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Queensland warrior Destreos is hoping for a change of luck. The Ken Rattray trained veteran gelding lines up in his fifth Redcliffe Cup this Saturday night at the bayside club and victory is proving to be quite elusive. But this could be the year. The Gr.3 $40,000 Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup has drawn together a very strong field highlighted by a huge representation from the leading stables of Grant Dixon who has five entrants including last year’s winner Only The Brave. While club officials were hopeful of attracting champion pacer Im Themightyquinn who swept all before him recently at Albion Park, a competitive field has been assembled. Destreos returns from a successful three start Sydney campaign and heads to Redcliffe in great form leaving connections hopeful of forward showing. The best result for Destreos so far was back in 2010 when a runner-up behind Nickys Falcon. “He’s returned from his Sydney trip in very good order and knowing that Im Themightyquinn and Avonnova are not starting gives me plenty of confidence. We’ll still need plenty of luck but you can’t knock his recent form, I thought he performed really well in all of his starts in Sydney including his latest effort behind Freyberg and Smoken Up in 1;51.7.” Rattray said. Destreos starts from a 10m handicap and will follow out last start winner and in-form pacer Majestic Major. Regular pilot Kelli Dawson will reunite with the Astreos gelding. “In recent times I’ve tried to restrict his racing to mile events but he’s performing really well currently and I thought he deserved his chance in this race again. We’ve been close on a few occasions in the past including his narrow second to Nickys Falcon so hopefully we can win it this time around. “He’s got a good record at Redcliffe and he’s never had any issues with the track despite boasting a great record at Albion Park. If we get a good trip from the draw, I think he’ll be right in this finish. “His last start sixth in Sydney was very good because we got left without cover and he was still in the mix until the final 75m and the time was very good on a cool night. We went to Sydney to avoid the winter carnival stars but still ran into the likes of Smoken Up and a few others.” Rattray was quick to highlight star mare Forever Gold as one of the hardest to beat despite the fact she must overcome a 20m back mark handicap. The Darren Weeks/Kylie Rasmussen prepared mare caught the eye last start when running on strongly behind Im Themightyquinn in the Gr.1 $100,000 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 19. “That mare went super last start at Albion Park and I’m sure she will prove very hard to beat, she’s such a professional and she always rises to the challenge. “It’s a very even field and most could win it with even luck, this is a race that can throw up a roughie.” The $20,000 Redcliffe Oaks is the other feature on the program and a strong field has also been gathered. Last start Queensland Oaks placegetters Charming Allie and Beef City Safari must overcome second-line draws while speedy fillies Heavenly Cullen and Morethanmeetstheye have drawn ideally. The first of nine races is scheduled to start at 5.35pm. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained  the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Rich feature events at Gloucester Park in November are on the agenda for outstanding filly Libertybelle Midfrew, who will resume after a brief spell in the Rigbys Bar Pace over 2130m on Friday night. Hazlemere trainer Mike Reed is setting the New Zealand-bred Libertybelle Midfrew for the $40,000 Norm's Daughter Classic and the group 1 $100,000 Mares Classic and she should have no difficulty in overcoming the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line on Friday night. She has not appeared since she outclassed her rivals in the $150,000 WA Oaks in early May when she beat The Parade by more than seven lengths to take her Australian record to five starts for five wins. If Libertybelle Midfrew continues her dazzling form Reed and owners Albert and Julie Walmsley will be sorely tempted to tackle the $175,000 Golden Nugget championship at Gloucester Park on December 5. She will be driven for the first time in a race by Mark Reed on Friday night and there appears to be no filly in the race capable of extending her or ending her winning