Day At The Track
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The South East trainer-driver Finnis combination of father Barry, the trainer, and son Jayson the driver, came to Globe Derby Park on the weekend and went home with three winners. On Friday night, talented three-year-old Jumping Jolt beat the older horses, then on Saturday it was another three-year-old Oceans Predator’s turn to beat older horses and two-year-old Shania Black to make a very impressive debut. Jumping Jolt was a virtually unbackable $1.30 favourite when resuming from a short let up in the AMC Commercial Cleaning Pace (1800m). He justified that quote scoring a 4-1/2 metre win from Ashkii ($4.70) with Bolt Action Blood ($8.60) a head away third finishing quickly. Starting from gate seven Finnis allowed the gelding to drop out to the tail of the field early before unleashing his quick sprint going into the back straight moving alongside the leader Ashkii before putting him away in the home straight. “The leader put up a good fight,” Finnis said, “but my bloke was up for it and won well. “That was his first run for nearly two months and he will be improved by the run.” Jumping Jolt has an excellent record of nine wins and a second from just 11 starts. The up-coming Southern Cross series for three-year-old colts and geldings in Adelaide is the goal for Jumping Jolt and also Ocean’s Predator which looked good on Saturday night. “He’s a pretty handy back up,” Finnis said. “He’s been a bit slow maturing but he is coming along really well now.” Unbackable at $1.10, Oceans Predator scored a 9-1/2 metre win in the PFD Foods Pace (1800m) defeating Major Rainbow ($11.90) with Blackntan ($15.70), 6-1/2 metres away third. Coming from gate four, Oceans Predator was forced to lead the one-wide runners and after sitting back early, the driver elected to allow him to move forward midrace then dashed him away in the home straight. “He still takes a bit of driving and is learning as he goes,” Finnis said. “The win wasn’t as easy as it looked but he is as a nice horse.” Finnis gave a good pointer to his thoughts of the promise of Oceans Predator. “To sit in the death and win at Stawell running 1:59.8 is something that isn’t done all that often,” he said. Mount Gambier club president Phil Wood was as happy as anyone when Shania Black made a winning debut in the Maughan Thiem Ford Ranger Pace (1800m). The filly’s part-owner-breeder Peter Medhurst, agreed to sell Shania Black’s dam Jet Lane to Woods and the mare has produced a filly by Mister Feelgood. “Peter said he had too many horses on his property and we came to an arrangement over Jet Lane as I think he is hoping Shania Black can take over from her dam to keep the family line going,” Woods said. A $2.50 chance, Shania Black cruised to the lead from gate four and although challenged about 500 metres from home, beat off Opinionated ($1.90 fav) to score by 6-1/2 metres with Fiametta ($10.80), 17 metres away third. Finnis said the filly would be the stable’s only two-year-old runner in the Southern Cross series. “We had a few other two-year-olds but they just couldn’t reach the track at this stage. “This filly can fire up a bit in front and is still learning about racing. “I’d prefer to have her racing with a sit but tonight she went to the front untouched so there was no option but to keep the lead. “When the runner-up came alongside down the back she really didn’t know what it was all about but once I asked her to go she responded in great style.” Graham Fischer

Owners Peter and Lesley Medhurst, from Glencoe in South Australia’s South-East, had a very successful 24 hours capped by Jumping Jolt’s win in the 2016 Trotsguide.Com.Au SA Sires Produce Stakes (2230m). Trained by son-in-law Barry Finnis, and driven by grandson Jayson Finnis, Jumping Jolt ($2.20 fav) led throughout in the Sires to score a two metre win from Official Art ($4.20) with Presidentmach ($2.60) 12 metres away third. For the Medhursts, it was their fourth win at Globe Derby Park in 24 hours. On Friday night, Validated and Big Bruce, won the final two events for trainer-driver Bronte Giorgio, and earlier on Saturday night, Officianado, also from the Finnis team, was successful. Incredibly, as it the case with all their horses, the winners were also bred by the Medhursts. But it was Jumping Jolt which was the most pleasing of the wins. “He’s definitely the favourite at home,” Medhurst said. “He shows plenty of promise and we are all excited about how he is going.” The Sires developed as most expected with Jumping Jolt leading from gate four