition of the always popular Marburg to Albion Series will be the main attraction on the track. The series for the NR 47 to 52 performers will culminate with a final carrying $10,900 to be held on Saturday September 12.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the weekend’s harness racing action in Racing Queensland's weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.   THE GOOD While the COVID-19 has slowed the kilt and bagpipe making business he owns, the current climate has allowed Doug Manger to get back into his other great passion; training pacers. That passion reached new heights on Saturday at Albion Park after Ideal Tiger was successful, providing Manger his first metropolitan winner as a trainer. Owned in partnership with wife Karen, the five-year-old gelding used the passing lane to score with Nathan Dawson taking the drive, arriving in time to claim a half-neck victory. The benefit of a good starting barrier made all the difference, with his recent performances from bad gates suggesting only a change of luck would be required to see a more favourable finish. Running some superb sectional times at his past three starts, those runs had come from gates nine, three and five, meaning barrier one was a huge improvement on his winning hopes. With an original plan to attempt to lead, the early speed shown by the outside runner Recipe For Dreaming saw Ideal Tiger take the trail before finishing best to claim victory and a maiden Saturday night training success for his trainer. Having had Saturday night success as an owner previously - through the former handy performer Enrique Of Malacca - business commitments prevented Manger from being able to prepare horses himself consistently. Purchasing a new property in late 2019, the plan was to return to training again, having prepared horses ‘on and off’ since 1990. After purchasing Ideal Tiger from New Zealand for a modest sum, the timing could not have been any better. “He was only a cheapie, but it has worked out perfectly,” Manger explained. “He arrived just as COVID hit and to be honest, I would not have bought him in from New Zealand if I knew shutdowns were about to happen.” Having his first start in the Kilt Hire Australia colours for the Mangers on March 14, the signs were positive that the gelding by American Ideal would prove competitive in Brisbane. It was at start number three when Ideal Tiger scored his first Australian victory, arriving in the closing stages to win by a narrow margin at Marburg. Further victories at Albion Park and Marburg followed, with his three wins all coming when driven by Clint Sneddon. With Sneddon unavailable as he battles ill-health, Nathan Dawson was given the opportunity to take the reins. “I gave the drive to Nathan a few weeks back and after his first drive, we discussed how I work the horse - Nathan suggested I tinker with his workout regime which I did,” the trainer said. “It seems to have just given him a little bit more speed and Saturday night it worked a treat, having that zip to get there in time.” With just a 450-metre track on the home property, Ideal Tiger does his fast work at the Marburg track. Another technique in his preparation is that he is trained from the paddock and is only put into a yard at feed time, with the remainder of his time spent roaming across twenty acres. “He has the run of the place, he only comes in for a feed and the rest of the time he just wanders -he is just such a beautiful natured horse,” Manger said. The Manger/Dawson combination has been successful in recent weeks, with another pacer that is owned by Manger – Faireachdainn – winning twice in the past month. That filly is trained by Mitchell Dawson with Nathan driving the three-year-old at both Redcliffe victories. Sired by Mr Feelgood, Faireachdainn translates to ‘feelings’ in Gaelic, with the maiden-breaking win at Redcliffe also securing connections a $10,000 first win QBRED bonus. “It has actually been a good time despite the COVID; between the two horses, they are actually paying the mortgage,” Doug remarked with a laugh. With the two horses racing at present, the Manger team also includes a three-year-old by Sweet Lou yet to race and another new addition that will hopefully be seen in the new season. “He is a QBRED and still has a second-win bonus left in him, so hopefully we can get that with him in a few months’ time,” Manger said. “But as we say, we don’t have race-horses, we have race pets,” joked Manger, who is more than happy with how his latest venture in panning out. Business may be slow, but the smile could not be bigger for Doug Manger.   THE BAD Favourite backers were left reeling last Wednesday night at Redcliffe following the relegation of Nikalong Henry. Having previously been plagued by bad manners at the start, this time it was at the end of the race where the gelding was up to his old tricks. Looking to have the race won after leading throughout the 1780-metre journey, as Nikalong Henry approached the winning post, he was off-stride and crossed the finishing line in the incorrect gait. Under rule 155A the stewards were obliged to relegate Nikalong Henry to 2nd placing and promote Holdingno Currency to first placing. A rule that is not often seen, it is the third instance of this rule that stewards have had to enforce in the past six months - the others being Tori May on February 29 and Youknowwhat on July 30. A bad beat for those that had backed the favourite.   