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With the Grand Circuit title safely in his keeping, Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto wants to put an exclamation point against the 2018/19 harness racing season. Millionaire pacer Tiger Tara has dominated the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season with victories coming via the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final, Hunter and Victoria Cups plus an agonisingly close second in the New Zealand Cup. The Bettors Delight entire has been ruthless, methodical and downright scary good. And now, he’s chasing the final leg of the eight race series with the Gr.1 $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park this Saturday night. Following a freshen-up after being unplaced in the Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park, Menangle back on March 2, Tiger Tara scored a clinical victory last weekend under the orders of regular reinsman Todd McCarthy. In his only start at Albion Park back in 2017; Tiger Tara was the beaten favourite when third behind Hectorjayjay and My Field Marshal in the Blacks A Fake, the biggest event staged in the Sunshine State, run over the staying distance of 2680m. Last year, the Tim Butt trained and Dexter Dunn driven Let It Ride scored a decisive victory but will not return to defend his title. Tiger Tara has amassed 370 points to date while his nearest rivals include Thefixer (164) while Our Uncle Sam and Spankem (both 120) sit nearby on the leaderboard. Only Our Uncle Sam will contest the Brisbane event this weekend while the All Stars duo of Thefixer and Spankem have bypassed the feature. The recently retired Lazarus claimed back to back Grand Circuit Champion titles during the past two seasons while Tiger Tara will become the first Australian trained Grand Circuit champion since Lennytheshark shared spoils with Smolda during the 2016 term. Tiger Tara will start from a second-line draw after landing gate 12 but will start the punters elect given his domination of feature staying events this season. The Bathurst trained Our Uncle Sam has seen plenty of Tiger Tara this term with placings in both the Inter Dominion Grand Final and the Hunter Cup but seeks his own moment of glory and gains a perfect opportunity after landing gate two. Prepared by father/son partnership of Chris and Anthony Frisby, Our Uncle Sam will command plenty of respect. Local hero Colt Thirty One, fresh from his shock loss last weekend in the Sunshine Sprint will require some luck after copping a second-line draw. The multiple feature race winner led out in a brutal opening quarter burn before being outsprinted by his stablemate Ohoka Punter over the concluding stages, the Mach Three four-year-old will start from gate 11 this weekend. Colt Thirty One, prepared by the country’s leading trainer Grant Dixon, is one of his four runners lining up in his home state feature alongside Ohoka Punter (gate 7), Eleniark (gate 1) and Alleluia (gate 10). Interestingly, Ohoka Punter is chasing his second victory in the Blacks A Fake following his triumph back in 2016 when under the care of outstanding young horseman Nathan Purdon. Sydney trainer Craig Cross is duly represented with former New Zealand pacers Cash N Flow (gate 3) and Alta Orlando (gate 13) both backing-up following their unplaced efforts last week in the Sunshine Sprint. The Blake Fitzpatrick prepared Letspendanitetogetha (gate 9) is also backing-up this weekend from the Sunshine Sprint and draws directly behind Our Uncle Sam. A recent winner of the Golden Mile at Menangle, the New Zealand owned gelding rates as a knockout chance. Another former New Zealand pacer chasing his biggest prize to date is the Chantal Turpin trained Watch Pulp Fiction (gate 4) after finishing third behind Ohoka Punter and Colt Thirty One last weekend in the Sunshine Sprint. Turpin is the only female trainer represented in the Blacks A Fake this year. And while Luke and Todd McCarthy are pitted against each other, another pair of brothers also go head to head with Brendan and Hayden Barnes vying for the major prize. Brendan takes the drive on the Jack Butler trained Rock With Sam (gate 6) while Hayden drives Northview Hustler (gate 8) for his father Alistair. The emergency for the event is Holy Camp Clive (gate 5). In total, the field has won 281 races while amassing more than $6,723,477 in stakes. The track record was set last year by Let It Ride at 1:54.8. The Gr.1$250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is race 8 on the program and scheduled to start at 9.00pm local time. 8 9:00pm 2019 TAB BLACKS A FAKE QUEENSLAND CHAMPIONSHIP (G1) 2680M $250,660 No NR. RBD. Mobile  FIRST 4     Form Horse Trainer Other Eng. Driver   Class  Hcp   1 15813 ELENIARK  Grant Dixon   Mark Purdon   NR108 B1  FR1   2 1s72r OUR UNCLE SAM  Chris Frisby   Anthony Frisby   NR100 B3  FR2   3 11200 CASH N FLOW NZ  Craig Cross   Luke McCarthy   NR120 B1  FR3   4 09703 WATCH PULP FICTION NZ  Chantal Turpin   Pete McMullen   NR93 B1  FR4   5 32119 HOLY CAMP CLIVE (Em 1)  Chris Frisby   Dean Cernovskis   NR98 B3  FR-   6 61338 ROCK WITH SAM  Jack Butler   Brendan Barnes   NR100 B2  FR5   7 32271 OHOKA PUNTER NZ  Grant Dixon   Paul Diebert   NR120 B1  FR6    ------------------------------ Second Row ------------------------------  8 04554 NORTHVIEW HUSTLER NZ  Alistair Barnes   Hayden Barnes   NR108 B2  SR1   9 26167 LETSPENDANITETOGETHA NZ  Blake Fitzpatrick   Blake Fitzpatrick   NR105 B2  SR2   10 77940 ALLELUIA NZ  Grant Dixon   Adam Sanderson   NR97 B1  SR3   11 11112 COLT THIRTY ONE  Grant Dixon   Grant Dixon   NR120 B1  SR4   12 125s1 TIGER TARA NZ  Kevin Pizzuto   Todd McCarthy   NR120 B1  SR5   13 24226 ALTA ORLANDO NZ  Craig Cross   Luke McCarthy   NR98 B4  SR6

