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The Brisbane winter carnival has come and gone for another year. And while many of the features went interstate, the locally trained runners managed to win 20 of the 31 races staged during the three week carnival. So, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club will play host to another tidy nine race program this Saturday night. And again punters have the chance to win big with gambling giant UBET offering a huge $100,000 guaranteed trifecta pool on the opening race. A jackpot component of $25,000 is also programmed for the opening race. And the opening race has attracted an even field of 12 pacers with several in-form runners set to contest the UBET Pace over the 1660m. A number of pacers are looking to bounce back into winning form with only Montana Falcon being a last start winner and that came on Tuesday afternoon. But Montana Falcon faces a difficult challenge after drawing gate 12, the outside of the second-line. The value runner could be Withalotofluck from the stable of Stephen Cini, unplaced at his past eight starts, the Ifihadyourluck gelding looks well placed in this line-up. Concession driver Isobel Ross takes the drive and he backs up from his unlucky effort here on Tuesday afternoon behind Montana Falcon. Others to consider include Cheap Tint, Ketut, Only The Brave, Our Leonardo, Supaliner, Epirus Boy, Deano Robyn and Remember Ruby. The $15,540 Kevin & Kay Seymour Rising Stars Championship also looks an extremely open affair following the barrier draw. Heat winners on Tuesday were Bettor Be Lucky and Anychance while others to be considered include Georgia Grace, Timmo Time, Chapter One, Zaras Delight and Regal Nightshade among others. The Rising Stars Finals is listed as race 2 on the card – the opening leg of the UBET Quadrella. A Quadrella jackpot of $10,000 is also slated; the quaddie will be staged on races 2, 3, 4 & 5. UBET have also slated $2000 jackpot trifecta pools on races 3 through to 9. Check out Racing Queensland form analyst Darren Clayton’s thoughts on the meeting The first of 9 races is scheduled to start at 4.53pm.  

Sunday’s broodmare and mixed stock sale promises to be the best Shepparton Harness Racing Club has held, with 91 lots on offer. Club manager Ian McDonald said the line-up of stock was “unbelievable, we expect a huge crowd”. “This is the best list of horses we’ve had in the sale since we have been holding them,” he said. Among the lots are 45 mares including Cornsilk (dam of Delight Me), Pelicanrama and Kyvalley Kyrie’s dam Maori Lindy. Three mares have a foal at foot, which are by Art Major, Life Sign and Pet Rock, and many others have positive tests and are nearing birth. “The timing of the sale is key, because many of the mares are in foal and going to drop within four to six weeks and buyers will get instant return on their investment,” McDonald said. “There are three mares that are in foal to Somebeach Somewhere, whose book is full and closed. “If you take home a horse like Cornsilk or Peclicanrama you get the opportunity to invest in what could be a gold mine going forward.” In addition to the broodmares the sale will offer weanlings and yearlings, and raced and unraced horses aged two and over. A trial will be held, timed and captured on video at 8.30am featuring 11 horses on offer for sale. Mr McDonald said the club’s sales had a proven record, having previously offered pacing superstar Hectorjayjay, leading trotter Claudys Princess and Group 2 winning Im Princess Gemma, who was snapped up for $990. The sale, to start at noon at Quest Racing Complex, will be live streamed via, where you can also find more details. Click here to view the sale catalogue.   Michael Howard

South Australia’s Breeders Owners Trainers Reinspersons Association can be justifiably proud of its work in resurrecting yearling sales in South Australia. Realizing the SA harness industry needed to create a pool of horses to ensure the sport progressed, BOTRA organised its first sale in 2015 with sponsorship by and 11 yearlings went under the hammer. Four of those, Arm A Princess, Bella Sofia (Fillies), Wroxton Steel, Takemepitchamister (Colts & Geldings), will contest heats of the Ubet Southern Cross Series on Saturday night. The quartet have tallied 14 wins and 11 placings from just 34 starts – an excellent result. The 2016 sale had 17 lots, 10 of which will compete in Friday night’s heats of the Ubet Southern Cross Series for two-year-olds – an exceptional percentage for any sale. Those runners are: Fillies – Grinagain, Su Quick, Loveliest Of All, Justcallmejules, Tell Me Why, Dolwyn and Style Queen. Colts – Juliuss, Imnottruebluejacka and Bobby Ess. The BOTRA yearling sales continue to grow in stature such that Harness Racing South Australia has become an even bigger partner going forward with Allwood Stud to create a $100,000 Group One Two-Year-Old race from the 2018 sale. SA BOTRA can be proud of its decision, and work, to have yearling sales again in South Australia. Graham Fischer

