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A 15-year-old pacer nicknamed “Sneakers” stole the show during last night’s harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton. Veteran gelding Mister Douglas was victorious in the Schweppes Claiming Pace over 1720 metres for trainer-driver Joanne Justice, in what is his 34th win from 291 starts. Making his 9th appearance at the venue, the son of Albert Albert upstaged Livin It Lovin It by a half-head in a mile rate of 1:57.6. Justice said she is “absolutely rapt” with the gelding’s win. “He’s a great horse. He likes the wet and he loves working and racing,” Justice said. “He has been going good, he just needed to find the right race.” Paying $38.30 on the tote, Mister Douglas settled two-back along the pegs from the pole as Four Grinners led. Mister Douglas hit the front inside the final 50 metres before staving off Livin It Lovin It. “He’s got the white socks on his hinds and he’s light on his feet,” Justice said when asked how Mister Douglas got his stable name. Interestingly, Justice also had an association with Mister Douglas’s mother, which she drove to win the Nyah Necklace in 1991. Mister Douglas debuted on April 13, 2003, when scoring at Bendigo. He won several races at Moonee Valley before the home of Victorian metropolitan trotting moved to Melton where Mister Douglas has won eight races. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the veteran He broke down after 80 starts and experts told Justice at the time he probably wouldn’t race again. “But I walked him and swam him,” Justice said, eventually the trainer getting the gelding back on his feet and back on track.  “We’ll just keep working and racing with him until he doesn’t want to anymore. “I’m sure this is his last season. I am hoping to get to 300 starts.” HRV Media

Callan Suvaljko had a night he will remember for a very long time when he trained and drove the winners of both the colts and fillies divisions of the $100,000 Gloucester Standardbreds Sales Classic Finals at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park last night. In the fillies division his representative was the smart Bettor's Delight filly Bettor Bling who had the misfortune to draw one on the second line. Callan dropped her out to the rear early to get into the running line but as a result he was spotting the leaders a huge start going past the 800 metres mark. Slowly but surely she took ground off the leaders and flew late to run over the top of the pacemaking Trubluwaussie for a very impressive win. Bettor Bling paced the 1730 metres in 2:07.6, a mile rate of 1:58.7 Trubluwaussie's run was also full of merit as she was pressured in the lead the whole journey and only got caught late. Bettor Bling was a $18,000 purchase at last years Gloucester Standardbreds yearling sales by Sue Worral and the full sister to the smart racemare Delightful Jade 1:55.9 ($90,208) looks to have a bright future. Callan's representative in the colts division was the son of Rocknroll Hanover in Rocknroll Whitby who drew perfectly at barrier three. Away well, Rocknroll Whitby and Callan worked hard early but grabbed the lead after 500 metres and kept a steady tempo up front. Callan applied the pressure from the 800 metres mark with a quarter down the back in 28.5 before running home in 29.5 to seal a famous training double. Destined To Rule put in a top run to close late for second after starting from wide on the second line in front of Navy Blues who circled the field with a lap to go and stuck on well for third. Rocknroll Whitby paced the 1730 metres in 2:06.9, a mile rate of 1:58.1 A son of the former top racemare Party Date 1:56 ($256,003) Rocknroll Whitby was passed in by the vendors at last years Gloucester Standardbreds yearling sales when he didn't make his reserve of $20,000 and the vendors are now part of the group that races the gelding. Callan Suvaljko has had his trials and tribulations with officialdom over the years but he has always been acknowledged as a talented horseman and last nights results are just further confirmation of that. Harnesslink Media

Rock N Roll Heaven sired both of last night’s Australian Pacing Gold fillies’ semi-final winners, another boon for the 2010 USA Dan Patch Horse of the Year. Rock N Roll Heaven - by Rocknroll Hanover from Artistic Vision - is now second only to Art Major on the national top 20 list of sires for two-year-old pacers. Marg Lee’s improving filly Jilliby Jitterbug won the first of the APG fillies’ semi-finals in a rate of 1:58.4 thanks to a brilliant drive by Jason Lee, defeating Hazels Girl by 1.4m with Magical Delight third. Jilliby Jitterbug's dam, Keppel Bay catured the 2008 APG Final at Harold Park when trained by Emma Stewart. Jason Lee at his best on Jilliby Jitterbug in the first of the APG semi-finals for the night Queenslander Zaras Delight then scooted a five-metre win in the second semi, rating 1:59.7 for reinswoman Amanda Turnbull and trainer Mark Butler. Check out Zaras Delight winning her APG semi-final at Melton Zaras Delight was backed off the map with Mark Purdon-trained My Mackenzie weakening out of the race to run fifth after racing handy and opening at $1.50 with bookmakers. Zaras Delight was backed into $2.20 favourite at the jump, with My Mackenzie out to $3.10. Stay in touch with Harness Breeders Victoria for the latest from the breeding scene - HRV Media

