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Scarcely has there been a more popular win than Pelosi's victory in this afternoon's $125,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Final for harness racing two-year-old fillies.   Ace Queensland reinsman John Cremin admitted he had resorted to 'Plan B' when polemarker Michelle Lee Mac missed the start. Cremin quickly took the initiative and took Pelosi to the front and thereafter the gun filly defied all efforts to run her down as she scored a four-metre win over Eye Can Run (Rob Morris) with A Rainbow Delight (Todd McCarthy) just behind them in third place in a slick 1:52.6 mile. Trained by Anna Woodmansey and owned and bred by former reinsman Wayne Honan, Pelosi has been something special throughout her short career with six wins and one placing from just eight starts. An ecstatic Woodmansey said the filly had been pleasure to train and work with and had always shown some extra talent. Honan agreed: "She's well-bred and in good company as far as that's concerned but we have struggled to get the best out of this breed. "We had four previous foals along similar lines but had problems with them. This American Ideal filly has certainly been the best of them so far," he said. "John Cremin was happy to accept the drive and I thank him for he now knows the horse as well as anyone."   Pelosi Earlier Australia's most powerful stable, the Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin barn secured the first Group 1 of the day when Luke McCarthy and champion trainer Emma Stewart combined to win the two-year-old colts' heats of the Breeders Challenge with Be Happy Mach. Part-owner of the colt, Andrew 'Hoss' Bensley, of Racing Radio fame was there on a rare day off to accept the trophy. "Luke regularly drives in Group 1 races but to walk away with success is unbelievable," said Bensley. "He told us pre-race what he was going to do and fortunately it ended up that way as he ended up with a victory. "It is great to bring horses like Be Happy Mach, bring them up, race in country areas of NSW then come here for the big races. "We hope to be back here later in the day to congratulate him again for yet another good drive." Sean Vella

Queensland school administrator and hobby harness racing trainer Anna Woodmansey says her champion filly Pelosi is ready for action. "I couldn't be happier with her. She isn't leaving a crumb in her feed bin and she is full of beans that's for certain," Woodmansey said. Pelosi (American Ideal - For Dear Life (Life Sign , as a daughter of American Ideal, is well-named after American congresswoman and speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Patricia Pelosi. The filly is a winner of five of her seven career starts, but faces one of her toughest tests to date in the $125,000 G1 Rock N Roll Heaven Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2yo Fillies Final at Menangle tomorrow. "I've been based at Condell Park at Bankstown for a little over a fortnight now. It's at least a 12-hour trip from home down to Menangle so I wanted to give that a miss if I could so the horse has the best chance to perform at her peak," Woodmansey said. "Travelling interstate with any horse, let alone a young one, is such a huge thing. I was able to get time off from Beenleigh High School where I've worked for over 30 years so it all turned out well. "I'm so excited to be competing at the meeting and have much respect for the other runners in our final." Woodmansey said she wasn't disappointed in the slightest when Pelosi had her colors lowered in the first semi-final to the fast finishing Vincenzina, trained and driven by Ross Adams. "Our little 'Dolly', as she's known around the stables, tried her heart out. She did pull up a bit big, but now she's had over two weeks of consistent, normal work, so we are all ready," she said. Pelosi                                                                  Ashlea Brennan Photography The well-liked horsewoman is based at Chambers Flat, a residential/rural community 30 kms south of central Brisbane and can't remember when she hasn't been "mucking around with horses". "I just love them. I've worked with quite a few trainers over the years and learnt a lot. I've been lucky to take something from each of them," Woodmansey said. Woodmansey has enjoyed her share of success in the sport, with a number of handy performers over the years. "Probably my favorite was Thomas Crown, a horse I bred by Perfect Art. He was a really cool horse, but he did have an attitude and was hard to get going. He ended up with 17 wins and 37 places for over $70,000 in stakes, though, back about 14 or 15 years ago," she said. "You enjoy the highs in the sport while they