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The World Driving Championship headed to Penrith tonight for three harness racing heats.  Penrith is a suburb and a major centre in the metropolitan area of Sydney.  Penrith is located 60 kilometres west of Sydney on the banks of the Nepean River.  The Penrith track is 804 metres in circumference.  New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn took a 39 point lead into the night over his nearest rival USA’s Tim Tetrick. Canada’s Jody Jamieson dominated the evening’s proceedings winning two heats but it was his patience that was rewarded in heat seventeen.  Driving the favourite, Strawberry Courage from gate one, he got buried on the marker pegs.  Showing a lot of skill to get away from the inside Jody Jamieson charged home over the top to beat Emerging Art and Finland’s Mika Forss.  Just Pit Boss and Dexter Dunn finished third with Diesel Shannon and Denmark’s Knud Monster fourth. Heat 17 Knud Monster brought up his second win of the Championship when he brought Midnight Lights with a well timed run to win heat eighteen but when Dexter Dunn held onto second placing driving Lombo Final Touch it all but sealed the Championship for New Zealand.  France’s Tony Le Beller weaved through to get third with Flying Crusa while Billion Smiles and Mika Forss finished fourth. Heat 18 Jody Jamieson made it a double when Katsidis charged home late to score a narrow victory in heat nineteen.  Katsidis raced behind the leader for most of the race but when Marquez started to tire, Jamieson was able to extricate away from the marker pegs and build race winning momentum.  Marshal Dale and Tony Le Beller was second.   Norway’s Vidar Hop was third driving Tralee Bromac and Satu for France’s Pierre Vercruysse grabbed fourth. Heat 19 So with one heat remaining in the Championship the point score is as follows   Name Point Score After 19 Heats Dexter Dunn 183 Tony Le Beller 140 Tim Tetrick 137 Mika Forss 135 Jody Jamieson 131 Knud Monster 120 Chris Alford 116 Pierre Vercryusse 112 Vidar Hop 91 Guillermo Adrover 89 Peter McMullen Australia (travelling Reserve) For all of the latest news and replays log onto https://Vimeo.com/channels/wdc15 While Dexter Dunn cannot be beaten in the Championship, four drivers are still in contention for second place.  Tony Le Beller, Tim Tetrick, Mika Forss and Jody Jamieson will battle it out to be the runner up. Australia’s travelling reserve Peter McMullen picked up a drive in a non Championship race at Penrith and went onto win the event. The drivers will spend the next two days resting and enjoying the sights of Sydney before returning to Menangle on Sunday for the final Championship heat.  Sunday’s race will be run at Gr. 2 level. Greg Hayes | Media Coordinator | Harness Racing New South Wales |