The 2016 Racing Queensland UBET winter carnival is fast approaching and in the coming weeks, Queensland harness broadcaster Chris Barsby will profile a number of major players vying for the top prizes. With 18 Black Type races on the program for the 2016 Winter Carnival, the carnival’s pinnacle in 2016 is the G1 Blacks A Fake, which now boasts an impressive $200,000 in stakes. The carnival spans from May 28 to July 30. Here’s a profile featuring a New Zealand bred pacer that has been transferred to an outstanding young horseman that now calls Queensland home. Name: My Mastercraftsman Stable Name: Master Age: 3yo gelding Owner: Trevor Casey Trainer: Adam Sanderson Driver: Adam Sanderson Prizemoney: $33,305 Biggest win: $19,500 C1/C2 at Alexandra Park, Auckland Target: $75,000 Queensland Derby (July 16) Trainer says: “He’s done some travelling in his short career to date but he looks like he’s still improving. He arrived in good order when he arrived at my stable and I’ve been extremely happy with the way he’s settled in and found his new routine, his attitude is fantastic. The main target comes up in mid-July and we’ll just ticking over and hopefully be spot-on for the Queensland Derby.” Barsby says: “Very typical being a son of super sire Bettors Delight who keep improving all the time and he clearly fits that bill of his sire. He went unraced as a two-year-old but his development this season has been excellent highlighted by a scorching 1:53.3 Newcastle recently while he was in total cruise control in his Albion Park debut. Deserves serious consideration in all of the classics he chases this winter campaign. Racing Queensland

Egmont Park, one of the country’s finest harness racing nurseries is having an open day. Based on the rich soils of the Darling Downs at Toowoomba, the famed harness racing stud has produced countless winners including Australia’s greatest ever champion, Blacks A Fake ($4.5 million – 4 Inter Dominions). An invitation is extended to all interested parties to attend the day which is scheduled for Sunday, August 23 starting from 10am. If more convenient and depending on numbers, a bus will be made available for pick-up and drop off from Albion Park but bookings are essential. “This is a perfect opportunity to come and view our world class stallions in lead-up to the new breeding season in a relaxed and friendly environment, have a great day out and catch up with friends.” Studmaster Peter Bell said. Come along and see one of the state’s finest Studs which is the home of world champion pacer Mr Feelgood and the new exciting prospect Hurrikane Kingcole for the upcoming breeding season. Mr Feelgood, a winner of the famed Little Brown Jug plus an Inter Dominion Grand Final continues to prove his worth in the breeding barn with noted performers A Good Chance ($151k) and Feel The Faith ($91k) leading the way downunder. His stats continue to rise from his North American crop which includes I’m Feelin Good ($544k), Nathan Feelsgood ($239k), Feels Good ($213k), Just A Bee ($205k) and Justified ($174k) among others. Hurrikane Kingcole is a striking and wickedly fast son of champion sire Cams Card Shark out of the mare Blazing Yankee and retired with a ‘PB’ of 1;47.3. Prepared throughout his career by John McDermott, Hurrikane Kingcole won 14 of 49 career starts. Both stallions will parade on the day. A tour of the stud outlining new facilities is planned while viewing of the broodmares and yearlings is also scheduled. Light refreshments will be served on the day. Egmont Park Stud is located on 662 Biddeston – Southbrook Road, Biddeston. RSVP: 16TH August to Peter Bell on 0418 885 033 or 07 4691 0772 – Egmont Park

