Day At The Track
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Talented young Queensland harness racing driver Hayden Barnes is hot property at the moment, with recent victories in two States.   A last-stride win at Armidale, NSW, on Sunday afternoon with My Secret Torque (Auckland Reactor- Ella Palms (Speed King) gave the likeable 23-year-old five wins in just four days.   “Yes, it’s certainly been an awesome week. Three of the wins were for the boss (dad/trainer Alastair, of Marburg) so everything is going along nicely,” Barnes said.   “We were happy to get the win at Armidale because it was a 12-hour return trip. Fortunately, My Secret Torque put in a dive at the finish line to score by the narrowest of margins,” he said.   The winning roll started at Redcliffe on Thursday afternoon when Barnes combined with trainer Brett Cargill to score with Grizzly Montana (Lanercost-Pearl Of Montana (Art Major).   On the following day at Albion Park, he posted a winning double for his father Alastair with former Kiwi pair Trojan Banner (Bettors Delight-Caitlin Banner (Washington VC) and Lincolns Girl (Lincoln Royal-Tania Tandias (Falcon Seelster).   And then on Saturday night at Brisbane headquarters again, Barnes was back into it, keeping a smile on his dad’s face, steering four-year-old Lincoln Road (a full brother to Lincoln’s Girl) to victory in the opening event.   The trip to Armidale, with a pair of Chantal Turpin-trained stablemates, saw Barnes making his driving debut on the 770-metre circuit, in a meeting that was another of the NSW harness racing showcase, Carnival of Cups.   “It’s a good set-up and I’ll remember my first visit with the win, that’s for sure,” he said.   “I copped a check in the early bit and found myself last, probably 30 metres off the leaders. But the horse felt enormous and I wasn’t concerned in taking off three wide to make a run because I had to get into it.”   My Secret Torque scooted around the field fairly quickly to join the leaders. Just when it looked like the mare was about to take control, the leader Roll With Tricky (Sam Ison) got a second wind and fought back doggedly.   The pair went head and head down the home straight, with the Queensland visitor grabbing a slim victory.   “We hit the line together, but I thought I’d just won. I think My Secret Torque had one last kick when it counted,” Barnes said.   “The race was worth $7650 and came with a free stallion service donated by the Seymours, which was just perfect because the owner Ian Carazzol is a keen breeder as well.”   Hayden Barnes   Barnes said trainer Chantal Turpin and her partner Pete McMullen were unable to make the 500 km trip to Armidale.   “They had a christening ceremony for their daughter Olivia, but I was happy to take the horses for them,” he said.   “It was a bit disappointing that I had to retire their other runner Bells Beach House in the Armidale Cup, but that’s racing.”   Barnes was forced to pull the horse out of the feature event after getting a flat tyre in the backwash of a scrimmage on the first corner, when driver Andrew Millard was tipped out.   The $10,200 Cup was taken out by a roughie in $31 chance Our Major Day (Major In Art-Diligent Miss (D M Dillinger) for Richard (trainer) and Dayl (driver) March. Stablemate Clintal Do was runner up.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Fresh from another successful Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship series last month during the Racing Queensland summer carnival, the thirst for trotters is still high. And Brisbane based owners Pam Hopper and Ross Patrick have joined forces to purchase a talented New Zealand performer. Hopper is a keen enthusiast of the trotters and has raced several talented types in recent times while Patrick continues to enjoy solid success. Last weekend, his richly talented mare Argyle Beach scored a thoroughly deserving victory at headquarters in a new personal best time of 1:53.4. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere has won 11 races since Patrick purchased her from New Zealand. A deal this week has been closed off by respected agent Geoff Gibson-Smith to secure Majestic Simon for his new owners. Following his victory last Friday at Roxburgh in the south island of New Zealand, the deal was soon completed. He finished second in his debut two days earlier. Majestic Simon is heading to the stables of husband and wife team of Pete McMullen and Chantal Turpin​ at the Patrick Estate base. The Gr.3 Jim McNeil Memorial Trotting Championship begins next month and will be a likely target for the talented trotter. The series starts on February 15 with the final scheduled for March 2.   Chris Barsby

