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George’s Plains harness racing trainer-driver Bernie Hewitt will be gunning for a sixth Canola Cup after guiding Lex Crosby’s I’m With Lexy to a comfortable heat win at Eugowra on Sunday. The four-year-old $2.50 favourite led from virtually start to finish in the Chris’ Bakery Canola Cup heat one over 2100 metres, holding off Belligerence and Our Chittybangbang to win by a touch over a metre and firm as one of the trotters to beat heading into the long weekend’s rich Cup race. He’s confident I’m With Lexy, a mare coming off a second in Dubbo before Sunday’s heat win at Eugowra in just two starts after a spell, will be one of the trotters setting the pace in the final. “She got to the front early, there was a bit of trouble inside, but she ran along well, even sections, and then managed to hold them off at the other end,” Hewitt said looking back at Sunday’s heat win. “All’s going good. I’m pretty happy with where she’s at.” Giving Hewitt plenty of cause for optimism is the Cup draw, with the mare out of Lexy’s Laughing and by Roll With Joe USA securing barrier one for Monday’s final. “We’ve come up with a gun draw,” he said. “She’s got reasonably good gate speed. I’d expect her to be on the speed.” Hewitt said he was always happy to be in the running to win a race he says is one of the best run by a small club in NSW. “It’s a race I set one or two for each year,” he added.  “It’s the richest CO in the country and has been for a number of years. The small country club does a marvelous job.  “(The field) looks exceptional. A number of trainers have come from far and wide and a couple of impressive heat winners and qualifiers.” Inner Light NZ, the $1.50 favourite driven by Brad Hewitt, claimed honours in Sunday’s second Canola Cup heat. Heat 3 (Sunday’s Race 5) was taken out by Amanda Turnbull and Eliza Dushku NZ. The bay mare was $1.50 favourite starting the 2100m pace. The fourth Canola Cup Heat went to Miss Patriot, trained by Kevin Pizzuto and driven by Todd McCarthy. Pay Me Sam, trained and driven by Brad Hewitt, secured his place in the final with a win in Heat 5 on Sunday. Picnic day All are welcome to head to Eugowra’s racetrack on the public holiday Monday to enjoy country racing “at its best”. There’s all the fun of a picnic race day including a hotly-contested fashions on the field with $1000 in prizes.  Entry on the day costs $10 per adult, $6 for a pensioner under 16s free. Gate entry puts you into the draw to win a trip to Queenstown NZ or a ride in the back of the mobile during a race. The racebook is your entry into the draw for a new Toyota. There’s loads of free entertainment for all ages on course throughout the day. There’ll be teacup rides, jumping castle and entertainment with Pooka, a live band, face painting, sand art and horse-drawn carriage rides. The inflatable bouncing pony races return, dash for cash and much more to keep you entertained. Both coffee and ice cream will be available on course. Meeting-goers will be able to support CanAssist Forbes on the day, through donations or by supporting the raffle for a 55” smart TV. Donations toward other raffle prizes would be welcome, contact Eugowra Harness Racing Club through Facebook. Other races on Monday are the: $12,000 Alabar - Don Tildsley Memorial, $10,000 Heats of the C1/C4 Eugowra to TABCORP Menangle and the $7,000 Mick Rawsthorne Memorial. Fields released Wednesday. For more details on the event go online to www.eugowraharnessracing.com Reprinted with permission of Forbes Advocate

Bernie Hewitt, along with wife Cathy, will be the proudest of parents at next Monday’s wedding of their daughter Gemma to leading driver Mat Rue, but he cast all sentiment aside, and put them firmly in their place, when successful in the final race at Wednesday’s Group One Feeds Paceway meeting. Just as Mat Rue, driving the Gemma Hewitt-trained Swift Bet, looked likely to score an all-the-way win in the C0 sprint, Hewitt charged home from the one-one with Cobbity Cardio for a strong win. And with Just A Kool Joe working clear down the running, the young couple had to settle for the minor place. There’ll be a very different script at next Monday’s ceremony, but perhaps the Port Douglas location, as well as all the regular “exes”,  figured in Bernie Hewitt’s reaction straight after his win: “ It’s okay for Gem and Mat, they’ve got all the time in the world to save up, but I’ve been going flat out the last few months to win as much as I can for this!” Tongue-in-cheek, or even slightly serious, it was accompanied by a wide grin which indicated genuine delight that the family could enjoy a win in what was the very last race before they all headed north the following day. A pre-wedding toast, from the father of the bride. Steve Martin couldn’t have done it any better! If this final race was a triumph for age and cunning, the earlier results were in large part a testament to youth and promise, with Mitchell Turnbull scoring a driving treble, for three separate family members. Lockton Luck, for brother Josh, resumed from a six-month break in a C2 Menangle Country Series heat, handing up to favourite My Bettor Bella NZ and reeling it in via the sprint lane, with a 27.4 second closing quarter to round out a 1:56.9 trip. In the C4-C7 sprint that followed, last season’s Horse-of-the-Year Sportygal, for father Steve, combined with the Junior Driver-of-the-Year for a tough win from the death-seat, just edging out Gotta Bewitched NZ, which had the drop on it for most of the trip. Those two winners started at each-way odds, in even fields, but that was certainly not the case with the final leg of the Mitch Turnbull treble. Quaint Glen NZ, for sister Amanda, started at odds-on in the Kevin and Kay Seymour Celebrating 50 Years  mares class, and the Pay Me Christian daughter earned her Queensland owners a free service to either Hurrikane King Cole or Gotta Go Cullect with an easy front-running win, slipping home in 56.8 seconds under wraps. Her youthful driver was naturally pleased by his treble, but especially so because it involved three other members of his close-knit family. Other winners on a true winter’s night at Bathurst: Panther Star, for Steve Jones and Nathan Hurst ( who earned the Drive-of-the-Night award from racecaller Anthony Manton), in a C0/C1 sprint, coming from a mile back and sustaining his effort right to the line in a very impressive win  for his Bathurst Panthers RL syndicate of owners; Ring The Till NZ (Steve Turnbull), maintaining his unbeaten record in this country with another tough effort, working to the death in C2/C3 grade and pulling away easily in the straight, with a soft 27.9 final quarter. His Dubbo part-owner Jack Shanks is reliving some of the fun he enjoyed with a very good pacer named Quamby’s Pride, a Queensland Derby winner in 1980; Cherry Sweet Peach, which won the C0  Menangle Where Horses Fly heat, Nathan Hoy cleverly dodging some home-straight disruption and coming with a strong run down the outside, to make up for her own bad luck with a flat tyre at her previous start; Miss Ives, in a C0 sprint that also featured some home-straight confusion as several runners locked wheels. It didn’t affect this result, with trainer-driver Greg Rue  merely observing the chaos back over his shoulder as he took the death-seating mare to a clear-cut win. This was a win for the uncle of-the-groom, and a nice lead-in to the father-of-the-bride. Terry Neil  

