Day At The Track
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Former Riverina young gun Cameron Hart is happy to call Sydney home at the moment – and it appears city life is agreeing with him.   The junior driver posted the 200th winner of his relatively short harness racing career at Brisbane’s Albion Park last Saturday and he’s a model of consistency in the sulky, with his win-place ratio running at more than 50 percent.   And the 20-year-old showed particularly fine touch over the past week.    An enviable winning streak kicked off at Penrith on Thursday when Hart landed the win with eight- year-old gelding Raffaella (Mach Three-Slipinn (Holmes Hanover) for his boss Shane Sanderson.   He then got the money in Brisbane on Saturday, again for Sanderson, with Castalong Shadow (Shadow Play-Leslie Jay (Grinfromeartoear) and followed up at Sunday’s Wagga Cup meeting with a win on Beetson (Art Major-Erin Jean (Classic Garry) in the feature event.   “I’ve been clocking up a few airline frequent flyer points with the travel I’m doing, but I’m not complaining because travel is a big part of the industry and we all have to do it in one way or another,” Hart said.   “It was a bit of a pain when there were no suitable flights to get back to Wagga for the cup, and I had to do a four-and-a-half hour road trip after getting back from Brisbane,” Hart said.   “But it’s worth it when you get the win.”   Hart is hitting the road again today (Thursday) for another Carnival of Cups meeting, hosted this time by Coolamon. He is booked to drive Brobenah Boy for Guy Retallick in the $10,200 Cup and Flaneur for Gary Lang in a C1 event.   “It will be a huge day. It always is at Coolamon and I’m going to enjoy being there, that’s for sure,” Hart said.   The trip to Coolamon will be almost back on home turf. The rising star reinsman grew up at Junee, just 30 kilometres down the road and it seems a career in harness racing was almost inevitable.   Hart’s mother Michelle is a niece of the late Alan Harpley who steered the mighty Welcome Advice to a 1972 Inter-Dominion grand final win. And it also didn’t hurt Hart’s prospects that Junee and the wider Riverina is home to some of Australia’s best horsemen and horses.   “There’s certainly a good bit of pedigree there and in addition, Bruce Harpley, a well-known trainer- driver, is my second cousin,” Hart said.   “So, I guess it was pretty much a sure thing that I was going to head into the sport,” he said.   The pathway to a harness racing career began at the age of five when his parents purchased a pony and the youngster got heavily involved in the mini trotters.   “That was a great learning ground and all of us had heaps of fun,” he said.   Later on, Kim Hillier loaned Hart a pony called Energizer and the pair took all before them.   “We won all the big ones. The Inter-Dominion, Miracle Mile and State Championships for the ponies. I can still remember the first time I competed at Menangle with Energizer and it seemed like a huge circuit,” Hart said.   Flashback to 2014 – young Riverina pony trots competitors Tegan Judd, Jordan Seary (who is also a promising young driver) and Cameron.   As he got older, every spare minute at home would be spent off helping his uncle, Michelle’s brother, Trevor White, a household name in harness racing circles in the Riverina.   “I would help Uncle Trev with trackwork when I was only 12, and three years later mum and dad agreed to let me go there and work full-time,” he said.   “It was an awesome time and I learnt so much about training, care and feeding.   “Uncle Trev also showed faith in me as a driver as well, and he gave me my first race drive on a horse called Ideal Investment at Albury in April, 2016.”   The horse won, two days later, at his second drive, Hart tasted more success at Canberra with Ravishing Girl for Sloys Company and trainer Noel Morris.   “I suppose I could say that it went downhill from there!” he laughed.    It obviously wasn’t the case, but the popular young reinsman’s good humor, along with his natural ability, provided him with plenty of opportunities.   He showed rapid improvement and a cool head beyond his years racking up an eye-catching tally of 60 wins in his first season of driving . “While I enjoyed driving at country meetings, it was always on my mind to get to the city when the time was right,” Hart said.   It was a matter of waiting for a break and it came when Cameron’s sister Ashley, 21, also a driver (now in Victoria with Andy and Kate Gath) approached Menangle-based Shane (Sanderson) regarding job vacancies.   “That was my lucky day because I couldn’t have wished for a better place to work – Shane and his wife Naomi have been awesome,” Hart said.   Hart is now the stable driver for the Sanderson team, and says the timing for him was fortunate.   Shane Sanderson and Cameron Hart (Courtesy Ash Brennan Photography)   “Shane and Naomi have kept building the team and getting stronger horses, so that’s been fantastic for me. It’s not only driving good horses that helps you to be a better driver, but also driving against the best as well.   “While Shane provides me with the most driving opportunities, David Waite is also good and several other outside stables.   “The recent Wagga win was my third Group 3 success, with the other couple at Menangle. I’m just so glad I made the move.   “Sydney is a fantastic city and I’m really enjoying the racing side of it. And in my leisure time I’m finding my golfing is improving!”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

