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Hobby trainer Ange McDowall is both excited and slightly overawed by the prospect of her unbeaten pacer Lumineer shaping up against the two biggest stables in Australasian harness racing. The hobby trainer from a Victorian coastal hamlet — Childers Cove near Warnambool — taking on the two biggest stables in Australasian harness racing. That’s the exciting albeit daunting challenge for trainer Ange McDowall and her unbeaten buzz pacer Lumineer. After seven ultra-impressive wins, Lumineer steps up to the next level when he launches his Victoria Derby assault in the third of three heats at Ballarat on Saturday night. Between them, champion trainers Emma Stewart and Mark Purdon, have 13 runners across the Derby heats. Amazingly, Stewart and her training partner Clayton Tonkin have 11 of them. The Kiwi-based Purdon, who boasts such a lethal strike rate when he and partner Natalie Rasmussen raid Australia, has two very highly-rated runners in The Devils Own and Spankem. Despite the depth, Lumineer has been so impressive so far, he is the favourite to the win final before a heat has been run. And he’s a $1.15 chance with TAB to win his Ballarat heat. “It’s so exciting, but a bit daunting at the same time,” McDowall said. “You can’t help but admire the amazing job those two top stables do and how many great horses they keep producing. “But that’s the great thing about racing. People like me can compete against them if we get the right horse.” McDowall thinks she’s got Lumineer primed after two easy lead-up wins, but knows a Derby heat is a new challenge even from a good draw (gate four). “I’m really happy with his preparation, but it’s hard to tell on his trackwork exactly where he’s at. He only does what he has to. He’s never worked sensationally at home,” she said. “We haven’t used his gate speed since he won the Australia Gold final (last April), but we know it’s there. I’ll leave it up to Jason (Lee, driving) as to how quick he wants to come out this week. The in-form Lumineer is a $1.15 chance with TAB to win his Ballarat heat. “Tam Major is drawn inside us. He’s quick out and fought hard to hold the lead time. “We’ve done a lot of work with him to settle him. The one risk in blasting it out is firing him up again. That said, he’s versatile. He won leading, sitting parked or coming around the field midrace as he did last time.” Although McDowall is in awe of the Purdon and Stewart barns, she surprised a little by pin-pointing Grant Dixon’s Queensland raider Colt Thirty One as the horse she most fears of her Derby rivals. “There’s something about him. I thought he was the danger in the Aussie Gold final as well, but he galloped,” she said. “He looks to have come back well and I really like what I’ve seen of him.” Colt Thirty One has been backed from $2.80 into $2.40 favourite with TAB to win the first Derby heat with the Purdon-trained The Devils Own ($2.60 to $3.20) and Stewart’s Poster Boy ($7 to $4.80) the main rivals. Purdon is expected to win the second heat with Spankem drawn the pole and already being crunched from $1.50 into $1.30 with TAB. Reprinted with permission of The Herald Sun

Harness racing champion Ted Demmler’s investment property is off and racing for a sale in the opening days of 2018. Harness racing legend Ted Demmler is hoping to harness the market and sell an investment property a short trot form his Carrum Downs training centre. The two-bedroom townhouse at 5/2 Barton Drive, Sandhurst, is set among the sought-after streets of the Sandhurst Country Club. Demmler, an eight time Victorian Drivers’ Premiership winner, four-time leading Australian Driver and the first Australian reinsman to notch 3000 wins bought the townhouse as an investment with a view to one-day moving into the property. He’d also planed to learn to play golf on the highly regarded Sandhurst course, with the 16th hole just behind the back fence and sweeping views of the fairways on offer from the home’s living areas and deck on its second level. The townhouse at 5/2 Barton Drive comes with a fair view to the fairway at the rear. However Demmler, who still owns the nearby Zetland Lodge training facility in Carrum Downs, has decided to sell the two-storey investment property. “It’s actually across the road from my property ... and it was a pretty nice development going on at the time and we just invested in it,” Demmler said. “And it’s always been a good investment.” Harness racing legend Ted Demmler at his Zetland Lodge home. Donaldson Martin & Co director Les Donaldson is handling the sale and said the property came with access to all of the Sandhurst Club’s benefits including a pool, tennis courts and fitness club. “It’s in the Sandhurst Country Club, which was designed by the company of golfer Peter Thompson,” Mr Donaldson said.   “It’s an exclusive spot.” The townhouse has a $540,000 to $587,500 asking price. It features living spaces on the upper level, with its bedrooms and two bathrooms downstairs.  

