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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

Right from the very start of harness racing in Australasia, breeders have looked to North America for stallions and breeding stock to lift the local breed. The influence of those imported mare's has always been pronounced and continues to this day to produce some of our best  racehorses. Last season's outstanding two year old Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($504,167) is a product of the imported daughter of Cam's Card Shark in Smyrna Duruisseau and this season has unearthed another potential star from an imported mare. The horse in question is Ideal for Real and his win in the heat of the New South Wales Derby on Saturday night was that of a horse headed to the top. A son of American Ideal, Ideal For Real is the first foal from the Real Desire mare Tamara Hall who was imported to Australia in 2010. Tamara Hall is a daughter of the talented No Nukes mare in Tabloid 1:53.3 ($321,604) who is a former Canadian two year old of the year Tamara Hall was purchased as a yearling but injured a tendon and never raced Her dam Tabloid has left eight winners, 6 in 1:53 with five of those winners earning over $100,000 The best of these winners were the very smart trio of B J's Whirlwind 1:49.1 ($ 954,463)  The Globe 1:50.3 ($772,462) and B J's Breeze 1:51.2 ($506,556) while a daughter in Cambloid 1:58.8 ($28,760) has left four $100,000 winners including That's Ideal 1:51.3 ($283,742) and Upfront Countryboy 1:51.1 ($208,667) Tabloid was one of fifteen winners from Next Chapter with those winners including the full sister to Tabloid in Positive Reaction 1:53.4 ($153,217)  Half sisters to Tabloid include: * Little Black Book 1:54 ($288,457) who is the dam of five $100,000 winners including Sioux Dawn 1:50.2 ($348,926) and Catch A Wish 1:52.2 ($260,829) *Saucy Britches 1:57.1 ($84,553) who is the dam of four $100,000 winners including Armbro Cayenne 1:51.3 ($523,432) and Swashbuckler 1:51.1 ($352,298) *Book Smart 1:57.3 ($27,654) who is the dam of Fourth Page 1:52.2 ($255,828) Tabloid is closely related to the former outstanding three year old in Hot Hitter 1:54 ($963,574). Tamara Hall has had three more foals since Ideal For Real including the two year old Rocknroll Hanover filly in Rockin Tammy, a yearling full brother to Rockin Tammy and a weanling full brother to Ideal For Real. It is a family that has consistently churned out high class racehorses and reading that pedigree it is not hard to see why Ideal For Real is the talented three year old he is. The importation of North American mares has been happening for over 100 years but has  really taken off in the last few years and with the continuing success of their offspring at the highest level in Australasia it is a trend that is likely to continue. Harnesslink Media

Sky Racing’s Andrew Bensley is normally the person holding the microphone and asking the winning harness racing connections how they feel after a big race victory. However this Sunday afternoon he is hoping he is the one being asked the questions.  Bensley is the part owner of Yankee Rockstar and the talented four year old will line up in the Gr. 1 FORM 700 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. While Bensley feels no nerves before conducting important interviews with racing royalty, he admits there will be a ‘few butterflies’ this weekend. “I’m normally pretty quiet when I watch Yankee Rockstar race and let it all unfold but I did get a little bit excited last start in the Bonanza because I knew that if he won that race, he qualified for the Chariots,” Bensley said. “I rode him home from the 100 metre mark that night and this weekend’s race is a much bigger one.” Yankee Rockstar has drawn barrier eight but will move into gate seven if the emergencies fail to get a start. “We would have loved to have drawn a barrier so he is going to need a lot of luck from where he has drawn, especially considering Bling It On has drawn inside him.” “The best thing about his Bonanza win was when Gavin Lang put one on his tail in the straight he knuckled down and found a little bit more, because up until then he hadn’t really been in many situations where he has had to find under pressure.” Bensley will be trackside at Menangle on Sunday afternoon with his beloved Stetson hat. “My Stetson was an amazing gift from an amazing lady in Gai Waterhouse and I know that she likes to see me wearing it because she told me to make sure that I had it on if Yankee Rockstar won at Melton so I know she will be watching on Sunday.” “I love harness racing, I am in a syndicate with Tim Bunning and we have five horses, I had a horse many years ago called Dunme Dough that did a good job but I’m really enjoying being back in the sport again as an owner.” 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 Related Links Fields for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Sunday 01 March 2015 Form guide for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Sunday 01 March 2015