Harness racings big day at Menangle Inter Dominion Final day on Sunday is littered with great races all day and one of the hardest races to pick a winner in is the Chariots Of Fire. Here is our view of the race runner by runner Form 700 Chariots Of Fire 1) Mister Jay Cee - Starts - 30 - Wins 10 - Seconds 6 - Thirds 3  -  Stakes $86,850 In good form but a yard behind half a dozen horses here. Couldn't sprint with Our Sky Major in the Paleface Adios on Saturday night and hard to see how he can turn that around in a week. Not for us even from the draw. 2) Iam Mr Brightside - Starts - 31 - Wins 12 - Seconds 5 - Thirds 6  -  $135,615 Huge run in the Hondo Grattan behind Bling It On and Messini where he had no luck at all in the straight and flashed late for third after starting from barrier nine. Likes to follow speed and the quicker they go the better for him. At least three here better than him but right at the top of his game at the moment which makes him a trifecta and first four player. 3) Bling It On - Starts 43 - Wins 31 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $799,422 He is the favourite and he deserves to be so but he has quite a few runners snapping at his heels. Won the Hondo Grattan but not as dominant as he should have been given the run he got He has blinding speed coming off a horses back with one run at them and is best driven that way. Not quite as dominant when he has to work hard during the running and that makes him vunerable for us unless he gets the run to suit. 4) Alta Jerome - Starts 30 - Wins 11 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 5  -  $97,908 Has been thrown in the deepend since arriving from New Zealand and has been exposed a bit at times. He does have blinding gate speed and loves to lead but to much class in this field for him to be competitive if he trys to lead all the way here. We are not sure he would settle even if they did try to take a sit which put us off even more. Not a first four player for us. 5) Our Sky Major - Starts 35 - Wins 12 - Seconds 7 - Thirds 5  -  Stakes $474,579 Very much like Bling It On in a lot of ways. He has a lethal sprint coming off a horses back with one run at them but not quite as good when he has to do work in the race. Loves Australia having only missed a place one in nine starts there and always in the best company. Bonus for punters is driver Zac Butcher is right in the zone at the moment. Definite winning chance 6) Isaiah - Starts 13 - Wins 13 - Seconds 5 - Thirds 9  -  Stakes $554,868 Of the three favourites for the race, Isaiah is the opposite to the other two main contenders in that he has an allround game. Not as lethal with one run at them as the other two but can work really hard in his races and make his own luck and still kick on at the finish. Has been in sublime form in New Zealand prior to heading to Sydney and Natalie is driving superbly at the moment so he ticks every box for us. Definite winning chance. 7) El Fuego - Starts 29 - Wins 10 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $92,573  (Emerg 2) Unlikely to get back into the field but would struggle even if he did in our view. His last two runs in the Hondo Grattan and the Paleface Adios have been just ok and this field is too rich if you are not at the top of your game and he's not. Not for us 8) Yankee Rockstar - Starts 18 - Wins 14 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 2  -  $111,920 The big question mark in the race for us. Only out of the money once in 18 starts but a lot of those runs were not against the quality he is facing here. He has been very competitive against Bling It On in the past. Stepped up last time but did draw one on that occasion and just held on but it was a quality field. Will he take the step up on Sunday is the big unknown. Not a winning chance for us but a must include for trifectas and first fours 9) All Eyes On Us - Starts 16 - Wins 8 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $148,660 Has only had six runs back from 15 months away from the track. Tracked Bling It On everywhere in the Hondo Grattan and couldn't take ground off him and although held up a touch in the Paleface Adios he didn't flatter once clear. Needed to draw close in to be a player for us and from barrier eight we can't see him playing a part. Not for us. 10) Messini - Starts 15 - Wins 15 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $271,916 This is a horse that if he had drawn better would have been right amongst it. Much bettor on the pace so worst possible draw for him but he will keep going when others are struggling. Great run in the Bonanza at Melton where he made up a huge amount of ground in a fast run race and then only went under by a neck to Bling It On in the Hondo Grattan after giving that horse the drag into the race. His only hope is that they go to war up front and if they do he is a chance to get some of it. 11) Alleluia - Starts 31 - Wins 9 - Seconds 10 - Thirds 3  -  Stakes $161,072  (Emerg 1 ) Going near enough in Queensland before coming to Sydney but his two runs since arriving have been below what he is capable of. First up he finished fifth in the Hondo Grattan before a very average eighth in the Paleface Adios. First ballot but if he did make it back into the field, we couldn't have him on form or draw. Not for us 12) Hector JayJay - Starts 34 - Wins 14 - Seconds - 7 - Thirds 5  -  Stakes $118,787 On the surface his last two runs have been excellent with a close second to Yankee Rockstar at Melton in the 4 year old Bonanza and another close second to Sky Major in the Paleface Adios. However in both runs he got a great sit close to pace from inside draws and that ain't going to happen on Sunday. If he had drawn in the first two or three he would have been a trifecta and first four player but from out at ten we struggle to see him playing a major role in this race Selections Three horses for us look to an edge in class over the rest and we have had great trouble seperating them. In the end we went for Isaiah by the merest of margins over Bling It On and Our Sky Major who we couldn't seperate. The run each receives could well determine the outcome of the race there is so little between them. For trifectas and first fours we would add in Messini, Yankee Rockstar and Iam Mr Brightside Harnesslink Media

One of the harness racing highlights for us at Menangle on Sunday's Inter Dominion Final day will be this years New South Wales Oaks which has drawn a really smart group of three year old fillies together. Form 700 New South Wales Oaks. 1) Delight Me - Starts 7 - Wins 6 - Seconds 1  -  Stakes $45,338 Already a big player before the draw, Delight Me is now the equal favourite in our view after drawing barrier one. Won her heat in the quickest time of the four held on Saturday night but did wander about a bit when clear in the last 100 metres which she won't want to do in the final Gavin Lang is a big plus on any horse and hard to see Delight Me anything but first or second on Sunday. 2) Rebel Diamond - Starts 16 - Wins 5 - Seconds 3 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $49,930 The surprise package of the heats coming from barrier nine for a great second to Delightful Lana in good time. Hard to see her beating two or three here but the draw and Anthony Butt make her a realistic first four player. 3) Whitershadeofpale - Starts 7 - Wins 4 - Seconds 0 - Thirds - 1  -  Stakes $22,775 (Emerg 1) Nice enough run in her heat on Saturday where she followed Dexter and Delightful Lana but didn't do enough for us to make her a real player if she did get manage to get back into the field. Not for us 4) Lovelist - Starts - 11 - Wins 6 - Seconds 0 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $52,922 One of the best runs in the heats in our opinion when she drew wide and worked to the death in the heat against Fight For Glory and only got beaten by Read About Lexy for second in the last ten metres. Has had her runs spaced out this season and should have derived some real benefit from last Saturdays run. Comes into barrier three and why it is hard to see her winning, she is a real first four chance.  5) BB's Inspiration - Starts 8 - Wins 2 - Seconds 0 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $13,251 Sat four back on the inner in her heat and did run on well but she was in by far the slowest heat of the four run on the night. If she did make it back into the field it is hard to see her playing a major part in proceedings. Not for us  6) Makes Every Scents - Starts 12 - Wins 6 - Seconds 3 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $101,240 Used from barrier 7 to lead on Saturday night but then threw out the anchors in front in what turned out to be the slowest heat of the four run. Sprinted home well but out on her feet the last bit and query about strength of heat. Tactial speed an advantage but appeals as a first four chance to us rather than a winning chance. 7) Butterfly Princess - Starts 23 - Wins 4 - Seconds 3 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $36,655 Showed speed to lead from barrier six, set a sharp pace and then fought on well after appearing gone on the corner. She did set up the fastest heat of the four on the night but had a really hard run in the process. We think that it was her grand final performance just making it out of the heats. Not for us. 8) Smooth Showgirl - Starts 14 - Wins 3 - Seconds 3 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $88,307 In her heat she dropped back to last from barrier nine and was still last at the 800 metres mark. She then got a lovely drag into the race via the three wide line and did finish the race off really well. Can't afford to get so far back this week as they won't come back to her like they did last week. Can't win on last weeks run but outside first four chance if she can stay handier. 9) Du Vella - Starts 12 - Wins 4 - Seconds 2 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $28,634 Big push for this filly from some pundits but we have yet to be fully convinced. She got a beautiful run  in her heat which was the weakest of the four in our opinion and even though the leader threw out the anchor at the 100 metres, Du Vella still only ran second. Two places further out this week at the barrier in a much stronger field means we can't see her winning this and only have her as a first four chance. 10) Delightful Lana - Starts 16 - Wins 8 - Seconds 2 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $101,724 Smart win in her heat but up against it from the draw this weekend but not completely out of it in our view. In her favour is the fact she can do work and still run those big sectionals at the end. Yet to be out of the money in ten starts at three in very strong fields so definite quinella and trifecta chance especially with one Dexter Dunn in the bike. 11) Fight For Glory - Starts 15 - Wins 6 - Seconds 6 - Thirds 0  -  Stakes $217,317 Was the most impressive heat winner by a margin in our opinion but the draw has evened up the contest with Delight Me. Fight For Glory ran home in 54.9 on Saturday night and Natalie didn't even pull the ear plus or the sliding blinds so you would think there was still plenty in the tank. Appears to be right in the zone at the moment and has an all round game so the draw while bad won't stop her being super competitive. 12) Read About Lexy - Starts 17 - Wins 7 - Seconds 5 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $103,795 Not to sure what to make of her heat run, even now. Got a lovely run last Saturday and was well beaten by Fight For Glory but did fight doggedly for second. Take Fight For Glory out and she went fine so we think she is still a place prospect. Has only finished out of the first three once in seventeen starts so even from the ten hole has to be a first four player Selections A two horse war for us with Delight Me and Fight For Glory the two we couldn't separate. If anyone else is going to spoil the party and split these two in our view it will be Delightful Lana and after that there is a swag who you should consider for trifectas and first fours. We would include Rebel Diamond, Lovelist, Makes Every Scents, Du Vella and Read About Lexy Harnesslink Media