The connotations are many, the implications are huge. Harness racing Good Form analyst Blake Redden deep dives into Saturday night's PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, runner-by-runner, with an updated version post Vincent's scratching. 1: Heaven Rocks – Arguably the most talented horse in the field. A lovable rogue who could make a meal of it at the start and need plenty of luck or alternatively if he does things right he may lead into the first bend and never be caught. He raced straight past Vincent in the Auckland Cup before becoming his own worst enemy and handing the race back on a platter. If he is crossed early by Major Secret then look for him to get off the pegs and work to the breeze mid-race to keep the pressure on. 2: Shadow Sax – One of the rising starts of the field. Niggling issues kept him away from the track for much of his four-year-old season but he continues to step up to every challenge at five and was an impressive last start winner of the South Australian Cup. He’s a local trained by the state’s leading trainer Emma Stewart. Tactics will be most important. If he can find the front then he will become the horse to beat in many peoples eyes. 3: Bernie Winkle – A sit sprinter who would lap up a strong tempo throughout. He can’t win the race but with a touch of luck he may run into fourth or fifth. 4: Major Secret – A noted quick beginner that may try to fire off the gate and lead early. He was run down by an inferior horse in the Cobram Cup and he’d have to reach a new peak to knock off some of his rivals here. Another local who is a stablemate to Shadow Sax. 5: The Faithful – Was quickly racing through his grades before tackling the Bendigo Cup last time where he was outclassed. This looks even harder. 6: Vincent – SCRATCHED I've taken Vincent out of the Ballarat Cup after I noticed a slight swelling on the nearside front this morning. He is not lame or anything and I am fairly confident it is something minor. You just don't take risks with horses like him" "He was out in the paddock and whether he has just rolled the wrong way or knocked it getting up you can't say but it is not that far from the suspensory and we wouldn't risk racing him until it was completely cleared up. We will get the experts to have a look and check him out because you can never be 100 per cent sure with these sort of injuries just how much is involved with them. But from the outside to my eye it seems a fairly minor problem at this stage." I can't really add much more . just that we are taking the ultra "safe but sure" route with him. Natalie - Allstars site 7: Mister Wickham – Appears the type of horse who improves as the level of racing. He was terrific when running second in the Bendigo Cup but he’d need plenty to go right to be in the frame here. 8: Lennytheshark – Once the king of Australasian harness racing, he’s seceded that title in recent times to the mighty Lazarus. He has trialled well enough leading into this and there’s some chance his efforts in the Inter Dominion in Perth were better than they look on paper but given the second row draw he’d need to be at his best to prove all the doubters wrong again. 9: It Is Billy – Another local, trained by Mick Barby and driven by Anne-Maree Conroy. He’s often threatened at this level without winning a really big race. It’s hard to see him doing any damage given it’s such a strong renewal of the Pacing Cup. Race Overview: With the shock scratching of Vincent the race becomes a true test of tactics. Heaven Rocks hasn’t been made to run the gate on too many occasions but he hasn’t looked hopeless when he has done so. If he does score up with them then Shadow Sax and/or Major Secret will need to be flying into the first bend to cross him. If Major Secret is first across to the pegs then expect him to hand-up to Shadow Sax with Heaven Rocks off the pegs to do the work mid-race. Lennytheshark may end up in a range of different positions in transit depending on what eventuates after the start but as the only one off the second row, Puppet will be able to assess his options early. It’s hard to see him giving the two market leaders a start and a beating but you can never count out a champion. Blake Redden

Uralla-trained pacer Onedin Highlander has taken out the $10,000 Pub Group Gold Nugget at Tamworth Paceway. A brave race move by harness racing trainer and reinsman Mitch Faulkner paid dividends in the Wednesday night race. “I’m absolutely ecstatic. He went super,” said Faulkner. “That is my biggest win here on my local track. I have been driving here since I was 16. [I] actually got my licence here on this track, so it is nice to win a feature race here. “I didn’t expect him to go that good first up after a spell but he has come back pretty good and was tough enough to hold on for the win.  “The Nugget is a really good race and a good incentive. It’s good to get that little bit extra with the trophy of a gold nugget.” Onedin Highlander had a head win over Queensland pacer Arrokeefe (Narissa McMullen), with Hunter Valley pacer Lurah (Tom Ison) a neck away third. The mile rate was 1min 58.2sec.  Faulkner steers Onedin Highlander to victory up the inside. Photo: PeterMac Photography   Onedin Highlander is raced by his Tamworth owner Henry Campbell. With a barrier draw of nine, Faulkner watched from the back of the field while Hunter Valley pacers Captain Rockey (Dan Morgan) and Secret Jack (Leigh Sutton) vied for the lead. “I got into the running line after they backed off a bit up front. They had a lead time of 25 seconds, so I thought I would be able to get around them. He [Onedin Highlander] did that pretty easy within the length of the straight,” said Faulkner. Faulkner made a three-wide move from the back of the field as the field raced up the home straight on the first occasion, to sit outside race leader Secret Jack. “It wasn’t our original plan,” said Faulkner, “but coming around the turn they seemed to jam on the brakes a bit and this horse [Onedin Highlander] doesn’t like to sit and sprint, so I thought I would go around them. “We sat outside them and when the leader was stopping up the back straight, I thought I would get going and try and catch a bit of a break on them. I thought we might try and out run them and it paid off. “I just thought we would play catch-me-if-you-can tactics and see if they were good enough to run us down.” Faulkner and Onedin Highlander put a gap on the field around the final turn. The excitement of the patrons on hand cheering home the local also factored into the win. “It was really good,” said Faulkner of the