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IN another welcoming boost for the New South Wales harness racing industry the Red Ochre Mares Classic at Dubbo has been elevated to Group 2 status. With an injection of prizemoney, the time-honoured feature will now be worth $50,000 making it the most lucrative mares race in the state outside of the metropolitan basin. The enhanced feature has a new date as well and will be run as early as December 1 this year. Usually held in the cooler month of May, the rescheduled feature is set to attract a number of horses to the Western Districts track. Harness Racing New South Wales chief executive John Dumesny was full of praise of the Dubbo Harness Racing Club.  “All credit goes to the Dubbo Harness Racing Club for their dedication to raising the profile of mares races,” said Dumesny. “This will be the 20th running of the Red Ochre which was first won by Candyrama when the prizemoney was $8000. “To be of Group 2 status with $50,000 prizemoney I would expect the best mares in New South Wales and possibly beyond to be at Dubbo on December 1.” The support card for this race will also include $10,000 races. This feature race meeting is one of five HRNSW has introduced this season across the state with a Group 2 feature and $10,000 support races. The other meetings include the Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial meeting at Gold Crown Paceway, Bathurst, as well as the elevated Group 2 Golden Guitar meeting at Paceway Tamworth. In the metropolitan basin, these feature events will be the Renshaw Cup meeting at Penrith and the Treuer Memorial meeting at Bankstown. This will further enhance a monster calendar in NSW this season and next year, which will also include, for the first time, two $1million races in the Miracle Mile and the TAB $1Million Pace. There will also be the inaugural Group 1 Riverina Carnival at the new track in Wagga Wagga. Amongst this will also be the TAB Carnival of Cups series with the next stop being Griffith on Friday, the Gold Crown Carnival at Bathurst in March as well as the lucrative Breeders Challenge series later in the season. “These are exciting times for participants in NSW,” said Dumesny. “There are feature events in each major region, highlighting harness racing in these areas.”   AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HRNSW 

FOR the second year in a row Tiger Tara has been crowned the Gallagher New South Wales Horse of the Year. Receiving 100 per cent of the votes, Tiger Tara was handed the honour at the Harness Racing New South Wales Awards Night on Saturday. Tiger Tara certainly had a year to remember on track taking out the Tabcorp Inter Dominion as well as the Hunter and Victoria Cups and pocketing $865,500 in prizemoney along the way. The Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation responsible for Racing, the Hon Kevin Anderson was in attendance and presented Club Menangle Chairman Ray Sharman Australia's highest harness racing award, the JP Stratton Award, for his 26 years of service on that Board. Harness Racing NSW would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of tonight's award winners. Listed below are all of the 2018/19 award winners which were presented in front of a capacity crowd, hosted by Mark McNamara.   HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARDS   Arthur J. Gallagher NSW Horse of the Year: Tiger Tara Club Menangle Two-Year-Old of the Year: Expensive Ego Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Expensive Ego Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year: Michelle Lee Mac Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old Trotter of the Year: Playboy In Paris Club Menangle NSW Three-Year-Old of the Year: Muscle Factory Sydney Morning Herald NSW Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Muscle Factory Sydney Morning Herald NSW Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year: Miss Streisand Sydney Morning Herald NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year: Caligula Club Menangle NSW Aged Horse of the Year: Tiger Tara KS Black & Co NSW Aged Entire/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Tiger Tara KS Black & Co NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year: Major Occasion KS Black & Co NSW Aged Trotter of the Year: Tough Monarch Daily Form Service NSW Broodmare of the Year: Miss Brazillian Daily Form Service NSW Sire of the Year: Million Dollar Cam   PARTICIPANT AWARDS   TAB Kevin Newman Award For Driving Excellence: Anthony Frisby Lexus Of Parramatta Junior Trainer Encouragement Award: Brooke Wilkins Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award: Joshua Gallagher KARI Indigenous Participant of the Year: James Sutton Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Hobbyist Driver: Cassie Robinson Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Hobbyist Trainer: Wayne Sullivan Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Trotting Trainer and Driver: Blake Fitzpatrick Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Junior Driver: Cameron Hart Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Driver: Todd McCarthy Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Trainer: KerryAnn Turner GHD NSW Owner of the Year: Greg and Mandy Targett IntelliTek NSW Breeder of the Year: Greg and Mandy Targett Harness Racing NSW Service to the Breeding Industry: Peter and Marie Neil   CLUB MENANGLE AWARDS Lexus of Parramatta Medal: Lachie Manzelmann Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle First Lady Award: Gemma Rue Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle Metropolitan Driver: Todd McCarthy Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle Metropolitan Trainer: Shane and Lauren Tritton   DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS HRNSW Don Clough Award: Lorraine Pozza HRNSW Industry Contribution Award: Jim Bell HRNSW Club Volunteer Awards: Ann Brown (Tamworth HRC), Brian Hay (Wagga HRC), Jan Hay (Wagga HRC), Peter Jones (Eugowra HRC), Terry McMillen (Wagga HRC)   CARNIVAL OF CUPS AWARDS Tabcorp Carnival of Cups Horse of the Series: Ned Pepper Tabcorp Best Community Engagement Club: Coolamon HRC Tabcorp Best Fraternity Engagement Club: Young HRC Tabcorp Best Club with a feature race over $30,000: Eugowra HRC Tabcorp Best Club with a feature race between $13,001 and $30,000: Temora HRC Tabcorp Best Club with a feature race to a max of $13,000: Newcastle HRC   To access photos from the night please click here.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