The barrier draw for Sunday’s Gr. 1 Trotters Standing Start over 3009 metres at Menangle was conducted this afternoon Monday the 23rd February.   1. MISS IN MAJORCA 2. KYVALLEY RAP 3. A LOAN AGAIN 4. KVINTET AVENGER 5. ZEDALITE 6. OUR OVERANOVA 7. LORD LIAM 8. KYVALLEY BLUR                     ODS 9. ON THUNDER ROAD              ODS 10. ALTA RIHANNAH                     RODS 11. IDLE LEA                                 RODS 12. SUPPER WALTZ WILSON        RODS 13. VINCENNES     (10M)              RODS The Trotters Gr. 1 event is one of the most open races on the afternoon according to TAB.COM.AU.  The favourite for the event when the market first opened was Lord Liam at $3.80.  The Blake Fitzpatrick trained Vincennes was the second pick in the market at $4.00. The Inter Dominion 2015 is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Greg Hayes Position: Media Coordinator Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email: ghayes@hrnsw.com.au

Sunday 22nd February 2015 - Three more heats in the 2015 World Driving Championship were run this evening at Newcastle, a large city 160 kilometres north of Sydney.  Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world but tonight all of the attention focused on the ten international harness racing drivers competing at the Newcastle Paceway.  The track itself is 940 metres in circumference. Australia’s Chris Alford started the night in second position after a strong showing in heats one and two, and after a victory in the third heat he assumed top spot on the Championship leaderboard.  Driving Better Than Max, Alford won narrowly, arriving just in time to grab USA star Tim Tetrick and Kardashiancrusader.  Denmark’s Knud Monster finished third on Shez Juslika while Finland’s Mika Forss picked up some important Championship points when he finished fourth on Son Of A Star. Better Than Max Day 3 heat 3 Newcastle from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo. Heat four was won by Frenchman Tony Le Beller driving The Merchant Banker.  Starting from barrier one, Le Beller pushed The Merchant Banker out early and held the lead despite being pressured by Red Raphael driven by Tim Tetrick.  Le Beller kicked away turning and won comfortably, second was Gee Tee Wage driven by Chris Alford while Norway’s Vidar Hop finished third driving The Puritan.  Spain’s Guillermo Adrover saved plenty of ground and finished fourth with Strawberry Courage. The Merchant Banker Day 3 heat 4 Newcastle from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo. The fifth heat saw an aggressive drive from Finland’s Mika Forss as he pushed his horse Satu to the lead early despite drawing wide on the track.  After finding the front Forss rated Satu perfectly and was able to sneak away turning for home and held a margin to the finish line with Vidar Hop second on Heza Panamach.  Tim Tetrick finished third with Hangover Joe while Tony Le Beller was fourth on Rollon Baby Belle. Satu Day 3 heat 5 Newcastle from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo.   Name Point Score After 5 Heats Chris Alford 52 Tim Tetrick 47 Mika Forss 43 Tony Le Beller 33 Guillermo Adrover 32 Vidar Hop 30 Jody Jamieson 29 Knud Monster 28 Dexter Dunn 19 Pierre Vercryusse 17 Peter McMullen Australia (travelling Reserve)   For all of the latest news and replays log onto https://Vimeo.com/channels/wdc15 Day 2 WDC 2015 from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo. Canada’s Jody Jamieson won the first race at Newcastle tonight.  The race was not part of the World Driving Championship however he produced a great drive to score on Saint Stormy. The Championship will have a rest day on Monday and will then head to Wagga Wagga on Tuesday for another seven heats.  Wagga Wagga is 455 kilometres south of Sydney.  Greg Hayes | Media Coordinator | Harness Racing New South Wales |

