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STAR Kiwi pacer Im Pats Delight won’t back-up in the $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup this weekend. Just 18 hours after his hard-fought $60,000 Group 2 Shepparton Cup win last night, trainer Cran Dalgety confirmed he would wait another week and tackle the Group 1 4YO Bonanza. “It’s about trying to qualify for the Chariots Of Fire,” Dalgety said. “We’d love to go to Ballarat, but we can’t run in everything with all the races so close together.” Dalgety said it was Gavin Lang’s amazing drive rather than Im Pats Delight’s work which won at Shepparton. “We know how good Gavin is and that was a Gavin Lang special,” he said. “You definitely want Gavin in your corner. “He didn’t cover an extra inch off ground than he needed to and made all the right moves when it mattered.” In a race of attrition, Im Pats Delight just did enough to get past a gallant Our Uncle Sam (third) and hold-off a big finish from Our Triple Play (second). Buzz pacer San Carlo sat parked in slick times and tired late for fourth in a smart 1min56.2sec mile rate for the long 2690m trip. _______________________________________________________________________________ WHIRLWIND is the best way to describe Tim Butt’s weekend. It started with the high of My Field Marshal’s superb Fremantle Cup win and continued when new stable addition Cheesy Fingers brilliantly won the Raith Memorial at Menangle. But the low came when another stable star, Let It Ride, went awfully in the Group 2 Shepparton Cup after leading and stopping to a walk. Butt has scrapped Ballarat and Hunter Cup plans and is taking Let It Ride back to his Menangle base to try and resurrect him for the Miracle Mile. “He overraced and basically choked-down,” Butt said. “It looked bad and he did stop very quickly, but he pulled-up well so that’s a relief.” Cheesy Fingers, having her first start for Butt after only landing in Sydney from NZ the day before, led throughout for stand-in driver Jimmy Rattray. “Credit to Brian Hughes, who trained her up well in NZ. It was a big effort to arrive the day before and go out and run a 1min50.3sec mile. She’s a very nice filly,” Butt said. Cheesy Fingers, a half-sister to The Orange Agent, had to dig deep to fight off a very brave Soho Nolita, who ran a mighty for second after sitting parked in such quick time. Butt said the NSW Oaks was next logical target ahead of features like the Victoria Oaks and Breeders Crown deeper into the season. _______________________________________________________________________________ A KEY scratching and gun drive helped classy trotting mare Red Hot Tooth successfully defend her Group 3 George Gath crown at Shepparton last night. When outsider Its No Dark Yet was scratched from gate one it moved the likely leader Big Jack Hammer into the pole and meant Red Hot Tooth followed him out. So astute punters unleashed, backing Red Hot Tooth from as much as $14 into $3.50 and she saluted after trailing Big Jack Hammer throughout and sprint-laning to win by 1.2m in a 1min59.8sec mile rate for 2190m. Veteran star Kyvalley Blur ran well for second, while Big Jack Hammer held on for third. Inter Dominion runner-up Sky Petite had to park throughout and a sizzling 27.6sec split down the back straight saw her weaken late for fourth. It’s clear Tornado Valley, who runs in the Cochran Cup at Ballarat next Saturday night, has the measure of those who fought-out The George Gath. So the interest centres on Kiwi raiders Marcoola and Speeding Spur to spice up the Group 1 Great Southern Star at Melton on January 26. _______________________________________________________________________________ KIWI visitor Hail Christian is enjoying his time in Sydney. Paul Court’s emerging pacer snared his most important Sydney win yet when, courtesy of a superb Blake Fitzpatrick drive, he easily won an MO at Menangle last night. Hail Christian began well from the outside draw, dropped in behind leader Alpine Stride and finished too strongly to win easily in a 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2300m. It was a sprint home with splits of 55.2 and 28.3sec. He’s won three of his four Aussie runs. _______________________________________________________________________________ POPULAR South Australian pacer Emain Macha won his 24th race from just 37 starts in the Italian Cup at Globe Derby last night. And he’s won four of his past. Greg Schofield’s five-year-old looked a class above his rivals and won accordingly, by 9.3m in a 1min59.2sec mile rate for 2230m.   Adam Hamilton

