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Class prevailed at Menangle today as rising harness racing star Bling It On completed a brilliant first-up victory. Spelled after his gallant second in the Breeders’ Crown at Melton last August, Bling It On was pitted against a field of open class performers, but handled the task like a seasoned trooper. In a career best time of 1:51.3 over the mile, Bling It On accounted for Alchemy and Rockets Reject. Thrilled with the four-year-old’s effort, trainer Belinda McCarthy has earmarked several major targets for the son of American Ideal, beginning with the Mount Eden Championship later this month. “From the outside of the front row, and against free-for-all horses, it was always going to be a tough first-up run,” McCarthy said. “We knew how well he had been going at home, but race fitness and experience against the older horses is another thing come race day. “It was a tight finish, but he did it well and will certainly improve for the outing. “We’ll keep him ticking along now as we head onto the Mount Eden series.” Consisting of heats leading into a $50,000 Final, the Mount Eden Championship is scheduled to be run on November 29 – Miracle Mile night. Following that assignment, Bling It On will be aimed at the Chariots Of Fire and Australasian Breeders’ Crown. “The Chariots and Crown are the other two main targets with him this season,” McCarthy said. “In between those we will pick out suitable lead-up races. “He will only have a light season, consisting of about 10 to 12 starts.” PAUL COURTS

Bonavista Bay’s harness racing comeback has been short lived. With his tired, war-torn legs struggling to handle the vigour of competition, connections have retired the nine-year-old – permanently! Bonavista Bay was previously retired due to injury, and after standing at stud, was transferred to leading New South Wales-based horsewoman Belinda McCarthy earlier this year for another racing campaign. In a tremendous training effort, McCarthy managed to bring Bonavista Bay back to the track, but the stallion’s best was clearly behind him. The son of Rustler Hanover finished towards the tail of the field in his two runs, the most recent at Menangle three weeks ago. A former superstar youngster, Bonavista Bay won 14 of his first 20 starts - with three seconds also to his credit - under the care of astute Victorian training partners Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. His victories included Melton Plate, Golden Nugget, Vicbred Final and Ford McInerney Classic. Sent to Western Australia by owner Bob Proberts halfway through his four-year-old campaign, Bonavista Bay was transferred to trainer Mike Reed, where he continued to race in style before being struck down with leg problems. After two-and-a-half years off the scene Bonavista Bay had two starts at Gloucester Park before again going sore. Following an 18-month stint at stud, Bonavista Bay was sent to McCarthy. Bonavista Bay record stands at 17 wins and six placings from 33 starts for earnings of $504,499. PAUL COURTS

Rising star Bing It On is set to follow a path similar to the one harness racing’s boom pacer, Guaranteed, has been on. Due to have his first run back from a spell at Menangle today, Bing It On will be given a limited four-year-old campaign with the hope of making the transition to the top echelon at five – a trek Guaranteed is currently undertaking. Bing It On’s main targets for the term are the Mount Eden Championship later this month, followed by the Paleface Adios Stake leading into Chariots Of Fire and one of Victoria’s rich futurities. Guaranteed won the Mount Eden before returning to Menangle to capture the Paleface Adios and Chariots Of Fire. The son of Artsplace then finished second in the Vicbred Final before returning this season to win his three starts in sensational fashion. According to part-owner Harvey Kaplan, Bing It On will contest the same races, except the Breeders’ Crown will replace the Vicbred series. “He will only have a light four-year-old season before being unleashed at five,” Kaplan said. “He’ll only have 10 to 12 starts, with the Chariots the main aim. “Guaranteed is a super horse and if Bing It On can emulate his feats we will be super excited.” Despite connections’ plans for the Belinda McCarthy-trained entire, Kaplan isn’t expecting a grand first-up victory. Although he believes Bing It On is capable of winning, Kaplan feels the conditions are against the son of American Ideal. Spelled after his gallant second in the Breeders’ Crown last August, Bing It On has drawn the outside of the front row against seasoned free-for-allers. “He is a superstar, but given he’s first-up from barrier 10 against older, fitter horses it’s no gimme,” Kaplan declared. “The handicapping makes it hard on a four-year-old like him coming back from a spell. “If we nominated him on a metropolitan meeting, he would be put up against the likes of Beautide and so on. “Be it trotters, pacer, colts or mares, there needs to be more available options for early four-year-olds. “In fact, it’s even harder on mares as they have to run against the boys as there is no Chariots Of Fire-type races set aside for them.” PAUL COURTS

