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In his last three victories the Kevin Pizzuto trained Freyberg has beaten several Gr. 1 performers.  Four starts ago he proved too strong for three time Gr. 1 winner Gaius Caesar, two starts ago he beat 2013 Blacks A Fake winner Ideal Scott and Inter Dominion placegetter Seel N Print and last weekend he spoiled the party when he ran down Smoken Up in what will be the dual Miracle Mile winner's last run at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "He is going really well at the moment, actually it is probably better described as flying because he is just getting better and better," Pizzuto said. "What I am really happy with is that he has developed some gate speed while he has been racing up in the grades, when he first arrived from New Zealand he didn't possess much early speed at all but with the experience against the better ones he is learning and his gate speed is now becoming vital in these races." Freyberg has been driven predominantly by Inter Dominion winning reinsman James Rattray and Pizzuto acknowledges that he will be on the lookout for a new driver next season. "I want to target Freyberg for races like the Miracle Mile and that means he may clash with Beautide at some stage and James won't be able to drive my horse, we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it and it isn't a major worry but it is something that I have been thinking about with all of his good recent runs. "Freyberg arrived in Australia and was eligible to compete in C2 races and I actually took him to Penrith for his first three starts and he ended up winning five in a row before he was beaten for me." Freyberg is no stranger to Gr. 1 level after he placed third in the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown last December behind Washakie. "I'm going to set him a pretty big campaign next season and hopefully he can work his way into some of the big races, it would be nice to have a runner in the big ones." By Greg Hayes (HRNSW)                                                                                                                                         

With the end of the season only just over four weeks away it is no surprise to see some trainers and drivers in New South Wales reaching milestones. Driver Gavin Fitzpatrick recently brought up his 100th winner in the sulky for the season, Belinda McCarthy made it consecutive seasons of training 100 winners and KerryAnn Turner was able to join the 100 club on Saturday night as a driver when Fernleigh Renegade won at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "It was really nice to bring up 100 winners as a driver on the weekend and it is actually something I would never get the opportunity to do because Robbie (Morris) does most of the driving for our stable," Turner said. "But with Robbie on the sidelines with his injured leg it gave me a few more opportunities late in the season and I have been able to get to the magical 100." Turner was full of praise for the support she had received from her owners and family. "I couldn't have driven all those winners without the support of all of the owners we have. Obviously we have been having a good run lately and July has been a pretty good month because I also was able to train a couple of Gr. 2 winners in the Breeders Challenge Blue Finals." "Also both Robbie's family and my family have been great, it really has been a team effort and all the hard work has really paid off." With Robbie Morris due back from injury in the short term, Turner is happy to take a back seat when it comes to the race driving. "Yes definitely, it will be good to have Rob back because I much prefer the training side of things to the driving, don't get me wrong I enjoy the driving but I just get a bigger thrill out of the training of the horses." "With a month of the season still left it would be nice to get another 10 winners or so but I will just have to see how everything unfolds over the next few weeks." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing Australia)

There will not be a dry eye at the track should the David Thorn trained Gamebreaker win Thursday night's The MonSTaR Foundation Danny Bergan Memorial at Penrith. One of Gamebreaker's owners in Danny Bergan's son, Daniel, and after an approach was made to Harness Racing New South Wales permission has been granted for the son of Mach Three to wear Bergan's old race colours. On the 10th March 2007 Danny Bergan passed away after a two year battle with Motor Neurone Disease and in his memory, Danny's son Daniel and good friend Stuart Jamieson set out to do all they could to ensure that Danny's wife was financially secure and they would do all they could to help raise awareness and research into the debilitating disease. In 2010, Daniel and Stuart took their fundraising efforts and linked up with the MonSTaR Foundation and since then all money raised at the Danny Bergan fundraisers has gone directly to the Foundation, a body that has raised over $1 million, all in the name of supporting sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease. Daniel and Stuart have raised a combined total of $320,000 over the last five years with the majority of the money going to the MonSTaR Foundation and Thursday's meeting at Penrith will be another fundraising event. Gamebreaker is only lightly raced, having had two starts for a victory, however the four year old has not raced since August of last year. "He is beautifully bred, he is out of a half sister to Blacks A Fake and we have had to be a bit patient because he has had a few issues," syndicate manager Mitch Lenaghan said. "If it could win on Thursday night for Daniel and his family, wearing Danny's colours, it would be a very special night." The MonSTaR Foundation Danny Bergan Memorial is race five at Penrith and is scheduled to begin at 8:17. By Greg Hayes  