Well known New Zealand harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety would probably tell you that Australia is his second home due to him spending so much time there. Due to the continuing success that Cran is having in major races in Australia, it is only natural that he trains horses for several owners who call Australia home. One of those horses is the smart three year old filly Delightful Lana who is owned by BJF Bloodstock which is managed by the Melbourne based Brendan James and his wife Anne. Purchased out of the New Zealand Premier sale in 2013 for $26,000, Delightful Lana finished midfield in several of the fillies classics in New Zealand at two but has really come into her own this season at three with several stylish wins. Those wins encouraged Cran to bring her to Sydney for the New South Wales Oaks heats tonight at Menangle and she didn't let the team down with a stylish victory in the fourth and last heat. Miss Riviera Belle and Lauren Panella flew the gate to lead early from the outside barrier while Dexter Dunn slotted Delighful Lana into the one by one early from barrier five. Content to sit there through the first 1500 metres, Dexter came out three wide at the 900 metres and found the death seat alongside Miss Riviera Belle as they passed the 800 metres mark. As they turned for home Dexter got a break on the field and although Rebel Diamond  and Anthony Butt closed late, Delightful Lana held on for a deserved victory. Delightful Lana paced the 2400 metres in 2:55.8, a mile rate of 1:57.9 with closing sectionals of 56.6 and 28.6. While Fight For Glory was super impressive winning her heat earlier in the night, Delightful Lana did enough tonight to suggest she will be a serious challenger to the favourite in the final on Sunday week. Harnesslink Media 

It was hard to get any consensus among harness racing scribes this week about which filly would come out on top in the second heat of the New South Wales Oaks tonight at Menangle. Punters also had trouble sorting the field out with several runners at single figure odds. The Belinda McCarthy trained Makes Every Scents was the shortest of those in single figures and worked her way to the front from barrier seven for driver Luke McCarthy. There was no real mid race pressure with the well supported CC Chevron content to sit outside the leader and control the tempo. Passing the 400 metres mark Luke let the brakes off and Makes Every Scents shot clear as they straightened for the run home. CC Chevron didn't kick on and it was left to Du Vella with Anthony Butt in the bike to storm home late from midfield to make a race of it but Du Vella came up short by half a neck at the finishing line. A daughter of Four Starzzz Shark, Makes Every Scents is from the former smart Holmes Hanover mare in  Scent 1:57.9 ($122,082) Makes Every Scents paced the 2400 metres in 2:57.1, a mile rate of 1:58.8 with closing sectionals of 56.3 and 27.8. This heat was run over three seconds slower than the first heat won by Delight Me and both Makes Every Scents and Du Vella are going to need to lift to be serious winning chances in the Oaks final on Sunday week. Harnesslink Media 

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

Harness racing pundits only wanted one horse tonight in the second heat of the New South Wales Derby at Menangle. Art Union was expected to be too strong from barrier four and punters would have been happy with themselves after 500 metres when driver Dexter Dunn let the son of Art Major slide to the lead without having to really use him. Sporty Spook after an early burn from barrier nine to grab the lead settled into a lovely trail on Art Union's back with Kilcullen working to the death and in the process giving Ideal For Real a lovely sit in the one by one. Dexter held the favourite back to the field until the corner where he set him alight but it was to no avail as Ideal For Real and Gavin Lang just burned him with raw speed as he went straight  past him half way down the Menangle straight and kept going to the line for a very impressive win. Art Union fought on gamely for second just in front of Sporty Spook while Kilcullen was much improved in holding on for fourth after doing the most work in the race. Trained by Emma Stewart the American Ideal colt  paced the 2400 metres in 2:54.7, a mile rate of 1:57.2 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.4.  When Ideal For Real gets the kind of run he did tonight he can be lethal over the last 400 metres as he showed recently with a huge finish for second in his heat of the Victoria Derby. With Gavin Lang in the bike Ideal For Real will lack nothing in the driver department on Sunday week and looms as a major win chance if he can get the kind of run he did tonight. Harnesslink Media