Our Little Digger’s Group 2 Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue win at Menangle last Saturday night was an emotional victory for Clayton family. The gelding was one of the last horses bred by the late John Clayton from Bathurst. Named after the breeder himself, Our Little Digger overcame his wide draw to take out the feature and his saddlecloth number (10) was an omen according to part-owner Mary Clayton. “This horse was bred by my late husband, who hasn’t been gone all that long, and is named after my late husband and he’s wearing his number tonight so we had a bit of help from above,” Mary said when accepting the winning trophy. “It’s been a real journey but it’s something that has kept our family going . . . my son Darren is also a part-owner.” Trained and driven by Bernie Hewitt, Our Little Digger clocked 1:52.8 to win the feature giving the Georges Plain mentor a race-to-race double as he won the following Group 2 with Taylors Reason. Snaring both three-year-old legs of the 2017 Breeders Challenge Blue Finals, Hewitt added to his Breeders Challenge success rate having now won five Breeders Challenge Finals overall and four of those have been Blue Finals. Hewitt’s success in this feature began in 2014 when Read About Lexy won the Breeders Challenge Blue two-year-old fillies final. A year later he won the three-year-old fillies’ edition with Pass The Magic and in 2016 with Ima Black Beauty. However, it was just last month Hewitt obtained his first Group 1 winner when winning the Alabar Breeders Challenge three-year-old fillies’ final with Royal Story. AMANDA RANDO  