Throughout the years, so many great harness racing comebacks have been achieved. As highlighted on Harnesslink, yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of Popular Alm’s return from a broken leg. Poppy, as he was affectionately-known, scored first-up in the Italian Cup, with his comeback lasting only two starts – for two wins. Seven years after Popular Alm’s injury, which saw two screws inserted into his offside hind pastern, another superstar was on the comeback trail from a similar ailment. Australasia’s premier pacer, Westburn Grant’s career was in doubt after he fractured his nearside hind pastern. Just like Popular Alm, Westburn Grant’s injury was the result of a freak track work accident, with the stallion requiring four screws to hold the bone together. Despite missing the two final legs of the Australian Grand Circuit, Westburn Grant still managed to be crowned Grand Circuit champion for the second year in succession. He was also named Australian Horse of the Year for the second time. After nine months on the sidelines, Westburn Grant scored first-up at Newcastle before returning to his place at the top of the Grand Circuit. In his comeback campaign, the son of Land Grant raced 14 times for five wins, three seconds and two thirds for an Australian seasonal record of $631,355. Westburn Grant’s victories included the 1992 Inter Dominion, along with a record third Australian Horse of the Year title and the mantle as Grand Circuit champion for the third time. Just months before Westburn Grant’s injury, another outstanding campaigner, Sinbad Bay, returned from a 19-month layoff to engage in several memorable battles with Vic Frost-trained superstar. Touted as the best pacer since Popular Alm following his demolition job of the February 1989 Winfield Cup, Sinbad Bay suffered leg problems a few days later before returning with a Kilmore win in October 1990. Limited to 12 starts before his war torn legs had him sidelined for another three years, Sinbad Bay registered seven wins and three placings, with his victories including the Winfield Cup, which had been renamed the Victoria Cup by 1991. During the course of the next six years, Sinbad Bay made several comebacks and raced with distinction at the highest level. Arguably the greatest comeback of all belongs to Blacks A Fake. A feature race winning three-year-old, Blacks A Fake curbed a hock and damaged his suspensory late in the season, which saw him out of action for 17 months. “His hock was in pretty bad shape and he also had suspensory problems high up on his leg,” trainer Natalie Rasmussen said. “We were more hopeful than confident he would return at the time. “He had 12 months in a paddock, then a long, slow build up before he raced again.” Returning as a five-year-old, Blacks A Fake raced on to be the only competitor to capture four Inter Dominions en route to becoming the world’s rich pacer with a bankroll of $4,575,438. On top of his early leg problems, the son of Fake Left also overcame Equine Influenza in 2007. “He was one of the first to get it in Queensland,” Rasmussen said. “I think champions just find a way to get through the injuries and setbacks by fighting through any niggles they may be feeling.” Current star For A Reason is a modern day comeback hero, having returned from a two-and-a-half year layoff to secure the 2013 Victoria Cup. During his hiatus, the Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Art Major stood at stud. While it remains to be seen what heights he will scale, rising star Philadelphia Man was certainly impressive in his racing return at Melton last week. After 27 months on the sidelines, Philadelphia Man registered a scintillating win for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Another son of Art Major, Philadelphia Man has been aimed at key targets such as the Smoken Up Sprint and Miracle Mile. PAUL COURTS

The nominees for the 2013-14 Harness Horse of the Year have been released with the  winners to be announced at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club on Sunday, October 19.   Im Themightyquinn, Im Victorious, David Hercules and Hokonui Ben are the four finalists who will battle it out for Horse of the Year honours.   Im Themightyquinn made a triumphant return to racing after injury threatened to end his  career when he won seven races including the Group 1 Blacks A Fake in Queensland.   “I’m excited about him being nominated especially after he was injured earlier in the  season,” said trainer, Gary Hall Snr.   “It is a great effort to come back and compete in the form and manner that he is.”   The Michael Brennan-trained Im Victorious claimed seven wins from his 12 starts with the  highlight the Group 1 Fremantle Pacing Cup.   Tragedy struck the gelding when he suffered a career-ending tendon injury after being  severely checked in the Group 1 Inter Dominion Final.   “It is a huge honour to be nominated considering the horses that have won this prestigious  award in the past,” said Brennan.   “It would be a privilege and an honour to win an award like this given the happenings of the  past 12 months.”   David Hercules raced on 16 occasions for seven wins and six placings and $181,150 in stake  earnings. He claimed the Group 3 Winter Cup and Group 3 Howard Porter Memorial.   Hokonui Ben earned Group 1 honours in the WA Pacing Cup and also enjoyed victories in the  Group 2 Village Kid and Group 2 RWWA Cup.   NOMINEES:   2YO FILLY                                       2YO COLT & GELDING   La Mia Juliette                                     All Aussie Boy Tricky Styx                                             Isaiah Artois Straittothehilton                                   Persistent Threat Major Reality   3YO FILLY                                      3YO COLT & GELDING   Im Bella Jay                                          Mister Jadore Libertybelle Midfrew                            Elegant Christian Majorly Foxy Styx                                  Three Blind Mice   HORSE OF THE YEAR                          AGED MARE    Hokonui Ben                                          Leda McNally Im Victorious                                          Famous Alchemist Im Themightyquinn                               Sensational Gabby David Hercules     Barry Hamilton Manager Harness Racing 94455311