All the harness racing trainers in New South Wales with smart three year olds  must have breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that Mark Purdon was sending Follow The Stars back to New Zealand for the Derbys there after the Victorian Derby. What they wouldn't have known was that the horse he was sending to the New South Wales Derby at Menangle in his place in Hug The Wind was little if any inferior to his star stable mate. Well after the first derby heat tonight at Menangle, no one will be in any doubt about how good he is after the son of Bettor's Delight sat in the death seat throughout before kicking clear late for a super impressive Australian debut win. Having his first start since the end of December, Hug The Wind did enough to win the heat without having to be seriously asked by co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen. You would expect Hug The Wind to derive some serious benefit from his first start for over seven weeks and he will strip a much fitter horse for the final. Aztec Bromac was just as clearly second for Robbie Morris and Kerry Ann Turner and looms as a legitimate place chance in the final but the other qualifiers in this heat look to be on mission impossible going by the margin between the first two and the rest tonight. Hug The Wind paced the 2400 metres in 2:53.4, a mile rate of 1:56.3 with closing sectionals of 55.7 and 27 Going on tonights run Hug The Wind looks the horse they have to beat on Sunday week. Harnesslink Media

The first of the harness racing features at Menangle for the two year olds this season was held last night with the running of the $40,800 Sapling Stakes. Queensland visitor Major Buddy was all the rage with punters after a series of outstanding trial runs but he was no match on the night for the locals who really turned it on for so early in the two year old calendar. As the gate left Gavin Fitzpatrick shot Salty Robyn to the front from barrier two but he was hotly challenged early in the piece by Bettermatch with Steve Maguire in the bike from barrier seven. These two eyeballed each other for the first 400 in a swift 26.6 before Steve took a hold of Bettormatch and they buttoned off the speed. Debutante runner Born To Rocknroll with John McCarthy in the bike settled into the one by one after 400 metres from barrier five as Salty Robyn kept up a solid tempo. A second quarter of  29.8 and a third quarter of 28.3 from Salty Robyn meant the back runners faced mission impossible as they turned for home. Salty Robyn went for home by two with Bettermatch and Born To Rocknroll coming at him the whole length of the straight and in the shadows of the finishing line Bettormatch stuck his head out for an outstanding win. A short half head away were both Salty Robyn and Born To Rocknroll who the judge couldn't separate for second. With the last quarter being run in 28.9, the mile was cut out in a very quick 1:53.6. For Bettermatch it was his fourth win on end and he remained unbeaten this season. Trainer Col Thomas had one word to describe the feeling straight after the race. " Awesome, really awesome, I am really very proud." " That is the biggest race winner I have ever trained." "He fired up a bit tonight which is not like him." "He is a colt but he is so quiet at home he never gets out of second gear," Col said Col was quick to heap praise on owner Robbie Wakeman who helps him out with his small team. " Robbie is at home every morning at 6:30 to help me work the team and back at 2:00 in the afternoon to help out again." "He does most of the work with Bettermatch and deserves a lot of the credit," Col said. A colt by the ill fated son of Bettor's Delight in Kenneth J, Bettermatch is from the racewinning New Zealand bred  Live Or Die mare in Matchme who is from a half sister to two former topliners in Bolton Byrd and Melton Monarch for noted New Zealand breeder Jim Dalgety. Bettermatch has two immediate goals in the next few weeks. " He can come back here in ten days for the Simpson Memorial and then we will head to Bathurst." "I would really love to win a Group One with him," Col said. The first three home last night all went super and if that is the standard of two year old racing this season, then we have some great racing to look forward to. Harnesslink Media  