Cancer is a tough ask for anyone to face but for 14-year-old Connor Clarke, having his family 1.5 hours away from his bedside at the Royal Children’s Hospital while he endures an 18-week course of treatment for lymphoma, his challenge will be an even harder one.  Can you remember when you were 14? Imagine yourself at that age, being diagnosed with cancer. A huge hurdle to face – but imagine doing it with everyone you love – mum, dad, grandparents, all your friends, your pets, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles – 1.5 hours away from you, and how much harder that would make your experience of this terrible disease. Connor is from the regional town of Ballarat but after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (DLBCL), a condition rare in children, he was admitted to Victoria’s premier children’s hospital where he will start a chemotherapy treatment under close observation. Connor is a very active lad, playing football, swimming, and racing his pony both under saddle and in the cart. Being bed-bound for this extended stay will be extra challenging for Connor while he is such a long distance away from all his friends, pony and extended family. You can make a big difference to this little boy with your donation – all funds collected will go toward Connor’s initial treatment over the next five months. The less the family need to find for this fundamental part of his journey, the more often they can afford to make the three-hour round trip, making sure Connor has his mum, dad and brothers and sister by his side to keep his spirits up to face this challenge the best he can. Trots Media

After starting the 2017 Queensland winter carnival, the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club will bring down the curtain tomorrow (Friday) night. The carnival commenced on June 2 with the running of the Gr.1 $100,000 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series Classic Final and will end with the Listed $25,540 Chris Garrard Patrons Purse. And just like the opening night, the feature event will be keenly contested. A strong line-up has gathered for the four and five year old feature which will be staged over the 2280m distance. And despite the key early scratching of Leos Best owing to a virus, the race still boasts plenty of depth. Last start Albion Park winner Major Cam will command plenty of attention following his crushing victory last week in a time of 1:52.7. Prepared by Kylie Rasmussen and Darren Weeks, the giant Art Major gelding must overcome a tricky second-line draw. Major Cam is unbeaten at Redcliffe. The ideally drawn The Space Invader gets a perfect opportunity to land his first feature victory after drawing gate two. The Pacific Rocket gelding finished third behind Major Cam and Feel The Courage last weekend at Albion Park following his unplaced effort in the Sunshine Sprint against Hectorjayjay. The Space Invader scored at Albion Park four starts ago in 1:54.2. Trainer Stephen Cini has booked Isobel Ross for the drive. Classy mares Cherish The Moment and Bettorthanspecial will both prove hard to beat and both look well placed from their front-line draws. Cherish The Moment defeated Bettorthanspecial last start in the Listed $20,000 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes at Albion Park on July 8. Both mares possess excellent records at the track. And the fairer sex is chasing back to back victories in the event. Last year, high quality mare Barynya proved triumphant and is the only mare to win the event which was first staged in 2008. The inaugural winner was Be Diligent which was followed by Guitarzan, Elzar, Lightning Raider, Jack In Flight, Alberto Contador, Supreme Mach and Majestic Major. The Patrons Purse is listed as race 6 and will start at 9.05pm. Chris Barsby