support. “I think it lifted the horse up a bit as well and having the crowd behind him was really good. “I was happy with the draw. I had a sneaky suspicion that just on the class of the race I would draw the eight or nine … which wasn’t too bad, as we were able to get into the running line. “He [Onedin Highlander] showed his toughness and he really likes the Tamworth track. “There was a lot of nice horses from out of town in the race and there was also a lot of handy drivers. Every driver had to be on their A game, and who was ever on their A game tonight won the race.” It was Onedin Highlanders fifth win at Tamworth Paceway. Onedin Highlander was resuming from a spell, and will now head to Menangle for a start as a travelling companion to Reciprocity, who has gained a draw in a Menangle Heat Series final after taking out a heat at Newcastle. Reciprocity was also a winner at Tamworth on Wednesday night, giving Faulkner a training and driving double for the night. The meeting at Tamworth is on Sunday evening, with heats of the Prydes Esifeed Golden Guitar contested.  Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Not even drawing the despised outside barrier at No. 9 has dented the confidence of the remarkable, high-achieving and record-breaking harness racing duo of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr and his son, superstar reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who are pinning their faith in star five-year-old Chicago Bull in the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I’m still pretty confident, despite the draw,” said Hall Jnr who won the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup with Chicago Bull 12 months ago to give him his seventh success in the State’s premier pacing event. Hall Snr, aiming for an unprecedented eighth consecutive victory in the Pacing Cup and his 12th in the past 16 years, conceded that Chicago Bull faced an acid test from the outside barrier. However, he declared that Chicago Bull was at his peak and should prove very hard to beat. He said that the barrier draw had thrown the big race, to be run over the marathon trip of 2936m, into the melting pot. “All the favoured horses will have to do some work,” he said. “But I still think that Chicago Bull will be the one to beat. He has pulled up in fantastic shape after his third in last week’s Fremantle Cup.” Hall Snr also has an outstanding second string in Friday night’s Cup in the evergreen eight-year-old My Hard Copy, who thundered home to snatch victory from Lazarus and Chicago Bull in last week’s 2536m Fremantle Cup. My Hard Copy was driven by Hall’s son Clint, who was also in the sulky when My Hard Copy flew home to win successive Pacing Cups in 2015 and 2016. Clint Hall also drove Hokonui Ben to victory in the 2014 Cup. Another win by My Hard Copy following last week’s Fremantle Cup victory would help to heal the disappointment of owners Steve Chapman, his wife Tina and their daughter Danielle, who were dismayed last year when their outstanding young pacers El Barcelona (15 starts, five wins, seven placings and stakes of $66,300) and The Pima Indian (nine starts for six wins, one placing and $28,359) died.   The Chapmans also were resigned 18 months ago that My Hard Copy’s career had ended after he was unplaced in the Miracle Mile at Menangle in February that year and subsequently suffered a serious concussion injury to a foreleg. This required intricate surgery and kept him out of action for 13 months. He has made a full recovery and is racing in the best form of his career of 80 starts for 24 wins, 22 placings and earnings of $1,203,550. My Hard Copy, a noted sit-sprinter, will start from the inside of the back line and Clint Hall is sure to give the stallion a reasonably soft run before aiming to get him off the pegs and into a position to unwind a characteristic sizzling finishing burst. Hall Jnr said that drawing the outside barrier with Chicago Bull was a cruel blow. “But with the scratching of Ultimate Machete and Lazarus we’re in with a big chance,” he said. “That’s tragic for the race, but good for everyone else, I suppose.” “Chicago Bull was mighty last week in the Fremantle Cup and I consider it was his career-best run. He did something (racing in the breeze) that he’s not really accustomed to and finished a half-length from the winner. He’s flying at the moment and is a better and more mature horse than he was 12 months ago when he won the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups.” Hall said that it was extremely difficult to predict how the race would be run and which horse would lead and who would be in the breeze. “If there is plenty of speed on early it will help Chicago Bull,” he said. Kim Prentice, who will drive Soho Tribeca, conceded that drawing out wide at barrier eight had not enhanced the five-year-old’s prospects. But he said that the stallion had worked in fine style on Tuesday morning and was primed to run a big race on Friday night. “There is a fair bit of speed on the front line and they’re all likely to come out in a bid to find a spot,” he said. “We’ll definitely be having a look out of the gate (echoing the sentiments of owner Rob Watson, who said that going back at the start would be suicidal). “I think that trying to zap them would be silly, but I wouldn’t mind the front if it is available, or the breeze if that is available. It is an advantage drawing inside Chicago Bull. The horse who gets the most luck and with the best run will win.” “If we had My Hard Copy’s run in the Fremantle Cup last week and were able to pull out when we wanted to, Soho Tribeca would have finished better than fifth. I tried to go outside of Clint (My Hard Copy), but when he came out my horse threw his head in the air and lost a couple of lengths.” “Soho Tribeca was doing his best work on the line and was still taking ground off the leaders. Hopefully, we won’t be off the track over the final 400m.” Soho Tribeca relishes long-distance events and he was most impressive in the Pacing Cup 12 months ago when he started from the outside of the back line and was tenth in the middle stages before sustaining powerful three-wide burst over the final 1050m to finish third, a half-length behind the winner Chicago Bull. In last year’s Cup Chicago Bull started out wide at barrier eight and was last after a lap before Hall Jnr dashed him forward and into the breeze (outside the pacemaker Beaudiene Boaz). Chicago Bull sped over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 28.3sec. and hit the front 250m from the finish. Chris Lewis, who has made more appearances (35) in a Pacing Cup than any other driver, has won the big race five times with Village Kid (1986, 1988 and 198), Hilarion Star (1994) and Saab (1999) and he is confident that the Ross Olivieri trained Motu Premier is capable of finishing in the first three from his favourable No. 2 barrier. “Motu Premier is not impossible and is definitely in the mix,” Lewis said. “He can definitely run 1-2-3, given the right run. He doesn’t have exceptional gate speed and the aim is to stay in contact with the leaders, as close as we can.” Motu Premier was a 100/1 chance when he started from the outside of the back line in last week’s Fremantle Cup. He raced on the pegs at the rear and was hampered for room in the last lap when tenth behind My Hard Copy.  