After all the excitement and glory of Group One success at the Breeders Challenge just three days earlier, Amanda Turnbull and Bernie Hewitt were happy to settle for "home ground" harness racing victories at Group One Feeds Paceway on Wednesday night. Before a much smaller crowd, and in true winter conditions that were a test for even the hardiest of souls, they accounted for three of the eight races, on a night dominated by the Turnbull and Hewitt clans. Amanda grabbed a double, to share driving honours with father Steve - between them, they won the first half of the program - while Bernie took out the sixth event before he and his son Doug supplied the placings for a Hewitt trifecta, behind brother Mark, in the 2YO race that closed out the meeting. And Bernie's nephew Dennis Picker added to the Hewitt-family tally by supplying one of Steve Turnbull's winners, Rave On Rabbits, in the 3YO race, where he drove the runner-up for a stable quinella,remarkably one of five for the night. Sunday's double success at Menangle clearly paved the way for a night full of doubles up in the cold country come Wednesday night! Steve Turnbull's mastery was on display in the opening C1/C2 sprint, where he allowed Annie Matilda to settle towards the tail of the field in a fast-run affair before tracking into the race on the turn and powering home for a 1:55.9 victory. And those who were prepared to forget the mare's inglorious effort in a Rising Stars heat at Young, and instead remember her win for Turnbull two runs back, must have been giggling to themselves at her $33.90 starting quote. In the fourth, a 3C0/3C1 sprint, Steve Turnbull got the best out of Rave On Rabbits, to overcome Showem Simon in a hard-fought finish, for that Picker quinella and a very jubilant track invasion by the well-known and popular Bourke family, who race the winner in between barracking for their beloved Rabbitohs. Amanda drove the intervening two winners, and for good measure Steve drove both runners-up, for stable quinellas. Hidden Courage sprinted sharply from the running line for a narrow but authoritative win over Sportygal in the 2260 metres C2/C3 second, making it three wins now from his last four runs, and earning praise from his driver: " a very good effort for a three-year -old to beat this class of horse." Smithstars Lexus was locked up three-fence in the 2260 metres conditioned third, and stormed along the vacated sprint lane for an easy win, with Steve trailing through behind her to grab second with Holdonsu. Racecaller Anthony Manton made it his Bathurst RSL Drive of the Night award. Chris Frisby - Steve Turnbull's brother-in-law, and a very good trainer in his own right - started three runners in the 2260 metres C1 fifth and - you guessed it - got a quinella result. Mat Rue rated Our Wall Street Wolf NZ to perfection, slipping home in 57s for an easy win from the trailer Sharon's Sheralee NZ ( Stephanie Burley). Ima Black Beauty isn't quite up to the likes of Bernie Hewitt's Breeders Challenge winner Royal Story, but she's pretty handy nevertheless, and Wednesday's all-the-way win for Bernie, in a C0 sprint,  was her fourth this season and took her earnings north of $50K. Doug Hewitt enjoyed a nice trail in the one-one with Gunna Cullect and chased hard down the straight for a fighting second and yet another stable quinella. Ace Of Cardens (Nathan Hurst for Steve Jones) outstayed favourite Volaticus in the sprint-trip Maiden seventh, to provide the most sentimental win of the meeting, for owner Shona Stewart who has retained several of the horses she raced with her  partner Mark Rawsthorne, who passed away tragically last year. The field had a collective 218 race starts, the winner being one of the least experienced runners, with just four previous starts. Nathan Hurst, who only sees the horse on race nights, believes he's capable of getting another win in the right race. Mark Hewitt, who's always been regarded as a dab hand with juveniles, lived up to his reputation when successful with Our Jack Starr NZ in the 2YO final event, improving from its debut second a week earlier to lead throughout in 1:59.3 with a 57.3s final half .The winner is a striking type by American Ideal, and should furnish into a magnificent three-year -old, with hopefully the ability to match .It was appropriate that Doug and Bernie Hewitt should drive the placegetters, for a Hewitt trifecta. Mark and Amanda Turnbull have their own family connection, of the equine kind. Amanda's Group One win last Sunday was achieved with four-year-old mare Eye See Diamonds, a half-sister to Two Eye See which Mark trained and drove to win the Seymour Classic a few years back,  both Group One winners being bred by the Gibson family. A well-timed night for two of our finest families, and what better venue than the appropriately-named Group One Feeds Paceway. by Terry Neil Race programme for Bathurst, Wednesday 05 July 2017

Bathurst four year old, Lethal Promise will start a short priced favourite in this Sunday afternoon’s $10,000 Ex Services & Citizens Club Series Final (1800m) at the Peak Hill Harness Racing Club's Carnival of Cups TAB meeting. Trained by one of the best in the business namely Bernie Hewitt, Lethal Promise could not have been more impressive when recording a comfortable win in his qualifying heat which was conducted under picture perfect skies last weekend. On that occasion he was driven by Mat Rue who had the gelding poised to pounce just off the pace before unleashing a powerful finish to score by four and a half metres in a very slick 1.57.2. The horse that ran third to him, Tulhurst Santanna (Nathan Hurst) made all the running in front and was gallant in defeat, beaten by just over six metres and again he will be the one that Lethal Promise has to get over the top of in the final. Mat Rue landed a winning treble on the afternoon with one of his wins being aboard the Kevin Medlyn trained Blake On Fire in the second heat of the Series. Although his winning mile rate was some two and a half seconds slower than that recorded in the first heat, the Parkes pacer looked to have something in reserve as he strode clear for a resounding win over Shazam Shannon and Master Benny with the latter being responsible for a huge effort after being posted off the track for the last 1200 metres of the race. Sunday’s meeting which kicks off at 12.09pm promises to be a beauty with a plethora of great racing and entertainment for patrons. Another feature on the program is the $10,000 Kriden Park Lady Drivers Invitational. Drivers of the fairer sex who have confirmed that they will be competing in the race include inform Bathurst drivers Ashlee Grives, McKayler Barnes, Emma Turnbull, Amy Rees and Angela Hedges.  Parkes will be represented by the very talented Kasey Hocking while popular Dubbo girl, Jacqui Ingham will also be competing. Two $10,000 heats of the Tabcorp Park Menangle Series are programmed on a card that is offering almost $70,000 in prize money and trophies for the nine race program. Craig Dumnesy Reprinted with permission of The Parkes Champion Post

Bathurst Harness Racing Club will hold a general meeting at the Bathurst Paceway on Wednesday afternoon.  Georges Plains trainer Bernie Hewitt will have 11 of his trained horses entered across the eight race meeting. He will be in the gig for six horses, including four-year-old bay gelding Taylor Hood who will start from barrier five in the Shannon Springs Pace (1730 metres).  “She should go pretty well,” Hewitt said. “She’s been racing consistently and I’m happy with the draw, she should go good from five.” Hewitt will drive Allnight Mlady who has her first official start since December 7, when the four-year-old bay mare finished 11th at the Bathurst Paceway. “It’s her first up start after a long spell. She’s going to need the run and will need a couple to get back to her best,” he said. Even in her five month absence from racing, the bay mare still has a healthy career record – four wins, six seconds and two thirds from 22 starts – which includes a career stakes of $29,635.  On the final race of the meeting – the Lexus of Dubbo Pace (1730 metres) – Hewitt will be in the gig for three-year-old bay gelding In The Paper. “He’s been racing consistently all season. He’s a three-year-old taking on some of the older horses, so he’ll probably need a few things go his way,” Hewitt said. The bay gelding is coming off a fifth place finish, on May 24, in the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO Colts & Geldings Heat. In The Paper has four wins from 10 starts.  By Bradley Jurd @BradleyJurd Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate  

Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Sunday meeting is building up to be a busy day for Georges Plains’ Bernie Hewitt, as he is set to feature in six races, either as a trainer or driver.  Myanga Sportsgirl and Pretty Big are expected to make their harness racing debuts in the S & J Turnbull St Stanislaus College Pace (1,730 metres).  While Hewitt is happy with Myanga Sportsgirl’s draw (gate five), Pretty Big’s did not draw as well.  Nevertheless, Hewitt is optimistic about the horses’ future. “I like both these fillies,” he said. “The draws are important, but they’re progressing towards the Gold Tiara.”  Mackeral, Mammals Terror and Lifes A Jungle will all feature in the Dunstan Constructions/Burkes Transport St Vincent De Paul Pace (1,730 metres). Hewitt will be in the gig for Mackeral, who has drawn well (front row, gate one) in his maiden race. “He’s a nice gelding and he’s got some good pace on him,” he said. In the Kelso Kitchens Catholic Primary Schools Pace (1,730 metres), Hewitt’s Mammals Magic and Headmaster will be racing. “They both haven’t drawn ideally, but I’m happy with both of them,” Hewitt said. “There are a few decent horses in the front row, so it’ll be a hard field.” Hewitt will drive Johnnycake in the Country Coffee Mckillop College Pace (2,260 metres), with the four-year-old bay gelding drawing gate five, in the front row.  Hewitt’s other horse in the race, Trunkey Emily, has drawn in the second row, gate three and will be driven by Douglas Hewitt.  Art Mistress, who has collected over $100,000 in prize money, will start from the front row, gate three, in the Catholic Education Office Pace (2,260 metres).  The four-year-old bay mare will look to collect a career 10th win from her 40th start on Sunday. Hewitt has also been a late call up to drive Shane Sanderson’s Expressionist in the meeting’s feature race – the G.J & A.D Turnbull Cathedral Parish Cup (1,730 metres). The seven-year-old brown gelding is looking for his first win since December 10, 2016, at Menangle.  Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Harness racing trrack records were broken and dreams came true at yesterday's (Sunday's)  Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Regional Finals Day ($30,600 each race) at Newcastle Paceway. The Blake Fitzpatrick-trained Fun Magic Trix set the scene setting a new age record when taking out the Two-Year-Old Fillies Group Three Final. Leading throughout, the daughter of Artistic Fella clocked 1:55.9 to eclipse the record of 1:57.1 that her stablemate Shez Sugarsweet set at that track a month ago. "Fun Magic Trix has the ability but is still very green," Fitzpatrick said. "It was a great effort by her and she will have a spell now." The Two-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Final was won by Hez All Courage. Piloted by Chris Geary for Georges Plains mentor Bernie Hewitt, the son of Courage Under Fire rated a career best 1:57.7 to secure his second win in just eight starts. It did not take long for the next record to be set, as Pixies Parlour made her presence felt in the Three-Year-Old Fillies Final rating a slick 1:54.4. Driver Amanda Turnbull was unsure of how the race would unravel with Pixies Parlour drawn wide beginning from barrier nine. "She has drawn wide again and bad draws have been working against her of late but she has been racing well enough," Turnbull said before taking out the Group Three. The track remained fast for the following race, the Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Final as Si Nardore lived up to his $3.50 favouritism rating a personal best 1:54.9. In the Four-Year-Old Mares Final the well-bred Maudie Mombassa swooped down the middle of the track to win the feature, beating fellow Sydney-trained pacer Deadly Merrywood. And it was another Sydneysider that won the Four-Year-Old Entires and Geldings Final when Valoroso Hanover produced a dominate display clocking 1:54.1. The son of Kenneth J had the odds against him having raced at Tabcorp Park Menangle the night before and also being involved in a transport issue on the way to Newcastle. However, that was not enough to stop the gelding from causing a minor upset and winning by more than seven metres. AMANDA RANDO

