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He Came, he saw, he conquered! The opening night of the 2014 Queensland harness racing winter carnival belonged to champion pacer Im Themightyquinn who scorched around the Albion Park oval in a stunning time of 1;50.5 defeating Mach Beauty and Avonnova in the Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint. It was a track record performance that eclipsed the previous mark of 1;51.8 set by Stuey Lombo when successful in the same race twelve months earlier. In front of a massive crowd, the Gary Hall trained megastar thrilled racing fans of all ages with his trademark dazzling speed and brilliance with a commanding performance. Handled perfectly by Gary Hall Jnr, the $4.46 million earner pushed forward immediately at the start and took up a position on the outside of Mach Beauty before landing the perfect one-one trail on the back of Avonnova. The first half was tripped in 56.3 seconds with splits of 28 and 28.3 seconds. With Mach Beauty rolling at a strong speed and Avonnova working hard without cover, Im Themightyquinn stalked the leaders and loomed big danger heading off the back straight. The third quarter was clocked in a lung busting 26.5 seconds and Hall Jnr quickly set upon the leaders with a sweeping three-wide move. In the straight, Im Themightyquinn proved too strong for a gallant Mach Beauty with Avonnova fighting hard for third. The last quarter was recorded in 27.9 seconds. “I love this horse; he’s a champion and he proved his greatness yet again aided by another great drive by Jnr. I’m so happy we made the trip to Brisbane and this is a fantastic result for harness racing, it’s great to see so many people come and cheer this horse on.” An emotional Hall said. It was career victory number 57 for the rising ten-year-old gelding. Im Themightyquinn The Gr.3 $45,000 Futurity was dominated by race favourite Bling It On who scored comfortably from Alleluia and Diamond Ace in a time of 1;58.3 for the 2138m event. The Luke and Belinda McCarthy prepared colt remains unbeaten in Queensland and will back-up next week in the Gr.3 $30,000 TattsBet Gold Coast Derby before contesting the Gr.1 $100,000 on July 19. Bling It On In the $15,000 Nickys Falcon Claiming Series Final, Franco Bulgari sprintlaned to victory defeating My Elusive Dream and Wilusi Blues. Franco Bulgari is prepared by Queensland rising star Narissa McMullen who owns, trains and drives the veteran pacer. Other star performers on the night included Fearless Leader who smashed the 2138m track record with a powerful front-running performance in a time of 1;54.2 for the 2138m journey, eclipsing the previous mark of 1;54.4 which was held by Avonnova while star filly Nike Franco scored a brilliant come from behind victory in the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Pace. Next week, the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks is the feature while the Gr.3 $45,000 4 & 5yo Championship, the Gr.3 $30,000 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes and the Gr.3 $30,000 Gold Coast Derby, the $20,000 Country Cup Final will also be staged. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

Sky Racing’s Premier Harness Racing Preview show ‘Chasing And Pacing’ will now be able to be seen on the Australian Harness Racing Website. It’s a must watch for Harness Racing fans with ‘Chasing and Pacing’ looking at the major Harness events each week with a look at the latest fixed price odds thanks to TAB.com.au. This week host Gareth Hall will preview the two big nights at Tabcorp Park Melton for the Vicbred Finals for both the Trotters (Friday night) and Pacers (Saturday night) with Harness Racing Victoria’s form expert Blake Redden. It’s also a big night on Saturday at Albion Park where the mighty champion Im Themightyquinn is set to start favourite in the Sunshine Sprint in his first run in Queensland. Racing Queensland’s Harness expert Michael Polster will join Gareth Hall to preview the Sunshine Sprint and the feature three year old race the The Futurity, which will see Belinda McCarthy’s boom youngster ‘Bling It On’ go around as the warm favourite. Sky Racing’s Gareth Hall and Blake Redden preview Firday night’s Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Trotters Finals for the 2YO C&G, 4YO E&G and 3YO fillies at Melton. Watch it here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywIL5SEYGrs Sky Racing’s Gareth Hall and Michael Polster preview Saturday’s night’s G2 Sunshine Sprint highlighted by the champion Im Themightyquinn’s first run in Brisbane and the Group 3 The Futurity at Albion Park. Watch it here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LjDvaIeThU Sky Racing’s Gareth Hall and Blake Redden preview Saturday night’s Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Pacers Finals for the 3YO C&G, 3YO fillies, 2YO filles and the much anticipated 4YO E&G final, which will see the clash between Lennytheshark and Guaranteed. Watch it here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKoY1SsqxRY&feature=youtu.be Harness Racing Australia will continue to work with Sky Racing to ensure that fans have the best coverage possible. Harness Racing Victoria

