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Talented Tamworth harness racing driver Madi Young is off on a working holiday. Twenty-two-year-old Madi plans to campaign with a small team of horses for at least a month, training out of a base in Bathurst. "It may turn out that I'm down there for a little longer-we'll just see how it works out and go from there," she said. "The 1000-metre track is great and will suit most of our horses. And then there's also Parkes and Dubbo meetings which are just two hours away. "Our team will be spearheaded by Royal Admiral. We haven't had him long, but he's been consistent, and I won with him two starts ago at Tamworth." The annual "Central West Winter Exodus" of Bathurst local trainers and drivers to Queensland is in full swing, and no doubt Madi, who is still eligible for a three-point junior claim, is hoping she might also pick up some outside drives. "I love Bathurst because I won there at my very first drive at the track but spending some time down there will also mean we get to spend less time on the road for a while," she said. "It takes us at least five hours to drive from Tamworth to compete at the Bathurst meetings. It's a long way and certainly gets tiring, particularly on the return leg if you don't do any good! "Bathurst has meetings programmed for Wednesday nights for quite a while so the regular racing is a big plus." Madi won the 2018 NSW Rising Stars Championship and has already represented her State. She has also served in the role of ambassador for the NSW Owners Association. This season she has driven 11 winners and 46 placings. She landed the 100th winner of her career last week when scoring narrowly at her home track with Helix (Bettors Delight-Belfry Lady (In The Pocket) for trainer Stacie Elliott. "That was exciting, and I've had two more since so I hope it continues," she said. Madi is a former champion mini trot driver and obtained her harness racing driver's licence soon after celebrating her 16th birthday. "I grew up in the Shoalhaven area where the closest tracks were Goulburn and Menangle, probably two hours away. I ended up working in Menangle for a couple of years and learnt a lot," she said. "Down there I had stints with about three trainers and they all had different ways-but they all worked." Madi said her most memorable win was at Menangle when she landed bay gelding Islandspecialmajor for visiting Victorian trainer Brent Lilley. "He was an outsider in a metro $14,000 event in April last year and I think he started at 30/1," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

With his first metropolitan winner under his belt, young NSW harness racing driver Justin Reynolds now wants to "tick another box" tonight. Reynolds, 20, of Oberon, on the edge of the famous Blue Mountains, has been booked for five drives at nearby Bathurst and only needs one more winner to go to a career milestone of 50. "I'm on some long shots, but if I can give them an easy time, they could surprise. One of them has winning form and a few of the others have been recent placegetters," he said. Reynolds, who has been driving for a little over three years, broke his metropolitan maiden status with four-year-old gelding Kanena Provlima (A Rocknroll Dance-Mes Ti Tsepi (In The Pocket) at the Menangle meeting last Saturday week. "It was pretty exciting because the pacer is trained at The Lagoon, near Bathurst, by Ben Settree. We just held on by a narrow margin after leading all the way," Reynolds said. "Although I won on the horse at its previous start at Dubbo, I was so lucky to get the drive. I only picked it up because Anthony Frisby, who normally drives him at city meetings, is away in Queensland," he said. "He paid $15 for the win which I thought was a 'bit overs'! His form read okay, and we travelled down thinking that he certainly had some claims. "I have had one other Menangle victory-but it was a country Tuesday meeting. I landed Jerulas Grin for hobby trainer Wayne White, who lives in the same town as us." Reynolds last year competed around the State in the NSW Rising Stars driving competition, finishing third, and is showing he's certainly a young man to keep an eye on in the future. Justin Reynolds on the track at Parkes earlier this year      --Clarinda Park Photography He is the third generation of the Reynolds family to be involved in harness racing, following his father David and grandfather Russell into the sport. "When I was probably about 12 years old, I would give my grandfather a hand. He would get me to clean out the boxes. Then a bit later, he let me to do some of the fast work," he said. "Now I work in with dad and between us we do six to eight horses. It can be busy at times because dad also works for the State Forests, and I have a part-time laborer's job at Spark Electricals. "They are very good and give me time off to drive at trots meetings, but I am hoping to get an electrician apprenticeship with them one day."