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It's shaping as a match-race between two of the quickest harness racing pacers to race in Australasia. And two of the best reinswomen ever to grace the Tabcorp Park Menangle circuit will be in the ˜hotseats". The $200,000 Form 700 Chariots Of Fire should ensure a big crowd at Menangle on Saturday night as Miracle Mile invitations go on the line. Star New Zealand-based driver Natalie Rasmussen is here to partner one of Mark Purdon's stable stars in Have Faith In Me, who has drawn gate 11 and should come into 10 when the first emergency, Admiral Bronski is withdrawn. And the Kiwi colt may have to break 1:50, or go very close to that mark if he is to come from the wide draw and account for flying four-year-old former Kiwi mare Arms Of An Angel. Arms Of An Angel will be partnered by premier reinswoman Lauren Panella. This daughter of former Inter Dominion champion Elsu is unbeaten since crossing the Tasman to join the Shane Tritton barn, winning seven in succession with ridiculous ease. Indeed Arms Of An Angel is already a triple record holder at Menangle, with two incredible times of 1:50.7 and 1:50.3 among her string of wins. And her winning margins in Australia add up to an even-more-impressive 114.6m. Panella will be looking for a quick getaway when she comes out of the eight barrier on Saturday night and is expected to cross and find the lead. From there it might be catch-me-if-you can – and break 1:50 if you have to – if you want to beat this dynamic duo. While it shapes as a match race, the presence of Tact Tate, Ameretto, Cruz Bromac and several other smart performers ensures it will be a race to remember . . . with an invitation to the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile awaiting the winner. There are at least four other invitations up for grabs on the night with the first two home in the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint as well as the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint guaranteed spots in the Miracle Mile on February 28. For further information telephone NSWHRC Racing Manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200.

Two well known Victorian administrators with a combined involvement with harness racing spanning more than a century have been honoured with Harness Racing Australia Distinguished Service awards. Both men - Peter Bourke and Carl O'Dwyer - have been long time owners and breeders and among the administrative positions each has held has been more than a decade on the board of Harness Racing Victoria, both retiring in 2011. Peter Bourke has spent a lifetime in the harness racing industry where he has carried out many roles and held many titles. Joining the Harness Racing Victoria Board in December 2000 before completing his term in May 2011, Bourke and his fellow members were hit with some major hurdles during the last decade, eg. split TV vision, EI outbreak and the emergence of corporate internet bookmakers. A champion of strong integrity functions and processes, he is also a staunch supporter of country racing and hardly has there been an industry event in country Victoria that Bourke has not attended on behalf of HRV. Peter also holds the title of Chairman of the Australian Pacing Gold – the Standardbred sales company unchallenged as the most influential the Australian harness racing industry has to offer. In addition to his many titles, Peter also bred and raced a number of racehorses over the years. Carl O’Dwyer has been involved in the horse industry as a farrier for 50 years, with his main area of expertise specializing in problem horseshoeing of performance horses. His main passion is the Harness Racing industry and shoeing Standardbreds, both pacers and trotters. In 1971, Carl formed O’Dwyer Horseshoe Sales Australia as he saw a need for mechanically produced horseshoes. O’Dwyer Horseshoes used state of the art technology in the form of automation in the manufacturing process to produce quality products. More recently, the company joined with Mustad Hoofcare SA and Carl is still involved as consultant on product development and performs several clinics each year for the company. Carl has served on many committees in the Harness Racing industry, Farrier Industry and also the greater horse industry in Australia. He was a member for several years on the Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Committee (RIDIC), which was responsible for allocating funding to research in the Equine Industry within Australia. In addition to being a Businessman and Farrier he has also been a successful Harness Racing Trainer and Driver. As a trainer he won a number of major Australian races including the Hunter Cup, Cochran Cup, Dullard Cup and the Consolation Inter Dominion Trot. With a foundation of experience across the industry and in business, this led Carl to a role as a Board member of Harness Racing Victoria (2001-2011). In presenting the Distinguished Service awards to Mr Bourke and Mr O'Dwyer at Tabcorp Park Melton, HRA chairman Geoff Want paid tribute to their lengthy involvement in the sport. He said both men were highly regarded in the industry, they were passionate about and committed to fostering harness racing, and were worthy recipients of the award. Harness Racing Victoria