On 23 April 2015, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal continued the hearing of a part heard review application of Gaita Pullicino.  The review application was in relation to a decision of the Harness Racing Victoria Stewards to cancel Pullicino’s training and driving licences as a result of an alleged breach of a condition attached to her licence relating to a stable inspection conducted by Stewards in September 2014 concerning the amount of horses on the property of Pullicino.  After considering all of the evidence and the submissions of the legal representatives of Pullicino and the HRV Stewards, the Tribunal dismissed Pullicino’s application, affirming that the HRV Stewards were entitled to cancel the licences in the circumstances.  As a result of this decision, Pullicino, who had been operating on a stay of proceedings since 31 October 2014, is not the holder of a current licence and horses nominated for upcoming meetings have been scratched accordingly. HRV Media

Nineteen year old driver Mckayler Barnes enjoyed the biggest moment in her short career when she drove her first winner on Wednesday night at Young. Barnes drove King Caractacus for trainer Anne Hancock and after hitting the line was unsure whether she had brought up her maiden win. "It was pretty close when we hit the line and I wasn't sure whether I'd won or not, then Andrew (Brooks) who drove the second placegetter Mercy Mercy said to me 'I think I got you' straight after the line which made me even more uncertain," Barnes said. "It was a very special feeling when I realised that I won and Andrew came past and said 'your horse must have a big head because I was sure that I got you', but it meant a lot to get that first winner." Barnes is the younger sister of talented reinswoman Kylie Barnes. "I was sure I was going to win my first race a few weeks ago (March 25) when I drove Ali Mendes in a lady drivers' race at Bathurst, I was all set to win and Kylie came past and beat me on Amanda Von." "I finished second in my first ever race drive on Richrocknrustler in June of last year so it is nice to get my first win." Barnes was having her 22nd race drive on Wednesday evening and has been supported by a number of stables. "I have worked for Steve Turnbull for two years and I have had a few drives for him, I have driven King Caractacus on a couple of occasions and Aaron Garaty and Kylie have given me a few drives as well, so I'm very thankful for the opportunities I get." "I grew up around horses and helped Anthony Simiana and Peter Sullivan a bit while I was still at school before I made the move to Bathurst to work for the Turnbull stable and I have learned a lot." All of the recent rain forced Barnes to give up a drive at Newcastle on Thursday afternoon. "I was meant to go up to Newcastle and have a drive the next day but because of all the rain some of the roads were cut and I was unable to get there." "Hopefully my second winner is just around the corner." Greg Hayes

Local harness racing participant Julie Hobday would love nothing more than to win the feature race at Inverell’s Carnival Of Cups meeting on Sunday.  The $10,000 Gallipoli RSL/RSM Carnival Of Cups is the main event and Hobday has her favourite horse Playboysholiday engaged, and despite drawing the second row, she is hoping to play a role in the finish. “Playboysholiday last raced on March 22 when he finished third at Armidale in 1:59.7, but I did take him out on the mid north coast show run and only got home last Sunday, so he is very fit,” Hobday said. “We bought Playboysholiday as a two-year-old from Victoria, he has done a really good job for us. “We sent him down to Cameron Davies for a while, where he won races at Newcastle and hasn’t been too far away at Menangle in the past either.” After a mishap the son of Blissfull Hall had only one start in 12 months. “He had to have the best part of six months in the paddock, but I was really happy with his run at Armidale,” Hobday said. “Although he has drawn gate nine, I think there will be enough speed on in the early stages to bring the horses that settle midfield into the race late. “There is no doubt the Inverell track suits a front runner, but I do think the 2000-metre distance is going to make a bit of a difference because the leaders are going to get tired.” Hobday has another four drives on the program and is hoping one of them, Starry Eyed Amanda, can race well. “She has had a slight issue with her leg, so she didn’t come on the show run with the rest of the horses, but I think she is a really nice filly and is going to win some races,” Hobday said. “Starry Eyed Amanda won a race at Bankstown on New Year’s Day and we bought her the day after. “The wide draw is going to make it tough, but I think she will be competitive.” HRNSW Media

Harness Racing New South Wales will implement measures as early as next week to assist participants who have been affected by the recent storms and floods in the Hunter Valley.  A number of trainers have been affected, and although the rain has stopped in most parts of the region, the water levels continue to rise. HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny announced the Board will meet on Wednesday to discuss what can be done to help those who are suffering as a result of the horrendous storms which swept across the state. “The Board will consider the situation at Wednesday’s meeting and a plan to help those affected will then be acted upon,” Dumesny said. “I have been in contact with a number of trainers and it is very sad to hear what some of them having been dealing with since the early part of this week.” Some trainers are struggling to come to terms with the devastation the storm has caused. “I have spoken with Barry Matterson, his training track has been cut in half…Paul Carmody told me that the only dry place on his property is where his house stands,” Dumesny said. “I would like to congratulate Kenny Smith who has been a shining light for people in the Louth Park area. He has been assisting anybody and everybody that needs it, ensuring people cut-off by the flood are receiving supplies.” The biggest concern for many participants will be the lack of food for horses once the water subsides. “Understandably trainers are worried because all of their feed has been lost, so we will be helping to provide those people with assistance,” Dumesny said. “The extent of the devastation is not only confined to those suffering from the floods, the strong winds and rain itself caused substantial damage in areas other than the floodplain.” HRNSW Media