Queensland warrior Destreos is hoping for a change of luck. The Ken Rattray trained veteran gelding lines up in his fifth Redcliffe Cup this Saturday night at the bayside club and victory is proving to be quite elusive. But this could be the year. The Gr.3 $40,000 Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup has drawn together a very strong field highlighted by a huge representation from the leading stables of Grant Dixon who has five entrants including last year’s winner Only The Brave. While club officials were hopeful of attracting champion pacer Im Themightyquinn who swept all before him recently at Albion Park, a competitive field has been assembled. Destreos returns from a successful three start Sydney campaign and heads to Redcliffe in great form leaving connections hopeful of forward showing. The best result for Destreos so far was back in 2010 when a runner-up behind Nickys Falcon. “He’s returned from his Sydney trip in very good order and knowing that Im Themightyquinn and Avonnova are not starting gives me plenty of confidence. We’ll still need plenty of luck but you can’t knock his recent form, I thought he performed really well in all of his starts in Sydney including his latest effort behind Freyberg and Smoken Up in 1;51.7.” Rattray said. Destreos starts from a 10m handicap and will follow out last start winner and in-form pacer Majestic Major. Regular pilot Kelli Dawson will reunite with the Astreos gelding. “In recent times I’ve tried to restrict his racing to mile events but he’s performing really well currently and I thought he deserved his chance in this race again. We’ve been close on a few occasions in the past including his narrow second to Nickys Falcon so hopefully we can win it this time around. “He’s got a good record at Redcliffe and he’s never had any issues with the track despite boasting a great record at Albion Park. If we get a good trip from the draw, I think he’ll be right in this finish. “His last start sixth in Sydney was very good because we got left without cover and he was still in the mix until the final 75m and the time was very good on a cool night. We went to Sydney to avoid the winter carnival stars but still ran into the likes of Smoken Up and a few others.” Rattray was quick to highlight star mare Forever Gold as one of the hardest to beat despite the fact she must overcome a 20m back mark handicap. The Darren Weeks/Kylie Rasmussen prepared mare caught the eye last start when running on strongly behind Im Themightyquinn in the Gr.1 $100,000 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 19. “That mare went super last start at Albion Park and I’m sure she will prove very hard to beat, she’s such a professional and she always rises to the challenge. “It’s a very even field and most could win it with even luck, this is a race that can throw up a roughie.” The $20,000 Redcliffe Oaks is the other feature on the program and a strong field has also been gathered. Last start Queensland Oaks placegetters Charming Allie and Beef City Safari must overcome second-line draws while speedy fillies Heavenly Cullen and Morethanmeetstheye have drawn ideally. The first of nine races is scheduled to start at 5.35pm. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

In his last three victories the Kevin Pizzuto trained Freyberg has beaten several Gr. 1 performers.  Four starts ago he proved too strong for three time Gr. 1 winner Gaius Caesar, two starts ago he beat 2013 Blacks A Fake winner Ideal Scott and Inter Dominion placegetter Seel N Print and last weekend he spoiled the party when he ran down Smoken Up in what will be the dual Miracle Mile winner's last run at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "He is going really well at the moment, actually it is probably better described as flying because he is just getting better and better," Pizzuto said. "What I am really happy with is that he has developed some gate speed while he has been racing up in the grades, when he first arrived from New Zealand he didn't possess much early speed at all but with the experience against the better ones he is learning and his gate speed is now becoming vital in these races." Freyberg has been driven predominantly by Inter Dominion winning reinsman James Rattray and Pizzuto acknowledges that he will be on the lookout for a new driver next season. "I want to target Freyberg for races like the Miracle Mile and that means he may clash with Beautide at some stage and James won't be able to drive my horse, we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it and it isn't a major worry but it is something that I have been thinking about with all of his good recent runs. "Freyberg arrived in Australia and was eligible to compete in C2 races and I actually took him to Penrith for his first three starts and he ended up winning five in a row before he was beaten for me." Freyberg is no stranger to Gr. 1 level after he placed third in the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown last December behind Washakie. "I'm going to set him a pretty big campaign next season and hopefully he can work his way into some of the big races, it would be nice to have a runner in the big ones." By Greg Hayes (HRNSW)                                                                                                                                         

There will not be a dry eye at the track should the David Thorn trained Gamebreaker win Thursday night's The MonSTaR Foundation Danny Bergan Memorial at Penrith. One of Gamebreaker's owners in Danny Bergan's son, Daniel, and after an approach was made to Harness Racing New South Wales permission has been granted for the son of Mach Three to wear Bergan's old race colours. On the 10th March 2007 Danny Bergan passed away after a two year battle with Motor Neurone Disease and in his memory, Danny's son Daniel and good friend Stuart Jamieson set out to do all they could to ensure that Danny's wife was financially secure and they would do all they could to help raise awareness and research into the debilitating disease. In 2010, Daniel and Stuart took their fundraising efforts and linked up with the MonSTaR Foundation and since then all money raised at the Danny Bergan fundraisers has gone directly to the Foundation, a body that has raised over $1 million, all in the name of supporting sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease. Daniel and Stuart have raised a combined total of $320,000 over the last five years with the majority of the money going to the MonSTaR Foundation and Thursday's meeting at Penrith will be another fundraising event. Gamebreaker is only lightly raced, having had two starts for a victory, however the four year old has not raced since August of last year. "He is beautifully bred, he is out of a half sister to Blacks A Fake and we have had to be a bit patient because he has had a few issues," syndicate manager Mitch Lenaghan said. "If it could win on Thursday night for Daniel and his family, wearing Danny's colours, it would be a very special night." The MonSTaR Foundation Danny Bergan Memorial is race five at Penrith and is scheduled to begin at 8:17. By Greg Hayes  