Grand Circuit pacer Bling It On is making a racetrack return. Having stood at stud and served close to 200 mares, the nine-year-old stallion will trial at Menangle on Monday. Bling It On feels well enough for a racing return according to regular driver Luke McCarthy. “Yank is back,” said McCarthy. “I’ve driven him in fast work and in a couple of private trials around Menangle and he feels as good as he ever has. “I’m pretty confident he will make a strong return based on the way his work has been.” Bling It On had his last race start on June 9, 2018, in the Group 3 J.D. Watts Memorial and the decision was made to pull the pin on his racing career after he finished ninth. He then spent nine months in the paddock but $1.6million earner had other ideas on paddock life. “He was running around and looked really sound,” said McCarthy. “He is a type that does a little too well in the paddock and was getting a bit on the heavier side so the decision was made to jog him over the winter. “He was sound and felt so good, they decided to press on with him and now he is trialling. “If connections thought he couldn’t get back to racing at the top level they wouldn’t entertain the idea of bringing him back in work but his work has been so strong. “He will keep doing stud work and if we are happy with him on Monday we’ll keep going with him.” Bling It On won the 2017 A.G. Hunter Cup in Victoria and three starts later was involved in a race fall at Albion Park and sustained injuries that was then thought to be career ending. After extensive rehabilitation, the son of American Ideal returned to the races five months later and won his first three starts back, including his 1:50.8 career best performance at Menangle. He placed in his three starts after that, however, finished out of the money in his last three starts. In his time away from the racetrack he has sustained a stud career with his oldest progeny now yearlings.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Harness Racing fans have put forward their nominations and from this five drives in New South Wales during the 2018/19 season have been selected for the TAB Kevin Newman Award For Driving Excellence. The winner of this Award will be announced at the Arthur J. Gallagher Harness Racing NSW Awards Night on September 21 at the Four Seasons, Sydney. The five drives nominated are: Cameron Hart – ‘Weaving magic secures the win’ – CODY SHANNON (Bankstown 21/12/18 - No.7) - Replay Anthony Frisby – ‘Patience, tactics and control seal the Group 1’  – OUR UNCLE SAM (Menangle 2/3/19 - No.7) - Replay Colin McDowell – ‘Patience pays off at the highest level’ – MICHELLE LEE MAC (Bathurst 29/3/19 - No.3) - Replay John O’Shea – ‘Nothing could get in the way of this win’ – SAMS EXPRESS (Menangle 25/5/19 - No.7) - Replay Brad Hewitt – ‘Inch perfect drive takes out the Group 1’ – ROCKIN MARTY (Menangle 30/6/19 - No.2) - Replay   To vote go to:   Voting closes on Friday September 13 at 5pm. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