Giant pacer Ultimate Art is back in Brisbane. With the 2017 Queensland winter carnival wrapping up this weekend, Ultimate Art has arrived and will campaign in the Sunshine State in the coming months for trainers Shannon Price and Scott Miller. Originally, the Modern Art gelding was being considered for the open class features in recent weeks but he didn’t find his best form and connections felt the trip wasn’t warranted. Last year, when previously under the care of Price/Miller, Ultimate Art won 9 of his 14 starts which included 8 in a row at Albion Park. The multiple feature race winner is raced by Mick and Kirsty Formosa. ********************************************************************************** The bulk of the visiting stars of the winter carnival have returned to their respective homes. But My Field Marshal has remained in the Sunshine State. The last start Blacks A Fake runner-up behind Hectorjayjay will spend the next two weeks in the winter warmth of Brisbane having a well-earned break before heading south for his next campaign. Trainer Tim Butt is eyeing the Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion series in Perth later this year. *********************************************************************************** Millionaire pacer Bling It On will be available to breeders in the upcoming breeding season. The American Ideal entire will stand at Cobbitty Equine Farm in New South Wales and will command a fee of $3000. Bling It On has been sidelined following a crash at Albion Park in the Lucky Creed Pace on June 17 as a result of interference and immediately ended his winter carnival campaign. The half-brother to Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling heads to stud with a record of 42 wins and 17 placings from 77 starts for earnings of $1,591,076. ************************************************************************************ A notable omission from Friday’s Listed $25,000 Chris Garrard Patrons Purse at Redcliffe is the richly talented Mattgregor. Prepared by Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, the Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding was sent straight to the spelling following his 5th placing behind Hectorjayjay in the Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park on July 8. A winner of 10 races from 22 starts, connections are looking at heading interstate again next season. Mattgregor is being aimed at the $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at TABCORP Park, Melton on November 11. McMullen has withdrawn his appeal against a three-week driving suspension he incurred from the Lucky Creed race fall at Albion Park on June 17. ************************************************************************************* Connections of classy fillies Shartin and My Casino Belle are looking at options before seasons end. Both fillies were gallant when filling the minor placing’s behind The More The Better in last week’s Queensland Derby. Trainer Dean Braun is keen to start Shartin again given how well she has come through her Brisbane campaign while trainer Brad Hewitt is keen to push on with My Casino Belle in the coming weeks. Shartin is not eligible for the Australasian Breeders Crown series while My Casino Belle was placed in last year’s 2yo Final behind Partyon and Petacular. ************************************************************************************** Leading Queensland trainer Grant Dixon is heading to Melbourne next month with his exciting prospect Colt Thirty One for the Australasian Breeders Crown series. Fresh from his demolition of his rivals in last week’s Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Final at Albion Park in 1:53.9, connections are keen to test their rising star against the best. Unbeaten in Queensland from six starts, his only defeats came earlier this season at Menangle during the Australian Pacing Gold series. The Mach Three colt is drawing comparisons with former freakish juvenile Majestic Mach, also prepared by Dixon. Making the trip with Colt Thirty One is feature race winning filly Red Charmer. The winner of the Wayne Wilson Memorial Paleface Adios earlier this season, Red Charmer finished 7th behind Arts Treasure last week in the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Fillies Final. **************************************************************************************** Inter Dominion winning horseman James Rattray has remained in Brisbane. Last week, Rattray claimed the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad 2yo Fillies Final with Arts Treasure and will focus on another feature before seasons end. Up next for the Roll With Joe filly is the Gr.1 $100,000 Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Graduates series starting on August 4, the final is scheduled for August 12. Rattray will start last start Rising Stars Championship winner The Bettormack at Albion Park this weekend. ***************************************************************************************** Last start feature race juvenile Lucky Unlucky arrives back in Brisbane today (Thursday) for a well-earned break. Lucky Unlucky proved successful in last week’s Gr.2 $50,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Final at TABCORP Park, Menangle in a time of 1:54.0. Owned by Vicki Rasmussen, the Roll With Joe youngster has campaigned in Sydney in recent months for trainer Craig Cross. Lucky Unlucky won twice from 11 starts during his rookie term while banking close to $50,000 in stakes. ****************************************************************************************** Leonard Cain makes his Saturday night debut this weekend. The fresh-faced rising star has enjoyed considerable success during his first season of race driving which has netted him 49 winners to date. A third generation horseman, Cain is a key member of the Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham stable. ****************************************************************************************** Redcliffe curator Greg Franklin will finish his role with the bayside club next week. The talented horseman retires from his role with the club and will spend more time with his small team of pacers from Knight Street for the time being. Franklin has enjoyed considerable success with the likes of African Violet and Motor Parade while his current performer is the classy Remember Them. ****************************************************************************************** Gold Coast trainer Graeme Gavin has sent around his final runners. Last Friday night at Albion Park, Gavin prepared Mickey McRooney and Hotshot Anvil before sending them home with different trainers. Formerly from New South Wales, Gavin has been based on the Gold Coast for a number of years and enjoyed good success with the likes of Cracka Stride, Real Magic, Jack Starzzz, Black Shiraz, Therufusonfire, Nash Street Matt, Scarecrow and Intense Gold among many others. Gavin trained close to 300 winners. Happy retirement Graeme. ******************************************************************************************* And that’s a wrap for the 2017 Queensland winter carnival…..until next year. Chris Barsby