HE is currently one of the most inform drivers in Sydney and Cameron Hart is hoping to start the new season in style at Menangle on Saturday night. The 19-year-old has one of the key drives in the Group 3 Free-For-All (2300m) on Loorrim Creek which Hart is hoping will catapult him into success. Have shared a Group victory at Menangle last month, Hart is confident Loorrim Creek will run another good race. “I was really happy with his fourth last week,” said Hart. “He did it well and his sectionals were really strong. “He keeps delivering in this grade and has come through last week’s run well and I’m expecting another good run from him.” Loorrim Creek has raced over the mile distance his last five starts and Hart believes the step up in distance should suit the seven-year-old. “When we first got him we thought he would be better over a bit of distance,” said Hart. “He’s been quite versatile which is good but looking forward to racing him over the longer trip again.” Following the scratchings of some of the fancies in Tiger Tara and Ultimate Art, Loorrim Creek is the $6 TAB Fixed Odds second favourite with My Alpha Rock (Lauren Tritton) the favourite at $1.35. Loorrim Creek will carry the number eight saddlecloth while My Alpha Rock will carry number 10. “I’ll probably have to drive him quiet from the draw,” said Hart. “The few scratchings have helped too.” Hart won six races on Loorrim Creek last season including the Group 3 Race Against The Drought FFA beating Tiger Tara. A win on Saturday night will push Loorrim Creek’s earnings past $100,000. Others Hart won on last season that he believes will go well tonight include Lucky Artist and Im Smoocha. Both pacers as well as Loorrim Creek are trained by former Queensland mentor Shane Sanderson who is now based at the Menangle Park Training Centre and whom Hart drives trackwork for. “We’re having a really good run at the moment,” said Hart. Hart has steered 79 winners in the 2017/18 season. Meanwhile, all horses carrying the six saddlecloth at Menangle during September will sport bright green ‘Race Against Drought’ colours. For every win in these colours, Club Menangle will donate $500 towards farmers in need through ‘Buy A Bale’ and the ‘Dilly Drought Drive’ campaigns. AMANDA RANDO HRNSW

Harness Racing New South Wales wish to advise of the young drivers that will be taking part in this year's Nicholas Dewar Memorial NSW Rising Stars series. Reinsmen and women from across the state will take part in heats run in various regions. The first round for the 10 drivers will take place at Young, the hometown of the late Nicholas Dewar. Heats will then move through to Bathurst, Bankstown and Newcastle before the last heat takes place at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday July 1.   The competing drivers for the 2018 series:   Ellen Rixon Defending Champion Cameron Hart Metropolitan Madi Young Metropolitan Will Rixon Metropolitan Mitch Chapple North East Justin Reynolds Western Districts Tom Pay Western Districts Todd Day South West & Riverina Chris Judd South West & Riverina Blake Micallef South West & Riverina   The NSW Rising Stars selection criteria can be read in full by clicking here.   HRNSW CEO John Dumesny congratulated all of the selected drivers. "These young people are the future of our sport and I am certain they recognise the privilege it is to be selected to compete in the Series," Dumesny said. "The week of activities outside of the race diving will be educational and entertaining for the divers. "A significant component however is the opportunity for these Rising Stars to bond in the Series in a sport in which they have a demonstrated passion. "Also this is a truly special year as the harness racing fraternity respects and pays tribute to Nick Dewar, a young man tragically gone who had an absolute passion for our sport perhaps unequalled. "On behalf of the Chairman Rod Smith, the Board Members and the Management of HRNSW I thank the Dewar Family, mother Wendy, father Steve and siblings Brad, Amy and Brooke for allowing harness racing to remember Nick in this way. "Finally I extend the best wishes of HRNSW to each of the drivers in the Series and may the best take out the 2018 title."   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  

