Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 43
1 2 3 Next »

She has had a few setbacks this season but talented harness racing filly Ameretto is on track to try and capture the biggest win of her career. After demolishing rivals in a heat of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat, Victoria, last night (Wednesday), trainer-driver Ashlee Siejka is more than impressed with the three-year-old's progress this preparation. "She went super," Siejka said. "Considering we have done a fair bit of travelling with her recently, it was a great effort." Ameretto led all-the-way in the qualifier, rating 1:58.4 and crossing the line with more than 13m to spare, untouched. It was the daughter of Million Dollar Cam's first start since attempting to chase success in Queensland's Derby and Oaks. "She really hasn't had a lot of racing until recently," Siejka said. "She's had a few niggling injuries along the way with a bit of a suspensory issue and also some muscular problems. "But she has all of that behind her now and seems fine." Siejka plans not to race Ameretto until the Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat on August 22. "She's had a hard couple months of racing so the plan is to keep her fresh until the semis," Siejka said. Surprisingly, even though Ameretto has earned $130,883 in prizemoney in just 23 starts, she is yet to win a feature race. But, she has come close on many occasions. She finished second placed in the Breeders Challenge final at the age of two and also as a three-year-old and was also runner up in the Raith Memorial. Ameretto also finished third in the Queensland Oaks. "She has done a great job this season but it would be nice to add a feature win to her name," Siejka said. Amanda Rando

March has already been a special one for Bathurst harness racing trainer Ashlee Siejka.  The 26-year-old married Ryan Grives two weeks ago, but there has been little time to celebrate given Siejka is preparing a four-pronged attack for the Bathurst Gold Crown and Gold Tiara. “It has been a very busy time, but it has been great,” Siejka said. “I’ve got two runners in the heats of the two-year-old races and with a bit of luck hopefully I will get a runner in a Final. “I had a virus go through my stable recently, and it knocked a couple of the younger horses around, but their work has been really good and they are all back to where they should be.” Siejka’s two fillies Zibibbo and Dash Doll will compete in tomorrow’s Tiara heats. “Dash Doll is very green and still learning,” Siejka said. “Early on I had the highest opinion of her out of all of my two-year-olds, but she just hasn’t picked it up as quickly as the rest of them, she is going to make a nice filly though. “Zibibbo is a lovely little filly. She tries so hard, but she was one of the horses which has been knocked around by the virus. “I’m happy with her now and I think she can run first or second and qualify for the Final.” Doctor Feld and Asta Leugo will represent the stable during Saturday night’s Gold Crown heats. “Doctor Feld has trialled really well but just hasn’t transferred that to the races,” Siejka said. “He has run a 27-second quarter at the end of his trial, so if he performs as well as he can, he’ll be a chance.” “Asta Leugo is a real big immature two-year-old. He led and got attacked in front at his first race start and was well beaten. I think he is going to make a nice three-year-old.”     Siejka will have talented filly Ameretto in the Gold Bracelet heats on Monday. HRNSW Media

Bathurst harness racing trainer Ashlee Siejka won Monday’s night M H Treuer Memorial at the Bankstown with talented five-year-old pacer Lochinver.  The Greg Brodie-owned gelding made a three-wide move with just over a lap to go and in the process locked up the favourite Chariot King after he stayed in the running line. “I thought going into the Treuer Memorial that if Lochinver could get some luck then he would be right in the finish, and when there was so much speed on in the early stages, I knew that he was going to be suited,” Siejka said. “He is a nice type, but it was really his first go in open company and while he has competed in good races as a younger horse I thought he handled himself really well throughout.” It was not the first time that Siejka had competed in the Treuer Memorial, but it was her first victory in the event. “I had Mega Alexander in the race a couple of years ago, but it was quite a buzz to actually win the race and I'm hoping now that Lochinver can go on with the job,” Siejka said. “He really handles the small tracks very well, as a two-year-old he had his first start in a race at Junee and ran second in the Linden Huntley at Bulli, so I knew the Bankstown track was not going to be a worry.” Siejka has entered Lochinver in an M2 race this weekend, and despite drawing barrier five in a field of eight, he is not guaranteed to start. “I have him nominated for a race at Menangle on Saturday night because with the predicted storms in Sydney I didn't want to take the chance the races were called off again after what happened on Saturday night, so I will wait and see how he pulls up in the morning and make a decision closer to the race,” Siejka explained “If the run hasn’t knocked him around then he may start, while he sat three-wide for the last lap I didn't have to pull the plugs until turning for home.” GREG HAYES