THE WILDCARD Greg The Great has been a source of great frustration for trainer Graham Dwyer and that was no more evident than Saturday night. You would not think that winning in great style would prove frustrating, however that is exactly the case; his dominant 16-metre victory showing just how great the square gaiter can be when on his game. Speared off the gate under the mobile conditions, driver Pete McMullen kept the power on all the way over the mile. Doing it all himself out in front, Greg The Great stopped the clock in a mile rate of 1.55.1, shaving 0.6 off the previous record. The win saw the seven-year-old eclipse $100,000 in stakes earnings, bringing up his 13th Albion Park victory. It has been a continual work-in-progress for Dwyer, who has done a stellar job in getting Greg The Great to perform in the manner he has. The gelding has struggled for confidence in his racing manners for successive starts, so to reach his current level is a great testament to Dwyer’s training skills. Asking the likable trainer how he will help bolster Greg The Great’s confidence even further- “I think if he had his name on the running rail as the track record holder like they have for the pacers, it might just get him right in the zone!”   THE MILESTONE Adam Sanderson is the latest Queensland driver to enter the 100-win club following success aboard My Mastercraftsman on Friday night at Albion Park. Entering the meeting on 98 wins, Sanderson moved to 99 with the success of Thats How Weroll after the third event on the card. Not wasting any time moving into triple figures, the ton was realised just one race later. Both his Friday night winners are prepared by Ian Gurney, with Sanderson having recently joined the larrikin trainer at his Chambers Flat stables as foreman and leading driver. It is the second time the New Zealand-born reinsman has reached the century mark, having finished the 2017-18 season on exactly 100 wins. Moving past his best season was also quickly achieved when win 101 was notched aboard the Shawn Grimsey trained Rubies For Tash Saturday gone. With two weeks left in the season, the new benchmark looks set to rise.   THIS WEEK Group racing has drawn to a close after Saturday night’s APG Final, however that does not mean the race calendar is not packed full of options. Starting on Monday August 17, there will be seven consecutive days of harness action in Queensland. This week, Redcliffe will play host to four meetings - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Albion Park will host its usual three meetings on Tuesday afternoon, Friday night and Saturday night. Following agreement between the Albion Park Club, sponsor Ultimate Tools and Racing Queensland, there will be twelve races added to the existing program for two-year-old and three-year-old pacers. The first of those will be held this Saturday night for two-year-olds, along with a rug and trophy to the winner - the trainer and driver will also receive a $250 voucher. The winning owner will receive a $500 voucher, courtesy of sponsor Ultimate Tools.   by Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

New South Wales harness racing mates John Boserio and Dean Cernovskis went searching for gold at Albion Park on Saturday night and got it with an upset win in the $104,000 Two-Year-Old feature event. Cernovskis drove a superb race for popular trainer Boserio on bay gelding He's Sweet (He's Watching-Our Sweet Melody (Art Major) to get home by a neck in the AP Gold-Brisbane APG Sales Graduate Final. To watch the race click here The win was the highlight so far of this year's annual northern pilgrimage to the Gold Coast, providing Cernovskis with his first ever Group One success as a driver, while it was Boserio's first as a trainer (although he did own G1-winner, Four Trumps). "John has been getting heaps of ribbing down at the stables because prior to this he hadn't trained a winner this Queensland trip-but I guess he's now trumped us all!" Cernovskis said. "He's had a couple of chances to break through and hasn't quite made it, but all he needed was the big stage - he's got the bragging rights well and truly!" Victorious visiting driver Dean Cernovskis gives a jubilant wave as he crosses the line with He’s Sweet, narrowly holding off race favorite Jasper (Grant Dixon) (Dan Costello Photography) Bathurst-based Boserio, who has headed north each winter with a small team since 1983, said the latest victory was "by far his biggest". He is based temporarily near Coolangatta with a group of other New South Welshman who also make the trip each year - Chris and Anthony Frisby, also of Bathurst; Cernovskis, who is based at Gunning, between Goulburn and Yass; and Scott Hewitt, of Crookwell, half an hour from Goulburn. Cernovskis, who has been making the trip now for six years, said he was so grateful to land the winning drive. "There were plenty of other good drivers in the stands, but they stuck with me which was nice. It's an unbelievable series. 