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Last year Bernie and Cath Hewitt were delighted to lay their hands on their maiden Gold Crown trophy, but now they have another career first to celebrate. The Bathurst Harness Racing Club has announced the Georges Plains couple as the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival honourees. The Hewitts are synonymous with the harness racing industry and undoubtedly had their greatest season last year with Group 1 success with College Chapel in the Gold Crown and Royal Story in the Breeders Challenge Finals. “My board’s selection of Bernie and Cath as the Gold Crown honourees for this year is a reward for their many years of service and dedication to the harness racing industry,” club president Wayne Barker said. “Any success in sport only comes about through sheer hard work and dedication to the cause and Bernie and Cath epitomise this, so it was a very easy decision for the board to select them this year as our honourees." Bernie Hewitt has trained and driven 1,400 winners since 1983 and rates Nikalong Shadow, Super Nik, Pretty Sassy and Read About Lexy as some of the best horses he has trained and driven. “I’ve been very fortunate to drive some great horses throughout my career. Nikalong Shadow was one of the best, he was trained by Dad, won 45 races and also contested the 1989 Inter Dominion in Perth. I have very fond memories of that year,” Hewitt said. “It seems such a long time ago now since I drove my very first winner, Smokey Comedy at Canberra back in the late 70s. "I would have only been out of school 12 months then, but that first win is something I’ll never forget. “This is a tough sport and a lot of long hours involved in the training and racing, however Cath and I love what we do and I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the love and support that Cath has given to me. Cath deserves the recognition as much as me.” The Hewitt family relocated to Bathurst in 2001 and had instant success, winning two Bathurst training and driving premierships. They eventually set up their home at Georges Plains, which now encompasses a magnificent establishment that can cater for up to 45 horses. “I have everything I need here at home. I can walk out the back door and basically start work straight away,” Hewitt said. “It is fantastic to see Jase, Doug and Gem all involved with harness racing. All three have been very successful in the training and driving ranks as well. I couldn’t be any more proud of them. “It’s was a shock to us both when we were informed of about the selection, and to be included in the list of Gold Crown Honourees, the who’s who of harness racing, it doesn’t get any better than that." By Danny Dwyer Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

THE Bathurst Harness Racing Club played host to coaching staff and players from the Panthers and St Pats Rugby League Football Clubs on Sunday afternoon. Formerly known as Group 10 Day, the meeting was very entertaining both on and off the race track with the highlight on the 10-race program being the Group 10 Rugby League Cup. Run over the 2260 metre journey, the small field didn’t disappoint as the fireworks went on from the outset. Bernie Hewitt was able to fire royally bred mare Make Mine Heaven ($2.50) out of gate three to cross the second elect Coolie Kid ($4.60) who was the likely leader as he had drawn inside the favourite. But after just 500 metres, driver Mitch Turnbull was having no part in allowing Hewitt to dictate terms and he came off the pegs to challenge strongly and take up the running. From there, Turnbull was taking no prisoners as he reeled off sub 30 second quarters. Leaving the back, Hewitt moved off Coolie Kid’s back to challenge and it was clearly evident that the leader was a spent force. Coolie Kid tried in vain to raise another effort but at the top of the lane, Make Mine Heaven sailed on by and Hewitt surged the mare to the line, scoring convincingly by almost 16 metres to post a 1.55-mile rate. Stablemate, Royal Story ($5, Scott Hewitt) who had sat back at the tail of the field for most of the trip got to the line strongly to finish second while Karloo Damajor ($15, Mat Rue) was aided by a soft run on the pegs and snuck into third just ahead of the tiring Coolie Kid. In his post-race interview, Bernie Hewitt said he was pleased with where the daughter of champion racemare Make Mine Cullen and Rock N Roll Heaven was at in her preparation and said that he would head back to Menangle with her on Saturday night. Make Mine Heaven has now raced on 28 occasions, winning eight races and placing six times, amassing more than $73,000 along the way. Sydney trainer, driver Michael Muscat took the honours on Sunday with a double aboard Ferdinand in the Ben Flick Memorial and Delilaah in the Bathurst Panthers Under 18’s League Tag Pace. Ferdinand ($1.85) was brave in his win as he worked forward early from his wide draw to eventually find the death chair and he simply proved far superior, going on the score by almost five metres in a 1.55.7-mile rating. Delilaah was returning to Bathurst for the first time since taking out the Star Trek Final back in November and the $2.25 favourite didn’t let her supporters down, leading throughout and cruising to victory with five and a half metres to spare. She posted a smart time of 1.55.2 in defeating Im Cool Harry (Nathan Xuereb). Third placed Misterfreeze (Tom Pay) was having his first run for the Gemma and Mat Rue camp and is one to put down in the black book as he flooded home from near last and appeared to be a touch unlucky. Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s next meeting is a midweek (Wednesday) fixture on February 27 where the feature race will be the $10,000 HRNSW Rewards Series Final. Craig Dumesny