last, and I remember being on a roll at one stage when the seven horses I had in training, were all last start winners. "I enjoyed racing at Albion Park, as well as Tweed Heads and Parklands on the Gold Coast, which are now both closed. Parklands, which opened in 1988, was my favorite. "I actually held a driver's licence back in the 1990s and won about 15 races. I enjoyed it, but I think it's something you have to be doing regularly if you want to be up there with the best." Woodmansey, who prepares Pelosi for well-known owner-breeder Wayne Honan, said the horse was a natural, being very smart and sensible as well. "If she has one little hiccup it's that she can get a bit toey, so I try not to get her upset too much - the calmer the better. And our driver John Cremin is very good in this regard. He's so relaxed and unflappable," she said. "I'm just so thrilled and proud to have such a lovely horse. She is an Equine Flair Ambassador which is quite something for a standardbred." Pelosi provided both Cremin and Woodmansey with their first Group One successes when she took out the $350,000 2019 Australian Pacing Gold Final in Brisbane in early May. And while Woodmansey will be in the limelight at Menangle tomorrow, her late mother Eugenie won't be far from her thoughts. "Mum was my biggest fan but sadly she passed away early last year," Woodmansey said. "So I haven't been lucky enough to share this with her, but she would definitely be very proud of Pelosi's performances."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Ace Brisbane harness racing driver John Cremin usually tends to keep it all low key...but at the moment he's, understandably, quite upbeat. Cremin, a former Albion Park metropolitan premiership-winning reinsman, has formed an awesome partnership with boom two-year-old filly Pelosi (American Ideal USA-For Dear Life (Life Sign USA). Pelosi continued on her winning way at Newcastle on Saturday night with a sparkling victory in the Rock N Roll Heaven Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2yo fillies heat. Starting a short priced $1.04 favorite, the Wayne Honan-bred and owned youngster, took control soon after the start and made it five wins (the last four in a row) from six starts. Cruising through the first few quarters in 29.4 and 31 seconds, Cremin slipped the pacer into another gear over the final half, which was run in a brisk 56.1. "She was entitled to dash home in good time as she did the first part of the event well within herself," Cremin said. "I only let her quicken up at the 400-metre mark but didn't fully extend her and she just felt super. Credit must go to the runner up Shezlikeroyalty who popped off my back and was brave, although she was eight metres back." Race Replay Cremin was full of praise for trainer Anna Woodmansey, who is enjoying the ride of her life in the sport. "Anna is doing a terrific job and the filly has been in peak condition ever since I first sat behind her in a few trials back in February," he said. "I've been friends with her for a long time - probably since our teenage years. "Over the years I've driven for Anna on and off, although I was pretty much her number one driver for about 12 months at one stage." Pelosi will now head to the $25,000 semi-finals at Menangle next month with the big $125,000 final at that track on June 30. Cremin, who flew down from Brisbane with his wife Tanya to drive at the Newcastle meeting, had two reasons to celebrate. Their pacer Psychedelic (Rock N Roll Heaven-Pretty Inpink (Statute) won the Qualifying Pace at Albion Park - the 18th win of the six-year-old's career. "We pulled over and watched it on our phone. The horse is owned by Tanya, so she was pretty excited. He's now won nearly $140,000," Cremin said. The win saw what could perhaps be described as "musical chairs" between Cremin and well-known trainer, albeit sometimes-driver, Graham Dwyer. Cremin is number one driver for Dwyer who prepares a big team. "Graham decided to concentrate mainly on the training side of things and sort of only drives when he has to," Cremin said. "When we were heading to Newcastle and looking for a driver for Psychedelic he got the first call, and jumped at it. "I told him after the race that the drive didn't rate all that highly! But it was actually very good - we do have that sort of working-friendship relationship." Cremin, who has been the senior farrier at the strong Grant Dixon stable for the past 15 years, said his success was due to help he was getting around him. "My wife Tanya has been the mainstay for a long time, and just recently we had some Victorian friends in Nigel and Kim Ingram lending a hand. You always need that help going on in the background and it appreciatively lightens the load," he said. After flying back home from Sydney on Sunday, Cremin managed to put his "backside on a chair for an hour or two" before heading off to a Redcliffe meeting where he had a big book of drives - including snagging a winner in the first in Gotta Moment (Gotta Go Cullect NZ-Fleeting Moment(Falcon Seelster) for, you guessed it, his mate Graham Dwyer   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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