45 horses get a crack at it-everyone has a chance of living the dream and winning," he said. After settling three back the pegs, Cernovskis always appeared to have He's Sweet travelling nicely-it was just a matter of getting clear at the right time. And that came when the leader Our Ultimate Bonny run up the track with 450metres from home. Boserio was full of praise for Cernovskis, admitting that it wasn't his idea to stick to the pegs. "Dean told me before the race he thought staying on the fence was probably the best plan. And it all unfolded brilliantly for him, especially when the heavens opened up. So he definitely pulled the right rein there," Boserio said. The Jack Butler-trained Lillies, who was on the leader's back, took the gap and He's Sweet followed through before switching out into the clear and holding on gallantly from the well-tried Grant Dixon pair Jasper ($1.95 fav) and Chamonix ($5.50). Boserio, a former publican, races He's Sweet with keen Bathurst owner Ken Plunkett and Craig Lusby, of Casino, who is also a hotelier. "Craig was in charge of bidding for the horse at the sales. I told him to go to $15,000 and stop, but he didn't listen and kept putting his hand up. He ended up getting it for $35,000 - thank goodness he did keep going," Boserio said. "I picked the horse out because I'd had one out of the family years ago and it went really well." Boserio headed north nearly two months ago but has been hanging out for some good fortune. Holy Camp Dillon, who provided Boserio with his 150th win back home in early June, went amiss early in the Qld campaign, while another two-year-old, The Grogfather, went sour and was sent to the spelling paddock. That's virtually left him with a two-pronged attack in He's Sweet and the stablemate Happy Publicans. "We've got 'Happy' racing Tuesday and he does go okay, so he could run a bit of a race," Boserio said. "We were planning to give He's Sweet a spell, but there's a suitable race for him next Saturday so he can go around again. "Our accommodation is all fixed up until the first week in September, but after winning the 2yo feature we can afford to stay a little longer," he laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Aurora will be looking to make it a clean sweep of the 3YO Trotting Springboard Series in tonight’s Final at Albion Park. The Series - which comprised of four heats in the lead up to the Final - has been dominated by the Terry Hancock-trained filly, and a victory in the $10,000 finale would be a fitting reward in the inaugural three-year-old competition. “She’s done everything well since the last heat and she’s on track, it’s just been her manners have helped a lot and they’ve helped really get her through better than we thought they would to be honest,” Hancock said. “If she gets away good enough, we’ll try to go to the lead but the others are starting to get away well as well. “I just leave it all up to Narissa, once I put her on then she’s in charge but it would be really great to win the series after winning all of the heats – the horse deserves it.” The three-year-old has won six of her nine career starts and looks to be the clear favourite in the field, however, Hancock is weary of several runners in the field. “I see the main danger as Indefensible but the one that I think is the best of them is Jack Butler’s horse (Miss Maia) but she just does a lot wrong,” Hancock said. “If she could put it all together then it would be really hard to beat.” Indefensible is looking to claim the Springboard Series double after winning 2YO race last year, and husband and wife duo Gavin and Kay Crone are confident their gelding can repeat the dose tonight. “I think he’s the best horse in the race but it all depends how the race is run,” Gavin Crone said. “I’ve got no doubt we can beat Aurora but we just have to see how it pans out early and get a bit of luck. “He usually gets away well but he’s been a bit naughty this year, but the ideal scenario is to go to the front. “We think Aurora struggles with the distance a bit so if it gets to the front and walks we’ll be in a bit of trouble, but there’s not much between them at all.” Team Krone will be chasing another slice of history this evening, aiming to go back-to-back in the 2YO Series following last year’s triumph. Defensive Guy – a full brother to Indefensible – will fly the Crone flag in the last event of the evening and comes into the race on the back of winning the final heat of the series. “Winning any of these feature races with the trotters is always a good feeling for us because we do a lot of work with them, so to win back-to-back with the brother would be amazing,” Crone said. “He goes alright our little two-year-old, he’s improved every week and I wouldn’t say he’s out of it either. “He won the most recent heat of the series so I’ve got no doubt that will hold him in good stead going into tonight, he’s usually pretty safe and reliable – he’s really come along leaps and bounds. “If he gets to the front then we won’t be waiting for them - put it that way, but the ideal scenario would be to roll to the front.” This year’s 2YO Final is a wide-open affair with three different horses winning the three heats on offer, and Crone wouldn’t be surprised if any one of the field took out the crown. “Grant’s horse Okanagan goes pretty good as does Aldebaran Selena, but they all go nice and they’re all pretty competitive this bunch of two-year-olds,” Crone said. “It all depends on manners at the end of the day, it’s a real lottery – what happens in the first 100 metres will tell the tale, especially with young trotters.”   Andrew Adermann