sequence. Jungle Jewel and Maddy White are smart fillies, but do not appear to be in the same class as Libertybelle Midfrew. Jungle Jewel, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won at eight of her 22 starts and will be attempting her fourth win in a row. But her task from out wide at the No. 6 barrier looks extremely difficult. She was most impressive at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when she raced three back on the pegs in a field of three before being sent forward at the 600m mark and sprinting over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to beat Harriet Elisabeth and Casey Isabella at a 1.59 rate over 2130m. Maddy White, a winner of seven races, has plenty of ability and she should enjoy a soft run from the inside of the back line and should be running on solidly at the business end of the race. By Ken Casellas

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great new newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This week’s newsletter contains the following feature stories: Do we need to have safety checks for Starting Gates? – With the accidents this season at Freehold Raceway and now Summerside Racetrack with starting gates is it time for mandatory safety checks? Well Said Pedigree/Review – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the very good racehorse and stallion Well Said p,3,1:47.4m ($2,690,693). Bitter-Sweet Meadowlands Closing Weekend - It is a bitter-sweet week for harness racing fans world-wide this coming weekend as the Meadowlands features its final weekend of harness racing action for their summer meet. The need for change in NZ Harness Racing Clubs -  With a structure and government that is a relic of a different time and clubs that can only make a change in format once a year at their annual meetings it is time for a change. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. achieved a notable milestone at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when his only runner, Massive Attack, scored an easy all-the-way victory over Show You A Trick and Mister Atomic in the 2130m Lancaster Park Pace for two-year-olds. This gave him the distinction of becoming the first man to train 200 winners in a season in Western Australia. Hall has no stand-out performers at Friday night's meeting at Gloucester Park. But he has good prospects of opening the program with a winner when he will be represented by improving four-year-old Globalization in the Legends Bar Westbred Pathway Pace. Globalization is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line and is sure to be prominent throughout the 2130m event. He set the pace and won two in a row at Gloucester Park, over 2130m and 1730m at Gloucester Park before he did not enjoy the best of luck in finishing fourth behind the classy Our Jerry Lee at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Globalization's stiffest opposition is likely to come from Captain Proud and Justlikelindt. Captain proud, trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo, is in sparkling form and the four-year0-old gave a spirited display when third behind El Machine and Leda McNally in the Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. He worked hard before winning from Just Moses at Bunbury two starts before that. by Ken Casellas

Anne Hancock agreed with the suggestion that “training horses must be like riding a bike – you never forget,“ but qualified it by adding, “it’s been 11 years since I’ve trained one!” The comment was offered after her “new” horse made it back-to- back wins, in the space of five days, at last Wednesday’s Bathurst fixture. King Caractacus NZ ($1.30 favourite) worked forward from his wide draw in the 2130 metres C0/C1 sixth event to find the front after a lap, before running his last half in a touch over a minute to hold off pegs runners Silky Rose and Im No Lady. The mile rate was a comfortable 2:03.2. Hancock explained that when she moved back to The Lagoon earlier this year, and began working for her brother Steve, she decided to get one to train for herself. After setting Amanda a budget for the purchase, she waited patiently for a couple of months till her niece, who’s a bit of an expert in sourcing horses from the net, came up with this Cullen four-year-old gelding. She was pleased to be associated with Amanda’s double century win, with her horse, at Young last week. Interestingly, win number 