LAST year it was Tiger Tara but who will be crowned this year’s New South Wales Horse of the Year? The answer will be revealed at the annual Arthur J. Gallagher Harness Racing Awards Night on September 21 at the Four Seasons, Sydney. Like last year, voting is based on the performances of NSW trained horses and the nominations for each category are listed below:                                                                  2YO FILLIES                                                              2YO COLTS & GELDINGS EYE CAN RUN                                                          CHASING THE WIND ILLGIVEUADAISYADAY                                        EXPENSIVE EGO MARIKA SPRINGFIELD                                         JIMARTEE MICHELLE LEE MAC                                               MISTERY ROAD OPERATIVE ANNA                                                 ROCKIN WITH ELVIS                                                                                      3YO FILLIES                                                              3YO COLTS & GELDINGS CEE CEE AMBRO                                                     COLLEGE CHAPLE CHEESY FINGERS NZ                                             FIRST STRING MISS STREISAND NZ                                             IM BRUCE ALMIGHTY MYRA DAWN                                                          MUSCLE FACTORY WESTERN SECRET                                                  ROCKIN MARTY                                                                                      AGED MARES                                                          AGED ENTRIES & GELDINGS BLACK SILHOUETTE                                               ELLMERS IMAGE NZ BRIDGET BLUE CHIP NZ                                       MAJORDAN EYE SEE DIAMONDS                                              MY FIELD MARSHAL NZ MAJOR OCCASION                                               OUR UNCLE SAM VILLAGE WITCH                                                      TIGER TARA NZ                                                                                      2YO TROTTERS                                                        3YO TROTTERS ARTZEN                                                                     CALIGULA NZ CHRISTIANIA                                                           MOONSHINE STRIDE GIMONDI NZ                                                           PRINCESS KENNY NZ PLAYBOY IN PARIS                                                ROYAL GLENFERRIE STRONG DESIRE                                                     RUNNING FREE NZ                                                                                      AGED TROTTERS                                                    KOWHAI MONARCH NZ                                      MAJESTIC COURTNEY NZ                                   MONARIO MIA NZ ROMPERS MONARCHY NZ TOUGH MONARCH NZ                                        Along with the top horses, champions from across the state at every level will be recognised at this event. Tickets for the Awards Night are still available for purchase, please contact Kate Dumesny (02) 97226672 or   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

SOME of the state's top up-and-coming young harness racing drivers have been selected to partake in this year's New South Wales Rising Stars series. Defending champion Madi Young is back to try and keep her title and will do battle with some drivers she competed against last year as well as some new editions. The fellow drivers include: --Blake Micallef (Riverina) --Codi Rauchenberger (Riverina) --Jordan Seary (Riverina) --Jack Callaghan (Hunter/North) --Jake Hughes (Hunter/North) --Justin Reynolds (Western Districts) --McKayler Barnes (Western Districts) --Josh Gallagher (Metropolitan) --Sean Grayling (Metropolitan) The first round of heats will take place at Tacborp Park Menangle next Tuesday before moving to Bathurst the following night, Penrith Thursday and Newcastle Friday. The final heat will take place on Alabar Breeders Challenge Finals Day at Menangle on Sunday June 30. Please click here to see the profiles of the 2019 NSW Rising Stars: AMANDA RANDO HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

Could a shoeing alteration improve Jilliby Nitro again? The classy black colt is the shortest-priced favourite at Menangle this Saturday night at $1.05 with TAB Fixed Odds for his Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi-Final (1609m). He has already collected two Group 1 victories and a personal best winning mile rate of 1:52.6, how much more improvement can there be? After winning his Breeders Challenge heat at Menangle last Tuesday week, trainer Margret Lee investigated the fluency of his gait and made some changes. “He went around really well in his heat at Menangle but he went rough at a couple of stages so we made a few changes to his shoeing so hopefully this time he will pace a bit better,” said Lee. “He’s had this in all his races and talking to his breeder, he seems to think that when he is a three-year-old he won’t have this issue with his gait . . . it’s a bit of a maturity thing.” Despite this niggling issue, Jilliby Nitro won his qualifier by more than 12m. It was his fifth win in six starts. The son of Bettors Delight has stayed at the Menangle Park Training Centre since the victory. “He’s really good, he settles in wherever he goes and has eaten up well,” said Lee. “He fast worked on Wednesday and we’re really happy with him.” Drawn barrier two Saturday night there is only one plan for driver Glen Craven. “He’ll be going forward from that alley, he has the early speed to make the most of it,” said Lee. It will be a busy night for the Victorian stable with three starters in consecutive races. In race six Lee has Keayang Jackie in the Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Fillies Semi-Final drawn 10. “It certainly makes it a lot harder when you’re drawn wider,” said Lee. “I was super happy with her in her heat, I had a little bit of trouble with her tying up so I was really happy with how she did it. “Whether she goes forward or not I’m not sure but she has done well in all her races and ran a quick last quarter last start which was very pleasing.” Keayang Jackie finished second in her heat to Didn’t I when they clocked the last quarter in 26.3 seconds. Lee’s final starter for the night is Jilliby Bandit in the Group 3 Golden Mile. “He’s been a travelling buddy for Nitro and it’s really worked out well so far, he won at Bathurst and he won in Brisbane and he has certainly helped Nitro settle in,” said Lee. “He’s been a bonus and improved the last six weeks after changing his feed.”   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