He impressed the previous week when he started from barrier eight and was eighth at the bell before finishing with a powerful burst to be second to Lazarus over 2536m. “It was a very good run,” Lewis said. “He can sprint home extremely good and I think you saw that in a 2130m heat of the Inters when he came from eighth at the bell to finish fourth behind Lennytheshark, with the final quarters off the front in 27.3sec. and 26.8sec. ”Forget about his run last week when he was held up. He had a bit there to give.”  Trainer Michael Brennan and driver Michael Grantham are delighted that The Bucket List will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier. “He’s got good gate speed and will come out in a bid for the lead,” Grantham said. “And from there I will just assess our options.” The Skye Bond trained Galactic Star is favourably drawn at barrier three and should be prominent. He possesses sparkling gate speed, but Ryan Warwick may opt to take a sit with the five-year-old, with part-owner Rob Gartrell saying at the barrier draw that “three back on the fence will be good for him and he is certainly a place chance. Champion New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon had to withdraw star pacers Lazarus and Ultimate Machete, but he has hopes with his millionaire performer, six-year-old Have Faith In Me, who will start from the No. 4 barrier. Have Faith In me has been unplaced at four of his five starts in his current campaign in Perth, but he impressed greatly three starts ago when he covered extra ground and finished with great determination to be a half-length second to stablemate Lazarus in a 2536m heat of the Inter Dominion championship. Have Faith In Me won the Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park and the New Zealand Derby at Addington in March 2015 before he gave further proof of his great ability and staying prowess when he won the 3200m Group 1 Auckland Cup as a four-year-old, beating Hughie Green and Smolda, with a last 800m in 55.7sec. and a final 400m in 26.6sec. Purdon could well make an attempt to set the pace with Have Faith In Me. Failing that, Purdon could be well satisfied to sit in the breeze and dictate the tempo of the Cup. Ken Casellas

Members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have underlined the difficulty in finding a winner on Friday night’s WA Pacing Cup harness racing card with a variety of best bets. Leading tipster Stuart Lowe and TABradio’s Matt Young believe the Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook can salute. “Bechers Brook dead-heated for second when narrowly beaten last start,” Lowe said. “Won three of previous four starts. Ideally drawn here and is the one to beat.” Young agrees with Lowe’s prediction. “Bechers Brook has been very impressive since returning, great draw and looks the best on the card,” Young said. The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft and veteran tipster Bill Brindley  are fans of Americanbootscoota. Havercroft spoke for him and Brindley when he said Americanbootscoota would appreciate the drop in class in the second race. “Americanbootscoota should relish a massive class drop when contesting a heat of the Nights Of Thunder this Friday,” Havercroft said. “His last effort was an eighth behind Lazarus when starting at $165.80, but he will likely jump an odds-on favourite for this assignment.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes Bad Round can keep his winning run going. “Bad Round has drawn ideally at barrier two and looks set to complete a winning hat-trick for trainer Debbie Padberg, who has been enjoying a run of run of success lately,” Manning said. “Reinsman Shannon Suvaljko, a prolific winner again this season, seems certain to drive him aggressively and he should be hard to catch.” Longshot king Pat Harding is keen on Chicago Bull making it back-to-back wins in the cup.“I think this is going to be a pretty tough night at GP on Friday,” Harding said. “The highlight will be the Pacing Cup and I believe Chicago Bull can make up for his recent placings with a good win in this event. Barrier nine won't worry him because of the 2936 metre race distance. Hall Jr is pretty good at judging pace over the longer distances and I expect Chicago Bull to return to his winning form.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas has settled on Three Blind Mice as his star bet. “Seven-year-old Three Blind Mice is racing with youthful enthusiasm and he has the speed and strength to overcome the awkward No. 5 barrier and win on Friday night,” Casellas said. “He has been freshened up since he led and scored an easy victory over Ohoka Darcy and Johnny Disco four Fridays ago.” Guild president Wayne Currall has opted for Kerrin Joseph to get the chocolates. “Kerrin Joseph has been consistent of late from unfavourable barriers,” Currall said. “Champion reinsman Chris Lewis is expected to take advantage of his rails draw and attempt an all-the-way victory. Will prove mighty hard to roll in front.” VALUE BETS Stuart: My value bet is Have Faith In Me, who became Australasia’s fastest ever pacer when he won the 2016 Miracle Mile in 1.47.5. His best run in WA was three starts ago when he went down by a long neck to Lazarus, who won in track record time. Nicely drawn and should go close. Matt: Jaxon Fella comes up with the good draw and looks a big chance to lead and run a race at each-way odds. Ryan: Bettors Fire should get an economical run and could surprise in a Pacing Cup robbed of the two New Zealand superstars, Lazarus and Ultimate Machete. Bill: Raffaello and Glow Bright are my two best outsiders. Ernie: Tommy Be Good has not been racing up to his best lately and is capable of improvement. His opposition is strong, but reinsman Aiden De Campo should be able to position him prominently. Pat: Raffaello is on the inside of the back line and has certainly been knocking on the door. With Morgan Woodley aboard should give punters a good sight. A good each-way bet. Ken: Nifty sit-sprinter Real Zeal is likely to settle well back after starting from barrier six. But he looks capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. Wayne: Wolowitz has been out of the winners’ list for almost four years. But he’s drawn to run a cheeky race here. His best would just about win this. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good punting. Wayne Currall