The door is slightly ajar. Queensland pacer Mattgregor still has a chance of qualifying for the Gr.1 $500,000 TAB Inter Dominion Grand Final at Melton next Saturday. He sits right on the precipice. But the Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen trained gelding needs a top three finish in the final round of heats at Cranbourne tomorrow night (Saturday) to stamp his ticket to the big dance next week. And then rely on other results. “I suppose we’re still in the mix to sneak into the final but he needs to race well this weekend to show he deserves his place in the final, a top three finish would propel our chances of qualifying. We’re in the final heat so at least we should know what’s required to get us into the final by that stage.” Turpin said. Mattgregor sits 16th, currently ranked on 14 points. On the opening night last weekend, Mattgregor was responsible for a tidy 7th after starting from a nasty second-line draw and covering ground over the concluding stages before finishing 5th on Tuesday night after having his chance on the speed. Mattgregor will start gate two in the 2555m event tomorrow night but faces series favourite Cruz Bromac  from the stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Cruz Bromac has drawn gate four and is listed at $1.09. “It was a pass mark for his opening heat but probably a shade disappointing on Tuesday night given the trip he got, Pete’s drive was extremely good and deserved a better result. “This is his best draw this weekend and hopefully we can sit handy on the pace again, an ideal scenario would be to lead and then hand over to Cruz Bromac which would give us every opportunity for a top three finish. “He’s handling the series quite well, we’ve always looked after him since he first arrived and we were a little unsure how he would cope but all signs are good right now. Three runs in a week at this level is intense. “If we qualify, well that’s great and a super proud moment for the family but if we don’t, the consolation will be the focus and hopefully we can take that home.” The last Queensland trained pacer to qualify for an Inter Dominion Grand Final was Avonnova; the triple Queensland Horse of the Year finished an unlucky 4th behind Lennytheshark at Gloucester Park back in 2015. The only Queensland trained Inter Dominion winner is four times champion Blacks A Fake, the greatest pacer of all time! Chris Barsby

The unplanned Sydney trip has been profitable for Turpin/McMullen racing stables. A team of seven pacers from the Patrick Estate stables of Chantal Turpin and her husband Pete McMullen ventured south owing to the issues with the Albion Park track and they’ve reaped the rewards. Already successful at TABCORP Park, Menangle has been stable stars Mattgregor and Watch Pulp Fiction while Bull Market and Laughing Emoji have also registered victories. Opononis Bliss has managed two minor placings while former New Zealand pacers Some Excusesomwhere and Itz Major Look were unplaced in just one start to date. With the Brisbane summer carnival and a return to Albion Park imminent, the team will be heading back up the highway in the next week. But not all. “At this stage, we have Laughing Emoji, Opononis Bliss, Itz Major Look and Watch Pulp Fiction heading home. Bear (Mattgregor) is racing again this weekend and then he’s joining Darren Binskin while Bull Market has been sold to Leon Jurd and Some Excusesomwhere will head to Jarrod Alchin next week.” Turpin said. On Tuesday, the husband and wife stable combined for a double after Bull Market and Laughing Emoji both proved triumphant. Both pacers recorded new personal best times with Bull Market taking a mark of 1:51.5 while Laughing Emoji rated 1:52.9. Their victories follow on from Mattgregor winning last Saturday night while Watch Pulp Fiction and Bull Market both scored the previous week. And with solid success during their brief stay, they’re reluctantly returning home. “We have absolutely loved it down there, we’re based on the track at Menangle and the facilities are outstanding and the other trainers are very accommodating so it makes it difficult to leave but we have obligations up here. A return trip next year is already being planned and we can’t wait to have another crack at it. “We plan on starting Watch Pulp Fiction in the open features during the summer carnival, that’s as long as he gains a start. That’s the reason why we are leaving Mattgregor down in Sydney; he’ll probably get left out of these upcoming features so we figure its best to keep him in Sydney on the bigger track. “He looks a good chance again this weekend and Pete will fly down on Saturday and take the drive, he did a good job last week rating good time over the longer distance and being first-up. He’s back at the mile trip this week and should prove very competitive; it will be interesting to see what ranking he holds for the Inter Dominion if he wins again.” Final rankings for the Melbourne Inter Dominion series will be released next week. The stable have several runners engaged at Redcliffe this weekend. Representing the stable tomorrow (Friday) is Happy Feelings, Exceptional Mach, Heavens Hurricane and Imthe Golden Child with McMullen driving the quartet. On Saturday night, the stable starters are Always My Mate, Bells Beach House and Argyle Beach with Turpin driving the trio while taking a catch drive aboard Amajorjo for her father Tony. “Argyle Beach looks our best chance at Redcliffe across the weekend, she’s a classy mare with great speed and very consistent form,” Turpin said. “This mare will be making a trip to Sydney next year, we’re thrilled with the way she has performed for Ross (Patrick – owner).” She added. Since the 2013/14 season, Turpin has trained over 100 winners each term. Turpin has trained 11 winners while McMullen has driven 29 winners in Queensland so far this season. Chris Barsby