The harness racing barrier draws have been conducted for this Saturday night’s Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint and Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  The $200,000 events will be run on night one of the Sky Racing Carnival Of Miracles and both are qualifying events for the $750,000 Miracle Mile on Sunday February 28. COCA-COLA AMATIL SPRINT BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 EASY ON THE EYE SHANE TRITTON 2 MY GENERAL LEE (EM 1)   3 BLAZIN N CULLEN JOHN MCCARTHY 4 BEAUTIDE JAMES RATTRAY 5 COLD MAJOR DAVID AIKEN 6 SUAVE STUEY LOMBO SHANE TRITTON 7 MAJOR CROCKER VINCE VALLELONGA 8 LOUS LAD (EM 2) PAUL FITZPATRICK 9 OUR SKY MAJOR BARRY PURDON 10 OUR HI JINX  ODM BELINDA MCCARTHY   CORDINA CHICKEN FARMS SPRINT   BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 MY GENERAL LEE (EM 1)   2 FIVE STAR ANVIL ADAM KELLY 3 MODERN RULER JAMES RATTRAY 4 BLING IT ON BELINDA MCCARTHY 5 IAM MR BRIGHTSIDE KERRYANN TURNER 6 MACH BEAUTY SHANE TRITTON 7 LOUS LAD  (EM 2) PAUL FITZPATRICK 8 MY HARD COPY GARY HALL SNR 9 BETTOR BET BLACK DARREN MCCALL 10 MONIFIETH JOHN MCCARTHY     Greg Hayes      

A Gippsland bred harness racing yearling colt sold for $150,000 at Sunday's Australian Pacing Gold Melbourne sales. Bred by Fusinato Bloodstock (Greg, John and Kath Fusinato), the striking youngster, by top American stallion Somebeachsomewhere from former top local race mare Cyclone Betty, attracted huge interest from bidders. The colt is a full brother to the outstanding New Zealand trained three-year-old Our Waikiki Beach, undefeated in 14 race starts. Our Waikiki Beach won over $500,000 in stakemoney in his first season of racing, courtesy of victories in the Australian Pacing Gold, Breeders Crown and Breeders Challenge race series. He was also declared Australia's Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year for 2015. Clients of the Mike Read stable in Western Australia have bought the yearling colt, and they will be hoping lightning does strike twice given the horse is so well related. Our Waikiki Beach is the first foal from Cyclone Betty - she foaled another colt in late 2014 but has yet to produce a filly, which would also prove exceptionally valuable as a future breeding prospect. Two other yearlings bred by Fusinato Bloodstock also sold at the sales, but for significantly less than the Cyclone Betty colt. The high priced yearling sales result is a great advertisement for Gippsland trotting.  

Harness Racing New South Wales advises that it will utilise HRNSW Retention Facilities for all horses, including emergencies, entered in the following Group 1 races to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 13 February 2016: Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint Form 700 Chariots of Fire Horses entered in the Form 700 Chariots of Fire will be housed within the HRNSW Retention Facility and must be presented at the facility prior to 10am on Friday 12 February 2016. Horses entered in the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint and the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint will be housed in separate barns within the HRNSW Training Facility and must be presented at the facility prior to 12 midday on Friday 12 February 2016. All trainers with horses entered for these races will be notified by HRNSW of the requirements for presentation of their respective horses at the retention facilities. Horses will remain under the supervision of HRNSW until released to the raceday stables 2 hours prior to the race. If you have any questions please contact the Integrity Department of HRNSW. Reid Sanders