Bernie Hewitt has had a relatively modest season by his own high standards, but the last month has been highly successful for the Georges Plains harness racing trainer-driver with a feature win in the Breeders Blue Final by promising filly Read About Lexy and multiple successes at a number of other harness racing meetings. That strong finish was maintained with a treble at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Joannie Pony ($4.50) was reined by his nephew, the in-formScotty Hewitt, who brought the mare with a well-timed run in the C1 sprint, right over the top of favourite Polished Rocks, who tried very hard, and Queen Khawaja. The last half was covered in 59.8 but the overall mile rate of 1:59.9, good under winter conditions,was the result of unrelenting pace in the first part of the event. Hewitt completed his good night’s work by driving the winners of two of the final three races. Famous Fella ($3.60) came from well back in a 3C0 sprint to overhaul death-seating Kyalla Tee Jay and Monica’s Magic, which had enjoyed the one-one trail. The last half was run in a minute flat. The winner was a smart two-year-old last season, placing fifth in the Crown final won by All Black Stride NZ, but his only success this term had been in Restricted company. He will try to pick up that hardest win – the second 3YO – before heading for a break. Bernie’s wife Cathy shares in the ownership of Famous Fella, but she would have been even more impressed by the result of the following race. Pass The Magic ($4.00) was an easy all the way winner of a 2C0-2C2 Fillies sprint and better still hers is the only name on the ownership papers. A Menangle winner earlier in the season, she’d been unlucky in some of her recent starts, but a smart 59.5 last half gave an indication of the ability of the daughter of Passmaster Hanover. Asked to comment on his wife’s ownership double,Bernie ‘s thoughts turned to a possible roast dinner. Hopefully so, with a cuddle thrown in for good measure! Ashlee Siejka is another trainer putting in the big strides in the latter part of the season, and she was rewarded with a double at the meeting. Red Vee Hanover, $2.70 favourite in a very strong C 2 over 2130 metres, justified the support by sitting outside the lead and opening up a clear break on the turn before holding on narrowly from his stablemate Packnplenty, which got an inside run close to the line. Smack Dab Shannon held on for third. With the first half run in a pedestrian 64 seconds, the speed came on over the final lap, which took just 58.4 seconds, adding merit to the win, the first this season for the five-year-old. “He didn’t go as well as we’d hoped early in the season, with illnesses and a few injuries, but now that he’s struck some form, we hope he can keep it going,” was the trainer driver’s assessment after the race. Our Miss Kathryn NZ ($3.30 ) brought up the Siejka double in the following race, a 2130 metres C3 – C6, and like the earlier win, it was achieved sitting outside the lead, throwing in a very quick third quarter – 28.3 in this case – and out staying her rivals down the running. The overall mile rate was 2:02.4 . The winner races for Siejka’s partner Ryan Grives, who’s had a dream introduction to harness racing, with wins by this mare and by promising juvenile Ameretto. Time for Ryan to check out that baked dinner recipe? Amanda Turnbull was yet another to grab a driving double in successive races, hers coming in the middle of the meeting, sandwiched between the Siejka and Hewitt efforts. Padabing Stride ($2.30 favourite, for father Steve) deserved his win in a C 0 sprint sponsored by his owners the Rosati family. After working round the field to the death, he controlled the race, for a clear win from leader Kapow Shannon and trailer Lawsons Way. Lacking high speed, the Village Jasper four-year-old is usually required to race from the death, and had been runner-up at his previous three starts when driven in that fashion. His driver reckons “he’s like a big, gangly kid, still growing up, and working it all out. Long Hot Summer ($2.90 ) recently joined Josh Turnbull’s team from the Dean Cernovskis stable, and grabbed his second win for the season in a 3CO sprint, prevailing in a slogging finish from death-seat runner Noahs Ark ( a half to earlier winner Red Vee Hanover) and Puffnstuff. Like his sire Metropolitan, the winner is a big strong type, and he is yet to grow into himself. When the starter released the field in the opening C0 – C1 sprint, eventually taken out by The Rag Doll ($3.90, Jarrod Alchin / Colin McDowell ) an electrical malfunction prevented the on-course broadcast and the crowd had the strange, almost surreal, experience of watching the race in total silence. This lasted till the final turn, when things changed suddenly- the din of drivers all yelling at their horses was a novel, and dramatic experience normally hidden by the commentary. No-one would willingly do without Kevin Thompson’s fine race calls, but this enforced silence gave everyone at the track some insight into just what goes on at the business end of a race. Amy Day kept up her Bathurst strike-rate with a deserved win by Audrey Maree in the final race, an R 0 sprint. The four-year-old mare has been a model of consistency this season, with 8 places from 12 starts prior to this maiden win. Coopers Beach Boy and Tim McGee filled the minor placings. Bathurst HRC has announced two important dates for the diary –September 21 for the final meeting at the Bathurst Showgrounds track, and October 19 for the opening at the new Mt Panorama complex. They’ll both be huge milestones - for the club, for Bathurst and the Western Districts, and for harness racing in New South Wales. More about these special days, in coming weeks. By Terry Neil    