Before Some Excusesomewhere had even crossed the finish line at Albion Park last Friday, he had a new stablemate. Prepared by husband and wife team of Pete McMullen and Chantal Turpin, the former New Zealand pacer is raced by Craig Whiteoak and the trio has combined again to bolster their stocks. Some Excusesomewhere has looked sharp since arriving in the Sunshine State winning two of his five starts and looks destined to return the winners circle a little more often judging by the ease of his latest victory. Starting from a trick second-line draw over the 1660m, McMullen positioned him nicely in the moving line before easing three-wide entering the back straight and then allowing him to stride freely over the concluding stages. The winning margin was a widening 18.5m while stopping the clock at a respectable 1:54.2. “It was a good performance and he felt really strong in the final half, I had no hesitation in letting him slide down the back and he quickly put them away passing the 400m peg. He certainly looks like he’s going to get through his grades with little fuss.” McMullen said. Purchased from the Canterbury stables of Mark Jones, the Patrick Estate couple has enjoyed good success over the years buying from this stable with the likes of Mattgregor and Croft Bay doing good jobs while handy maiden Morroch Bay looks like being a handy money spinner. Naturally, the latest addition to the stable also hails from the Jones team. Itz Major Look, a last start winner at Oamaru has been purchased by Whiteoak and will join his stablemate in Brisbane. The three-year-old Art Major – Itz Got The Giggles gelding scored his maiden victory at only his second start in impressive fashion when rating 2:04.4 for the 2600m standing start event. Starting favourite, he led throughout and scored comfortable while finishing off in 57.2 seconds. “He looks like a progressive type and should do a nice job; I thought there was plenty of merit in his victory last start because a number of rivals had a look at him mid-race. “We’ve had some luck with some of Mark’s horses and he believes he’s an up and comer.” McMullen scored his maiden Albion Park Metropolitan Drivers Premiership last season and continues to lead the way this term with 6 winners after the first month.   Chris Barsby

Plans for exciting Queensland pacer Mattgregor have hit a snag. Fresh from his brutal thrashing of his harness racing rivals at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night in the Emmjay Warehousing Solutions Pace, he was set to head further south and contest this weekend’s Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at Melton. But those plans have now been shelved. Instead, he will return home to Brisbane. The Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen prepared hulking five-year-old gelding didn’t pull up as well as expected and they won’t risk their star pacer in the Melbourne feature. “We were thrilled with his effort in the race on the weekend but he hasn’t pulled up as well as we were hoping, we scratched Bettabe Perfect from his race owing to him being off because he didn’t travel well on the way down and maybe Bear (Mattgregor) has picked up something similar.” Turpin said. Mattgregor, unbeaten this season from three starts, loomed as a major threat in the 4 & 5yo Championship where he was likely to meet a stack of talented up and comers including the likes of Shadow Sax, Let It Ride and Motu Meteor among others. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for connections as this event has been earmarked for a number of months. “It’s just rotten timing, everything for this campaign has been worked around this race but we’ve come up short at the last moment. The horse comes first and we won’t take any chances. “There were no signs before the race and he performed like we expected but just over the past 24 hours, he hasn’t been as bright as he normally is and that concerned us. “You need to be at your absolute best to take on a race like this and unfortunately he won’t be so we won’t make the trip for the sake of it. We’ll head home and get him back to full health before looking at our next target.” The Brisbane summer carnival starts officially on December 2 at Albion Park and three open class features will be staged in consecutive weeks but it highly doubtful Mattgregor will be readied for these events. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding has won 13 from 25 starts while banking more than $107,000. Chris Barsby