199 had been for her uncle Craig at Cobram the day before that. Harness racing, as the Turnbulls and many others clearly demonstrate, is a real family affair. Nathan Hurst became a century-maker for the first time since his schoolboy cricket exploits when he reined The Matrix NZ ($14.60, the night’s longest-priced winner) to an all-the-way win in the R0- R1 final event. The sharp 58.9 last half proved too big a stretch for placegetters ImThe Intimidator NZ and Vienna Eyre NZ. This was a well-deserved reward for a very hard-working and capable horseman, and his team. Nathan is a very aggressive driver who tries to control races from the front, so it was appropriate his century was achieved in that fashion – a front-footdrive, in cricketing terms. Amy Day scored a driving double, one of several at Bathurst this season, with one from her own team and the other a “problem child” from Josh Turnbull’s barn. Modern Admirer ($7.00) ran out an easy winner for the Goulburn trainer-driver in a 2130 metres 3YO Fillies event, leading throughout with a last half of 59.1 to leave death-seating Artista Lombo and pegs runner Mayihaveabiscuit well astern. Day explained that the filly had been given too soft a time after returning from Melbourne in June, but had been tightened up for this race, which was reflected in her improved performance. Josh Turnbull and Day combined for a second successive win with Lets Go Diego NZ ($1.60 favourite) in a 2130 metres C 0, the winner just getting over the top of Padabing Stride, which sat outside the lead, and Lawsons Way. Those have been the only Aussie runs for the Courage four-year- old, who arrived as a two-time winner from N.Z. this time last year but proved to be more than a handful for his Sydney-based connections. “He’d get to the track, then turn round and head back home, and when in desperation, he was sent to a riding instructor to re- educate him, he’d spin and drop the rider,” was the history his exasperated owners told Turnbull, a noted breaker and educator of young horses. After a few months re-education, Turnbull returned him to the owners and original trainer in May, but shortly after, the horse returned to his care, and so far, the results have been encouraging. “He’s getting better,” is his trainer’s optimistic view. SnapTo It (Mick Muscat for his father Bill) justified his $1.50 quote with a highly impressive win from the death seat in the opening event, a C1 sprint. The overall mile rate was 1:59.7 but the last half in 57.6 was the highlight. Star Singer, which led, and trailer Getaloadaher did well to stay in touch with the winner, who’ll travel with the stable to Melbourne for suitable races during the Breeders Crown period. Is That So ($5.70) showed improvement from recent placings with a good win in a 3R 0 sprint, for trainer-driver Robbie Clifford and co-owners Bill Klower and Ken Plunkett, who secured the American Ideal youngster at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale. In a desperately close three-way finish, he enjoyed the one-one trail throughout, to just get the nod from death-seating Puffnstuff and leader Flightee Deedee. Scott Hewitt has cut back on his driving commitments a little since he took on the shoeing role for Steve and Josh Turnbull (following Nathan Turnbull’s accident ), but his win with Crackerjack Jo($4.70) for Peter Trevor-Jones in a 2130 metres C2-C3 showed he retains his skill with the reins. In a race set up by frantic early sectionals, he was content to bide his time four back on the markers, and followed Usher NZ through into the clear turning for home to grab that horse right on the line, with leader Red Vee Hanover holding on for third. Crackerjack Jo responds to just this sort of trip, and his driver judged it perfectly. Amanda Turnbull completed her driving double at the meeting with her father’s runner Gentleman Red ($1.50 favourite) leading throughout a 2C0-2C1 sprint, from late-closing Miss Rodriguez and Regal Courage, in a 2:01.3 rate. Spare a thought for Michael Lew, who travelled from Dubbo for the race with his last-start winner Mister Jogalong ( a half-brother to Karloo Mick), only to have him disqualified from the event after causing two false starts. It would have been a long drive home. Congratulations from everyone at Bathurst to century and double-century makers, Steve and Amanda Turnbull, and Nathan Hurst. A remarkable achievement for the district.