WITH an unbeaten record since racing in his care trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick could not be happier with the progress of Rollin With Holly. The three-year-old has had two starts with Fitzpatrick and the filly has pleasantly surprised him each run. “She’s improving quite a bit,” said Fitzpatrick. “She is not an overly flash track-worker so her two runs have surprised me. “She’s always been a nice type and we’re just really happy with how she is progressing.” Rollin With Holly will face the starter for the third time in Fitzpatrick’s care at Penrith tonight. This race is another stepping stone towards a big preparation connections have earmarked for the daughter of Roll With Joe. “She has a busy year ahead,” said Fitzpatrick. “She will race in next week’s Raith Memorial at Menangle and the New South Wales Oaks will be her main aim at this stage.” Rollin With Holly has had 13 starts for five wins and four placings. For her immediate task, Rollin With Holly has drawn barrier four in tonight’s TAB Rewards Pace (1720m) with Fitzpatrick in the sulky. “She should be hard to beat,” said Fitzpatrick. The Cawdor horseman has three other starters nominated tonight starting with Urban Girl in race three. Having also won her last two starts, Fitzpatrick believes tonight’s assignment has its challenges. “She’s an improver but drawn barrier 10 over the mile at Penrith is never easy,” said Fitzpatrick. In the following event, Fitzpatrick has last start winner Burning Rubber drawn barrier four over the 2125m. “He’s a very consistent horse and is in this race with a claim with Jason Grimson driving and looks a good chance again,” said Fitzpatrick. Another good draw has Fitzpatrick optimistic about his other runner’s chance – Clarry in race five. The pacer has drawn barrier three over the 1720m. “He’s going well again and has a strong chance from the draw,” said Fitzpatrick. Clarry won for Fitzpatrick two starts ago at Penrith. The victory added to the strong season Fitzpatrick has experienced so far. With 17 wins to his credit as a trainer and 13 wins as a driver for the term, Fitzpatrick is on track to experiencing stronger results than last season. Overall, Fitzpatrick is one of the most successful drivers in New South Wales having steered 1870 winners. As a trainer he boasts 614 victories to his credit.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Fortune favours the brave as they say. And that’s how best to describe the success Kiwi trainer Brad Mowbray is having in Sydney with his exciting mare Delishka. Beating the All Stars’ barn at home in NZ is hard enough and so many Kiwis now don’t even bother travelling to Aussie to try take on the best here plus the All Stars’ raiders. Mowbray took-up the challenge and with stunning results so far. Next stop is the big dance, the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on February 24. Delishka opened her Aussie campaign with a sound but luckless seventh in the Ladyship Cup in Melbourne, but hasn’t looked back since. She backed-up a week later to win in a 1min52.8sec mile at Menangle, then went to another level courtesy of a superb Blake Fitzpatrick drive to win the Sibelia Stakes in a 1min51.1sec mile last Saturday night. Delishka beat reigning Ladyship Mile winner, the All Stars’ A Piccadilly Princess, in the process. A Piccadilly Princess was given the run of the race in the one-by-one trail by Luke McCarthy, but couldn’t match Delishka’s “ping” once Fitzpatrick got her clear of the leader’s back. It was a hotly run race with Partyon leading and copping plenty of pressure from Shane Tritton’s tough grey mare My Rona Gold, who fought on well for fourth. Partyon wilted under the pressure and finished last. ________________________________________________________________________________________ LAZARUS didn’t even need to race at Menangle last Saturday night for us to be reminded how good he is. Just a week after Tiger Tara was crushed into submission by Lazarus in the Hunter Cup, he did the same to a solid but weaker field in the free-for-all at Menangle. It was a win which ranked up with Tiger Tara’s best. He drew the outside over a mile, worked forward to sit parked and kept the pressure on throughout in a blistering 1min50.2sec mile. Classy sit-sprinter Mach Doro trailed the leader, got an inside run to draw level with Tiger Tara, but Kevin Pizzuto’s warhorse was simply too strong. His splits for the mile were 26.9, 28.0, 27.6 and 27.7sec. Next stop is another possible clash with Lazarus in one of the two Miracle Mile qualifying sprints at Menangle next Saturday night. ________________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton is planning to have four runners in the two Miracle Mile qualifying sprints at Menangle next Saturday night. Former top class Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson, who went like a jet winning at Menangle last Saturday week, looks his top seed. “We’re also going to run Yayas Hot Spot, My Alpha Rock and Anything For Love,” he said. Anything For Love made it five wins from his past six starts when he led and sparkled in a 1min50.4sec mile at Menangle last Saturday night. ________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was like the good old days for Kerryn Manning at Melton last Friday night. There was a time, when driving was basically her sole focus, when Manning would regularly dominate race meetings. She did just that, winning four of the eight races at Melton, including the fast-class race with her outstanding former Kiwi mare Our Golden Goddess. Our Golden Goddess has now won all six starts for Manning this campaign and heads to Sydney nominal favourite for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile on Saturday week. Last Friday she led from the pole and scored in a very slick 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2240m. Manning’s four driving wins came for four different trainers. While he trains Our Golden Goddess, it would have been especially pleasing to win a feature juvenile race, the Premiere Stakes, aboard Scheu Creek for her father, Peter. Scheu Creek, who led throughout and won easily in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 1720m, provided an early and important win for his sire, former Hunter Cup and Chariots of Fire winner Caribbean Blaster. Manning’s other wins came aboard Lance Justice’s Love Ina Chevy, best known as the pacer who cheated death for many days after a snake bite, and Graham Lee’s trotter Illcryifhewinds. Just for good measure, Manning’s win all at to the growing “Teal Pants” promotion booty. She, Kate Gath and Jodi Quinlan are the Victorian representatives for the cause. Manning’s success rolled-on to Echuca last Saturday night when she won the Group 3 Echuca Cup with classy former Kiwi pacer Motu Meteor. The gelding wouldn’t have been out of place in the Chariots of Fire on the same night, but didn’t qualify. So Manning took him to Echuca instead where he led from gate two and won comfortably in a 1min59.9sec mile rate for 2560m. ________________________________________________________________________________________ KYLE Harper keeps marvelling at his classy old pacer Bettors Fire. The nine-year-old is still good enough to upstage WA’s best with the right draw, so he was a moral when he drew one and led a moderate free-for-all field at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Harper led the gelding slide along in a 1min54.7sec and burned down the back in 27.2sec before holding-off a late surge from Our Jimmy Johnstone to win well. It was back on December 29 when he led and upset Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull in the Village Kid Sprint. Bettors Fire’s now raced 90 times for 34 wins, 20 placings and earned close to $700,000. The other Gloucester Park feature, the $50,000 Group 2 Daintys Daughter Classic (2130m), went to father-son team Gary Hall Sr and Gary Jr in an upset with Art Major filly Slick Artist. She overcame a back row draw to comfortably beat WA’s best fillies in a key indicator race for the upcoming WA Oaks. ________________________________________________________________________________________ MUCH-TRAVELLED veteran Our Jericho snared another feature win in his new home state last Saturday night. Now trained in South Australia by Les Harding, the eight-year-old narrowly but impressively won the Gawler Cup. Our Jericho started his career in NZ, had long stints in Victoria and WA before returning briefly to Victoria and now to SA. He’s now raced 73 times for 16 wins, 14 placings and earned over $220,000.   Adam Hamilton