The Newcastle/Maitland Mini Trot Association has been forced to postpone the inaugural Ross Gigg Driver Challenge, which was scheduled for tomorrow evening.  Due to the extreme conditions in the region, the decision was made to defer the challenge with an alternate date to be announced soon. “At this stage six of our nominated ponies are unfortunately affected by the floods including Megan McNamara’s, who are currently on a small island with rising waters,” Daryll Jackson said. “Although the extreme weather conditions have eased in the lower Hunter, the backlog of water is just reaching Maitland and surrounding areas causing major concerns for the district with a number of roads now inaccessible.” Jackson confirmed the decision to postpone the challenge had not been an easy one and hoped it would still be strongly supported when reprogrammed. “We didn’t make this decision lightly,” Jackson said. “We are very excited about the concept and will put forward a new suitable date as soon as it is practicable and we still hope all of the participants can attend. “Those that nominated ponies did so to assist in the memory of Ross Gigg and with that support it is only fair we give everyone the chance to attend.” Saturday night’s meeting at Newcastle is unaffected and will continue as programmed. HRNSW Media

Respected harness racing trainer Joe Pace admits it is getting harder to “keep a lid on the excitement” regarding promising pacer Lucky Vc. Speaking after the gelding’s victory at Ballarat last night, Pace believes Lucky Vc is capable of making his way to metropolitan company. “He is a pretty nice horse and there is a lot to like about him,” Pace said. “At this stage he just has no idea of what he is doing, but is getting better with every start. “I reckon he can win in town further down the track, but for now I will just keep taking it slowly with him and take it one run at a time. “I’ve learned all-too-well during the years you can’t plan too far ahead with horses no matter what kind of opinion you have of them.” Driven by top reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, Lucky Vc was caught three-wide early before settling outside the leader, Joelissa. Overpowering the front runner on the home turn, the son of Washington Vc was untouched as he cruised to an eight-and-a-half metre win from Masterofthurles, with Citysneak a metre-and-a-half away third. “This race was for female drivers, so I booked Jodi nice and early,” Pace said. “Jodi has achieved so much in the sport, but I still feel she is somewhat underrated. “When she was establishing herself it was harder for a young girl than it is now. Jodi doesn’t get the accolades she deserves.” Covering the last half in 56.5 seconds, Lucky Vc rated 1:57.4 for the 1710 metres, taking his record to two wins and six placings from 10 starts since crossing the Tasman. “Like I said, he still doesn’t know what it’s all about, which is something Jodi also said when she came back to scale,” Pace said. “As he matures and gains experience he should be a pretty handy horse. “I will put him around next week then he will have a fortnight off before working his way slowly through the classes.” PAUL COURTS

Harness Racing two year olds have one of their biggest races of the year on Sunday at Menangle when the $322,000 final of the Australian Pacing Gold for two year old colts and geldings is run. The dominating pre post favourite is the son of Somebeachsomewhere in Our Waikiki Beach from the All Star barn of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Mark has driven the unbeaten colt in his last three wins but in a shock move is handing over the reins to Natalie Rasmussen on Sunday. "We had a long chat about it with Mark wanting me to drive them where as I thought he should keep driving them." "In the end with me driving them, it lets Mark concentrate on having them spot on for the day without having to think about driving tactics so that is what we are going to do, " Natalie told Harnesslink this evening. Our Waikiki Beach has drawn the coveted ace draw at the mile start and appears very hard to hold out going by his two runs to date at Menangle. Another runner that has had a change of driver on Sunday is the stablemate of Our Waikiki Beach in Smolda who is lining up in the Len Smith Mile against Beautide. Natalie will also take the reins on the son of Courage Under Fire who has fought his way back from serious injury to race once more at the highest level. Smolda may lack the high speed of one or two in the Len Smith Mile but he is super tough and right in the zone at the moment. Natalie warmed up for Menangle on Sunday with just two drives tonight at Addington which both came up trumps. It took her winning drives for the season to 43 from just 111 drives and she has placed on 35 occasions as well. The All Star barn have cut a swathe through Australasian harness racing scene over the last few years and it is their ability to change things around like the drivers on Sunday which gives them that edge that keeps them on top. Harnesslink Media  