ONE of the biggest surprises of Breeders Challenge Day was not the failure of short-priced favourite Ominous Warning but the win of Its Only Rocknroll in the Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge two-year-old colts and geldings’ final. Aided by a superb drive from Cawdor horseman Blake Fitzpatrick, Its Only Rocknroll came from three back on the markers to run down a host of rivals in the straight, scoring by a half-neck from Sports Spook with the unlucky Spare Me Days in third spot, 3.7m away. Odds-on favourite Ominous Warning, from the powerful Luke and Belinda McCarthy stable was chasing his fifth successive win but wilted badly in the straight to finish second last after getting no peace in the run. Spare Me Days (Brad Hewitt) made a lightning mid-race move to sit outside Ominous Warning and the two went-head-and-head until turning for home. While Ominous Warning was the first to wave the white flag, Spare Me Days fought on doggedly and was only collared by the first two in the shadows of the post. The winner rated 1:55.5 with a last half of 56.3 seconds. Part-owner Peter Gianni later sang the praises of Fitzpatrick: “This horse wouldn’t even pace properly a couple of months ago and look at him now,” Gianni said. “I have to give Lisa and Blake Fitzpatrick the credit for all their hard work with this horse.” Its Only Rocknroll By Michael Court (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)  

SELDOM does a big harness racing raceday go by at Tabcorp Park Menangle without Belinda and Luke McCarthy figuring in the spotlight. They were at their best again on Sunday when promising filly Bamako Mali took out the $100,000 Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Fillies’ Final. While this daughter of Art Major has been on the road a lot this season, Bamako Mali continues to give her best and trainer Belinda McCarthy and breeder Paul Kahlfeldt feel there could be more Group One wins in store for her. Taken straight to the front by leading reinsman Luke McCarthy, Bamako Mali didn’t get a lot of peace from Bathurst Gold Tiara winner, now her stablemate, Makes Every Scents, who sat outside her in the run. Still there were apparent dangers with Ameretto (Ash Siejka) poised behind her on the fence and Sally Fletcher (Gavin Fitzpatrick) poised with a one-one trail. Turning for home it looked a race in four as all three challenged Bamako Mali. When Ameretto gained a run along the pegs she looked likely to run her down while $3.10 favourite Sally Fletcher was also winding up out wide while Makes Every Scents continued to battle on in the centre. Yet Bamako Mali held them all at bay to win in a 1:56.5 mile rate, outlasting Ameretto and Sally Fletcher to win by 1.4m after a 57-second final half. Bamako Mali   By Michael Court (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)      