THE absence of two of Australasia’s best three-year-olds has made life a lot easier for local star Governor Jujon in Saturday night’s Group 2 South-East Derby at Albion Park. Victoria and NSW Derby placegetter Perfect Stride was all set to tackle the Derby, but a below-par Menangle run last weekend prompted trainer-driver Anthony Butt to change plans and stay in NSW. And last season’s NZ 2YO of the Year, One Change, was only due to arrive in Queensland this morning (Wednesday) with stablemate Turn It Up and Dina Bolt and didn’t accept to run in the Derby first-up from a spell. So Governor Jujon, already a winner of 14 of his 19 starts, is a $1.60 Aussie TAB favourite to score his biggest win so far from a suitable gate five. Grant Dixon’s latest young star has won all five starts this campaign and is by far the class runner having already run second in the Victoria Derby earlier this season. But Dixon will know better than to take anything for granted given the best young horse he’s trained, Colt Thirty One, was beaten into second spot in his hometown Queensland Derby two years ago. Many of Governor Jujon’s major rivals this week are fillies, but they have a mixed history against the boys in Queensland’s major Derby, which is relevant as this effectively replaces the COVID-impacted Queensland Derby. The last filly to win the Queensland Derby was former Kiwi star Oaxaca Lass way back in 2002. But fillies have run well in the past three Queensland Derbys. Princess Tiffany ran fourth to Self Assured last year, Fame Assured was third to Master Moonlite in 2018 and Shartin ran second to The More The Better in 2017. Amazingly, Shartin was sold to North American and gone to be one of the greatest mare of all time. Last year became only the fifth mare to be crowned US Pacer of the Year. The fillies in Saturday night’s Derby are Jenden Strike, My Ruby Sunshine, Fond Memories and Pelosi, who ran first, second, third and fifth respectively in last week’s South-East Oaks. Jenden Strike dug deep to win last week for father-and-son team, Chris and Anthony Frisby. “She’s finally drawn a good barrier in a big race,” Chris Frisby said “She led at her first start at Parkes from memory, but I can’t recall having the drawn to try and lead since then. “She’s come through last week’s win really well and we’ll press forward from the draw, but Governor Jujon is a really nice horse, clearly the best horse in the race, and he’s going to take plenty of beating.”   Adam Hamilton

The open class events in Brisbane in the coming weeks will boast strong depth. And that was evident on the opening night of the 2020 Queensland winter carnival last night (Saturday) with the longstanding 1660m track record held by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn falling. The ‘wonder from the west’ set the track record at 1:50.4 back in 2014 when successful in the Sunshine Sprint. While many have dared to dream of breaking the mark, it’s largely stood untested. Until Sydney pacer Cruz eclipsed the mark with his all the way victory in the $21,160 Wondais Mate Pace with a time of 1:50.3 defeating reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One and Watch Pulp Fiction. He covered the sprint trip with sectionals of 27.1, 29.2, 27.7 and 26.5 seconds. Prepared by Craig Cross, the American Ideal gelding was handled by Leonard Cain. The open class feature this week is the Listed $25,770 Mr Feelgood Pace which will be staged over the 2138m before they step up to the 2680m in the Listed $25,770 Lucky Creed Pace the following week. Another high quality performer expected to contest the above mentioned features is the Chris and Anthony Frisby trained Our Uncle Sam. The multiple feature race winner is expected to trial on Tuesday afternoon at Albion Park in readiness for his latest Queensland campaign. Our Uncle Sam was surprisingly beaten first-up at Bathurst on July 1 as a short priced favourite behind Fouroeight in a time of 1:55.8. “We’re going to give him a trial at this stage before starting up here, maybe some were disappointed with his effort the other night but he was probably a little underdone so another trial will tighten him further.” Driver Anthony Frisby said. The Frisby stable is all smiles following the victory of classy filly Jenden Strike in the Gr.2 $50,660 Changeover South East Oaks at Albion Park last night. The Betterthancheddar filly scored a narrow yet decisive victory over local fillies Miss Ruby Sunshine and Fond Memories in a time of 1:55.9 for the 2138m event. “It was a deserving victory in many ways because she’s been a little unlucky in some of the better races this season but it played out well for us and we got the right luck,” Frisby said. “I think Dad (Chris) is planning on backing her up this week in the South East Derby so that will be interesting.” He added. Jenden Strike has won six of her 12 starts to date while banking more than $66,000.   Chris Barsby

