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Harness racing superstar Smoken Up faces a tough challenge in his bid for a farewell victory at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Due to be retired after his appearance in the Casey Classic, Smoken Up has drawn awkwardly in gate nine for trainer Lance Justice. Admitting the barrier has hampered the prospects of a final win, Justice stated the outing is “more about enjoying the moment” with the sprightly 12-year-old. “If he wins, he wins and if he doesn’t it’s not the end of the world,” Justice declared. “Saturday is more about enjoying the moment as he says good bye to racing. “We’ve been fortunate to have won 72 races with him, so one more will only be some sweet, sweet icing on the cake. “Naturally, I would love to see him go out on a high, but from the draw it may not be possible. “Don’t get me wrong, I still think he can win, and no matter what happens, I know he will do his best as always. “Overall, it is going to be very emotion as it’s the end of an era.” Justice was fortunate to enjoy a perfect end to former stable star Sokyola’s career at Moonee Valley on June 22, 2007 when the son of Soky’s Atom accounted for The Warp Drive and The Phantoms Guest. “We were lucking enough to have a happy ending with Sokyola and with a bit of luck we can enjoy the same with Smoken Up,” Justice said. “A win would also bookend his career with me as he won on debut at Yarra Valley in March 2007. To begin and end with a win would be a fairytale.” Smoken Up has registered 72 victories and 48 placings from 141 starts with Justice for earnings of $3,588,949 to be Australasia's third richest pacer behind Blacks A Fake ($4,575,438) and Im Themightyquinn ($4,567,456). His wins include two Miracle Miles, four South Australia Cups, four Len Smith Miles and the Victoria Cup, with his best time of 1:48.5 coming at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 30, 2011. The son of Tinted Cloud has claimed 13 Group Ones across the Southern Hemisphere, won at 15 tracks and set numerous records, including becoming the first standardbred on this side of the equator to better 1:50. While his favourite track is Menangle due its spacious 1400-metre circuit, Smoken Up has registered the majority of his wins at Melbourne’s two metropolitan tracks. In fact, the gelding boasts the record for the most wins at headquarters, with his 33 triumphs breaking down to 12 at Moonee Valley and 21 at Melton. That total also equates to 32 metropolitan wins and one country front. Former top mare Make Mine Cullen held the previous record thanks to her 30 wins between the two tracks. The daughter of Christian Cullen won 29 at Melton and one at Moonee Valley for Glenn Douglas. Her tally breaks down to 25 city and five country wins, with one of her provincial fronts coming at the Valley. Sokyola was credited as Moonee Valley’s leading performer with his 29 wins, which splits to 26 metro and three country. Former outstanding pacer Dusty Miller is believed to have won 27 races at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds, however, there are no in depth records to verify his stats. To put things into another perspective, the immortal Popular Alm notched 21 wins at the Valley, while his arch-rival, Gammalite, had 24! A farewell victory will also see Smoken Up fall a win short of True Roman’s ‘all-comers’ record in town. Among the best trotters produced in the Southern Hemisphere, True Roman won an amazing 35 races at the Valley. True Roman’s tally breaks down to an incredible 34 metro and one country success. “To have Sokyola as the most successful metro horse in numbers and now Smoken Up is amazing,” Justice said. “Now with a bit of luck Trigger can match old Soky by bowing out with a win. “Like I said, it’s going to be an emotional night and we will both be out there doing our best.” - PAUL COURTS