There might have been a smaller crowd, cooler conditions, and mostly "bread and butter" races compared to the recent Gold Crown carnival, but Friday's  harness racing fixture at Group 1 Feeds Bathurst Paceway certainly didn't lack for excitement, with a number of desperately close finishes. This was especially so in the feature Western Districts Oaks, where favourites Pixies Parlour and Rainbow Flash staged a good old-fashioned stoush the length of the home straight, necessitating a long delay before the judges found the narrowest of margins for Rainbow Flash ($2.70, Robbie Morris for Kerryann Turner) The battle continued into the stewards' room, Amanda Turnbull lodging a protest alleging that Rainbow Flash (which had sat outside her from the mile ) had forced Pixies Parlour down inside the marker pegs on the point of the home turn. After a lengthy delay, stewards dismissed the protest, allowing the Santanna Blue Chip daughter to maintain her unbeaten record in three runs at Bathurst.Mile rate for the 2260 metres event was a very pedestrian 2:00.6, after a very slow lead time and first quarter, but things got very urgent soon after, with a sharp 27.6 third quarter and then 29.2 for that stirring final section of the race. Positions were somewhat reversed in the following fast-class event, when Morris attempted to lead throughout on favourite Franco Tiago NZ, chasing four straight wins, and fought off Turnbull's runner Heza Thrill NZ, which had moved to the death mid-race. Mat Rue aboard Kenny Dee Dee ($4.90, for Bernie Hewitt ) took the opportunity for a cart into the race on the back of Heza Thrill, and ranged up in the shadows of the post to just get over the top of the other two. With the final three quarters all dispatched in sub 29s, the mile rate was a quick 1:57.3 for the 2260 metres. It was win number 15 for the Speed King five-year-old, bringing up a total of 56 wins for the progeny of his dam Beat The Clock, which connections purchased cheaply some years ago from Queensland breeder Stan Fyfe. The mare was humanely put down recently, but has been a wonderful producer for her proud owners Bob Boyd and Deirdre Masters. Both Robbie Morris and Amanda Turnbull scored driving doubles at the meeting, as did concession reinsman Chris Geary. Turnbull's earlier winner was Star Writer ($3.10, for father Steve ) which tracked three-wide over the final quick half of a C2-C4 class, for a very gutsy win in 1:58.8, and Morris picked up his second win in the 2YO final event, with Brobenah Boy ($6.20, for Bernie Hewitt ) leading throughout and dashing home in 27.8 for his first win at start number four. Geary's double came in the opening races, both for Belinda McCarthy. Somepartysomewhere ($3.80 ) took advantage of an early scrimmage in the 3YO event to find the front before dashing home in 57.2 seconds for his second win in succession, to remain unbeaten this season. Imnoracinggal NZ ($2.60 ) belied her name with the night's easiest win, by a mere 22.5 metres, in C1 company, Geary making a well-judged move after the bell to wrest the lead from runners feeling the pinch after a lead time of 45.3 seconds, the fastest so far at the track. Overall mile rate was 1:56.6, seldom bettered for the testing 2260 metres run at Bathurst. Geary currently sits in third place in the NSW driving ranks, behind Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris, with more than 70 winners, but is reluctant to talk about his chances of cracking a century. In his current form, and getting drives from strong stables, he must be a good chance. Castlereagh trainer Anthony Simiana missed his double when Franco Tiago got nabbed in that fast-class race later in the night, but was delighted earlier on when Walkabout Creek ($5.40, Wes Komorowski ) made it a hat-trick of wins since his recent purchase, in a conditioned class heat of the Dubbo Golden Gig. With the speed on throughout, he came three-wide from the half for a tough win, in 1:55.6 for the sprint trip. A beautifully-bred son of Somebeachsomewhere from fine racemare Trudee, he still displays some poor manners but has improved under Simiana's care and by working with other horses. There was no tougher win on Friday than that of the Steve Turnbull-trained and driven Sabrage NZ ($1.70 ), on debut in Oz and posted three-wide for a long way in C0 class, before eventually finding the death seat. Steve Turnbull  didn't think he'd got up in the photo from Summer Money, but his relief was tempered with some anxiety about his youngster having a gut-buster first-up. Everyone at Bathurst is well used to the sight of female drivers weighing in first, but it was refreshing to see a female steward, Annie Carruthers, checking the runners and signalling the all-clear after one of the races on Friday. Her seniors on the stewards panel tell me the young cadet is showing a lot of promise, and is only a couple of months off being ready to take charge of a race meeting. Great to see, and with a surname the same as Australia's first world boxing champ, she's sure to handle whatever comes her way! Terry Neil