MUCH-IMPROVED former Kiwi pacer Cruz has something in common with former champion Im Themightyquinn. They now share the Albion Park 1660m track record at 1min50.4sec after Cruz scored the most important win of his career in the Wondais Pace Pace on Saturday night. Im Themightyquinn set the record with his Sunshine Sprint win back on July 5, 2014. Cruz matched it when he burned straight to the front and dazzled with closing splits of 54.2 and 26.5sec to easily hold-off local star Colt Thirty One to win by four metres. Buzz local Speech Is Silver’s seven-race winning streak came to and end, but he smashed the clock making late ground for fifth and will get his chance in longer free-for-alls in coming weeks. Stable spokesman Luke McCarthy said it was a last-minute decision to send Cruz from NSW to Queensland late Thursday. “He wasn’t going, but then we thought he’d have to race our other stars like Alta Orlando, Cash N Flow and King Of Swing if he stayed home, so we put him on the truck with five others to campaign in Queensland,” he said. “He actually fibrillated (irregular heart beat) after his last Menangle run. It’s the first horse we’ve had fibrillate in six years, but, for some reason, so many horses go like jets the next run after they fibrillate. “He’s a horse who’s keep improving and toughening up with the hard racing at Menangle and even though he beat some nice horses last night, it was a bit of a drop in grade for him. “There’s good free-for-alls for him again the next two weeks. “It was a good night for us with Culture King and Roll One Over winning easily as well.” As well as the three Albion Park winners, McCarthy and head trainer Craig Cross also two winners at Menangle – Replaced Eye and Better Enforce – on the same night. ___________________________________________________________________________________ ANTHONY Butt has scrapped a planned Queensland raid with Perfect Stride. The Victoria and NSW Derby placegetter didn’t please Butt and owner Emilio Rosati when down the track at Menangle on Saturday night. “We both just felt he should’ve gone a bit better,” he said. “It was always going to be hard from the draw and settling so far back, but he’s better than that  “There’s no point taking him away unless he’s spot-on. We’ll get him checked-out in case he’s got a bug.   Adam Hamilton

Have helmet, will travel. Promising young reinsman Will Rixon has headed to Queensland to join his boss as they build on the winter carnival campaign. Rixon, 19, is the stable foreman for Menangle horseman Jarrod Alchin. Fresh from completing his driving duties last night (Saturday) at TABCORP Park, Menangle, Rixon immediately headed north to join Alchin as they prepare for tonight’s Redcliffe meeting. Rixon will take two drives on the ten race program. It’s the first time he has driven in the Sunshine State. “I’ll be up here for the next couple of weeks and I’m really looking forward to it, Jarrod has the team going along nicely plus I’m looking to do as much driving as possible.” Rixon said. To date this season, Rixon has driven 47 winners while he is approaching 200 for his career which commenced back on January 12, 2017. He currently has a C3 concession claim. Last year, Rixon combined with the Wayne Sullivan trained Cee Cee Ambro to win the Gr.2 $50,000 NSW Breeders Challenge 3yo Fillies True Blue Final at Menangle. “This season has been pretty good and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’m getting but I’m keen to keep building on my numbers. “I enjoy driving at Menangle but I like getting around to different tracks, it’s great for the experience and that’s why I’m looking forward to the Brisbane trip. They’ve got a great colony of drivers and I’m excited about driving at Albion Park, I went to Victoria last year and took some drives down there and really enjoyed it. “Jarrod has some nice horses in his care and I’m hoping I might get a drive behind Mohs Em Down, he’s my favourite horse in the stable and I believe he’s got a real future.” Rixon hails from a famous harness racing family, he is the son of Peter and Cindy (of Divisive fame) while his grandfather is the legendary A.D (Tony) Turnbull. Naturally, Rixon rates the Miracle Mile as the race he would most like to win in the future. His father won the event in 2008, his Uncle Steve (Smooth Satin) scored in the race back in 2001 while his grandfather won it back in 1974 (Hondo Grattan). And like many, Rixon is a graduate of the mini-trotting ranks. “It’s such a great grounding and so many good drivers are graduates of this pathway, I’ve made some really good friends from it too. “I admire so many drivers but I believe Blake Fitzpatrick is the most underrated driver going around, he’s so polished.” Rixon will drive again on Tuesday at Albion Park while he’s looking for more drives later in the week.   Chris Barsby