The old adage in harness racing of breeding the best to the best to get the best was never more evident than in the win of Delight Me in the first New South Wales Oaks heat at Menangle tonight. They don't come any better bred than Delight Me with the daughter of champion sire Bettor's Delight having the former great racemare Cornsilk 1:52 ($555,046) as her dam. The Emma Stewart trained filly was settled midfield in the running line by leading reinsman Gavin Lang and there she stayed until the 600 metres mark where Gavin tipped her three wide. Looming up to the leaders on the corner, Delight Me quickly put the issue beyond doubt and didn't have to be driven out to record a stylish victory. Delight Me won with so much ease that it is hard to see any of the minor placegetters in this heat playing a major part in the New South Wales Oaks on Sunday week. Delight Me paced the 2400 metres in a quick 2:54.1, a mile rate of 1:56.7 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.9 Cornsilk was purchased by leading Western Australian breeder Robert Watson while still in North America and brought back to Australia to breed from. It is a very expensive excercise to undertake and following her return Robert has sold all her progeny through the yearling sales and in our view deserves any success that comes his way. Harnesslink Media

Thursday 19th February 2015 - With the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion only a week away Trots TV has released two Inside My Stable interviews in the lead up.  Michael Formosa enjoyed one of the best nights of his harness racing career when Ultimate Art won the supplementary heat of the Inter Dominion at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night.  Trots TV made the trip to his Hunter Valley property recently to meet Michael and his stable star. One of John Tapp’s proudest moments in harness racing was when Chariot King qualified for the 2013 Inter Dominion Grand Final.  Chariot King was attempting to force his way into the race again on the weekend and while he just missed out, Trots TV has paid a visit to John Tapp. He introduced Chariot King and also explained how he got involved in this great sport.  The John Tapp Inside My Stable was broken into two parts with the first instalment discussing Chariot King while the second concentrated on John’s love of the sport. Part 1 - John Tapp Part 2 - John Tapp Dr Nick Kannegieter is back this week with another edition of the popular segment ‘The Doctor’s In’.  This week Dr Nick talks about stable management.  Should horses be rugged?  What should horses be fed?  Dr Nick answers some other important questions. Dr Nick Kannegieter This Saturday night there will be twelve races at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  There is a strong representation from New Zealand and Trots TV caught up with media identity Michael Guerin to discuss all of the kiwi chances. Michael Guerin discusses the kiwi chances   Victorian trainer Michael Stanley will bring two horses to compete at Menangle on Saturday night and he joined Trots TV to discuss their chances. Michael Stanley brings two horses to compete On the Mini Trots Show there is a big announcement with HRNSW CEO John Dumesny confirming the NSW representative for the upcoming series in New Zealand.  Daryll Jackson updates Trots TV on everything else that is happening too. Trots TV also spoke with Chris Alford about the upcoming World Driving Championships.  For all this and more check out Trots Tv atwww.harnessmediacentre.com.au Greg Hayes

Tuesday, 17 February 2015 - The barrier draw for the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion will be conducted on Saturday 21st February at 7:30pm in the Miracle Mile Restaurant at Tabcorp Park Menangle. A field of 14 runners will face the starter with Beautide attempting to go back-to-back after winning last year's event convincingly. Another six Gr.1 races will be run on Sunday March 1 with the three remaining events all classified as Gr.2. Barrier draws for the following races will be conducted on Sunday 22nd February from 9:30am and are open to the public. The draws will take place at the offices of HRNSW, 22 Meredith Street Bankstown. - GR.1 FORM 700 CHARIOTS OF FIRE - GR.1 CAMARDA & CANTRILL NSW DERBY - GR.1 FORM 700 NSW OAKS - GR.1 CORDINA CHICKEN FARMS LADYSHIP MILE - GR.2 LEXUS INTERNATIONAL LADY DRIVERS INVITATIONAL - GR.2 SLINGSBY HOLDINGS WORLD DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT The remaining barrier draws will be conducted on Monday morning. - GR.1 TROTTERS STANDING START - GR.1 BOHEMIA CRYSTAL FREE FOR ALL - GR.2 INTER DOMINION CARNIVAL STAKES To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Greg Hayes | Media Coordinator | Harness Racing New South Wales |