He’s won it before and he’s coming back to win it again. Leading Sydney horseman Blake Fitzpatrick has targeted the Gr.2 $40,630 Egmont Park Stud Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship with his talented harness racing performer Blazing Under Fire. Fitzpatrick trained My Valerie to win the 2015 version when handled by local reinsman Pete McMullen. The DJA series, the biggest trotting event staged in the Sunshine State, starts this Friday at Albion Park with the first round of heats and continues the following week before the final is staged on December 16 – the final night of the Racing Queensland summer carnival. “We’ve had this series on the radar for some time and his recent form warrants the trip north, he won well last start and he’s trained on well so we’re heading off tonight (Monday).” Fitzpatrick said. Following his purchase from New Zealand a few months ago, the Washington VC entire has performed at a high standard which includes two victories from 9 starts. Two starts ago, Blazing Under Fire was a runner-up behind his stablemate Mistercool Sea Eyre in the Gr.2 $33,600 Franco Australian Trotters Cup at TABCORP Park, Menangle. Last start, Blazing Under Fire reversed the result on Mistercool Sea Eyre when comfortable sprinting past his stablemate in a sharp time of 1:59.5 for the 2300m stand start event. “He was impressive winning last start and the time backs it up so I’m confident of a forward showing during the series up there. “I like his versatility and that should hold him in good shape, obviously we’re going to require some luck or no bad luck going our way. “We’re still learning about him and he’s still improving so I think he profiles well for this series, obviously there’s a number of Sydney trotters heading up which will make it difficult.” Meanwhile, talented performer Our Dainty Lady has switched from the stables of Jarrod Alchin to the local stables of Darrel Graham in preparation for the series. The proven Albion Park winner finished fourth behind Blazing Under Fire at her most recent start on November 18. Our Dainty Lady has won 4 from 6 at Albion Park when previously prepared by Graham including a track record effort for 2647m (2:00.5) when starting from a 30m handicap. The Pegasus Spur mare is a daughter of former champion mare Pride Of Petite (33 wins - $760k). Chris Barsby