Top-flight reinsman Morgan Woodley describes Argyle Red’s most recent performance as terrific and he is confident the harness racing six-year-old will prove hard to beat in the opening event, the first heat of the TABtouch Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, is favourably drawn at barrier two in the eight-horse field, but will need to be at his top to beat the brilliant Talktomeurmattjesty and speedy mare Shes Artful in the 1730m event. There promises to be early fireworks, with Argyle Red, Shes Artful and Talktomeurmattjesty all expected to make determined bids for the early lead. On Tuesday of last week Argyle Red started from the outside of the back line and was ninth at the bell and tenth at the 650m before starting a four-wide move which carried him into second place, a neck behind Bad Round, rating a modest 1.58.1 after dawdling opening quarters of 32.1sec. and 30.7sec. “It was a terrific run,” said Woodley. “He had traffic issues from the 900m mark and had to go four wide a bit earlier than we would have liked. I thought he found the line really well and it was a real game run in defeat. His couple of runs before that (fourths behind Rock Diamonds and Herrick Roosevelt) were really nice after he had drawn poorly and got back in the run before running home in very nice time. He hit the line very strongly.” “This week, with the advantage of a good barrier draw, I think we can give the opposition a fair bit to chase. He’s a really high speed horse and given a bit of luck early by getting to the front, he should be able to run a fairly nice time.” “He is a very sharp horse off the gate, but Shes Artful also gets out nicely. Talktomeurmattjesty is also a very smart horse. However, Argyle Red has gone 1.55s when leading over 2100m at Gloucester Park. “If Argyle Red gets to the front and Talktomeurmattjesty sits on his outside, I think he will find it tremendously hard to get over him late. Argyle Red has a high cruising speed and he should make things pretty hard for the opposition.” The Debbie Padberg trained Bad Round, who raced three back on the pegs before sprinting home fast to win from Argyle Red last week, looks a star bet in the third heat of the Bet Now With TABtouch Im Themightyquinn Pace. He is perfectly drawn at barrier two and Shannon Suvaljko looks almost certain to set the pace with the five-year-old who is attempting to complete a hat-trick of wins. Suvaljko also has good prospects when he drives the Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook from the prized No. 1 barrier in the TABtouch.com.au Pace. Bechers Brook raced in fourth position before finishing gamely to dead-heat for second with Mistahmistah behind the fast-finishing winner Marquisard last Friday week. Ken Casellas

Seven-year-old Three Blind Mice is flourishing this season for Busselton harness racing trainer Barry Howlett after niggling injuries hampered his progress last season when he managed just one win from 22 starts. The clash between Three Blind Mice, winner of the 2014 WA Derby, and Handsandwheels, the 2017 Derby winner, promises to be a highlight on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They will meet in the third heat of the Super Pick Nights of Thunder, in which they will not have things all their own way when their opposition includes the speedy Johnny Disco and ten-year-old veteran Cut For An Ace, fresh from contesting the Inter Dominion championship series and ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. There will be no dawdling in the three Nights of Thunder heats, with the nine pacers with the fastest mile rates over the 1730m qualifying for the final. Three Blind Mice has been placed once from three starts over 1730m, but he warmed up in excellent fashion for this week’s sprint when he set the pace from barrier one and won easily from Ohoka Darcy and Johnny Disco at a 1.55.6 rate over 2130m four Fridays ago. He dashed over the final quarters in 28sec. and 28.1sec. Three Blind Mice is awkwardly drawn at barrier five and Gary Hall Jnr is likely to make use of the gelding’s gate speed in a spirited bid for the early lead, or the position outside the pacemaker. Handsandwheels, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo and driven by his son Aiden, is in splendid form, with two wins and a second placing from his past three starts. He will begin from the No. 6 barrier. Cut For An Ace will have a legion of admirers, dropping considerably in class after contesting the Inters, in which his best effort was in a 2536m heat in which he raced three back on the pegs and finished fourth behind San Carlo, Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark. If those three pacers were in Friday night’s race they would be at a prohibitive odds-on quote. Johnny Disco, trained at Pinjarra by Ross Ashby, is a sprint specialist and speedy frontrunner. He will start out wide at barrier seven and Chris Lewis will be tempted to take full advantage of his sparkling early speed. Abraxas Blues, a convincing winner over Major Catastrophe and El Machine over 2130m last Friday night, will be fancied in the second heat of the Nights of Thunder after drawing the favourable No. 2 barrier. “Whether we can cross the polemarker Aussie Delight is debatable,” Prentice said. “But we will be having a crack. I thought he would go super last week, and he did.” Americanbootscoota, trained by Debra Lewis, looks a major player from barrier four and Chris Lewis is expected to make full use of the gelding’s excellent gate speed. The Bob Mellsop-trained Real Lucky has won at four of his past five starts and cannot be left out of calculations from barrier five. He finished powerfully to win easily from Mighty Flying Deal and Kerrin Joseph over 2130m last week. Ken Casellas