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Owners and trainers were unsure how long prizemoney cuts across the NSW harness racing industry would stay in place, due to uncertainty around COVID-19, but there's good news on the horizon. Bathurst's upcoming Wednesday meeting will be the first in the state to see prizemoney restored to pre-COVID levels after Harness Racing NSW announced they would roll back a 20 per cent statewide cut. From July 1 base prizemoney for category A and B meeting races will be restored to $6,500 and $6,000 respectively. HRNSW took the decision on May 11 to reduce prizemoney but will be the first harness racing jurisdiction to return base prizemoney. Bathurst Harness Racing Club CEO Danny Dwyer said it's been a challenging period for connections but is hopeful it's only good news to come from this point on. "It's been a tough six weeks with the reduced prizemoney, trying to keep everyone happy within the industry," he said. "Most were still just happy to be racing but the prizemoney is the be all and end all so it's great having it back to where it was. Hopefully we can move forward from here." Those six weeks might have felt long to many in the industry but there were signs that it could have been a longer wait. "Early indications were, that with the reduction in TAB turnover, it could have been something which stayed in place for another six months," Dwyer said. "Things have turned around fairly quickly and it's a great boost for everyone to get it back so quickly. "I think a few horses did go out of work once the prizemoney levels dropped. I know ours nominations dropped from high 120s down into the 80s and 90s. Going into the start of a new racing season this might get a few horses back into work." Harness Racing NSW Chief Executive John Dumesny said there's still some time to go before everything can run at full capacity once again. This might get a few horses back into work. Danny Dwyer "Since April the participants in our industry have had to endure the restrictions of regionalisation and then from mid-May reduced prizemoney due to the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic" he said. "Initial advices from our major wagering revenue provider Tabcorp in late March when their outlets were closed were alarming and drastic as we were told our revenue could be up to 50 per cent down on budget. "A raft of other austerity measures including significant cuts to HRNSW operations have been adopted and these will remain in place until such time as wagering revenue trends are proven to be improved." Bathurst's eight-race Wednesday meeting will see all races carry $6,630 in prizemoney. Alexander Grant Reprinted with permissin of The Western Advocate

It's amazing to see Pale Face Jo even racing after a horrific leg injury, but not only has he bounced back to full health, he's found himself in the harness racing winner's circle. As owner Billy Kitt gets ready to send the five-year-old over to Parkes for this Sunday's meeting he'll be doing so still on a high from the gelding's first career win at Bathurst last week. Kitt and trainer Nathan Turnbull put in day after day nursing Pale Face Jo back to health after he almost bled to death in a stable accident. And not only was he soon back racing, but at odds of $23 he scored an unlikely win when charging down Valenteeno right on the post under the guidance of Doug Hewitt. "It was the best feeling ever after what I've been through with the horse," Kitt said, celebrating his first win as an owner. "It's hard to believe he's still racing but for him to come out and win was unbelievable. All the hours we put into him paid off." Kitt had grave fears for Pale Face Jo when he found him collapsed in the stable. "I'd been away playing footy in Sydney ... and when I came back I found him laying there in the stable, saw a massive cut on his leg and blood everywhere. We got the vet out, and he'd ended up getting a star picket straight through his leg," he said. "Somehow it didn't end up hitting his tendons but the infection was pretty bad and they ended up putting him on a drip and he rose from the dead." Kitt and Turnbull chase two on the trot when Pale Face Jo goes around in the Our Antonia Rose Pace (1,660 metres). Kitt knows it's a step up for his gelding but is excited to see how he handles the track. "Nathan said his work's been solid. It's a tougher race, but that's when happens when you win," he said. "We're not sure how he'll handle it on the Parkes track, but he works well on The Lagoon track and that's only small.He should make a good account of himself." Dubbo trainers Lex Bramble, John Lew, Brad Peisley, Greg Pay, and Jacqui Ingham all have hopes in at Parkes. Racing starts at 1.03pm on Sunday. By Alexander Grant Reprinted with permission of the Daily Liberal