In his last three victories the Kevin Pizzuto trained Freyberg has beaten several Gr. 1 performers. Four starts ago he proved too strong for three time Gr. 1 winner Gaius Caesar, two starts ago he beat 2013 Blacks A Fake winner Ideal Scott and Inter Dominion placegetter Seel N Print and last weekend he spoiled the party when he ran down Smoken Up in what will be the dual Miracle Mile winner's last run at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "He is going really well at the moment, actually it is probably better described as flying because he is just getting better and better," Pizzuto said. "What I am really happy with is that he has developed some gate speed while he has been racing up in the grades, when he first arrived from New Zealand he didn't possess much early speed at all but with the experience against the better ones he is learning and his gate speed is now becoming vital in these races." Freyberg has been driven predominantly by Inter Dominion winning reinsman James Rattray and Pizzuto acknowledges that he will be on the lookout for a new driver next season. "I want to target Freyberg for races like the Miracle Mile and that means he may clash with Beautide at some stage and James won't be able to drive my horse, we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it and it isn't a major worry but it is something that I have been thinking about with all of his good recent runs. "Freyberg arrived in Australia and was eligible to compete in C2 races and I actually took him to Penrith for his first three starts and he ended up winning five in a row before he was beaten for me." Freyberg is no stranger to Gr. 1 level after he placed third in the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown last December behind Washakie. "I'm going to set him a pretty big campaign next season and hopefully he can work his way into some of the big races, it would be nice to have a runner in the big ones." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing NSW)

Goulburn harness racing trainer Brad Hewitt celebrated the biggest win of his career when his two year old Spare Me Days won the Breeders Challenge Blue Final for two year old colts and geldings on Saturday night. Unfortunately for Hewitt he was unable to be trackside for the victory as he was in Queensland with his smart three year old Im Jay Tee. "Yeah it was really good to win a race like that, it was my first group win as a trainer and to see Dad (David Hewitt) drive him and win a nice race like that made it even more special," Hewitt said. "Dad had only had three or four drives back from a nasty fall at Canberra and it was actually his first night back driving at Menangle." Hewitt bred and owns Spare Me Days and has now decided to spell the son of Ifihadyourluck. "He's going to the paddock, he had a few little niggling issues in the lead up to the main Breeders Challenge final and his run in that race was huge, he galloped at the start and probably lost 30 metres and was only beaten about three. "There's not a whole lot of him so I think the spell will help him. He is a beautiful natured horse but once you take him to the races he turns into a machine." Stablemate Im Jay Tee will compete in Saturday night's Queensland Derby and Hewitt was impressed by his performance in last Saturday's Gold Coast Derby. "He ran fifth in the Futurity in his first run in Queensland and I was pretty disappointed with that but he did have to travel up from home so maybe that flattened him a bit." "The run on Saturday night was much better. He hit the line really well and was taking ground off horses like Bling It On and Alleluia so if he gets the right trip this week I don't think he will be too far away." By Greg Hayes  | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Hunter Valley harness racin trainer Shane Tritton is hoping he can go one better on his second placing in the Sunshine Sprint when he launches his attacking raid on the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park this Saturday night. Tritton has three runners in the race this weekend but his two main chances according to the bookmakers, Mach Beauty and Suave Stuey Lombo have drawn the same gates this week as they did in the Sunshine Sprint. "I'm happy with the draw for all three of my horses, obviously Mach (Beauty) drawing one is ideal because he needs to be on the fence, Suave Stuey Lombo can work forward this week from seven because he lost all winning chance in the Sunshine Sprint when he went back while Brave Wiggy should get a nice economical trip from barrier two," Tritton said. "Mach Beauty had a pretty tough run on Saturday night and was well beaten by Chilli Palmer but I think I have been a bit easy on him since I arrived in Queensland because I have been working on a new track. I will be really drilling the work into him this week and I expect him to be a much better prospect." Tritton acknowledges Im Themightyquinn is going to be incredibly hard to beat and deserves his favouritism. "He has been a great horse for so long and he has been in great form since he arrived in Brisbane including that huge win in the Sunshine Sprint when the track record was smashed." The Blacks A Fake has been a graveyard for short priced favourites since the race was elevated to Gr. 1 status, in fact three of the last four years has seen stars beaten. In 2012 Smoken Up was rolled by Terrorway, in 2011 Blacks A Fake tasted defeat at the hands of Georgetown while Mr Feelgood finished behind Rohan Home. The other Gr. 1 event on the night will be the Queensland Derby and the Tritton stable will be represented by Yayas Hotspot. "Gate three is good for him, he has been racing without the hood this time in and he hasn't been the same horse so I have decided to put the hood back on him and if his work early this week has been anything to go by I think he will improve a great deal." By Greg Hayes Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