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. is out to right a wrong. He is hellbent on breaking through for his first victory in the Memorial Day Stakes which will be run over a sprint journey for the first time at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall prepares four of the 12 runners in the $22,500 feature event over 1730m. His main hope is the immature, lightly-raced five-year-old John of Arc, who has drawn awkwardly at barrier six on the front line. His other runners are Zacs Nuggett (No. 3 on the front line), Notabadexcuse (No. 3 on the back line) and Benjamin Banneker (No. 5 on the back line). John of Arc has won at 12 of his 19 starts, but he had a rare failure last Friday night when he finished fifth, two lengths behind the winner Pacific Warrior in a 2130m event in which the final 800m was covered in a sparkling 56.5sec. John of Arc was restrained from barrier six and settled down in tenth position before Gary Hall jun. sent him forward from ninth at the bell with a three-wide burst. The gelding went four wide 450m from home before he raced roughly and gave ground on the home turn. Hall explained to the stewards that John of Arc raced roughly when being eased up the track rounding the final bend and as a result he was unable to drive the pacer out as he wished. John of Arc set the pace and won in effortless fashion over 2130m at his two previous starts, prompting Hall sen. to predict the gelding should develop into a strong candidate for the interdominion championship series to be held in Perth in November-December this year. Hall sen. is hoping for a change of luck in the Memorial Day Stakes, an event which was first run in 1959 when Ken Ford drove Halt to victory over Noon Quest and Steel Master. He has had many starters and has trained five second placegetters --- Zakara (1991), Bengeeman (2003), Patches (2006), Dartmoor (2009) and Whos Mistake (2013) and two thirds --- Talk To Me Courage (2010) and Sanjaya (2013). Toughest for John of Arc to beat on Friday night appear to be Chief Thundercloud, who has drawn perfectly at No. 1 on the front line, and exciting five-year-old Smokey The Bandit, who has struck top form with brilliant wins at his past three starts and should prove hard to beat from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Chief Thundercloud, trained by Ross Olivieri, resumed after a brief spell in a 2692m mobile event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he was a 6/4 favourite. Chris Lewis restrained the seven-year-old from the wide No. 7 barrier back to the rear before starting a three-wide move approaching the bell. He struggled to make up ground when the third quarter of the final mile was covered in a sparkling 27.5sec. and he was never a realistic possibility, finishing doggedly into seventh place, just over two lengths behind the winner Hes Ritehererightnow. Earlier in the season Chief Thundercloud had 11 starts for five wins and five seconds. Lewis will be anxious to hold the lead with Chief Thundercloud over the short trip and the gelding could prove hard to catch. Olivieri has been successful as a trainer in the Memorial Day Stakes with Captain Lee (1995) and Tsunami Lombo (2011), while Lewis has won the race as a reinsman with Village Kid (1985), Elteei (1986), Captain Lee (1995) and Wrongly Accused (2013). Smokey The Bandit, trained at Busselton by Michael Callegari and driven by Ash Markham, cannot be underestimated after sizzling finishing bursts propelled him to victory at each of his past three starts, twice over 2130m at Gloucester Park and then in the 2100m Manea Classic at Bunbury. Veteran trainer Tony Svilicich will be represented by nine-year-old Onedin Crusader, who faces a stern test from barrier four on the front line. He has won the race with Mysta Magical Mach (2009) and Wrongly Accused (2013). Tuapeka Kahu, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is racing with tremendous enthusiasm, but will need plenty of luck from the outside barrier on the front line. Black colt is Destined To Rule Baskerville trainer Sonia Zucchiatti is a keen student of breeding and she picked out a striking black colt at the 2014 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale. Kim Prentice did the bidding and the youngster was knocked down to him for $24,000 on behalf of Zucchiatti, Peter Yewers, Glenn Grant, Michael Ditchfield, Jeff Sarich, Peter Teale, Stephen Bomford, Ian Noble and Henry Lee. The colt, by American stallion Shadow Play and out of Northern Luck mare Chemical Romance, is named Destined To Rule and he looks one of the main chances in the $100,000 Gloucester Standardbred Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is trained at Baskerville by Zucchiatti and will be driven by Prentice. He will start from the outside barrier (No. 3) on the back line in the 1730m classic, but has the class to overcome this disadvantage. He made an auspicious debut in a qualifying heat of this event on Tuesday of last week when he was a 17/2 chance from the inside of the back line. He was seventh early before Prentice quickly had him poised to strike from the one-out, one-back position. He sprinted home in fine style, burst to the front in the final 50m and won by just under a half-length from the pacemaker Straittothebar at a 1.58.7 rate. Bred by Steve Johnson, Destined To Rule, has the bloodlines to succeed. His dam Chemical Romance was retired after being unplaced at her three starts as a two-year-old in 2009. But her dam, Ferrari Trunkey, was a champion mare who raced 40 times for 22 wins and seven placings for earnings of $267,527. Ferrari Trunkey produced eight winners, the best being Trunkey Maseratti, who amassed $273,457 from 22 wins and ten placings from 85 starts. Kevin Keys drove the Jesse Moore-trained Trunkey Maseratti to victory in the 1993 Sales Classic. Straittothebar should be prominent from the No. 4 barrier on the front line. Trained at Byford by Katja Warwick, he is a full-brother to Straittothehilton, who won the $100,000 Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies last June. Warwick has a sound second string in Gangbuster, who is out of former smart mare Hello Boys, a half-sister to former star mare Party Date. Party Date earned $256,003 from 25 wins and 27 placings from 111 starts. She is the dam of Rocknroll Whitby, one of the fancies in Friday night's race. e will be driven