Racing loves stories about those who strike gold but in trainer Malcolm Hutchings’s extraordinary story it is quite literally true. Because when the Western Districts of NSW harness trainer scored the first group one of his career with Terryrama at Bathurst last night (Wednesday) he wasn’t at the track, he was working down a gold mine. Like so many small-time harness trainers the 62-year-old mixes working horses with something that actually pays the bills, in Hutchings’s case that is driving a truck at the gold mine 25kms north of Parkes. It is no-phones allowed workplace so Hutchings had no idea his son Brett had partnered the 80-1 winner in the $100,000 Western Region Championship until he was able to telephone home during a break two hours after the race. “I couldn’t believe it, it was a hell of a thrill,” says Hutchings. “I got back on the radio when I went back to work and told people we had had a winner and they were pretty stoked for me. “Then I told them it wasn’t an ordinary winner, it was a group one and the winner gets $52,500 and they all started cheering and congratulating me on the radio. That was pretty special.” Hutchings usually works nights straight in the mine so the training is a family affair. Brett, who was driving his 101st winner in the group one success, found Terryrama online and he was only for sale because his previous trainer got sick of trying to teach him to pace. “I liked his breeding but thought something must be wrong with him and it turned out he could be a real handful,” says Brett. “But my brother Mitch, who works for the council here, wanted a horse so they paid $800 for him and he is now owned by his fiance Sara. They are buying a house so this couldn’t have come at a better time.” Now Terryrama is developing a brain to match his motor he could even take Team Hutchings to Victoria for Vicbred series there while Brett thinks he will be even better suited to the giant Menangle track when state-wide racing returns. But while Malcolm Hutchings may be the horse trainer who struck gold twice in one night, they party differently in the Hutchings house. “None of us drink so it won’t be that sort of party,” says Brett. “But it means so much to us. Dad came down to the stables when he got home at 7.30am this morning and it was a great moment for us all. “But then he had to go to bed,” he laughs. The regional series finals moves to Wagga on Friday where potential superstar Whereyabinboppin is the hot favourite for their final while both Menangle and Newcastle host $100,000 finals on Saturday night.   Michael Guerin

He's Rock Bottom by name, but when it comes to the current form of Wendy Turnbull's harness racing five-year-old rock bottom is far from an accurate appraisal. The Bettors Delight x Whanau gelding is in hot form and come Wednesday night's Bathurst Harness Racing Club meeting, will be chasing a third consecutive victory. In his last six starts for the The Lagoon trainer, Rock Bottom has only once placed outside the top two. That was when he broke in the Honouree Stakes Final. This season overall Rock Bottom's record reads four wins and three minor placings from 10 starts. The most recent of those victories came last week in a career best 1:54.4 mile rate at Bathurst with regular driver Jason Turnbull in the gig. He was four back in the running line early before Turnbull produced a smart piece of driving to secure the one-one as the bell sounded. Rock Bottom then came three wide through the final bend and on balancing ran down $1.35 favourite Animal - the Amanda Turnbull trained runner touted as one of the main contenders for the upcoming Western Regional Championships. Rock Bottom got home in a 28.3 seconds split to win by 4.7m. This Wednesday night Rock Bottom will have to contend with a barrier eight draw. However, he has good gate speed and is a chance to cross for the lead. Alta Equus, Mister Magic Man and Bid For Red shape as his major threats in the Vale Len Nelan Pace (1,730 metres), which is set for 6.36pm. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Warrawee Drinking, a two-year-old gelding by Warrawee Needy, became his sire's seventh individual juvenile winner from his first crop when he outfinished older, more experienced harness racing rivals at Bathurst. The youngster, who had been placed on four previous occasions, was bred by Yirribee Pacing Stud. The world champion Warrawee Needy has left seven winners and two placegetters from nine starters from a foal crop of 47. On the subject of two-year-olds, Adore Me Some More, a filly by Tintin In America, led from end to end in 1:59.4 at Pinjarra, her first race day success. Tintin In America was also represented by Topsky, a winner in 1:58.1 at Newcastle and undefeated in two attempts this season. The three-year-old filly Fifty Five Reborn is proving a splendid advertisement for new Yirribee Pacing Stud stallion Renaissance Man. The filly led throughout at Gloucester Park, rating 1:58.4 over 2130 metres with the last 800 in a slick 56.2. She has now won five races and more than $60,000 in stakes. Timely Sovereign, a gelding by Lombo Pocket Watch, notched his eleventh win and his third in the space of a fortnight at Penrith, while the Yirribee bred Romero (by Million Dollar Cam) maintained his unbeaten record in Victoria winning effortlessly in 1:58.6 at Stawell. Warrawee Drinking winning at Bathurst   By Peter Wharton

In her role as a harness racing driver Amy Rees has found herself having to make plenty of adjustments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but her challenges extend beyond that. As the Bathurst Harness Racing Club's media manager Rees has also had to come up with plans on how to best perform her job given the new restrictions. With spectators banned from attending all harness racing meetings in New South Wales, the demand to let Bathurst club members and supporters know what unfolds on track has increased. For the finals night of the recent Gold Crown Carnival - a meeting which usually attracts a bumper crowd - it meant winning drivers had to stand at one side of the stage, master of ceremonies Chris Gray at the other while Rees produced a live stream video. "It's been that fine line between trying to do everything we can to keep people interested and informed about what is going on without violating any of the regulations that have been put in," Rees explained. "I've had a lot of people say they really enjoyed all the content that was up there and I think people seem to like the videos I put after the Gold Crown even though there was no crowd. "We've had to put in a lot of regulations and change a lot of things up at the club, but we are lucky enough to still be earning money. "We just have to abide by the rules that have been put in if we want to keep racing for as long as possible." The conduct of trials have been altered, meetings are only being held at six venues across the state, drivers must wear just one set of colours at a meeting, and those attending meetings have to sign a disease declaration form. They are just some of the restrictions, but Rees is happy racing is still on at a time when most sporting codes have been forced to shutdown. "I suppose in the back of my mind I've got this feeling of 'They can't shut us down, they can't shut us down', but in reality they can," she said. "Some days it feels like a bit of a ticking time bomb other days you think about just taking it as it comes and hope for the best. "We've just got to take each day as it comes."   By Anya Whitelaw   Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Astute Victorian trainer David Miles has sounded an ominous warning with his rising star pacer, Focus Stride. Although the pacer took 12 starts to break through for his first win, he hasn't been beaten since. And Sky Channel host and part-time harness racing driver Brittany Graham was quick to wryly observe, a worthy advertisement for the ultimate gear-change - being gelded! Focus Stride (Art Major-Sparkling Stride (Christian Cullen) turned 25/1 giant-killer at last weekend's rich Bathurst Gold Carnival, sitting in the "death seat" and eventually overpowering odds-on favorite Perfect Stride in the $100,000 G1 Colts and Geldings Gold Chalice Final. But Miles believes there's still more depth to his latest star. "He's still got a tendency to want to runabout about a bit-I reckon there might be more improvement in him when I straighten him up," Miles said. "Without doubt one of our best decisions was to have him gelded. He's won six out of seven races since we did, and while he wasn't out of control or anything like that, he was little bit boyish and just wouldn't listen. "He used to make a lot of mistakes in his races last season as a two-year-old, and they cost him dearly a few times." The maturing three-year-old Focus Stride pulled out plenty in the shadows of the post to grab a narrow and upset win. Miles has a team of 25 in work at