Morgan Woodley is poised to notch a record third victory in the $35,000 Next Payment ATM Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night and chalk up his century of winners in the 2013-14 season. The brilliant young reinsman has formed a tremendous liaison with David Hercules and the seven-year-old is sure to prove extremely hard to beat in the 2536m feature event in which he has drawn barrier four on the front line. Woodley, one of four drivers to have won the Porter Memorial twice, looks set to make a bold bid to take up the role of pacemaker in the early stages. Brilliant mare Leda McNally has drawn the coveted pole position, but Chris Voak is unlikely to attempt an all-the-way win if Woodley, as expected, applies considerable early pressure. Leda McNally is a smart frontrunner, but she is even better suited when held up for a late charge. She produced a powerful finishing burst to win a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park two starts ago and then she surged home from eighth in the middle stages to finish second to El Machine in the 2100m Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. Ten-year-old Rocket Reign will start from barrier two. The veteran possesses good gate speed, but it would come as a surprise if Mark Reed attempts to set the pace with a pacer who has a losing sequence of 20. David Hercules is in sparkling form and is unbeaten at three outings in his current campaign, setting the pace to beat Im Themightyquinn over 2130m and then working hard in the breeze to beat Please Release Me in the 2536m Winter Cup and again when he defeated the pacemaker Northview Punter over 2130m last Friday night. "I was pleasantly surprised when he was able to get up and beat Northview Punter," Woodley admitted. And Byford trainer David Thompson is delighted at the way David Hercules is racing. "He went super last week and has thrived since then," he said. Northview Punter is a strong stayer, but his prospects of winning the Porter Memorial diminished when he drew out wide at No. 6 on the front line. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old, the youngest runner in the race, is trained by Gary Hall sen., who has won the Porter Memorial as a trainer-driver with Makes The Rules in 1999 and Its Written In The Stars the following year. Woodley has won the event with All In Teck (2008) and Has The Answers (2011) and the other reinsmen to have won the race twice were Phil Coulson (Pure Steel in 1978 and Gammalite four years later) and Fred Kersley jun. (Gap Road, 1983, and Quecee, 1990). Pinjarra trainer Chris King, who has brought Leda McNally back to top form in the past fortnight, is seeking his second success in the Porter Memorial, a race he won with 41/1 tote outsider Flamin Tact in 2010 when the gelding was handled by Robbie Williams. King also has a handy second string in Lord Lombo, who is not well drawn at barrier five. An interesting runner is former Victorian open-class performer Our Blackbird, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old by Bettors Delight who will be making his first appearance in Western Australia. Our Blackbird, now trained by Ross Olivieri, has won at 15 of his 64 starts. He faces a stern test from the outside of the front line, even though he has been performing soundly against quality opposition in Victoria. Four starts ago, in the 1720m Sokyola Sprint at Melton, he finished fourth behind Five Star Anvil, Smoken Up and Chilli Palmer and three starts before that he was third behind Chilli Palmer and Smoken Up in the group 3 Geelong Cup. Our Blackbird will be driven by Chris Lewis, whose only success in the Porter Memorial was with Hilarion Star in 1992. Lewis seeking a birthday gift Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will celebrate his 59th birthday on Friday and he hopes to celebrate the occasion with a winner or two at Gloucester Park in the evening. One of his best prospects appears to be veteran pacer Tee Pee Village, who is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the Moondyne Joes Fremantle Claiming Pace. Trainer Clive Dalton has brought the 12-year-old back to racing after a spell in fine fettle and the gelding followed his first-up second to Pride of Colorado with a strong effort to win a 1730m claimer from The Oyster Bar at Gloucester Park last Saturday week after he had worked hard in the breeze for most of the way. Tee Pee Village is a good frontrunner, but Lewis may have to be