Australian harness racing journalist Paul Courts has joined our team. A multi-award winning scribe, Courts will begin duties with harnesslink.com on September 1 – just in time for the new Aussie racing season. Bringing more than two decades of experience and knowledge to the role of Australian Editor-in-chief, Courts will operate from Melton, Victoria, placing him close to the action at Tabcorp Park. Along with local content, Courts will also deliver the latest news from around Australia in the manner which has seen him win an international and three national journalist awards. Beginning his career as a cadet with Australian Consolidated Press, Courts has enjoyed stints as Editor of On The Pace, The Harness Racer and has just finished a 13-year term with Harness Racing Weekly. Away from the office, Courts is a sire of three ‘colts’ – Darcy, 14, Tobey, 11, and Wyatt, 7. A boxing fan, who does his share of training, ‘Courtsy’ is also a mad Carlton supporter, which some would say just makes him mad! Sadly, he has also corrupted his sons into following the Blues. “I’m looking forward to working with harnesslink.com and delivering the news quicker than ever,” Courts said. “Being with harnesslink.com also provides me with the freedom of travelling to more race meetings both in Victoria and interstate, so I will consistently be where the action is. “My phone is always on and I’m happy to hear from anyone wanting to tell their story.” Paul can be contacted via paul@harnesslink.com or 0414 348 120. Harnesslink Media

Harness Racing was one of 26 sports recognised for development of participants at the Hunter Academy of Sports Presentation Night held at Newcastle University yesterday. Mitchell Chapple, Aleisha Bond, Maddie Bond, Mitchell Frost, Brad Elder, Dan Morgan and Jackson McDonald received certificates as members of the first group to complete the courses. The subjects included Public Speaking, Motivation Talks, Fitness, and Personal Development along with an informative talk on integrity by Deputy Chairman of Stewards Chris Paul. The late Ross Gigg, who was always a great believer in developing the youth, was a major contributor to initiating the programme and Newcastle Harness Club President Mr Jim Bell presented a trophy to Dan Morgan in honour of Ross. It will be an annual award. Dan Morgan also took out the Newcastle University Scholarship. CEO of Hunter Academy of Sport, Mr Ken Clifford, mentioned that a recent meeting of the state’s academy’s, interest had been shown to develop the programme in other regions with Wagga, Bathurst and Tamworth making further enquires. Harness Racing New South Wales           

Star Tasmanian reinsman Ricky Duggan ended the 2013/14 harness racing season on a high when he drove five winners at the last meeting of the term in Hobart last Sunday night. It was a personal best for Duggan who has driven a quartet on numerous occasions, including three times last June. The haul took Duggan’s season’s tally to 83 wins, while not enough to overhaul Gareth Rattray (95) in the race for premiership honours, it should have earned him a bunch of points in the Halwes Medal count for which he is a top contender. At the end of June dual Halwes Medallist Rattray held a slender three-point lead over Duggan in the race for the 2014 medal. Rattray was sitting on 58 votes, with Todd Rattray third with 45 points when votes went ‘in camera’. Rounding off the top 10 were Barrie Rattray (34), Nathan Ford (32), Rohan Hillier (27), Juanita McKenzie (23), Dylan Ford (21), Craig Hayes (21) and Zeke Slater (21). Votes from the last two months of the term will be revealed at the annual awards night. With Rattray sidelined through illness during the past six weeks, the voting for the Halwes Medal promises to be very intriguing. Duggan’s winners were Cardinal Spec, Our Chain Of Command, Oscar Blakedon, Giuliani and Something Eyre, with the son of Ohoka Arizona completing a hat-trick in the process. Todd landed a double with Freyde and Tizsyalator as did top trainer Juanita McKenzie, who scored with Something Eyre and Our Chain of Command. - PETER STAPLES

