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There are eight last start harness racing winners going head-to-head in Saturday night's Cordina Chicken Farms Hondo Grattan Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle and surprisingly that does not include Our Waikiki Beach. Out of the 10 horses engaged, not including the emergencies who are actually both last start winners also, Our Waikiki Beach is one of two horses not to have graced the winners' circle last start. However, the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained gelding is the favourite with TAB Fixed Odds at $1.85 after drawing barrier one. The second favourite is Salty Robyn at $2.40 with all other runners at double figure odds. The winner of this $50,000 Group Two will automatically qualify for the Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire on February 11 and will join Soho Tribeca (Western Australia) and Chase The Dream (New Zealand) as qualified horses for that event. The Chariots Of Fire conditions allow for the winners of the Golden Nugget (WA), the Four and Five-Year-Old Futurity (NZ), the Four-Year-Old Bonanza (Victoria) as well as the Hondo Grattan and Paleface Adios Stakes (Menangle) to automatically qualify for the Chariots Of Fire. The remainder of the field for the Chariots Of Fire will be selected only from horses that competed in the Paleface Adios and Hondo Grattan Stakes on overall finishing positions. Based on the presumption that all automatically qualified horses nominate for the Chariots Of Fire, the second and third-placed horses in the Hondo Grattan and Paleface Adios Stakes will gain entry into the $200,000 feature. The winner of the 2017 Chariots Of Fire will be invited to contest the Ainsworth Miracle Mile on February 25, 2017. CLICK HERE for the TAB Fixed Odds on the Hondo Grattan Stakes   AMANDA RANDO

Catcha Lefty is going to take his shot. The Queensland Derby winner will head south this week (Wednesday) in preparation for the harness racing Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle scheduled for February 11. The two qualifying races, the Gr.2 $50,000 Hondo Grattan and Paleface Adios Sprints are slated for January 21 and 28, both to be staged at Menangle. Husband and wife combination of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte are willing to contest both lead-up events if required but are hopeful of securing a start in the four-year-old feature. “This is what we’re in the business for, to get a nice and contest the bigger events so we’re going to give him his opportunity. Obviously this crop is outstanding headed by the New Zealand horses but we’re hopeful of gaining an invitation for the big race.” Co-trainer Cini said. Since returning from his biggest triumph during the Brisbane winter carnival, Catcha Lefty has shaped nicely in two runs back from the break and heads south in peak condition. The Village Jasper gelding was beaten but far from disgraced first-up on December 17 when speedy mare Cherish The Moment led throughout at Albion Park in a time of 1:53.1. Catcha Lefty sat without cover on that occasion and went down by a shot half head margin. In his latest effort on January 3, Catcha Lefty scored a clinical victory at Albion Park in a time of 1:55.8. “He’s in great shape; the first-up run was excellent and Shane (Graham – driver) was absolutely thrilled while his latest effort was very good and they were running into a strong head wind that day. It was a perfect run given his tough first-up effort and he’s trained on since. “We have no doubt he goes best with a sit, coming off cover and unfortunately we don’t get many opportunities to drive him that manner up here but we will when he races in Sydney. He came off cover when he won the Queensland Derby last season. “His first start will come in the Hondo Grattan and then we’ll reassess after that, the news that Lazarus is heading to Melbourne now rather than contesting this event is a bonus. He’s come back in great shape, he grew a touch taller and definitely filled out a little more, I think he’s set for a good campaign.” Regular reinsman Shane Graham is currently suspended after incurring a two week driving suspension at Redcliffe last week but will be back to drive him on Saturday week. Catcha Lefty has won 14 of his 28 starts to date while banking more than $177,000. Also joining Catcha Lefty on the trip south are talented stablemates Bring On Lefty and Firebby while Cold Ideal, Stonebridge Royal, Armbro Teehee and Marshal Dale are also on board. The Cini/Monte team will be based with Daryl New on course at Menangle during their campaign. by Chris Barsby