Success in last night’s opening leg of harness racing’s Grand Circuit has For A Reason on target for a trip across the Tasman. Pleasing connections with his Queensland Pacing Championship victory at Albion Park, For A Reason has been set for a two-start campaign on the Shaky Isles. Beginning with the famed New Zealand Cup, the son of Art Major will also tackle the Free-For-All three days later. Should all go according to plan, For A Reason will then return to trainer Belinda McCarthy’s New South Wales base for the Miracle Mile. “We couldn’t be happier with him,” McCarthy said. “After two solid runs back he was in top order for the main race and went exactly how we expected. “Being a bit older and a stallion it was always going to take a couple of runs to get his fitness up. “As long as he travels home well from this trip, we will make plans for the New Zealand Cup.” Driven by McCarthy’s reinsman-husband, Luke, For A Reason began quickly to lead from barrier three before being eased to take a trail behind in-form local, Avonnova. Angled into the passing lane during the concluding stages, For A Reason sprinted to a two-metre win from Avonnova. Our Hi Jinx, a stablemate of the winner, was a metre-and-a-half away third. “It was a pretty good result for the stable,” McCarthy said. “Both went really well, which was great to see.” Rating 1:56.8 for the 2680-metre journey, the eight-year-old continued the McCarthy dominance of the Group One. The McCarthy family has won eight of the last 10 editions of the feature, beginning with Luke’s success behind Cobbity Classic – trained by his father, John - in 2004. Luke then trained and drove Slipnslide to glory in 2005 and ‘06, with John finishing third on both occasions with Be Good Johnny. Four years later Luke repeated the dose with Mr Feelgood, which was too classy in 2010 and ‘11. John finished second with Washakie in 2010 and fourth with the same pacer the following year. Father and son joined forced to score with Washakie in 2012 before John combined with Belinda to win with Ideal Scott last season. Only Natalie Rasmussen’s two wins with Blacks A Fake in 2008 and ’09 have stopped the McCarthys during the past decade. The race was not run in 2007 due to the Equine Influenza breakout. PAUL COURTS

Regardless of form, or draw, the safe bet in Saturday night’s Queensland Pacing Championship – which doubles as the beginning of harness racing’s Grand Circuit – is McCarthy. Which McCarthy is harder to select, but given the family’s history with the feature, picking the right one is likely to be the best wager of the night at Albion Park. The McCarthys have won seven of the past eight editions of the Group One, beginning with Cobbity Classic in 2004. Trained by the elder statesman, John, Cobbity Classic was driven by his son, Luke. Luke then trained and drove Slipnslide to glory in 2005 and ‘06, with John finishing third on both occasions with Be Good Johnny. Four years later Luke repeated the dose with Mr Feelgood, which was too classy in 2010 and ‘11. John finished second with Washakie in 2010 and fourth with the same pacer the following year. The father and son joined forced to score with Washakie in 2012 before John combined with Luke’s trainer-wife, Belinda, to win with Ideal Scott last season. Only Natalie Rasmussen’s two wins with Blacks A Fake in 2008 and ’09 have stopped the McCarthys during the past nine years. The race was not run in 2007 due to the Equine Influenza breakout. As for their latest assault on the time-honoured event, the McCarthys boast four runners – two from John’s team and two from Belinda’s stable. John will partner Blazin N Cullen from barrier six, with Bart Cockburn to take the reins behind Machtavish, which has drawn gate nine. Belinda’s brother-in-law, Todd, will drive Our Hi Jinx, which has drawn the pole, while Luke is sticking with For A Reason from three. The leading prospect of the quartet, For A Reason is expected to be at his peak following two eye-catching runs from a spell. Finishing fourth on both occasions, the son of Art Major is no stranger to top shelf glory at the circuit, having captured the Queensland Derby in 2010. Rejuvenated pacer Avonnova shapes as the candidate most likely to halt the McCarthy onslaught for local trainer Ian Gurney. Successful in last week’s Gold Coast Cup, which saw Blazin N Cullen, For A Reason and Machtavish among the beaten brigade, Avonnova faces a tougher task from barrier five. Another son of Art Major, Avonnova was named Queensland Horse of the Year last Sunday, with a victory this weekend the perfect complement to his new title. PAUL COURTS