Star harness racing filly Mindarie Priddy has lost her battle with laminitis. Struggling to recover from a “simple” cut in her hoof, Mindarie Priddy had to be put down yesterday. Devastated by the news, trainer David Miles remains shocked by the manner in which the daughter of Artistic Fella met her demise. “All this is the result of something amazingly simple,” Miles said. “Initially she only stood on a toe chip, which developed into a foot infection that didn’t burst as you’d normally expect. “We took her to the vet surgery and it went pear-shaped from there, and before we knew it, she was fighting for her life. “In the end she was suffering from laminitis and we had to make the heartbreaking call.” Laminitis is a disease that affects hooved animals, often leading to perforation of the coffin bone through the sole of the hoof, requiring aggressive treatment or euthanasia. Sadly in the case of Mindarie Priddy – a winner of 11 races from 17 starts for earnings of $284,659 - it was the latter. In human terms, Laminitis is similar to gangrene, which often leads to amputation. “I can’t believe this has happened,” Miles declared. “We tried everything we could to save her, but her body was just fighting itself and not responding. “In the end the laminitis was too bad and there was every chance the pedal bone would have kept rotating and pushed through the sole of her foot. “There was even talk of getting a prosthetic leg for her, so I can tell you we tried, and thought of, everything, but the overall result is she had to be put down.” Miles also revealed connections flushed several embryos from the mare, which was served by leading sire, Bettors Delight. Again to Miles’ dismay, the embryos “didn’t take”. “During the last month we knew things weren’t looking good and were aware of what may come, so we tried to get some embryos out of her,” Miles said. “They were by Bettors Delight, which would have been a terrific mating, but they didn’t take, so we’ve ended up with nothing. “She was without doubt the best filly I have ever put a bridle on…she had speed, stamina and brains, she was the perfect racehorse. “The Australian Pacing Gold will remain her best win, but for one reason or another, we never got to see the best of her.” PAUL COURTS

At the end of June dual Halwes Medalist Gareth Rattray held a slender three point lead over Ricky Duggan in the race for the 2014 Halwes Medal. At the end of June, Rattray had 58 votes from Duggan on 55 with Todd Rattray in third place on 45. The top ten also includes Barrie Rattray (34), Nathan Ford (32), Rohan Hillier (27), Juanita McKenzie (23), Dylan Ford (21), Craig Hayes (21) and Zeke Slater (21). As Gareth Rattray has been sidelined for the past six weeks owing to a necessity to have major surgery, the voting for the Halwes Medal promises to be very interesting up to the final meeting of the season last Sunday night. The Halwes Medal is sponsored by BOTRA Tasmania and Jamie Cockshutt. The award recognises excellence in horsemanship and operates under the following format: A panel of nine members is rostered to vote throughout the harness season (September 2013 to August 2014). Panel members are Jamie Cockshutt, Peter Cooley, Greg Mansfield, Kevin Neilson, Matt Robertson, David Sales, Damien Seaton, Peter Staples and Shane Yates. A panel member votes on each meeting and has 10 votes to allocate. The 10 votes can be allocated at the panel member's discretion with a maximum of five votes for any trainer or driver. Only Tasmanian registered licensed persons are eligible to receive votes.   Halwes Medal votes for the last 13 meetings (July and August) will be announced at the Tasracing Harness Awards Dinner at Country Club Tasmania, Launceston on Saturday 13 September.   The BOTRA Young Achiever Award is run in conjunction with the Halwes Medal and is restricted to licensed persons aged 24 or under as at 1 September 2013. Dylan Ford leads with 21 votes followed by Nick Brockman (19), Duncan Dornauf (11), Lyarna Graham (11), Matthew Howlett (9), Tim Yole (6) and Brady Woods (5).   Halwes Medal votes to 1 July 2014 are: 58 Gareth Rattray 55 Ricky Duggan 45 Todd Rattray 34 Barrie Rattray 32 Nathan Ford 27 Rohan Hillier 23 Juanita McKenzie 21 Dylan Ford 21 Craig Hayes 21 Zeke Slater 19 Nick Brockman 16 Adrian Duggan, Dick Eaves, Grant Hodges 15 Troy Hillier 13 Steve Davis, Andrew Rawlings 11 Duncan Dornauf, Lyarna Graham 10 Paul Ashwood, John Walters, 9 Matthew Howlett 8 Kate Macleod 7 Justin Campbell, Erin Hollaway, Heath Szczypka, 6 Adrian Collins, Rohan Hadley, Brooke Hammond, Tim Maine, Zane Medhurst, Tim Yole 5 Chris Howlett, David Mace, Kent Rattray, Christian Salter, Andrew Thornton, Brady Woods, Ben Yole, Mark Yole 4 Rod Ashwood, Kevin Denny, Matthew Dwyer, Natalee Emery, Sam Freeman, Brian Mackrill, Paul Medhurst, Ben Rossendell, Wayne Watson, Roger Whitmore, Paul Williams 3 Shelley Barnes, Eric Blomquist, Mark Butler, Taylor Ford, Paul Hill, Braden Howlett, James Johnson, Geoff Smith, Keith Toulmin, Campbell Watt, Scott Woods 2 James Austin, Daryl Bates, Roger Brown, Rod Burgess, John Castles, Mike Castles, Michael Dornauf, Kevin Gillies, Kristy Grant, Eric Jacobson, Steve Lukac, Melissa Maine, Brent Parish, Greg Scott, Damien Spring, Chris Viney, Bradley Walters, Allister Woods, Clinton Woods, Robert Woods 1 Jim Allen, Andrew Arnott, Chris Aylett, Phillip Aylett, Barry Close, Bill Dornauf, Leigh Dornauf, David Dwyer, Robert Gillie, Max Hadley, Cleone Hill, Justin Howlett, Max Jacobson, Brett Jaffray, Geoff Madden, Clayton Miller, Ben Parker, Nick Perotti, Phil Rawnsley, Brian Stanley, Ian Swain, Lindsay Tatnell. Peter Staples