Good luck and good fortune go hand in hand with harness racing - and horseshoes have been a symbol of good luck for centuries. And perhaps there was more than a slice of good fortune at Albion Park on Friday night when a horseshoe became a flying missile - and fortunately caused no harm. Several harness racing drivers could be excused for counting their lucky stars after the shoe dislodged from one of the starters in the first 60 metres of race six in Brisbane. It's invisible to the naked eye and on replay, but ace racetrack photographer Dan Costello was right on the spot to capture several brilliant shots that show how close the "lucky horseshoe" came to a number of runners. Experienced reinsman Darren Weeks, who was driving 40/1 chance Newmerella Ladykay, said he saw "something flash past" out the corner of his eye. "I gathered it was a shoe. There was probably a few of us a bit lucky-you certainly wouldn't have wanted it to hit you that's for sure," he said. For the race replay click here  The video of the race replay shows Grant Dixon in black and white checks, on Good As It Gets (no 3) and Shane Graham, wearing blue and white colors, on Vienna Boy (4), both running the gate and seemingly oblivious to the flying shoe as they concentrate on getting forward positions. Weeks (number two: Gold with purple diamond yokes) eased out of the speed battle at the start, but glances quickly across to his right side, and then looks back toward the racetrack as the shoe hits the surface. Stewards reported the shoe was cast from Notorious, driven by Dannielle McMullen (8), wearing bright red and purple colors. They started on the inside of the back row, directly behind Couldntbetold, Chloe Butler (1). Happily no harm done. This photo shows how lucky the drivers were not to be hit in the face just after the horseshoe starts its trajectory But what's the story behind the "luck" associated with horseshoes? Over the ages, people have hung them over their doorways to bring good fortune, rubbed them to ward off spirits, and used them on their racing colors in an attempt to bring good karma. Iron has long been believed to ward off evil spirits, and the shoes were traditionally held in place by seven nails - seven being considered the luckiest number. Myth has it that the tradition of hanging a horseshoe at the front door dates back to the tenth century, and a blacksmith named Dunstan. It is said that a man Dunstan recognised as the devil asked him to put horseshoes his hooves. The devil was in agony, and Dunstan chained him up, releasing him only after he promised never to enter a place that had a horseshoe hung over the door. Therefore, any house with a horseshoe was guaranteed to be lucky. But be careful with how you display your horseshoe-it's only good luck if the ends point upward so that the horseshoe can fill with luck. Well, it's a nice thought anyway!   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Chris Frisby is counting down the days. The Perthville (near Bathurst) horseman is waiting for the border to reopen so he can make his annual pilgrimage to the Sunshine State to campaign a number of his talented team. At this stage, the state border between New South Wales and Queensland is expected to reopen on July 10. And as soon as it does, Frisby will head north. “I’m ready to go, like many, I’m just waiting for the good news to filter through and I’m heading straight up.” Frisby said. Over many years, Frisby has enjoyed considerable success with his northern campaigns and is bringing a handy team with him once again. Stable star Our Uncle Sam is expected to make another trip north. The Sportswriter gelding hasn’t raced since finishing third behind Atomic Red and Conviction in the Gr.3 $30,600 Young Cup back on March 13. Two starts ago, Our Uncle Sam won the Gr.1 $100,000 Platinum Projex FFA (formerly Bohemia Crystal) on Miracle Mile night at TABCORP Park, Menangle. It was consecutive victories in the feature after scoring the previous year. “I’m thinking about giving him a light trial at Bathurst on Monday night, both Anthony and I are happy with the way he’s coming to hand and the trial will be a good opportunity for him. “The Blacks A Fake was going to be a major target for him but obviously that’s gone so we’ll just reassess his big race targets, there’s plenty of racing between now and the end of the year. “I’ve got some handy types coming up with me that should do a nice job; Jenden Strike will be set for the South East Oaks while I’ve got plenty of two-year-old’s on the truck. The warmer weather is always a major attraction too.” The Gr.2 $50,660 ‘Changeover’ South-East Oaks is scheduled for July 11. Jenden Strike, a filly by Betterthancheddar, has won 5 of her 10 starts to date and is a last start winner of the $20,400 Young Oaks back on March 13. The gifted filly will clash with star local fillies Pelosi and Jiggle And Jive. Back in April, Racing Queensland advised the 2020 TAB Queensland Constellations Carnival will not proceed this year due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. However, with strict biosecurity measures currently in place, certain features will be staged over the winter months. Features that will be staged include; Date Race Division Track Distance Prize money 27/06/2020 Redcliffe Gold Cup Open Disc Hcp Redcliffe 2613m $25,630 11/07/2020 Wondais Mate (Open) Open Disc Hcp Albion Park 1660m $21,160 11/07/2020 South East Oaks 3YO Fillies Albion Park 2138m $50,660 11/07/2020 Queen Of Hearts Pace Open Mares Albion Park 1660m $21,660 18/07/2020 Mr Feelgood (Open) Open Albion Park 2138m $25,660 18/07/2020 South East Derby Open 3YO Albion Park 2138m $50,660 18/07/2020 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Open (F & M) Albion Park 1660m $25,660 18/07/2020 Trotters Cup Disc Hcp Albion Park 2647m $21,270 25/07/2020 Lucky Creed (Open) Open Albion Park 2680m $25,660 25/07/2020 QLD Trotters Cup Open (MS) Trot Albion Park 2138m $25,660   by Chris Barsby