by the in-form Chris Voak. Rocknroll Whitby Rocknroll Whitby, who finished second to the speedy Duschka in a qualifying heat, will have admirers from barrier three in the final. The gelding, trained and driven by Callan Suvaljko, was an effortless all-the-way winner at his debut, scoring by almost seven lengths from Soho Central Park at Northam on March 24. In the heat of the Sales Classic he started from the outside of the front line, raced wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on determinedly. Suvaljko drove Henry T Whitby to victory in the 1998 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings. Henry T Whitby was trained by Ed Dewar, who bred Rocknroll Whitby with his friend Geoff Groenenberg. Suvaljko won this classic for the second time when Ballas Arockstar was successful in 2009. If Destined To Rule triumphs on Friday night it will give Kim Prentice his third victory in the event after winning with Fake Embrace in 2004 and Aikido Whitby in 2006. Chris Lewis has won the classic seven times --- with The Vigilante (1995), Saab (1997), Talladega (1999), On Line Brut (2000), Wirrpunda (2001), Lombo Wave Link (2005) and Mister Jadore (2013). He will handle the Ross Olivieri-trained gelding Looking Forclues from the inside of the back line. Justin Prentice is hoping for better luck with Navy Blues, who will be tested from the outside of the front line. Navy Blues met with severe interference in a qualifying heat before he made up considerable lost ground with a determined three-wide burst to finish a most creditable fourth behind Duscha in a heat. Navy Blues is related to former outstanding performers Black And Blue, Bonnie Blue Eyes and No Blue Manna. Duscha, a brilliant winner of a qualifying heat, will miss the final, suffering from a leg injury. Baby She Rocks looks the goods Baby She Rocks, a $14,000 yearling, is poised to give young Bunbury trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter his biggest win in harness racing by overcoming a back line draw and beating her nine rivals in the group 1 $100,000 Gloucester Standardbred Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Baby She Rocks gave a sample of her class when she made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier with an impressive all-the-way victory in a qualifying heat on Tuesday of last week. She covered the final 800m in 59sec. and rated 1.58.7 in beating Trubluwaussie by just under four lengths. That followed her excellent debut at Gloucester Park three weeks earlier when she raced in the one-out, one-back position and finished strongly to be a close second to Dodolicious. One of her chief rivals is the other heat winner Bettor Bling, who will start from the inside of the back line. Bettor Bling, trained and driven by Callan Suvaljko, also started from the inside of the back line in a qualifying heat when she trailed the pacemaker Mystery Princess before finishing fast to beat that filly by a half-length at a 2.0.4 rate after sprinting the final 400m in 28.4sec. The prospects of Mystery Princess slumped when she drew the outside of the front line. Trubluwaussie drew more favourably at No. 4 on the front line and she appeals as a good each-way prospect for trainer Mike Beech and reinsman Chris Lewis. Victory would give Lewis his seventh success in this classic event for fillies, after wins with Miss Booth (1991), Parthenon (1994), Backin A Jiffy (2000), Hindu Sitara (2003), Amongst Royalty (2006) and Fidelius Charm (2008). The race record is held by Trevor Warwick, who was successful with Gold Duchess (1989), Bonnie Blue Eyes (1993), Concorde Lombo (1996), Tailamade Lombo (1997), Lombo Rapida (1998), Lombo Quest (1997) and Nevabend Lombo (2001). Egerton-Green strikes a purple patch Young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green has excellent prospects of continuing a wonderful purple patch by winning the Cowden Limited Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with promising five-year-old Aussie Jet. Aussie Jet, trained at Busselton by Colin Reeves, has drawn ideally at barrier one on the front line of the 2130m event. The gelding has won at each of his past three starts, all at Bunbury when handled by Egerton-Green. Aussie Jet completed the hat-trick when he started at 10/9, set the pace from the No. 2 barrier and held on gamely to defeat Black N Bettor by a head, rating 1.57.2 over 1609m, with the final 800m taking 55.9sec. Egerton-Green continued in splendid form with a double at Pinjarra on Monday with 92/1 outsider Free To Air and Moonlight Rockhole (12/1), followed by a win at Narrogin on Tuesday night with 6/1 chance Fifty Hertz. Aussie Jet, bred and owned by Colin and Sue Reeves, is out of former smart mare Pharosan, who was driven by Mike Reed when she caused an upset by winning the group 1 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park in May 2000, beating hot favourite and brilliant Victorian filly Cornsilk. The main dangers to Aussie Jet appear to be Intrepidation (a stylish all-the-way Pinjarra winner last Monday week) and Fully Zapped (whose recent form has been excellent). Cardigan Boko out to make history Up-and-coming square gaiter Cardigan Boko will create history if he wins the Schweppes Trotters Mobile over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He warmed up for this assignment with a most impressive victory over Earl Harbour and Xenon in a 2100m trot at Bunbury on April 4, when he set the pace dashed over the final quarters in 29.3sec. and 28.9sec. to score by five and a half lengths at a 2.1.6 rate. A win this week would give Cardigan Boko the distinction of being the first Swedish-bred horse to win a race at Gloucester Park. Cardigan Boko is trained at Herron by Clive Dalton and will be driven by Chris Lewis. The six-year-old stallion, owned by Neven Botica, has had only 16 starts for nine wins and three seconds. He won at eight of his 14 starts in Victoria before failing at his WA debut at Pinjarra, when he broke twice in running and finished a distant eighth as a 2/1 on favourite behind Balletto. He then redeemed himself with his easy win at Bunbury. His clash with the in-form Natalie Duffy-trained eight-year-old Hot Holiday should provide an excellent spectacle. Hot Holiday, who will start from the outside of the front line, has worked hard before scoring strong wins at three of his past four starts. by Ken Casellas  