BATHURST reinsman Mitch Turnbull reached the milestone of driving 250 winners last week which also saw him reach the end of his concession driving claim. The win came after Turnbull steered Phizzwizard home in the first race at Bathurst last Wednesday, making that the duo’s third win together. In Turnbull’s short career he has driven in 2031 races resulting in 250 wins and 505 placings, with one of his most memorable wins being the Enacon Group Bathurst Mayors Cup at this year’s Gold Crown Carnival aboard Courtsinsession. The six-year-old gelding has earnt his place as Turnbull’s favourite, providing him with five wins and five seconds out of the 10 times they have crossed the finish line together. “He’s been very consistent and is going really well at the moment,” Turnbull said. “Conviction is also another favourite of mine because we ran second in the Breeders Challenge Group 1 Final, he’s probably the best horse I have driven.” Although having spent time with leading trainers in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, Turnbull’s greatest influences have been his father Steve (Turnbull) and sister Amanda (Turnbull). Both leading trainers and drivers themselves, Steve and Amanda have helped Turnbull in his driving and training career. “Steve has been great to have as a father and a boss and both he and Amanda have been a massive help with driving and training the horses,” he said. Although he no longer has a claim, Turnbull has many goals still ahead of him including training his own team one day. With father Steve looking to slow down in the future, Turnbull hopes that he will be able to expand his career as a trainer. “Hopefully within the next three years I’ll have my trainers’ licence and a small team of horses, I’m hoping to slowly expand as Steve winds down,” Turnbull claimed.   by Amy Rees

BARRIER draws will force reinsman Robert Morris to utilise all the driving skills he has at Penrith tonight. Having sat behind more than 1200 winners in his career, Morris admits luck will play a big role in any results he does achieve however believes he has the horsepower to help him. “It’s going to be a difficult night and I’m going to have to think through each drive,” Morris said. The Menangle Park reinsman’s first drive is with Stormont Star in race two. Trained by Morris’ wife KerryAnn Morris, Stormont Star has drawn inside the second row. “Barrier seven doesn’t look great on paper but if the barrier one horse [Rockn Brushgrove] comes out well, we should end up in a good position,” Morris said. “He will run a good race either way on what his work has been like. “His form does look a bit patchy of late but his work at home has been great. “We’ve freshened him up and changed his work around.” In the following race, Morris will sit behind last start winner Prophesy. The mare will have to overcome barrier nine to make it back-to-back wins at that track. “We’ve certainly found our groove with her now and she is probably my best chance of the night,” Morris said. “Her last couple of runs have been super and even though she has some missed placings next to her name, they have still been good runs.” Morris’ final drive for his wife on the night is behind the pacer Squire in race five. The gelding has drawn outside the front row in barrier six. “Squire is a really nice horse but it is going to be tough where he is drawn,” Morris said. “Benicio has drawn underneath him so I will most likely have to go back at the start and hope they are running hard in front to bring me into the race. “He is good enough to be there at the end.” Morris will also be competing at Newcastle’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting tomorrow night before preparing for a number of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The 27-year-old has been driving across the state in recent weeks as well as interstate and is looking forward to having a rest this Sunday. “I’ve been travelling all over the place and even somehow ended up in Queensland last week for the Australian Pacing Gold and this Sunday will be my first day off in while so I’m looking forward to sleeping in,” Morris said. The hard work has paid off, however, with Morris already steering 62 winners this season, extending his overall total to 1245.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