The NSW Rising Stars series continued at Bathurst last night and with Chris Geary winning yet another heat (his third) the 16 year old takes a comfortable lead into tonight's Penrith meeting. The opening event was taken out by the Ashlee Siejka trained Marquez for local junior Mitch Turnbull. Geary took out the next heat when he scored in strong fashion on 30-1 outsider Tulhurst Sarsha for trainer Nathan Hurst. The Riverina's Todd Prest led all the way in the final heat aboard Warner for Peter Trevor-Jones gaining valuable points which elevated him into second place on the leader board. The current points tally is as follows; Chris Geary 60 Todd Prest 41 Jack Trainor 35 Kristy Sheehy (WA) 34 Kasey Hocking 33Mitch Turnbull 31 Grace Grant 29 Nathan Xuereb 29 Max Hughes 25 Liam Armstrong 13 Mitch Turnbull - Western Dist - 4 The next three heats will be held tomorrow at Bathurst Harness Racing Club race 1 - 5:14pm, race 3 - 6:06pm & race 5 - 7:10pm The third round of heats will be conducted at Penrith this evening. HRNSW

John O'Shea stole the show at Bathurst on State of Origin night with five wins in the gig two of  which he also trains. John admitted to supporting Queensland but despite this he was able to  have the last laugh with his fantastic display. His first winner came in race one the Western  Advocate Three Year Old Fillies Pace when his bay filly Cuddle was able to whip around them  with a lap to travel and wrest the lead away from Abercrombie Lisa. O'Shea then rated her  home in 60.3 to defeat Abercrombie Lisa by 5 metres with Mayihaveabiscuit third a half head  away. Cuddle is building up an impressive record with four wins and four minors from only  fourteen starts.    The Shannon Springs Pace was Johns next when he was able to guide the Lester Hewitt  trained Casino Chimes to an all the way victory. The 5yo chestnut gelding has now won his  his last two at Bathurst by leading throughout. He rated 2.01 and best Stevie Wander and  Smack Dab Shannon by 9 1/2 metres. The Jack Butler trained Tutu Bene Lombo was next   and John was able to get the second row runner to the lead shortly after the start. The 3 yo  gelding set solid quarters and had the field chasing hard throughout but despite the final  quarter being the slowest of the race he was able to break their hearts early and record his  fourth win.    Steve Turnbull took advantage of gaining the services of John, with Amanda driving in  Melbourne on the night, and John didn't let him down with a superb drive on the 2yo filly  French Royalty. John elected to take a sit behind the leader Virgin Tooth and somehow  worked her into the clear to defeat Flip Wilson who raced one out and one back on the line by  a neck. The well supported Billy Muscat trained Itz Platinum Plus sat in the breeze after an  early move from the rear early and there were three or four hopes when they turned for home.  John book ended the program with the Kenneth Rue trained Queen Khawaja who came with  a well timed run to beat King Caractacus who tried to lead all the way.    Ashlee Siejka led all the way on Marquez and she has now trained the 3yo gelding to its sixth  win. Onajoyride tried hard racing in the death 7 1/2 metres away with Warner flashing home  for third. Kevin Rivett was confident about the chances of Blissed By Datmuch after some  nice lead up work, and his supporters were cheering when he came from near last to swamp  them on the line. Steve Turnbulls Artista Lombo got its first win since the Blayney carnival of  cups with an all the way result in The Railway Hotel Pace. The 3yo filly has been racing well  without winning of late and was impressive beating Penny Shannon and Charlottes Delight  who both raced along the pegs.    The pick six on course jackpot is creeping up to $1000 punters and all it costs to enter is the  price of a race book, so get along to Bathurst and test your tipping skills.    By Craig Easey   