Fresh from his first-up fourth last weekend, harness racing star For A Reason is expected to be a major improver at Albion Park on Saturday night. Pleased with the stallion’s performance at his return from a six-month break, trainer Belinda McCarthy is confident For A Reason can make his way to the winners’ circle after the Gold Coast Cup. For A Reason’s previous victory came in the Goulburn Cup last January, with his five subsequent starts netting three placings, including a third in the Inter Dominion at Menangle. “I’m happy with his effort, but he was in need of the run last week at it showed at the end,” McCarthy said. “He has pulled up well and his work has been solid. “He will definitely be sharper for the run and we expect an improvement. “That said, whatever he does this Saturday night, he will improve on again the following week for his main target.” For A Reason’s “main target” is the $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship, which doubles as the first leg of the Grand Circuit. McCarthy is no stranger to QPC success, having prepared Ideal Scott to capture last year’s edition with her father-in-law, John, in the cart. McCarthy’s husband, Luke, who will drive For A Reason, has won the Group One a record six times, beginning with Cobbity Classic in 2004. Luke then scored with Slipnslide in 2005 and ’06, Mr Feelgood in 2010 and ’11 and Washakie in 2013. Only Natalie Rasmussen’s two wins with Blacks A Fake in 2008 and ’09 have stopped the McCarthy’s during the past nine years. As for For A Reason’s immediate assignment, the multiple Group One winner will begin from barrier three, with John shaping as the main danger as the trainer-driver of Blazin N Cullen. A well-performed son of Christian Cullen, Blazin N Cullen will begin from the pole for the veteran horseman. John also has Machtavish in the feature, with the gelding drawn awkwardly in gate 10. “I’m happy with our draw,” McCarthy said. “From there Luke has plenty of options. “Blazin N Cullen has drawn well for John and from there will make a real fist of it.” McCarthy also cites Victorian raider Abettorpunt as a major threat after receiving barrier four. Prepared by David Lewis, Abettorpunt was ultra-impressive when equalling the Ballarat track record at his first run for seven-month spell a fortnight ago. “Abettorpunt is a nice type and they wouldn’t have made the long trip up for no reason,” McCarthy declared. “It’s going to be a tough race, but I’m happy to stick with For A Reason.”

Leading harness racing trainer Belinda McCarthy will determine the remainder of For A Reason’s season based on his trip to Queensland. In the Sunshine State for a three-run campaign, For A Reason will kick off his campaign in tonight’s Be Good Johnny Sprint at Albion Park. The son of Art Major will then contest next week’s Gold Coast Cup before taking his place in the Grand Circuit opener - Queensland Pacing Championship. Should For A Reason compete as hoped, he’ll than be taken across the Tasman for next month’s New Zealand Cup before returning to New South Wales for the Miracle Mile. Expected to be freshened after that, For A Reason will then head south for his Victoria Cup defence before once again returning home for the Inter Dominion. Poor Queensland performances will see the stallion restricted to local targets in a bid to qualify for the Miracle Mile. “This trip will pretty much decide whether we go to New Zealand or stay home and regroup for the Miracle Mile,” McCarthy said. “That said, he is great shape and we can’t see him performing anywhere below his best. “Although he is first-up since April, his work has been first rate, so he’ll be forward enough. Whatever he does this weekend though, he will definitely improve on.” Drawn barrier four in the $30,000 event, For A Reason slots into three with the removal of his main danger, Lebron, which was predicted to lead from the pole. To be driven by McCarthy’s husband, Luke, For A Reason will be pushed forward early. “He isn’t the quickest out of the gate, but Luke will more than likely work his way forward, especially over 1660 metres,” McCarthy said. “It will be a special race to win given Be Good Johnny was trained by Luke’s father, John.” One of the best pacers to come out of Queensland in the modern era, Be Good Johnny won 48 of his 126 starts, with 48 placings and $1,671,405 also to his credit. A son of Fake Left, Be Good Johnny’s biggest claim to fame is being one of six stars to claim consecutive Miracle Mile wins thanks to his victories in 2005 and ‘06. Westbrun Grant was the ground breaker with his wins in 1989 and ’90, followed by Chokin (’93-’94), Holmes D G (199, 2000), Sokyola (’03-’04) and Smoken Up (’10-’11). Village Kid is the only other dual winner of the prestigious sprint, having scored in 1986 and ’87. The Western Australian’s victories were split by Master Mood when two Miracle Miles were conducted in 1986. PAUL COURTS