The annual Canberra Harness Racing Club Presentation night signalled the end of another stellar season of racing in the nation's capital. The evening's biggest winner was local trainer Michael Hawke who took home four awards including the coveted Trainer Of The Year Award. "The stable had a really good year and to win 14 races this season and pick up the Trainer Of The Year title and the Local Trainer Of The Year has been a great effort by everyone who comes and helps out at the stables," Hawke said. "I had a bad race fall during the season which meant I wasn't able to do as much as I wanted to do for a little while but my daughter Melissa made sure everything ran smoothly and it was great to see a couple of horses she drove for me during the year receive awards too." Perfect Trouble trained by Hawke, won Horse Of The Year winning five races throughout the season and also placed a further four times. Stable mate Runs On Attitude won the Juvenile Horse Of The Year thanks to three wins and five placings throughout the season from thirteen starts. Scott Osmond made a clean sweep of the driving awards picking up Driver Of The Year and Local Driver Of The Year. "It was great to get so much support this season from outside stables and if it wasn't for that type of support then I couldn't have won the awards," Osmond said. Osmond finished the season with 10 wins and 29 placings from 95 drives. The John Platts Appreciation Award was won by Leanne Nugent for all of the help she provided the club throughout the year while Shelly and Paul Evans won the Encouragement Award. By Greg Hayes | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

The NSW Rising Stars series continued at Penrith last night with the Riverina's Todd Prest closing in on leader Chris Geary following a victory with the Ian Wilson trained Charli Springfield. The opening event was taken out by the Blake Fitzpatrick trained Iam Ready for Maitland's Grace Grant which has elevated her to third position on the leader board. The current points tally is as follows; Chris Geary 71 Todd Prest 65 Grace Grant 53 Jack Trainor 47 Kristy Sheehy (WA) 47 Mitch Turnbull 47 Kasey Hocking 41 Nathan Xuereb 37 Max Hughes 36 Liam Armstrong 18 Mitch Turnbull - Western Dist - 4 The next three heats will be held tomorrow at Bathurst Harness Racing Club race 1 - 5:14pm, race 3 - 6:06pm & race 5 - 7:10pm The fourth round of heats will be conducted at Newcastle tomorrow night before concluding with a final heat at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday. Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales  

The NSW Rising Stars series continued at Bathurst last night and with Chris Geary winning yet another heat (his third) the 16 year old takes a comfortable lead into tonight's Penrith meeting. The opening event was taken out by the Ashlee Siejka trained Marquez for local junior Mitch Turnbull. Geary took out the next heat when he scored in strong fashion on 30-1 outsider Tulhurst Sarsha for trainer Nathan Hurst. The Riverina's Todd Prest led all the way in the final heat aboard Warner for Peter Trevor-Jones gaining valuable points which elevated him into second place on the leader board. The current points tally is as follows; Chris Geary 60 Todd Prest 41 Jack Trainor 35 Kristy Sheehy (WA) 34 Kasey Hocking 33Mitch Turnbull 31 Grace Grant 29 Nathan Xuereb 29 Max Hughes 25 Liam Armstrong 13 Mitch Turnbull - Western Dist - 4 The next three heats will be held tomorrow at Bathurst Harness Racing Club race 1 - 5:14pm, race 3 - 6:06pm & race 5 - 7:10pm The third round of heats will be conducted at Penrith this evening. HRNSW

Newcastle Harness Racing Club has appointed former Wyong Race Club Chief Executive Tony Drew as its new General Manager. Drew will start next month in the role left vacant when Ross Gigg died suddenly on May 8 from a heart attack at age 58. The former Penrith Panthers centre spent 22 years in the job and became a highly respected and much loved figure in harness racing. Drew has a long history in racing administration, serving as Racing and Operations Manager at Newcastle Jockey Club for a decade then as CEO at Wyong from 2000 to late last year. Drew will commence his duties with the Newcastle HRC in a fortnight's time. Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales  