The trotting gait is continually growing in New South Wales and now a new Trotters Association has been formed. Last season's NSW Leading Trotting Trainer and Driver, Blake Fitzpatrick, is the President while fellow horseman Troy Williams is the Vice President. The newly accredited Trotters Association of NSW has a mission to liaise with Harness Racing NSW on behalf of its membership on matters pertaining to race programming, breeding incentives, bonus schemes plus rules and regulations governing trotting in the state. The Executive and Committee Members of the TA NSW are: President - Blake Fitzpatrick Vice President - Troy Williams Secretary - Flora Robson Treasurer - Debra Holt Committee Members - Rickie Alchin, Daniel Cordina, Robert Morris, Joe Rando and Bradley Watts AMANDA RANDO

Harness racing "Group One" winning reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick notched up 100 winners for the season at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday. The century of wins came about on Dieu De Lamour, which ironically pushed his earnings past $100,000 with the win too. Trained by Martin Herbert, it was Fitzpatrick's second win with the trotter. "Blake drove him extremely well," Herbert said. "The horse wore them down on the line and has been racing extremely well with not a lot of luck so it was nice to see him win. "I know Blake was excited . . . he has driven a lot of winners for me over the years." Unlike Fitzpatrick, Herbert has only trained one other trotter previously and that was 2011 NSW Oaks winner Our Dolly Would. Fitzpatrick, however, has been involved with many trotters and has experienced a lot of success with them particularly in recent years. He drove Keystone Del to many Group victories and has also trained many trot winners including Seven Secrets, Glenferrie Burn and Empire Bay in recent weeks. And it was the pacing bred Seven Secrets that opened the winning account for Fitzpatrick on Tuesday. At the time of writing, the Cawdor horseman had driven a treble at the meeting also winning with Lombo Yanky Invada, which is by Lombo Mandingo another horse Fitzpatrick had success with. It is the eighth time Fitzpatrick has driven a century of winners in a season. Amanda Rando

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

Leading harness racing trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick is confident with the team he has in at Newcastle on Saturday night. The 33-year-old mentor has three horses nominated, which includes a two-pronged attack in a heat of Harness Breeders New South Wales Go Girlfriend Series. Headlining the charge is the former Victorian mare Helens Bonus who is well-graded for the heat. "Helens Bonus is a very underrated mare," Fitzpatrick said. "In the Breeders Challenge she had no luck and practically did not get a clear run. "Ability wise she is quite a smart mare and it wouldn't surprise me if she won on Saturday night even though she has drawn wide." Fitzpatrick's other runner in the heat is Annajodi who has not missed a place since racing in Australia. The New Zealand-bred mare has won three of her five starts on this side of the Tasman. "The owner Flora Robson purchased her from NZ and the mare has just been a real improver," Fitzpatrick said. "This will be her biggest test but based on her work this week she should put in a good race." Fitzpatrick's third runner on the night is Absolution. "He is a three-year-old taking on older horses but he is blessed with gatespeed and drawn one over the mile I think he will be a good chance," Fitzpatrick said. However, the Cawdor conditioner will not be at Newcastle to drive his team as he also has his trotter Glenferrie Burn engaged at Tabcorp Park Menangle that night. "She was also unlucky in the Breeders Challenge Final and probably should have won the race but was shuffled back with a bit of interference," he said. "I'm also driving Match In Heaven for Dad (Paul Fitzpatrick) and if he goes well he will head up to Queensland for the Derby next weekend." Amanda Rando