After ending last season with a Group One win to his name 10-time winner Charlaval looks set to have another big harness racing season ahead of him. With the Chariots Of Fire the main aim for the four-year-old, connections are undecided if he will trial or race next according to the gelding's regular reinsman Robbie Morris. Charlaval has won his two trials back this preparation. "He's trialled twice now and has had two good hit-outs but Kerry (KerryAnn Turner-trainer) is still undecided if she will give him another trial or just race him," Morris said. "He trialled nicely at Menangle on Tuesday - he led and was a bit docile in front waiting for the other horses but hit the line well." Charlaval rated 1:55.4 in his most recent trial and when ready to make his debut for the season will be assessed as a C6. "He is a good horse and has earned the right to have this assessment," Morris said. "Being that grade won't affect him as he is usually driven back with a sit and if they go 1:50 or 1:51, the harder they go the better for him. "The Chariots is the real aim with him but he is eligible for the Breeders Challenge and Breeders Crown also so he has a big season ahead." Charlaval won a Breeders Challenge Final last season in a career best mile rate of 1:51.9. The son of Four Starzzz Shark has a record of 10 wins and 11 second placings in 29 starts and earnings of $199,025 AMANDA RANDO

Brilliant New Zealand-bred five-year-old Our Sky Major, a winner of five group 1 feature events and $777,717 in stakes, will make his Gloucester Park debut when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the Nexans Olex Pace, a C10 to C15 event in which his clash with up-and-coming star American Boy will be a feature of the ten-event harness racing program. Our Sky Major, a winner at 15 of his 53 starts, is prepared at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, who took over the preparation of the horse just over two months ago. Prentice drove Our Sky Major at his West Australian debut when he was a 10/1 on favourite in a 1609m at Bunbury on June 4 and was surprisingly beaten. After starting from barrier five, Our Sky Major raced three wide early before taking the lead at the bell. He sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in a sizzling 26.9sec. before wilting in the final stages to finish third behind Lord Lombo and Northern Assassin. The winner rated 1.53.6 after a final quarter of 28.2sec. That was Our Sky Major’s first run since he finished sixth in a 3200m stand at Addington on March 26. Our Sky Major has had 13 starts this season for just one second and two thirds. He shone as a four-year-old, winning at four of his eight starts, including the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle in March 2015 (recording a time of 1.51.5 over 1609m) and the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Ashburton two months later. Our Sky Major, who finished a head second to Our Maxim in the 2240m Victoria Derby at Melton in February 2014, is sure to prove a worthy opponent for American Boy, who has shown tremendous promise in winning at 11 of his 14 starts. American Boy has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Gary Hall jun. will be determined to set the pace. Trainer Gary Hall sen. said he was looking forward to American Boy clashing with Our Sky Major. “It’s a strong field, but American Boy is in good form,” he said. “American Boy has good gate speed and will lead and prove hard to beat. His past two runs have been outstanding.” Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 June 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 June 2016         Ken Casellas

Once in a generation a harness racing racehorse comes along that redefines the breed with displays of power and speed that lifts the overall standard to the next level. Last night at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Have Faith In Me gave a performance for the ages with a stunning win in the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire and in doing so the lightly raced four year old lay down the gauntlet to the established grand circuit stars ahead of the $750,000 Miracle Mile on February 28th. Plenty of the form analysts questioned weather Have Faith In Me from the outside gate of 10 could give all his rivals a start and beat them last night in Australia's premier four year old race. The former New Zealand mare Arms Of An Angel was the main pick of those analysts to puncture the Have Faith In Me bubble. Before the race had barely started, the whole complexion of the race had changed. Arms Of An Angel had blown the score up and was eight to ten lengths behind the bunch early in the race. Meanwhile Natalie Rasmussen had sent Have Faith In Me forward on a mission as the soon as the gate hit the starting point and was three wide with cover handy to the pace after the first 400 metres was cut out in a quick 26.6. Following Cruz Bromac around, Have Faith In Me found the death seat outside him at the 800 metres in 55.1 after a 28.5 second quarter. Natalie applied more pressure down the back straight and the third quarter whizzed by in 27 seconds and it was apparent at that point that Have Faith In Me had his rivals in serious trouble. When Natalie gave him a little bit of rein at the top of the straight, Have Faith In Me absolutely bolted away and went down to the line under double wraps for a victory that will live in the memory for a long time. Cutting the last 400 metres out in a slick 26.9, Have Faith In Me stopped the timer in a brilliant 1:48.8, the first four year old to break 1:50 in Australasia. Lord Zin Zan after trailing most of the way ran into second 10 metres away while the early breaker Arms Of An Angel made ground late from last to run third, another four metres behind Lord Zin Zan. Co -trainer Mark Purdon is never one to hype up one of his many stars to the media but his praise for the son of Bettor's Delight was  instant and left nobody in any doubt of how the champion trainer sees his latest star when he stated that Have Faith In Me was as good a horse as he has ever handled. Speaking to Sky commentator Adam Hamilton post race, Mark Purdon said the scary thing was that Natalie reckoned Have Faith In Me had a few gears left yet at the finish. The only disappointing aspect to the ground breaking win by the New Zealand trained and owned champion was the response of the local media. They became fixated on the performance of Arms Of An Angel to run third and the following line was repeated again and again over the next 60 minutes. " While not wanting to take anything away from the performance of Have Faith In Me, the run of Arms Of An Angel was unbelievable." So while stating they didn't want to take anything away from the brilliant performance of Have Faith In Me, they then proceeded to do exactly that again and again and again. The performance of Have Faith In Me in absolutely destroying a quality Chariots Of Fire field in 1:48.8 should have seen all the kudos and spotlight focussed on him post race. The fact Have Faith In Me had to fight for the spotlight with a mare who ran third was disappointing to say the least. Harnesslink Media