IN welcoming news for owners and trainers Harness Racing New South Wales has announced a $20,000 Cups Bonus for Sydney’s upcoming Carnival of Cups doubleheader at Penrith and Bankstown. The bonus will be eligible to owners and trainers of horses that race in both the Renshaw Cup and Treuer Memorial, two time-honoured raced on the NSW harness racing calendar. The first leg of the HRNSW Cups Bonus will take place with the Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith on Thursday April 18. Carrying prizemoney of $50,000 plus the additional bonus will be enticing according to Penrith Paceway chief executive Lorraine Pozza. “This $20,000 Bonus is an excellent incentive for owners and trainers,” Pozza said. “It brings the two races together to make for some great racing and it gives connections of those horses a fantastic opportunity to race for good money at this time of the year.” The second leg of the HRNSW Cups Bonus will be at Bankstown on Friday April 26 with the $65,000 Treuer Memorial. Bankstown Harness Racing Club President Les Bentley is optimistic of the bonus and also that this Group 2 has increased in stakes from last year. “It’s great that both Bankstown and Penrith Clubs can jointly promote these races through the generosity of Rod Smith and his Board at HRNSW with this Bonus,” Bentley said. “With the feature races only being a week a part, this Bonus should be able to attract horses from all over. “It is the Club’s long-term goal to take the Treuer Memorial back to Group 1 status.” The $20,000 HRNSW Bonus will be split with $12,000 going to the owner/s and $8,000 to the trainer of the horse with the most points after the two features. A horse must race in both the Renshaw Cup and Treuer Memorial to be eligible with points starting from 10 for first working back a point per finishing position.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HRNSW

The 2019 Gold Crown harness racing Carnival at Bathurst delivered like no other. It was the first time in history the three-year-old legs were lifted to Group 1 status, giving last night's Grand Final night four Group 1 races worth $100,000 each. And the class in horseflesh certainly delivered to match this prestige. The fairer sex kicked off the first of the Group 1 Finals with the Craig Cross-trained No Win No Feed winning the Yirribee Stud Gold Bracelet Final. By A Rocknroll Dance and out of the Art Major mare Designer Rose, No Win No Feed gave reinsman Todd McCarthy his second win on Gold Crown night after he won last year's Gold Chalice Final with Lifeonthebeach. No Win No Feed led throughout rating 1:55.5. "I was surprised how quick she left the arm," said McCarthy. "I put the foot down when her main rival got close and that was the telling move." The next Group 1 Final was the Apsley View Estate Gold Tiara that was won by Michelle Lee Mac. The daughter of Bettors Delight and Duets gave trainer Kerry McDowell her first Group1 success and gave veteran reinsman Colin McDowell his second success in the race after winning the inaugural edition in 1987 with Loves A Dance. "We had plenty of luck at the top of the lane," Colin McDowell said following the race. "She is a very good filly and have always had a good opinion of her." The two Group 1 Finals for the boys went to Victoria. Classy three-year-old Lochinvar Art was too strong in the Gold Chalice Final clocking 1:54.5 with David Moran in the sulky. The colt overcame the tricky draw of inside the second row and a mid-race move won the race. "I had to put him into the race when I did," said Moran. "He gives 100 per cent every time he goes around. "We will aim him at the Breeders Challenge series now." The action did not stop there, with promising two-year-old Jilliby Nitro making a statement with his decisive win in the Tooheys New Gold Crown Final. Driven by Jason Lee, the Bettors Delight/Kiewa Valley colt set a new race record when leading throughout and clocking a scintillating 1:53.8. "He copped a fair bit of mid-race pressure and stuck to his guns well in the run to the line," said Lee. "We will aim him at the Australian Pacing Gold now." For the full results from this Bathurst Gold Crown click on this link. AMANDA RANDO