THE Bathurst Harness Racing Club plays host each year to the Oberon Community by conducting a harness racing meeting which promotes everything that the small community has to offer. On Friday night, on a hot balmy night, a good crowd, many of whom made the 50 kilometre trip from Oberon into Bathurst enjoyed a top night of racing. And it could not have kicked off in a more fitting way when the Oberon father and son combination of David and Justin Reynolds took out the opening event with handy mare Always Mysterious. Young Reynolds charged the five-year-old out fast from her wide draw but he was unable cross speedster Jedda Shannon, forcing them to race without cover for the entire trip. With 400 metres to run, Reynolds gave the mare more rein and she dashed clear to record an impressive win over Lucky Nutter and Lady Swiss. Always Mysterious is part-owned by Bathurst Club President, Wayne Barker who was thrilled to accept the winning trophy from Oberon Mayor, Kathy Sajowitz. The feature event on Friday night, the Elgas Oberon Cup (2260m) lived up to the high standard that has been set in fast class races held at Bathurst this season. In an action-packed affair, the speed was on from the outset and in a thrilling finish, Menangle visitor James Dean ($5.40) was able to prevail by a narrow margin. Driven by Robbie Morris for his partner, KerryAnn Turner, the former New Zealander worked forward with just over a mile to run and found the chair. But just when Morris thought he would control the race from that point on, Bernie Hewitt made a lightening move aboard Lets Katchmeifucan ($11.80) and caught the leaders napping as he sailed to the lead with 900 metres to travel. The race then developed into a two-horse war and in a soul stirring battle all the way down to the line, James Dean gained the upper hand to score by one and a quarter metres. Royal Story ($10.20, Doug Hewitt) got home well for third after enjoying a good trip inches ahead of Jonah Jones (Amanda Turnbull) who appeared a shade unlucky after being held up at vital stages. Following the post-race presentation, Robbie Morris was full of praise for his gelding and thanked the pacer’s Kiwi connections for entrusting him and Kerryann with the horse. Morris went on to say that the five-year-old will now be set for the Banjo Patterson Cup at Orange on February 10. Another highlight at the Oberon meeting was the win of Roseuponher ($20.80) in the HRNSW Rewards Series Final (1730m). Young Dubbo trainer, driver, Jacqui Ingham gained a big thrill just nine days earlier at Parkes when she broke through for her first winning drive at Parkes in a qualifying heat. But she was almost pinching herself on Friday night when she made it back to back wins with her mare in the $10,000 Final. The Oberon night provided a plethora of highlights which included a treble to inform trainer Bernie Hewitt. His stable star, Gold Crown winner College Chapel made a successful return to the track, rating 1.54.8 to just beat Masons Delight (Billy Muscat). Hewitt’s daughter, Gemma Rue and her husband Mat made it back to back wins with bonny mare Callmequeenbee whose next run will be at Tabcorp Park Menangle in a Country Series Final. Away from the track, five delightful Oberon girls contested the Princess Of The Paceway competition which was taken out by Nattalia Stapleton. The young ladies raised money for Ronald McDonald House by conducting a raffle. More funds were raised for the same cause later in the night when six lamb and beef packs were auctioned.   Craig Dumensy for Harness Racing New South Wales  

Ian Mutton was a man who loved horses, loved a chat and loved a good joke, so when the talented horseman died in 2017 is was a loss felt across the harness racing industry. But such was the personality of the man who Bathurst Harness Racing Club vice president Laurie Clifford calls the ‘mighty Mutto’, his memory is now honoured each year. This Wednesday night at the Bathurst Paceway the Ian Mutton Memorial (1,730 metres) will be staged as part of a special race meeting. The meeting features seven memorial races all up as the Bathurst club pays tribute to Mutton, John Clayton, Keith Colley, Kevin Doherty, BJ Turnbull, Harold Lonard plus Norm, Garth and Audrey Harkham. The Mutton family and their friends will be travelling from far and wide to attend, while there will be plenty of others track side who have fond memories of the The Lagoon legend as well. “Ian had a lifetime association with horses in many forms, from playing polo cross with his father and brother to a lifelong passion for harness racing. Ian wore many hats in his long career as a committee man, trainer, driver, owner, breeder and mentor to young up and coming participants,” Clifford explained. “He had a great relationship with the horse King Frost and his owners Norm and Audrey Harkham. They had many a tussle with the mighty Paleface Adios and Hondo Grattan. “Ian, along with his hard working wife Barbara, had many successes with a number of horses that passed through their stables both at The Lagoon and Brook Lodge at Gormans Hill, Bathurst. “Some of their best performers being Another Country, Green Tree Helen, Bullion Bandit and Toltec in earlier years and over the past few decades, He Can, Garconnet, ZinZan Brook, Spooky Leigh, Money Chimes and his final winner as a trainer in December 2016, Captain Brook. “Ian was also a great mentor to young up and coming participants, with many young men and women spending time at Brook Lodge learning the ropes. “Ian was well known for his sense of humour and is sadly missed by many who enjoyed having a chat or seeking advice to improve the performance of their horses.” In terms of an emotional favourite for Wednesday’s Ian Mutton Memorial, there is no doubt that status belongs to a five-year-old mare called Josephine Brook. She is still owned by the Muttons. She is trained by Robert Clifford, a man who benefited from Mutton’s knowledge, and will be driven by one of the late horseman’s good friends in Tony Higgs. The Roll With Joe x Kassandra Brook mare will go from barrier two in what will be her 25th start at the Bathurst Paceway. Keep up to date with the latest sports news by clicking here “Josie, as she affectionately known around the stables, was also bred by Ian and Barbara at their Brook Lodge Stables at Gormans Hill,” Laurie Clifford said. “Robert Clifford, who joined Ian and Barb at their Brook Lodge stables 24 years ago as a keen 15-year-old teenager, is hoping for success as Josephine Brook has shown consistent form over the past two seasons with 10 placing from 16 starts. “With a little help from above, Josephine Brook may just salute in the sixth and do Mutto proud.” The first race Wednesday night’s meeting will go at 5.54pm. Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