He's just turned 19 yet reinsman Cameron Hart already appears to have the harness racing world at his feet. Hart is relishing his decision to leave the Riverina and take up a role as stable driver for the Menangle-based Shane Sanderson stables. It now has the young reinsman driving winners all over the state and even crossing the border to Queensland where he travelled to land a winning double for Sanderson at Albion Park on Saturday night. Hart’s only temporary setback was at Menangle last week when he thought he was home and hosed aboard Mind The Wire before his big sister Ashley nabbed him right on the line with Epaulette in a rare brother-sister quinella. “I am having a good run, for sure,” said Cameron. “I knew it was close, last week, and I thought I had stolen a march but she got me fair and square,” he said. “I worked to the top in the straight and got the shock of my life when she grabbed me right on the line. Ashley loved it, that’s for sure.” Hart said his move to Sydney had been a great one and he was loving it as Sanderson had continued to build up a strong stable with some consistent performers. “There’s a lot more meetings here and driving against the best drivers in Australia like the McCarthys and the Fitzpatricks week after week can only help your driving,” he said. “You watch how those guys perform and you certainly learn a lot.” Hart has four drives at Menangle today and all are rated some chances of collecting cheques. “Aichbechateaunoir was a little disappointing at her first couple since coming to the stable but she was a lot better last start and she has worked well since,” he said. “She is stepping up in distance so we’re not too certain how’s she’ll go with that but we’re hoping she’ll improve. “Lucky Artist (Race Four) has put in two good efforts at her past couple and should go OK too.” Hart will also be aboard Loorrim Creek in Race Five, which is shaping as one of his best chances on the day. “He’s a nice little horse on the back of his effort at Penrith last week which was really tough,” he said. “He has good gate speed and should be able to grab a nice position in the run.” His final drive for the Sanderson stable will be Franco Revel in Race 10: “He’s a consistent horse who just needs the right trip to be in the finish,” he said. Michael Court

Riverina harness racing driver Cameron Hart drove 50 winners during the 2016/17 season and subsequently has been nominated for this year's Daily Form Service Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award. Hart started his driving career on a winning note in April 2016 and last season was honoured for his efforts when asked to represent the Riverina in the New South Wales Rising Stars Series. Alongside Hart in this year's nominees for the Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award is fellow Riverina reinsman Peter McRae who also represented his region in the Rising Stars Series. McRae steered 26 winners last season and drove a winner during the Rising Stars Series and finished third overall. Meanwhile, fellow drivers that competed in this year's Rising Stars Series and also nominated for the Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award are Brad Elder, Madi Young and McKayler Barnes. Brad Elder, had a memorable 2016/17 season driving 55 winners which included his first Group winner. Madi Young from Worrigee also has her best season to date, travelling throughout state and landing 19 winners while also being an ambassador for Team Teal. Bathurst based driver McKayler Barnes tripled her previous best season during 2016/17 driving 15 winners. The recipient of this Award will be given a travel scholarship to New Zealand where they will spend two weeks learning from leading trainers and drivers. Nominees for the 2016/17 Daily Form Service Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award are: Brad Elder Cameron Hart Madi Young McKayler Barnes Peter McRae Harness Racing New South Wales would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the nominees and look forward to the Award announcement on Saturday October 28 at the Hilton Sydney Grand Ballroom. For tickets to the event please contact Kate Dumesny at kdumesny@hrnsw.com.au or (02) 9722 6672. AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Victorian trained harness racing two-year-olds claimed the opening heats of the 2017 Alabar Breeders Challenge series at Wagga on Tuesday night. The favourite Little Peanut won the colts and geldings division in smart fashion for trainer-driver Greg Sugars while Sounds Of Terror caused an upset taking out the fillies heat for Anton Golino and local driver Cameron Hart. Sugars was in a similar predicament a few years ago when he guided the then rising star Sushi Sushi to victory in a Breeders Challenge heat at Wagga. Little Peanut is one of three pacers he trains himself in between his busy driving schedule. “He is no Sushi Sushi but a nice two-year-old who will go on to the semi finals at Menangle,” Sugars said. Little Peanut is raced by a group of five who hail from Newcastle and Grafton. The owners also raced and bred the winner’s half-brother, Youranut, who won 14 races. Little Peanut settled in fifth place and when asked to extend gathered in Sword And Shield for his third win from five starts. Although second past the finish line, Sword And Shield was relegated to third when Stone Cracker’s driver David Hewitt lodged a successful protest. Sounds Of Terror made the six hour trip from Cardigan in Victoria worth the effort when she claimed her first win at her third start. The fillies’ heat looked in the keeping of the favourite Man Hands until she galloped at the 300 metres presenting a run through for Sounds Of Terror. The winner is owned and was bred by Yabby Dam Farms which races a large number of trotters and fewer pacers. Sounds Of Terror provided Junee reinsman Cameron Hart with his biggest career victory in the $15,000 race. He was impressed with the manner the youngster extended when called on. “She finished off really well. We had a bit of luck when the favourite galloped but she was travelling well at the time and won nicely,” he said. by Graeme White

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