Master harness racing trainer Mark Purdon became a two-time Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic winner today at Maryborough. Purdon’s rising star filly High Gait produced a flawless performance in the 2190-metre stand-start Group 1 to score a 2.7-metre win in a mile rate of 2:06.3. High Gait is by Muscles Yankee out of quality producer Regal Volo. She is a full-sister to Breeders Crown winner Our Twentyten. High Gait’s 65secs first half set the filly up to dash home. She got home in 58.4secs, holding off runner-up Missandei comfortably with Sundons Courage third. High Gait has won six races from seven starts, her only defeat coming when second in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton. by Cody Winnell
The big harness racing day at Maryborough today with its sole focus on the straight out trotter is akin to the holy grail for followers of the squaregaiter. The jewel in the crown today was the $75,000 Victoria Trotting Derby which drew together the best Australian three year old trotters with the undisputed New Zealand champion three year old Speeding Spur. Speeding Spur's main problem was that he drew barrier 13 which was the outside of the second line in the ten horse field. Due to scratchings there was only four runners on the front line and Josh Dickie, the driver of Speeding Spur took advantage of the small front line and sent the son of Pegasus Spur forward from the start and grabbed the lead within the first 200 metres. Blue Sky Commander settled into the trail behind Speeding Spur with My Arya facing the breeze. Second favourite Illawong Armstrong circled the field mid-race to sit outside Speeding Spur but he really latched on and as a result there was no let up in the hot speed as he pulled himself into the ground. Turning for home Speeding Spur still held the front but was being attacked on all sides. Blue Sky Commander and Kerryn Manning were issuing a challenge up the passing lane after their soft trip while Amarula and John Caldow were finishing on stoutly centre track. However as he has done all season in New Zealand, Speeding Spur kicked bigtime when he was challenged and was drawing away again at the line with Josh Dickie giving a little victory salute as he hit the line. Blue Sky Commander ran into second with Amarula battling the last bit to run third. Amarula's run was full of merit as she did have a short gallop in the score up but was with the field at dispatch. Speeding Spur trotted the 2690 metres in 3:21.8, a mile rate of 2:00.7 which was a new track record. Trained by Josh and John Dickie at Clevedon in South Auckland, todays win by Speeding Spur was his 11th from 14th starts as a three year old and took his seasonal earnings over the $250,000 mark. His win today from barrier 13 after being attacked savagely mid race in track record time is further proof if any was needed that he is a superstar in the making. New Zealand breeders would have had a big smile on their faces post race as the first three home were all bred in New Zealand and that carried on the great record that New Zealand bred trotters have in Australian age group classics. Harnesslink Media
The $60,000 Southern Cross Finals for harness racing three year olds were held at Port Pirie last night and both the Colts/geldings and fillies divisions fell to warm favourites. Three year old colts/geldings Final Hez The One was a dominant favourite here even though he was poorly drawn at one on the second line. The well supported Blurred Lines with Mark Billinger in the bike grabbed the early lead from barrier five from another well supported runner in Officianado who settled into the trail. Danni Hill had Hez The One off the inside not long after the start but the son of Jeremes Jet settled a fair way back in the running line. Billinger was able to get away with a couple of cheap quarters in front which forced Danni to bring Hez The One forward three wide with just over a lap to go. The speed really went on from the 800 metres with the quarter down the back in 27.2 and Blurred Lines was the first to surrender passing the 500 metres mark. Danni shot Hez The One clear and he comfortably held them off for an impressive win. Officianado just as comfortably held second with Hit Maka battling on well for third. Hez The One paced the 2050 metres in 2:35.2, a mile rate of 2:01.9 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 30.4. It was the 14th win from just 23 starts for the Rebecca East trained colt and took his earnings over the $120,000 mark Three year old fillies final On paper this looked a bit like an Emma Stewart benefit and that is