The events of April 12, 2014, set a foundation that has a harness racing owners' syndicate’s more than a good hope of winning tonight’s $200,000 Form 700 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. On that day, almost two years ago, Im Blue Double Dee won the Group 2 Mildura Cup, claiming a $33,000 share of the prize, his biggest haul among a career that spanned 143 starts and yielded 27 wins among 70 placings. The $245,649 career prizemoney gave owner Jennifer Turnbull more than a little joy, a pay-off that continues today. “(Im Blue Double Dee) started the (ownership) ball rolling,” Jennifer said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to buy some nice types because of Dexter (his stable name).” Jennifer and her husband, Steve, have enjoyed a long and successful training career, which included champion Smooth Satin, winner of $1.5 million in stakes including the 2001 Chariots Of Fire. They return to Menangle tonight for the great race's 2016 staging, this time with Jennifer having a healthy share in Tact Tate, the exciting Victorian four-year-old that lit Tabcorp Park Melton last week when it won a hotly contested bonanza. WATCH GOOD FORM ANALYSTS JASON BODDINGTON AND BLAKE REDDEN DISSECT TONIGHT'S RACING AT MENANGLE The night was Tact Tate’s coming out party, having won despite a step up in class, just reward for Victorian trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull, daughter of Jennifer and Steve. It was Amanda’s influence that lured Jennifer in. “Amanda called and said I’ve got a good one, reckon you should get a share,” Jennifer said. “She liked him from the word go. We are extremely proud of her. She just doesn’t stop.” Tact Tate joined Amanda Turnbull’s camp after 11 starts across the Tasman, which had yielded three wins in largely modest stakes. In Amanda’s care the four-year-old gelding won from its first three starts in Victoria, then was spelled for almost four months before returning at Shepparton and again saluting. Last Saturday’s victory in the Nestle 4YO Bonanza at Melton followed, where Amanda handed up to an aggressive Mark Purdon, then used the sprint lane to account for Purdon’s $3.10 favourite Itz Bettor To Win. “We spelled (Tact Tate) for a while then he come back and made the step up nicely,” Jennifer Turnbull said. “I’ve been in the trots all my life and you get excited just to have something you can nominate for these races. We had no expectations, just hoped to have a good run and we got it. “Another gentleman who had a five per cent share in the horse was in tears after it won he was so excited. “I’ve not been in a lot of syndicates, but it is so lovely to see that and share the success. Watching people get that excited at the trots is lovely and what it’s all about.” That shared experienced will only be elevated tonight when the proud group of owners heads to Menangle for the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire. “We have a harder draw, but you never know what might happen,” Jennifer said. “It is so exciting just to get that far. There are no expectations except to have a good day and hope everything goes well.” Tact Tate is one of many horses heading north of the border in pursuit of success tonight, when many trainers, drivers and owners will have their fingers crossed, and a few their dreams released. VICTORIAN RAIDERS Race 1 12 Smudge Bromac (trainer David Aiken and driver Josh Aiken) Race 2 7 Stunning Grin (Vince Vallelonga and Anthony Butt) Race 3 6 Fernco Bobby G (Glenn Douglas and Luke McCarthy) 7 Almost El Eagle (Steven Duffy and Nathan Jack) Race 4 2 Nike Franco (Dean Braun and Luke McCarthy) 10 Betabcool (Amanda Turnbull) 12 Juliette Bromac (David Aiken and Josh Aiken) Race 5 2 Five Star Anvil (Adam Kelly and Zac Phillips) Race 6 5 Cold Major (David Aiken and Josh Aiken) 7 Major Crocker (Vince Vallelonga and Mark Purdon) Race 7 (CHARIOTS OF FIRE) 4 Cruz Bromac (Dean Braun and Luke McCarthy) 10 Tact Tate (Amanda Turnbull) 12 Wingara (2nd emerg Peter Romero and Nathan Jack) Race 8 12 Egodan (Beau Tindale and Gavin Fitzpatrick) Race 9 3 Highview Ember (Peter Salathiel) 6 Nimble Jack (Glenn Douglas and Robert Morris) 9 Oh Jonny B Good (Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack) Race 10 7 Emmanuel (Matt Craven and Todd McCarthy) by Michael Howard