Monegeetta, near Victoria's famous natural landmark the Macedon Ranges. He's enjoying a successful season with 24 wins and 40 placings, finishing in the top three in nearly 50 percent of his race starts. And while he is no stranger to winning the big ones with previous success in Crowns, APGs, Derbies and Oaks, Miles admitted that, with Focus Stride, he'd taken on board the sage advice of legendary former gallops trainer the late and great Bart Cummings. "One of Bart's best quotes was: 'Keep yourself in the best company, and your horses in the worst'," Miles said. "So, I really did that. I aimed to bring Focus Stride quietly along through the country classes and the Gold Chalice was the first big one on the radar for him," he said. "He was super-great and I was just so proud of him. After racing in the breeze, he was still sticking to his guns on the home corner. Then when I pulled the earplugs, he really put his head down. "He was as brave as they come. It was a fantastic victory." Focus Stride is raced by enthusiastic Sydney owners Emilio and Mary Rosati who, ironically, also own the vanquished favorite in the Gold Chalice, Perfect Stride, a winner of eight races from 21 starts. Rosati, the driving force behind a highly successful construction company, divides his time between home in Sydney and overseeing massive building projects, mainly in Melbourne. He has been involved in harness racing for over 45 years. The couple owns hundreds of horses under the E and M Stride partnership. Nearly all of their horses carry the "Stride" moniker, after one of the first they raced in the 1970s named Stride High who won nine races. Focus Stride looks set to build on a successful association between Miles and the Rosatis. "The Rosatis are so passionate about the sport and I've previously won a couple of feature races for them with Emerald Stride," Miles said. "They love their horses to death, and they put more money into the sport than anyone else I know, so they certainly deserve all the success that comes their way."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It's rare to see a sporting club increase its activity during the coronavirus pandemic but there is one Bathurst facility ready to do just that. The Bathurst Harness Racing Club will play host to all meetings in the western zone of NSW due to an initiative from the governing body to contain the spread of the virus. Starting April 1, all harness racing in the state will be conducted at just six venues - Menangle and Penrith (metropolitan), Wagga (southern), Bathurst (western), Newcastle and Tamworth (northern) - with participants only permitted to race in the region in which they are located. The changes will be carried through until at least the end of this racing season on August 31. Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer threw his full support behind the decision and said the move hearkens back to similar measures introduced during the 2007 equine influenza spread in Australia. "I think it's the way to go. When equine influenza was happening racing was split into zones and ... you ended up racing with closed pools of horses," he said. "It makes sense to keep horses based in one area. If there was a positive test in, say, Sydney then those other areas areas are still able to go ahead without shutting down the whole state. "The other part of it is that with the venues they've chosen, pretty much nothing else goes on at those places. If we were still at the Showground that would have been an issue." Meetings will be serviced by regional specific stewards and approved HRNSW club personnel and movements between regions will be accepted only with approval from the HRNSW Integrity Division. Owners will not be permitted to attend training stables outside the region in which they reside for the purposes of strict biosecurity. The move also means Bathurst will play host to all Carnival of Cups meetings for the western region. All non-TAB events have been cancelled for the remainder of the season. The Treuer Memorial (Bankstown), the Renshaw Cup (Penrith) and the Carousel (Club Menangle) will be rescheduled after the easing of restrictions by government if suitable dates are found. HRNSW confirmed the Riverina Group 1 Championships will not be conducted in the current climate. Another change announced by HRNSW on Monday was that all drivers must only wear one set of colours for all race meetings in the state. Bathurst's Gold Crown carnival went ahead following a negative COVID-19 test on an industry member. Racing takes place at Bathurst this Wednesday night. By Alexander Grant Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate  