content to race without cover, with The Oyster Bar the likely pacemaker from the prized No. 1 barrier. Looming as the hardest for Tee Pee Village to beat are Pride of Colorado (barrier six) and Our Arlington (seven). Trainer Aldo Cortopassi has engaged Mark Reed to drive Pride of Colorado, who will have many admirers after dropping in class. After sitting in the breeze and beating Tee Pee Village three starts ago, Pride of Colorado finished boldly from sixth at the bell to be second to Heez Orl Black over 1730m and then was a fighting fifth behind David Hercules over 2130m last Friday night. Reed looks certain to go forward with Pride of Colorado from the wide barrier and seek a forward position, most probably on the outside of the pacemaker. Our Arlington, trained by Gary Hall sen. and to be driven by his son Gary, has the ability to overcome the wide barrier. The six-year-old finished strongly to win the Past Presidents Cup from Dundee Three and Please Release Me two starts ago before setting the pace and finishing fifth behind David Hercules in the 2536m Winter Cup four Fridays ago. By Ken Casellas  

STAR Tasmanian pacer Beautide will contest a trial at Menangle today over 1609 metres in what will be his first solid hit-out since winning the Len Smith Mile in April. Beautide had a stellar season winning the Miracle Mile-Inter Dominion double and capped his winning streak with victory in the Len Smith to give him three Group 1 victories for the season to ensure he will be voted Australasian Horse of the Year. The James Rattray-trained gelding will be set for a similar campaign that he endured this season. The rising seven-year-old has amassed stake earnings of $1.338 million with his record of 40 wins and 10 minor placings from 60 starts making him one of the best performed Tasmanian-bred pacers of all time. Beautide (Bettors Delight-Gorse Bush) was bred by the Rattray Family Trust at the family's trainer-breeding complex at Longford, just south of Launceston in central Tasmania. Beautide is expected to have three or four trials before he lines up in a race. His trial is scheduled to start at 5.40 pm today and is likely to be shown on Sky Channel 1 during a news bulletin. The trial field. By Peter Staples

TALENTED Tasmanian harness racing reinsman John Walters secured a race-to-race double in Launceston on Sunday night. Walters guided Juffs Crossing to a game win before giving Karalta Dazzler a gun run to score impressively in the Furniture City Pace over 2200 metres. He had Karalta Dazzler settled in the one-out-two-back position before easing the Kent Rattray-trained three-year-old three-wide heading down the back straight the last time with only the well tried Jabber Jawzzz behind him. Karalta Dazzler (Stonebridge Regal-Karalta Crown) ran home resolutely to score by two metres from Jabber Jawzzz with My Koda Kasper a close-up third. Karalta Dazzler was bred by his owners Wayne and Gaye Rattray who purchased the dam Karalta Crown from Fred and Pauline Barker at a Tasmanian Yearling Sale. Karalta Dazzler has won three and been placed seven times from his 17 starts this season and while he didn't win as a two-year-old he placed six times from 10 starts. By Peter Staples

Of the three two-year-old fillies Breeders Crown heat wins at Ballarat on Saturday night, Niki No No’s was the most resounding. The Kari Males trained filly’s fifth win from seven starts assured her a spot in the Breeders Crown semi-finals at Ballarat next month – and the fact she shaved 1.5 seconds off Ballarat’s age record showed she’s the real deal. Niki No No’s winning mile rate of 1:57.5 was 3.5 seconds quicker than Big Lucy’s heat victory in Race 3 and 3.6 seconds slicker than Soho Tokyo’s in the last race. Greg Sugars took Niki No No ($1.90 race favourite) straight to the lead from gate two, while John Caldow sent the second-favourite, Smooth Showgirl, to the spot outside the leader. Niki No No kept her rivals chasing throughout the 2200m journey, punching out sectional times of 29.9, 29.9, 29.5 and 28.9 on her way to a 1.5m win over Missed By Red. The recent win of New Zealand pacer Katy Perry in the Tatlow Stakes didn’t bode well for the Australian brigade of two-year-old fillies, as the filly named after one of the world’s biggest pop stars is one of three very talented – and evenly matched – Kiwi horses heading Down Under in pursuit of the two-year-old girls’ Crown. The other two are Joanne’s A Delight and Supersonic Miss. But as one of Niki No No’s owners, Rob Auber, told me last week. “We know we’ve got a pretty serious racehorse ... we’re certainly not running scared”. And Saturday night’s win certainly cemented Auber’s view. “Nothing’s changed,” he said on Monday morning. “She broke the age track record by 1.5 seconds. We’re thrilled with how she’s going. “She’ll have a freshen-up now and then we’ll head to the semi-final.