Immediate plans for Watch Pulp Fiction have been halted. The in-form harness racing pacer has suffered a serious injury and could be off the scene for anywhere up to six months, maybe more. A winner of his past four starts at Albion Park, the Art Major entire has injured his nearside front tendon and has immediately begun treatment. Prepared at Patrick Estate by Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, the young couple were planning an interstate campaign but have drastically altered plans and are now seeking further advice of the best form of treatment. “It’s terribly disappointing, he was racing in such great form and we had plans to campaign him in both Sydney and Melbourne in the coming weeks while the local summer carnival was also being strongly considered. Those plans have been dashed and now we’re hoping we can get him back soon rather than later.” Turpin said. Watch Pulp Fiction has been the form horse in Brisbane in recent weeks highlighted by his slashing efforts including his last start victory in the Remembering Town Royal Open Pace on October 14 at Albion Park. And that’s where the issue may have risen. “I remember saying to Pete that night that he put in a step on the home turn, he hadn’t done in his three previous victories but that night we had torrential rain falling. I wasn’t sure but looking back at the tape he definitely makes a step. “He will undergo the PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment and then he will commence some ultrasound work as well before heading to Toowoomba for some rehabilitation. We’re hoping he won’t be out for as long as some others with similar injuries. “The treatment with these types of injuries keeps evolving and hopefully we can get sorted, we must be positive and hope for the best news.” The Turpin/McMullen stable are heading south this Thursday with exciting five-year-old Mattgregor who will start at TABCORP Park, Menangle this Saturday night. Unbeaten in both starts this campaign, Mattgregor will head to Melton the following week for the Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship. “He’ll start this week at Menangle and that should top him off for the feature the following week, he’s in great order and enjoys the surroundings at Menangle. “He’s come through his trial last week in good shape and we’re happy with the way he is right now.” Mattgregor won an Albion Park 1660m trial last Tuesday (October 24) in 1:54.9 while finishing off in 26.9 seconds. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding has won 12 from 24 to date. Chris Barsby

It’s time to shine for Watch Pulp Fiction. The former New Zealand harness racing pacer has traveled a rocky road since crossing the Tasman late last year following his purchase which came at a hefty price. His new connections held lofty aspirations and dared to dream big. The Art Major entire has won 2 from 11 on Australian soil, hardly earth shattering but far from a complete bust. It’s been steep learning curve for all involved. Prepared by Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, the talented young couple has faced a number of challenges along the way and still feels the five-year-old has plenty to give. And it starts with the Gr.3 $30,000 Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup tomorrow night (Friday). “It hasn’t been smooth sailing with him since he arrived, he’s been an interesting horse to sort out but we think we’re starting to get on top of those little issues we’ve encountered along the way. We know he’s got the talent, his record proves that and this race looks a good fit for him.” Turpin said. Watch Pulp Fiction ventures to Redcliffe for the first time and will start from the inside in the 2613m stand-start feature, a race that boasts strong talent headed by giant former New Zealand pacer Hughie Green among others. A proven stand-start performer in his homeland, Watch Pulp Fiction caught the eye in his only local stand-start race when an eye-catching fourth behind Hughie Green in the Flashing Red three starts ago. At his most recent start, he finished a pleasing fourth in the Rising Stars Championship Final at Albion Park behind another Redcliffe Cup rival in Kept Under Wraps in a scorching time of 1:51.8 “He’s been responsible for a number of really good runs in a lot of his races but luck just hasn’t been on his side, he should have a few more wins against his name. “His last few starts have been really pleasing but draws haven’t been kind, he made good ground in brilliant time last start after coming from a shocking draw. He’s trained on well since and the draw this week gives us an excellent chance. “He’s a safe beginner and loves sitting close to the speed, this is a race well within his reach. We’re hopeful he can build from this race and head into some of the bigger races during the winter carnival at Albion Park high on confidence.” His two victories on Australian soil have come via Albion Park and Menangle. Watch Pulp Fiction is quoted as an $11 chance with UBET. The Redcliffe Gold Cup is listed as race 5 and is scheduled to start at 8.34pm local time. Meanwhile, stable star Mattgregor has arrived back in Brisbane following his two start southern campaign. The richly talented four-year-old finished second behind My Field Marshal in the Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at TABCORP Park, Melton on May 20 followed by his third placing behind Fouroeight and Anything For Love in the Gr.3 $31,800 Mount Eden Championship at TABCORP Park, Menangle last week. Mattgregor will be set for the Gr.3 $30,000 4yo Championship at Albion Park on July 1 before a break. Chris Barsby

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