exactly how it turned out. Even though she drew one second line, Lovelist was a pronounced favourite while Starburst Girl the stablemate was the second favourite. The one filly that could have possibly upset the Emma Stewart pair in Whats Emma Got, blew any winning chance she had when she galloped early when being rushed off the gate. Mark Billinger worked Lovelist off the inside early in the race and grabbed the lead after 500 metres. Starburst Girl in the hands of Anthony Butt worked hard for the first 600 metres from her wide second line draw before finding the death seat outside Lovelist. Mark Billinger was in no real hurry in front, before upping the tempo passing the 800 metres mark. At that point Danni Hill sent Whats Emma Got forward but she was posted three wide when the speed went on and was having trouble hanging on to the Stewart pair passing the 400 metres. Lovelist opened up a handy break turning in and although Starburst Girl kept coming she never looked a serious winning threat. Whats Emma Got showed real tenacity to keep going and hold third after such a hard run. Lovelist paced the 2050 metres in 2:33.1, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 28. It was the 13th win from just 24 starts for the daughter of Always A Virgin and took her earnings over the $130,000 mark. It was a night to remember for Mark Billinger who drove the winners of three of the four $60,000 finals on offer. Harnesslink Media
Last night Port Pirie stepped onto harness racing's big stage when it hosted this years finals of the $60,000 Southern Cross series. The two year old finals were like chalk and cheese with the fillies looking a one horse race while the colts and gelding section looked a lot more even. South Australian reinsman Mark Billinger was the star of the show winning both two year old finals Two year old colt/geldings final The two best horses here on paper both drew poorly and as a result the race was thrown wide open. The Art Major gelding Rap Artist drew three on the second line while the Mach Three gelding Presidentmach drew five on the second line which really evened up the contest. The Big Show from barrier three lead early while trainer / driver Mark Billinger followed him through from the second line with Rap Artist but was left parked out three wide for over 600 metres before finding the death seat. Danni Hill settled Presidentmach back early but took off three wide with a lap to go and ranged up outside the leaders at the 400 metres mark. As they turned for home The Big Show still had the front but was grabbed by a very game Rap Artist 50 metres out who then just held off an equally game Presidentmach who just kept coming. To make it more interesting, Jumping Jolt flashed late for a very close third just in front of The Big Show who battled on gamely. The mile was cut out in 1:58.3 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 30.1. It was a great race with the first two home putting up huge efforts. Two year old fillies final On paper this looked a one horse affair and thats how it panned out. The Rock N Roll Heaven filly Rocknroll Magic from the Emma Stewart barn drew beautifully at barrier three and driver Mark Billinger let her work to the front under her own steam after 300 metres and from there it was a one horse show. Given her head by Mark at the 500 metres mark, Rocnkroll Magic raced away and won easing down by a huge 23 metres. The Rocknroll Hanover filly Rockfromcork ran home well along the inner for second in front of the Union Guy filly, Little Miss Piggy who battled on for third but the winner was in a class of her own She paced the mile in a smart 1:57.8 with closing sectionals of 57.4 and 29.1 and won with a lot in hand. The task of Rocknroll Magic was made a touch easier when stablemate and second favourite Celebrity Guest was involved in an early skirmish which extinguished her chances. Rocknroll Magic has now won eight from eleven in her debut season and looks a filly of the highest class. Harnesslink Media