A coveeted cup, a battle between man and horse and raising money for charity – the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Oberon Community Night is always a season highlight. This Friday night’s nine-race meeting at the Bathurst Paceway has not only drawn some quality runners, but is expected to attract a bumper crowd which reflects the passion Oberon residents have for the sport. “It would be our third biggest meeting of the year behind the Gold Crown finals night and Shirley Turnbull Memorial. It shows how much the Oberon community get behind it,” BHRC’s Marianne Donnelly said. “It is a big night because the Oberon community are just so great, they really get behind it every year. They also raise on the night around $4,000 for Ronald McDonald House which is an amazing effort for one night. “It’s a special night for the Oberon trainers too, they all like to race on the night. Russell [Reynolds] has got one in the cup, Wayne White’s got one in the race he sponsors and Geoff [Lawson] has got horses racing too.” READ MORE: Turnbull wins her sixth Oberon Cup READ MORE: Mojo Major wins the 2017 Oberon Cup READ MORE: Chris proves he can Be Quick for the Rues READ MORE: Frisby’s star draw gate 10 for Ballarat Cup The feature race is the Oberon Cup (2,260 metres), one which has showcased champions such as Smooth Satin and Karloo Mick in the past. Since its inception in 2002, The Lagoon’s Amanda Turnbull has steered the most winners. When she goes from barrier one with Jonah Jones on Friday night, she will be seeking her seventh Oberon Cup win. However, she faces some stiff opposition with past victors Robbie Morris, Bernie Hewitt, Steve Turnbull and Ashlee Grives all in contention. “The honour roll is certainly impressive, there are some top horses on it and it’s a top race. This year there are some great horses in the field again - Royal Story, Imthevillagestar,” Donnelly said. Keep up to date with the latest sports news by clicking here Aside from the cup, which offers $14,840 in stakes, the program also features the Oberon Council Ladyship Pace and Rewards Series Final. Then there is a race between horse and man. A horse will run two laps of the Bathurst Paceway track while the team of Tyler Colley and Nathan Voytilla-Borg attempt to cover one. First race is at 8.33pm. Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

ALL of the action took place inside the Clubhouse when the awards for last season were presented at a highly enjoyable Gold Crown Paceway function last Friday. Guests included Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rod Smith, Board Member Peter Nugent, Bathurst Regional Council Mayor Cr Graeme Hangar and NSW Owners Association representatives Peter and Marie Neil, the current Gold Crown Honourees. The Chairman, in a brief address, touched on several current topics:  the $200,000 funding increase for the Gold Crown (which will provide four Group 1 finals in 2019, for the first time);  the decision to stage a  Group 1 series for both four and five-year-olds at Wagga next season (eligibilty for horses which were paid up as juveniles for the Bathurst Gold Crown) ; and the extension of the current drought assistance to participants. He then made the presentation for Trainer of the Year to Steve Turnbull, who trained 63 winners, including five trebles, 15 doubles and Group wins with Art Series in the Gold Bracelet and NSW Regional Final. Steve’s children Amanda and Mitchell completed a family trifecta of major premierships, by taking out the Senior and Junior Driver of the Year Awards respectively, to the evident pride and delight of their grandfather 'A.D.' Tony Turnbull, the legend himself. Amanda’s 49 winners included five winners at one meeting, back in October 2017, the Soldiers Saddle Final, Oberon Cup, Sales Graduate Final and both feature wins by Art Series. In making the presentation to Amanda, Mayor Hangar recalled his days as a teacher at Kelso High School, reminding Amanda that she still owed him a history assignment from back in Year Nine! Amanda’s focus then was clearly on the future, and not writing about the past, and nothing’s changed since. Mitchell was dux of a very strong class of Bathurst junior drivers  - the likes of McKayler Barnes, Justin Reynolds, Doug Hewitt and Jake Davis - with 17 wins for the season, which included a treble and several doubles. Three of his wins came courtesy of the Bathurst sprint lane. HRNSW Board Member Peter Nugent made presentations for Horse and Juvenile Horse of the Year and UDR Trainer and Driver of the Year. Bathurst couple Lester and Linda Hewitt accepted the trophy and rug for Horse of the Year. What A Jolt, a four-year-old Village Jolt gelding, registered seven wins during the season, including three consecutively at one point. Hewitt paid tribute to driver John O’Shea, who formed a strong connection with the horse, using his brilliant gate speed to advantage many times. Jenny Turnbull, mother of Amanda, received the award for Juvenile Horse of the Year Shoobee Doo. The two-year-old Shoobees Place colt lined up at Bathurst seven times for four wins, which included heat and final of the Graeme Board Sales Graduate series, and a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge. Bathurst was a regular destination for a number of metropolitan stables last season, including KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris from Menangle, and the UDR Trainer and Driver winners, Cobbity-based Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy. Luke drove a winner every 2.9 starts, including a number for other stables, while Craig was successful every 3.6 starts, with winners such as Majestic American, Blackened, Rocknroll Dude, Zahven Banner and Darkershadeofpale. With Craig and Luke lining up with  Mach Doro in the following night’s Victoria Cup, the awards were collected on their behalf by Matt McCarthy, a Bathurst HRC director and the uncle of Luke. Jake Davis, likewise, represented his grandparents Ray and Pat Davis in accepting their Owner of the Year award from NSWSOA representative Marie Neil. The Davis family milk 650 cows twice a day at their Browns Creek dairy near Blayney, yet still find time to race a nice team of horses, mainly at Bathurst, the likes of Browns Creek Boy, Studleigh Kristen and two-year-old winners Nifty Studleigh and Rainbow Comet. Jake, who expresses a hope of making a full-time career in harness racing, does most of the stable driving, alongside father Leigh and uncle Brett. Art Major was acknowledged as the leading sire of winners at Bathurst, with 28 individual winners during the season. Bernie Hewitt, runner-up in the Trainer and Senior Driver premierships, was acknowledged for his achievement in winning his first Bathurst Gold Crown, with College Chapel, and spoke about the outstanding season for the youngster, finishing with his hopes for the coming season. Which was possibly the thought uppermost in most minds as folk headed home after this year’s awards.   Terry Neil