Former top Tasmanian harness racing trainer Ken Rattray left the state over 20 years ago to pursue his training career in Queensland. After just over two decades of plying his trade in the far north Rattray and his wife Sally Stingel, who opted to retain her maiden name, have decided it's time to relocate to their home state. One of the 10 horses they will bring with them is Destreos who is affectionately known by his fans as the 'King of the Creek' owing to him having won more races than any other horse on the Albion Park track at Breakfast Creek. The 13-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding has amassed 74 wins at Albion Park and at his last start on the track last week he delivered a typical gutsy all-the-way win in the SKY Racing Open Pace and in a time of 1:54.4. Overall Destreos has started 322 times at Albion Park for 74 wins and 100 minor placings for almost $600,000 in stakes. Destreos has amassed 96 wins that have been achieved in two Australian states (Queensland and NSW) and his birthplace New Zealand and they have come from 434 career starts. "We are looking forward to returning home to Tassie after being away more than 20 years and we are particular looking forward to Destreos winning his 100th race," Rattray said. "The horse has been an absolute marvel and the reason why he has had well over 400 starts and won so many races is that he just loves to race. "It is an amazing feat to have won that many races (74) on one track and who knows, maybe it will never be bettered." Rattray said they have purchased a property at Flowery Gull, near Beaconsfield, in the north of the state. Next week they make their trek south for what will be another chapter in their harness racing journey but they could make a pit stop along the way to give Destreos a run in Victoria. "Depending on how he handles the trip south, Destreos could be amongst nominations for next week's $20,000 Blacks A Fake FFA at Tabcorp Park, Melton before heading across Bass Strait." Rattray had a lot of success in Tasmania before he relocated to Queensland in 1995, with two of the best horses he trained, Ebony Mac and Bradford Hanover, that amassed 21 wins between them. But this time around he says he will be content to race for pleasure. "I'll just potter about with a few." "We'll be bringing seven racehorses with us and three retirees and that should be enough to keep us busy." Peter Staples

It didn’t cost a lot, but Ric Healy’s purchase from a yearling sale in 1958 would rewrite Australia’s trotting ranks and set the foundations for a dynasty that continues today. His purchase, Yendarra Hall, would two years later foal Maori Miss, a prolific mare whose reach stretches far beyond being dam to the great Maori’s Idol. A case in point is Saturday night’s Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free For All, a $20,000 Group 3 named in honour of Maori Miss’s great-granddaughter that will be contested by offshoots Maorisfavouritesun, Maori Time, Vincennes and Illawong Armstrong. It’s an imprint in the Victorian ranks so significant it’s impossible to imagine square gaiting without the Maori Miss lines, but without the keen eye of a sporting great it might never have happened. By Grand Monarch, Maori Miss was the second foal of Yendarra Hall (Loreto/Adelaide Hall) and owner Healy put her in trainer-driver George Gath’s hands. It was a wise decision. “George said she was a nice pacer but she might be an extra good trotter,” said Ric’s son, Bryan. It proved a smooth transition. In 1963, Maori Miss won a two-year-old pacing race at the showgrounds and then two weeks made her trotting debut and won at Geelong. “She was a champion mare,” Bryan Healy said. “She won two heats of the Inter Dominion in 1966 in Sydney but didn’t perform in the final when it poured rain. She probably won 30 races all up.” But her most significant contribution would come in the breeding barn. Australian Broodmare of the Year in 1977, ’78 and ’79, her foals included Maori Monarch, a Victorian Trotting Derby and Australian Trotters Championship winner, Maori Wonder, winner of a heat and final of the Breeders Plate at the showgrounds, and trotting immortal Maori’s Idol, who the late Ric Healy trainer and son Bryan drove. “He was unbelievable really,” Bryan said of Maori’s Idol. “He won his first nine, then got trapped on the fence and finished second, and then the next race he had sore feet and ran second again. After that he won his next 24 races and realistically could have won them all. “It was pretty special. He was out of such a good mare and the rest of the family is pretty good, but he was a real champion.” Maori’s Idol was Maori Miss’s fifth foal, her 12th was Maori Trump, who wouldn’t see the race track but was a prolific mare. They included Maori Princess, winner of 11 of her 16 starts and the dam of Sumthingaboutmaori, whose $461,499 in stakes wins included the 2004 Inter Dominion Trotting race. Her first foal would later produce Saturday night’s fancy Maorisfavouritesun. Maori Trump also mothered Noopy Kiosk, winner of $320,999, Tennotrump, winner of $179,972 and a prolific stallion for the Pangrazio family, and Maori Acacia, the grand dam of Maori Time, who’s amassed $322,651 in wins and counting. And the above is just scratching the surface. For Bryan Healy, it’s a legacy of which he’s rightly proud and it’s one that lives on not only through Maori Miss’s family tree but his own. He gifted Wannabeamaori, a daughter of Sumthingaboutmaori, to his daughter Laura and son-in-law Caleb Lewis, a trots owner and trainer. “I never ever had a trotter until I met Laura,” Lewis said. “Bryan tried to push me into the trotters. “The first couple of times I went to Bryan’s farm he just sat there telling me stories and I looked through the memorabilia he has. It was a massive eye-opener for me. I think Laura didn’t want to take me back there. “Looking at things like the shoes Maori’s Idol wore, the rugs and the paper cut-outs that Bryan’s mum kept – and she kept everything – was really something for a young bloke who’s just started training. “A breed that big, every second bloke has got something out of (Maori Miss).” And Lewis is writing his own chapter, with Wannabeamaori having produced three foals by age seven. “(Wannabeamaori) never made it to the track, but showed a bit of ability and we were always going to breed from her,” Lewis said. “When I first bred from her she was only a young mare and it took a while to get her cycling. “She wasn’t booked to Armbro Variable, but a mate, Darren Jacobson (of Rosehill Farm), was standing him and we thought we would try fresh semen to get her in foal and since then she has been good as gold.” The Armbro Variable foal would become filly Four Walls, now a three-year-old whose 12 starts have produced two wins and seven placings, including victories in the VHRSC Holmfield and a Vicbred heat and second in the trotters Oaks. “She’s had a super season,” Lewis said. “I always thought she would go all right, but I didn’t think she would do what she’s done in her first racing prep. “We will see if she is freshened up enough to come back for Breeders Crown, but if she doesn’t we are happy to give her a good break before her four-year-old term.” In the meantime, the genes go on. Wannabeamaori’s second successful foal, by Orlando Vici, was sold at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale for $25,000, well above the sale’s average of $15,167. It’s a source of much satisfaction for Bryan Healy: “I’m really excited for them”.        Michael Howard  