The harness racing barrier draw has been conducted for this Saturday night's Form 700 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The $200,000 event will be run on night one of the Sky Racing Carnival Of Miracles. The Cordina Chicken Sprint and Coca-Cola Sprint will also be conducted on Saturday night. The $200,000 races will also be qualifying races for the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile on Sunday February 28.   BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 LORD ZIN ZAN JOHN MCCARTHY 2 EXPRESS STRIDE BELINDA MCCARTHY 3 AMERETTO ASHLEE GRIVES 4 CRUZ BROMAC DEAN BRAUN 5 AZTEC BROMAC KERRYANN TURNER 6 ADMIRAL BRONSKI (EM 1) TAHN CAMILLERI 7 LETS CUT LOOSE KEVIN PIZZUTO 8 KILCULLEN JOHN MCCARTHY 9 ARMS OF AN ANGEL SHANE TRITTON 10 TACT TATE AMANDA TURNBULL 11 HAVE FAITH IN ME MARK PURDON 12 WINGARA (EM 2) PETER ROMERO       .                       Greg Hayes

Harnesslink is covering the Australian Pacing Gold sale in Melbourne today. We have split the sale into four sections of 50 lots each. This is a report of the harness racing Lots between 151  and 200 The sale still had a bit of life left in it during the last 50 lots but once the two six figure horses had been sold, the sale seemed to drop right away with only nine lots in the last fifty making $30,000. The sale topper came via Lot 172 which would have been a lot of people's pick before the day startred. A full brother to the champion Waikiki Beach 1:50.6 was always going to be keenly sought after and when the dust settled he was heading to Western Australia. The purchaser was Walmersley Developments with Mike Reed who went to $150,000 to secure the good looking colt. The other yearling to top six figures was Lot 164 which is a full brother to Border Control ($515,435) and Chasin Racin 1:51. ($769,795). The Bettor's Delight colt had the looks to go with the breeding and was knocked down to Domenico Martello for $106,000.  After those two lots the next best was Lot 184 which was an Art Major colt from Flying Pocketlands 1:52.6 ($442,423). Andy Gath signed the sale slip for $75,000. There were only six other yearlings in the final group of 50 who made more than $30,000. * Lot 151  -  An American Ideal full sister to Sophies Ideal 1:53.5 ($139,717)  -  $33,000 * Lot 167  -  A Courage Under Fire colt  from Counbterfeit Girl 1:58.1 ($118,769)  -  $32,000 * Lot174  -  A Shadow Play colt who is a half brother to to Electrastar ($25,944)  -  $32,000 * Lot 175  -  A Bettor's Delight colt from a half sister to Sand Shooter 1:49.4 ($471,957)  -  $42,000 * Lot 189  -  A Shadow Play colt from a half sister to Keppel Bay 1:58.3 ($416,151)  -  $32,000 * Lot 190  -  A Art Major full brother to Smooth Showgirl 1:53.2 ($184,799) - $32,000 To view all the results from this APG Sale click on this link. Harnesslink Media