Monday, 16 February 2015 - The Grand Final field for the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion to be run at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday, 1 March has been finalised following the Qualifying Heats across Australasia on Saturday night and acceptance from respective harness racing trainers this morning. The field, in qualifying order, also includes the two wild card entries selected by Harness Racing NSW and the NSWHRC along with two emergencies. Lennytheshark 1st Victoria Qualifying Heat Flaming Flutter NZ 2nd Victoria Qualifying Heat Im Corzin Terror NZ 3rd Victoria Qualifying Heat Beautide 1st NSW Qualifying Heat For A Reason 2nd NSW Qualifying Heat Monifieth NZ 3rd NSW Qualifying Heat Teo Enteo 4th NSW Qualifying Heat Majestic Mach 1st Queensland Qualifying Heat Ultimate Art 1st NSW Supplementary Heat Easy On The Eye NZ 2nd NSW Supplementary Heat Terror To Love NZ 3rd NSW Supplementary Heat David Hercules 1st WA Qualifying Heat Avonnova Wildcard 1 Blazin N Cullen NZ Wildcard 2 Franco Ledger NZ 1st Emergency Wartime Sweetheart NZ 2nd Emergency   The Barrier Draw will be conducted in the Miracle Mile Restaurant at Tabcorp Park Menangle at 7:30pm on Saturday, 21 February. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Greg Hayes Position: Media Coordinator Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email: ghayes@hrnsw.com.au

If races are won when the mobile gates are folded back, then the Grant Dixon stable are the masters as one of the biggest harness racing upsets of Inter Dominion heats night unfolded at Albion Park tonight. Majestic Major, from the Dixon stable, burned out of the gate and crossed odds-on favourite Avonnova at the start and that forced the unhoppled hero to race without cover for the entire journey as there was no lead there for him. Turning for home, though Avonnova showed his true colours and moved up to find the lead and went within a hairs breadth of taking the race. Then Dixons 'other' stable hope, Majestic Mach, a son of Mach Three who had strung together a mighty sequencer of wins for Kevin and Kay Seymour a couple of seasons ago, ignited and flashed down the outside to grab victory in the shadows of the post. With only one Inter Dominion Grand Final berth up for grabs, connections of Avonnova will be hoping to secure a wildcard entry into the big race. Many would say he earned it. Still the night belonged to Majestic Mach, with Avonnova finishing second and Bettor Draw third in a quick 1:54.8 in a race where there was no place for the faint-hearted. Second favourite Forever Gold raced in a one-one trail but couldn't finish the race off and wilted to run fourth.

Although he is a master at producing pacers for first-up wins, champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall has set himself a formidable challenge heading in Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting. Hall will produce inexperienced filly Nuala fresh for the $50,000 Schweppes Dainty’s Daughter Classic. The New Zealand-bred Nuala will enter the Group Two for three-year-old fillies at her third start and at her first appearance for 172 days. In a highly unorthodox preparation, and a bold approach to a feature, Hall has not given Nuala any lead-up starts, preferring to get her ready by running her in a 2150-metre trial at Byford on each of the past three Sundays. Driven by Clint Hall, Nuala has not been extended in winning the three trials by margins of six, 45 and 30 metres. In her latest trial, in a field of five, Nuala beat Bettor Twisted by 10 lengths after dashing over the final two quarters in 28.6 and 28.4 seconds. Nuala has drawn favourably at barrier two, but the daughter of Changeover faces a stern test in the battle for early ascendancy. Drawn on her inside is Delightful Jade, a filly blessed with sparkling early speed and a noted frontrunner. Along with being first-up from a spell, Nuala is the only filly who has not raced at Gloucester Park. She has earned just $8735 as a result of two wins, while her 10 rivals have won 54 races and earned a combined total of $614,231 - a healthy average of $61,423. Hall is no stranger to success in the event, having captured last year’s edition with Majorly Foxy Styx, which led throughout with Hall’s son, Gary junior, in the cart. KEN CASELLAS