Bring on the Queensland winter carnival. That was the message following a super night of harness racing at Albion Park last night (Saturday) which boasted a cavalcade of stars. With the winter carnival officially starting on July 5, a great entrée was provided with features including the Gr.2 $50,000 Kevin &Kay Seymour Premiers Cups Final, the Gr.3 $30,000 TattsBet Gold Coast Oaks, the Gr.3 $35,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Finals and the Listed $15,000 Statewide Taxation Services Trotters Marathon. Another highlight was the appearance of Australia’s best three-year-old Bling It On. Staged for the first time at Albion Park, the Premiers Cup Final proved to be a survival of the fittest with Major Moment ($8.20) sprintlaning to beat a gallant Five Card Draw ($21.60) and Alleluia ($1.60 Fav). The 2647m standing start contest was loaded with action from the start with Major Moment leading from his prime draw but the moves soon followed with Alleluia, Slipaslygrin and Five Card Draw all taking off before the mile marker. Alleluia found the lead but gained no peace as Five Card Draw attacked on his outside, Major Moment who gained the perfect trail then used the passing lane to finish best from Five Card Draw and Alleluia. The time of 1;57.0 clearly smashed the track record which was previously held by Devil Dodger. The last mile was run in 1;54.9. It was a case of third time lucky for co-owner and Queensland Harness Racing Board member Greg Mitchell who has been a runner-up the two previous years with Only The Brave and Major Strike. The Gold Coast Oaks was dominated by brilliant filly Nike Franco who toyed with her rivals after working to the lead at the 1500m point of the 2138mcontest. Thereafter, the McArdle filly travelled kindly and was never threatened and scored comfortably defeating consistent fillies Beef City Safari and Freedom Is. The winning milerate was 1;56.2, just outside the race record of 1;56.0 set by Baby Bling in 2011. Recently taken over by Luke and Belinda McCarthy, the filly now heads to the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks on July 12. The QBRED Breeders Classic Final for two-year-old fillies was taken out by Bettor Promise who led throughout to beat race favourite Feel The Faith and Bettorthanspecial. Prepared by Shannon Price and Scott Miller, the regally bred filly was rated perfectly in front by Brad Cowen and rated a career best time of 1;56.8. Bred by her owners, Tony and Katy Price, Bettor Promises ranks as a half-sister to former triple Oaks winner All Promises. In the colts and geldings Final, an inspiring drive from trainer/driver Donny Smith aboard A Good Chance saw him take the prize defeating a game Major Coup and Constantlysideways. Race favourite Mista Natural was crossed quickly at the start and Smith quickly followed through at the start before finding the lead before the end of the first quarter leaving the favourite to race without cover. The Mr Feelgood colt fought strongly in the straight and scored by a half head margin in a time of 1;58.7. Talented former Kiwi trotter Our Overanova maintained his unbeaten Queensland record with an all the way victory in the trotters marathon. The Grant Dixon trained and driven Monarchy gelding proved too strong holding out Goldstar Invasion and Its Three By Two in a time of 2;08.9 for the 3157m event. Our Overanova has won nine straight races and eight in Queensland since being purchased by Greg Mitchell. Boom pacer Bling It On didn’t disappoint his legion of fans with another effortless victory in the Knudsens Betta Home Living Pace. The American Ideal colt blasted home in splits of 27.7 and 27.4 seconds while recording a mile rate of 1;57.7. And the weekly $16,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final was taken out by the Bart Cockburn prepared Miss Real in a time of 1;56.5. For further information regarding the Queensland winter carnival, contact either Racing Queensland or the Albion Park Harness Racing Club. by Chris Barsby

Brilliant Victorian four-year-old Chilli Palmer has arrived in Queensland. Recently transferred to the stables of Belinda McCarthy, the Elsu speed freak will be set for the Brisbane winter carnival features starting next month. And local fans will get their first glimpse of the star pacer this Friday. Connections have confirmed that Chilli Palmer will trial between races at Albion Park as he prepares for the Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint on July 5. Other targets during the campaign include the Gr.3 $45,000 4 & 5yo Championship plus the Gr.1 $100,000 Blacks A Fake. “The trial is just purely about familiarization and an opportunity to stretch his legs after he arrived earlier this week. He’s taken no harm from the trip and he settled in well so that’s pleasing.” McCarthy said. The proven Gr.1 winner has not started since finishing an excellent third in the $50,000 4 & 5yo Championship at TABCORP Park, Melton on May 30 behind Lennytheshark and Inky Cullen. Chilli Palmer has won 7 of his 13 starts this season while banking more than $165,000 in prizemoney. “The Brisbane winter carnival has been part of his program all season long and we’re excited about his chances, I know the owners are looking forward to seeing him strut his stuff in these big races. “As we all know, this is a very special talent with amazing speed and Luke is excited about taking the drive behind him. He stayed with us earlier this year when he competed in the Chariots. “The hard style of racing should suit his racing pattern and hopefully we can get some luck with some good draws, we’re expecting him to perform really well.” Chilli Palmer has already collected three feature events so far this season with the McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park last November plus the 4yo Bonanza defeating Guaranteed at Melton and the Geelong Pacing Cup where he outsprinted champion pacer Smoken Up. Overall, Chilli Palmer has won 11 of his 19 career starts to date. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