Rosies Ideal has struck a purple patch of form for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young and has sound prospects of overcoming the outside barrier in a field of eight and winning the $18,000 Garrards Horse & Hound Pace for two year old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She will appreciate a considerable drop in class after finishing a commendable fourth behind the brilliant colt Jack Mac in the Group 1 Golden Slipper last Friday night. She lacked sparkle from the No. 3 barrier and settled in eighth position before Young set her alight in the middle stages to move to the breeze outside Jack Mac at the bell. She battled on gamely, with the winner sprinting over the last half in 56.6sec. A week earlier Rosies Ideal gave a sample of her class in winning the Group 3 Gold Bracelet in which she started from barrier seven and dropped back to 12th and last in the early stages before Young sent her forward, three wide, after a lap to move into the breeze outside The War Nurse. Rosies Ideal then surged to the front with 220m to travel and won from The War Nurse, with final quarters of 28.9sec. and 29.1sec. She also produced a powerful finishing burst to win at Bunbury two starts before that. The Terry Ferguson trained Cimorene, winner of the Group 1 Diamond Classic four starts ago, looks the toughest for Rosies Ideal to beat. Cimorene, to be handled by Gary Hall Jnr, will start from the No. 4 barrier. Cimorene started from barrier seven and was restrained to the rear in the Golden Slipper before Hall dashed her forward into the breeze in the first lap. She then gained the one-out, one-back position before wilting to finish eighth. The opposition this week is much weaker. All Over Tan, trained at Byford by peter Anderson, is showing steady improvement and has led and won at Gloucester Park at two of her past three starts. However, she faces a sterner test here from barrier seven.    Ken Casellas