A GROUP 1 dream has come true for young reinsman Nathan Xuereb. The 22-year-old has booked not only his first Group 1 drive but two at Bathurst’s Gold Crown Carnival tomorrow night. Having recently achieved the feat of driving 100 winners, this season is certainly becoming one Xuereb will cherish for a long time. “It’s very exciting to have two Group 1 drives,” Xuereb said. “This is something everyone aspires to and to not only get one but two horses qualify for Group 1 races is a dream come true.” Xuereb’s first taste of Group 1 driving will come when he partners Bella Clare in the Gold Bracelet Final. The filly is trained by Xuereb’s father Michael and has drawn barrier one for the feature. “She is a lovely filly that had to do more work in her heat than what I wanted her to do . . . I was still happy with her fourth-placed effort, she wasn’t beaten far,” Xuereb said. “This week it’s a different story, she has the draw and she won’t have to do any work. “They will definitely know she is there. “I just brought her in from the paddock and she is feeling pretty well within herself.” Xuereb will have his next Group 1 drive a race later when he drives the Katie McGill-trained Katalytic in the Gold Tiara Final. Also giving McGill her first Group 1 starter as a trainer, Katalytic has drawn barrier seven for the $100,000 test. “The draw hasn’t made it easy for her but she goes well and truly deserves her place in the Final,” Xuereb said. “I’ll have to drive her quiet and if the speed is on, she will definitely be thereabouts.” Before Xuereb heads across the Blue Mountains again, the Londonderry-based horseman will drive for his father at Penrith tonight who has Sams Cam (5) and Redbelly Jack (6) engaged in race five. Xuereb will drive Sams Cam while Josh Gallagher has been nominated to drive the latter. Xuereb trains a handful of horses with his father whilst also working as a farrier for big stables including that of Craig Cross. “I was very fortunate that Craig put me on as a farrier at a young age,” Xuereb said. “I have been fortunate enough to shoe great horses like For A Reason, Bling It On and Mach Doro. “I’ve had a lot of glory shoeing horses like that and when Bling It On won the Hunter Cup it gave me a huge thrill, just as much if I drove him to win the race. “I love what I do.”   Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 • •  @Amanda_Rando

TOP class pacer Ultimate Art has run his last race. Connections of the Group 1 winner, who is affectionately known as Thomas, decided it was time to pull the plug on his harness racing career after his lust for racing had deteriorated. Trainer Michael Formosa was hoping for one last win with his stallion at Bathurst this Saturday night but the Ellalong mentor scratched the nine-year-old out of the Smooth Satin Cup. “I was hoping to go out with a win but in this grade he’s in it’s hard to find an easy race,” said Formosa. “He hasn’t really been interested in racing so I decided this morning (Wednesday) to not keep pushing him. “I never really imagined he would have over 100 starts . . . for a stallion to have that many starts and not go amiss is a massive effort.” Ultimate Art will bow out of racing with a record of 38 wins and 33 placings in 117 starts. The son of Modern Art began racing at the age of two and has retired from the racetrack at the age of nine. Ultimate Art gave a lot to the Formosa family including their first Group 1 victory when he won the Bathurst Gold Crown as a two-year-old in 2012. Wins in both the Breeders Challenge Final as a four-year-old and a heat of the Inter Dominion in 2015 were also highlights.  “Each of his wins meant something to us but that first Group 1 win was big for us,” said Formosa. “We didn’t really enjoy it as much as we should have at the time though . . . we were offered $120,000 for him before the race and we knocked it back. “We had a mortgage at the time and it put a lot of pressure on us. “In the end we made the right decision.” So much so, Ultimate Art went on to pocket $621,996 in stakes after being purchased for a mere sum.  “We bought him from the Australian Pacing Gold Sale for $7,000,” said Formosa. “It was the first year we went to the sales to by horses for ourselves, we were on a tight budget so we didn’t look at the expensive breeds like the Art Major’s. “We had $15,000 to spend and we saw him (Ultimate Art) and he was such a magnificent looking horse we thought he would go for more than our budget would allow. “When we got him for $7,000 we thought we’ve missed something with this horse, something must be wrong.” Ultimate Art will now spend his days in the paddock as a father. The son of Modern Art has already served eight mares with Formosa hopping to increase this in the next season.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