Harness racing owner Harvey Kaplan will be like the proverbial ‘cat on a hot tin roof’ this Saturday night as he watches three of his horses compete on the biggest stage at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  All three are well in contention according to the bookmakers although multiple group one winner Bling It On priced at $1.70 is the shortest of the trio. Bling It On will compete in the $200,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint and the race will also double as a Miracle Mile qualifier.  Nike Franco will contest the Sibelia Stakes, an important lead up to the Ladyship Mile while Cruz Bromac will race in the Chariots Of Fire. “I think Bling It On is going to be very hard to beat, looking at the draw he looks set to lob in the one-one or one-two at worst and Luke (McCarthy) has a couple of options up his sleeve,” Kaplan said. “He can drive him cold and save him up for the one last dash at them or he can turn it into an 800 metre race by taking off at the half and forcing the speed.” Kaplan and the other part owners of Bling It On have not wanted to overtax the five year old and deliberately missed the Inter Dominion last year in Perth. “This season was all about getting him ready for the Grand Circuit but if there was one feature race I thought he could win it was the Miracle Mile because it is on his home track. “It is a race where if he was to draw well and sit behind the leader I think he is a definite winning chance.” Nike Franco has already qualified for the Ladyship Mile and has drawn perfectly this week in barrier two. “I think she is the forgotten horse in the race, she looks like she is going to get a great run and most importantly there is no pressure on us, we’re already in the Ladyship. “She proved in Perth that from a good draw she can compete with the best mares and she’ll be right in the finish on Saturday night.” Cruz Bromac is one of five winning chances in the Chariots Of Fire according to Kaplan. “I think it is a bit more open than people are suggesting, it is very possible Have Faith In Me will have to run 1:49 to win the race from barrier ten and that isn’t an easy task. “It is an outstanding race and Cruz Bromac will just have to slot in early and hope everything works out for him.” If Kaplan’s three horses win this Saturday night they would earn $250,000 between them.  Not a bad night’s work for anyone. Greg Hayes

After a warning from Shane Tritton and Lauren Panella to their harness racing rivals about Arms Of An Angel being prepared to run another 1:50 mile this Saturday night in the Form 700 Chariots Of Fire, leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon has offered his own pre-race prediction. Purdon’s Have Faith In Me is the favourite for Saturday night’s Group 1 feature after winning the Auckland Cup against the older horses in his homeland on New Year’s Eve. “I’d be very confident (a mile rate of) 1:50 is realistic from Have Faith In Me,” Purdon said. “He is certainly the right type of horse to sit parked, it is more his forte to maintain a strong clip all the way.” When questioned about what time Have Faith In Me could run in the right conditions, Purdon was quick to respond. “I wouldn’t say he’d do it from an outside draw but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go 1:48.” Have Faith In Me is the younger brother of Australasian mile record holder Adore Me.  The mare set the mile record of 1:47.7 in last year’s Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. “You’d think looking at Have Faith In Me, he still needs to mature more, gauging by what he has done to date you’d think if he does improve along the way he’s certainly going to be up with Adore Me.” While Natalie Rasmussen will drive Have Faith In Me on Saturday night, Purdon confirmed he will be driving in some of the feature races during the carnival at Menangle. “I’ll be hoping Smolda gets a start on Miracle Mile day, even if it is in the Bohemia Crystal Free For All and I will be driving him.  I’m also planning on driving the three-year-old filly Our Dream About Me.” Greg Hayes