Bathurst’s annual Gold Crown Carnival kicks off tonight with a 10-race program beginning at 6:08pm. Menangle-based trainer KerryAnn Morris has four engagements during the meeting, with three looking to secure a spot in the Gold Tiara Final and one in the Honouree Stakes Final. Two-year-old filly Marmitta the first to go around in race four. Beginning from barrier six, the Western Terror filly will be having her second look at the Bathurst track after racing there two weeks ago. Although striking trouble on that occasion, connections are confident that Marmitta will put in a better performance tonight. “She has always given us a good impression,” Morris said. “She has improved a lot along the way and we are expecting a better run tonight.” Morris’s next runner of the night will go around in race five, beginning from the advantageous barrier one draw. Two-year-old filly Rockindownunder will be looking for her second Bathurst victory tonight, after scoring comfortably at her last outing on the track. “She’s a lovely little filly who tries ever so hard,” Morris said. “She’s got a nice barrier so hopefully she gets a good trip in the race.” The leading female trainer’s third runner of the night, Miss Sonic Boom, will begin as one of the race fancies out of barrier two. This will be the two-year-old filly’s first look at the Bathurst track, but with decent form leading into the event, Morris is hoping she can get the job done. “She ran well in the Pink Bonnet, just got a bit far back. She has good gate speed, good manners and has drawn well tonight.” The last representative from the Lucky Lodge stable is four-year-old For All We Know. The mare will begin from barrier three in race nine - the Colin & Cheryl McDowell Honouree Stakes Heat. The mare will be looking for her first win for the new stable. After a solid run last start, she looks to be a strong contender.   Amy Rees

Warrawee Needy (1:46.8), the former world champion and Canadian 2YO Colt of the Year who is now standing stud in New South Wales, Australia, was represented by his first Australian winner when the two-year-old filly Rockindownunder emerged successful at Bathurst (NSW) on Monday afternoon (March 2).   Coming from second last and racing wide throughout, the filly clocked a 1:59.5 mile rate over 1730 metres.   Thirty minutes later Warrawee Needy produced his second winner in the two-year-old gelding The Grogfather, an end-to-end winner in a 1:58 mile rate.   A first foal, Rockindownunder was purchased for a modest $17,500 at last year’s Australian Pacing Gold yearling sale in Sydney.   She is out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Rockin Lu Lu, an unraced half-sister to eight winners including the NSW and USA winner Saint William 1:51.2 ($798,759) and the NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Final winner and former national juvenile mile record holder No Ah Saint 1:54.3 ($232,035).   A graduate of the 2019 Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale, The Grogfather is out of the six- win Rustler Hanover mare Satellite Star, the dam of earlier winners in Imthevillagestar 1:51.9 ($111,275), Star Play (1:55.2) and Sputnik (1:56.3).   The Grogfather winning at Bathurst   Warrawee Needy had 47 foals in his first crop and already five have raced for two winners and a placegetter.     Peter Wharton

Luke McCarthy was over the moon last night after making a successful hit and run mission to his old hometown to collect one of NSW harness racing's most coveted trophies - one that carried a little more sentiment than most for the champion Sydney driver. McCarthy is based at Cobbitty, south west of Sydney, but made the three-hour road trip over the Blue Mountains to compete against a crack field at Bathurst in the Kriden Park Shirley Turnbull Memorial, run in honor of the respected matriarch of the Turnbull clan. "I've won the Shirley Turnbull Memorial race a couple of times now - and it's been a big thrill each time," McCarthy said. "We lived in Bathurst until I was 15 years old, and then mum and dad decided to shift to Queensland to try their luck with the horses, but we've stayed friends right through, so it's a nice race to win," he said. "We always try and have something go around at the Bathurst Boxing Day meeting, and I've been lucky over the years to travel up with some nice ones." McCarthy timed his run to perfection over the 2790 metre trip with eight-year-old Alta Orlando (Courage Under Fire-La Joconde (Totally Western) who continues to build on his giant-killer reputation. The $50,000 Group Two event was chock full of class and was certainly one of the most exciting in the 32 years it has been staged. Alta Orlando was up against