Flying Isa took out the first of the first of the harness racing Group 1s on Hunter Cup night with a professional performance to win the Devondale Australasian Trotters Championship Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Trained by Belinda McCarthy and driven by Luke McCarthy Flying Isa began well to find the front early and was never headed, the six-year-old son of Pegasus Spur / Sun Isa rating 2:03.5 and scoring an 8.5-metre win over Brunelleschi with Spidergirl third. Luke McCarthy dictated the tempo to suit himself aboard the winner, Spidergirl working to the breeze early before Vincennes boldly trotted around to give the favourite one-one cover. At the bell Sheemon was out three-wide on the move with Glenferrie Typhoon getting a nice trail on his back. The leader upped the tempo down the back straight with a 27.9 split and kicked away approaching the turn. Ripping home in 28secs, Flying Isa was never going to get caught. Runner-up Brunelleschi is in career-best form. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Plenty is at stake for the harness racing connections of classy pacer Alleluia. The gifted four-year-old pacer faces a must win situation this Saturday night at Albion Park when he starts in the Listed $25,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final. The Art Major – Shy Annie gelding is heading south next week in preparation for the country’s biggest four-year-old classic, the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on March 1. “That’s been the target for some time, probably since the day we bought him last year and everything has been geared for this campaign so a win this weekend would have us heading south with great confidence.” Owner Greg Mitchell said. The former New Zealand pacer has surprisingly tasted defeat at his past two starts at Albion Park; he was scorched by a red-hot Medal Of Honour in a Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final on January 24 after breezing while he went down on Tuesday as a short priced favourite. Stablemate and proven feature race winner Major Moment conquered Alleluia when he was able to lead throughout under stand-start conditions. “I haven’t been disappointed by his latest defeats, in fact, I thought he was tremendous when Medal Of Honour beat us because we did all the work and the times were fantastic while he lost a lot of early ground on Tuesday before being forced to chase hard. “He’s clearly the horse to beat in the final this weekend and I think that run on Tuesday and looking at the tapes will be very beneficial for him in the final, I think he was caught off guard a little. With a clean getaway, I think he will find the lead and prove very hard to catch. “He’s been great fun and very consistent since I bought him last year, he raced great through the winter carnival against Bling It On and the performance in the Breeders Crown Final was simply outstanding considering the barrier draw and sectionals that were posted.” Alleluia will start next week in the Gr.2 $50,000 Hondo Grattan Stakes at Menangle where he’s expected to clash with Bling It On among others. The Gr.2 $50,000 Paleface Adios Stakes on February 21 is also shortlisted if he fails to qualify in the Hondo Grattan. “We’ll start in both races if need be but hopefully he does enough to stamp his ticket the first time around. The depth in this division is truly extraordinary and could easily be the main race on Inter Dominion Grand Final day. “The Kiwis are loaded with stars while Victoria has plenty of emerging types and then there’s Bling It On, a horse we know well. It’s very exciting to be a part of this great race and I’m sure he’ll perform at his best, like he always does.” Mitchell is also looking forward for his trotter Our Overanova to tackle feature races in Sydney and Melbourne in the coming weeks. Our Overanova must overcome a 50m handicap on Saturday night at Albion Park over the short distance of 2138m. The Monarchy gelding resumed with a solid second behind Our Billy Ray at Albion Park on January 24. Our Overanova is qualified for the Gr.1 $300,000 Great Southern Star at TABCORP Park, Melton on March 7 following his victory in the Gr.3 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final back in October. Both Alleluia and Our Overanova are trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon. Hoofnote; Greg Mitchell is the current Racing Queensland Harness Chairman. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 07 February 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 07 February 2015

Harness racing Punters have been given a great lead heading into the weekend. Leading Brisbane based reinsman Shane Graham is giving up a full book of drives at Albion Park on Saturday night to take the drive on an unraced two-year-old pacer. But not just any freshman. Graham heads to TABCORP Park, Menangle to take the drive on the Mark Lichtwark trained Major Buddy in the Gr.3 $40,800 NSW Sapling Stakes. The regally bred Art Major – Aquarius Rising rig will face the starter for the first time but trial experts believe he’s the horse to beat and Graham is keen to partner the precocious talent. “I haven’t sat behind a young horse like this for some time, he gave me a great feel in the trial at Albion Park recently and I was more than pleased to accept the drive when Mark offered it to me last week.” Graham said. Major Buddy oozed class when successful in his qualifying trial at Albion Park on January 16, the long striding youngster rated 1;57.4 for the 1660m hit-out while running his final half in 57.6 seconds. A Sydney campaign has been in the making for some time and Lichtwark headed south soon after his qualifying performance with a string of big race targets in mind. A brilliant trial at Menangle last week proved that this week’s Sapling Stakes is within reach. Handled by John McCarthy in the trial, Major Buddy scored easily rating 1;55.2 while defeating his rivals by an ever expanding margin. “I had a good chat to both Mark and John last week at Menangle and both seemed very happy with the way he went about it, he’s come through it really well and Mark thinks he’s still on the improve. “He’s got a real presence and he’s very easy on himself, he’s certainly one of the most natural youngsters I’ve sat behind so here’s hoping that he keeps improving. “It’s always difficult to assess form in early season two-year-old races and there’s plenty of bluebloods in this field but I’m happy to be driving Mark’s horse.” Graham has enjoyed good success in recent weeks at Menangle through the deeds of open class pacer Avonnova, a winner of the recent Les Chant Cup and last week’s Kevin Robinson Cup. Hoofnote; Major Buddy has been well backed with most betting agencies that posted markets earlier this week. Major Buddy is currently listed as the $2.75 favourite with TattsBet.     by Chris Barsby