The Cowra Harness Racing Club will conduct their annual TAB Carnival of Cups meeting this Sunday afternoon and there is plenty of attraction both on and off the track. The $11,000 Tritech Refrigeration Cowra Cup is the feature event on the eight race card and a strong line up has been drawn. The Ashlee Siejka trained and driven Mister Chow will be well fancied off the front line and recent performances suggest he is closing in on victory. The four-year-old faced the breeze at Dubbo last Sunday and was far from disgraced in finishing third behind Just Grange in fast time. Siejka is strongly represented at the meeting with Marquez (race four), Red Vee Hanover (race eight) and Packnplenty (race nine). Three-year-old Marquez finished a nice third in a Bathurst trial a fortnight ago and off the front row draw is expected to figure in the finish. Sky Racing's number harness caller Fred Hastings will be on deck to call the meeting. "I try and get to as many Carnival of Cups meetings as I can," said Hastings. "From a callers point of view they are most enjoyable and it is noticeable how the country folk get in and support the meetings through their attendance. "Following on from the big success at Dubbo last Sunday I'm looking for to my first venture to Cowra this week." Just by being on course one lucky patron will go into the draw to win a brand new Toyota Yaris which will be announced at the HRNSW Awards night on October 25. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |

THE 160 kilometre trip from Grenfell to Bathurst is one that harness racing trainer Mark Hewitt has made more times that he could count,  and he finally got a reward for being a supporter of Bathurst Harness Racing Club meetings – a very big reward. Hewitt was the man who sat in the gig behind Makes Every Scents as she held on to win the Gold Tiara Final for two-year-old fillies, a feature race that held Group 1 status and a $50,000 winners’ purse. The trainer had arrived for the 28th edition of the Gold Crown Carnival hopeful of making the final and while Make Every Scents was impressive in winning her heat, others such as Team McCarthy’s Bamako Mali and Paul Fitzpatrick’s Sally Fletcher were more highly fancied to claim the overall spoils. But Bamako Mali was scratched and the Fitzpatrick’s hope had to contend with a tricky barrier six draw as he chased his third Gold Tiara win. Hewitt, who also had My Blackeyed Susan qualify for the final, started to look a better prospect. Sally Fletcher still held $2.50 favouritism, but Make Every Scents started as the $3.70 second elect as Hewitt contested the Gold Tiara Final for just the second time in his career. Whereas Hewitt’s first attempt came up short – Burning Stature nudged out by a nose by Armida in 2007 – this time the Western Districts trainer-driver got the nod. It was also long-time owner John Gibson’s first Gold Tiara success. “I’d like to thank the Gibson family for their support and sending me horses the calibre of Makes Every Scents, it makes it a lot easier to train when they have got that breeding behind them,” Hewitt said. “The Gibsons have shown the foresight to buy Scent herself and breed this filly and I am lucky they kept this one. “To hold and promote this meeting is wonderful. The Gold Crown has been a marvellous idea and they’ve done wonders with it. We all strive to win it, we start when we get them as a yearling and we have one thing in mind and that is to have a win here tonight on Gold Crown night. I was lucky enough to have two in it and to win with one is even better.” Though Hewitt certainly had luck in the 1,730 metre final, much of the win was also due to a smart drive. He took up position outside early leader Karalta Impulse, while behind him Gotta Glow galloped and checked Ashlee Siejka’s Bathurst hopeful Ameretto as well as inconveniencing Sally Fletcher. It saw the favourite lose ground on the leading pack while Make Every Scents looked comfortable sitting just off the pace as Karalta Impulse led them through a 60.4 seconds first half. Hewitt made his move with 300m to run and was able to pull away to a three lengths advantage over nearest rival Mustang Jet on the bend. While Make Every Scents tired a little and the favourite made a late charge, it was to be Hewitt’s night as his filly held on to win by 21⁄4m. Second was Young trainer-driver Glenn Wilmot aboard Mustang Jet ($44.90) with Sally Fletcher running a big race to place third. The win made it three in a row for Hewitt’s Four Starzzz Shark x Scent filly and win number three is one he will remember for a long time to come. Harness Racing New South Wales Makes Every Scents

The first Australian crop of Cam’s Card Shark harness racing stallion Million Dollar Cam have been making quite a big impression in Australia of late and that was highlighted by the two Bathurst Gold Tiara heat winners that the former Little Brown Jug winner sired yesterday. The first of those two winners was the Gareth Rattray trained Karalta Impulse, who made it two wins from four starts when leading all of the way to win the second heat of the series, while Amaretto (Ashlee Siejka) remained unbeaten when winning the sixth heat in emphatic style. Interestingly, both of Million Dollar Cam’s Tiara Gold heat winners are out of mares from the Direct Scooter line. The other Bathurst Tiara Gold heat winners were: Makes Every Scents (Four Starzzz Shark), Looks Look Heaven (Lombo Mandingo), Sally Fletcher (American Ideal), and Bamako Mali (Art Major). Million Dollar Cam, who took a record of 1:50.2 at 3 years and won almost $970,000 in stakes, has a foal crop of only 60 and already 14 have started and three have won and a further six have been placed. With 14 starters from 60 foals, Million Dollar Cam is off to a sensational start, being the leading NSW first-season percentage sire in that category, while he ranks second on a winners-to-foals percentage basis, according to the Harness Racing Australia computer on March 17. In North America, Million Dollar Cam’s stock has earned more than $20-million to date and he has sired seven in the 1:50 list. Million Dollar Cam stands at Yirribee Stud in Wagga. By Mitchell Robertson Makes Every Scents Karalta Impulse   Looks Like Heaven Sally Fletcher Bamako Mali Armaretto