It's shaping as a match-race between two of the quickest harness racing pacers to race in Australasia. And two of the best reinswomen ever to grace the Tabcorp Park Menangle circuit will be in the ˜hotseats". The $200,000 Form 700 Chariots Of Fire should ensure a big crowd at Menangle on Saturday night as Miracle Mile invitations go on the line. Star New Zealand-based driver Natalie Rasmussen is here to partner one of Mark Purdon's stable stars in Have Faith In Me, who has drawn gate 11 and should come into 10 when the first emergency, Admiral Bronski is withdrawn. And the Kiwi colt may have to break 1:50, or go very close to that mark if he is to come from the wide draw and account for flying four-year-old former Kiwi mare Arms Of An Angel. Arms Of An Angel will be partnered by premier reinswoman Lauren Panella. This daughter of former Inter Dominion champion Elsu is unbeaten since crossing the Tasman to join the Shane Tritton barn, winning seven in succession with ridiculous ease. Indeed Arms Of An Angel is already a triple record holder at Menangle, with two incredible times of 1:50.7 and 1:50.3 among her string of wins. And her winning margins in Australia add up to an even-more-impressive 114.6m. Panella will be looking for a quick getaway when she comes out of the eight barrier on Saturday night and is expected to cross and find the lead. From there it might be catch-me-if-you can – and break 1:50 if you have to – if you want to beat this dynamic duo. While it shapes as a match race, the presence of Tact Tate, Ameretto, Cruz Bromac and several other smart performers ensures it will be a race to remember . . . with an invitation to the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile awaiting the winner. There are at least four other invitations up for grabs on the night with the first two home in the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint as well as the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint guaranteed spots in the Miracle Mile on February 28. For further information telephone NSWHRC Racing Manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200.

The harness racing barrier draw has been conducted for this Saturday night's Form 700 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The $200,000 event will be run on night one of the Sky Racing Carnival Of Miracles. The Cordina Chicken Sprint and Coca-Cola Sprint will also be conducted on Saturday night. The $200,000 races will also be qualifying races for the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile on Sunday February 28.   BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 LORD ZIN ZAN JOHN MCCARTHY 2 EXPRESS STRIDE BELINDA MCCARTHY 3 AMERETTO ASHLEE GRIVES 4 CRUZ BROMAC DEAN BRAUN 5 AZTEC BROMAC KERRYANN TURNER 6 ADMIRAL BRONSKI (EM 1) TAHN CAMILLERI 7 LETS CUT LOOSE KEVIN PIZZUTO 8 KILCULLEN JOHN MCCARTHY 9 ARMS OF AN ANGEL SHANE TRITTON 10 TACT TATE AMANDA TURNBULL 11 HAVE FAITH IN ME MARK PURDON 12 WINGARA (EM 2) PETER ROMERO       .                       Greg Hayes