Harnesslink is covering the Melbourne Australian Pacing Gold sale today. We have split the harness racing sale into four sections of 50 lots each. This is the report of the Lots between 100 to 150 After a very good clearance rate between lots 50 to 100, the buyers went back into their shell a bit again with ten passings of lots that sold between Lot 101 to 150. However the lots that appealed to the buying bench were keenly sought after with the result we had two six figure yearlings between lot 101 and 150. The first of the six figure yearlings was Lot 112 who is a colt by the champion sire Bettor's Delight from the the imported Artsplace mare Trulyawork Of Art 1:54.1 This makes him a half brother to the millionaire Big Bad John 1:49. ($1,000,559)  who was the leading first season sire in North America. He was sold to Justin Baker for $140,000 The second of the six figure yearlings was Lot 137 who is a filly by Somebeachsomewhere from the smart Art Major mare in Art Shadow 1:557.5 ($114,488) A prolonged duel ended with the filly being knocked down to Merv Butterworth for $125,000 Two sires dominated this section of the sale. Somebeachsomewhere had six yearlings that made more than $30,000 aside from the $125,000 filly. The second highest Somebeachsomewhere was Lot 134 which is a filly from the 1:51.6 Courage Under Fire mare in Artic Fire ($394,262). She is another Neil Pilcher purchase and will head to the All Star barn in New Zealand. The other five Somebeachwhere progeny to make more than $30,000 were * Lot 113 - A half brother to Flaming Flutter ($634,989)  -  $50,000 *Lot132  -  A half sister to Village Green 1:52.1 ($625,585)  -  $62,000 * Lot 135 - A filly from the Village jasper mare in Arkareena 1:56.5 ($130,305)  -  $30,000 * Lot 138 - A colt from the Art Major mare Arterial Way 1:55.8  -  $50,000 * Lot 150 - A half brother to Don't Hold Back 1:53.7  -  $60,000 Art Major had five yearlings in this section that made $30,000 or more. The pick of them was Lot 115 which is a half sister to the champion Smolda ($1,293,989)  - who made $60,000. The others who made $30,000 plus included * Lot 105 - A colt from  the Live Or Die mare The Good Times 1:54.4 ($200,639)  -  $55,000 * Lot 111  -  A colt from a Bettor's Delight half sister Garnet River 1:50 ($525,547)  -  ($52,500) * Lot 121  -  A colt from Vixen Hanover 1:55.4 ($373,313)   -   $35,000 * Lot 129  -  A filly from a half sister to Lierre Noir ($117,085)  -  $ 31,000 Bettor's Delight had a couple of big sales with Lot 147 being a colt from Bollinger Baby 1:56 ($67,256) who made $91,000 and Lot 143 who is a colt from the 1:59.4 mare Brandall Rose who made $40,000 Mach Three also had a couple of strong sales with Lot 106, who is a full brother to Fly Like An Eagle ($699,475) making $67,500 and Lot 126 who is a half brother to Zoey's Boy 1:54.6 who John McCarthy brought for $30,000 The only other lot to make $30,000 was Lot 145, a Sportswriter colt from a half sister to the champion pacer Palone Ranger 1:49.4 ($1,259,545) Harnesslink Media

Harnesslink is covering the harness racing Australian Pacing Gold sale at Melbourne today and we have broken it down into four groups of 50 lots. This report covers the lots from Lot 51 to 100. After a very subdued start in the first 50 lots , todays sale gained some real momentum between lots 50 and 100. The sale took off when Lot 55 walked into the ring. A big upstanding son of Art Major from the 1:53. Julius Caesar mare Pembrook Caesar ($77,432) who is a half sister to the champion New Zealand pacer Pembrook Benny 1:53($907,890) the colt is heading to the All Stars barn in New Zealand having being purchased by one of their leading clients in Trevor Casey. It was a spirited and prolonged bidding duel before Trevor prevailed for $110,000. That sale seemed to kick the whole sale up a gear and from there the prices seemed noticeably stronger. After 10 passings in the first 50 lots, the number of passings dropped to just six lots from the second 50 lots. While there were no other six figure lots, there was a very strong market around the $40,000 to $60,000 bracket. The second highest price after the six figure colt was Lot 73. A Bettor's Delight filly from the 1:58.3 Artsplace mare Sapphire Lil ($58,223), she was knocked down to Nicole Molander for $62,000. Three other yearlings topped the $50,000 mark. Lot 51 - A Bettor's Delight colt from the 1:55.9 Badlands Hanover mare Ourbellabro was sold to Andy Gath for $52,000 Lot 81 - A Art Major colt from the 1:58.6 McArdle mare She's Got It All who made $53,000 Lot 89 - A Sportswriter colt half brother to Follow The Stars ($707,237) who made $57,500 Other lots to make more than $30,000 included * Lot 65 - A colt by Art Major from a 2:00 Safely Kept mare Radical Storm  -  $38,000 *Lot 67  - A colt by Art Major from a 1:57.7 Western Terror mare in Rhodium Castle which was sold to big spending owner, Merv Butterworth for $40,000 * Lot 69  - A filly by Bettor's Delight from the 1:56.2 Classic Garry mare in Sabette  -  $46,000 * Lot 72  - A filly by Somebeachsomewhere who is a half sister to Major Cruiser 1:56.2 ($56,970) who was sold to Emilio Rosati for $33,000 *Lot 79  -  A Courage Under Fire filly from the 1:56.7 Falcon Seelster mare Sheez The Barmaid  $30,000  * Lot 82  - A Rock N Roll Heaven half brother to Ideal Tyson 1:55.5   -  $40,000 * Lot 92 - A Art Major full brother to Art Shadow 1:57.5 ($114,448)  -  $46,000 * Lot 97  -  A Sportswriter colt from a half sister to Border Control ($515,435)  -  $35,000 * Lot 99  -  A American Ideal full brother to Ideal For Real $182,485)  -  $36,000 Harnesslink Media   