In a warm-up for the following night’s success in a Breeders Challenge Blue Final at Tabcorp Park, Bernie Hewitt trained a double at last Friday’s harness racing meeting at Bathurst, including Alphitonia in the evening’s feature race, the HBNSW Go Girlfriend Series heat. Hewitt took advantage of Chris Geary’s claim to start the C4-class mare in the C0-C3 series, and the accomplished junior driver played his part perfectly, working forward gradually to the death seat, then working the leader-and eventual third placegetter- Verdot, before holding off favourite Keilor Kimberly, which used the sprint lane.  The sprint trip was put by in a 1:57.3 mile rate, very commendable given the bitterly cold conditions and a track which had copped more than its fair share of rain in the lead-up. Bathurst HRC life-member Wayne Loader, who has previously organized a number of successful syndicates for his beloved Centennials Cricket Club, races the Flightpath daughter on his “Pat Malone” and the win might have helped erase some of his disappointment at the surrender of the Aussies in the Ashes first test over in England. Hewitt’s winner in the C0-C1 opening event, Allnight Kiss ($7.70), established the pattern for her stablemate later on, by working around the field to a position outside the leader, and fighting on strongly, rating 1;58.0 over the sprint distance. Motu Blazing Spirit NZ and leader Hearts N Flowers NZ filled the minors. “She’s fairly one-paced, but very tough, and shows plenty of determination at the finish, “ was Hewitt’s appraisal of the Modern Art daughter. Midnight Prowler NZ ($3.70) was successful in an eventful C1, second race, giving Steve Turnbull win number 42 at his home track this season, just one behind daughter Amanda in the Acropole Restaurant-sponsored drivers’ premiership. Amanda held a big lead until recently, and it will be interesting to see if she can retain the title she’s held for the last few seasons. “I thought my horse was going to collar the leader (Shes So Foxy) in the straight, but when that horse broke suddenly, my bloke pricked his ears and started looking around everywhere. I thought, don’t you start doing that!” Turnbull was able to gather him up, and held a clear margin at the line from Annika Magic and Bohemian Art, which had raced near the lead. Mitchell Turnbull was set to head to Victoria just a few days after this meeting, to join sister Amanda and her partner Nathan Jack at their Shepparton base, for the remainder of this season. “We’ve cut our stable numbers down as we get further into winter,” Stave explained. “With many of the Victorian juniors having out-driven their claims, there’s an opportunity for Mitchell over the next couple of months and he’s keen to try it out.” Kevin Pizzuto and his stable driver Jack Trainor didn’t have much joy in that race won by Midnight Prowler, with their runner Justa Dale NZ, first-up in this country, baulking as the arm was released and losing almost 150 metres before settling into a pace. His effort to catch the field and loom on the turn for home (to eventually finish fourth), was hard to miss. Their night improved markedly after that, with wins to Jolly Dryden NZ  in race three, the fast-class sprint, and Matty Groves, in the 3C0-3C1 fifth. Jolly Dryden ($5.50) was taken straight to the front by Trainor, and had enough in reserve to hold off trailer Intransit, which used the sprint lane, and Ardghal, which followed it through. Sharp final quarters of 28.9 and 28.1 set up the 1:56.9 mile rate for the winner. Matty Groves ($1.20 favourite) rated 1:57.1 in leading throughout, to record his first win in this country,  with a 10 metres margin back to The Space Invader and Provincial. Trainor admitted that the stable was disappointed with the bad luck in the earlier race, but  was very pleased by the efforts of the other two, acknowledging that “you can’t expect to always have nights like the Rising Star night at Bathurst, you just need to get winners every so often to keep things going well.” Matty Groves’ previous win had been at the South Island track of Washdyke, and Trainor, who’s driven there, says “I much prefer driving up here at Bathurst.” With a treble of Rising Star heats, and a double on his next visit, it’s not hard to understand that particular comment! Other winners at the meeting were: Hallnightparty ($1.30 favourite, Andrew Hall/ Mat Rue), able to do what several others couldn’t quite manage all night, win from the sprint lane – and quite decisively at that – in a 3C0 sprint, his second win in just three starts for the Hall family connections, who were planning a post-race celebration. Take Command ($2.50 favourite, John Vautin), in a 2260 metres C0, where despite slow sectionals which gave those close to the lead every chance, he accounted for them very easily, using the high speed commonly found in this fine N.Z. family (of former juvenile champ Stroma). Grinear Girl ($1.20 favourite, David/Scott Hewitt), in the last race, a C0 sprint,  leading throughout for successive wins at the track, her driver suggesting that this was a huge drop in class from the Group 1 Menangle final she’d contested three starts previously – which explains the skinny odds. Bathurst’s winter season continues this Friday night. Terry Neil

It has been a long harness racing season for the Bernie Hewitt trained Allnight Story. The two-year old will line up for his tenth start in Saturday night's Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge Blue 2yo colts and geldings final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Hewitt's stable has runners in the four Gr. 2 Blue finals but believes the son of Always a Virgin is his best chance of success. "Allnight Story is a pretty nice horse, he is a big overgrown horse that looks more like a five-year old and has done a really good job as a result," Hewitt said. "Because of his size he is going to grow into his frame and therefore I think he will be a better three and four year old down the track but he qualified for the Bathurst Gold Crown and didn't have much luck so maybe he can pick-up a big race on Saturday night." Allnight Story is raced by Garry and Margaret Meredith and the couple have only had horses with Hewitt for a short time. "Garry was involved with the horses years ago but had been out of the sport for a few years before arriving at the Bathurst Gold Crown yearling sale in 2013. "Garry and Margaret bought two yearlings and asked vendor Denis Howe who he would recommend giving the horses to and my name came up so Garry approached me and that's how it started." Those two yearlings would become Allnight Kiss and Allnight Raid. Both won Bathurst Sale Graduate races and went on to qualify for the 2014 Gold Tiara and Gold Crown respectively. Off the back of that success Meredith purchased the Always a Virgin - Ocean Spur yearling at the 2014 Bathurst sale and he would later be named Allnight Story. Stablemates Wabi Sabi, Pass The Major, Not My Sister and Brighteyed will also compete in the NSW Breeders Challenge Blue finals. "I've only had Wabi Sabi for half a dozen runs, he is going pretty good but is a slow maturing type and I think he'll be a better four- year old. "Cath (wife) and I bred Pass The Major, she's won a couple this season but from the wide draw is only a minor player while Not My Sister is more tractable than Brighteyed and both will have to be at their best from the poor draws." Hewitt is hoping to continue his recent good form at Menangle after winning a Country Series final last weekend. "Stormfortheboys did a good job for the stable last weekend and we weren't far away with Kenny Dee Dee either so hopefully we can have a similar result this Saturday." The first at Menangle on Saturday night is scheduled for 5:14pm with the first of the four Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge Blue finals to be run at 7:23pm. Greg Hayes