Several upsets at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon left harness racing punters reeling and history confirmed the average priced winner was more than $10 longer at any of the corresponding meetings since the track first opened in 2008. Menangle has always hosted a feature meeting on the final Sunday in June and with NSW Breeders Challenge finals conducted, favourites historically have performed well. Here are the statistics from previous years Year / No. of Races / No. of Successful Favs / Average Priced Winner 2008 / 9 / 4 / $7.22 2009 / 8 / 4 / $5.51 2010 / 8 / 4 / $4.51 2011 / 9 / 4 / $2.93 2012 / 10 / 4 / $7.15 2013 / 11 / 7 / $3.53 2014 / 11 / 4 / $7.07 2015 / 10 / 6 / $3.51 2016 / 11 / 1 / $17.34 The only favourite to win on Sunday was two year old trotter Empire Bay trained by Blake Fitzpatrick. Five odds-on favourites were beaten including Bacardi Hurricane ($1.70), Glenferrie Burn ($1.30), Ameretto ($1.30), Dont Think Twice ($1.70) and Lennytheshark ($1.40). Other beaten favourites include Heavens Trend ($2.00), Arma The Gun ($2.10), Three Of The Best ($2.60) and Spare Me Days ($3.80) while $2.90 equal favourites Jilliby Jagger and Lumos both suffered defeat in a heat of the Rising Stars. The only trainer to enjoy multiple winners at the meeting was Steve Turnbull who trained two year old gelding Conviction and four year old gelding Mouse In The House to win the respective Group 1 finals. Only one stallion sired two winners with Four Starzzz Shark the sire of Charlaval and Mouse In The House. The longest priced winner of the afternoon was two year old filly Shezallapples, she returned $91.20 for the win while another four winners were longer than $10 in the market. Greg Hayes

Honours and dollars were shared although there were hardly any great surprises after the three Group Two Trotters Finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. Harness Racing Trainer/Driver Blake Fitzpatrick kicked off the big Breeders Challenge Finals Day in typical fashion when he took Empire Bay to victory in the opening event, the Two-Year-Old Trotters Final. Sent out a prohibitive $1.50 favourite, Empire Bay was a comfortable winner over his only two rivals Shang Fang Sword and Nanas Eyes. While he was expected to dominate the trotters’ races, Fitzpatrick could only fill the minor places with his following two entries with Seven Secrets running fourth in the three-year-old final and short-priced favourite Glenferrie Burn leaving its run too late and ending up second with a late burst in the four and five-year-old Trotters’ Final. Zac Phillips guided Red Hot Tooth to victory to deny Fitzpatrick of making it two from two while Todd McCarthy held on from a fast-finishing Fitzpatrick with Glenferrie Burn in the third race. Fitzpatrick was delighted to draw first blood: “He (Empire Bay) went great, he’s been a really smart horse and he’s made mistakes in the wrong races,” he said. “His record really should be better than it is. “I was happy to follow Shang Fang Sword as my bloke has really good speed and he picked the leader up quickly and finished the race right off. “He’ll have a short break now and then head to Victoria for the Redwood and then the Breeders Crown.” The Three-Year-Old Trotters Final could almost be considered a Bathurst victory as Red Hot Tooth was bred by Geoff Bullock from Bathurst. He sent the horse to Kari Males, who trains out of Bolinda in Victoria but is originally a Bathurst girl. Young Victorian-based reinsman Zac Phillips, 20, caught a plane this morning to drive the horse and then headed straight back to drive at Shepparton tonight. “I’ve been up here a few times but this is the first time I’ve driven a winner here,” he grinned. “She’s been a revelation this horse and came down around six months ago. She wasn’t much to look at but has had six starts and kept improving. “Once she began to race the better horses she just acquitted herself well. “I thought I’d be hard to beat if could lead and we had such a great run I was really confident. “If she’s in front she runs her best races. “I think she could have gone quicker had she needed to. It’s a terrific story the owners are lovely people and it’s really good to see people win on a big day like today.” Michael Howard

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 Group 1 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 talented three-year-old from south of the border that’s eyeing Derby success on July 16. Name: Match In Heaven Stable Name: Sparky Age: 3yo colt Owner: John Starr Trainer: Paul Fitzpatrick Driver: Blake Fitzpatrick Prizemoney: $91,034 Biggest win: 2016 Young Derby Target: Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Derby (July 16) Trainer says: “We’ve always liked him and hold him in high regard, from day one he’s shown natural ability and he’s building a nice record and we feel he will keep improving and make a nice older horse over time. He’s got good smarts about him and he’s very quick, his point to point speed is his biggest asset. Hopefully we can have some luck in the Queensland Derby because he’ll prove very competitive in any race he contests.” Barsby says: “A really nice pacer that’s been well looked after and managed throughout his career to date. He showed his class when he chased home Our Waikiki Beach last season in the Breeders Challenge when he was still quite raw and inexperienced. Possesses great speed and will prove very hard to beat if given any luck, the Queensland Derby looks an ideal target.”