The 2016 Melbourne leg of the Australian Pacing Gold sale series is well underway and after 50 lots the harness racing sale has really yet to take off. Of the 50 lots to pass through the ring todate, 10 have gone back to their box with the vendor,a passing rate of 20% which will hopefully drop with out of the ring sales. Somebeachsomewhere has had just two lots todate and both made $50,000 which in the context of the overall sale has been very positive. Lot 38 was a SBSW colt from the imported Camluck Mitzi M Hanover and was sold to leading New Zealand owner Neil Pilcher, one of the all conquering All Stars barn long time clients. Lot 43 was a SBSW colt from the great racemare Mother Courage ($462,520) The top price from the first 50 lots went to Lot 9 which was offered on behalf of Lauriston Bloodstock. The upstanding Art Major colt from the imported Western Terror mare Kabbalah Karen B 1:52.8 ($285,089) made $61,000 Mark Purdon made his first move of the day for Lot 46, an outstanding looking Mach Three colt from the 1:54.4 Artsplace mare in National Gallery ($90,600) which cost Mark $52,000 Several other lots were keenly sought after but they were well outnumbered by lots that were below the overall average to date Lots to make more than $30,000 so far included * Lot 16 - A Mach Three colt from the Life Sign mare Left In Paris 1:56.7 ($151,200)    -    $35,000 * Lot 23  - A Western Terror filly from the In The Pocket mare Listen To The Rhythm     -    $45,000 * Lot 36  -  A Courage Under Fire colt from the Chandon mare Miss Kellie ($85,580)    -   $36,000 Harnesslink Media