Once touted as harness racing’s next superstar, Bonavista Bay will make an unassuming racing return at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Under the care of astute Victorian training partners Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Bonavista Bay won 14 of his first 20 starts, with three seconds also to his credit. His victories included Melton Plate, Golden Nugget, Vicbred Final and Ford McInerney Classic. Sent to Western Australia by owner Bob Proberts halfway through his four-year-old campaign, Bonavista Bay was transferred to trainer Mike Reed, where he continued to race in style before being struck down with leg problems. After two-and-a-half years off the scene, the son of Rustler Hanover had two starts at Gloucester Park before again going sore. Following an 18-month stint at stud, Bonavista Bay was sent to leading New South Wales mentor Belinda McCarthy in a bid to resurrect his career. “He has come along quite well,” McCarthy said. “He’s trialled well and is standing up to it all, so we are hoping for the best. “You can never tell with horses which have been injured for so long like him, but so far so good. “He was sent to us so he can race on Menangle, which should be better on his legs given the wider turns.” In his McCarthy debut, Bonavista Bay will face off against reigning Inter Dominion champion Beautide, speed machine, Suave Stuey Lombo, and proven campaigner Seel N Print. On top of that, the nine-year-old has drawn awkwardly in barrier six over the flying mile, which is expected to be run in 1:50 or better. “It’s not going to be easy for him,” McCarthy declared. “Given the class he has come back at, there are no easy options. “This start is all about getting him back to race fitness, and more importantly, seeing how he pulls up.” PAUL COURTS

Several of harness racing’s major events – including the New Zealand Cup – are on the cards for top pacer For A Reason. Due to return to racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle in the first week of October, For A Reason will have at least one more trial before a firm date is set for the stallion’s first-up run according to trainer Belinda McCarthy. Should all go according to plan, For A Reason will have “two or three runs” before being taken across the Tasman for New Zealand’s premier event. “At this stage he will have another trial at Menangle on Tuesday week before heading to the races the following week,” McCarthy explained. “He is paid up for the New Zealand Cup but whether he goes will depend on his fitness. “Ideally he will have two or three runs here to bring him to his peak then we’ll go over for the Cup and Free-For-All.” While the Shaky Isles’ campaign is yet to be confirmed, McCarthy stated the SEW-Eurodrive Miracle Mile is a certain target. Australasia’s premier sprint is scheduled to be run at Menangle on November 29. The son of Art Major will then be given a freshen up ahead of his Victoria Cup title defence at Melton on January 31 followed by an Inter Dominion heat three weeks later. “The Miracle Mile is one race we are definitely aiming at,” McCarthy said. “Whether he goes to New Zealand or not, we want him at his best for the Miracle Mile. “He’ll also go south for the Victoria Cup and then head into the Inter Dominion. “He has a long summer ahead.” McCarthy is also set to give former boom pacer Bonavista Bay his first start since March 2013…that appearance, for Western Australian trainer Mike Reed, followed a three-year absence from the track. Retired to stud due to injury, the Group One winner has progressed well this campaign. “He will have another trial, and if he comes through that okay, he will be ready to race,” McCarthy said. “He was sent to us so he can race on Menangle, which should be better on his legs given the wider turns.” Originally trained in Victoria by Emma Stewart, the injury-plagued stallion won 14 of his first 20 starts, with three placings also to his credit. Bonavista Bay’s victories include the Melton Plate, Golden Nugget, Vicbred Final and Ford McInerney Classic. The nine-year-old is poised to make his debut for McCarthy the same time as For A Reason’s return. PAUL COURTS