FORMER superstar Hectorjayjay is ready to head back to the races after coming through today’s (Tuesday) Albion Park trial win in pleasing style. Trainer Jack Butler confirmed the multiple Group 1 winner and Inter Dominion runner-up would resume at Albion Park on Saturday week. “That’s the next step. He’s done everything he can now to prepare for a race,” he said. Hectorjayjay cruised through a slick 26.8sec quarter at the end of a 1min54.9sec mile rate for 1660m to easily beat Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon in the trial. “Brendan (Barnes, driver) didn’t pull the plugs and said he felt great,” Butler said. “I know Governor Jujon is only a three-year-old, but he’s a lovely horse and a good benchmark at this stage. “He seems to have come through it well and, as long he’s good over the next week or so, he’ll go to that Albion Park race on May 2.” Barnes snagged Hectorjayjay back to last from an outside draw in the trial before making a midrace move to eventually land the one-one trail. The nine-year-old had Governor Jujon covered turning from home and cruised to a 3.8m win in a 55.4sec last half. Hectorjayjay has raced just once in almost three years. That was for a Kilmore win when trained and driven by Gavin Lang on June 30, 2018. His previous run was victory in the Group 1 B   By Adam Hamilton

Changeover took the siring honours at Albion Park last Friday night (February 21) with a winning double with a pacer and a trotter. With The Band NZ, a five-year-old mare, sliced two seconds off her lifetime mark with a 1:53.9 win, her fifth success from 10 starts this season. Heart Of Change NZ, bred and raced by Chris Garrard, completed the double coming off a 30 metre handicap to capture a heat of the McNeill Trotters Championship. Changeover led in two new winners in Dress Sense (Cambridge Raceway, NZ) and Bar Naar Naar (Swan Hill). Other recent Changeover winners were Allwoods Treaty (1:59, Gloucester Park), the three-year-old The Mustang (1:57.6, Bathurst), who has won four this season, and Woodlea Ragnar NZ (Albany). Changeover has sired 81 individual winners in Australia and New Zealand to date this season and they have amassed $1.15 million in stakemoney.   By Peter Wharton

A TOUGH draw is set to make the bid to keep Expensive Ego’s perfect record intact difficult at Albion Park on Saturday night. Undefeated from four starts, Expensive Ego is poised to contest the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale Final for trainer David Thorn. To Thorn’s dismay, the two-year-old will begin from the outside of the second row. Expensive Ego’s barrier is somewhat self-inflicted after steward’s issued the son of Rock N Roll Heaven with an ‘ODM’ status during his recent Group One Qbred Triad Final victory. “His draw is not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world,” Thorn said. “The inside second or outside the front row would have been worse. “That said it has certainly made life harder for him. “He was made ODM two starts back when he won the Qbred Final, so he was always going to be drawn somewhere like that. “You never know, it may work out to be a blessing in disguise.” To be driven by Jim Douglass, Expensive Ego earned his berth in the $100,550 decider by outstaying his rivals in one of last week’s heats. Settled in the ‘death seat’ from the outside of the front line, Expensive Ego powered his way to a metre-and-a-half win from Our Balou, with Targaryen Hanover 10 metres away third. “He put in another good run in his heat,” Thorn said. “The hit out as done him good and he will be a lot sharper this week. “I will give him his last workout tomorrow, but he is feeling bright and ready to roll.” Regarding Our Balou as a major threat, Thorn is also weary of fellow New South Wales raider Toanui Spirit. One of five Grant Dixon-trained runners in the field, Our Balou will come from barrier six. Prepared by KerryAnn Morris and to be driven by her husband, Robbie, Toanui Spirit has drawn gate two. The filly was too slick in her qualifier when leading throughout from the pole. “Our Balou is the one to beat,” Thorn said. “He did well in the heat and has been consistent. “The draw brings Toanui Spirit right into it, and on her heat run, she will take some running down. “We are likely to follow through at the start, but it depends on how the race unfolds…I’ll leave it up to Jimmy.”   APG Media