Harness racing records fell on a historic night at Tabcorp Park Melton , where Smolda claimed the grand prize and a champion trotter held off the young superstars snapping at his heels. Smolda slashed 1.1 seconds off Arden Rooney’s 3280m standing start track record, a mark unlikely to ever be broken having been the last standing start Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. And Keystone Del not only added a sixth Group 1 victory when he clinched the Seelite Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix, but he smashed his own trotting track record by 1.2 seconds. They followed the lead of Cold Major, who earlier lowered the track record for 1720m in the Bertocchi Free For All, taking 0.3 of a second off Smoken Up’s record, which had stood since February 2012. A major prize also went the way of Amanda Turnbull’s camp after the trainer-driver steered Tact Tate to victory in the Group 1 Nestle Professional 4YO Bonanza, securing a place in the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire. “We’re very excited,” Turnbull said post-race. “It’s a really big thrill.” It was an unforgettable night to a close out a thrilling Summer Of Glory, which attracted big attendances and reaffirmed the sport’s champions. Few more so than Smolda, who followed last week’s close-run second to Lennytheshark in the Good Form Victoria Cup with a victory tonight, earning every cent of his stake in the $500,000 A. G. Hunter Cup. A weight of money saw Smolda draw into $2.30 for the great race, but it was second-favourite Ohoka Punter who started the better, taking the lead while Smolda was slow away and had to grind early to eventually find the breeze. But Smolda’s trainer and driver, Mark Purdon, drove with confidence, pushing Smolda to the front with two laps to go. Come the final straight, Ohoka Punter drew off its back and the Kiwis went head-to-head down the straight, with Smolda holding on to win by a head in a record 1:57.3 mile rate. “This one’s eluded us, so it was nice to get it and be able to say we’ve done it,” Purdon said. Arguably the night’s most popular win came in race five, when Keystone Del led all the way for Brent Lilley, holding off Kiwi Speeding Spur, while short-priced favourite Monbet and well-backed Glenferrie Typhoon galloped late to rule themselves out. Victorious driver Anthony Butt said it was a “great performance” by Keystone Del, which “really dug in and the horses couldn’t pass him”. That winning feeling was also celebrated in the David Aiken camp, which savoured three winners with Juliette Bromac winning the Devondale Rising Stars Pace Final, Cold Major claiming the free for all and Quick Draft emerging in the Harness Breeders Victoria Ladyship Cup. The latter win was a great thrill for Luke McCarthy, who stepped into the sulky of the pre-race emergency after his previous drive, Nike Franco, was scratched. “It was a genuine tempo and (Quick Draft) just went really good at the end of it,” McCarthy said. “These mares’ races are always really competitive and good to see her get this one on her CV.” The victory qualified Quick Draft for the Ladyship Mile at Menangle. Victoria Cup winning reinsman Chris Alford delivered a 10 out of 10 drive aboard Dancingwithsierra to win the first race, the Gary Hoban trained filly defeating Rockstar Angel and $1.20 favourite Rocknroll Magic in 1:55.9. Almost El Eagle, who was cherry ripe for a Hunter Cup berth tonight but didn’t make the final field, proved his class with a big win in the Edgell Sidewinders Pace. Driven by John Caldow for trainer Steve Duffy, Almost El Eagle showed his customary dash up the home straight to overhaul the leaders for a 1:54.8 win, beating Desdon Murruffy in second by 2.7m. Well-backed Quite A Moment won the Fonterra Lenin Trotters Free for All (Group 3) for Greg Hope and Ricky May, while a big group of happy connections rounded out the night with The Storm Inside winning the Swift Signs Premiere Stakes for trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Greg Sugars. by Michael Howard

An enthusiastic group of harness racing owners, many of them new to the sport, have booked their chariot to Sydney courtesy of Tact Tate’s Nestle Professional 4YO Bonanza win tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton.   The Amanda Turnbull-trained gelding by McArdle out of Tact Lizzie showed an electric turn of foot in the home straight notch Group 1 success, sprinting by Mark Purdon’s Itz Bettor To Win (second) to record a mile rate of 1:51.9 for the 1720m trip.   “We’re very excited,” Turnbull said post-race. “It’s a really big thrill.”   Turnbull’s excitement was only surpassed by the group of winning owners, who declared Sydney the next stop for the $200,000 Chariots of Fire.   The winner of the Bonanza receives an invite to the Chariots.   Tact Tate led initially tonight before handing up to Purdon aboard Itz Bettor To Win. This move pocketed Tee Cee Bee Macray three-pegs from the pole and Burnaholeinmypocket four back on the inside.   “It worked out perfect once he had that much gate speed,” Turnbull said.   Tact Tate has won five from five since arriving in Australia and the owners are having an absolute blast.   “It is a big group of owners and a lot of them are new owners, so that’s really good for the industry,” Turnbull said.   Cody Winnell