New Zealand’s latest exciting harness racing star Our Waikiki Beach appears to have been ‘gifted’ Sunday’s Australian Pacing Gold Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Not only has the unbeaten youngster drawn perfectly in barrier one, his main danger – Goodtime Sammy – has been scratched. Goodtime Sammy is yet to experience defeat from four starts for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Also successful at his four outings, Our Waikiki Beach appears certain to lead throughout the 1609-metre sprint. To be driven by trainer Mark Purdon, the son of Somebeachsomewhere is blessed with gate speed, which has Purdon oozing confidence. “I couldn’t have asked for more from the draw,” Purdon said. “From there he should be able to hold the lead and will be very hard to beat. “He is a beautifully-gaited pacer and just does it so easily. He’s very laid back and takes everything in his stride.” Purdon is hoping for a Group One double on the program, with talented pacer Smolda engaged in the Len Smith Mile. Victorious in last week’s Renshaw Cup at Penrith, Smolda hasn’t fared as well as his stablemate in the draw and will begin from gate six. Defending title holder Beautide is the raging $1.30 favourite from four. Smolda is the only other runner under double figures at $7.50. “I was very happy with his run last week and his work has been solid since,” Purdon said. “I don’t know if we can beat Beautide, but we will certainly let him know we are there.” PAUL COURTS