AFTER taking out her first state trainers’ premiership, leading horsewoman KerryAnn Turner has her sights on Bathurst tonight. The Menangle Park trainer is taking five horses across to the Western Districts including last start Newcastle winner Hannah Mae. Turner is also taking Hot Flush for another assault on the 1000m circuit after winning at that venue last month. Turner trained 161 winners in New South Wales last season, defeating 12-time premiership winner Steve Turnbull. Turnbull had won the five previous trainers’ premierships and has found the front in the first two weeks of the new season. Turnbull has power in numbers tonight with seven horses nominated including recent back-to-back winner Karloo Threeothree.   Harness tips Bathurst Best bet Race5: Aintnobettor (1) Aintnobettor produced a strong effort to win at this track last week in career best time of 1:58.0. He has drawn much more favourably and should lead all the way from this draw.   Bathurst next best Race 7: Cullens Desire (2) Cullens Desire has the early speed to capitalize off this draw. The filly was a very strong winner at Dubbo last start, spacing her rivals by more than 33m after working to the lead. She should be able to find the lead much easier tonight.   The Bathurst quaddie Race 5: 1 Race 6: 3-9-4 Race 7: 2-1 Race 8: 6-1 $12 for 100%     Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government.   HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

RACECALLER Fred Hastings might not have used the precise term to summarise Amanda Turnbull’s 'Drive of the Night' at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway on Wednesday but the horse’s name - Aintnobettor - perfectly summed up her winning effort. In the opening race of a new Bathurst season, a C0 Club Menangle heat over the sprint trip, she faced an awkward draw on the inside of the second line, but eased back following the start, got onto the three-wide train in the early stages and was actually in front for most of the last lap, dashing home in a 28s final quarter to hold off the on-pace runners Walk On Kimmy and Grosestar. The win - number two in 16 starts -broke a sequence of five seconds for the Bettors Delight gelding, his trainer-driver admitting “ I was beginning to wonder lately if he knew how to win, but to his credit he toughed it out tonight and finished the race off well.” If the win was well-deserved for the horse, and certainly for an outstanding drive, credit was also due to the owners, Adelaide-based couple Terry and Ros Cluse who have been very good supporters of Amanda Turnbull. In the following race, a C2 Country Series heat, Amanda completed a double when leading throughout with the short-priced favourite Executive Dash NZ, the Well Said four-year-old notching up his fifth win from just 11 career starts. The naming theme established by Aintnobettor was carried through to the back half of the meeting, with three appropriately-named winners. The field for the  C1-C3 Guaranteed Ladyship Pace included a Kitty, a Carly, a Suzie, a Porsha and a Ruth, but they all played second fiddle to favourite Nova Time NZ, a recent addition to Brad Hewitt’s stable. The come-from-behind winner was named for a star, perhaps, but we’ll stick with the female theme and opt instead for Nova Perris as the inspiration. A large and happy group of “senior cits” came onto the track for the presentation of the R0 grade South West Community Transport Pace, won by leader Young Cambo, for Emma and Wendy Turnbull. The winner is a Million Dollar Cam full-brother to Old Jack Cambo, named by former HRNSW chairman Graeme Campbell for his father, and Graeme’s since acquired a sister who’s to be named for his mother, so the win wasn’t as ironic as it might have seemed. Our Uncle Jim, trained by Chris “The Man from Uncle” Frisby, and driven by his son Anthony, scored an authoritative win in the 3YO Evolution Series heat. The Western Terror gelding charged home over the top of his rivals, marking a return to the Frisby home track after a very successful Queensland campaign which concludes this week. Peter and Marie Neil were on hand for the Owners Association bonus races, and presented $1,000 bonus cheques to the connections of Karloothreeothree -successful via the sprint lane in the fast-class event for Mitch Turnbull - and Our Little Digger, which bounced back to form in coming off the speed in the C0-C1 NSWSOA sprint, for Bernie Hewitt. NSWSOA subscriptions for the current season are due at the present time, and for just $55, represent wonderful value. The Bathurst HRC presentation night will take place on Friday, October 12 , following the excitement of the Bathurst 1000 race week,  when the Gold Crown Paceway will host two meetings including its own Shootout time-trial series, which proved such a hit last year Terry Neil