Tonight's $500,000 Hunter Cup looked like a much easier assignment for the champion New Zealand trained harness racing pacer Smolda who has been battling the brilliant  Lennytheshark in recent weeks. With no Lennytheshark or Beautide in the field, Smolda looked a class above his rivals tonight but as races can do Smolda was pushed to the limit to justify his hot favourtisum. As expected Ohoka Punter stepped brilliantly and grabbed the early lead for Anthony Butt and immediately made it clear he was holding the front when Messini and Chris Alford had a look for the lead. Meanwhile Smolda and Mark Purdon were working arounding the field and had a strong look for the lead as well but Ohoka Punter and Anthony Butt kicked up and held the lead. Five hundred metres later, Mark Purdon really put it to Ohoka Punter and this time Anthony Butt let him go as Mark was showing no signs of stopping the attack. Once in front Smolda kept clicking over those sub 30 second quarters and had most of the competition in trouble down the back straight the last time. On the point of the turn Ohoka Punter eased off the trail and looked a distinct threat but though he got up to Smolda he just couldn't get past the whole way down the Melton straight. Smolda just wouldn't lie down and still had a head margin on Ohoka Punter at the finish with the West Australian My Hard Copy fying late for third after having a soft run four back on the inner during the running. Smolda's run gained even further kudos when the time of 3:59.1 was announced which took nearly a second off the old record at Tabcorp Park Melton. That equates to a mile rate of 1:57.3 for the 3280 metres from a standing start which is a great effort while the closing sectionals were covered in 56.4 and 27.9 Mark Purdon was full of praise for his warrior post race. " That was a great effort tonight." " He was very keen out there and never really came back to me at any stage of the race." "He has a high cruising speed and with him over racing and running along like he was I thought he might be vunerable." " However he has refused to let anyone past." It was a great performance" Mark Purdon said. Tonights win was career victory number twenty four for the son of Courage Under Fire and took his lifetime earnings over the $1,300,000 mark. Mark Purdon is now considering weather to head to Menangle next week for a shot at the Miracle Mile with Smolda but is unlikely to make a decision until Tuesday at the earliest. Harnesslink Media

All harness racing pundits assessing the form leading into tonights $100,000 Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton were in agreement that it was a two horse war. Glenferrie Typhoon from barrier 1 was expected to lead early and going by his previous two starts was expected to be very difficult to catch. The main danger was the star New Zealand four year old Monbet who after two sensational victories in the last fortnight was looking to cement his standing as the best trotter in Australasia at present. The script went out of the window as soon as the mobile gate left the start with Anthony Butt sooling Keystone Del straight to the front with Glenferrie Typhoon settling in the trail and Monbet settling in the open on Keystone Del's wheel. However Monbet looked scratchy in his gate a couple of times early in the race and driver Ricky May was happy to take a trail when the Kiwi raider Speeding Spur and Josh Dickie worked around to sit in the open with just over a lap to go. Going past the 600 metres Speeding Spur put it to Keystone Del and the pair drew clear a length of Monbet who started to trot very roughly, finally galloping and being retired from the race. Keystone Del and Speeding Spur turned for home together but as they did Glenferrie Typhoon also went into a gallop in the trail, extinguishing his chances. Under a hard drive from Anthony Butt , the Dr Ronerail gelding Keystone Del was able to keep a game Speeding Spur at bay down the straight by an ever reducing head with Arboe flying late to be only a half neck away third. The time of 2:41.5 for the 2240 metres was a new track record at Tabcorp Park Melton, a mile rate of 1:56 with smart closing sectionals of 55.9 and 28.1. Anthony Butt was full of praise for Keystone Del post race. " He has gone great tonight. " He was travelling well most of the way but Josh really turned up the pressure at the 600 metres mark. " I was waiting for Monbet to come out of the one by one but it never happened," Anthony said. Tonights  win by Keystone Del was his 33rd career success at just his 55th start and took his career earnings over the $860,000 mark. Tonights win was a timely reminder by Keystone Del to the young pretenders that he was not going to give up his crown as the best trotter in Australia easily. Harnesslink Media