The TAB Carnival Of Cups will be in full swing over the Christmas and New Year period and Bathurst will host a big meeting this Thursday night (Boxing Day night). The Shirley Turnbull Memorial is the feature race on the programme and has attracted a strong field but there is plenty of interest in another "event" on the card. The club will host a Guys vs Dolls Pursuit Race which will see two teams of pacers compete on opposite sides of the track, similar to a pursuit race in track cycling and race organiser Terry Neil is expecting the on track crowd to enjoy the spectacle. "This will be the second year the club is holding the event and we are hoping to make it a regular part of the Shirley Turnbull Memorial meeting," Neil said. "Each team consists of four drivers, the guys team is John O'Shea, Max Hughes, Sam Hewitt and Trent Rue, the dolls team won last year and is unchanged, Amanda Turnbull, Ashlee Siejka (pictured), Emma Turnbull and Angela Hedges, they compete as a team over 1600 metres with two lead changes taking place in the first lap." Inside the final lap it is up to the drivers if there is another change. "If the lead horse starts to put up the white flag then there might be another change but we leave that up to the two teams, we will be raising money for charity as well with all money raised going to the Leigh Plunkett Foundation so hopefully people will support the whole concept and everyone who makes a $5 donation will get the chance to win a trip to New Zealand thanks to Rod Smith." "It was an idea that I had bubbling away in the back of my mind watching pursuit cycling and after all of the positive feedback we got last year we decided to continue the event, we use lights on the track to help the patrons see which team is in front and our racecaller Kevin Thompson did a Fabulous job last year calling the event, it makes for a great spectacle, hopefully in the future the race can be covered by the TAB and Sky Racing." The Exhibition Pursuit is scheduled to be run at 9:44pm. Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales                    

The Leigh Plunkett Foundation is the recipient of the fundraising effort at this year's Bathurst Carnival of Cups meeting on Boxing Night. The "Guys and Dolls" Team Pursuit, a hit with the holiday crowd last year, will again be a feature of the meeting.Money raised through this race, along with a start-up donation of $1250 from the host club, will benefit the Foundation. Tickets will be sold on the night for $5 ( or hopefully, for a larger donation), with twelve patrons drawn out to form support teams for the Guys and Dolls teams in the Pursuit Race. At the conclusion of that race, one member of the winning support team will be drawn out as the winner of a fantastic prize- airfares and four nights accommodation for two people at Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital. The 2013 Team Pursuit will be an exciting and intriguing contest. Can last year's champions - Emma and Amanda Turnbull, Ashlee Siejka and Angela Hedges - stare down the "new kids on the block" John O'Shea, Trent Rue, Max Hughes and Sam Hewitt ( the last pair winner and runner/up in this year's Rising Stars series)? With last year's victory under their belts, the Dolls are a formidable combination, but the Guys have plenty of youthful male swagger, and a stated mission of restoring male pride, to fuel their challenge. The race - two laps of the half - mile track, with mobile starts from opposite straights and designated leader changes throughout - will be conducted for $3000 prize money, donated by generous benefactors Rod Smith and John Brien. Last year's on - course excitement will extend to a national audience this year, with the event part of the scheduled race programme and set to be telecast live on Sky One. HRNSW has also made representations for fixed - odds betting with TAB, with the decision pending. Whatever the result on Boxing Night, one thing is already certain: the biggest winner on an exciting night will be the Leigh Plunkett Foundation. By Terry Neil

The first two-year-old race of the season in Australia was run last night at Bathurst and was taken out in impessive style by the Chris Frisby trained Catalina Rainbow. Starting from the outside barrier, the daughter of Grinfromeartoear forged to the lead and kicked clear on the home bend to win by 11 metres for reinswoman Ashlee Siejka. Bred by John Markham, Catalina Rainbow is the third foal and first winner of the Troublemaker mare Dance A Rainbow 1:59.8 - $53,235.  