Dubbo Harness Racing Club’s Carnival Of Cups Series gets underway at Wednesday night's harness racing meeting with an eight race program.   The meeting features two heats of the $30000 Gr. 3 Red Ochre Mare Classic.   Once again the race has attracted the attention of some of the state’s biggest stables.   Shane Tritton will attempt to make it back to back victories in the feature and looks to have a couple of handy mares in Ohoka Royal and Real Star with both expected to figure prominently.    The leading stables of Steve Turnbull, Nathan Hurst, Bernie Hewitt and Ashley Siejka are all represented in the heats as well.   An interesting runner in the second heat is My Whisky Lullaby.    The Sydney trained mare will be driven by talented reinsman Josh Willick and has already won four races.   The other feature race on the program is the fifth heat of the Club Dubbo Dooza Golden Gig.    Six local trained horses are engaged and hope to qualify for the rich final being run on Sunday May 17.   Only two spots remain in the final after recent heats were run at Forbes, Bathurst, Tamworth and Parkes.     Two Dubbo trained horses have already qualified with five time local premiership winning trainer Gary Edwards and James Sutton set to be represented in the final.   Another interesting race on the program is the Maiden Pace.   This race, for horses that have not won at all at a licenced meeting is sponsored by Ron Hoy.   The 94 year old veteran, who seldom misses a meeting, was Dubbo’s leading trainer back in the 1970’s and 80’s preparing more than 150 winners.   His sons Garth and Lester remain the only local drivers to win more than 100 races on the Dubbo circuit.   Harness racing in Dubbo has long been known as a family sport.   Names like Lew, Hoy, Pay, Lesslie, McKinnon & Edwards have become very familiar and successful names in the industry.   When you add to those more recent families participating with a deal of success like Reynolds, Carroll and Sutton harness racing in Dubbo will continue to thrive.   - HRNSW Media

Bathurst harness racing horseman Bernie Hewitt is no stranger to Queensland. The popular horseman is a regular in the sunshine state and has been for many years; he also takes advantage of the grading system and places his horses with local trainers to maximize their earning potential. Hewitt was hopeful of campaigning during the Brisbane winter carnival this year with his outstanding filly Read About Lexy but injury has ended her season. The Sportswriter – Lexys Laughing filly claimed the Gr.3 Bathurst Gold Bracelet in March before venturing to Melbourne the following month for the Gr.1 Victoria Oaks series. Read About Lexy dominated her rivals with a crushing heat victory before succumbing to injury in the days leading up to the rich final. The filly known as ‘Happy’ had badly injured her nearside front suspensory. “It was bad, real bad; she’s just arrived home this week but the news is a lot brighter than what it was a week ago. Her suspensory ligament has pulled a section of bone off the sesamoid bone but it is not displaced meaning the fracture has a good chance of healing. There is also some damage to the suspensory ligament but should heal with time.” Hewitt said. With her season officially over, Read About Lexy has headed to Peppertree Farm for more rest, rehab and stable confinement for the next month. Owner Lex Crosby is now exploring his options with embryo transfer while waiting for her recovery. It remains unclear whether she will make a racetrack return. So, with Read About Lexy out of all remaining features this season, Hewitt is still hopeful of being represented in Brisbane in the coming months. Talented pacer Allnight Raid is set to target Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad 3yo Colts & Geldings Final at Albion Park on May 30. The gelded son of Gold Dust Beach has built up an impressive record of four wins from ten starts. “He’s a pretty handy type, he’s no superstar but he tries very hard and the Triad looks a great race for him to target. I’m yet to decide whether I bring him up myself or send him north to a local trainer, I’m just so busy at the moment. “He hasn’t started since the Bathurst carnival in March where he had no luck but we’re deliberately aiming at the Triad.” Tough pacer A Passion For Aces (18 wins - $126k) is bound for Brisbane this week and will join the stables of Grant Dixon. by Chris Barsby

Harness racing trainer Bernie Hewitt has scratched heat winner Read About Lexy from Saturday night’s Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks Final after the filly succumbed to injury. The talented daughter of Sportswriter, which won her qualifier in brilliant fashion, will head to the paddock. As such, Keayang Ebonyrose has gained a start, giving Terang trainer Marg Lee three runners in the Blue Riband. Along with the polemaker, Lee has Keayang Torah (gate eight) and Jilliby Dreamtime (gate 13) in the elite field The favourite in TAB fixed odds betting is Makes Every Scents ($2.70), with Niki No No ($4), Delightful Lana ($4.60) and Glenferrie Bronte ($5). HRV Media