Harness racing records fell on a historic night at Tabcorp Park Melton , where Smolda claimed the grand prize and a champion trotter held off the young superstars snapping at his heels. Smolda slashed 1.1 seconds off Arden Rooney’s 3280m standing start track record, a mark unlikely to ever be broken having been the last standing start Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. And Keystone Del not only added a sixth Group 1 victory when he clinched the Seelite Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix, but he smashed his own trotting track record by 1.2 seconds. They followed the lead of Cold Major, who earlier lowered the track record for 1720m in the Bertocchi Free For All, taking 0.3 of a second off Smoken Up’s record, which had stood since February 2012. A major prize also went the way of Amanda Turnbull’s camp after the trainer-driver steered Tact Tate to victory in the Group 1 Nestle Professional 4YO Bonanza, securing a place in the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire. “We’re very excited,” Turnbull said post-race. “It’s a really big thrill.” It was an unforgettable night to a close out a thrilling Summer Of Glory, which attracted big attendances and reaffirmed the sport’s champions. Few more so than Smolda, who followed last week’s close-run second to Lennytheshark in the Good Form Victoria Cup with a victory tonight, earning every cent of his stake in the $500,000 A. G. Hunter Cup. A weight of money saw Smolda draw into $2.30 for the great race, but it was second-favourite Ohoka Punter who started the better, taking the lead while Smolda was slow away and had to grind early to eventually find the breeze. But Smolda’s trainer and driver, Mark Purdon, drove with confidence, pushing Smolda to the front with two laps to go. Come the final straight, Ohoka Punter drew off its back and the Kiwis went head-to-head down the straight, with Smolda holding on to win by a head in a record 1:57.3 mile rate. “This one’s eluded us, so it was nice to get it and be able to say we’ve done it,” Purdon said. Arguably the night’s most popular win came in race five, when Keystone Del led all the way for Brent Lilley, holding off Kiwi Speeding Spur, while short-priced favourite Monbet and well-backed Glenferrie Typhoon galloped late to rule themselves out. Victorious driver Anthony Butt said it was a “great performance” by Keystone Del, which “really dug in and the horses couldn’t pass him”. That winning feeling was also celebrated in the David Aiken camp, which savoured three winners with Juliette Bromac winning the Devondale Rising Stars Pace Final, Cold Major claiming the free for all and Quick Draft emerging in the Harness Breeders Victoria Ladyship Cup. The latter win was a great thrill for Luke McCarthy, who stepped into the sulky of the pre-race emergency after his previous drive, Nike Franco, was scratched. “It was a genuine tempo and (Quick Draft) just went really good at the end of it,” McCarthy said. “These mares’ races are always really competitive and good to see her get this one on her CV.” The victory qualified Quick Draft for the Ladyship Mile at Menangle. Victoria Cup winning reinsman Chris Alford delivered a 10 out of 10 drive aboard Dancingwithsierra to win the first race, the Gary Hoban trained filly defeating Rockstar Angel and $1.20 favourite Rocknroll Magic in 1:55.9. Almost El Eagle, who was cherry ripe for a Hunter Cup berth tonight but didn’t make the final field, proved his class with a big win in the Edgell Sidewinders Pace. Driven by John Caldow for trainer Steve Duffy, Almost El Eagle showed his customary dash up the home straight to overhaul the leaders for a 1:54.8 win, beating Desdon Murruffy in second by 2.7m. Well-backed Quite A Moment won the Fonterra Lenin Trotters Free for All (Group 3) for Greg Hope and Ricky May, while a big group of happy connections rounded out the night with The Storm Inside winning the Swift Signs Premiere Stakes for trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Greg Sugars. by Michael Howard

An enthusiastic group of harness racing owners, many of them new to the sport, have booked their chariot to Sydney courtesy of Tact Tate’s Nestle Professional 4YO Bonanza win tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton.   The Amanda Turnbull-trained gelding by McArdle out of Tact Lizzie showed an electric turn of foot in the home straight notch Group 1 success, sprinting by Mark Purdon’s Itz Bettor To Win (second) to record a mile rate of 1:51.9 for the 1720m trip.   “We’re very excited,” Turnbull said post-race. “It’s a really big thrill.”   Turnbull’s excitement was only surpassed by the group of winning owners, who declared Sydney the next stop for the $200,000 Chariots of Fire.   The winner of the Bonanza receives an invite to the Chariots.   Tact Tate led initially tonight before handing up to Purdon aboard Itz Bettor To Win. This move pocketed Tee Cee Bee Macray three-pegs from the pole and Burnaholeinmypocket four back on the inside.   “It worked out perfect once he had that much gate speed,” Turnbull said.   Tact Tate has won five from five since arriving in Australia and the owners are having an absolute blast.   “It is a big group of owners and a lot of them are new owners, so that’s really good for the industry,” Turnbull said.   Cody Winnell