When Maitland harness racing reinsman Brad Elder hits Paceway Tamworth this afternoon, he will already be a winner. “I have had five winners in eight days,” said Elder. “One at Tamworth and four at Newcastle over two meetings.” Elder is looking for his “Midas touch” to continue at Tamworth Harness Racing Club’s Thursday afternoon meeting when he takes four drives for the Stacie Elliott stables. He will take the reins behind Cody Shannon in the Thread Effects Pace, Sporty Shannon in the AIMMC Business Consulting Pace. That will be followed by him piloting The Last Cullect in the TAB.COM.AU Pace and Take A Number in the 88.9 Tamworth Pace. “Cody Shannon is a nice horse – I nearly won on him last week at Tamworth,” said Elder.  Cody Shannon finished second to Mondooley Mondo in the Hats Off To Country@The Pub Pace on July 7 at Tamworth. “I hope my winning streak continues. I have had a winner at every Tamworth meeting that I have been to this season,” said Elder. The 19-year-old Maitland reinsman is coming to Thursday’s meeting in peak fitness, as he undertakes “hard yakka” at the Gym to keep himself in form. Last Saturday night, Elder drove Justarumour to an all-the-way win in the $8,000 Glenn Tomlin Memorial at Newcastle. He also secured a RIO gig for his uncle Michael Elder, who trains Justarumour, a Tell All-Justlika gelding. Driving in the final was the sixth time Elder had taken the reins behind Justarumour. He has driven him to two wins. “My second quarter was 31 seconds. So I pinched that and at the 400 metre mark I put a gap in them,” said Elder in reference to the Newcastle win. “When he put the foot down he was off.” Earlier in the program at Newcastle, he drove the Greg Brown-trained Jumbo Asakei to a win in the HV Harness Racing Association Pace. Recently competing in the Harness Racing NSW Rising Star Series, Elder won at Penrith behind Flowers for trainer Jarrod Alchin. “The series was pretty good,” he said.  “I drove a winner at Penrith and that was my first winner at that Paceway, even though I had competed there plenty of times,” he said. At his third season competing on the paceways, Elder is leading the Open Drivers Premiership by one point over Mark Callaghan. He is committed to more drives at Newcastle on Saturday night. The first race at Paceway Tamworth is set to go at 1pm. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Outstanding young reinsman Michael Grantham landed his 200th winner when he guided 11/8 favourite Clear Image to victory in an event for three year olds at Northam on Thursday night and he completed a double when 11/4 favourite Ideal Flipflop stormed home from last to snatch victory over Baptism of Fire in a 2190m event. The 22-year-old Grantham now cannot claim a concession as a junior driver and this meant he has had to forfeit drives behind Red Salute, Billies A Star and Mexicano at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His record stands at 1587 drives for 201 wins, 207 seconds and 180 thirds.  He still has some excellent drives on Friday night with Khun Ratha, Mary Catherine, The Storm Chief, The Bucket List, Jason Rulz and Captured Delight. It is a dangerous policy to select a pacer who has been unplaced at his past ten starts and who has a losing sequence of 14 and has the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) but the Ross Olivieri trained Red Salute looks close to a certainty from the outside of the front line in the $20,000 Garrards Horse & Hound One Stop Shop Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is an eight-year-old who has a vastly superior record to the records of his 11 rivals. He has earned $259,809 from 18 wins and 42 placings from 120 starts. He started from barrier nine in a 2130m event last Friday night and caught the eye when he was 12th at the bell before finishing strongly to be sixth, only two lengths behind the winner Thereugo (who dashed over the final quarters in 27.6sec. and 28.6sec.). An interesting runner in Friday night’s race is the New Zealand-bred former New South Wales performer Whozideawasthis, a six year old trained by Gary Hall Snr. Whozideawasthis will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr and should gain a good passage after starting from barrier two on the back line. The American Ideal gelding has not been produced in trials in this State. His most recent appearance was in a 1720m event at Penrith on February 23 this year when he raced three back on the pegs and finished fourth behind Jodan. He has been unplaced at his past ten starts since he started at 5/1 and finished strongly from eighth at the bell to win at a 1:58.4 rate over 1720m at Penrith on June 16 last year. The final quarters were run in 28.7sec. and 28.8sec. He has a record of 46 starts for 13 wins and three placings for stakes of $65,372. He won nine times in New Zealand and has won four races at Penrith. His great granddam Jacuzzi produced Mattnamaras Band, who had 113 starts for 13 wins, 27 placings and stakes of $243,072. Hall Snr trained Mattnamaras Band and produced him in splendid shape for his WA debut when he started off 30m in a C0 event over 2503m at Gloucester Park on May 2, 2009 and won from Black Saint and Fire Rebel. Ken Casellas