Jeremes Jet gelding Hez The One was certainly that when he took out the $12,000 Burnie Harness Racing Club Cup on Sunday. Settling about 30 metres from the leader after half a lap, trainer-driver Mark Yole positioned Hez The One one-out and four-back when the field bunched up after the first circuit was completed in the 2789-metre event which is just on four and a half laps of the Wivenhoe Showgrounds. Yole commenced a three-wide move with a lap and a half to travel but had to restrain when he was forced four-wide momentarily before Yole was able to quickly gain a threewide trail. Destreos has only one win to go to become only the third pacer in Australian Harness Racing history to bring up a century of wins, after the 14-year-old registered his 99th win in Launceston on Friday evening. Driver Gareth Rattray took the gelded son of Astreos straight to the lead in the 2200-metre event from barrier six, and was able to hold off a late charge from Remember Joe to win the $8,100 race by a head. Also in Launceston on Friday evening we saw the running of the $15,000 Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes. The action-packed race was won by the Kent Rattray-trained and John Walters-driven Sunny Sanz. This week Harness Racing in Tasmania heads to the Devonport Showgrounds on Sunday evening for the running of the 2018 Hardings Hotmix Devonport Pacing Cup, the action will then head to Hobart on Wednesday afternoon. The Stars Mark Yole - added the 2018 Burnie Harness Racing Club Cup to his resume after he prepared and drove Hez The One to victory in the $12,000 feature on Sunday night. It was the Jeremes Jet gelding's third start in the state after Yole picked the pacer out of a claiming race in South Australia early last month for his stable clients. Destreos - the Ken Rattray-trained warhorse now only has one win to go to crack the ton after an all the way win in Launceston on Friday. The 14-year-old gelding who has now been racing in Tasmania for five months. Gareth Rattray - not only did he partner Destreos to his 99th win on Friday, Rattray was able to drive four winners across the weekend, the multiple state drivers premiership winner is now only four wins off the lead in this season's title. Sunny Sanz (pictured) - the gelded son of Sportswriter couldn't have been more impressive when winning Australia's first two-year-old race for the 2017/2018 season the Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes on Friday. Sunny Sanz defeated the heavenly backed Cool Water Paddy by 35-metres. Multiple winners Launceston - Friday Gareth Rattray - driving double; Ready To Fire and Destreos. John Walters -driving double; Sunny Sanz and Padabing Stride. Todd Rattray - training double; Taurisi and Hayleys Comet. Barrie Rattray - driving double; Taurisi and Hayleys Comet. Burnie - Sunday Gareth Rattray - driving double; Hot Shot Bonnie and Artarama. Ben Yole - training double; Long Ago and Artarama. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action in Launceston on Friday. Remember Joe 56.45, Illegal Immigrant 56.70, Washies Chance 57.19, Fernco Bobby G 57.21 and Modern Ruler 57.30. View all starters sectional data from the meeting here. Tasracing Official Price Launceston Hit: Frankie Falzoni $11 into $9 Defied The Drift: Sunny Sanz $1.55 out to $2.35 Missed: Jeans Mattjesty $5.50 into $4.20 Burnie Hit:Sign Of A Tyne $4 into $2.80 Defied The Drift: Jeanette Barry $3 out to $3.20 Missed: Karalta Delux $12 into $8.50 Black Booker Resurgent Dream This American Ideal mare drew outside of the front row over the 1680-metre journey in Launceston on Friday evening. Driver Natalee Emery restrained the filly looking for a position to slot into soon after the start of the race, unfortunately there was no room to slot into but when Emery got the pacer to near last position she was then able to gain a trail in the three-wide line over the final 1000 metres of the race to only finish 11.6 metres from the winner. The Tasracing Calculated Sectionals recorded her last half mile in 58.38 seconds which was the quickest last half mile outside of the winner in the race. Watch the replay here. Trial File Hobart on Monday Six trials were staged at in Hobart where The Aussie recorded the quickest mile rate of the night when winning a C2 and better standing start trial over 2090 metres. The American Ideal gelding won his trial by 25 metres over his only other rival, Hit The Lights who was the early leader. The Aussie is trained by Juanita McKenzie and was driven in the trial by Rodney Ashwood. Other winners on the night included; Isaac (2:03.5), Still Hungover (2:08.1), Rock The Casbolt (2:05.4), Vouvray Beach (2:06.7), The Aussie (2:05.4) and Usain Jolt (2:04.7). Devonport on Monday The Brett Jaffray-trained and driven Pliskova Leis continued on her winning way at the trials after winning in Burnie the week prior. The daughter of Lis Mara recorded a mile rate of 2:11.0 when winning her 1930-metre trial by a half neck over Maybe Leilani and Pure Love. The other two trials on the night were won by Guesstamate (2:03.7) and Tinas Time (2:10.7). Week Ahead The Hardings Hotmix Devonport Pacing Cup headlines the harness racing scene in Tasmania this weekend. An even field has been assembled for the $30,000 feature that will be ran over the marathon 3020-metre journey. Only three north-west trained pacers will contest the race including the Shelley Barnes trained Chief Destroyer who comes in the race off a last start fifth placing in the Burnie Cup. The other north-west coast trainer in the race is Steve Davis who will train last year's runner-up Black Centurian and Modern Ruler who is one of four horses that will share the 10-metre handicap row. Davis is one of four trainers in the race to have two horses accepted in the race with Matthew Dwyer being represented by Queens Advocate and The Majority, Rohan Hillier has Solid As A Rock and Dapper Dana while Juanita McKenzie prepares Remember Joe and the second emergency for the race Isaac. Other feature races on the night include the $12,000 Derrida Cycles Mares Incentive, $12,000 Kevin Redpath North West Plate Final, $12,000 Jeremy Rockliff MP Costal Pacing Thousand and the $8,100 Tasfreight Dash For Cash. The Devonport Pacing Cup meeting will feature a hosted live stream coverage on tasracing.com.au with an in-depth coverage on each race commencing approximately 15-minutes prior to scheduled start time. Harness Racing will then head to Hobart on Wednesday afternoon for "Sprint Day" where all races are to be run over 1140-metres or 1609-metres. Fields for the meeting will be released on Friday afternoon. Duncan Dornauf

Champion Western Australian harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis has tasted WA Pacing Cup success five times in his 34 starts - he rates this year's prospect, Motu Premier, a solid chance. Listen to what he says about his prospects in this years $450,000 Cup.