Bathurst’s Star Trek series has been won by some very good restricted-class horses which have gone on to become familiar names, the likes of Caesar Blue Chip, Frosty Castle, Smooth Dixie and Cheri Cullen. Three heats of the 2013 series, sponsored by Empire Stallions, were keenly contested at last Wednesday’s meeting, and the winners look well up to the high standard seen over the years. Lochinver (Ash Siejka, $4.70) , a brilliant winner of the first of two C1 heats over 2130 metres, started at inflated odds, with Gabrielle Solis expected to dominate from its pole draw. But that mare dropped out mid-race after suffering from heart fibrillation, and Lochinver raced away for a convincing win despite sitting in the death, with a last half of 57.6 and an impressive 1:59.8 mile rate. Sassys A Kriden, in the one-one throughout, and Beetson, which pulled hard behind the leader, finished well astern of the winner but have qualified for the $12,000 final. Rod Smith’s Kriden Investments went one better in the second heat, for C2 class, when Sammys A Kriden (Jack Butler/Amanda Turnbull $1.80 fav.), first-up since the Gold Chalice heats in March, led throughout. The four-year-old sprinted up the back in 28.6 but slowed to a 30.7 final quarter, allowing the trailers Essayist and Scots Legacy to close within a couple of metres. The same trainer-driver combination was successful in the final heat, for C2 class, with the promising Sky Falcon NZ, which started at prohibitive odds of $1.04 on the strength of a good Canola Cup heat win. He finished down the track, after galloping, in that final when equal favourite with the eventual winner Holy Camp Clive.  Sky Falcon’s mile rate of 2:02.7 was slowest of the three heats, but he did it comfortably in the lead and his final half of 58.4 could easily have been bettered. El Mega ran on well from mid-field for second, with Blissed By Datmuch holding on behind the leader for third, and a spot in the final. Owners Bernie McMullen and Dan Richardson, newcomers to harness-racing ownership, are having a great run with the Falcon Seelster four-year-old, who scored his fourth win since arriving in Australia midway through last season. Amanda Turnbull’s decision on which of the heat winners to drive in the final will come down to the all-important barrier draw. Away from the heats, easily the most impressive winner at the meeting was Saloon Passage NZ ($1.40), having its first run on this side of the Tasman for Nathan Hurst in a 3C0 sprint event.  Once he found clear air from his inside second row draw, Hurst had no hesitation in searching for the lead, after which he set the cruise control for an ever-widening 17 metres margin. Mattjestic Star came three-wide over the final lap, and Luda Can Dance trailed the leader. The last half was a soft 58.0 seconds. The Elsu gelding, one of four to race successfully this year for Hurst, who’s become the go-to trainer for that breed, races for a syndicate formed by Ray and Margaret Mawhood following their purchase of the horse after an impressive New Zealand debut six weeks ago. They’re going to have lots of fun with him. A good night got even better for the Mawhood/Hurst team, when they took out the final race, an R 0 class over 2130 metres, with Caesars Hall ($6.40 ). The four-year-old scored his maiden win at start number five, leading throughout to defeat death-seating Phil The Tooth and the unlucky Famous Spirit, which lost a lot of ground after an early mistake. Ashlee Siejka took a training double, her second winner achieved with Platinum Roulette ( Amie Bateup, $2.80 fav.), which led from seven in an R1-R3 2130 metres event to defeat peg-runners Art Appreciation and Always Bad.. It was Amie’s first drive on the Bettors gelding, a close relation to Jack That’s Gold and Henrik Zetterburg, both $100,000 winners for the stable. Feel The Courage (Steve Turnbull, $5.20) lived up to his name somewhat, with a three-wide trip over the final lap in a 2130 metres C 0 class, to stick his head out right on the line for a win over stablemate Fire Eclipse and trailer William Peter. He may not be the easiest horse to drive, but being by Courage and with a grand-dam by Pure Steel, it’s no surprise that he’s tough. Another winner to exemplify her name was Makin Memories (Pat McCarthy/Jason Turnbull $1.80 ), successful on debut in an R 0 over the 2130 metres trip, from outside the lead. Coolamingal and Bundaburra, which raced behind the winner in the running line, filled the places. Pat and Ros McCarthy bred the Trump Casino mare with Pat’s mother Ollie, who died earlier this year. Ollie had been adamant that Pat should persevere with the mare, and this win was a perfect testament to a wise and much-loved lady. It would have meant a great deal to the entire McCarthy family. Bathurst race again next Friday night, the Tier One meeting highlighted by the Star-Trek Final. Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club  