Mat Rue almost brought off a driving treble in the final race at Bathurst last Friday, going down by just a half-head, but it was hard to detect any disappointment in his voice as he came back to scale with the undoubted “ call “ of the night. “Lexy’s had a big few minutes!” he announced. This was in reference to a wonderful double for Eugowra owner Lex Crosby, with Lexys On Fire scoring its maiden win in the Bathurst race, just minutes after its younger half-sister Read About Lexy had led all the way to take out a heat of the Victorian Oaks at Melton. Lexys On Fire, the Gold Bracelet winner during the recent Bathurst carnival, is a well-known and much-admired filly, trained by Rue’s boss Bernie Hewitt. With the Oaks heat at Melton set to go only ten minutes ahead of the Bathurst race, Rue just, somehow, managed to be late onto the track with Zirconia, and already knew the Melton result. Rue’s drive was impeccable, but it wasn’t good enough to overcome Lexys On Fire ($14.40, Ken Sharp/David Harris), which came from midfield in the running line to get the bob in on the line.  The Courage Under Fire daughter had been most consistent, without winning, in nine starts this season, and her timing in securing this first win, within minutes of her little sister’s biggest success to date, was perfect. For Eugowra trainer Ken Sharp, it was a maiden win on the new Bathurst track, while David Harris, who’s a relative stranger there, was unsure of the result until he checked with the more experienced Rue. Lex Crosby would have been delighted by the spontaneous applause which erupted in the Bathurst clubhouse when Read About Lexy got up at Melton.  No doubt he staged an early exit from the post-race celebrations there, to get to a television monitor for that “other” race back at home.   All of which might be summarized as one late, one early, two Lexys, and timing that worked out just right. Earlier in the night, the feature Western Districts Derby saw a dominant display by Dubbo gelding Mister Jogalong ($2.30 favourite, Mick/Kurt Lew), which dictated terms throughout, sprinting the last half in 55.4 seconds to run out  a very easy winner, from Jethros An Eagle and Lexus On The Beach. It was his first run in six weeks, but a smart trial win at Dubbo had him well prepped for the race. The winner now of six from ten, he will likely aim up at the Breeders Challenge, but is also eligible for the Victorian Sires series, run at about the same time. Other winners on a night of competitive racing which produced some very close finishes: Likeallofus ($4.70, Wendy/Emma Turnbull), too tough in a 2260 metres C1 class, after the slow early speed prompted Emma to change tactics and work to the death seat, where it confirmed the stable’s good opinion with its gritty effort; Allnight  Kiss ($4.30 favourite, Bernie Hewitt/Mat Rue), came three-wide from the bell in a 2260 metres 3C0-3C1, to give Mat Rue the first leg of a winning double (with  a further three seconds); Makin Memories ($85.50, Pat McCarthy), responded well to several changes by his trainer-driver, and on his best behavior throughout the second division of the C1 class, to defy his starting quote; A Mighty Storm ($6.20, Wayne Watterson), highly impressive in a C2-C4 sprint, sprinting sharply when extricated from the markers and stopping the clock in 1:55.1, for his  highly delighted breeder-owner-trainer-driver; Our Castanea ($10.70, Ken/Mat Rue), ground out a tough win in the C0 sprint, after coming three-wide without cover, and prompting a warm tribute from the driver for his modest and unassuming dad; Tailamade Billy ($6.40, Steve Turnbull), its first win at start five, in a 2C O sprint, after some good efforts during the recent carnival, and possibly to continue on to the Breeders Challenge series. The Bathurst HRC made a presentation between races to Steve Turnbull, in recognition of his having his twenty-thousandth starter at a recent meeting.  A staggering milestone, for a champion trainer-driver who’s an ornament to the sport. by Terry Neil

Bathurst harness racing trainer Bernie Hewitt will attempt to win Saturday night’s Victoria Oaks with talented filly Read About Lexy.  Five of the last nine winners of the race have been trained in New South Wales and Hewitt is full of praise for his pint sized three year old. Inside My Stable with Bernie Hewitt is Trots TV’s special feature this week and Hewitt talks about the decision he made to leave the family property at Crookwell.  Hewitt and his family settled in the Bathurst region and haven’t looked back since.  Bernie also describes in detail the attempted abduction of Smooth Satin and his role in chasing the perpetrators.  The interview has been split into two parts, here are the links to both. Part 1  http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/trotstv/tvvideos/19103 Part 2   http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/trotstv/tvvideos/19108 On Saturday night Beautide became the latest Australian trained pacer to win $2 million in prize money when he returned to the racetrack for the first time since winning the Inter Dominion.  Trainer James Rattray spoke with Trots TV about the win in Saturday night’s meeting review.  There are further interviews with Luke McCarthy, Gavin Fitzpatrick, Rob Xerri, Michael Stanley, Kerry Ann Turner, Shane Tritton and Michael Muscat.  The interviews have been put into two parts, here are the links to both. Part 1  http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/trotstv/tvvideos/19117 Part 2  http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/trotstv/tvvideos/19129 Robbie Morris and Greg Hayes caught up in the studio for another edition of ‘6 Things We’ve Learned’.  The boys discuss the past week in harness racing including Beautide, Our Waikiki Beach and the heats of the Victoria Oaks at Melton. http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/trotstv/tvvideos/19131 Dr Nick Kannegieter is back this week to discuss joints on ‘The Doctor’s In’.  Dr Nick talks about the benefits of surgery when dealing with horses that are struggling with joint issues. http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/trotstv/tvvideos/18979 Greg Hayes

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