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Andy Gath’s rising star two-year-old Padrisimo has been scratched from tomorrow night’s Breeders Crown heats at Shepparton. Gath told Harness Racing Victoria this morning the horse would be scoped and is possibly suffering a cold, which is the affliction that ruled him out of the Harness Jewels in New Zealand earlier this year. “It is bad luck but you’ve just got to put the horse first,” Gath said. Birdy Mach spearheads the line-up for the three Breeders Crown two-year-old colts and geldings heats at Shepparton. Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s colt will line up in gate four in heat 11 of the series (Race 7 at Shepparton), hoping to bounce back after a shock defeat in the Tatlow Stakes last start. Birdy Mach took a two-from-two record into the Tatlow and was heavily backed before having his colours lowered by Kept Under Wraps. Team McCarthy has huge wraps on the son of Mach Three though, and if he can reproduce his Sydney form he will be very hard to beat. Kept Under Wraps is back for another crack though and has drawn pole in his bid to beat Birdy Mach again. The Brent Lilley trained son of Bettors Delight will be driven by in-form reinsman Greg Sugars and another victory would thrust him to the top of betting calculations for the Crown finals. Gath-trained Burnaholeinmypocket will contest the same heat as Birdy Mach but is drawn seven and will find it tough, his trainer says. “He’s a very quality racehorse but the way the numbers have fallen realistically there’s no way he can run in the first two,” Gath said. “But we’re not too deterred because realistically the first five or six in the repechage can usually make their way into the final.” The first of the three heats tomorrow will feature Vicbred Super Series champion Feeling Arty. Trainer-driver Cameron Maggs is hoping Feeling Arty can bounce back after dropping out badly in the Tatlow last time out. “I followed through OK last time but I just couldn’t get in unfortunately and when they run those times it makes it tough,” Maggs said. “I was a bit disappointed. His recovery wasn’t real good on the night but he ate up afterwards and has worked good since.” Maggs said although Feeling Arty led throughout his Vicbred campaign the horse had previously raced off the speed. “I’ll probably have to follow through again … but the only time he’s led in his races are in those Vicbred races,” he said. “He can sit in behind them and come with a run at the finish if he needs to race that way.” By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

VETERAN Tasmanian harness racing owner-trainer Brian Mackrill wasn't surprised to see well bred pacer Juffs Crossing win the Tasmanian Horse Transport Stakes at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night despite the gelding's long odds ($39.90). Juffs Crossing had ordinary form going into the race but when he landed in the "death" outside of the leader and favourite Precious Dragon after having to work hard three-wide in the early stages. Most punters expected Mackrill's gelded six-year-old to drop off when the pressure was applied turning for home but instead he gave his all and edged out Boltnmach and Precious Dragon in a slog-fest style finish. ``His form hasn't been as bad as it might look on paper,'' Mackrill said. ``He hasn't been scoring up (behind the mobile) in his recent races." ``But tonight he got a good run through early and ended up outside the leader," he said. Juffs Crossing (Cammibest-Power Full Miss) was well driven by John Walters who landed a double when he guided Karalta Dazzler to victory in the following race. Mackrill doesn't have a huge opinion of Juffs Crossing but he does think he is capable of winning a couple more races. ``They ran along a bit tonight which suited him because he's a big one-paced plugger," Mackrill said. ``He's got no sprint but he will keep grinding." ``He can run 30-seconds quarters (400m) and keep running them.'' While failing to score up at the start was a problem, Mackrill also explained that the horse had his share of bad luck in recent races. "When Ricky Duggan drove him here a couple of starts ago, he was held up and never got a crack at them,'' the trainer said. ``We actually fancied him a bit tonight," he said. By Peter Staples