OWNER Steve Hunt spends his working life doing the driving duties on interstate trains, heading north to Sydney or south to Melbourne from Junee Station, near his Cootamundra hometown. After the stunning Australian debut of his part-owned two-year-old Obi One NZ, at Gold Crown Paceway Bathurst on Wednesday night, he might soon be making those trips as a passenger, to tackle the Victoria and New South Wales Derby races. What a capital idea! In the Betterthancheddar 2YO Pace, the McArdle gelding came out of the gate like the Southern Aurora, before handing up to Roger That which maintained the speed to run a lead time of 46.2 seconds. That’s an exceptionally quick lead time at Bathurst for any horse over the 2260 metres race distance, but especially so for two-year-olds having their first try at the distance. A first half in 60.1s was followed by a slick 28.6s third quarter as Brad Hewitt kept the leader running, but then Amanda Turnbull switched Obi One to the outside, rather than waiting for the sprint lane, and he roared away down the straight to win by an ever-increasing margin of 23 metres. His final sectional of 28.2s produced a mile rate of 1:56.1, seldom bettered by open-class horses at the circuit, and it completely obliterated the 2YO record of 2:01.7 set by Heavenly Shades three years ago. “There’s your Derby favourite !” was the admiring comment from Mat Rue as he headed out to the parade ring for the following race. The youngster had placed at his only NZ start back in June, and his breeder has retained a half-share in the horse, joining a number of Turnbull stable regulars in the new ownership. It was only last Friday that the horse arrived at Amanda Turnbull’s Lagoon stables. On Monday he had an easy outing in an experience trial to check out the track and mobile, and on Wednesday - remarkably just five days after saying goodbye to his Kiwi stablemates- he was winning in Oz. Mat Rue’s appraisal of the budding star was based on performance, but he would be equally enthusiastic about the youngster’s breeding : his grand-dam Fleet Vance is a half to Alldatglittersisgold, the dam of millionaire Bling It On and a wonderful mare in Baby Bling which Rue drove to success in a Miracle Mile. Steve Jones- whose 25-strong horse portfolio includes rising star Ellmers Image and this week’s ABC aspirant Our Positano - and his fellow owners look to have something special in their latest acquisition. In other news from the meeting, Mackayler Barnes took her season’s tally to 22 after a driving double - her first at her home track - with Stitched Up and Jedda Shannon, earning racecaller Fred Hastings’ Drive of the Night award for the latter. Her smile was bigger than ever. TERRY NEIL