Saturday night’s Harness Racing Group 2 New South Wales Trotters Oaks has attracted runners from New Zealand and Victoria leaving a small group of local fillies to repel the challenge.  The best hope of the NSW trained fillies looks to be the Blake Fitzpatrick trained Parisian Chic after she finished second behind Group 1 winner Bacardi Hurricane in the NSW Trotters Foundation Final last start. Parisian Chic finished second behind Saturday night’s favourite High Gait in last year’s Breeders Crown Final at Melton and Fitzpatrick believes he has more than one thing in his favour. “The extra distance is a real plus for my filly this Saturday night, the further they go the better for her because she is so tough and she is on her home track which is always a bonus,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think there is so much depth in this year’s Oaks, normally there is a standout or maybe two winning hopes but this year there are six or seven nice fillies in the race and any of them could win it with the right run.” Last year Fitzpatrick trained and drove Fiery Mountain Girl in the NSW Trotters Oaks.  The filly finished third behind My Arya and returned a week later to win the NSW Trotters Derby.  Fitzpatrick isn’t planning on Parisian Chic running in the NSW Derby this year and will instead concentrate on the Victoria Oaks. “At this stage Parisian Chic will miss the NSW Trotters Derby because I want to get her down to the Victoria Oaks and that race will be run at Melton on Friday June 3.” Meanwhile Fitzpatrick is suggesting punters give talented mare Edge Hill another chance in the Group 3 La Coocaracha this Saturday night.  The five year old mare last won a race in October last year but she will appreciate getting back over the mile. “She has always had the ability to run a very quick mile and she is definitely going to enjoy dropping back and racing mares.  Edge Hill has been racing against the boys of late and has found it harder but I think if everything goes right on Saturday night she can be right in the finish. “There is good depth in the race and a couple of handy trotting mares are engaged but she has proved in the past she can mix it with the good ones.” The third of Fitzpatrick’s trotters to race at Menangle on Saturday night will be Glenferrie Burn in the final event. “Glenferrie Burn looks really well graded.  She finished second in the Breeders Crown last season and has matured into a quality mare. “I guess the biggest factor is that she is a little one dimensional but if everything is run to suit her then she will take some holding out.” Greg Hayes

New South Wales Rising Stars defending champion Jack Trainor has offered up his position in this year's harness racing series to another junior driver. The 21-year-old admitted it was a tough decision to make and he has thoroughly enjoyed competing in the series over the past two years but believed it was the right thing to do. "Through participating in the Rising Stars I was able to meet a lot of people and it helped further my career as a driver," Trainor said. "I am fortunate enough to have been able to establish myself as a junior driver, I have a number of drives each week at different tracks and also get the opportunity to compete in some of the feature races in Sydney. I would like to see my spot given to a driver who is younger and would use the opportunity to further their career as I have been able to do in the past two years." Trainor confirmed his success in the series last year increased his number of opportunities and believes the quality of the drivers that have competed previously proves what a success the Rising Stars has been. "Amanda Turnbull, Robbie Morris, Lauren Panella and Chris Geary have all competed in the Rising Stars and they are some of the best drivers in NSW. The series gives young drivers from across NSW a chance to meet and compete with one another, it really is a grouse week. "In 2014 I represented the Newcastle region, last year I was selected to represent the metropolitan area and after winning the series it opened up a lot more opportunities for me." Recently Trainor has started working for Blake Fitzpatrick and is enjoying working with a number of quality trotters. "I have worked for stables before that have had one or two trotters but working for Blake is something different because he has a number of high quality trotters. It is something new for me and I really like it. "Working for Blake has also helped me with my driving because while you have to ask for his feedback he is always happy to give you some advice and he is one of the top of drivers in Australia." Ten drivers are selected to compete in the NSW Rising Stars series each year. The defending champion and a Western Australian representative are normally automatic selections with the remainder of the junior drivers picked from across the state. The list of drivers competing in this year's Rising Stars series will be announced later today. Greg Hayes