Champion pacer Im Themightyquinn finished the Brisbane harness racing winter carnival the same way he started it. The Gary Hall trained nine-year-old once again captivated a massive crowd at Albion Park with a thrilling come from behind victory in the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake defeating tough local pacer Avonnova and Mach Beauty. Handled by regular reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, Im Themightyquinn sat mid-field in the moving line before sustaining a long sprint from the 900m marker while Mach Beauty led his stablemate Suave Stuey Lombo. With Mach Beauty charging down the back straight on the final occasion in a 26.5 second split, Im Themightyquinn was left working hard while Avonnova sat patiently in the trail. In the straight, Im Themightyquinn dug deep to fight his way past Avonnova to score by a half neck margin with Mach Beauty a further 3m away in third. The winning milerate was 1;56.1 – just outside of the track record of 1;55.9 held by Mr Feelgood. Winning trainer Gary Hall was overcome with emotion following the gutsy victory. “This is unbelievable; I thought he was all done at the top of the straight after such a strong back straight split but he showed why he is a champion and that was an effort of a champion. I’m so pleased for the horse and I’m thrilled with the way he’s been admired by the Queensland people.” Hall said. Im Themightyquinn won both open class features during the carnival, the Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint in track record time of 1;50.5 plus tonight’s Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake. Im Themightyquinn The Gr.1 $100,000 SKY Racing Queensland Derby was dominated by race favourite and star Sydney colt Bling It On who defeated Alleluia and Yayas Hot Spot. Driven aggressively by Luke McCarthy, Bling It On found the lead at the 2000m point and dictated terms in front thereafter before striding clear to win by 9.5m in a time of 1;57.2 for the 2680m event. The American Ideal colt remains unbeaten in Queensland winning all nine starts to date. Bling It On now heads to Victoria for the Australasian Breeders Crown series next month. Bling It On The Gr.2 $80,000 Kevin & Kay Seymour QBRED Triad 2yo Finals were thrilling contests. Jack Malone scored a nose victory over a gallant A Good Chance with Constantlysideways finishing third after leading. Trained and driven by Peter Greig, Jack Malone rated 1;55.9 for the 1660m event. The Cammibest gelding is raced by Patrice Madden. Jack Malone In the fillies final, the Shannon Price trained stablemates Bettorthanspecial edged out Bettor Promise by a short head margin in a time of 1;58.5. Brad Cowen took the winning drive. Bred and raced by Tony and Katy Price, both fillies are by super sire Bettors Delight. Bettorthanspecial The Gr.3 $45,000 Gurney Group of Companies 4yo Championship was taken out by former Kiwi pacer Five Card Draw who scored via the sprintlane to beat Majestic Major and Chevals Clivesdale in a driving finish. Five Card Draw rated 1;55.8 for the 2138m event. Trained and driven by Darrel Graham, Five Card Draw has now won seven races at Albion Park since being purchased by Dean Shannon earlier this year. Five Card Draw Champion pacer Blacks A Fake was another star attraction trackside tonight parading in front of the massive crowd on a number of occasions which was met by a great response. Harness fans Rob Johnston from Cedar Creek and Alan Lendrum from Toowoomba shared in the experience of a lifetime after being drawn as the lucky winners for the owners of Im Themightyquinn and Bling It On for the night. They took 10% ownership for the night with full owner’s privileges. Well done! by Chris Barsby