CANBERRA trainer-driver Frank O’Sullivan made one of his infrequent visits to Bathurst on Wednesday and came away with a win in the Club Menangle Where Horses Fly heat with the intriguingly-named Jugiong. The picturesque village of that name was a popular stop half-way along the old Hume Highway for countless travellers until bypassed by the new freeway a few years back. These days, far fewer tourists take the turn-off, and many motorists would have forgotten about it entirely. That’s pretty much the story of its equine namesake. Frank O’Sullivan had broken in the Always A Virgin gelding, whose owners then dispatched it to the hilly country at Jugiong to do some growing, and it got to do plenty of that because it was still there three years later, when Frank decided to turn off the Hume to go get him. He’s subsequently bought the horse, which began racing this season, aged six. His first win came at start two, at Canberra, and this Bathurst win, qualifying him for the $20,000 final at Menangle , came at just his sixth race start. Charging out of the gate in a 27.6s first quarter -  speeding ticket stuff at Jugiong and nearby Bookham in the good old days - O’Sullivan followed up with a 58.2s middle half that had everyone off the bit. But despite looking very vulnerable half way down the running, Jugiong kept boxing on as the challengers faltered on their runs, and he actually drew away again near the line for a most deserving victory. The slog home in 30.8s brought up a 1:56.1 mile rate for the 1730 metres sprint trip. Jugiong produced a win at Bathurst last Wednesday night for trainer-driver Frank O'Sullivan The win added a small chapter to some Bathurst history. Jugiong’s grand-dam Diamond Intherough was a very classy Joule youngster which won a Tiara heat and Consolation for Wayne Driscoll, and her biggest win came in the George Johnson Mares FFA in Hobart several years later. This win was a little less spectacular than Frank’s previous win at Gold Crown Paceway back in 2017, when he showed his customary vigour to charge down the outside to victory - minus his driving helmet, which lay on the track back up the straight! Being the good sport that he is, Frank was quick to laugh about it when reminded after this latest success. Club Menangle director Bill Ellis was on hand to present rugs to the connections of Jugiong and the earlier Country Series heat winner Freddy Funk NZ (Nathan Turnbull), a tough effort from the death-seat in 1:55.7s, giving the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding five wins from his last seven starts. Turnbull made a fast move at the bell in an effort to grab the front, but Neil Day, driving Arma Hotshot in the death, was having none of that and pressed on to the lead himself, leaving Turnbull parked for the rest of the race. He proved well up to the task, putting paid to the leader before holding on from Shannonstheman and a wall of challengers. Ellis, accompanied by his wife Maureen, enjoyed a country excursion, the pair taking in meetings at both Young and Bathurst before motoring back to Sydney to help prepare for the upcoming Breeders Challenge Finals on Family Fun Day, Sunday July 1 . Steve Turnbull took driving honours at the meeting, Always Rockin working to the death and then the lead in the opening C2-C3 race, and Shandance NZ making a successful Australian debut in a 2260 metres 3YO event, showing a nice turn of foot to come from a fair way back in the straight. The latter winner is raced by prominent New Zealand bloodstock agent Stuart Valentine and his wife, sponsors at Bathurst and responsible for many of the Kiwi horses bought to race at that track. The Art Major daughter is a full-sister to the very promising Shandale, winner of seven races at Gloucester Park in the short time he’s been there, and more than $300,000 in earnings. Other winners: Thats Ideal, in the tactical battle that was the fast-class, Neil Day earning Luke Marlow’s Drive of the Night award, after a patient performance from the one-one Monkeybusiness (Todd McCarthy for Peter Trevor-Jones) in C0-C1 grade, leading throughout in a welcome return to form after an inglorious effort at this track several weeks earlier. A welcome return also for his driver, after his Elitlopp adventure, and back to chasing premierships Our Ultimate Mary (Jarrod Alchin) in 2YO class, living up to expectations by leading throughout at her race debut, repaying patient connections who’ve seen her through a few teething problems befojre making it to the races Better Be Donna NZ (Amanda Turnbull) in a second 3YO event, the night’s easiest win, putting a 25 metres margin back to the pack after leading throughout, two wins from three starts since arriving here Sports Story (Doug Hewitt for Bernie) in the second of the juvenile races, leading all-the-way and a well-deserved win after placing at four of her five starts previously. Doug accepts she’s no star, but says she’s a very genuine youngster that’s a pleasure to train. Bathurst race again on Wednesday night, highlighted by the visit of this year’s Rising Stars drivers, competing in two heats of their series. TERRY NEIL

There were two State of Origin events to choose from, for Bathurst district followers on Wednesday evening. Most opted for the comfort of the lounge room and the television, to watch the Rugby League version taking place at the MCG ; only the participants, plus a small band of owners and true-blue diehards, fronted up for the nine-race program at Gold Crown Paceway. The final four races of the night were for maiden two-year-olds, and with preference given to NSW Breeders Challenge-eligible juveniles, there was an added state-of-origin feel to the meeting. All four races, in fact, were taken out by the NSW-bred youngsters. Mat Rue won the two fillies events, the Peter Bullock-trained Merci Shannon producing a brilliant sprint to overpower her five rivals and, two races later, Soundslikeart (trained by his wife Gemma) taking the sprint lane home to a narrow victory. The two-year-old double completed a driving treble on the night for Rue, after an earlier all-the-way win  in a 2260 metres C3 with the Dennis Picker-trained Rave On Rabbits. That Rabbitohs race name, and the sets of green and red racing colours he wore with it and later with Merci Shannon, added to the unmistakeable footie feeling of the meeting. The colts and geldings divisions were taken out by Jake Davis with Nifty Studleigh, trained by his dad Leigh, and Lord Denzel for another son/father combination in Doug and Bernie Hewitt. Both powered home from back in the field for convincing wins. For Doug Hewitt, the win completed a driving double at the book-ends of the meeting, after a win by Trunkey Digger in C1 grade,  a race that set the pattern of close finishes for the night, with a wall of horses across the track. And for Bernie it completed a training treble, his other winner coming in the second event, a 3YO sprint, where Cobbity Chic (Blake Hewitt) got up in the last stride for that narrowest of margins, a short half-head. The other winners mid-meeting were El Gran Senor NZ ( Nathan Turnbull for Steve) in the fast-class, producing a sub-1:56 last half for a brillant win, and Modern Attitude in a C1 sprint, with Dennis Picker bringing the half-brother to Intrude through in the sprint lane for a narrow but impressive victory. The six successful drivers all selected the Blues as the winners of that MCG event, with three prizes subsequently needed for Blake Hewitt, Nathan Turnbull and Dennis Picker, who each correctly nominated a winning margin of 10 points. And the domination of the Bathurst young guns over their older, more experienced, rivals appropriately matched the win of those NSW debutants against the more battle-hardened Maroons. To complete the analogy, four of those drivers have very strong footballing pedigrees: Doug Hewitt is currently the captain-coach of the Bathurst Panthers in the Group 10 Premier League; Blake Hewitt plays for the Panthers, and has previously represented NSW Country; Dennis Picker previously played for the Raiders and the Bathurst Panthers, while Jake Davis represented the Panthers and Western Division before switching recently to Rugby Union. There mightn’t have been “quite” eighty-seven thousand at Gold Crown Paceway this week but it’s fair to say that, as with the other event south of the border, footie was the winner. TERRY NEIL