If Australia was looking for a juvenile that could have a show of matching superstar Kiwi freshman Follow The Stars in the upcoming Australasian Breeders Crown - they may have well found him. And his name is Birdy Mach. The Belinda McCarthy trained Mach Three two-year-old made his much awaited debut at Menangle today and lived up to the hype and more. In fact, his winning time of 1-53.8 may very well be the quickest debut made ever made by a juvenile Downunder. Birdy Mach was sent straight to the front by driver Luke McCarthy in an opening quarter of 27.2. He was then allowed an easy second quarter, before producing a 55.7 last half to dash away for an emphatic 10.9 metre win. Bob Gage finished in second, while Kiwi export Kilcullen, who was a clear second favourite, galloped in the score-up and was never in the contest. Birdy Mach, who is a close relation to the former Chariots Of Fire winner Villagem, is owned by the Gurney family, who are currently enjoying a great run with top Queenslander Free-for-aller Avonnova. He is named after long-time McCarthy employee Daryl ‘Birdy’ Crapper. By Mitchell Robertson Birdy Mach  

Harness racing trainer Darrel Graham is cautiously optimistic. On the eve on his shock race return, Fernvale based horseman Darrel Graham believes his brilliant pacer Lanercost will perform at the required level in the Sure Products FFA at Albion Park. The former Gr.1 Chariots Of Fire winner tackles the state’s best open class performer Avonnova while enigmatic pacer Franco Jamar resumes for Belinda McCarthy in the 1660m event. After standing a season at Yirribee Stud where he covered close to 40 mares, a decision by owner Dean Shannon was made earlier this year to return to full work. Lanercost has not started since finishing fourth at Albion Park behind Passion Stride back in January, 2013. With months of foundation poured into the Courage Under Fire entire and three recent trial victories, his time has come - again. “He’s ready to go, I’m really happy with his work and trial efforts and everything suggests that he’s ready to take that giant leap back into racing again. It’s a massive challenge bringing a horse back to the track after standing a season at stud but it can be done, look at For A Reason for example.” Graham said. Lanercost will start from a tricky draw, the inside of the second-line but Graham couldn’t be happier with the draw. The front-line is overloaded with pace with noted speedsters, Franco Jamar, Destreos, Holy Camp Boy and Lebron all set to run the gate hard early. “The draw is the least of my worries; I’m drawn to follow the pegs so whether that means I’m behind the leader or three pegs, it doesn’t matter because the guess work has been removed from the draw. “I’m expecting a time of 1;52.5 – 1;53 so the best place for me to be is on the pegs taking all the short cuts. There is no easy return for a horse of this calibre and despite all the work and trials, there’s nothing like match fitness. “He’s a big boy now, he let down nicely during his time away from the track so he’ll need a couple of runs to bring him back to peak fitness. Right now, I’d say he’s around the 90% mark – while that’s good, it needs to better when you’re racing at open class.” With the winter carnival features at Albion Park just around the corner, Graham isn’t planning any miraculous raids on those feature events just yet. A view to the spring carnival in October makes more appeal but Graham will let his stable star do the talking. “No plans are set in stone at this point, it’s a case of run by run but it’s likely the Grand Circuit race later this year is more feasible rather than next month’s winter carnival features. “This horse has surprised me right throughout his career, so it wouldn’t shock me with whatever he does this campaign but hopefully he recaptures that brilliant form he once displayed. He’s good enough to do anything so fingers crossed.” by Chris Barsby