It was a case of mixed emotions at Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event – TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day – at Bendigo yesterday. As a high, the Melton girls cleaned up in the Aldebaran Netball Cup, but on the downside, the Melton fellas were smashed on the Tabcorp footy field. Melton is yet to win from four starts…the only team still waiting to enjoy a taste glory! On the opposite end of the scale, the skill and agility of the netballers placed them in a class of their own as they rocketed to success. Multiple Group One winning reinswoman Kate Gath was the recipient of the Yirribee Stud Most Valuable Player Award. Gath’s football counterpart was Heath Barton, who enjoyed double success as a member of the triumphant Shepparton squad. After dispensing of Ballarat in the opener, Shepparton then accounted for defending champions, Bendigo, to hold the Tabcorp Premiership Cup aloft. Tobey Courts,11, earned an honourable mention after booting four goals, including three against Ballarat. Away from the fun and games, the event had a serious side – raising awareness and valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Thrilled with the wide spread involvement, organiser Robbie O’Connell declared both ‘goals’ were achieved by the 500-strong crowd. “The amount of publicity this day has generated has certainly helped raising the awareness of the cause,” O’Connell said. “Anyone in harness racing would have to have been living in a cave not to have known about the day and what it’s all about. “And I’m thrilled to say we eclipsed last year’s total and even bettered our target amount in money raised. After $14,000 last year we were hoping for $20,000 this time, but we’re sitting on $22,000 at the moment. “Everyone involved, be it sponsor, helper, player or spectator can hold their heads up high…well, except for the Melton footy team!” There were also plenty of fun activities for the kids throughout the afternoon, as they enjoyed the jumping castle, little athletics competition and the free Auckland Reactor soccer and footballs thanks to Alabar Bloodstock. Alexa Astin and Will Janky were big winners after scoring bikes thanks to Amart Sports Melton by guessing the amount of snakes in a jar. “I couldn’t believe Alexa guessed the exact amount,” O’Connell said. “I thought I was clever not making it an obvious amount like 125 or 120, so I left it at 123. “According to Alexa’s dad her guess was simple, she counted them one, two, three, so he wrote that down! “Overall if was a terrific day, everyone had fun and we achieved our goals thanks to the sponsors, the helpers and every person who came and participated in the spirit of it all.” PAUL COURTS