New Zealand-bred four-year-old Classic American is a brilliant harness racing frontrunner who has not been beaten when he has set the pace and the classy stallion should maintain that record when he contests the $50,000 group 2 Channel Nine Binshaw Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He has made the running in four of his 26 starts and has won those four races by margins of 22.5m, 9.3m, 13.7m and 12.2m --- an average winning margin of just under five lengths. He has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier for only the second time in a burgeoning career of 12 wins and five placings for stakes of $150,000 and Clint Hall should have little difficulty in dashing him straight to the front and dictating the terms of the race. Two of the first three winners of the Binshaw Classic have started from the No. 1 barrier and at odds-on before setting the pace and winning comfortably. Please Release Me (Chris Brew) started at 5/4 on and defeated Greyhawk in the 2012 Binshaw Classic before Red Salute (Chris Voak) was favourite at 2/1 on from barrier one and led and won from Western Cullen a year later. Twelve months ago Shnappy was favourite at 3/1 from the No. 1 barrier when he set the pace before wilting to fourth behind 46/1 outsider Marooned (Voak), who stormed home from ninth at the 400m mark to win by a length from Northern Assassin. Classic American is one of four runners from the all-conquering stables of Gary Hall sen. who will be contesting Friday night's Binshaw Classic, the others being Westernator (barrier six), Authorized (seven) and The Court Jester (outside of the back line). Classic American notched his third win in a row when he started out wide at barrier six in a heat of the Binshaw Classic last Friday night and raced three wide early and then in the breeze outside Authorized before getting the upper hand in the final couple of strides and winning by a head at a 1.57.3 rate, with the final 400m being covered in a sparkling 57.5sec. Authorized will be at liberal odds from the outside of the front line this week, as will the consistent Westernator from barrier six. The Court Jester, a stylish first-up winner last Friday week, was a sound fourth behind Erskine Range last week. But his prospects appear slim from the outside of the back line. Looming as the chief rival to Classic American this week is five-year-old Erskine Range, who gave a bold frontrunning display and sprinted over the final quarter in 27.3sec. to win easily from Rockyourbaby at a 1.57.5 rate last Friday night. That was his 17th win from 51 starts and trainer-reinsman Colin Brown will be aiming to take full advantage of the inside of the back line by following Classic American every inch of the way before hoping to gain a clear passage in the final stages. Walter James, trained at Forrestdale by Brad Lynn, rated 1.57.8 when he led from barrier one in a qualifying heat last week. He is favourably drawn in the final at No. 2 on the front line, but he is most unlikely to be able to cross Classic American in the early contest for the lead. Mark Reed to resume after injury Ace reinsman Mark Reed has high hopes of returning to action after an injury on a successful note when he handles promising young mare My Samantha Jane in the first heat of the gloucesterpark.com.au Lewis Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A fractured scaphoid bone in his right hand prevented Reed from driving at last Friday night's meeting. My Samantha Jane, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old, will start from barrier three on the front line and trainer Mike Reed said that his son would be the making a bold bid to dash the mare to an early lead and to dictate terms in front in the 2130m event. Mark Reed was injured last Saturday week when a horse at his father's stables became caught in a box and lashed out at him, striking him a painful blow on the right hand. A plaster cast was fitted to protect the thumb and then was removed and replaced with a fibreglass guard. "Mark will be able to drive okay," said Mike Reed. "But the whip action is going to be a problem and he said that he would use the whip in his left hand." Mike Reed said that My Samantha Jane, a winner at each of her past three starts after racing without cover at Northam twice and at Bunbury, possessed good gate speed and was a tough performer. "If she leads on Friday night, she will be rolling and will be very hard to beat," he said. The Reed stable has a handy second string in Friday night's event in five-year-old mare Mon Lamour, who will be handled by Clint Kimes from an unfavourable barrier at No. 4 on the back line. Kimes drove Mon Lamour from the No. 1 barrier to a smart all-the-way victory over 2130m last Friday night. The main dangers to My Samantha Jane (a winner at eight of her 28 starts) appear to be Dardy Delight, Murano Mystery, Im A Peregrine and Better Than Money. Dardy Delight, to be driven by his trainer Justin Prentice from barrier two on the back line, is racing consistently, with his past 16 starts producing four wins, four seconds, three thirds and three fourths. He fought on doggedly when a last-start second to Classic American in the $50,000 San Simeon Classic last Friday week. Murano Mystery, a last-start second to The Black Lord at Northam, looks sure to be prominent from the inside of the back line and Im A Peregrine, with four wins and five placings from his past 12 starts, is capable from a strong effort from barrier six on the front line. Better Than Money, a New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, will be making his West Australian debut for Oldbury trainer-reinsman Donald Harper. He will start from barrier four on the back line at his first appearance since he set the pace and won over 1660m at a 1.55.7 rate at Albion Park on November 15. Better Than Money has raced 93 times for 13 wins, 32 placings and stakes of $93,038. He won five times in New Zealand before winning eight races in Queensland. High Courage looks a star bet New Zealand-bred four-year-old High Courage is a noted frontrunner and from the No. 1 barrier on the front line he looks a star bet in the 2130m Nine News Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The stallion, prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., will be driven by 19-year-old Lauren Jones and he should set the pace and win. He has set the pace eight times in his 29-start career for seven wins and a second placing. At his most recent appearance he started from barrier five and worked hard without cover for much of the 2692m journey before winning from Black N Bettor at Pinjarra last Monday week. High Courage is likely to receive the most serious opposition from Chief Thundercloud, Ti Amo Franco, Courage Tells and Mighty Flying Thomas. Chief Thundercloud, to be driven by Stuart McDonald, has been a model of consistency for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, with his nine starts this season producing four wins, four seconds and a fourth placing. Ti Amo Franco also is in grand form and has the ability to figure prominently in the finish. A new experience for Max Meridius Five-year-old Max Meridius is one of the State's most promising sit-sprinters in restricted company and he will be strongly fancied in the 2130m Channel Nine Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he will start from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line for the first time in his career. Trained at Jandabup by Glenn Stampalia, Max Meridius will be handled by Brad Stampalia, who has been in the sulky for all of the gelding's 18 starts for four wins and nine placings. Brad Stampalia had no hesitation in taking the drive behind Max Meridius ahead of Tyler Diamond, a redoubtable veteran he has driven at 22 of his past 24 starts. Tyler Diamond, who has been driven to victory five times by Stampalia, will start from barrier four on the back line with Colin Brown in the sulky. Max Meridius covered a lot of extra ground when fifth behind My Samantha Jane at Northam on Thursday of last week. He enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing fast to win from Villa Couture over 1609m at Bunbury five nights earlier. Max Meridius showed reasonably good gate speed early in his career when he was placed at Gloucester Park and Northam after working hard in the breeze. It is debatable whether Stampalia will make a serious bid to set the pace on Friday night or prefer to take a sit behind speedy beginner Fully Zapped, who is favourably drawn at No. 2. The Ross Olivieri-trained Out Back Joe is sure to be strongly fancied, even from barrier six. The five-year-old has finished determinedly at his past four starts for a win at Northam, a second at Pinjarra and a third and second placing at Gloucester Park. Shardons Rocket looking for unusual treble Veteran pacer Shardons Rocket has bright prospects of completing a rare treble by overcoming the back mark of 20 metres and winning the 2503m The Block Triple Threat Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Tony Svilicich-trained ten-year-old, a hardy veteran of 193 starts, has been successful on the corresponding program featuring the Binshaw Classic in the past two years. Driven by Chris Lewis, he started from 20m and finished strongly from the rear to beat Dalvey Gold in February 2013 and a year ago he set the pace and beat the fast-finishing Rojen Cruz in an $8000 claimer. In February 2012, on Binshaw Classic night, Shardons Rocket, driven by Aldo Cortopassi, sustained a powerful finishing burst to be second to outsider Rigatoni. This week Shardons Rocket will be driven by Colin Brown, who is certain to make a forward move early in the race to sit outside the pacemaker, or even to take the lead. Shardons Rocket set the pace in the 2130m Lord Mayor's Cup last Friday night and was overhauled in the final stages to finish a head second to Northview Punter. This followed a second to Bettor Reason at Pinjarra and a nose second to Northview Punter over 2536m at Gloucester Park. To win Shardons Rocket, who has raced 193 times for 32 wins and 65 placings, is likely to have to overcome spirited opposition from the Ross Olivieri-trained Dynamite Dude and Finbar Abbey, impressive last-start winner Thumpem, Soho Jackman and Braemoor. Majorly Foxy Styx to run at Melton Talented four-year-old Majorly Foxy Styx, winner of the group 1 $100,000 Mares Classic at Gloucester Park in December for champion trainer Gary Hall sen., will contest the group 3 Ladyship Cup at Melton on Saturday night for Victorian trainer Michael Stanley. Majorly Foxy Styx, owned by West Australian businessman Robert Watson, will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind stablemate Blucolla Tigerpie. Majorly Foxy Styx, who has earned $177,365 from ten wins and five placings from 22 starts, set the pace and defeated Victorian mare Bellas Delight in the Mares Classic. Bellas Delight is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line in Saturday night's $30,275 event. Blucollar Tigerpie, a seven-year-old on an M7 mark, has a losing sequence of 19. She won the group 1 Tasmania Oaks in Hobart in March 2011 and has earned $212,277 from 19 wins and 15 placings from 66 starts. One of the main fancies on Saturday night will be the Victorian-bred six-year-old Beauty Secret, who will be driven by Gavin Lang for trainer Emma Stewart. Beauty Secret, a winner at five of her past six starts, has earned $388,366 from 24 wins and 12 placings from 52 starts. Bettors Fire fancied in Narrogin Cup New Zealand-bred six-year-old Bettors Fire should appreciate a drop in class and win the $30,000 Narrogin Cup on Thursday night. Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, will start from barrier three on the back line in the 2662m mobile cup in which his rivals include 2014 WA Pacing Cup winner Hokonui Ben and Pacific Warrior, who finished a sound sixth behind Northview Punter in the Lord Mayor's Cup at Gloucester Park last Friday night after his unlucky close-up fifth behind My Hard Copy in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup at his previous start. Bettors Fire, a winner at 24 of his 54 starts, was a fading ninth in the WA Pacing Cup last month, a week after his excellent fourth behind David Hercules in the Fremantle Cup. by Ken Casellas  