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. The feature event this weekend at Albion Park is the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake, a race named in honour of the greatest Queensland pacer of all time. And arguably, the best this country has ever produced. Born and raised on the lush soils on the Darling Downs at Egmont Park Stud at Toowoomba in Queensland, the rise to prominence for the horse affectionately known as ‘Blackie’ was meteoric and just like his tenacity to win, simply spectacular. Blacks A Fake was raced by Cheryl Rasmussen, the mother of the young trainer/driver plus Helen Pointer, the wife of Ron Pointer who shared in the ownership of Egmont Park Stud and Trevor Titcomb, a fish ‘n’ chip shop owner at Boonah, west of Brisbane. Partnered throughout his entire life with a talented young horseperson in Natalie Rasmussen, the pair combined to attract fans world wild as they dominated some of the biggest pacing events in the southern hemisphere and at times, on more than one occasion, and in a sport which is largely male dominated. But that never stopped the runaway success train of Blackie and Natalie Rasmussen as they plundered features throughout Australia year after year and in doing so, continued to re-write the record books. When the dynamic duo combined to win the first of their four record breaking Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Finals in Tasmania back in 2006, they became the first Queenslander and first female to win the prestigious event. The record books clearly show that Blacks A Fake and Natalie Rasmussen are Inter Dominion legends, they combined to win four titles starting with their initial success in Hobart back in 2006 followed by their victory in Adelaide in 2007 while completing the hat-trick in 2008 in front of a massive Moonee Valley crowd in Melbourne. In 2009, on his home soil on the Gold Coast, Blacks A Fake was run down late by former North American pacer Mr Feelgood to deny him an historic moment after he was savaged in front by a tear away Auckland Reactor. Sharing the record with Our Sir Vancelot as triple Inter Dominion winners lasted only another twelve months because in 2010 at TABCORP Park, Menangle, Blacks A Fake and Natalie Rasmussen created their piece of history as four time Inter Dominion champions after fighting off fierce rivals Monkey King and Smoken Up in an epic battle. The record of four Inter Dominion titles has never been broken but Im Themightyquinn is still a legitimate chance of equaling it if he remains sounds over the next twelve months but, as it stands, Blackie is the complete Inter Dominion king. A crown thoroughly and richly deserved. Fittingly, both Blacks A Fake and Natalie Rasmussen have been recognized in the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame. The record of Blackie in his home state of Queensland is also worthy of special mention. In Queensland, or more importantly Albion Park, Blacks A Fake and Natalie constantly thrilled the local fans winning many a race on the famed Breakfast Creek site. Blacks A Fake started 56 times at Albion Park (technically 52 but four races were staged at the Gold Coast in lieu of Albion Park including the Inter Dominion and 2009 QPC among other events) and won on 42 occasions while also managing 12 minor placings. He amassed more than $1 million in prizemoney at Albion Park. In other key stats with Blacks A Fake and Albion Park, his arch rival and dual Miracle Mile champion Be Good Johnny finished second to Blackie 6 times. His shortest winning margin was a half head victory over Slipnslide in the 3yo QBRED Triad Final. The biggest winning margin was 19.8m over Loud N Clear in a C9+ event in 2009. He never started in a ‘SS’ event at Albion Park, only 6 in his career. His most starts in a season at Albion Park came in his last with 14 runs while he never started during the 2004/05 season. Blacks A Fake won the Winter Cup three times, the race that now carries his name. Ironically, the favourite the for the 2014 Blacks A Fake is Im Themightyquinn, the wonder from the west who is rapidly closing in on his Inter Dominion record while looking certain to eclipse the Australian prizemoney record held by Blackie at $4, 575, 438. Im Themightyquinn requires another $67, 982 to pass the record. Fittingly, these two champion pacers, the two greatest of the modern era will come face to face on Saturday night as Blacks A Fake will lead out his race. Blacks A Fake – a living legend! By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

Everything is in readiness. That’s the simple message from star Perth trainer Gary Hall in regard to his champion pacer Im Themightyquinn who lines up in Saturday night’s Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake at Albion Park. The brilliant pacer has made the Queensland winter carnival which started with his stunning track record breaking performance in the Sunshine Sprint back on July 5 and he’s looking to close the carnival with another sizzling display this weekend. Many fans, new and old, have returned to Albion Park this month to witness the amazing pacer go about his business and it’s obvious he’s left his legion of fans still craving more. After drawing wide off the front-line in his two starts to date, Im Themightyquinn must overcome a second-line draw to win the race named in honour of the greatest pacer of all time. But the gap is shortening between Blacks A Fake and Im Themightyquinn. The retired Queensland superstar currently holds the record for most Inter Dominions (4) won plus his earning capacity is still far bigger than any other harness horse. Ever so slightly, Im Themightyquinn has chipped away at both records with the speed machine collecting three Inter Dominion titles while he is only $67, 982 short of the prizemoney record. “Records are meant to be broken, isn’t that the old saying?” Hall quipped. In a fantastic boost for harness racing fans, the two greatest pacers of the modern era will both be at Albion Park this Saturday night. And while Hall is excited about his race, he’s just as excited about seeing Blackie. “I love Blacks A Fake; he was an absolute superstar on and off the track and I’m looking forward to seeing him again on Saturday night. Horses like Quinny, Blackie and Smoken Up are all just absolute heroes that deserve all the recognition they get, we need more of them. “It should be a great night on Saturday, Quinny is ready to go and everything has gone to plan during his Queensland campaign. He’s trained on really well since last weekend and we’re expecting another big effort this week. “Quinny thrives on racing and he certainly has enjoyed himself here in Brisbane, the warm sunshine has done wonders for him and it’s great to see so many fans of the horse here in this state.” Initially disappointed by the barrier draw, Hall believes his superior staying qualities will carry him a long way in the 2680m contest. “Just look at his record in races at 2600m and beyond, it’s outstanding and he just thrives on these big stages. He has the brilliant high cruising speed but then he can rattle off the sprint at the end of it which makes him so lethal. “Obviously the Shane Tritton runners loom as the dangers from their front-line draws and they will prove hard to catch, Suave Stuey Lombo proved last week he can beat us given the right run so it won’t be easy but I can’t fault my horse.” Im Themightyquinn is currently quoted at $1.65 with TattsBet to win on Saturday night. The champion pacer is due to fly out of Brisbane on Monday bound for Perth. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