When Jess Prior won the J.C Caffyn Plate driving the Blake Fitzpatrick-trained Cilantro at Tabcorp Park Menangle earlier this month, the 25-year-old reinswoman enjoyed the biggest win of her career. Not only was the victory her first drive on the 1400 metre track but in winning the feature Prior became the first female driver to win the J.C Caffyn Plate (formerly known as the Michael Brown Planning Strategies Indigenous Drivers Invitational.) Race sponsor Michael Brown took the opportunity to visit the Blayney Carnival Of Cups meeting on Sunday to make a special presentation to Prior. "I think Jess was a little bit surprised with the special presentation at Blayney but she deserved it and what made it even more special was that there were some family members in attendance too," Brown said. "I got the opportunity to present the previous winners of the Indigenous Drivers Invitational with their respective J.C Caffyn Plates the day Jess won it but obviously it was going to take some time to get the plate for Jess engraved with her name." Brown is keen to see the J.C Caffyn Plate grow annually and will continue to support the race into the future. "Going back a few years I remember talking with John Dumesny who was the boss of Menangle at the time and we discussed the idea of creating a race that could get bigger and bigger. "A race like the Miracle Mile was born and grew from an idea and while the J.C Caffyn Plate is never going to rival the Miracle Mile I would like to see this race become an event that Indigenous Drivers can set their sights and aim at." Prior is keen to defend her title next year and is looking forward to the opportunity. "I told Michael I want to be part of it again next year, it was a big thrill to win it this year and it is something that I will never forget," Prior said. "It was great to be involved in the race and to receive a framed J.C Caffyn Plate is something that I will treasure forever." Greg Hayes

Harness racing trainer Amanda Turnbull is thrilled after snaring a couple of plum barriers for next Saturday’s Harness Jewels meeting at Ashburton. Turnbull’s four-year-old mare Just Cala, racing as Cala, has come up with barrier two in the 4YO Diamond, while Glenferrie Bronte has secured gate four in the 3YO Diamond for fillies. “We were pretty lucky with both of them,” Turnbull said. “I can’t wait now to get over there.” Partner Nathan Jack will drive Glenferrie Bronte and Turnbull will pilot Just Cala herself on Jewels Day. The news out of the barrier draws wasn’t as positive for connections of three-year-old gelding Burnaholeinmypocket, who pulled gate nine – outside the front line. “It’s not good news,” said trainer Andy Gath. “But it is what it is. We appreciate the opportunity to go over there and compete. It’ll still be a good experience for the horse and we'll all have a good time over there. “He can go around in a C1 heat in Victoria next week, which are run regularly, or he can go over there and run in the Jewels. … It’s a great opportunity.” Meanwhile, Blake Fitzpatrick-trained trotter Valerie has got barrier three in the 4YO Ruby Trot and Shane Tritton-trained Salty Robyn will start from barrier three for reinswoman Lauren Panella in the 2YO Emerald. Click here for Harness Jewels final fields CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER

Waldenburg looked to have a big harness racing career after his two-year-old season.  One of the top performers of his crop, son of Bettors Delight won a semi-final of the Breeders’ Crown before finishing second behind Three Over Three in the Final. As a three-year-old Waldenburg won the Simpson Memorial and was placed in the Victoria Derby, beating home Restrepo.  He qualified for another two Group One races that season, but after suffering a leg issue, was sent for a well-earned break.  As a four-year-old Waldenburg was back on the sidelines due to another a leg injury according to his trainer Blake Fitzpatrick.  “Waldenburg suffered an injury to his leg in a paddock accident after only a couple of runs back as a four-year-old, which was really disappointing,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve had him back in work for about five months this time and he is holding up really well. The leg is no longer an issue…he has had two trials back and I think he is ready to go back to the races.” Waldenburg trialled yesterday when he charged up on the back of dual Inter Dominion winner Beautide to hit the line full of running. “I was really happy with his trial this week,” Fitzpatrick said. “There was improvement from the first trial, so now I will look to put him into a race for M0 horses on Saturday week.” “He is only lightly-assessed at this stage and I think he will do a good job because I thought that there were some nice horses in his age group and he competed with them very strongly as a two-and three year-old.”     HRNSW Media

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