It was the horse no one wanted to buy as a yearling and the horse that almost died on the operating table as a three-year-old. Tonight, only 12 months on from major surgery, it may well be the horse that wins a Group 1 and books a ticket to the nation’s richest race for harness racing four-year-olds, the Chariots Of Fire. Tee Cee Bee Macray, who will contest tonight’s Nestle Professional 4YO Bonanza, is fast becoming a favourite of co-owner and breeder Ian Kitchin. “We are very fortunate we got him to the racetrack, because a couple of serious issues could have meant the end of his life,” Kitchin said. “The horse is a miracle horse in a lot of ways. A lot of these things come back down to the attitude of the horse itself.” Tee Cee Bee Macray suffered a bad viral infection in his neck early last year, which threatened to spread to his lungs. That spread would have killed him, but a “major procedure” was successful and after a stint on the sidelines he returned to racing last October. After a 10-month lay-off, Tee Cee Bee Macray produced four consecutive wins before a fast-paced third at Melton. “He’s not a horse that will quit on you, he’s been a fighter all his life and that’s something you bottle up and it comes out on the racetrack,” Kitchin said. The illness has meant the four-year-old gelding, which is trained at Alan Tubbs’ Bacchus Marsh stable, has to date been lightly raced in comparison to tonight’s rivals. His nine starts have produced six wins and $23,902, an amount that could be quadrupled in tonight’s $100,000 feature race. It’s a far cry from Tee Cee Bee Macray’s timid entry to racing. He was the first foal of metropolitan class winner Way Mya Macray, which Kitchin had sired by Ponder, a medium-priced US stallion that the breeder considered a good bloodline cross with the mare. “By being the first foal (of Way Mya Macray), I wanted to see what type of foal she would have,” Kitchin said. “The first foal has a tendency to be on the small side. I wanted to see what type of foal dropped before pulling the trigger on a bigger costing stallion.” At the APG sales Kitchin found little interest in the yearling and so it was led back into his float and returned to Macray Lodge. “No one seemed to like him and so I took him home,” Kitchin said, but he didn’t give up, instead organising a syndicate to race the horse with him. During a US tour, where Kitchin – a big Elvis Presley fan – attended Graceland in Memphis, he was drawn to the name of the King’s back-up band TCB, an acronym for Taking Care of Business. And the name Tee Cee Bee Macray was born. “He’s turned out to be a very nice horse indeed,” Kitchin said. After last year’s surgery, Tee Cee Bee Macray followed four wins in October and November last year with a short spell before returning at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 22, when first-up he ran into The Culture and Itz Bettor To Win. “I watched the race with a number of co-owners not quite knowing what to expect,” Kitchin said. “At one stage I thought he’s going to win this. He then tired off in the last 100m and I thought that was a bit disappointing. “Then I realised they ran a 1:51.6 (mile rate) and he was first up from a spell. It was three or four seconds faster than anything he’d run in his life. “It was unbelievable, and that’s the sort of level he will be running against in the Group 1.” The mile rate was just half-a-second outside the track record set by superstar pacer Smoken Up, unheard of in a C4-5 class with $6325 stakes. Both The Culture and Itz Bettor To Win are entered for tonight’s return bout, in which Tee Cee Bee Macray’s chances were done no harm when he drew barrier one. “It’s good that he is getting the opportunity to show his wares,” Kitchin said. “He’s a baby and is still on a learning curve. He does what he does at the moment on pure adrenaline and is just learning the craft as he goes along. “Everyone can see the ability, it’s just a matter of can he take it the next step.” The winner will be granted entry into the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle, which Kitchin said was one of “the great races you watch over the years and to have a runner would be incredible”. “That’s one of the big reasons you breed horses, to follow their careers like they are your babies,” Kitchin said. “I have horses racing in Western Australia, New South Wales, and I still follow their careers, it’s like they are vital cogs in your machine. “It’s a huge buzz, when I breed a horse and see it then going into racing. If it manages to win a Group 1 race it’s a fantastic feeling.” Michael Howard Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 06 February 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 06 February 2016

Leading into tonights harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the $50,000 Hondo Grattan Stakes was all the talk amongst the pundits with the Chariots Of Fire looming large on the horizon. It was a field chock full of some of the best four year old colts and geldings in Australia but in the end it was left to the brilliant mare Arms Of An Angel to give them a start and a beating in the group two feature Lauren Panella pushed the go button from barrier ten with Arms Of An Angel and they blazed to the front in a blistering 25.6 which is low flying at any stage of a race. Allowed a second quarter of 30 seconds, Panella let arms Of An Angel stride through the third quarter in 27.7 before unleashing another smart quarter in 27.4 to stop the clock in a brilliant 1:50.7. Amaretto held on for second to complete the domination by the mares while Aztec Bromac finished well late for third to be the first male home. Hot favourite Cruz Bromac flashed late for fifth but put in a few fancy steps near the 400 metres which cost him any winning chance. While Arms Of An Angel was the winner of just two from twenty three in New Zealand, the daughter of Elsu has been a revelation since crossing the Tasman and joining the Shane Tritton barn. The winner of her last five for Tritton, Arms Of An Angel has recorded three miles in 1:50 and change in those five wins and is without doubt the best mare racing in Australia at the moment. To blaze an opening quarter in 25.6 from barrier ten and still go on and win the race in 1:50.7 is an outstanding run and brings her right into contention for races such as the Chariots Of Fire  The big question now is can she take the step up in a race such as the Chariots Of Fire against the likes of Have Faith In Me? Have Faith In Me had an easy time of it later in the night in the FFA Pace in 1:52 but ran home in a very quick 54 and 26.2 and still looked to have something in reserve at the finish. Whatever happens, Arms Of An Angel has certainly proved a bargin purchase for her new owners in Australia. Harnesslink Media 