Exciting four-year-old Alleluia produced an outstanding effort to claim tonight’s (Saturday) harness racing Gr.2 $50,000 Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup. Trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon, Alleluia ($5) sat without cover in the 2613m standing start feature and proved too strong for Five Card Draw ($9.90) and Jivin Cullen ($17.10) in track record time of 1;59.6. With several runners inconvenienced at the start including race favourite Avonnova and defending champion Majestic Major, the field covered plenty of territory in the early staged with Jivin Cullen setting a solid temp in front. The lead time was covered in 76.5 seconds. Over the final mile, Jivin Cullen continued to dictate terms with Alleluia sitting parked while star mare Forever Gold raced solo three-wide while Avonnova found the back of Forever Gold. The first half was covered in splits of 29.7 and 29.5 seconds. Heading down the back straight on the final occasion, Jivin Cullen travelled strongly with Alleluia sticking to his guns bravely while many struggled in the frantic speed. The third quarter was covered in 28.7 seconds. At the home turn, Jivin Cullen was quickly joined by Alleluia while Five Card Draw came fast via the passing lane but Alleluia refused to give up and fought off the challenge from Five Card Draw before winning by 2m with Jivin Cullen third a further 1.25m away. Avonnova finished officially 11th, beaten 18m. The winning mile rate for the gelding by Art Major took a full second off the previous mark, which was established last year by Majestic Major. “I’m just so happy for the horse, he’s been a great addition to the ranks here in Queensland and he always performs at a high level. He was unlucky not to pick up a big race during the Albion Park carnival so he deserved this one tonight, I would say a career best effort.” Winning owner Greg Mitchell said. The victory provides Mitchell with his second Cup success in the past three years after Only The Brave scored in 2013. Grant Dixon has now claimed the Cup for the past three seasons following the victories of Only The Brave and Majestic Major. In the Gr.3 $30,000 Redcliffe Oaks, race favourite Morton Plains ($1.50) led throughout to score comfortably from stablemates Bettorthanspecial ($5) and Bettor Promise ($9.40) in the 2040m fillies feature. The Victorian trained filly has enjoyed a stellar season highlighted by her Gr.1 Vicbred Super Series Final victory plus her placing in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks behind star Kiwi filly Fight For Glory. Prepared at Shelbourne by Larry Eastman, Morton Plains was handled for the first time by John Cremin. The winning mile rate was 1;58.2. The top three fillies are all daughters of super sire Bettors Delight. Racing Queensland
The nation’s leading reinsman Greg Sugars and Shepparton harness racing trainer Amanda Turnbull both had winning doubles at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Turnbull produced the first two winners on the program, Copper Coast (Modern Art/Katasopos) and Oh Jonny Be Good (Mach Three/Maikona), while Sugars combined with trainer Geoff Webster to win aboard Flaming Flutter (Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot) and was victorious behind Emma Stewart-trained Goodtime Mike (Browning Blue Chip/Golden Face). Copper Coast’s win in the 2240m DNR Logistics Pace (M0) kicked off the nine-race card, driver Nathan Jack – partner of Turnbull – expertly steering the four-year-old gelding home by a whisker over Fernco Bobby G (Glenn Douglas). The winner’s stablemate Big Spook (Turnbull) ran third, the mile rate 1:57.5. Jack took Copper Coast back early from barrier three before timing his run to perfection on the last lap, diving into the one-one around the final bend before stoking up strongest in the lane (29.1secs fourth quarter after a 28.1secs run down the back, 57.2secs last half). Copper Coast is a former Queenslander who won the 2013 Paleface Adios Classic at Albion Park at two. The wraps on three-year-old stablemate Oh Jonny B Good got bigger after the colt sat three-wide with no cover (final 800m 57.3secs) and outclassed his opponents in the Decron Pace Final (C2-C3). From an inside back row draw Turnbull took the ex-Kiwi back to the rear early before improving through the last lap. Oh Jonny B Good stretched out best late to win in a rate of 1:59.5 for the 2240m journey and you get the feeling there’s plenty more improvement to come next prep. Illawong Lively (Scott Rains) from the pole ran second and Admiral Joy (Sugars) rocketed home for third. Seven-year-old Bettors Delight/Star Chaser gelding Astronaut won the Tye’s Clubbing USA Claiming Pace to give trainer/driver Jodi Quinlan a Maryborough/Melton double for the day (she scored a dashing win on Friday afternoon aboard Illawong Moonshine). Astronaut came with a sweeping sprint down the outside of the track to beat heavily backed favourite Livin It Lovin It (Rodney Petroff) by 2.2m in a rate of 1:59.4 over the 2240m. Inky Cullen (Alex Ashwood) was third. Burrumbeet trainer/driver Michael Stanley took out the SEW-Eurodrive Pace Final over 2240m (C1) with his three-year-old Somebeachsomewhere / Giveusachance