A PICTURE perfect day greeted nearly 3,000 racegoers in Wagga Wagga as the Riverina Paceway was officially opened last Sunday. The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a great day of harness racing with some excellent performances on track highlighted by Tuapeka Glory setting a new track record in the best finish of the day.  The seven-year-old made use of the new sprint lane to defeat Pocket Of Terror by a short half -head, with the first four placegetters separated by less than one and a half metres. In the first race of the day Anthony Frisby drove Mistery Road to victory claiming a historic double. Frisby took out the first race at the grand opening of the new Bathurst track in October 2014 aboard Uncle Paul. Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny was delighted with the new track and the crowd that had come to enjoy the day. “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m thrilled that the Riverina now has this wonderful facility where trainers and drivers can really demonstrate how talented their horses are,” Dumesny said. “It really is exciting to see such a great crowd here and we’ve been blessed with perfect weather. It’s a wonderful day for people to experience harness racing for the first time, or even reconnect with the sport after many years.” The opening ceremony included Rod Smith (Chairman of HRNSW), Michael McCormack MP (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Riverina) and Paul Toole MP (NSW Minister for Racing) who all spoke about the importance of this facility for the Riverina and for harness racing in NSW. McCormack was thoroughly impressed with the facility. “This facility will be the jewel in the crown for harness racing track across all of country Australia,” he said. Meanwhile, Toole commended HRNSW on its foresight and perseverance. “There have been a number of people involved over this journey that is about making sure that this industry is going to go from strength to strength.” Leading reinsman Luke McCarthy doesn’t make too many trips to Wagga but was impressed by what he saw. “I don’t often come to Wagga but with a track and facility like this I can certainly see it attracting trainers from Sydney more often, especially for the club’s feature races which they wouldn’t have travelled to in the past,” McCarthy commented. The next feature meeting at Riverina Paceway will be Wagga’s Carnival of Cups event on Sunday 21 April (Easter Sunday) which includes the Wagga Cup.   Kyle Maher

THE New South Wales harness racing scene has attracted yet another top driver. With an influx of interstate and international trainers and drivers now calling the state home, young reinsman Leonard Cain is the latest to be added to this list. Born and raised in Queensland, the 19-year-old driver has established his driving career in the Sunshine State. In only three seasons of driving, Cain has thrust himself amongst the top 10 drivers in Queensland and is now looking for a new challenge. “I’ve had good success in Queensland but it’s now time to make the next move,” said Cain. Having already driven more than 150 winners in his succinct career, Cain is eager to make his name in NSW. “I will be in Sydney now and willing to drive for any and everyone and I’m more than happy to travel for race meetings,” he said. So much so, Cain had his first drive since relocating south at the new Riverina Paceway at Wagga Wagga yesterday. And today, Cain is traveling many kilometres to make his driving commitments at Newcastle this afternoon. Cain will drive the Melanie Elder-trained Days End in race eight and earned a couple of other catch drives as well. He has also locked in a drive with the Tim Butt-trained Denstown at Menangle tomorrow afternoon. Cain drove for the Miracle Mile-winning trainer at Wagga on Sunday when partnering with Italian Delight to finish third. Ironically, Cain’s main motive to make the move to Sydney was for Italian-born owner Emilio Rosati. Cain will drive for the big-spending owner and will also work on the farm Rosati is establishing in Sydney’s South West. Joining Cain for that mission is North American trainer Noel Daley, who will be a private trainer for Rosati. Daley has just returned from a 29-year stint training horses in the United States.  Also born in Queensland, Daley had success with 2570 winners while training in North America. Others that have relocated to NSW recently on a permanent basis include New Zealand brothers Tim and Anthony Butt as well as Queenslanders Lachie Manzelmann and Isobel Ross.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

TALENTED pacer Ignatius will have to face another wide draw in Saturday night's Group 1 Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. The James Rattray trained and driven pacer has faced wide barrier draws in his two qualifying races and has landed barrier nine for the four-year-old feature. Ignatius was forced to do it the tough way outside the leader to win last Saturday night's Paleface Adios Stakes, beating Chase Auckland in a mile rate of 1:50.2. The winner of the Chariots Of Fire will receive an automatic invitation to the $1million Miracle Mile on March 2. The Chariots Of Fire barrier draw was conducted in the Harness Racing New South Wales office as a random barrier draw performed by HRNSW executive management.   Chariots Of Fire - GROUP 1 (1609m) 1 Chase Auckland 2 Picard 3 Royal Gamble (EM1) 4 All U Need Is Faith 5 The Black Prince 6 Boyd Writer 7 Rackemup Tigerpie 8 Poster Boy 9 Ignatius 10 Hail Christian 11 Jack Farthing (EM2) 12 Ashley Locaz   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES  

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