Hunter Valley harness racin trainer Shane Tritton is hoping he can go one better on his second placing in the Sunshine Sprint when he launches his attacking raid on the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park this Saturday night. Tritton has three runners in the race this weekend but his two main chances according to the bookmakers, Mach Beauty and Suave Stuey Lombo have drawn the same gates this week as they did in the Sunshine Sprint. "I'm happy with the draw for all three of my horses, obviously Mach (Beauty) drawing one is ideal because he needs to be on the fence, Suave Stuey Lombo can work forward this week from seven because he lost all winning chance in the Sunshine Sprint when he went back while Brave Wiggy should get a nice economical trip from barrier two," Tritton said. "Mach Beauty had a pretty tough run on Saturday night and was well beaten by Chilli Palmer but I think I have been a bit easy on him since I arrived in Queensland because I have been working on a new track. I will be really drilling the work into him this week and I expect him to be a much better prospect." Tritton acknowledges Im Themightyquinn is going to be incredibly hard to beat and deserves his favouritism. "He has been a great horse for so long and he has been in great form since he arrived in Brisbane including that huge win in the Sunshine Sprint when the track record was smashed." The Blacks A Fake has been a graveyard for short priced favourites since the race was elevated to Gr. 1 status, in fact three of the last four years has seen stars beaten. In 2012 Smoken Up was rolled by Terrorway, in 2011 Blacks A Fake tasted defeat at the hands of Georgetown while Mr Feelgood finished behind Rohan Home. The other Gr. 1 event on the night will be the Queensland Derby and the Tritton stable will be represented by Yayas Hotspot. "Gate three is good for him, he has been racing without the hood this time in and he hasn't been the same horse so I have decided to put the hood back on him and if his work early this week has been anything to go by I think he will improve a great deal." By Greg Hayes Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Queensland young gun Pete McMullen is counting down the days. Like sands though the hourglass. On Saturday night, McMullen gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he partners harness racing megastar pacer Im Themightyquinn in the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Pace at Albion Park. Only last week, McMullen took the lines behind the $4.5 million earner in a trial which prepped him for his stunning track record breaking victory in the Sunshine Sprint. Now, it’s the real deal and the talented third generation horseman can’t wait. “I have to keep pinching myself, I still can’t believe I’ve been entrusted with duty of driving this champion pacer under race conditions. It’s such a massive thrill and a huge honour, I can’t wait to get out there and get amongst it.” McMullen said. It would be understandable if McMullen was suffering from nerves but they have been erased following his trial triumph last week. The focused and dedicated horseman came to the attention of Gary Hall months ago after the Perth based trainer noticed similarities with his son, star reinsman Gary Jnr. “I like his style and he drives with controlled aggression just like Gaz and I had no hesitation in securing his services when I came to Brisbane. I told him after the trial last week that I would put him on if the race stood up this week and I’m happy to have him aboard.” Hall said. Since transferring to the stables of Hall back in October, 2008, Im Themightyquinn has had a total of six different drivers which includes Gary Hall Jnr, Clinton Hall, Kim Prentice, Nathan Jack, Shayne Cramp and Greg Bennett. On Saturday night, McMullen will become lucky number seven. “He’s not the easiest horse to drive because he has own little tricks and idiosyncrasies but I was thrilled when young Pete handled him perfectly in the trial, they both seemed very comfortable out there together. “Gaz was very keen to return this week and drive him but I’ve got Beaudiene Boaz set to trial this Sunday at Byford and I wanted him to drive him before he starts next week in the Golden Slipper. Gaz will be back to drive him next week in the feature. “He’s trained on very well since his victory last week and he’s really enjoying his time here in Queensland. I’m sure he will be very hard to beat again this weekend, the extra distance will actually suit him better.” Victory this weekend will take Im Themightyquinn closer to all time prizemoney record which is currently held by retired Queensland champion Blacks A Fake at $4, 575, 438. by Chris Barsby Queensland Harness Racing

Harness racing trainer Greg Franklin prepares a big team of two. Just two pacers. And both will start this Saturday night at Albion Park, his first runner Beef City Safari will contest the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks while his other runner Rakarebel will tackle champion pacer Im Themightyquinn for the second straight week. The popular figure prepares his pair of pacers at the Redcliffe Paceway, where Franklin is the track manager. “I’ve only got time for the two horses between my other commitments at the track but I’m lucky to have two handy types. The filly has been a strong improver all season long while Rakarebel keeps proving he’s got a real zest for racing.” Franklin said. The arrival of Beef City Safari into Franklin’s care came out of the blue following a missed call at Redcliffe on a racenight when Franklin was driving the water cart. Bernie and Carmel Clifton from Rockhampton left a message for Franklin and after making the return phone call, the filly was on her way to his stables. With four wins and nine placings from 21 career starts, Beef City Safari aims up for her shot at Group 1 glory when she locks horns with some of the best fillies in the country this weekend. “I’ve always liked this filly and I think she’s a good little stayer, she enjoys the races when the speed is on and I’m sure these fillies will be running from the start this weekend. Obviously Nike Franco is very talented but we’ll give it our best shot. “She’s trained on really well since her last and keeping her fresh in between runs has agreed with her. It was a very good effort in the Triad Final while her effort in the Gold Coast Oaks was also very strong. “We’re drawn directly alongside Nike Franco and I think Mathew (Neilson – driver) will give her a good run from there. I think she will perform well again and then we will look at the Redcliffe Oaks with her in a couple of weeks.” While Beef City Safari faces a big challenge getting over the top of Nike Franco, spare a thought for Rakarebel.   The well-travelled veteran was a former stablemate of Im Themightyquinn when previously prepared by Gary Hall before popping in and out of many stables since those glory days in Perth where he strung together eight straight victories at Gloucester Park. Last week, Rakarebel ran a cracking fourth in the Sunshine Sprint behind Im Themightyquinn in track record time after starting from a shocking second-line draw. “Everybody keeps telling me he’s past it but his form suggests otherwise, I know he still hasn’t won for me yet but his last couple of starts have been great in super time. “If he puts in another forward showing on Saturday night, he’ll back-up in the Blacks A Fake before we head to the Redcliffe Cup. He’s healthy and happy so we’ll keep chipping away with him." by Chris Barsby Queensland Harness Racing