For A Reason is the first major casualty of the 2014 Brisbane winter carnival. The carnival officially starts on July 5 at Albion Park before culminating on July 19 with a raft of features including two Gr.1 $100,000 events. The Belinda McCarthy trained 7yo has been ruled out owing to a virus which has badly hampered his training campaign. For A Reason, placed in the Inter Dominion Grand Final back on March 2 at TABCORP Park, Menangle has raced once since that day when unplaced behind Beautide in the Marsdens Law Group Pace on April 12. Connections were then forced to bypass the Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile on April 27. “We’ve been a little unlucky with Frank lately but his health has always come first and again it’s not a major issue but we’re behind the eight ball, so we’ve decided to give the Queensland campaign a miss.” McCarthy said. The highly decorated stallion returned to racing last year after spending time at stud and the results have been extraordinary highlighted by his victory in the Gr.1 $400,000 Victoria Cup at Melton while also being placed in the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion Grand Final. For A Reason was being aimed at the Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint on July 5 and the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake a fortnight later. “There was no chance that we were going to push ahead with the campaign knowing that he requires a break, the Brisbane features are going to be tough races and you need to be at your absolute best and unfortunately, Frank won’t be. “He was actually training down really well but Luke said he didn’t feel sharp the other day and it’s now been revealed that he’s got a grubby nose and a cold. He was just about a trialing stage before this setback occurred. “If we didn’t give him a break now he wouldn’t have got one because the Grand Circuit season will be on us again and that’s more important, he will get a break now and be ready for the opening leg at Albion Park in October.” Team McCarthy will still be represented in the open class features with the likes of The Gold Ace, Franco Jamar and maybe defending Blacks A Fake champ Ideal Scott. The American Ideal gelding will venture to the trials on Tuesday at Menangle, his first public outing since finishing 10th in the Cranbourne Cup back in December. By Chris Barbsy (Harness Racing Australia)

The feature two-year-old event at Redcliffe is fast becoming a race of domination. And leading the charge is gifted harness racing horseperson Kylie Rasmussen. Rasmussen steered talented filly Mathilda Diventa to victory in the Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series No.6 Final defeating Rockstar Rikki and Irockymyworld. It was the third time Rasmussen has won the feature event following her success with Cha Ching Chaching and Couldntresist. The victory also provided Club Patron Chris Garrard and his family double celebration, not only is he the major sponsor of the event, he also shares ownership of the winner with his son Daren and friend Steve Hawkins. “This is a great thrill to win this race, both Daren and Steve are very excited and we can’t thank Kylie and Darren (Weeks – trainer) enough. This is a wonderful concept and it continues to evolve each year and I’m proud to be associated with it, credit to Kerry (Ebert – Club President) and his committee.” Garrard said. Two years ago, the Garrard family raced Couldntresist with Kylie Rasmussen. As for the breeders, Burwood Stud, it was their fourth success in the feature with Cha Ching Chaching, Couldntresist, Designer Style and now Mathilda Diventa. Stud principal Noel Denning and his wife Christine were both on hand last night to witness the victory. Mathilda Diventa is a filly by Cammibest out of the Holmes Hanover mare Holme Call and ranks as a younger half-sister to Couldntresist. Burwood Stud also bred the third placegetter Irockmyworld, a younger half-brother to another former winner in Cha Ching Chaching. “To win this race four years in a row is quite amazing, we’re very proud of the fact that we continue to produce quality racehorses who can win major races like this.” Denning said. Mathilda Diventa led throughout in the 1780m event before cruising clear over the concluding stages to win by 10m in a time of 2;00.0 with Rockstar Rikki battling hard after racing without cover while Irockmyworld also fought gamely to hold third. The Darren Weeks trained filly will now start in a heat of the $35,000 QBRED Breeders Classic at Albion Park next Friday night. The $20,000 Comfort Inn & Suites Northgate Redcliffe Derby was dominated by brilliant colt Bling It On. The highly decorated colt eased back to last soon after the start before making a midrace move to find the lead, it quickly became a procession there after. Bling It On defeated Raring To Go and Max Richter by over 21m in a race record time of 1;58.3 for the 2280m event. The American Ideal colt finished off in 28 seconds with winning driver Luke McCarthy barely moving. Trainer Belinda McCarthy is now setting Bling It On for the Gold Coast/Queensland Derby double next month. Bling It On is raced by Harvey Kaplan, the estate of Kaye Kilgour, Sammy Kilgour, Peter & Zilla O’Shea and Alan Fairley. by Chris Barsby Racing Queensland