such superstars as Tiger Tara, My Field Marshal, Our Uncle Sam, Make Way, and to a lesser degree Harjeet and Cruz. There was some pressure up front early as Harjeet assumed the pilot role, but Tiger Tara and Courtsinsession were keen to be up closer. Meanwhile race favorite My Field Marshal was near the rear with one behind him-Alta Orlando, and McCarthy watching everything unfold in front of him. "I sort of read the race early and could tell there was going to be a heap of speed on, so I was more than happy to drop out to near the tail. I didn't want to burn out," he said. "When My Field Marshal made his move with a lap to go, he was a pretty good horse to be following so I was quite happy." On the home corner, Tiger Tara, in the death seat, started to yield ground, while Alta Orlando, Our Uncle Sam, Make Way and My Field Marshal were in for the fight. Alta Orlando won by 1 1/2 m from Our Uncle Sam, with Make Way a close up third. Runners were spread across the track in the run to the finish of the Shirley Turnbull Memorial. Winner Alta Orlando is four from the inside. "The horse is very smart and the NZ owners, including John Dunn and his wife, were finding it hard to compete against the All Stars camp of Purdon/Rasmussen," McCarthy said. "I think (trainer) Craig Cross will be aiming the horse for the AG Hunter Cup in Melbourne and then back home for the Summer Carnival which includes the Miracle Mile." The Shirley Turnbull Memorial is run at the Bathurst Boxing Day night meeting each year and many members of the Turnbull family, including those still based at The Lagoon, were on track to watch the running of the feature race. The Lagoon is a rural community on the outskirts of Bathurst where childhood sweethearts Tony (AD) and the late Shirley Turnbull based their harness racing operations after they married in 1950. They raised their six children there, but tragically Shirley was only 55 when she suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and died suddenly in December, 1985. The first Shirley Turnbull Memorial event was held more than 12 months later, in 1987. "When I was probably only about 10, I would go over to the stables of Steve (a son of Shirley and Tony) and his wife Jenny all the time. They were like a second family to me," McCarthy said. "And that friendship, along with Tony and all the other kids, has stayed ever since." The win by McCarthy was the second in quick succession to pay tribute to his friendship with the Turnbulls, following up his win in the Tony Turnbull Group Three event at Menangle last month. McCarthy has now driven nearly 60 winners for the season, while Cross is ticking along beautifully with 75 victories. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Usually winning a race means receiving all the glory, however at Bathurst on Wednesday night young Phoebe Betts was awarded the ‘Drive of the Night’ for running second. The 16-year-old took up the position behind the early leader but ended up buried four-back on the pegs with a lap to go. Patience paid off for Betts, following the fence as the runners ahead of her elected to pull wide, she was able to make good use of the sprint lane and only go down by a half-neck margin to the Peter Bullock trained – Mckayler Barnes driven Kyle Shannon. Race-caller Mark McNamara decided that the drive on Arma Augustus NZ should be rewarded and Betts received the ‘drive of the night’. Driver Isobel Ross and trainer Bernie Hewitt both had a good night, bringing up a double respectively.  Ross took out the first on the Amanda Turnbull trained Joe Batters NZ, having to sit outside of the leader the seven-year-old gelding was too strong in the run to the finish, drawing away to win by a comfortable five-metre-margin. Ross’s next win came courtesy of the Josh Turnbull trained Just Won More in the seventh on the card. Having to commence their run just prior to 400 metre mark, the gelding was able to sustain his sprint long enough to beat the Gemma Rue trained Hammertime Harley and Renee Dale NZ. Not having to wait most of the night, Hewitt was able to bring up his double early with Taylors Mill winning race two and Lord Denzel taking out the fourth. Drawing barrier one, Taylors Mill made the most of the favourite Beach Babe Nikky refusing to score up, able to lead all the way for driver Doug Hewitt. Lord Denzel was also able to utilise a barrier one draw, with driver Tom Pay electing to sit behind the leader and prove too quick for the favourite in the run to the finish. Meanwhile, Maximus Red was able to make it three wins in a row for Steve and Amanda Turnbull, making his record this season five wins from six starts. Of the rest, Matamua for Peter Trevor-Jones and Ashley Hart and Everybody Clap for Tony Hagney and Mat Rue both notched up their second career victories, with the Scott Hewitt trained and driven No Doubt NZ making it three wins from his six lifetime starts.   BATHURST HRC