The best pacer that Anna Woodmansey has trained needs to be taught to slow down. That’s the opinion of the Chambers Flat horsewoman going into Saturday night’s feature event at Albion Park – the $21,000 Changeover At Burwood Stud 2yo Classic (Race 7). The 56-year-old said Pelosi had so much speed she needed to be taught to use it in a race. “She’s such a lovely gaited animal, who needs to be taught to race. She can go like a bat out of hell at times and just needs to slow down and use her speed appropriately,” Woodmansey said. The very well bred American Ideal - For Dear Life (Life Sign) filly is the only starter on the second line in Saturday's eight-strong 1660m mobile. She will be driven by John Cremin. Pelosi goes into the race with a first-up 1.3m victory when a $2.80 second favourite at Albion Park on February 26. The gifted bay then followed that up with an easy 4.3m trial win at the same venue on Wednesday (March 13). "I gave her that trial because last week's 2-year-old race was put off until this week because of the Australia Ladies Driving Champs," Woodmansey said. “She’s had two preps with Kylie Rasmussen and she really liked her. She’s a smart, sensible filly. She comes from a nice family, many of which have won Group races. However they can tend to be a bit loopy unless you keep them in work,” Woodmansey said. “But I must admit it’s been hard trying to treat this good girl equal to the others. She’s much better though, and makes the job worth getting up for,” she added. Pelosi paced a 1:56 mile rate (1:59.6 - 1660m) when winning from gate three on debut. She sat three-deep on the markers that day and then loomed up three wide at the 400m. In the straight she had too much sprint for the favourite Will The Wizard. On Wednesday she came from well back in the field to sit parked at the bell and then at the 700m took control of the race. From that point the battle was for second. Cremin had a big handful as his filly cruised to the line in 2:03.9 (mile rate 2:00.1). Pelosi hails from a quality family, and the daughter of American Ideal is well named. Her human namesake - Nancy Patricia Pelosi is an American politician who has been the speaker of the United States House of Representatives since January 2019. "Wayne named her. He reckons Pelosi gives (Donald) Trump heaps. Her mother was also a very nice racehorse. In fact a lot of the family have done well," Woodmansey said. Wayne is Wayne Honan, Woodmansey’s partner and the owner/breeder of both Pelosi and her dam - For Dear Life (2005 Life Sign mare). Honan's Hall-of-Fame father, the late Jack bred the grand-dam, the 1992 Stature mare, Express Post. Between them, For Dear Life and Express Post won 25 races and just on $400,000. For Dear Life won 14 of her 28 starts ($322,331) and three Group One events, including the $125,000 Breeders 2yo Challenge in 2008; the $100,000 NSW Wales Oaks in 2009; and the $100,000 APG 3yo Fillies Final in 2009. The first two Group Ones were achieved at Harold Park and the latter at Albion Park. Woodmansey said Express Post won 11 of her 18 starts and $89,483. "I think that might be where Pelosi gets her speed from because Jack said Express Post was an exceptionally fast mare," said Woodmansey. Pelosi arrived at Woodmansey’s barn in November and she is one of three currently in work. The trainer said she would slowly build her up to the APG 2yo heats at Albion Park the end of next month. Toughest for Pelosi to defeat will be the also unbeaten Toanui Spirit (5) and Xaviers Hurrikane (7). Trained by KerryAnn Turner and Shawn Grimsey respectively, both 2-year-olds were impressive winners on debut. New South Wales Visitor Toanui Spirit comes into the race with a 2:01.6 winning mile rate at Newcastle on February 23, while  Xaviers Hurrikane, who has copped the outside front-row draw, made a statement when winning at Albion Park on February 12 by 5.3m with a quick 1:56.1 mile rate. Robert Morris and Nathan Dawson will drive Toanui Spirit and Xaviers Hurrikane respectively. Pelosi's impressive win at the Albion Park trials on Tuesday: http://www.harness.org.au/racing/fields/race-fields/?mc=AP120319N   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

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