‘Condell Park’s Bankstown Paceway will play host to a record breaking grand final size crowd of 80,000 people at the sixth Eid Show from Friday, August 1st, to Sunday, August 3rd, 2014,’ Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender has told Harnesslink. ‘Like Homebush’s Easter Show, Bankstown’s Eid Show is about giving local children the opportunity to experience country life – the chance to see wildlife experts handle Australia’s deadliest snakes and reptiles, the chance to feed or hug a baby animal in the farmyard nursery, or, even, the chance to ride a pony or camel down Condell Park’s local trotting track,’ Ms Lavender said. ‘Sydney residents and their families and friends will also be treated to Australia’s largest carnival rides and side show amusements – from the traditional carousel and dodgem cars to all of the most extreme rides – plus, showbags and stands, stage shows, and, of course, Bankstown Paceway’s very own live fireworks show,’ Ms Lavender added. The sixth Eid Show – Bankstown’s family festival – will be held at the heart of Australian harness racing, Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, on Friday, August 1st, 2014, from 4 pm to 10 pm, on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014, from 11 am to 10 pm, and Sunday, August 3rd, 2014, from 11 am to 10 pm.  Entry to the show is free. Sydney camel races start today Camel racing returns to Sydney today (Monday, July 28th) – with a three day race carnival to be held at the Bankstown Paceway harness racing track in Sydney’s south west. The races will feature one-humped Dromedary camels who will be competitively ridden by “camel jockeys”, known as “cameleers”. Six camels will contest four races each day at the Sydney “trots” racecourse which is normally reserved for standardbred horses in pacing or trotting races. Race goers will also be treated to “Christmas in July” themed entertainment – with Santa, Elvis impersonator Allen McDonald and comedian Al Showman from The Burning Log Comedy Theatre Restaurant, plus a Christmas themed lunch. “Sydney’s new camel races and Christmas in July stadium spectacular will be our city’s ultimate winter warmer – with sand, sun and fun,” Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender said. The Second Annual Sydney Camel Racing Carnival: A Christmas in July Stadium Spectacular will he held at the heart of Australian harness racing, Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, from Monday, July 28th, to Wednesday, July 30th, 2014.  Gates open at 10 am.  Reserved seating, show and lunch bookings can still be made on 1300 THE LOG or 1300 843 564 or 0414 339 558. For more information or comment, please contact Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender direct on mobile telephone 0419 419 269 or via email at lavender@hotkey.net.au Camel Racing in Australia – The Facts The facts on camel racing in Australia are as follows: Camel racing is a popular sport in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia, and Mongolia. Like horse racing, camel racing can be an event for both wagering and as a tourist attraction. Camels can run at speeds up to 65 km/h (18 m/s; 40 mph) in short sprints and they can maintain a speed of 40 km/h (11 m/s; 25 mph) for an hour. Camel racing in Australia – which started more as a tourist attraction than a professional sport – usually takes place on outback racetracks. Previously, camel racing was held in Sydney at the former Harold Park Paceway, at Glebe, during the Equine Influenza Crisis which prevented many Australian horse races from being held in 2007.  In July 2013, the Inaugural Sydney Camel Racing Carnival was held at Bankstown Paceway. Australian camel racing jockeys are mostly women, unlike the Middle East, where boy jockeys are the norm, and camels race in sprints, not long distance races. Camels were first brought to Australia from Afghanistan in the early 1800s to help build major railway and telegraph lines in the outback.  They were also used extensively for exploration purposes and as a pack animal. By 1895, the Australian camel population had increased to approximately 6,000 head and today the population is estimated at over one million animals.  