and Presidentmach, trained by Jon Kingston-Mayne, coming across to sit outside him. Again, as expected, the pressure went on down the back and Jumping Jolt beat off Presidentmach to take a clear advantage on straightening and looking headed for a comfortable win. It was left to Official Art, a stablemate of Presidentmach, to emerge from back in the field and sprint home strongly but the post arrived too soon. Jayson Finnis said there was plenty of improvement in Jumping Jolt. “We don’t have anything at home which can keep up with him in trackwork,” Finnis said. “So he goes to the races not at his peak and hard racing will definitely improve his fitness." "Tonight’s run will be a great help.” The Medhurst-Finnis team are proud supporters of harness racing in the South East and as such Jumping Jolt will head to the $5500 Mount Gambier Derby (2190m) on Monday, March 28. It is only after that run connections will decide whether to head back to Adelaide for the $10,000 Gawler Derby (2230m) at Globe Derby on Saturday, April 2. “I think he could handle the two runs in less than a week but we will wait until after Mount Gambier before making that decision,” Finnis said. Earlier in the night, Officianado ($2.80) sat outside the lead throughout to win the BGC Industrial Cleaning Supplies Pace (1800m). The four-year-old scored by 1-1/2 metres from Lombo Del Rosso ($8.60) with On Stage ($100.70) a head away third. Officianado rated in 1:59.0 in winning and in the process put away the leader, the $2.30 favourite Cheersbigears which faded to fourth. Medhurst was pleased with the tough win but driver Finnis proved a hard marker. “He should be winning easier than that,” Finnis said, “after all he was placed in the Southern Cross last year.” It was Officianado’s sixth win from 23 starts with 15 placings and took his stakes to in excess of $34,000. Graham Fischer

“The future belongs to those who plan for it,” is a quote from the late great thoroughbred trainer Colin Hayes who made a move from suburban Semaphore in Adelaide to the world famous Lindsay Park Stud at Angaston in the Barossa Valley. It can also apply to former dairy and sheep farmer Peter Medhurst from Glencoe in the South-East of South Australia. Medhurst, 73, has transformed an enjoyable hobby into a successful business. When he sold his farming interests about eight years ago, Medhurst set up a breeding and training property for son-in-law Barry Finnis and his wife Katherine and their son Jayson. It is all encompassing with the training stables and work track alongside the paddocks containing the mares, foals and up and coming young horses. At present Medhurst retains a strong interest in the breeding side of the operation leaving the training to Barry and driving to Jayson. “When I was in the cattle and sheep industry I believed breeding to be a very important aspect and it forms the foundation of the business,” Medhurst said. “I ran a good business for more than 40 years so I guess the principles on which I operated must have been good. “When I got involved in harness racing I brought the same breeding ideas across, and it looks like they are still working.” Medhurst, capably backed by his wife Lesley, has built up an amazing broodmare band, the majority tracing back to his first standardbred purchase. Progeny from the Medhurst property have won races in most states of Australia and even in the United States. The Medhurst name has been synonymous in South Australian racing circles for nearly a century. It began with Roy ‘Mick’ Medhurst who was one of the state’s leading jockeys in the 30s and 40s who was inducted into the South Australian Hall of Fame in 2010 and who was an uncle of Peter. Peter’s involvement in harness racing began in 1989 when he purchased a yearling filly by Kentucky from the Garry Rowan mare Scarlet Sunrise. Named Roses In Paris she won nine races, including at Moonee Valley and Globe Derby and little could he have hoped what was about to begin. At stud, Roses In Paris produced 12 foals of which 11 were winners and from the family more than 100 wins have come. Roses In Paris, now 27, is still alive on Medhurst’s Glencoe property and despite her age still has a mothering influence over the horses on the farm, and as the matriarch, and since most are her descendants, that is only right and proper. She was twice South Australian broodmare of the year, and one of her foals, Surfing Queen has also replicated that feat. “When I started breeding I spoke with noted breeding expert Bob McArdle and he was extremely helpful and I tried to pedigree match, always