Ryan Warwick has given punters a massive lead by opting to drive the lightly raced Bettor Not Bitter in preference to standing start specialist Assassinator in the $23,000 Garrard’s Horse & Hound BOTRA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Five year old Assassinator’s past seven wins have been in stands, with Warwick in the sulky for five of those victories. Assassinator, who boasts a record of 18 wins and 29 placings from 94 starts, and four-year-old Bettor Not Bitter are trained by Greg and Skye Bond, who are seeking their first win in a BOTRA Cup. Bettor Not Bitter has won at seven of his 26 starts and faces a considerable rise in class in Friday night’s Cup, a stand over 2503m, in which he will start off the front, with Assassinator, to be driven by Ryan Bell, on the 10m mark. Bettor Not Bitter made his first appearance in a stand when he began smoothly off 20m and mustered great early pace to burst to the front after 550m before bowling along and winning easily by more than four lengths in modest C0 company over 2503m at Gloucester Park last Saturday night, rating 2:1.3 on a very heavy track. He charged home from the rear to win narrowly from Cest Lheure in a 2185m mobile event at Pinjarra the previous Monday.  Assassinator warmed up for this week’s event with a sound third behind Motu Premier and Always Arjay in a mobile event at Gloucester Park on July 1. Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan, who was successful in last year’s BOTRA Cup with 5/1 chance Naughty Maravu, holds a strong hand in Friday night’s race with three runners - Im Master Charlie, Jason Rulz and Cut For An Ace. Michael Grantham had the choice of these three pacers and he has opted to drive Jason Rulz, who has been unplaced at four starts since finishing strongly to win a 2636m stand at Narrogin on May 9. Chris Voak will handle Im Master Charlie and Gary Hall Jnr (who drove Naughty Maravu to victory in last year’s BOTRA Cup) will drive Cut For An Ace. Im Master Charlie is in good form, with solid placings at his past three starts and he makes good appeal off the front. Chris Voak drove Im Master Charlie when he led for the first 650m and then trailed the pacemaker Naughty Maravu running third to his stablemate in last year’s BOTRA Cup. Im Master Charlie won two stands in New Zealand and has won four stands in WA, with Voak in the sulky for the first two of those wins, in May 2016. Nine-year-old Cut For An Ace will start off 10m and he impressed last Friday night when he finished determinedly from sixth at the bell to be a close third behind Zach Maguire and Motu Premier. Five-year-olds Tommy Be Good (20m) and Rycroft (10m) will also be fancied in a very open affair. The Katja Warwick-trained Tommy Be Good is capable of producing a strong finishing burst and many keen students of form will declare him the winner after discovering that his past six runs in stands have produced five wins and a third placing. He will be driven by Stuart McDonald, with Aiden de Campo opting to drive frontmarker and consistent performer Sky Art, who is prepared in Capel by de Campo’s father Andrew. Ken Casellas

New Zealand superstar Lazarus is the 2017 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit champion. The four-year-old proved dominant with victories in the New Zealand and Victoria Cups while being placed third in the Miracle Mile in Sydney throughout the season. Lazarus amassed 240 points. Points are awarded during the Grand Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. The eight leg series which commenced back in 1977 is now worth more than $4.4 million and starts in November at Christchurch with the New Zealand Cup followed by the Inter Dominion in Perth, Auckland Cup, WA Pacing Cup, Victoria & Hunter Cups, Miracle Mile before concluding with the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained entire becomes the first pacer since the freakish Christian Cullen (1998/99) to be crowned Grand Circuit champion as a four-year-old. It was a seamless transition for the son of Bettors Delight from age group racing to open class racing and thrilled fans throughout the season, his combined winning margin from his New Zealand and Victoria Cup triumphs was unbelievable. He won the New Zealand Cup by 10 lengths while the Victoria Cup was almost a mirror image with a winning margin of 12 metres. Driven throughout the season by Purdon, Lazarus only contested the three races on the Grand Circuit throughout the year. Overall, he won 12 of his 15 starts while amassing more than $1.2 million in prizemoney. Lazarus joins Smolda and Young Rufus as Grand Circuit champions from the All Stars stable. Amazingly, Lazarus becomes the first outright champion for the stable after both Smolda (Lennytheshark) and Young Rufus (Double Identity) deadheated. The full list of Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit winners during the season were Lazarus (New Zealand Cup), Smolda (Inter Dominion), Dream About Me (Auckland Cup), Chicago Bull (WA Pacing Cup), Lazarus (Victoria Cup), Bling It On (Hunter Cup), Lennytheshark (Miracle Mile) and Hectorjayjay (Blacks A Fake Qld Championship). And the Top 5 point scorers were; Lazarus – 240 points Smolda – 185 Hectorjayjay – 175 Bling It On – 165 Lennytheshark – 160 Congratulations to the owners of Lazarus – Phil & Glenys Kennard, Trevor Casey and Kevin Riseley. Chris Barsby