Two of the better two year olds from the current harness racing season in Kept Under Wraps 1:57.1 ($81,903) and Birdy Mac 1:53.8 ($15,855) fought out a thrilling finish to the Tatlow Stakes for two year old colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park at Melton recently. It was a great race between two very talented horses with the ring craft of Kept Under Wraps helping him just overcome the raw talent of Birdy Mach. The racing public haven't had to wait long for the rematch with both horses lining up in the same  Breeders Crown heat  for two year old colts and geldings at Shepparton tomorrow night Tuesday the 29th of July. The Brent Lilley trained Kept Under Wraps has drawn the ace on the front line which will give driver Greg Sugars plenty of options with Birdy Mac also drawn well at four on the front line. Driver Luke McCarthy may try to use Birdy Mac's gate speed to grab the front so there could be plenty of fireworks early on. However it plays out both of these lovely two year olds should progress to the Breeders Crown semis and final where they will come up against the likes of Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($272,010). Both Kept Under Wraps and Birdy Mac have the breeding to match their performance. Kept Under Wraps was brought out of the Sydney leg of the Australian Pacing Gold sales last year for just $18,000 by Kiwi trainer, Mark Purdon. A son of champion sire Bettors Delight, Kept Under Wraps is from a half sister to Genuine Number 1:53.6 ($190,112). The grand dam Classic Figure is a full sister to Saab 1:57.1 ($577,197)  Talladega 1:57.8 ($411,680) and Saabella 1:59.2 ($205,745) while the third dam is none other than the former Australian Broodmare Of the Year in Soky's Number. Birdy Mac was bred by one of Australia's leading  breeders in Robert Watson from Western Australia. A son of outstanding sire Mach Three, Birdy Mac is from the young Art Major mare in Pixel Perfect. The dam is a half sister to the former outstanding pacer in Village Gem 1:52.1 ($587,403) and a full sister to the smart Manellina 1:56.9 ($97,625). Both of these very smart two year olds look to have big futures ahead of them and tomorrows night clash should be the first of many over the next few years. Kept Under Wraps and Birdy Mac in the Tatlow Harnesslink media    

As the countdown to Smoken Up’s farewell race at Tabcorp Park Melton continues, Harness Racing Victoria has announced it will rename a race in the champion pacer’s honour. The Legends, previously named The Legends Mile, will become The Smoken Up Sprint (to be run on November 7) to honour the Lance Justice-trained superstar pacer’s career. Smoken Up is a 13-time Group 1 winner who still holds the record for the fastest milerate in Australasia – 1:48.5. A winner of 73 races from 150 starts, Smoken Up’s achievements have thrust harness racing into mainstream and social media channels. The winner of over $3.6 million in stakemoney is to have his final ever racetrack start at his home track, Tabcorp Park Melton, in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6. HRV CEO John Anderson said renaming a race such as The Legends in Smoken Up’s honour made sense due to the horse’s phenomenal record at sprint trips – having won four Len Smith Miles and two Miracle Miles, as well as a bevy of other short-course features. “The Smoken Up Sprint will commemorate the wonderful career of the Lance Justice trained pacer, whose achievements on the racetrack have captivated audiences throughout Australasia,” Mr Anderson said. “Smoken Up is a Victorian harness racing icon and renaming The Legends in his honour will acknowledge that into the future. “To illustrate the changing nature of engaging with the public, Smoken Up has generated an enormous following on social media which has enhanced his appeal.” Smoken Up has his own Facebook page, with fans kept abreast of the horse’s life at home as well as his on-track performances. HRV will celebrate Smoken Up’s farewell with a special Smoken Up Race Night at the September 6 meeting. The night will feature a special Smoken Up video package on the big screen, souvenir racebook, rug presentation, Smoken Up poster and mini-flag giveaways and more. Full details will be announced in coming weeks. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

FORMER Victorian pacer Thai Champ could have a bright future in Tasmania according to his new trainer Kate McLeod who guided the four-year-old to an all-the-way win at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight (Sunday). Thai Champ (Blissfull Hall-Thai Rose) began brilliantly from gate two and McLeod had no trouble in securing the lead while the Justin Campbell-trained Blitzemgamble crossed from gate six to face the breeze. When McLeod gave her charge more rein turning for home the gelding slipped clear and went on to defeat Blitzemgamble by 3.4 metres with Oliver's Mate only a head astern after working three-wide a lap from home. It was Thai Champ's third start and had given an indication that a win was not far away after finishing third on debut in Launceston before finishing second to Who Is Hardeen last Monday night in Devonport. McLeod said Thai Champ settled in well when he arrived at her Bridport stables about four months ago. "He did a good job at his first two starts so he deserved to get a win," McLeod said. "I think he is a progressive type and I'd say he has a bright future here in Tasmania." "The horse was bred by Frank Pullicino and he was sent to me because his wife Gaita is restricted to the number of horses she can train," the trainer-driver said. Thai Champ was unraced when he arrived at McLeod's stables. By Peter Staples

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