The harness racing writers couldn’t have scripted the barrier draw for the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown (3YO colts and geldings) Series final any better today at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite a random draw, the final two horses left in the barrel were Kiwi champ Our Sky Major and his main adversary Bling It On. Fresh in the minds of racegoers was that less than 24 hours before the draw Our Sky Major had edged out Bling It On in a thrilling Breeders Crown semi-final battle at Ballarat. The two remaining ping pong balls in the barrel were gates three and 13 – meaning one favourite would have a plum draw, while the other had to come from outside the second line. Bling It On’s owner, Harvey Kaplan, and his family were thrilled when their charge drew three, leaving the Our Sky Major camp lamenting an unlucky 13 draw. When Our Sky Major narrowly pipped Bling It On in the semi-final last night, the Barry Purdon trained Kiwi star had drawn the front line, while Bling It On – from the Belinda McCarthy yard – had to come from the second row. Bling It On whipped around to find the lead with a blistering mid-race move at Ballarat before Zac Butcher worked Our Sky Major into clear air late and grabbed the win right on the wire. Reversing the semi-final draw has made this headline clash, one of many not-to-be-missed events on Breeders Crown finals day at Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday, even more tantalising than it already promised to be. Adding further intrigue is that the front line is choc full of speed in the three-year-old boys’ final, with Will Mach My Word (gate two), Bling It On (three), Major Crocker (four), Saloon Passage (five) and Hectorjayjay (six) all realistic shots at finding the early lead. TAB fixed odds reacted by slotting Bling It On in as race favourite at $2.10, with Our Sky Major a $2.50 second pick. Bling It On’s stable-mate Lettucerockthem is on the third line of betting at $5.50 despite a gate nine draw, while Vince Vallelonga trained Major Crocker, who won his semi-final, is $13. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria MARKET NOW OPEN AT THE TAB Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Sunday 24 August 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Sunday 24 August 2014

Rising-star reinswoman Amanda Turnbull combined with New South Wales harness racing trainer Dennis Picker to win the first semi-final of the Bettors Delight @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old fillies tonight at Ballarat with Just Cala. The daughter of Art Major defeated Spicy Stride by 7.1 metres in a mile rate of 1:57.0, while Ocean Diva ran third for Blake Fitzpatrick and Somedreamsomewhere ran fourth for Daryl Douglas. Just Cala had put the writing on the wall at her previous start when she came from an awkward position to rattle home and run second behind Rocknroll Arden. Just Cala The second semi-final of the Bettors Delight @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old  fillies saw a major upset – with $1.20 favourite Nike Franco missing a place at Ballarat tonight. The Belinda McCarthy trained filly galloped early and lost ground, which meant she had to use up a bit more petrol than first planned to find the lead. Once there Nike Franco was able to get away with a 30.5-second first quarter and a 32.1-second second split, but after they sprinted up down the back straight driver Luke McCarthy was starting to wind her up as Quick Draft and Barynya were on the march. In the home straight Quick Draft finished the strongest for Chris Alford, delivering in-form trainer David Aiken the win, with Tasmanian filly Barynya second (beaten 1.6 metres) and David Moran trained-and-driven Our Santa Catalina battling on well for third after leading early. Nike Franco ran fourth. The mile rate was 1:57.2, with the last half 55.6 seconds. Quick Draft by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

The outstanding pacer Gold Ace is due to have his second run back from a spell when he competes in the $30,000 Group 3 Priority Pass Pace at the harness racing meeting at Menangle on Saturday night. (August 16th) It has been nearly five weeks since his first up run at the same track and Gold Ace should be a much fitter horse for the hitout. Trainer Belinda McCarthy has been patient with the Bettors Delight entire and she should be rewarded with a much improved effort on his first up run. Mat Rue,back from North America takes the drive as Luke McCarthy is at Ballarat with a big team for the Breeders Crown semi finals. This season has been one of those that promised so much for Gold Ace and yet never quite reached the heights that many pundits thought it would. Wins in the $100,000 Cranbourne Cup, $50,000 Shepparton Cup and the $50,000 Kevin Newman Cup as well as a great third in the Hunter Cup and $195,013 in the bank would all suggest a great season. However at different times in the last twelve months Gold Ace has looked like a horse that was capable of dominating on the Grand Circuit but has always just fallen short on the big stage. Racing at the Grand Circuit level can take time for horses to adjust to. As this season has been the first where Gold Ace has consistently raced on the Grand Circuit, then maybe in the new season with that experience behind him, Gold Ace might finally live up to the potential he has always shown. Harnesslink Media