Wind gusts of up to 130 km/h have caused major damage at the Newcastle Paceway, however, the hard working team is doing as much as they can to ensure harness racing can continue.  Newcastle’s General Manager Tony Drew confirmed the storm that wreaked havoc on the Hunter Valley had caused some major issues for the club, but a lot of work had already been done. “First and foremost I just hope everyone is okay,” Drew said. “The storm has been very intense in and around the Hunter, and while a lot of damage has been caused, it can all be fixed. “Monday night was the worst with the high winds causing some structural damage. A lot of our signs on the side of the track have been destroyed and the debris is littered all over the track, so obviously that needs to be cleaned up and removed for the safety of the horses.” The club’s function room was also damaged as were several skylights in the betting ring. “I spoke with the track manager Scott this morning and he is doing everything he can to get the track right,” Drew said. “We have called off the trials tonight and if the rain stops there is a good chance we will be able to race later in the week. “There were a number of ruts in the track and they have been levelled off, but what was most concerning yesterday was the fence panelling made of tin had broken off and was flying around which is obviously very dangerous.” Drew has been forced to remain at home since Monday due to the power outage as a result of the storm. “I live on the seventh floor of my building and the lifts haven’t been operating since Monday night,” Drew explained. “I had a double hip replacement three weeks ago and I am unable to climb the stairs, so I’m forced to be doing as much as I can from home. “As soon as the lifts are working I will get back to the track.” The Newcastle Harness Racing club is scheduled to race tomorrow and Saturday night. “We have had a number of calls from trainers wanting to come to the track to work their horses in the lead up to Saturday’s meeting, but until Scott is happy with the conditions and it is safe, it is not possible,” Drew said. Newcastle received 99.2mm of rain on yesterday, in comparison, only 88.6mm fell between February 1 and March 31. HRNSW Media

New South Wales harness racing trainer Darren Elder had been planning a Queensland trip for his talented pacer Shannonsablast during the Winter Carnival, but is now, he is just happy to be safe and dry after being forced to evacuate his property at Louth Park.  Elder had spoken with the relevant authorities yesterday and it had been thought his property would be spared, however, by this morning the situation had changed dramatically. “By 9am this morning we were forced to evacuate the horses,” Elder said. “We had 17 horses that we had to get off the place, including a mare in foal, so it has been a pretty big day for me “I had to swim the horses about 100 metres across the river, but it felt like a kilometre every time. “My arms are aching and so are my legs, but the good news is that they are all now safe.” The water was full of debris and Elder’s family had to be on the lookout for anything that could cause a problem. “The water is dirty, you can’t see anything at all, but you have to be careful of the snakes and my wife did have to alert me to a red belly black snake that was floating by,” Elder declared. “The water has come up under the house…it is still about three feet from getting in, so at the moment I have just returned to grab some clothes, have a shower to remove all the dirt and then I will leave with everything I can carry.” Even when the water does subside it is going to be a long time before everything is back to normal for the Elder stable. “I reckon it will be at least a month before we get everything fixed up,” Elder said. “The water will go down quickly, but it has risen up that high that it has covered most things. “I’ve just finished putting a walker in and the water has gone up over the motor. The thing you have to remember is that all of these things are material and they can all be replaced.” Elder confirmed he still wants to go to Queensland later in the year and believes Shannonsablast will be able to make the trip. “I made sure I had worked out which was the best way across the river and I had a distinct path before I asked Shannonsablast to swim across,” Elder said. “He handled it fine and it won’t have done him any damage, so there is no reason why I still won’t go.” “The harness community has been great…a lot of people have been helping me out and I’m very thankful for that because it makes it a lot easier to get things done.” HRNSW Media