Birchip will be the place to be tonight after Menin Gate’s stunning harness racing VHRSC Victoria Derby success. The Larry Eastman trained son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Dreams Of Heaven won the early speed duel to find the lead in the 2240-metre race, driver Chris Alford spearing him to the pegs from gate six after pocket rocket Justbritell initially led. Race favourite Follow The Stars with Mark Purdon in the cart followed Alford across and settled second, with Artistic Flite one-one and Justbritell happy to grab the leader’s back. They stayed in that formation for the bulk of the race before Art Union commenced a run down the back straight. But Art Union’s forward move was short lived when that horse and Artistic Flite locked wheels, which cost both runners any winning hope and also inconvenienced plenty of others. Turning for home it was Menin Gate with a strong kick and Follow The Stars in hot pursuit. The pair battled tooth and nail in the stretch but Alford was able to lift a bit more out of a gutsy Menin Gate, the Birchip crew absolutely ecstatic and roaring with excitement as they won by 2.7m. Follow The Stars was gutsy but no match for the winner, while Spare Me Days finished third and Justbritell was consistent as usual in fourth. Menin Gate's mile rate was 1:56.2. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing followers on this side of the Tasman have been hearing for a few years now how Australian breeders were producing more and more of their elite age group and aged performers and that in the not to distant future they would overtake Kiwi breeders as the major supplier of elite level horses in Australasia. Those same Australian breeders must be looking at this weekends Hunter Cup and wondering what to make of the fact that eleven of the fourteen runners have that little tag of NZ beside their name. Of the four favourites heading into tonights $400,000 Hunter Cup, three have that same NZ tag. Christen Me, Adore Me and Terror To Love are all rated huge chances to take home the Cup with the only Australian given a chance being the Emma Stewart trained Guaranteed by Artsplace from the outstanding Australian mare Jadah Rose.. The other two Australian breds in the field are also in the Emma Stewart barn in Restrepo (second dam the NZ mare Cerebrand by Lordship) and Philladelphia Man (third dam the NZ mare Sue Adios) whcih are both just a yard behind the top quartet. Ever since the harness racing industry began in New Zealand over 100 years ago, New Zealand breeders have been selling their fillies and mares to Australia but always retaining more than enough of their best bred stock to allow the breed to thrive in their own country. Each country has had periods where they seemed to be getting the upper hand but for most of the last 100 years the Kiwi breds have held the upper hand. When you consider that there are hundreds of well bred Christian Cullen, Mach Three and Bettor's Delight mares still to join the broodmare ranks in New Zealand and that dominance over the Australian breds looks set to continue. With the ongoing results achieved by New Zealand bred stock in Australia, the breeding side of the Industry in New Zealand looks to have a great future. Harnesslink Media  