filly Soho Berlin. Stanley improved from a midfield position aboard the in-form filly (who has won three of her last four starts) at the mile. She covered plenty of territory from that point to the 1200m pole when she eventually ran to the lead. From there she paced her final three quarters in 30.1secs, 30.2secs and 29.9secs after an opening stanza of 29.7secs to rate 1:58.3, beating Sir Briggen (Mark Buckingham) by 5.5m while Olivia Rockstar (Trevor Hilson) was third. The Conect Blacks A Fake Free-for-All saw impressive five-year-old Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot entire Flaming Flutter continue his rise to stardom. This season’s Inter Dominion runner-up made it two straight fast class wins by holding Keayang Starzzz (Glen Craven) out at the end of the 1720m trip by a half-neck in 1:57.1. Sugars restrained early on Flaming Flutter as the leaders sprinted through a quick lead time before easing three-wide at the bell and whipping up to the breeze through the 32secs second quarter. Keayang Starzzz still appeared to be travelling at the home bend but Flaming Flutter simply outclassed the runner-up in the straight, dashing home in a 27.2secs final quarter after a 28.7secs third split. Consistent Exciteusinthecity ran third for Tim McLean. Brent Lilley had a double at Maryborough on Friday afternoon and backed it up with a third victory at Melton in the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup with Crusader Acey. At big odds, Anthony Butt took the Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding straight to the front early from barrier five before handing up to Best Deal Yet. This left Young Modern (Michael Stanley) parked; the heat winners 1-2 in the run. Once in front Best Deal Yet carved out some quick sectionals after a slick lead time (43.6secs), the opening splits 29.4secs and 29.5secs. Young Modern put paid to the leader at the 400m but Lierre Noir, Major Crocker and Crusader Acey were all starting to loom off softer runs. Crusader Acey finished strongest to score (third and fourth splits 28.8secs and 29.4secs) in a mile rate of 1:55.4, Young Modern battling on gamely for second to be beaten only a neck while Lierre Noir (Glen Craven) was close-up in third. Goodtime Mike gave Smythes Creek trainer Emma Stewart a victory for the night in the Eynesbury Golf Club Pace (M1) over 1720m from barrier five for in-form Sugars. Goodtime Mike did plenty of work in the run but still found the line best to defeat Artoc (Chris Alford) in second by a head, with Highview Conall third in 1:57.2. David Aiken trained and driven Earth Angel swept to victory in the Renown Silverware Pace over 1720m (M0). The Mach Three/Arty Alice five-year-old tracked the favourite Miley Rose into the lane before peeling off her back and out-sprinting her for a 3.2m success. Miley Rose was second for Gavin Lang, South Australian visitor Our Mischievious Miss holding third for Wayne Hill after giving a bold sight out in front. Earth Angel’s rate was 1:55.7. San Carlo wound up the night on a sensational note, the Mach Three/Bridge Player gelding far too good for his rivals in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series A Final for reinswoman Rebecca Bartley. by Cody Winnell
On a night dominated by close finishes it was the blow-out margin in the last tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton that had many harness racing pundits salivating. San Carlo (Mach Three/Bridge Player) mightn’t have beaten a field glistening with stars, but he did it in style taking out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series A Final and remains unbeaten in four trips to the races. Reinswoman Bec Bartley alluded before the score-up on Sky Racing to the fact she and trainer Stephen O’Donoghue rated the Kialla four-year-old. “We’ll just keep pushing forward," she said, then suggesting the fans would know more about what the gelding was capable of post-race. San Carlo ambled away from barrier six at the 2240-metre start and Bartley kept him clear of harm’s way out wide before trekking forward. Once San Carlo was in front the $1.20 he started with the bookies looked about right. And, after a first half of 62.4secs in-the-run odds makers would have shut up shop. Quickening up through the third stanza (28.6secs) San Carlo slipped into another gear and put his rivals to the sword. Importantly, however, while tonight’s rivals were clearly not in the same league as the winner, San Carlo basically cruised to the line hard held. His fourth quarter was 28.9secs and he romped clear to win by 32.8 metres, but Bartley didn’t budge a muscle and caller Dan Mielicki even suggested the mercy rule be enacted. San Carlo rated 1:59.4. The winner’s dam Bridge Player (by Classic Garry) ran second in the 1997 Sires final at Moonee Valley at two (beaten narrowly by Belinda) and all four of her progeny which have made it to the track have won races. by Cody Winnell