It was the first day of school for students at the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre yesterday. Twenty students have enrolled into full-time studies at the facility at the Warragul harness racing track, and a further fourteen will attend on Wednesday's as part of their secondary school studies, known as the VET In Schools program. Centre founder Des Hughes is delighted with the level of interest in the Centre over recent years, but in particular for 2015. "We're still getting enrolments and enquiries. We don't know where it will end up," Hughes explained. "There are a lot of first timers, but they all have an interest in horses." With the financial support of Harness Racing Victoria, who have provided funding to assist with the purchase of horses, there are now more opportunities than ever for students to experience hands-on involvement with horses. "The hands on aspect is very busy here at the moment," Hughes said. "The HRV contribution has certainly helped us get a few more horses, and their help is much appreciated." As well as from the immediate Warragul area, students are also coming to the Centre from areas closer to Melbourne such as Pakenham and Croydon, as well as areas such as Traralgon and Stratford in the Latrobe Valley/East Gippsland region, where harness racing hasn't been held for some two decades. Students at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre learn all aspects of horse training and driving, as well as animal welfare, and personal development, all keys to embarking on a successful career in the racing or equine industries. The friendships and connections made and life skills learnt by students are also invaluable for their day-to-day lives. The Centre's courses are in their nineteenth year and are co-ordinated by the Warragul based educational provider, Community College Gippsland. The Gippsland Harness Training Centre and its achievements are a good news story for the trotting sport.   Kyle Galley

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