Kari Males hopes to quality two fillies for the Breeders Crown semi-finals at tonight’s Ballarat harness racing meeting. Males will put the harness on Bella Sainz in the seventh heat of the two-year-old fillies' division of the Crown (Race 3 at Ballarat) and last-start Vicbred Super Series final winner Niki No No in heat eight (Race 6 on the card). Despite their obvious form differences – one being a Group 1 winner and the other boasting just one placing at Shepparton in three goes to date – Males said the two fillies worked similarly at home. “Bella Sainz is Bellas Delight’s half-sister and we’ve got a pretty good opinion of her,” Males said. “She was possibly the best one early in the piece, but obviously Niki No No has shown what she’s capable of while Bella Sainz has just taken a bit more time. “Her work at home is every bit as good as Niki No No.” Greg Sugars will drive both runners and Males is thrilled with both horses’ gate draws – both drawn gate two in their respective heats. Males said she deliberately bypassed the Tatlow Stakes with Niki No No to concentrate solely on the Breeders Crown series. “We tossed up the Tatlow and in the end decided to just focus on the Breeders Crown,” she said. “She’s gone absolutely above and beyond what we initially expected early in the piece. “Her semi-final was very gutsy. We learnt a lot about her and what she’s capable of in the Vicbred series.” Males feels Niki No No has drawn the strongest heat tomorrow night, coming up against Belinda McCarthy-trained Smooth Showgirl. “She’s probably drawn the strongest of the heats and we know it’s not going to be an easy race. But if we don’t win it then there’s always the repechages,” Males said. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria Related Links Fields for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014 Form guide for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014

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

As brilliant as Birdy Mach might be, harness racing punters won’t be ignoring the undefeated Andy Gath-trained Burnaholeinmypocket in the Garrards Horse and Hound Tatlow Stakes for 2YO colts and geldings on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. The son of Bettors Delight boasts impeccable form lines; beating subsequent Group 1 winners despite starting from awkward draws and working in the run at both his starts to date. Burnaholeinmypocket sprouted wings late in his debut race, beating Justbritell (winner of the Shakamaker Classic at Melton in March) by 1.9m and Feeling Arty (winner of the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series colts’ and geldings’ final) by 7.3m. At start number two, Burnaholeinmypocket drifted a long way back early from gate seven before getting caught three-wide with no cover on the last lap. Despite covering a stack of ground from the bell to the finish post, Burnaholeinmypocket still proved 1.7m too good for Waves Of Fire, who would go on to win the Group 1 Nursery Final at Albion Park in 1:58.4. “He’s pretty gifted,” Gath said of his fledgling gelding. Asked if gate one was a definite bonus, the Long Forest trainer responded: “Always”, adding: “He had the second row at his first start and then seven at his second. I think he’ll hold his own out of the gate. Whether or not he can hold out Birdy Mach, we’ll wait and see, but my bloke’s shown he’s very strong.” Birdy Mach is the likely thorn in Burnaholeinmypocket’s side; the Sydney colt unbeaten in two runs at Menangle and from the powerful Belinda McCarthy yard at Cobbitty. Such is the boom about the son of Mach Three that champion reinsman Luke McCarthy said on Tuesday: “He’s right up there with the best two-year-olds I’ve ever driven”. Birdy Mach has blitzed his rivals in two runs so far, and on debut last month he clocked a 1:53.8 mile rate (last half 55.7secs). Saturday’s Tatlow field is full of top-quality youngsters including Kept Under Wraps, winner of three of five starts and a member of the Brent Lilley team, David Aiken-trained Show Me The Bling, runner-up in his Vicbred Super Series semi-final and the final, and Feeling Arty, who provided trainer-driver Cameron Maggs with his maiden Group 1 success recently in the Super Series at Melton. Gath will line up Looks Like Heaven in the fillies’ Tatlow Stakes and, like her stable-mate in the boys’ section, she’s drawn sweetly. The daughter of Lombo Mandingo will begin from pole if emergency Bubbling Gypsy fails to gain a start. Looks Like Heaven won on debut at Kilmore before trekking north on a Bathurst Gold Tiara mission. She won her Tiara heat by 8.8m but galloped in the final and finished down the track. “She’s going through a growth spurt at the moment ... We’ll see how she goes on Saturday and make a decision on the Breeders Crown after that,” Gath said. Team McCarthy filly Smooth Showgirl resumes in this race from gate 12 after winning the Group 1 Nursery fillies’ final at Albion Park in May. Also off the back row will be highly rated Kiwi Katy Perry, to be steered by Dexter Dunn, and Michael Stanley’s exciting Soho Tokyo, who ran second beaten a head by Tricky Styx in the 2YO Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park last time out. Hamilton trainer David Lewis will line up Luvumum in the Tatlow, the daughter of Grinfromeartoear boasting a one-from-one record after a sensational debut win at Melton in the Sapling Stakes. Luvumum was backed into $1.70 before scoring by 15.2m over Viva Safari in 1:57.6 in the February race. She’s pretty good. Punters aren’t generally a forgiving lot, so one suspects Lovelist might be on the drift. The Emma Stewart-trained Always A Virgin filly was rolled in the Vicbred Super Series semi-final after being sent out a $1.20 pop and then was beaten 11.8m in the final. Her previous form (four wins from four starts) was solid. The Tatlow Stakes races will be Races 5 and 6 at 7.32pm and 8.05pm. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 19 July 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 19 July 2014