ON a rather chilly Wednesday evening at Gold Crown Paceway in front was the place to be with all four Alabar Breeders Challenge three-year-old winners leading from start to finish in their respective heats. The first heat of the colts and geldings was a very open affair, with five of the nine runners figuring prominently in the betting. It was, however, the $2.90 favourite Maximus Red, trained and driven by Steve Turnbull, which found the front very easily from barrier seven, and ultimately proved too good in a mile rate of 1.59.9. Aphorism driven by Anthony Frisby, sat parked for the trip and battled on gamely to  finish second, with Brad’s Luck (Doug Hewitt), a neck away third. The Amanda Turnbull-trained and driven War Dan, found the lead very easily in the second heat of the colts and gelding, and despite a late challenge from Bella Ball Terror, (Dennis Picker), held on to win by a half head in a mile rate of 1.59.8. Mackeral, (Bernie Hewitt), held on well for third. Both placegetters did a great job to finish as close as they did with the closing quarter being run in 27.3 seconds. The fastest recorded on the night. The first heat of the three-year-old fillies division was won in fine style by the John McCarthy-trained and driven, Hows The Memory. A recent addition to the McCarthy stable, after previously being trained very successfully in the Riverina by Billy Trembath, Hows The Memory, cruised away to win by 19 metres in a mile rate of 1.55.4. Second placing went to Redbank Addi (KerryAnn Turner) with a further three metres to Art Series (Amanda Turnbull) which finished third. The three placegetters dominated the betting in what was a very strong heat, with the winning margin of 19 metres showing how dominate Hows The Memory was. The final heat was taken out by Callmequeenbee. Although, not a genuine leader, the daughter of Shadow Play, trained by Gemma Rue and driven by Gem’s husband Mat, did all that was asked of her up the straight to record a four metre victory in a closing 27.9 quarter. Second placing went to Cobbity Chic (Bernie Hewitt), which made good ground in the straight, with Bid For Red, a further five metres away. Outside of the Alabar Breeders Challenge heats, Mango Stride (KerryAnn Turner) was a very impressive winner in race one. Despite only recording one win in its previous seven starts, Mango Stride rated 1.55.1 after over coming barrier five on the second line. He assumed the lead at the 800 metre mark and cruised away with a solid 26 metre victory. They’re plenty more wins in store for this son of Rocknroll Hanover. Danny Dwyer

THE harness racing industry is mourning the loss of Grenfell horseman Neville Condon who passed away last Thursday after battling a long illness, aged 80. A well respected horseman amongst his peers, Neville was a shearer by trade while also training and driving horses. Neville shared many victories during his time in harness racing and not even age could stop ‘Nev’ as at 80-years-old he was still training and driving winners. His last winner was Replaced Eye at Bathurst last October. “Neville was a mainstay of the industry in his halcyon years,” Harness Racing New South Wales chief executive John Dumesny said. “When he produced a horse at the races it was respected by his peers and the punting public alike. “Reschs Lad, Irish To Win and many others were prepared by the master horseman. “What’s more, Neville Condon was the consummate gentleman both on and off the track.”  A funeral service for Neville will be held at Grenfell Cemetery on Wednesday May 30 at 11.30am. Neville’s family have invited drivers of the harness racing community to wear their racing colours to the service. The Board and Management of HRNSW extend their sincere condolences to Neville’s wife Margaret, children Kevin, Maree and Leigh, his family and many friends. Amanda Rando HRNSW