Kerryn Manning shot to prominence by winning one of the biggest harness races in the world. That was nearly 20 years ago and she's still winning. Kerryn Manning lies in the middle of a harness racing track, folding herself into the emergency position as 10 horses and their sulkies bear down on her, at most 10 metres – or half a second – from crushing her to death. "That's me," says Manning's husband and business partner, Grant Campbell, pointing to one of the drivers about to run her over. He points to another, earlier, photo of the accident. "See there? She's already halfway into the air."  Campbell leans back against the sink, drying a glass. The pictures are stuck to the fridge, a record of a fall Manning, 38, had a month ago.  The world's top female racing harness driver Kerryn Manning in emergency position during a recent fall. Photo: Supplied The photos are captioned in a jaunty pink font. The last one shows Manning quick-stepping to safety after the other drivers manage to avoid her. "She pulled up OK," he says, unfazed. Manning is the world's leading female harness racing driver, and one of the most successful sports people you've never heard of.  Kerryn Manning accepts the trophies after winning the Terang Pacing Cup with Arden Rooney. Photo: Rob Gunstone That may be because of the relative size of the industry – while around $16 billion is wager annually on the "gallops" in Australia, it's around $400 million for harness racing (where horses pull a two-wheeled sulky carrying the driver). But Kerryn Manning's achievements are significant, given that in horse racing women compete equally with men. The year she broke the record with 371 harness racing wins in a season, a good season averaged 175 wins. Manning isn't just one of the best women drivers, she's one of the best full stop. Today, four of the top 20 Australian harness drivers are women, whereas all top 20 jockeys are men.  Kerryn Manning and Arden Rooney take a break from training. Photo: Pat Scala Tanya McDermott, a harness racing writer, has watched Manning race for 25 years. "These days, no one takes any notice of a girl winning a race – they're just industry participants. Kerryn has removed that divide, pretty much single-handedly. Others, like Jodi Quinlan, have backed her up," says McDermott. One race stands out. In 1997, Manning flew to Norway for one of the biggest races in the world, The Harley Davidson Trot. YouTube shows Manning flying up the outside in the dying seconds of the race on champion horse Knight Pistol, passing two strong leaders with 20 metres to spare.  Kerryn Manning trains Arden Rooney at her Great Western property. Photo: Pat Scala She was 21 years old. Harness Racing Australia (HRA) chief executive Andrew Kelly says she is the only Australasian to have won a Scandinavian Group 1 race. "She's a trailblazer," says Kelly. "At such a young age, it was amazing." Champion harness racing driver and trainer Kerryn Manning trains her horse Arden Rooney at her Great Western property. Photo: Pat Scala Since winning her first race at 16, Manning has taken almost every award available. She is one of a few drivers with  more than 3000 wins. She was the first woman to win 200 races. She's equal Australian record-holder for most wins at a single event (six), a feat she's achieved three times. She's a dual Vin Knight Medalist (harness racing's version of the Brownlow). The full list is too long to recite, but it's impressive.  At 38, Manning's not finished winning. Last month she won the Hunter Cup — the Melbourne Cup of harness racing — on Arden Rooney, a horse she trains.  There is a pink mark on her arm from the fridge fall. It's almost healed. She rubs it. "It was a bluestone track, too," she says, and smiles. Grant Campbell assists Kerryn Manning in harnessing Arden Rooney ahead of the Terang Pacing Cup. Photo: Picture: Rob Gunstone Falls are partly responsible for the handicap women experienced in harness racing early on. As commentator Ken Dyer writes, women drove in races against other women in the late 1800s, after the sport was introduced from America in the 1850s. But after a female driver was killed in an exhibition race at the 1928 Royal Melbourne Show, women were banned from the sport. The ban endured until around 1978 – after Manning was born – and was repealed due to equal opportunity laws. According to Harness Racing Australia, last year, for the first time, half the top 10 trainers in the sport were women. Manning thinks she's had about 12 falls, from  more than 11,000 races. But even freak accidents can be fatal. In September 2014, trainer-driver Danielle Lewis, 28, was found dead after working horses in a sulky at the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre.  Kerryn Manning at her Great Western property. Photo: Pat Scala "Of course the danger's inherently there," says racing writer McDermott, whose father-in-law was almost killed in a fall. "But it so rarely happens." Manning's worst fall left her unable to work for three months.The dent in earnings seems to bother her more than any danger. "Basically, if I'm out of action, I can't earn," she says. Horses are expensive to maintain, and she has employees.  This year, empty dams mean they'll soon need to buy water. Arden Rooney easily wins the Terang Pacing Cup. Photo: Picture: Rob Gunstone Manning makes most of her money from drivers' fees, and the training business breaks even, she says.  Although Manning has amassed more than $20 million in race prizemoney over her career, around 85 per cent of that has gone to the owner,  7.5 per cent to the trainer, and 5 per cent to the driver. She now gets 12.5 per cent of winnings from her own trained horses. Drivers get a standardised $65 after taxes for each race. Kerryn Manning at her Great Western property. Photo: Pat Scala "If you're looking for a job, don't go into harness racing!" laughs Campbell. Good breeding helps. Manning's father, Peter Manning, is one of the best-known trainer-drivers in Victoria.  To get to Kerryn Manning's stables you have to pass both her father's and her sister's properties. Behind all three lies a 2000 metre training track, which Peter cut himself.  Peter's property is rustic, littered with the shells of rusted cars, dozers, drums, and tools, punctuated with the odd herd of ancient sulkies. Michelle's stables are neat but relaxed.  Kerryn Manning with a minature foal. Photo: supplied Kerryn's  property is military clean, an expanse of well-fenced paddocks and sage green sheds. Each piece of equipment, bucket or horseshoe has its place. "We don't have to pick it up straight away," says Denbeigh Wade, 22, a stablehand and junior driver, stooping to shovel up a fresh pat of manure almost before it hits the ground. "But it has to be pretty soon," she says. "Kerryn takes after her mother," says husband Grant. Over the evening dinner table, Peter Manning tells stories, none of which are about the Mannings' successes. When asked about Kerryn's achievements, he nods once. "Yep. She's good," he says, and returns to his apple pie. From 6.30am to noon, at the stables, Manning, Campbell, Wade and another stablehand, Mick Faneco, 62, exercise, shampoo, feed and dress the horses. The horses drink electrolytes and  eat chia seeds daily. They have acupuncture to reduce swelling. The stablehands laugh and chat as they work, rubbing completed tasks off a whiteboard. Manning showers another horse, squirting water over its face. It shakes it off and nibbles her shoulder. She squats down, child-sized, under the powerful legs of a horse almost twice her size, scraping bot-fly eggs from its fetlocks. The horse licks the metal bar it's tethered to.  "They get treated like big babies," she laughs, "like they're our kids." Manning doesn't have any children of her own. There is a calm here that rarely exists on farms. Manning might not talk about her success, but what she admires about her horses says a lot. Like her champion, Knight Pistol, who died in 2012 of old age as one of the trotting world's most admired and beloved horses. "He had a will to win, basically. He never gave up. He wasn't the fastest horse I've ever driven, but he tried the hardest. Sometimes that's what it takes – a will to win." Harness racing in Australia Harness racing is conducted with standardbred horses racing around a track while pulling a driver in a two-wheeled cart called a "sulky", "gig" or "bike".  The sport was introduced to Australia from America in the 1850s gold rush era. There are two categories of harness racers. "Trotters" move their legs in diagonal pairs, while "pacers" move their legs in lateral pairs (both legs on one side moving together). The speed of a harness racing trot is generally faster than the gallop of a non-racing horse. Australia has 117 racing clubs (six metro, 111 regional), which hold more than 1900 meetings annually, running  more than 143,000 races. There are about 1184 drivers and more than 4700 trainers with about 12,000 horses in training and almost 5500 foals produced each year. By Rebecca Butterworth Reprinted with permission of www.watoday.com.au

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall is out to right a wrong. He is hell bent on breaking through for his first victory in the Memorial Day Stakes, which will be run over the sprint journey for the first time at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall prepares four of the 12 runners in the $22,500 feature, with lightly-raced five-year-old John Of Arc his best chance. The son of Courage Under Fire drawn awkwardly in barrier six. Halls other runners are Zacs Nuggett from barrier three, Notabadexcuse, which will begin from 10 and Benjamin Banneker, which has the outside of the second line to contend with. Successful at 12 of his 19 starts, John Of Arc finished fifth, two lengths behind the winner Pacific Warrior last week. John of Arc was restrained from barrier six and settled towards the tail of the field before Gary Hall junior made his move at the bell. After racing three and four-wide, John of Arc battled up the home straight. In what is a rarity for Hall, who has won nearly every major race in Western Australia, the Memorial Day Stakes keeps proving elusive. Hall’s best efforts in the event are five seconds - Zakara (1991), Bengeeman (2003), Patches (2006), Dartmoor (2009) and Whos Mistake (2013) and two thirds --- Talk To Me Courage (2010) and Sanjaya (2013). The Memorial Day Stakes was inaugurated in 1959 when Ken Ford drove Halt to victory over Noon Quest and Steel Master. KEN CASELLAS

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