There has been no shortage of races and horses in the Riverina this season with a further 12 races at Wagga on Friday an equal record high for the club. With only one meeting in the Riverina this week, Wagga received overwhelming response with the program running for six hours and starting just prior to noon. It's the second time Wagga has held 12 races and follows on from similar large programs at Young in recent meetings. The meeting will be highlighted by two heats of the Menangle Where Country Horses Fly series which are both worth $10,000. "Harness Racing New South Wales approved the additional races otherwise too many horses would have missed out on a start," Wagga chief executive Graeme White said. "It's important all horses are able to race otherwise owners turn their horses out through frustration of not gaining a start - that then impacts on your fields sizes for months later." White said there would be some doubling up of race day stalls between trainers with horses in early and late races, but this was unavoidable due to the large numbers. Leading trainer Shaun Snudden said it was pleasing to see additional races especially with the higher graded races also attracting a field of eight. "You can't afford to be balloting out a lot of horses especially at this time of the year when it's normally a little quieter for horses," he said. Snudden will start eight horses and will swap his own colours for those of the late Shelton Smith with his two horses, Gesturestar and Starzzz In Order. "They have a good following those two horses and hopefully they can win for the family,:" Snudden said. Shelton Smith passed away on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. Meanwhile, Wagga is working towards the end of an 11 week straight racing sequence which will draw to a close on July 4. The club's next feature meeting is on Friday night, June 27, when the Norm Johnson Memorial for three-year-olds will be held. There will also be bonuses on all races for Standardbred Owners Association members. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |

Alectown harness racing trainer Nathan Townsend has only one horse racing currently but he is hoping his lone charge can play a major role in the Peak Hill Ex-Services and Citizens Club Final this Sunday afternoon after winning a heat of the $10,000 event last weekend. Three Point Turn proved too strong for the short priced favourite Fantasy Level but Townsend believes he will need his runner to improve again in the final. "We bought Three Point Turn from New Zealand and when we first got him we thought he must have been one of the slowest horses ever to come out of there but he is racing very consistently now," Townsend said. "He doesn't have a very fast sprint but he can run 30 second quarters consistently, he just finds it a bit tough when they run a 28 second quarter because he just can't go with them. But with such a big rise in the Peak Hill track from the 600 metre mark to the winning post the track suits him nicely." Sunday's meeting at Peak Hill is part of HRNSW's Carnival Of Cups and with the strong prizemoney on offer Townsend is hoping to grab a share of it for his owners. "Unfortunately one of Three Point Turn's owners passed away a couple of months ago at the young age of 42 and it would be nice to get a good result for his family." "I drove a horse in another of the heats called Half Crown Gap and I think he is going to take a lot of beating in the final. I was forced out wide a long way from home last Sunday and I poked along outside them and was only grabbed right on the line. He is definitely the horse to beat." Townsend is hoping to qualify a three year old filly this weekend which would effectively double his team. "She's by Art Major and I'm planning on trialling her. It has been a bit quiet for me in regards to the horses but I have been very busy on the farm which has taken up the majority of my time." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Monday's meeting at Fairfield is part of the TAB Carnival Of Cups and Secretary-Manager of the 'Trotdome' Ross Scherf is expecting plenty of excitement on and off the track. The feature event, the time honoured J.D Watts Memorial has attracted a strong field and Scherf admits that it is the race he is looking forward to the most. "A standing start event over 2513 metres is a great spectacle and it has been won by some very good horses in the past." "The club is also running the 'Moment Of Glory' for horses that haven't had much success in their careers, the Bat Out Of Hell will be run over 1313 metres." On the subject of the JD Watts Memorial a strong field has been drawn with former South Australian based trainer Aaron Brown looking to break through for a NSW feature with Rathmore Lady. The mare put the writing on the wall at Menangle last start with a close third behind Armbro Chimes after storming home from the tail of the field at the 400 metres. She has drawn ideally off the front row and is likely to make her presence felt. Adam Brand will perform for the final time for Harness Racing NSW and Scherf has confirmed there will be three bookmakers on course for the strong crowd expected. "There will be a jumping castle for the kids and being a public holiday I'm expecting a very good rollup." Just by being on course at Fairfield on Monday, patrons will get the chance to go into the draw to win a brand new Toyota Yaris to be drawn at the Harness Racing New South Wales Awards Night on October 25. The first of ten races is scheduled for 1pm. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