In accordance with the Strategic Plan, Harness Racing New South Wales is endeavouring to increase the field sizes for all races run across the state. From September 1 the longer circuits in NSW will see field sizes increased from ten to twelve runners. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny confirmed the decision had been made to increase wagering turnover which will see the industry receive more money in return. "Increased turnover is paramount to the industry's revenue streams and maximum field sizes are the goal," Mr Dumesny said. "Data provided by the primary betting agency Tabcorp verifies that twelve horses in a race achieves the optimum turnover and certainly races of ten or more runners will deliver increased revenue from all wagering operators." Mr Dumesny added while is it accepted races may not attract sufficient nominations; twelve horses will be drawn in races contested at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Newcastle and Goulburn from September 1. "The positive increase in the wagering turnover at Bathurst where full fields of twelve horses are often drawn is a clear indication of why this change had to take place. "It should be noted that the current starting configurations at Tabcorp Park Menangle and Newcastle will not change, ten runners will continue to start off the front line while the remaining runners will be drawn behind them. "The starting configuration for Goulburn will replicate that of Bathurst with eight off the front and that will be repeated at the new tracks in Wagga and Tamworth once they have been constructed, however it is important to note that the HRNSW reserve policy will not change." Greg Hayes
The trotters take centre stage this weekend as Maryborough and Harness Racing Victoria celebrate the time-honoured Redwood Carnival. Three huge days of trots action got under way today, will continue tomorrow (watch all the action from Saturday's non-TAB Redwood day two live streamed online here) and will climax Sunday with the running of the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Trotters Derby and Redwood Classic. Tonight we're racing at Tabcorp Park with the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup Final and the Conect Blacks A Fake Free-for-All the feature races. Tomorrow night Kilmore takes the Saturday night spotlight with three TAB Breeders Crown heats scheduled. – Cody Winnell (Manager Communications and Media, HRV) Did you follow Jason Bonnington's Good Form Game Plan last Friday and Saturday night? If so, here's what happened! The tipsters had the choice of Tabcorp Park Melton tonight or Redwood Day Sunday this week for their $20 play of the weekend. Here's what they thought... Follow the leader board each week to see how much money will be donated to the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute after Feb 28, next year. $20 All-Up Win Melton Friday Night R2 No. 8 Oh Johnny B Good R8 No. 7 Miley Rose R9 No.6 San Carlo Flexi Quaddie Melton Friday Night $20 for 27.77% 1st Leg: 1,2,5,8 2nd Leg: 3,4,5,8,11,12 3rd Leg: 6,8,9 4th Leg: 7 $20 place Maryborough Sunday R6 No.3 War Dan Destroyer (fixed odds $7.15 @ TAB) $20 All-Up Melton Friday Night R1 No.2 McNiven R9 No.6 San Carlo Bit of a space omen in Race 4 at Melton tonight… so let's got $5 each-way on both No. 4 Apollo Thirteen and No.5 Rowdy Rocket. Another big profit last week with Jason, Cody and The Omen all profiting! Above are the overall standings so far. New season club memberships on sale now The access-all-meetings Trots Card – Victorian harness racing’s must-have card for owners and fans – is a key component of the 2015-16 club membership packages. Club membership packages are on sale now for season 2015-16, with prices ranging from $25-$100 and clubs offering a variety of different entitlements for members. The Country #Trots Run of the Week PROVOCATOR and trainer/driver Geoff Martin didn’t quite emulate Scott Torney’s celebrations of a week ago in winning the Neatline Homes Pace at Shepparton in the last race on Wednesday, but he still would have been chuffed. The $3.70 race favourite drew the pole, settled leader’s back behind Milady Denver before using the sprint lane to score by 1.8m in a mile rate of 1:59.3. The four-year-old gelding is by Kenneth J from Seductress.