If we could hear it 'from the horse's mouth', it's pretty obvious what harness racing superstar Smoken Up will be wishing for. With today (1st of September) the beginning of the Australian season, Smoken Up and his standardbred counterparts are celebrating their birthday. Marking his 12th birthday with a party and cake at trainer Lance Justice's stable in Melton, Victoria, Smoken Up is on the verge of retirement. To be more precise, the son of Tinted Cloud is due to have his last start at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Taking that into consideration, Smoken Up is likely to be wishing for a 'fairytale ending'...least that's what Justice and the gelding's connections are looking to achieve with the multi millionaire. Justice was fortunate to enjoy a perfect end to former stable star Sokyola's career at Moonee Valley on June 22, 2007 when the son of Soky's Atom accounted for The Warp Drive and The Phantoms Guest. "We were lucking enough to have a happy ending with Sokyola and with a bit of luck we can enjoy the same with Smoken Up at Tabcorp Park next Saturday night," Justice said. "We will know how our chances are shaping up a little better on Tuesday when the fields come out and can see where he has drawn. "I'm a realist and am fully aware it's unlikely to happen, but at the same time we can enjoy the ride, hope for a good draw and then hope for the best on race night. "Whether he wins or not, it's going to be a joyful and sad occasion at the same time as it's the end of an era." Successful upon debut for Justice at Yarra Valley on March 8, 2007, Smoken Up has registered a further 71 victories and 48 placings from 141 starts for earnings of $3,588,949 to be Australasia's third richest pacer behind Blacks A Fake ($4,575,438) and Im Themightyquinn ($4,567,456). His wins include two Miracle Miles, four South Australia Cups, four Len Smith Miles and the Victoria Cup, with his best time of 1:48.5 coming at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 30, 2011. Smoken Up has claimed 13 Group Ones across the Southern Hemisphere, won at 15 tracks and set numerous records, including becoming the first standardbred on this side of the equator to better 1:50. PAUL COURTS

Of the five Australian nominations for harness racings New Zealand Cup this year, the horse that continues to improve and look on track for the November feature is Seel N Print. A brilliant second in this years Inter-Dominion final, the son of Falcon Seelster is right in the zone at the moment and looks perfectly capable of upsetting Terror To Love's attempt to win four cups in a row. Last night at Melton (August 30th) in the $30,000 Group Three Frith Open Pace, Seel N Print was shooting for three in a row for trainer /driver Todd McCarthy. Exciteusinthecity and Gold Ace both burned the gate with the pair several lengths clear in the early stages. Soon after the early burn the brakes went on and Exciteusinthecity slowed the pace with no pressure from Gold Ace in the death seat. Seel N Print settled three back on the inner in the field of eight and his chances didn't look flash with the lack of pace up front From the 800 meters the tempo was upped a touch with the quarter down the back in 28.4 and then Exciteusinthecity set sail for home. Half way up the straight he was holding before Seel N Print burst through on the inner for another impressive win. What gave the win even more merit was the final 400 meters off the front was run in 26.2 so for Seel N Print to make ground so stylishly speaks volumes for his class. Seel N Print comes from a very distinguished branch of the Estella Amos family in New Zealand. He is the first foal of the Go For Grins mare Fine Print and has the very talented racemares Laudit (3rd dam) and In Or Out (4th dam) close up in his pedigree. The top pacer Percy The Punter 1:56.4 ($332,067) and smart juvenile Le Sol 1:54.3 ($163,656) are both from half sisters to Fine Print Seel N Print was bred in New Zealand by Terry McDonald, the breeder and owner of Terror To Love and there is a certain degree of irony that one of the major challenges to Terror To Love winning his fourth New Zealand Cup was bred by his owner. Harnesslink Media    

Harness racings 2 year old trotting filly Breeders Crown winner Arya is to stay in Australia for the immediate future which is probably not the news the owners of other smart two year trotting fillies in Australia from last season will want to hear. Arya was probably always going to be too good for her rivals in the $A87,000 Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2year old trotting fillies lineup but Mark Purdon sealed it when Meadow Valley Road made a surprise bid for the front in the first 500 meters. Mark Purdon briefly resisted then allowed Meadow Valley Road to assume command before quickly going out and regaining the lead. It was a procession after that  as Arya went on to win by 8 meters in a 2.02.7 mile rate after two middle halves in 32.5 to set up a sprint home.  Arya, co-bred and raced by Trevor Casey who also races her half-brother Stent, is by Angus Hall from the smart Sundon racemare Belle Galleon ($116,114)  Arya has now won five of her ten starts along with four placings for stakes of $102,076. She gave Trevor Casey an unusual double in that another of his young trotters Daenerys Targaryen won the Group One Redwood Classic last year. The reason that the decision was made for Arya to stay in Australia  was to avoid a clash with another of Trevor's smart young trotters in Wanna Play 1:58.2 ($50,771) who was recently voted the New Zealand 2 year old trotter of the year in front of Arya. Trevor Casey owned Wanna Play with Natalie Rasmussen but recently brought her share out and became the sole owner of the brilliant daughter of Majestic Son. Harnesslink Media 