Harness racing explosive pacer Cruz Bromac is nearing a racetrack return. Sidelined since contesting the 2017 Gr.1 $400,000 Victoria Cup (January edition) at Tabcorp Park Melton, the stylish looking Falcon Seelster gelding sparkled in a public trial yesterday (Tuesday). The Dean Braun prepared pacer ventured to Kilmore and easily scored in his 2180m workout defeating reigning Miracle Mile champion Lennytheshark and Stunning Grin. The mile rate was 1:58.5 with the final mile covered in 1:57.7 while covering his final half in 56.6 seconds and 28.2 seconds. Lennytheshark starts in Saturday nights Gr.1 $100,000 Petstock Ballarat Pacing Cup at Bray Raceway. Winning driver Nathan Jack was suitably impressed. “He felt as good as he looked, he absolutely cruised and felt really strong through the line. Happy to stay aboard, he’s got a good campaign coming up.” Jack said. Boasting 12 victories from 22 starts to date, connections have plenty of options over the coming weeks and months, firstly in his home state and then in Sydney. While a nomination was submitted for the Gr.1 $500,000 Hunter Cup on February 3, it appears unlikely that he’ll head that way. “He’s likely to go to Melton next week (Great Southern Star race night) and there’s a nice option for him on that program and then we’ll reassess after that performance before making our next move,” Co-owner Pauline McColgan explained. “Time may have beaten us for the Hunter Cup but in saying that, time has been the best thing for him because he’s really furnished into a lovely horse. He’s a complete horse now, big and strong. “A Sydney campaign that coincides with the Miracle Mile carnival will be considered, they have some great races up there in the coming weeks and he’s been there before and performed at a high level. Nothing confirmed but plenty of options at this point, Dean will map the best fit for him.” A trip to Queensland for the winter carnival later this year for the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 18 is another attractive option. Last season, Cruz Bromac won 6 of his 9 starts while his only unplaced effort came at his most recent start, finishing 8th behind New Zealand wonder horse Lazarus in a time of 1:52.5. Feature race triumphs last term included the Casey Classic plus the Cobram and Hamilton Cups. Cruz Bromac Trial Chris Barsby

He called for thorough and regular education in relation to supplements for harness racing trainers and stablehands, as well as inexpensive access to professional advice and feedback from stewards on the results of random testing, to help address the problem. Scala said cheating was “much more prevalent in the horse and harness racing industries” than people may believe. Sunraysia is home to many hobby trainers of trots and gallops horses, who Scala said might not have the resources or knowledge of full-time trainers. For more of this story, purchase your copy of Thursday's Sunraysia Daily 18-1-2017. To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here  

In what is a rarity for the Bathurst Harness Racing Club, a standing start will used for Friday night’s Oberon Cup for the first time.  For those unfamiliar with the start, the name is self explanatory as the race starts with all horses being stationary at the beginning of the race. Bathurst Harness Racing Club chief executive officer Danny Dwyer said the change was to introduce extra interest for the race. “It’s just something the club thought would make for a little bit of difference. The race has previously started under a mobile start and it has always been good and strong field,” he said. “With the prize money getting up to a high level, we thought it would create a little bit interest and make it a little more attractive for some other horses getting handicaps over some of the other higher class runners.” Dwyer said some trainers, like Eglinton’s Nathan Hurst, have been preparing themselves for the race.  “Some of the Nathan Hurst runners have qualified from a standing start in the last week,” he said. “Saloon Passage is the pick of those. He comes into this race just winning the Temora Cup. He hasn’t had a lot of experience from the stand but he’s only coming off the 10 metre handicap, so he’s going to be in with a chance.” New Zealand horses, such as Amanda Turnbull’s Parramatta, also bring more experience with the standing start, with the method more common across the ditch. Overall, the Oberon Cup is a chance for the Bathurst Harness Racing Club to give back to a community the races frequently at the club. “There’s a lot of trainers based in Oberon and a lot race their horses in Bathurst,” Dwyer said. “Saloon Passage is part owned by one of our club life members and Oberon local in Ray Mawhood, who’s not in good health at the moment. It’ll be good to hopefully see Ray here at the track and see his horse go round in his cup which is sponsored by his business Mawhoods Mitre 10. “It’s within the top five meetings for the club. All the races are sponsored by local businesses from the Oberon area. “It’s a good meeting, in general, with good fields.” Bradley Jurd Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Oakwood Stud in County Offaly, Ireland has reported that semen from their top harness racing pacing stallion, Foreclosure N, will be made available in Australia and New Zealand shortly. Kody Charles of KTC Bloodstock in Perth, Australia has been friends via Facebook with Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud for years and they finally met face-to-face in 2015. "When we first got Foreclosure N in Ireland," Derek Delaney explained, "Kody contacted me to say he has his dam in Australia