The Queensland winter carnival continued tonight at Albion Park and star filly Nike Franco made a one-act affair of the feature, the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks. In fact, it was one of the easiest victories in a major event seen at Albion Park for some time. Starting as a short priced favourite, Nike Franco was given plenty of time to balance early before driver Luke McCarthy made his move heading down the back straight on the first occasion. Working to the lead at the 1200m marker, Nike Franco quickly turned the race into a procession. The Belinda McCarthy trained filly scored comfortably by 15m from Charming Allie and Beef City Safari in a time of 1;56.4 for the 2138m event. Nike Franco ran her final half in 56.3 seconds. “She is a high quality filly with strength and a great cruising speed; she travelled very well tonight and gave me a real armchair drive. Both Belinda and I have to make special mention of Dean Braun who prepared the filly before we took her over, she was in great shape.” Winning reinsman Luke McCarthy said. Connections now have the option of lining up against the boys next week in the Gr.1 $100,000 Queensland Derby. Nike Franco Nike Franco wasn’t the only feature race winner for Team McCarthy with the stable also scoring in the Gr.3 $45,000 Knudsens Betta Home Living 4 & 5yo Championship with speedster Chilli Palmer and the Gr.3 $30,000 TattsBet Gold Coast Derby with star colt Bling It On. Chilli Palmer, renowned for his devastating sprint, unleashed his power over the concluding which came off a genuine tempo to score comfortably defeating Terror Time and Majestic Mach. The milerate was 1;54.4 for the 2138m event. The Elsu gelding was only having his second start for the stable following his scratching last week from the Sunshine Sprint. Connections have the option of starting in either the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake or the Gr.3 $45,000 4yo Championship next week. Chilli Palmer Brilliant colt Bling It On scored a narrow yet decisive victory in the Gold Coast Derby tonight, clearly proving he is the horse to beat in next week’s blue riband classic. Sitting back in the field, the American Ideal colt sustained a strong sprint from the 600m marker to hold off Alleluia and Major Sam in a time of 1;56.2 for the 2138m event. Bling It On remains unbeaten in Queensland after eight starts. Leading breeder/owner Harvey Kaplan shares in the ownership of both Bling It On and Nike Franco. Bling It On Star Queensland mare Forever Gold proved she was on target for next week’s Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake following her dominant victory in the Gr.3 $30,000 Southern Queensland Plumbing Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes. Sent to the lead soon after the start by driver Kylie Rasmussen, Forever Gold cruised to an easy victory defeating Missing Letters and Gliding Rose in a time of 1;55.6 for the 2138m event. Forever Gold has now won this event for three straight years. Forever Gold The $20,000 Lunchbox Lodge Country Cup Final was taken out by classy pacer Beetson who led throughout in the 2138m feature defeating Glenferrie Hood and Karloo Kix in a time of 1;56.6. Recently transferred to the stables of Shannon Price, the multiple feature race winner made a clean sweep of the series after scoring arrogantly in the heat last week. And former track record holder Suave Stuey Lombo exacted revenge on new track record holder Im Themightyquinn when successful in the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Pace. Finding the lead, Suave Stuey Lombo was brilliantly rated in front by Lauren Panella and defied Im Themightyquinn over the concluding stages after staging a great war over the final lap. The 2138m event was covered in a time of 1;54.7 with the final half paced in 56.1 seconds. Both pacers will back-up next week. Next week, the features include the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake, the Gr.1 $100,000 SKY Racing Queensland Derby, the Gr.2 $80,000 Kevin & Kay Seymour QBRED Triad 2yo Finals and the Gr.3 $45,000 Gurney Group of Companies 4yo Championship. The mighty Queensland champion Blacks A Fake will also be trackside to parade before fans next week. And don’t forget about the opportunity to win 10% ownership of either Im Themightyquinn or Bling It On for the night next week, for further details check out the website – By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

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