Kialla trainer-driver David Moran enjoyed a winning double with two of his in-form pacers last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both The Baggy Green (a four-year-old mare by Art Major out of Lady Waratah) and Our Santa Catalina (a three-year-old filly by Rocknroll Hanover out of San Sophia) carried their strong Breeders Crown form into last night's meeting and both recorded strong victories. The Baggy Green, who ran second to Frith in the four-year-old mares’ Breeders Crown Final last time out, found the back of early leader Earth Angel last night used the sprint lane at the finish to wind up for a 2.3-metre victory in the Alabar Pace, Race 1, over 1720 metres. Earth Angel led for Josh Aiken with Isabelle Delacour (Jason Lee) parking in the breeze after a failed attack for the front. Glenferrie EJ (Jodi Quinlan) ran second after a sustained run three-wide, while Earth Angel boxed on gamely for third. The Baggy Green started at $2.20, kicking the night off on a winning note for punters. Moran’s second winner came up in Race 4, the Harness Breeders Vic 3YO Classic over 1720 metres. He drove Our Santa Catalina, who scored an upset win over last-start Group 1 winner Just Cala (Amanda Turnbull) by 1.8 metres, with Madison Louise (Chris Alford) third. With 1200 metres to go Moran and Our Santa Catalina eased three-wide from the one-out-one-back spot and moved to the breeze outside race leader Dazzling Arden. At this stage Turnbull had the $1.40 favourite Just Cala in last position. Down the back, though, Turnbull started her move, taking the Dennis Picker trained filly around the field three-wide. But the leaders quickened up with middle sectionals of 29.9 and 28.4, Just Cala forced to work hard for the bulk of the final lap. Once the field straightened up for the run to the judge, Our Santa Catalina shook off Dazzling Arden and then hit the line in a 27.8 final quarter. Just Cala simply didn’t have the firepower at the finish as Our Santa Catalina – who ran third in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat two starts back – showed enormous grit in the run to the line. Our Santa Catalina has now won seven of 20 starts. Leading reinsman Nathan Jack was the other driver to pick up a winning double last night, piloting Bad Habbott to a 2.7-metre triumph in the Home Timber and Hardware Melton 3YO Trot for trainer Russell Commens before finishing the program aboard Shared Interest, the Russell Jack trained gelded son of Angus Hall obliterating his rivals by 18.1 metres in the Haley Toulmin 2YO Trot over 1720 metres. Other winners on the card were Action Kosmos for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in the Tab.com.au Trot and Game We Play in the Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final for trainer-driver Craig Turnbull, the son of Courage Under Fire too strong as the long odds-on favourite in the race Karkarooc who finished a well-beaten seventh. In-form mare Tandias Bromac won the Pet Rock Pace for trainer Amanda Grieve and driver Chris Alford while the Michael Stanley trained and driven Young Modern won the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720 metres. Gumdrops won for trainer Steve Zammit and driver Rodney Petroff in the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 Sept Pace, and the Chris Lang trained and driven Lord Liam won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The Victorian harness racing spotlight turns to Cranbourne tonight (Saturday) with the first of 11 races at 5.35pm. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Talented young reinswoman Ellen Tormey will fly out of Melbourne on Monday bound for the US and Canada where she will spend six weeks honing her skills. Tormey, 24, will first land with leading Canadian trainer Blair Burgess in Canada where she will gain invaluable experience near the famous Mohawk track in Ontario. Tormey will then have the opportunity to visit the Little Brown Jug Carnival in Delaware, Ohio, before joining the Linda Toscano stable – based in New Jersey – and travelling with Toscano’s team to the massive carnival at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. Tormey’s trip came about after she was awarded the 2014 Leigh Plunkett Scholarship. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation was inaugurated in 2013 as a harness racing charity that would raise money for charitable organisations as well as providing an international scholarship for a young participant. In year one the charitable organisation selected was the Leukaemia Foundation, with the Leigh Plunkett Foundation able to deliver a $50,000 cheque to the foundation. The foundation wishes to thank everyone around Australia who donated their time and money to such a worthy cause. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation will be launching again soon and young participants who want to experience what Tormey has been afforded should start thinking about their application. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) yesterday opened an inquiry into the Total plasma carbon dioxide (TCO2) levels returned from horses trained by Mrs. K Hillier since 1 January 2013. This inquiry was commenced following concerns that a number of horses were being presented to race with elevated TCO2 levels. This was of further concern following raceday integrity operations that were conducted on the horses entered for the Albury harness meeting on 2 August 2014 and levels recorded on that occasion. Evidence including the swab history reports of horses trained by Mrs K Hillier, and expert evidence from Harness Racing NSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Wainscott was presented at the inquiry. Evidence was also taken from Mrs K Hillier regarding the training of horses in her stable, her husbandry practices and compliance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules. The inquiry was adjourned until 10am on Thursday 18 September 2014 for documents to be provided by Ms. Hillier. Harness Racing New South Wales  