going to the best stallions,” Medhurst said. “I also breed every second year from most of the mares, both to try and keep numbers manageable, and not to overtax the mare.” The Roses In Paris’ progeny include prolific winners Catch A Bouquet, Thorninmyside, King Grin, Mister Seelster, Paris to Berlin and Pete’s Elect which Medhurst sent to the United States where he was successful with a career-best mile rate of 1:51:6. She also produced Surfing Queen who has really carried the family success with prolific winners Surface To Air, Forty Seven Flash, Flaming Hero and Three Queens. “While I love the breeding side of the operation, really the setup is to hopefully be a bonus for Barry and Jayson in the future because I won’t be around forever,” Medhurst said. “I have to thank Tony Herlihy (champion New Zealand reinsman) for his help in building the team and also for taking Jayson for three months’ work experience.” Medhurst loves every winner because he knows just how tough it is to win a race but the stable’s success over more than a quarter of a century sees two cabinets full of trophies and a wall of photos longer than a cricket pitch. Such is his pride in Roses In Paris he has had a special photo made up with a list of all her winners. He is also rightfully proud of having five winners on a night at Mount Gambier on January 17, 2014 – Flaming Hero, Top Share, Paris To Berlin, White Eyed Girl and Jet Boat. All were bred and owned by Peter and Lesley Medhurst, trained by Barry Finnis and driven by Jayson Finnis. That was an ultimate family affair. In the 2014/15 South Australian premierships, the Finnis father and son made the top 10 with Barry training 38 winners and Jayson driving 37. Expect similar numbers again this season, perhaps more. Considering that Mount Gambier only has a short racing season, the Medhurst-Finnis team has to travel incredible distances to pursue their hobby/business. It is a 10-hour return trip to Adelaide and the stable is fortunate the western district tracks in Victoria are closer but they are forever on the road when the team is in full training. “I’ve lived here for 73 years and never seen a reason to move,” Medhurst said.  There can be no doubt that Peter Medhurst has done an amazing job planning for the future. by Graham Fischer

South-Eastern pacers dominated the two semi-finals (2230m) of the Southern Cross Series for three-year-old harness racing colts and geldings at Globe Derby Park. Hez The One, trained by Rebecca East at Heywood, was an easy winner of the first semi-final while Jax Navaro, trained by Barry Finnis at Glencoe, impressed in his narrow victory in the second semi-final. A well backed $2.30 favourite, Hez The One, driven by Danielle Hill, came from midfield with a lap to go to dash clear down the back straight and win easily by 14 metres from Officianado ($6.20), trained by Finnis, with Loanshark ($22.80) a metre and a half away third. East was delighted with the win and believes the three-year-old is still on the improve. “We have found a few minor things which we have worked on and he certainly appears to going better,” East said. “He had been a bit of a query at the end of races over tonight’s distance but I felt he was a lot stronger and after making a long run kept going.” Hill agreed. “I really didn’t want to go too early but he wanted to go and I was wary about getting a cart into the race,” Hill said. “When he went forward he just wanted to keep going and even though we went in front a long way out I kept roaring at him up the home straight and he was strong to the line.” Driver Jayson Finnis proved himself a good judge when Jax Navaro won the second semi-final. A week earlier after leading throughout on Jax Navaro, Finnis said the gelding would be better with a sit, and so it proved. A $2.50 chance, Jax Navaro came from near last to cut down Blurred Lines ($1.90 fav) by a half head with The Reprisal ($56) 20 metres away third. “He settled a lot better back in the field because he does still get a bit keen in the preliminary,” Finnis said. “When I asked him to improve he sprinted quickly but I wasn’t sure I could catch the leader (Blurred Lines) because it had had a good run in front.” But Jax Navaro responded to grab Blurred Lines in the shadow of the post. Graham Fischer