Cranbourne harness racing horseman John McGuinness will this Sunday compete to win his second Traralgon Pacing Cup - 37 years after he won his first. McGuinness, a familiar name in Gippsland racing since the early 1970's, trained and drove pacer John Arthur to win the 1980 edition of the Cup at the Traralgon Racecourse, and this year will compete with Zipping Elmo. Zipping Elmo has to overcome a back row draw from the mobile in Sunday's $7000 event run at Warragul. John had plenty of winners at Traralgon over the years, and was one of a handful of people to drive in races at the first and last meetings on the track in 1975 and 1995. The Traralgon Pacing Cup is now staged each year at Warragul in recognition of the two decades of racing in the Latrobe Valley. Top reinsman Chris Alford will seek his fifth victory in the Traralgon Pacing Cup when he drives Hurricane Stride on Sunday. Seven races will be run at the Warragul Pacing Bowl on Sunday with the first race due at 12:39pm. Gippsland horses will feature prominently among the fields throughout Sunday's card, and Warragul Harness Racing Club officials are looking forward to a good attendance at the meeting. Kyle Galley

It was a send-off fit for a King. And that King is Destreos. More commonly known by his fans as the ‘King of the Creek’ owing to the fact no other horse in history has won as many races at the famed Brisbane racetrack as the New Zealand bred gelding who is prepared by Ken Rattray for his partner Sally Stingel. The rising 14-year-old gave his local fans and fans abroad for that matter a final memory when he led throughout in the SKY Racing Open Pace today (Tuesday) in a time of 1:54.4. Amazingly, it was his 74th victory at Albion Park. Overall, he has won 97 races. But Rattray and Stingel are set to return to their native state of Tasmania next week after spending the past two decades away from home. Destreos will continue his career in Tasmania where he will be based at Flowery Gallery, near Launceston where he closing in on another milestone moment – win number 100! “What more can I say about him, we love him dearly and he continues to amaze us. We were hopeful today given that it was his final start at the track but I know I was so nervous and stressed about the whole day, it’s a huge relief and something he truly deserves.” Stingel said. Depending on how he recovers in the coming days and how he handles the trip south, Destreos could be amongst nominations for next week’s $20,000 Blacks A Fake FFA at TABCORP Park, Melton before heading across the Bass Straight. As it stands, Destreos has never raced in Victoria. Destreos has raced at Albion Park, Gold Coast, Redcliffe, Menangle, Bathurst, Dubbo and Newcastle plus Alexandra Park and Cambridge in New Zealand. But his efforts and records are well documented at Albion Park; he graced the track on 322 occasions which resulted in 74 wins and 100 minor placings. His victory today was his first during the month of July. He has covered more than 618,000 metres. His average winning mile rate is 1:56.3. While he has banked more than $790,000 in total, his earnings from Albion Park alone stand at $599,142. A number of drivers have partnered “Dex” including Kelli Dawson, Scott Kunde, Darrel Graham, Bruce Birch, Ray Law, Ricky Thurlow, Mathew Neilson, Shane Graham, Luke McCarthy, Hayden Barnes, Simon Jones and Rattray himself. And Dawson is a clear leader with victories. The lightweight driver has posted 54 victories behind the marvel at Albion Park and the association looks set to continue. “We plan on flying Kelli down when he starts in either Melbourne next week or Tasmania when he arrives. We’re a team and Kelli plays a pivotal role so we want that to continue, especially with the 100 career win milestone just around the corner. “Unfortunately Kelli missed his 400th start owing to injury and we want her to be behind him for as long as possible. “They have a special bond just like Kenny and I do with him and we won’t break that bond, heading back to Tasmania is just another chapter in this horse’s career.” DESTREOS Breeding; Astreos-Melvins Speed Record; 435 starts, 97 wins, 132 placings, $788,345 in stakes. Biggest win – 2012 Gr.3 $30k Be Good Johnny Sprint Chris Barsby

A $4000 purchase price resulted in a Group 2 win when Shes Sporty took out an Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Winning the two-year-old fillies’ edition, Shes Sporty climbed to Group success in just 10 starts. The daughter of Sportswriter and the former ‘Race-A-Pacer’ mare Alyceforall was bred at Brooklyn Lodge and purchased by Kylie Kennedy at the Bathurst Gold Yearling Sale last year. In her succinct racing career she has already won three races and placed on two occasions, earning $42,180 in prizemoney along the way. And in her most recent success, secured a personal best winning mile rate of 1:55.3 giving reinsman Blake Jones a significant milestone too. “It was my biggest win,” Jones said. “She is a bit of a handful to drive but she’s been a lot better lately and she’s starting to figure out what it is all about.” This provided Jones his 77th winner for the season his 427 winner overall. Shes Sporty is trained by David Kennedy and provided the Narrandera mentor with his 475th winner. Amanda Rando  

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