Recent harness racing Gold Crown and Tiara contenders are among the starters for this Wednesday night’s Graeme Board And Co Sales Graduate Heats. Gold Tiara fourth place finisher and Pink Bonnet placegetter Ally Rogan looks set to start a raging favourite for the fillies heat. The Dennis Picker-trained filly broke at the start of the Group 1 feature and fought hard to get herself back in the race. Amanda Turnbull’s Gold Crown Gold Consolation runner-up Shoobee Doo and Gemma Rue’s Gold Crown Bronze Consolation winner Carribean Jack look to be the leading hopes in the colts and geldings heat. “Dennis’ filly galloped in the Tiara final and hadn’t really done much wrong before that. She ran really well in the heat and they had big expectations for her in that final so she’ll be the one to beat,” Bathurst Harness Racing Club CEO Danny Dwyer said. “Amanda’s horse did a few things wrong early in his heat … but in the consolation race put in a tough run for second so he’s looking like the one to watch.” The Bathurst heats are open to horses purchased at last year’s Gold Crown Yearling Sales.  The races have normally been held as a prelude to the Gold Crown Carnival but this season have shifted to a post-carnival position. “This year we decided to run it after the carnival, after consulting with trainers, to allow us to hopefully get more horses paying up for the race,” Dwyer said. “It was getting a bit congested in the lead up to the carnival in previous years.” The nine race meeting starts at 5.12pm. By Alexander Grant Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Many people in the last 150 years have selflessly given their time and talent to ensure the Royal Bathurst Show prospered as a showcase of agricultural excellence and an exceptional community event, and none more so than Ron Wood. As well as running the family farm, Ron Wood spent much of his life serving the Bathurst community in a variety of roles. He officiated as a first grade umpire in Bathurst, was secretary of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club and served on the Bathurst Showground Trust.  But one of his most challenging, longest and rewarding roles was his almost three decades as secretary of the now-named Royal Bathurst Show, from 1969 to 1997. Dedicated to the show movement, this was a position close to his heart. The Bathurst Living Legend was a man of vision who was “instrumental in developing the showground into the top-class facility it is today”, former show society president Brian Welch once said. The only trouble was the sheep would get up into the grandstand and leave their ‘little pebbles’. But they got the job done. Ron Wood, former secretary, Royal Bathurst Show Renown for running a tight ship, Mr Wood remembers some of the challenges and chuckles from yesteryear. “When I first started as secretary there were mainly farmers and graziers on show council,” Mr Wood said. “And it was easy to get someone to bring in a mob of sheep to chew the grass down because it grew very prolifically. That’s in the days when it used to rain,” he quipped. “The only trouble was the sheep would get up into the grandstand and leave their ‘little pebbles’. But they got the job done.”  One of hurdles Mr Wood needed to overcome was the financial state of affairs. “When I began they were $7000 in the red,” Mr Wood said. “But we soon got that fixed. There was no system whereby the user paid and that had to change to ensure the longevity of the show.” He also oversaw a modernisation of administration, embarked on an urgent restoration of the showground buildings, initiated the development a modern stable set-up, built a base of volunteers, and helped generate regular income.  “In the early days all the paperwork was done by hand, including the prize cards. It was very labour intensive,” Mr Wood said. “There was no such thing as a computer program designed to run a show. So a local bloke named Warren would meet with me every weekend to develop a program.” The software was a great time saver, enabling stewards’ books, entry and prize cards to be computerised, while increasing the accuracy of information captured. The Royal Bathurst Show has come a long way, Mr Wood said, since show membership earnt you “one entry ticket and two ladies passes”. And he hopes the spirit of community and camaraderie continues for another 150 years. Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

The Lagoon harness racing trainer Ben Settree knows it would take a minor miracle for Aphorism to win Saturday night’s Gold Chalice final for him, but he will still head to the Bathurst Paceway as a man with hope. Aside from having Aphorism in action in the Group 2 decider for three-year-old colts and geldings, Settree will have a link to a host of other runners in action on the last night of the 2018 Gold Crown Carnival. He and his wife Melanie, plus her parents Doug and Janet Moore from the Brooklyn Lodge stud will be amongst the breeders hoping for success at the Bathurst Paceway. “Twenty runners across the two and three-year-old races were born and raised at Brooklyn Lodge,” Settree said. “It’s a real testament to Brooklyn Lodge’s ability to raise quality horses.” A three-year-old Well Said x Mes To Tsepi gelding, Aphorism was lucky to sneak into the Gold Chalice final after placing fourth in his heat on Monday. That was his first run since saluting at Bathurst on February 21. Given his preparation for the carnival was less than ideal, Settree was delighted to see him qualify. But after drawing barrier 12, the trainer knows he will need a lot of luck once more to feature. “It’s a big thrill, he’s a nice horse. He had a little virus about four weeks back, so he missed a lot of runs and he was always going to be a little bit vulnerable in the heats, but he’s trained on terrific since Monday,” he said. “He’s a handy horse, there’s no question, it’s just a shame we had that little setback a month or so back which cost us a couple of runs as he’s a horse that needs hard racing to maintain fitness.  “We knew we were behind the eight-ball going into the heats, and drawing 12 didn’t make it any easier.” The horse which won the 2,260 metres Gold Chalice heat Aphorism contested – Bernie Hewitt’s Mackeral – is the runner Settree is tipping to prevail on Saturday night. He will go from barrier one and as of Friday afternoon, held $2.25 favouritism. “Mackeral is going to be terribly hard to beat from that draw, he’ll probably find the front and be hard to run down, but look, we’re just looking for an improved performance,” Settree said. “Bernie’s in for a big night, he’s going to have the favourite in the Gold Crown too, he could possibly win three or four races on finals night which is a hell of an achievement.  “It would give me great pleasure to see Bernie and his owners win the Gold Crown, his family work ridiculously hard in harness racing and it would be nice to see them get a just reward for the amount they put into it.” By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

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