Bathurst Gold Tiara winner Makes Every Scents tasted defeat for the first time in her career on Monday when she was beaten in a heat of the Seymour Nursery by the Belinda McCarthy trained Smooth Showgirl. The Mark Hewitt trained filly led from barrier one and it took a super effort including a final half in 56.3 seconds to run her down. "I was really happy with Makes Every Scents, she ran a great race and despite being beaten I was really proud of her," Hewitt said. "She travelled up by herself and it is the first time she has been on the float for a long period of time like that and she handled it really well, she has settled in extremely well at Anna Woodmansey's property." Monday's defeat was only the second time Makes Every Scents had been back to the races since winning the Gr. 1 at Bathurst. "She has had a really light time of it since winning the Gold Tiara, I didn't want to knock her around because I knew that she would have to make the long trip to Queensland." "Monday's run won't knock her around too much, she is the type of filly that handles the quick back up so I'm looking forward to Saturday night's final. It isn't going to be easy to beat Smooth Showgirl because she did all the work on Monday and proved too slick for us but I'm not giving in just yet." Makes Every Scents is raced by the Gibson family and showed ability from a young age. "When she was broken in she paced straight away and has always been above average, I knew from early on I had a pretty smart filly on my hands." "I won the Seymour Nursery with Two Eye See for the Gibson family in 2009 and it would be great to do it again some five years later." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |                          

Newcastle will host a TAB Carnival Of Cups meeting this Saturday night and star three year old Bling It On has drawn barrier one in the Newcastle Derby. The Belinda McCarthy trained son of American Ideal rated a career best mile rate of 1:51.7 when winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon and owner Harvey Kaplan confirmed that the trip to the Hunter Valley was the first stop for the colt on his way to Queensland. "You couldn't expect a three year old to go much better than he did on Sunday afternoon, I was very proud of his performance," Kaplan said. "The Newcastle Derby looked a nice race for him and is the ideal starting point before heading to Queensland for the Seymour series before we consider some other races up at Albion Park." Kaplan confirmed Bling It On may have a short break in the warmer weather before being set for the Queensland Derby. "The McCarthys learnt a lot when they spent time in America and Bling It On is having a very American season, he won't spell but will have a week off here and there, he will get to have a good spell but that won't be until the end of the season." "It is a delicate balance with Bling It On when he does spell because he does do very well but he prefers to be in work, he seems a much happier horse." The New Zealand Harness Jewels invites for the Australian three year old colt or geldings is yet to be announced but Kaplan admitted it would be highly unlikely Bling It On would make the trip should he be offered the chance. "I wouldn't say 100% it is a no but there are other options here in Australia, we have to wait and see who gets invited anyway." The $20,000 Mark Colin Packaging Newcastle Derby is race 7 on Saturday and has attracted other talented three year olds including the Nathan Hurst trained Saloon Passage and the Australian mile record holder El Fuego. By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Top New Zealand filly Supersonic Miss has been installed as a $1.70 favourite for the $A322,000 APG 2yo Fillies Final after landing barrier one for the Group One feature at Menangle on Sunday. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained filly, who has been successful in all of her three starts, was victorious in the American Ideal Leonard Memorial (Gr3) in her first start at Addington before travelling back to her homeland, where she has been an emphatic winner of both her APG heat and semi-final. Supersonic Miss is currently being stabled with Luke and Belinda McCarthy, who prepare one of her rivals in Bamako Mali, however her main danger looks to be the Daniel Thackeray trained Rosie OReilly, who streeted her rivals in her APG semi-final. Rosie Oreilly, who is also unbeaten, is currently the $3 second favourite with Tab.com.au and has pleased her trainer since her last win. "She has pulled up really well and hasn't missed a feed since her semi final so I couldn't be happier with her," Thackeray said. Rosie Oreilly is being stabled at the property of Jack Primmer, where she has settled in very well. Menangle on Sunday will remarkably be just one of six meetings that the All Stars team race horses at during the weekend. They will also line up Follow The Stars and Kept Under Wraps in the APG semi-finals at Melton on Friday, while also attending four domestic meetings in New Zealand. Those four domestic meetings are Addington (Thursday), Alexandra Park (Friday), Gore (Saturday), and Rangiora (Sunday). Meanwhile, a further 11 All Stars horses will head to Auckland on Sunday to prepare for the upcoming feature Alexandra Park carnival, including Border Control, Arden Rooney, Linda Lovegrace, Alleluia, and champion mare, Adore Me. By Mitchell Robertson