In what is fast developing into a cliché, Expensive Ego has become Australian Pacing Gold’s latest Group One winner. Purchased from last season’s APG Brisbane Sale, Expensive Ego joined the company’s ever-growing list of top shelf winners by capturing last night’s Qbred Triad Final at Albion Park. In doing so the two-year-old maintained his undefeated status from three starts for New South Wales trainer David Thorn. Naturally impressed with the son of Rock N Roll Heaven, Thorn will remain in Queensland with Expensive Ego in preparation for APG Brisbane Sale Series. Heats are scheduled to be conducted on August 2, with the $100,000 Final the following week. “He’ll have a few light days now then I’ll get him ready for the APG heats,” Thorn said. “I have him and a couple of others up here and will be staying for a few weeks. “He has pulled up a treat from last night, you wouldn’t even know he’d raced, which is terrific. “Hopefully he can go just as well in that series as he did in the Qbred.” With Jimmy Douglass holding the reins, Expensive Ego began roughly from barrier four as Another Statement led from gate two. Given time to find his rhythm, Expensive Ego was then sent forward to test the pacemaker from the breeze. Forging his way to the front around the home turn, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven dashed to a three-and-a-half metre win from the previously unbeaten Governor Jujon, with Mistery Road eight meters away third. Owned by Jason Grice, the colt rated 1:52.9 over 1660 metres. “Knowing how good he feels I expected him to be hard to beat, but I just wasn’t sure how to line up the Queensland form,” Thorn said. “He ran up to expectations and did it quite comfortably. “Jimmy still had a handful of horse on the line.”   APG Media

The 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit came to a dramatic finale at Albion Park in Brisbane tonight (Saturday) with local hero Colt Thirty One storming to victory in the Gr.1 $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. Trained and driven by Grant Dixon, Colt Thirty One ($4.60) sat off a hot pace before thundering down the outside to defeat Alta Orlando ($26) and Letsspendanitetogetha ($51) in the 2680m mobile start feature. Colt Thirty One created a new track record when recording a winning mile rate of 1:53.7 – easily eclipsing the previous mark of 1:54.8 set last year by Let It Ride. Win, lose or draw the title of Grand Circuit champion was safely in the keeping of Tiger Tara but that didn’t stop the double millionaire attempting to put an exclamation mark against his dream season. Triumphant in the Inter Dominion Grand Final, Victoria and Hunter Cups, the Kevin Pizzuto trained star was installed as favourite for the Brisbane feature despite a second-line draw but faced stiff opposition from a number of in-form rivals. With Our Uncle Sam, Cash N Flow and Ohoka Punter all leaving the gate with urgency, it was Ohoka Punter who owned the best gate speed as he cleared from his wide draw which left Our Uncle Sam without cover while Cash N Flow landed the position on the back of the leader. Dixon sat patiently towards the rear of the field and allowed Colt Thirty One to find his rhythm while the early jostling continued at a frantic pace. The lead time was covered in 75.5 seconds. Ohoka Punter led the way from Our Uncle Sam while Tiger Tara made his move passing the 1800m marker and really forced the pressure. The first half of the final mile was covered in 27.3 and 29.3 seconds. Entering the back straight, Ohoka Punter led the way with Tiger Tara drawing closer on his outside while many rivals started to feel the pinch. Cash N Flow raced roughly mid-way down the back straight and gave ground quickly which checked a number of runners including Northview Hustler. The third quarter was covered in 28.6 seconds. At the top of the home straight, Tiger Tara raced to a narrow lead while Watch Pulp Fiction loomed to his outside quickly before Colt Thirty One and Alta Orlando began to charge. Colt Thirty One held Alta Orlando while Letsspendanitetogetha bobbed for third just in front of Watch Pulp Fiction, Alleluia and Tiger Tara. The winning margin was 1.7 over Alta Orlando while there was a further 7.1m back to Letsspendanitetogetha in third. The final quarter was timed in 28.7 seconds. An official protest was lodged by driver Anthony Butt (Alta Orlando) against the winner for alleged interference over the concluding stages but was ultimately dismissed. “The speed was strong throughout which gave us an opportunity to work into it over the latter stages, he was solid in the straight and did it nicely.” Dixon said. The victory provided Dixon with his maiden Grand Circuit victory. Bred and raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, the Mach Three – Charm Personified four-year-old registered his 32nd victory from 46 starts while his earnings now exceed $711,000. Colt Thirty One has now won three Gr.1 events to date. The 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season is now complete with Tiger Tara the official Grand Circuit champion after amassing 375 points for the term. Tiger Tara finished well clear of Thefixer (164) and Our Uncle Sam (121).   Chris Barsby

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