Another champion to be crowned king (or queen) of the Hunter Cup Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night has arrived as we enter the final night of HRV's TAB.com.au Summer of Glory carnival. Christen Me won last week's Victoria Cup and will be out to become the first horse since Blossom Lady to go back-to-back in the Hunter Cup tomorrow night. Kiwi mare Adore Me is the favourite for the race, heavily backed after she caught the eye flashing home for third in the Victoria Cup. With hot weather forecast and heaps of trackside entertainment on Hunter Cup night there has never been a better time to get trackside at the trots at Melton!   DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP Saturday night, February 7. Group 1, 3280m, stand start. 9.30pm   1: PHILADELPHIA MAN ($13w $3.28p) Ticks: Horsham Pacing Cup win was full of merit when too strong for Restrepo and Arden Rooney. Drawn the pole. Prolific winner (11 wins from his last 13 starts). Crosses: Some say his bubble may have burst having been rolled his last two starts after 11 straight victories.   2: ARDEN ROONEY ($26w $4.8p) Ticks: Loves the stand-start racing (11: 6-1-2) and will have no worries with the marathon trip.  Crosses: Was well beaten behind Restrepo in the Hamilton Pacing Cup and Restrepo is a $14 shot here.    3: ADORE ME ($2.6w $1.30p) Ticks: She's a first-class mare who produced the best run outside of the winner in the Victoria Cup and will be clearly suited to the longer trip.  Crosses: She's a mare. They don't win the Hunter Cup too often.    4: CHRISTEN ME ($3.8w $1.53p) Ticks: Victoria Cup winner, Miracle Mile winner, easy Bendigo Cup winner. He's on fire. Crosses: Struggling to find one.   5: RESTREPO ($14w $3.47p) Ticks: Suited by the distance. Burst back into winning form with an enormous Hamilton Pacing Cup win from stand-start conditions two runs back. Crosses: Finished well-back in the Victoria Cup and despite his obvious talent he's only won two races since late November 2013.   6: UNCLE WINGNUT ($101w $20.04p) Ticks: Having a super season with strong runs in the Pure Steel last time out (third), the Horsham Cup (fourth) and the Cranbourne Cup (fourth). Crosses: Yet to win in 11 goes from behind the strands and seems a rung or two below the best ones here.   7: FLAMING FLUTTER ($41w $8.61p) Ticks: Excellent stand-start record (6: 4-0-1). Has in-form reinsman Greg Sugars. Has been racing in super-consistent form. Crosses: Probably a season away from being able to win at this level.   8: EASY ON THE EYE ($41w $8.61p) Ticks: Trained and driven by powerhouse New South Wales combination in Shane Tritton and Lauren Panella. Secured invite into last year's Miracle Mile. Crosses: Finished down the track in last year's Hunter Cup, drawn slightly awkwardly as loves to bowl along in front.   9: IM CORZIN TERROR ($26w $5.76p) Ticks: Stays all day and has a good record at the stand-start conditions (10: 3-3-1). He ran on well in this race last year and was close-up in the Kilmore Cup from the stand behind Guaranteed. Crosses: Has finished behind the top-liners at Horsham, Bendigo and last time out in the Victoria Cup.    10: WASHMEPOCKETS ($301w $58.14p) Ticks: Honest as the day is long and always puts in.  Has his own Twitter account. Crosses: Just doubt he's up to this class.   11: GUARANTEED ($6.5w $2.04p) Ticks: Gavin Lang has chosen to stick with Guaranteed and would have had the choice of the three Emma Stewart trained runners. In ripping form throughout this campaign. Crosses: Will have to work around at some point but aside from that he's got far more ticks next to his name than crosses.    12: FRANCO LEDGER ($31w $6.71p) Ticks: Lethal sprint on him. He ended Philadelphia Man's winning streak at Shepparton when absolutely sprouted wings in the home straight. Is a 13-time winner from 21 goes at stand-start. Crosses: New Zealand form not as strong as say Terror To Love, Adore Me or Christen Me.    13: TERROR TO LOVE ($6.5w $2.04p) Ticks: Three-time New Zealand Cup winner so class is no worries and loves staying races. Crosses: Didn't fire in the Victoria Cup last start and found a way to get beaten in a four-horse Ballarat Cup two starts back.   14: SMUDGE BROMAC ($101w $20.04p) Ticks: Racing in career-best form. Broke the track record in the Yarra Valley Cup last December. Stable knows how to win a feature race. Crosses: Class the big query at this stage and being ODS hasn't helped his cause.    ACCESS MARKET FOR THE DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP   $300,000 Quaddie Pool Guarantee Tomorrow night's Hunter Cup Quaddie will carry a guaranteed pool of minimum $300,000 thanks to Summer of Glory sponsor, the TAB. Cash Grab Machine Have a Quaddie on Saturday night's Hunter Cup meeting (min $10 spend) and present your betting ticket to TAB Grab staff for your chance to win entry into the TAB Grab Booth, where $5,000 worth of vouchers await at Tabcorp Park Melton! Special bonus offer There is also a special bonus offer for TAB customers this weekend. Have a fixed odds win bet on the Group 1 Hunter Cup, with your TAB account or TAB rewards card, and if your horse runs second or third, you'll score a Bonus Bet up to $50 or equivalent TAB Rewards points. Bet at the track, your local TAB outlet, via the TAB smart phone app or online at tab.com.au   WIN A $50 TAB VOUCHER Here’s your chance to win a $50 TAB Voucher. To enter, tell us who you think will win the Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup on Saturday night. All entrants that pick the winner will go into a random draw and whichever lucky entrant is drawn, wins the $50 TAB Voucher! Entries must be in by no later than 8:30pm on Saturday night 7 February. One entry per person. Must be over 18 years of age to enter.Email competitions@hrv.org.au with the subject WIN.  The winner will be notified via email on Tuesday.  