Harness Racing New South Wales has confirmed sprint lanes will be introduced at three more tracks across the state. The new tracks at Wagga and Tamworth will have sprint lanes while HRNSW CEO John Dumesny has announced an ongoing discussion will continue with the Goulburn Club about a sprint lane being introduced at its track. "The Board of HRNSW confirmed at its most recent meeting that the two news tracks, which are yet to be built, at Wagga and Tamworth will have sprint lanes," Mr Dumesny said. "There has been an investigation conducted in relation to a sprint lane being introduced at the Goulburn track and HRNSW will continue to work with the Club in relation to those findings." While confirming the introduction of the new sprint lanes, Mr Dumesny ruled out the possibility at Tabcorp Park Menangle and Newcastle. "The construction of sprint lanes at Menangle and Newcastle have been deferred due to the significant cost of installation as identified by the respective clubs." Greg Hayes
Greg Sugars has 2000 career winners on the board after a winning double at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton today. The gun reinsman, 30, drove $1.30 shot Fake Smile to victory for trainer Ahmed Taiba in Race 2 at Geelong Harness Racing Club's Melton meeting, before scoring a minor upset in the last race aboard Paying Your Way at odds of $8 for trainer Rob O'Connell. July has been incredible for Sugars, the victory aboard Paying Your Way his 24th winner for the month. He will drive two horses tonight at Bendigo, two tomorrow at Maryborough and five at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night before we head into the final month of the harness racing calendar year. Sugars has edged clear of Queensland's Shane Graham on the 2014-15 National Drivers Premiership. Cody Winnell
Former Australian cricketers Ricky Ponting and Mark Waugh, Manly fullback Brett Stewart, Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, former Adelaide Crows coach Brenton Sanderson and leading Sydney jockey Tommy Berry have one thing in common. They all have been, or are currently, owners in the sport of harness racing. Another group of talented footballers has joined the list of sporting identities that are enjoying harness racing with five members of the GWS Giants buying a share in former kiwi pacer Comekissmequick. Rhys Palmer, Heath Shaw, Nathan Wilson, Aidan Corr and Jacob Townsend teamed up to buy 50% of the filly and she is set to make her debut on Friday afternoon at Wagga. Palmer won the AFL's Rising Star award in 2008 while playing for the Fremantle Dockers and joined the Giants for the 2012 season and has played more than 100 AFL games. Originally from Perth, Palmer has raced gallopers previously but is looking forward to watching his first pacer compete. "My father has had a few horses over the years, we've had a couple of winners but we've had a few slow ones as well," Palmer said. "A few of the boys were talking about getting a pacer and Reece Maguire said that he had found a suitable one from New Zealand so we decided to take a share in Comekissmequick and hopefully she does a good job for us." Palmer's interest in harness racing grew after he and his girlfriend spent some time in Europe after the 2014 AFL season. "Tina's father is Camel Benkheira, he owns a few trotters, he treats them like they are his children and they race in Sweden, France and Norway. "He has a very successful trotter called Goods Of Norway and while we were over there I got the chance to spend time in the stable, it was very impressive and I really enjoyed it." As a professional athlete Palmer spends a lot of time training but also finds time to study for a career after football. "My week is structured and I'm kept pretty busy so following the horse will be a bit of fun. "We stay in contact with Reece (Maguire) and he tells us that the horse goes ok, she is well bred, has trialled well so hopefully she does a good job for all of us." Palmer has had an interrupted 2015 season after breaking his collarbone in round four against the Gold Coast Suns but returned to play against the Kangaroos on June 20. "The team has been playing well, I copped a knock to my hamstring last week but overall it has been a good season so far." With the Giants enjoying their best season to date, here's hoping some of that form can rub off onto Comekissmequick. Greg Hayes
One of Tasmanian harness racing's most promising mares Queens Advocate looks set to expand her winning sequence when she tackles a C3-C5 event over 2090 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. The Juanita McKenzie-trained mare ended her first preparation with a win for a career record of four wins from five starts in the space of seven weeks from March 08 to April 19. McKenzie gave the mare a short spell and she resumed with an impressive win in Hobart two weeks ago. While this is a step up in grade for the daughter of McArdle-Genes West (x Jennas Beach Boy) she would only need to begin well to find a cosy spot in the run to expand her win record. Mister Ryanjack is a fast beginner and as he is drawn directly inside of McKenzie's mare (in gate three) Queens Advocate might be forced to face the breeze to win but if that eventuates she should be up to the task. At the end of the mare's last campaign McKenzie predicted a bright future for the rising six-year-old. The mare's stablemate Zumba Bromac is attempting to make it a hat trick of wins when he takes on a handy field in the The Warp Drive Pace over 2090 metres (Race seven). Zumba Bromac has drawn gate three but it is unlikely he can lead as Bisping that has drawn the outside of the front row (7) is brilliant from the mobile and has the speed to cross and assume control. It that eventuates Zumba Bromac's driver Ricky Duggan will have to make a decision whether to drift back and find a slot one-out or push forward, test Bisping early and then face the breeze. The tactics will play a dominant role in the outcome of this race. It is a mammoth 10-race card tonight with the first scheduled to start at 5.33 pm and the last at 10.10 pm. By Peter Staples.