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today inquired into reports received from Stewards Paul Zimmermann and Michael Ross relating to an alleged incident which occurred during a stable inspection conducted on Saturday, 23 January 2016 at the stables of licensed harness racing trainer Travis Mackay. Evidence was taken from Mr Mackay, Justin Abbott and Stewards Mr Zimmermann and Mr Ross relating to the events which transpired during the course of that stable inspection. It was established that upon arrival at the premises, Stewards observed unlicensed person Mr Abbott ungearing the registered horse identified as SPARKLING CULLECT NZ subsequent to it engaging in trackwork. The trainer of the horse, Mr Mackay, was not present. During the course of questioning by Stewards Mr Abbott made physical contact to the head region of Mr Zimmermann and made derogatory comments relating to another RQ Steward. After consideration of the evidence tendered Mr Abbott was issued with charges for the contravention of the following rules: Charge 1 “AHR 231 (1)  A person shall not threaten, harass, intimidate, abuse, assault or otherwise interfere improperly with anyone employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry or otherwise having a connection with it.”  Charge 2 “AHR 231 (2)  A person shall not misconduct himself in any way.” The particulars of the charges being that on Saturday, 23 January 2016 at the stables of licensed trainer Mr Travis Mackay in the vicinity of the wash bay, Mr Justin Abbott assaulted RQ Steward Mr Paul Zimmermann by making physical contact to his head region.  Furthermore, Mr Abbott misconducted himself by making derogatory comments to Mr Zimmermann and Mr Ross relating to another RQ Steward. Mr Abbott pleaded not guilty to both charges. After further consideration Stewards were of the view that both charges could be sustained as issued and Mr Abbott was formally found guilty of both Charge 1 and Charge 2. Stewards considered Mr Abbott’s submissions regarding penalty and were also mindful of the manner in which he conducted himself throughout the inquiry and his remorse. However, Stewards also considered the very serious nature of these charges and that any penalty imposed must be reflective of that and further serve as a deterrent to Mr Abbott and to others who may engage in that conduct.  After due consideration the following penalties were applied: Charge 1 – 2 years disqualification Charge 2 – 3 month disqualification Stewards directed that both terms of disqualification be served concurrently effective immediately. Mr Mackay pleaded guilty to a charge under AHR 90A(2.9)(a) which reads: “90A (2.9) (a)  The holder of a trainer's licence shall ensure that all persons carrying out the activities of a stable hand are licenced as stable hands.”  Mr Mackay was subsequently fined the sum of $300. Mr Abbott and Mr Mackay were advised of their appeal rights. Stewards: D Farquharson, J Dart, N Torpey

Racing Victoria has been having meetings with thoroughbred trainers throughout the state to canvass their views on a proposal to implement lifetime bans for trainers found guilty of adminstering prohibited drugs to horses they train. The proposal first surfaced in a report produced by the Irish Thoroughbred Anti Doping Task Force “Illegal performance-enhancing drugs have no place in the Irish racing and breeding industries,” the task force said in a statement. “In particular, the task force supports the position of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities that the use of anabolic steroids should not be permitted in or out of competition.’’ RV chief steward Terry ­Bailey said on Friday he had read the report and he would table it for discussion at the next dug strategy meeting. He said he was waiting for an opinion from Racing Victoria vets before taking the matter further. "That should give us a better idea wether this is something that should be considered here,” Bailey said. “It would certainly put the responsibility on the owners to choose their trainers carefully.” Terry Bailey is very supportive of a proposal by Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent for the cobalt and bicarbonate levels of every horse in training to be published on an industry website. Harness racing authorities in New South Wales have been publishing lists of cobalt and bicarbonate levels recorded by horses for the past two years and Kent says it would name and shame trainers who are cheating. Bailey is being accompanied at the consultation meetings by RV chief executive Bernard Saundry, chief vet Brian Stewart and racing manager Greg Carpenter. Harnesslink Media

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