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

It has been a big week for young reinsman Robbie Morris. Less than a week ago he was announced as the NSW representative in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship, and then on Saturday night watched the Sky Racing monitors at Tabcorp Park Menangle as his partner Kerryann Turner trained and drove Aztec Bromac to victory in the first heat of the Victoria Derby at Melton. Morris has been the regular driver of Aztec Bromac in his career and it has been confirmed that he will drive the three year old again this week in the Gr. 1 event. "Kerryann and I have spoken about it and it has been decided that I will go down on Saturday to drive Aztec Bromac in the Derby," Morris said. "Kerryann has some important drives at Menangle this weekend including Zenable and Lettuceriprita so she will be in Sydney this weekend and I will head to Melbourne." Aztec Bromac is only lightly raced having competed just six times for four victories. "He's a nice horse and I don't think anyone thought we would be competing in a Derby but it has been a great ride so far and we're just happy to be there." "The two owners that are in him are long term owners and haven't had a real top liner so it is nice to see them get a horse like this. He will race on Saturday night and then return to Sydney in an attempt to qualify for the New South Wales Derby." Aztec Bromac has remained in Victoria this week after his heat win. "Kerryann has been stabled at Shepparton with Daniel Jack and he has a great setup, so she will be able to give Aztec Bromac his last hit out and then come back to Sydney and I will go down on Saturday morning." By Greg Hayes

The VHRSC Victoria Derby Final is shaping as a harness racing classic after the three heats on Saturday night. Follow The Stars is not unbeatable. Who would have thought? He was $1.10 to win his heat on Saturday night but had to settle for second to Art Union (beaten 1.8m). Art Union (by Art Major out of The Sparks A Flyin) rated 1:58.4 (last half 55.2) in winning the third heat, driver Dexter Dunn taking the colt to the lead in the run and staving off all comers late. Follow The Stars tried valiantly but couldn't catch the winner. Spare Me Days was third and Mister Brazil fourth. Aztec Bromac (by American Ideal out of Agnes Patron) won the first Derby heat for the night in a rate of 1:57.2 (last half 56.7), narrowly holding off fast-finishing Ideal For Real. Kerry Ann Turner trained and drove the winner, while the runner-up was from the in-form Emma Stewart camp with Gavin Lang in the cart. One Hell Of A Ride finished well for third, while Mach Doro was fourth but was an eye-catching run after working three-wide in the run. The winner of Derby heat two, Menin Gate, has to be a serious player in the final after an impressive run on Saturday night. The Larry Eastman trained gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere / Dreams Of Heaven rated 1:57.7 (last half 55.8) and motored to the line in the straight. Chris Alford drove the winner. Consistent Justbritell was second, Rule Of Thumb third and Artistic Flite fourth. 1st heat 2nd heat 3rd heat by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

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