BATHURST reinsman Mitch Turnbull reached the milestone of driving 250 winners last week which also saw him reach the end of his concession driving claim. The win came after Turnbull steered Phizzwizard home in the first race at Bathurst last Wednesday, making that the duo’s third win together. In Turnbull’s short career he has driven in 2031 races resulting in 250 wins and 505 placings, with one of his most memorable wins being the Enacon Group Bathurst Mayors Cup at this year’s Gold Crown Carnival aboard Courtsinsession. The six-year-old gelding has earnt his place as Turnbull’s favourite, providing him with five wins and five seconds out of the 10 times they have crossed the finish line together. “He’s been very consistent and is going really well at the moment,” Turnbull said. “Conviction is also another favourite of mine because we ran second in the Breeders Challenge Group 1 Final, he’s probably the best horse I have driven.” Although having spent time with leading trainers in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, Turnbull’s greatest influences have been his father Steve (Turnbull) and sister Amanda (Turnbull). Both leading trainers and drivers themselves, Steve and Amanda have helped Turnbull in his driving and training career. “Steve has been great to have as a father and a boss and both he and Amanda have been a massive help with driving and training the horses,” he said. Although he no longer has a claim, Turnbull has many goals still ahead of him including training his own team one day. With father Steve looking to slow down in the future, Turnbull hopes that he will be able to expand his career as a trainer. “Hopefully within the next three years I’ll have my trainers’ licence and a small team of horses, I’m hoping to slowly expand as Steve winds down,” Turnbull claimed.   by Amy Rees

MONDAY'S Bathurst Harness Racing Club meeting will be used as a means to spread awareness of the Autism Community Network's cause. The day came together thanks to the work of Autism Community Network's community engagement coordinator Amie Bateup, who has a proud history with the Bathurst harness industry. Bateup, a former harness driver and sister to current trainer Ashlee Grives, said it was wonderful to receive the full support of Bathurst Harness Racing to put the day together. "We want to spread out services into the Central West and given the relationships that I have with harness racing, and having the races on TV, I thought it would be a great way to hopefully get the word out there," she said. "They've allowed us to effectively take over the race meeting, naming races after what we see fit, that create inclusion and awareness of autism." Some of those names being used for the races include Paralympic swimmer Mitchell Kilduff and ACN president Warren Thompson. With Bateup's son Phoenix being on the spectrum it's a day that has added meaning for her. "I'd taken time off my full-time role to help with his development, spending four months at home with him. There had been some major breakthroughs and changes then we got the diagnosis. "I was lying in bed one night thinking 'I need to get back to work', and then this job come about. It's crazy that I get paid to do what I do because I'm learning so much about it, which in turns helps him develop. "We'd love to bring our organisation to town and venture through the whole Central West if we can. Everything we do is for free. It's a service focused on both the children and also their carers." Grives said the meeting promotes an important cause to get behind. "It's something close to our family at the moment. Harness racing is a great way to reach out for these things, so I'm more than happy to be on board and do my part," she said. Monday's seven race meeting at Bathurst starts from 2.05pm. Being the first Bathurst event since the Gold Crown Carnival's conclusion, the meeting is dominated by two and three-year-old events. The Autism Community Network's awareness campaign is also being carried over into Tuesday's meeting at Menangle. For those looking to reach out to Autism Community Network or learn more about their services visit autismcommunity.org.au "We've got 1500 families that we currently support and Bathurst is the next place that we're trying to tackle," Bateup said. By Alexander Grant Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

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