and he had a keen interest in him and had followed his success as a sire in the USA. He asked about shipping his frozen semen to use for some of his mares and we stuck a deal to also make it available for outside mares too." This will be the first time that KTC Bloodstock, which is run by Kody with his mom and dad and Brittany, have been involved with shipping semen overseas and they are very excited to see his foals on the ground next year in Australia and New Zealand. "This is a new venture for KTC Bloodstock," said Kody Charles. "We are very pleased to be selected as Agent for the frozen semen of Foreclosure in Australia and New Zealand. "It has been a dream of ours for some time to get involved in a stallion, Kody explained. "and I can't think of no better stallion to get involved in at our first attempt. He is already competing with the best in the states and already has the points on the board from his first small crop. I think he will a big plus for local breeders. He will be supported by our own mares and frozen semen will be available in Australia and New Zealand for a fee of $2,500 including GST." Foreclosure N, (Rocknroll Hanover - Pleasing Package A - Fake Left) was bred in USA and foaled in NZ, then shipped back to USA as yearling, raced in the USA and Canada, then bred one crop with 21 foals in the USA. His oldest foals are now age 4 and have earned over $1 million through their three-year-old season. He finished 6th on the top 20 sires for average earnings for three-year-old pacers in 2017 and sired the Ohio Sire Stakes Championship winner, Drunk On Your Love p,3 1:51.1f. He was also recently honored as the top Ohio-bred 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the year in 2017 and earned $328,286 to date. Foreclosure N's richest daughter is Rosemary Rose p,3 1:51.4h $255,692, and holds the track record for 3-year-old fillies at Northfield Park with her record mile of 1:51.4 and won multiple legs of the OHSS and won the Grand Circuit event, the Courageous Lady. World renowned driver Tim Tetrick had this to say about Foreclosure N: "I think this stallion has a very good opportunity at stud," Tetrick said. "He is already having fantastic results from a small crop in the USA. I really liked him as a racehorse. He was a real professional on the track that tried hard every inch of the mile. He had a great gait with a great attitude and really wanted to do his work and was one super-fast horse." Foreclosure N was sold to Oakwood Stud in 2015 and bred mares in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and now is going to be breeding foals in Australia and New Zealand, so it's fair to say he's well-travelled once again in his career. "Our first crop here in Ireland from Foreclosure N are now 2," Derek Delaney said. "and in training they look superb and the feedback from trainers is phenomenal at this early stage." For more information about getting semen down under for Foreclosure N, please contact either Oakwood Stud at www.oakwoodstud.ie or KTC Bloodstock at www.ktcbloodstock.com.au. By Steve Wolf, for Oakwood Stud      

The Group 1 harness racing $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup was drawn a short time ago and the markets should be up in about 60 minutes.

It is out of the frying pan into the fire for headstrong pacing star Heaven Rocks this week. The dual Jewels winner makes his Australian debut in the Ballarat Cup on Saturday night, taking on his Auckland Cup conqueror Vincent and local Victorian hero Lennytheshark. With a campaign aimed at the Hunter Cup (February 3) and the Miracle Mile (February 24) his connections have decided Heaven Rocks has to be taken off the unruly from mobile starts so he can at least have a shot at being competitive rather than always settling last. But they probably didn’t expect the huge pacer’s first night back in the draw to result in barrier one in a hot field, which will present its own series of challenges on Saturday night. Heaven Rocks has only had one mobile start this season and behaved himself when not really asked to take on to the field in the score up in the Flying Mile at Cambridge two weeks ago. But the inside draw in the push and shove of Australian racing could see him bolt to an early lead or have no idea what to do when the outside pressure comes --- neither would surprise. Either way Vincent has emerged as the horse to beat in the A$100,000 group one over the 2710m mobile, even from barrier six, with Lennytheshark to start off the second line. Saturday’s meeting will also play host to three heats of the Victoria Derby, which is run a week earlier this season, with Spankem and The Devil’s Own the Kiwi reps against a strong local three-year-old crop. Meanwhile, an Australian campaign is off the cards for New Zealand Cup runner-up Jack’s Legend. The Auckland pacer was initially being aimed at the Chariots Of Fire in Sydney on February 10 and would have needed to contest a qualifying race but trainer Barry Purdon says the four-year-old will be staying home. “He hasn’t been quite as sharp in his last few starts and with his two huge runs during Cup week maybe he is feeling the effects of a busy start to the season,” says Purdon “We have plenty of good four-year-old races still to go up here so I will set him for those instead.” With races like the Taylor Mile, Messenger and Jewels just a month apart in the north this season and the four-year-old ranks containing Vincent, Ultimate Machete, Jack’s Legend and Star Galleria among others, that last-season treble could prove one of the highlights of the pacing year. Michael Guerin

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