The horse racing industry in South Australia has been dealt a blow with the sudden departure of harness racing from Globe Derby Park due to a stoush about meeting fees. In a statement issued last night, the Harness Racing SA (HRSA) board said it received a message from solicitors representing SA Harness Racing Club (SAHRC) that it could no longer hold race meetings at its track. The club claimed it was not being adequately compensated for the cost of running race meetings at the northern Adelaide track. It said the average cost of holding a meeting was $6,500 but HRSA was paying it only $2,800, meaning it incurred an average loss of $3,700 for every meet. SAHRC committee president Peter Downs said that with between 110 and 120 meetings a year, the club had been operating with losses of up to $500,000 a year. "We've been hosting a lot of race meetings here for a long time and making significant losses in doing so," he said. "We don't want what's unfair but we certainly need to be paid a more fair amount of money." But HRSA chief executive officer John Lewis said that as well as a $350,000 dollar per annum meeting fee, it also offered the club other financial incentives. "If you add all that up there's been significant financial offers in addition to the $350,000 we pay, so it's somewhat bewildering the decision the club has taken," he said. "So the board was forced to make an unprecedented decision to move race meetings because we're not permitted to race there. "That's what the letter from the lawyers makes very clear." The next meeting, the Southern Cross finals, has been relocated to Port Pirie this Saturday, with other meetings likely to held at Kapunda and Victor Habor. Horse trainer Ray Holberton said the club and HRSA must sort out their differences because the changes would be detrimental to the industry and cause problems for everyone involved in it. "It's a big thing because my horse is not a very good traveller," he said. "The owner is in his 80s. He rang me last night and said 'Ray, I can't go see my horse race at Port Pirie. It's too far away'. You can understand that, and that's a shame." Globe Derby Park has been SA's premier harness racing venue since the 1970s. Reprinted with permission of ABC Online - Check site here
When you think of Paleface Adios and Don’t Retreat you recall two of the greats of harness racing. It’s fitting that both of these champion pacers from the seventies share pride of place with many other top notch interstate and local horses in race chronicles from years gone by as winners of Queensland’s Redcliffe Gold Cup. The $50,000 Redcliffe Gold Cup, to be raced at the Redcliffe Paceway on Saturday night, for the first time will be raced as a Group 2 event and has certainly come a long way in the 51 years since Fairy Armagh won the 1964 edition. It was a big year for Redcliffe that year with the Club staging Queensland’s first ever harness race for one thousand pounds. One of the big supporters of this race and the Redcliffe Club was the late Chicka Charlwood. Two of Charlwood’s best were 1976 Gold Cup winner Neena Again and River Ike, the winner in 1979. Clarrie Sweeney won the Cup with the great Roma Hanover in 1976, Kevin Robinson with Spike in 1974 and Brian Pelling with Thunder Imp in 1973. Down the years it’s been a provincial Cup that has been won by very good horses. In 1982 a dead heat was recorded for the first and only time with the Cup shared by Tolvan (Stewart Dickson) and Paka Star (Kevin Thomas) and in more recent times Redcliffe specialist Shipps Fire won for Julie Weidemann in 1996. This century the race has also captured a couple of stars -- Hexus and I Am Sam stand out. The Danny Gallagher-trained Hexus went back to back for Luke McCarthy in 2003 and 2004 and Natalie Rasmussen steered home the Bill Dixon trained I Am Sam in 2008. Roll forward to 2015 and there’s a chance that the finish of the 2014 Gold Cup could be replayed. Last year Grant Dixon’s Majestic Major defeated Forever Gold and Supreme Mach. That trio will again race in the Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup and are in great form. Also included in this year’s field is Grant Dixon's 2013 winner Only The Brave. The Dixon stable has five of the 13 horses in the field in the 2613 metre Discretionary Handicap with classy four-year-old Alleluia and Magical Mel, the first emergency, also drawn in the race. Alleluia will go from the front row in the stand start feature and is sure to be prominent from start to finish. Sharing the 10 metre back mark with defending champ Majestic Major is the race’s firepower, Forever Gold, Avonnova and Caesar Folly. The Darren Weeks trained Forever Gold is looking to take its earnings to over the $700,000 mark in this race. This month the outstanding mare took out the Group 3 Ladyship Stakes at