It has been twenty years since Tess Wilkes (nee Gleeson) has driven in harness races. The talented horsewoman has driven in more than 800 races in her career and after two decades away from the support decided the time was right to make a comeback to the sport she loves. "My husband and I are working horses on our property at Rainbow Flat which is halfway between Forster and Taree. We have four gallopers and one pacer" Wilkes said. "There is a trotting trainer who lives just around the corner and he had been at me to drive one of his horses in work just on the beach and I had been saying no, but I decided to have a go one day and fell in love with it all over again, it was like I had never left." Wilkes was told she would need to compete in ten trials and has already driven in nine. "Shane Tritton has been helping me out giving me a few drives. I will have my tenth trial drive later this week so I won't be far away from having my first drive back." "The horse I'm training is called Kandidate, we bought him from Victoria. He has good early speed, he probably needs to toughen up a bit but I think that will come." When Wilkes gave the sport away in 1994 she decided it was time to have a life away from harness racing. "I did all the things I wanted to do. I got married, I had three beautiful kids and we went into a few different businesses but the love of horses was always going to be strong." "Our property is thirty acres and we have spent a fair bit of time setting it up. Hopefully in time we will be able to build up the team, it would be nice to be training three or four." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing    

The Cowra Harness Racing Club will conduct their annual TAB Carnival of Cups meeting this Sunday afternoon and there is plenty of attraction both on and off the track. The $11,000 Tritech Refrigeration Cowra Cup is the feature event on the eight race card and a strong line up has been drawn. The Ashlee Siejka trained and driven Mister Chow will be well fancied off the front line and recent performances suggest he is closing in on victory. The four-year-old faced the breeze at Dubbo last Sunday and was far from disgraced in finishing third behind Just Grange in fast time. Siejka is strongly represented at the meeting with Marquez (race four), Red Vee Hanover (race eight) and Packnplenty (race nine). Three-year-old Marquez finished a nice third in a Bathurst trial a fortnight ago and off the front row draw is expected to figure in the finish. Sky Racing's number harness caller Fred Hastings will be on deck to call the meeting. "I try and get to as many Carnival of Cups meetings as I can," said Hastings. "From a callers point of view they are most enjoyable and it is noticeable how the country folk get in and support the meetings through their attendance. "Following on from the big success at Dubbo last Sunday I'm looking for to my first venture to Cowra this week." Just by being on course one lucky patron will go into the draw to win a brand new Toyota Yaris which will be announced at the HRNSW Awards night on October 25. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |

The NSW Standardbred Owners Association in conjunction with participating race clubs and HRNSW will once again conduct the NSWSOA Bonus Scheme during 2014. The conditions are the same as last year's series and are as follows: 1. To be eligible for the NSWSOA Bonus Scheme, the Managing Owner of the winning horse must be a financial member of the NSWSOA at acceptance time for the nominated event; 2. To qualify for the NSW Breeders Challenge component of the bonus as sponsored by HRNSW: a) Condition 1 must be met; b) any 2yo or 3yo winner must have sustained their eligibility this season; c) any 4yo or older winner must have sustained their eligibility as a 2yo and/or 3yo. Eligible winners will win the following cash prizes: 1. NSWSOA Bonus - if the Managing Owner is a financial Member of the NSWSOA, the NSWSOA will contribute $250, the Club will contribute $250; 2. HRNSW Bonus - if the horse is sustained or was sustained for the NSW Breeders Challenge, HRNSW will contribute $500. The total bonus payable per race is $1,000 and there is no limit on how many races individual horses can win in the Scheme. The race date schedule is as follows and the NSWSOA Bonus is applicable to every programmed event: Metro Hunter Western Districts South West & Riverina Menangle 10 June Newcastle 18 July Parkes 28 June Wagga 27 June Penrith 10 July   Dubbo 20 July Young 27 July Bankstown 28 August   Bathurst 20 August     Membership forms may be downloaded from the NSWSOA website www.nswsoa.org.au Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

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