The semi-finals of the Southern Cross Series for two-year-old harness racing colts and geldings suggested an excellent final is on the cards this Saturday night, August 1. Glencoe trainer Barry Finnis has a smart two-year-old in Jumping Jolt which gets better with racing and was an all the way winner of the first semi-final. The second semi saw a ‘match race’ between two quality pacers with Presidentmach bringing to an end the winning run of Rap Artist. Jumping Jolt, driven by Jayson Finnis, was able to lead from gate three in the first semi-final as a $3.60 chance, and he dictated with two easy quarters, to win by seven metres from The Big Show ($6.10) with Regal Major ($2.70) nine and a half metres away third. “He has taken a lot of work to get to the track,” Finnis said, “but once he got the idea he has been a quick improver." “He won easily tonight and appreciated being able to lead.” Jumping Jolt is a descendant from one of South Australia’s most well-known female families tracing back to the mighty mare Bonnie Eden, trained by Rex Vanstone and driven by Bill Shinn. She produced the top mare Bonnie Bright who had Bonnie Bonnie and the family goes on to Jamaka Run, the dam of Jumping Jolt. The second semi-final was a thriller. Rap Artist, unbeaten in two starts was a red hot favourite at $1.30 with Presidentmach ($3.50) a winner of his last two starts, considered the only danger. Mark Billinger, the normal driver of Presidentmach, trains and drives Rap Artist, so Danielle Hill got the drive on the Jon Kingston-Mayne trained gelding. On the first score up, Presidentmach, from gate one, was unruly causing a false start, but on the second start he came away perfectly and held Rap Artist, from gate two, out forcing the favourite to sit outside him. After a comfortable 31.1 first quarter, Billinger started applying the pressure but Presidentmach answered the challenge. The pair came home with 29.0 and 28.8 final quarters but Presidentmach was too good scoring by a metre and a half from Rap Artist and they spaced v b  the rest with Alldaybliss ($25.10) 31 and a half metres away third. But for his indiscretion, Presidentmach will be placed out of the draw for this week’s final. Danielle Hill said it was unfortunate. “If I had driven him before I would have been more away of his characteristics, and it was this reason he played up the first time,” Hill said. “Once I was aware of his habits he was no problem the second time.” Billinger said he was pleased with Rap Artist’s run. “I know the winner is pretty smart and it was always going to be tough to sit outside him and win,” Billinger said. Graham Fischer 

Royalty reigned supreme, and the harness racing punters rejoiced, in the $10,000 Maughan Thiem Ford Country Graduation Final (2230m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, April 4. Three Queens, the well backed $1.50 favourite, led throughout from gate one and her rivals were left to acknowledge the Queen. Flagbearer ($7.10) trailed the leader and had every chance but had to be content with a 5.7 metre second and Reil Quick ($20) was third, a further 13.2 metres back.  Driven by Jayson Finnis, son of trainer Barry, Three Queens rated 2:00:2 sprinting home her last quarter in 28.6 seconds. Part-owner-breeder Peter Medhurst, from Glencoe in South Australia’s South-East, said he had never been sure of victory, even though betting suggested the mare was, and his friends kept telling him she couldn’t be beaten. “I’ve been around long enough to know there is no such thing as a certainty,” Medhurst said. “But the race developed as we hoped it would. “We were a bit unsure about how much action there would be early but it was always our intention to try and lead throughout. “As the race developed Jayson was able to rate the mare as he wanted and I guess she had earned the respect of her rivals that no-one came to try and pressure us.” Medhurst bred Three Queens by Mach Three out of his star broodmare Surfing Queen, currently the state’s broodmare of the year. “She won a few races but is proving a star in the breeding barn,” he said. “Apart from those racing, Surfing Queen has a three-year-old and two-year-old nearly ready to race as well as a foal at foot.” Medhurst said Three Queens had been a late starter because she had a twisted leg as a young horse but with maturity the leg had corrected and she suffered no ill effects. The Maughan Thiem Ford final was Three Queen’s ninth win from just 14 starts. “We like to try and place our horses to use the handicapping system to pick up wins and the South Australian system enables up to do it better than in Victoria but we are going to have to head across the border soon. “Later this year we will look to have a look at the better mares races in Victoria to see if Three Queens can measure up.” by Graham Fischer

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