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) concluded an inquiry yesterday into results received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that cobalt was detected above the threshold in a sample taken from the following horse; COLIN JOHN following its win in race 7, the Reece Plumbing Pace at Wagga on May 16th. The “B” samples and associated control samples were confirmed by ChemCentre in Western Australia. Mr Stockton was found guilty of a charged pursuant to Rule 190, in that as the registered trainer of COLIN JOHN he presented that horse to race not free of the prohibited substance Cobalt below the threshold. Mr Stockton was disqualified for a period of 2 years to commence from 17 July 2014, the date upon which he was stood down. In considering penalty, Stewards were mindful of the nature of the substance, his non-admission, the level detected (810ug/L) and his personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, COLIN JOHN was disqualified as the winner from the abovementioned race. Harness Racing New South Wales    

As previously advised, HRSA has established a prohibition threshold of 200 micrograms per litre in urine for the substance Cobalt to prevent its potential use as an equine performance enhancer. Cobalt also represents a threat to the welfare of horses. HRSA has received a report from the Laboratory in Western Australia that cobalt above the threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from SAME OLD MACRAY, following its second placing in Race 5 – Unibet Corner Pace. 2050m conducted at Port Pirie on 6 June 2014.  Trainer Andrew Kearney has been stood down effective immediately, under Rule 183. The ‘B’ sample has been sent to another approved laboratory for confirmation. Mr Kearney will be required to attend an inquiry at a time and date to be set. Barbara Scott Chair of Stewards

The South Australian Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA) has once again been to the fore in this harness racing season of putting money into the industry via prize money and bonuses.   It is a never ending task of trying to lift the returns to stakeholders in South Australia.   Alabar Bloodstock as they have done numerous times before have offered a service to one of  their stallions to help BOTRA raise the funds they need.   This year the service they have so kindly donated is to their hugely successful sire Grinfromeartoear.   The sire in Australia of 331 winners for stakes of $10,234,223, Grinfromeartoear dominated this years Southern Cross series in South Australia with Whats Emma Got 1:58.8 ($67,717) taking out the 2 year old fillies final and Punch Line 1:54.2 ($59,521) the 3 year old fillies final.   Grinfromeartoear has three millionaires to his credit from his time at stud in the champions Mister Big 1:47.8 ($4,143,492)  Mr Feelgood 1:49 ($3,366,157) and Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,089,831)    Bidding closes at 8.30pm (Adelaide Time ) on Monday 1st September.   To place a bid simply click on the link below   Gary Newton  

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