Artistic Flite will start from the outside of the second row in Saturday night's Bathurst Gold Crown but trainer Anton Golino still believes his talented two year old can win the event.  Artistic Flite won his heat impressively on Saturday night and has begun his career in great fashion. "Artistic Flite has always shown ability, he's had a few issues earlier on when he wouldn't track up on the back of horses but he has grown out of that now and I'm happy with the way he is performing," Golino said. "I was thinking before the draw that I would take any barrier except for gate one or eight, I just didn't want him to be bustled early, he is on his toes after his heat win so I don' t think I could have him much better." There have been two substantial offers made for the two year old but it seems to Golino that his owner is very happy to keep him. "There was a very big offer for him after he won at Newcastle from Western Australia which Theo (owner) turned down and then there was another one from New Zealand but that offer was knocked back as well, he isn't for sale which is a good thing for me." "All credit goes to Theo because he picked the horse out at the sales last year and I got him after he was broken in, he didn't cost very much and has turned out to be a good buy." Golino has spent the best part of the last decade overseas but admits the attraction of Menangle was just too big to ignore. "I spent seven years in America working for Noel Daley before going to Sweden for a year and then I spent six months in France and when I saw the plans they had for Menangle I thought it was time to come home and give it my best shot, I hope to train from the barn once they build it at the track." "I'm working four horses at the moment and spend the rest of my day shoeing horses, I am the farrier for Belinda McCarthy, James Rattray and Aaron Brown so I am always busy." by Greg Hayes - SKY Racing (Harness Racing Australia)

The Belinda McCarthy trained Two Eye See will return to his home town this weekend to compete in the Cordina Farms Young Cup.  Two Eye See is a product of the well respected Young based Success Stud and has already enjoyed three victories at the track and is hoping to add Saturday night's $45,000 Carnival Of Cups feature to the list as well. "I'm over the moon that Joe (Two Eye See) is coming back to race at Young this weekend, he is a remarkable horse to even be racing after all the issues he has had," owner Jackie Gibson said. "He was retired at four with several issues and since overcoming those and returning to the track he has had to undergo stem cell treatment for his suspensory, effectively he only has one good leg!." Gibson has been thrilled with the recent performances of her favourite horse and in particular his win at Tabcorp Park Melton on Hunter Cup night. "Hunter Cup night was fantastic, to be a part of a night like that was very special and I sat in front of the television and screamed as loud as I could." "His run in the Inter Dominion heat wasn't great but he has never raced well on a wet track before, so I'm hoping to see him perform at his best but win lose or draw he is going to have a four week break here at home with us after the race." With a strong following including a Facebook page Two Eye See attracts plenty of publicity and with that comes pressure. "For sure, he has a big fan base and I guess I feel the pressure a bit more when he does come home or race in a country feature because people are hoping and expecting for so much." "He is a very special horse and I will have him for as long as he lives, Saturday night won't be an easy race but I'm hoping he will be right in the finish, the purple power will be out in force for sure." by Greg Hayes - SKY Racing (Harness Racing Australia)

Three-time Olympic Gold Medallist and TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Ambassador Stephanie Rice is excited with the build up to Inter Dominion Grand Final day this Sunday afternoon. "It's been an absolute pleasure to be ambassador for such a wonderful race series," said Rice. Rice is a tremendous advocate of women in sport and will be cheering for Lauren Panella (Mach Beauty), Kate Gath (Caribbean Blaster), Belinda McCarthy (The Gold Ace and For a Reason) and Marg Lee (Keayang Cullen). "The success of females in harness racing was my attraction to the sport and I am pleased to see so many ladies with chances in the big one this Sunday afternoon," she said. Rice will attend the Heroes Ball at Luna Park this Friday night followed by a busy Grand Final day on Sunday. "I am so looking forward to being involved with the Fashions On The Field as there is over $25,000 in prizes on offer, she said. "I encourage as many people from all walks of life to come out to Menangle and celebrate a wonderful event." Three industry ambassadors will also be present this Sunday. Amanda Turnbull, Sammy Kilgour and Seryn Adams have also helped raise the profile of women in harness racing. In what promises to be a bigger and better series than last year, the 2014 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final will again be broadcast live on Channel 9 from 3pm. Harness Racing New South Wales  

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