Star Queensland mare Forever Gold is ready for a racetrack return. And the classy harness racing mare warmed up nicely for the Gr.3 $30,000 Southern Queensland Plumbing Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes with a stunning trial earlier this week. On Monday afternoon, Forever Gold was allowed to stretch out in the 1660m trial at Albion Park with a powerful front-running display in a mile rate of 1;53.7 scoring by close to 40m from Queensland Oaks bound filly Milly Perez. The Famous Forever mare has not started since disappointing in the Gr.1 $100,000 Queen of the Pacific at TABCORP Park, Melton on May 23 when ninth behind pocket-rocket mare Gumdrops. “I think she’s happy to be home and her trials (3 in total) since returning have been very pleasing, she’s ready to go on Saturday night and the race looks perfect to restart her campaign again. I think she got away on us a little and that probably best explains the uncharacteristic effort last start.” Trainer Darren Weeks said. Connections deliberately bypassed last week’s Sunshine Sprint preferring to concentrate on the mare’s only feature before graduating to the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake next week. The Gr.3 $40,000 Redcliffe Gold Cup on August 2 is also distinct possibility before another short let-up. “I’m sure we pulled the right rein skipping the Sunshine Sprint last week; she wasn’t ready to chase Im Themightyquinn in a track record time and her trial earlier this week just topped her off nicely. It was always our plan to go into the mare’s feature first-up followed by the Blacks A Fake. “This race looks ideal for her and the barrier draw looks very kind on paper so we should be able to control the race pretty quickly. Obviously she’s the class runner and looks very well graded against her own sex so she’ll prove tough to beat. “We’ll step her up against Im Themightyquinn and company next week because the staying distance will give her good opportunity to race well. Quinny is a champion horse and he proved that last week but we’ll give it our best shot.” Forever Gold is looking to repeat in the Fleur De Lil after staging a terrific battle with Torque In Motion last season in a time of 1;52.8 for the 1660m.. This year, the race will be staged over 2138m. Connections intend on campaigning again next season with the rising seven-year-old and the spring features in October loom as logical targets. “The big races later this year certainly make strong appeal and we intend on heading in that direction all going to plan, she thrives on racing.” Forever Gold is the winner of 35 races from 65 career starts while amassing more than $550,000 in prizemoney. by Chris Barsby Queensland Harness Racing

He’s arrived! Champion pacer Im Themightyquinn landed safely at Brisbane airport in the early hours in preparation for the Queensland Winter Carnival which officially starts next week. The $4.46 million earner will start in next week’s Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint before heading to the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake on July 19 and then possibly the Gr.3 $40,000 Redcliffe Cup on August 2. Trainer Gary Hall was on board the flight that left Perth last night that came via Melbourne before touching down in Brisbane at around 3am. “It was a long flight but we’re here and ready to go. We’re both seasoned travelers and everything went to plan and we both managed to rest up on the  initial leg from Perth to Melbourne.” Hall said. The dynamic duo is based at Logan Reserve on Brisbane’s southside, the property of Shannon Price and Scott Miller during their sunshine state campaign. It is expected that Im Themightyquinn will trial publically early next week at Albion Park with Queensland young gun Pete McMullen tipped to take the prized drive. “As long as he settles in well which I expect, I will take him to Albion Park for a trial which will keep him ticking over just nicely for the race next week. I’ve spoken to Pete and he will drive Quinny for me in the trial. “I’m a big fan of Pete and the way he drives so I was more than happy for him to handle Quinny; it will be great for the young kid. “I can’t be happier with the way he’s going and his last piece of fast work on Wednesday morning at home was phenomenal. He’s the horse to beat in next week’s feature.” Another highlight during his Queensland campaign is the possibility of breaking the prizemoney record which is currently held by champion Queensland pacer Blacks A Fake. Blacks A Fake retired with career earnings of $4, 575, 438 while Im Themightyquinn has banked $ 4, 468, 736. Blacks A Fake will be the special guest of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club on July 19 paving the way for a fantastic opportunity to witness the two greatest pacers of the modern era at the same time. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

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