Albion Park then beat all bar Philadelphia Man in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake on the Albion Park carnival feature night. Queensland’s current horse of the year, the free-legged Avonnova will also push his lifetime earnings over $700,000 with a victory. The Ian Gurney trained Avonnova won the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park before finishing third behind Philadelphia Man and Forever Gold in the Blacks A Fake. Trainer Shannon Price and driver Brad Cowen team together with Caesars Folly. Like Majestic Major, who won last week’s Group 3 Patrons Purse at Redcliffe, Forever Gold and Avonnova, Caesars Folly is already proven on the Redcliffe track and wasn’t far away when sixth in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park at his last start. Redcliffe Club president Kerry Ebert said it’s a credit to everyone involved that this race is the race it is today and that, for the last couple of years, the Cup has featured as Queensland’s main event on a Saturday night. “It’s a great race and it deserves to be the main attraction on a Saturday night,” Ebert said. “A lot of good people have ensured it’s prominence including past president’s Austin McGuckin, who unfortunately passed away earlier this month and without the efforts of Chris Garrard and Brad Steele in the chair we may not have been able to elevate the race to the caliber of event it is now. “This is a super field that we have for the Cup this year, it’s a Group 2 race for the first time and the prizemoney is the best we have ever had, it’s hard to find a negative as we take the Club into the next fifty years of racing at Redcliffe.” by David Aldred Related Links Fields for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015 Form guide for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015
The Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs (AVCHRC) has welcomed Harness Racing Victoria's (HRV) stakes increase announcement. On Monday HRV revealed stakemoney for season 2015-16 would exceed $40 million for the first time ever after a 5% increase on the 2014-15 season, meaning harness racing stakemoney in Victoria has climbed by 20% over three years. "It's fantastic to see our industry in a position to offer stakes increases," said AVCHRC President Paul James. "We acknowledge the challenge of balancing stakes increases to reward both everyday participation and the elite level of our sport to help grow and attract new people. "The increases announced by HRV provide for both and for that we congratulate HRV. "The increases to Country Cup funding, co-funded by clubs and HRV, reflects the importance and strength of our club network to the Victorian industry and will assist showcasing the best horses and participants throughout Regional Victoria." President of the Victorian Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) Lance Justice also welcomed the stakemoney increases. "We commend HRV for increasing distribution of stakemoney in 2015/16 to in excess of 40 million," Justice said. "The VTDA in its budget submission earlier this year requested any increases to be directed to increasing basic levels to ensure the majority of the industry benefited from the extremely successful 2014/15 financial year result. "It is pleasing to see our request to increase graduation races to the new threshold level was ratified and we also welcome the changes to the Melton metropolitan meeting stake levels." HRV CEO John Anderson said the stakes increases would benefit all levels of the industry. "After extensive consultation with our industry consultative groups we elected to try and spread the stakes increases widely from the bottom end right through to the top," Anderson said. "From the bottom end of the scale we've brought graduation races up to $3500, which is the maximum amount allowed under the national guidelines for a graduation race before the winner has to take a country penalty. With 42 graduation race meetings a year this equates to an increase of about $200,000 a year. "Increasing the Vicbred first win bonus for four-year-olds from $5000 to $7000 equates to an annual increase of about $430,000, which is obviously significant. "Country fillies and mares races of all grades also take on an extra $1000 in stakes, which is great news for the Victorian breeding industry. There is always room for more to be done to stimulate fillies and mares' racing opportunities. "Given that there are about 250 of these races scheduled each year this equates to an additional quarter of a million dollars." Stakes Increases by Percentage Bottom end (graduation, country F&M, 6th to last, Vicbred 1st Bonus) - 59% Mid-level (Metro Front M1/TM1+, Country Penalty TP, Country Cups) - 23% Top end (Hunter Cup, 4&5YO Championship, 4YO Bonanza, Maori Mile) - 18% CODY WINNELL