Bathurst is home to the largest horse population in New South Wales, with at least six large professional stables, so harness racing holds up well during the cold, winter months when many clubs find it difficult to fill fields. Even so, the ten races on last Wednesday’s meeting came as something of a pleasant surprise. Most had full fields, which provided for very competitive and exciting racing.  Punters found the going hard,though, with only four favourites successful on the night. David Hewitt’s stable has enjoyed plenty of success at Bathurst this season, and that run continued at this meeting with an early double and several later placings. Western Burner, a $2.80 favourite on the strength of a last-start Bathurst victory, scored an outstanding win in a C0-C2 conditioned event over 2130 metres , driven by the trainer’s son Scott. With stablemate Kenneth Lloyd running them along at a frantic clip, Hewitt bided his time in the one-one before coming with a strong run from the 400 metres to grab the lead on the bend. El Mega (Ashlee Siejka), first up in six months, tracked him throughout and ranged up to win at the hundred metres. Western Burner almost broke stride at this point, was balanced up and then showed real grit and determination to draw clear for a narrow but well-deserved win. The speed was unrelenting, with the mile rate of 1:59 just 1.1 seconds off the track record set by Ultimate Art in this year’s Gold Chalice final. Shadow Son ($26.70) for David Hewitt himself, scored in the following race, a  C1-C2 sprint event.  In a race of changes, he enjoyed a good trail from his second-row draw to work clear in the straight, relegating leader Imitate Life and Dashing Deano to the minor places. The race was not only the second leg of Hewitt’s double, but also the second leg of the on-course Pick-Six promotion, which had jackpotted to a $1,000 prize. Those tipsters on good terms with themselves after Western Burner’s win in the first leg, were no doubt wishing they’d stuck with the stable in this race. Eternal optimists, they’ll fancy their chances at the next meeting, for the $1,025 on offer. Nathan Hurst scored a driving double, in successive races mid-way through the meeting. Major Armbro ($17.70) for trainer Mark Rawsthorne, trailed leader Lucky Art in a 3CO-3C1 class over 2130 metres, and came off the leader’s back at the top of the straight to record his  second lifetime win, after a number of recent placings. He’s beginning to race more truly with experience, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him pick up another win before season’s end. Hurst’s double came with his own runner Gabrielle Solis NZ, in a 3YO Fillies event also over the middle distance. Undefeated in three starts at two, and placed twice since resuming from a long lay-off, she again started long odds-on and gave backers no cause for concern. Hurst regards the McArdle daughter – a close relation to Iraklis and Monkey King- as possibly the fastest horse out of the gate that he’s driven. She showed why, leading easily from gate seven, and holding off Grin For Miss, which over-raced outside the lead, and the fast-finishing Aunty Olive, which came from a long way off the pace. The other double at the meeting was for father-daughter combination Steve and Amanda Turnbull. In race four, a C1-C2 Country Series heat, Ima Pleasure ($16.20 ) worked hard to find the lead and hold on narrowly from the one-one runner Temporary Use NZ (Scott Hewitt) and death-seating favourite Flying Jetfire NZ (Ashlee Siejka). Ima Pleasure will be retired for breeding in coming months, and this latest win will offset some of the stud fees for the Turnbull family’s recent purchase. Their second winner came in the final event, an R0-R1 sprint event, with $2.40 favourite Signum Vitae. After surrendering the lead and then being shuffled back mid-field, Turnbull had to bring the Life Sign gelding across the back of the pack on the corner before coming with a strong finish down the outside, to score from  Why So Serious (Sam Hewitt) and Phil The Tooth (Neville Donnelly). There was merit  in this win. The double kept them on track to reach the coveted 200 wins for this season, with Amanda needing six and Steve seven, for that milestone. Regardless of the eventual outcome, it’s been a wonderful season for them both. Amanda will place fifth in the Australian driving ranks, and Steve will be runner-up behind  Grant Dixon in the Australian training ranks. Other winners at the meeting were: Bradness Marie ($6.60 ) , John O’Shea for Jack Butler, a tough effort from the death seat in a C0-C2 conditioned event. Rowan Royal ( $3.80), all the way in R2-R3 class for Wayne Watterson, who obtained the quinella with Extreme Fire (John O’Shea ). Major Dancer ($1.90 ), a dominant winner of  a CO Country Series heat for Morisset  visitor Mark Callaghan, who recalled driving Surfing Safari to a track-record win in the Bathurst Gold Cup some sixteen years ago. That record still stands. Always Will ($12.90) Sam Hewitt for Bernie Hewitt, found room close to the line to get up narrowly in a 2YO Fillies event, at her racetrack debut. Bathurst will conduct its final meetings for the season on Wednesday 21st and 28th, with plenty of juveniles trying to grab those age-win bonuses. Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club  

Wet, sloppy conditions kept the crowd small but didn’t prevent very competitive racing at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Ash Siejka’s training double, and an exceptional debut by Think It Through, were the highlights. On debut in a 2YO Fillies class but a very short-priced favourite on the strength of a 2:00 trial win at Young, Think It Through managed the potentially tricky inside draw then sped away in front to open up a gap of at least 50 metres  during the middle stages of the race. Halfway through the second lap, trainer-driver John Vautin started to shake her up as the huge gap narrowed somewhat, and many in the stand were beginning to wonder if this Vo Rogue-like performance would end in an upset. They needn’t have worried. Though getting very weary after highballing in front in very slushy conditions, she held on by a mere 19 metres to post the first of what will surely be numerous career victories.  Our Lissome NZ and Most Admired gave Steve Turnbull the minor placings. The sectional times make interesting reading. After a slow lead time as she found her footing out of the gate, she dashed through the middle 1200 metres in 1:30.0 flat, leaving all her rivals off the bit and gasping for oxygen, before a telling 33.6 final quarter, for a mile rate of 2:03.2 . A  strapping type very reminiscent of her sire Ponder, the half-sister to Ultimate Art was purchased by  Lester and Linda Hewitt from the Micallef draft  at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale for $8,000 , the day after that year’s Crown winner had easily defeated their runner in a Crown heat . To paraphrase a familiar expression, they reckoned “ if you can’t beat ‘em,  get one of ‘em. “ John Vautin hasn’t seen much of Bathurst this season, since basing himself at Cowra. Lester Hewitt is an accomplished trainer in his own right, a clear leader of the UDR Trainers Premiership at Bathurst this season, but he’s supported his former stable driver with this filly, the undoubted star of Toby Vautin’s small team. For all of them, there’s much to look forward to. In My Life NZ, the first leg of Ashlee Siejka’s training double, set the pattern for the evening by making a fast move mid-race to the death, and then outstaying favourite Two Striking and the sweet-seating Im No Lady. The last half took 60.4, with the mile rate of 2:04.8 for the 2130 metres  C O event. Recent Rising Stars placegetter Kylie Barnes handled the driving duties for Siejka’s second winner Nickys Passion NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint class, sitting outside the lead and proving too strong for Miners Lane, which had enjoyed the one-one trail, and  stablemate Stirling William, which had led. The mile rate of 2:02 was very good in the conditions, and the last half was run in a minute flat. Abercrombie Alice  (Graham Betts for Leon Bennetts) maintained her excellent recent form with another all-the-way win, in a 3CO-3C1 sprint event. Courtesy of a neat piece of driving, and some good fortune, she found the lead around the first bend after coming from barrier 9. Hallycould held on in the death seat for second, with the original occupant of that spot and then trailer, Master Macca, getting the minor placing. Twenty Three Penny’s winning effort , in a C1 sprint class, was more conventional, with John O’Shea spearing the short-priced favourite straight to the front and controlling the race throughout. She zipped up the back in 28.7 , the night’s fastest quarter, putting the result beyond doubt, and cruised home in 31.0 to defeat  Positive Thinking and Runs On Love, which had followed her on the pegs throughout. The mile rate was 2:04. It was the seventh lifetime win for the Blissfull Hall mare, which will join the nice broodmare band put together by keen Carcoar-based breeders Ray and Peter Connolly. Long Cool Woman brought up win 191 and 189 respectively for her driver and trainer, Amanda and Steve Turnbull, in a 3C O sprint event. She worked to the death seat mid-race and outstayed Aunty Olive,which raced wide for the last lap, and favourite Gabrielle Solis NZ, three-back in the running line . The mile rate was only 2:04.6, but the last half of 59.8 was good on the night. Franco Talon NZ (Amy Day for Garrett Newton) made up for the pair’s second in the opening race by taking out an R2-R3 middle-distance class. Last early before coming three-wide from the bell, the favourite  had a bit in hand to defeat the death-seater Rowan Royal and Ihitthegroundrunning NZ, from the one-one.The overall rate was just 2:05.8, with the last half in 60.1 . Western Burner found the by-now coveted spot outside the leader in the final race, an R0-R1 over 2130 metres, and naturally he won, for Scott Hewitt and trainer-father David. Happy Camper came three-wide from the bell for second, with Jerula’s Mate which had the one –one trail, holding on for third. The times were moderate but the winning margin of 17 metres suggests a repeat win can be expected.

The strong role played by families in harness racing - quite possibly the ultimate "family sport " - was very much on show at the Bathurst meeting last Wednesday.

1 to 16 of 43
1 2 3 Next »