Plans to fly talented pacer Beaudiene Boaz across the country to compete in the Chariots Of Fire were set to be shelved after regular driver Gary Hall Jnr received a four week suspension last Friday night.  Harness racing connections were not willing to travel from Perth to Sydney without the superstar’s regular reinsman, however Hall Jnr is set return to the sulky on February 13 – just in time for Australia’s premier four-year-old event. “It definitely changes things and gives us something to think about with Junior being available but we have to get through the WA Pacing Cup on Friday night first,” Hall Snr said. “Initially we looked at the calendar and thought he wouldn’t be able to drive in the Chariots and some of the owners were keen to concentrate on the Inter Dominion later this year so the trip was off.” Hall Jnr received a four-week suspension from WA stewards on Friday night after his drive on Bartowski and intends to drive in this Friday night’s WA Pacing Cup. His suspension will therefore begin at midnight after the meeting. “I don’t know how good Beaudiene Boaz is, everything I’ve asked him to do he has done and he just keeps winning. “To beat the older horses in the Fremantle Cup was good but Friday night in the WA Cup will be an even bigger test for him.” The attraction of the Chariots Of Fire winner gaining an automatic entry into the $750,000 Miracle Mile a fortnight later makes the Sydney trip even more attractive. “If Beaudiene Boaz goes to Sydney and wins the Chariots Of Fire then the Miracle Mile would be on his agenda but there is so much to happen between now and then. “Cruz Bromac was very impressive on Saturday night in Melbourne but we beat him in the McInerney Ford and Have Faith In Me has been outstanding in New Zealand and he’s Sydney bound so it just gives us more to think about.” Greg Hayes  

When My Chachingchaching and Kept Under Wraps last clashed they had different harness racing trainers and drivers, were racing in another country and competed right handed. The pair is set to meet again in Saturday night's Maitland Inter City Pace after squaring off in last season's Northern Derby at Alexandra Park when they finished down the track behind Have Faith In Me. My Chachingchaching was purchased by new owners and sent to the stables of Hunter Valley trainer Shane Tritton, however not everything has gone smoothly since the talented pacer arrived across the Tasman. "Ideally we would have had him ready for the Breeders Crown last season but we had a few setbacks when he first arrived so it has taken a bit longer than we would have hoped to have him ready," Tritton said. "My Chachingchaching is not the typical New Zealander we have targeted in the past, normally we identify speed horses and look to strengthen them up here in Australia but this bloke is very tough and has a lot of bottom." The son of Mach Three was impressive in his heat win last Sunday and Tritton believes he should hold the front from the good draw. "It is very hard to cross horses from out wide at Maitland and while I wouldn't be surprised to see Kept Under Wraps fire out from wide to try and cross, I can't see him crossing. "If My Chachingchaching holds the front then his strength is going to take him a long way, the distance of the race is right up his alley." Tritton confirmed My Chachingchaching will be set for the qualifiers of the Chariots of Fire after Saturday night. "I wouldn't expect the horse to need another run after this weekend but I'll just monitor his condition and if he needs another one then I'll throw him in somewhere. "I'd love to win the Inter City Pace because I think this will be my eighth or ninth runner and I'm still looking for my first win in the race." Ardghal started at $1.04 two years ago for Tritton and was beaten in one of the race's biggest upsets. "It is a hard race to win but it is a race I would really like to have success in, it has been around for a long time and it is a race that locals love winning." Tritton is not the only 'local' attempting to win the event with fellow Hunter Valley resident Markus Kirkwood attempting to win it also as the part owner of the Belinda McCarthy trained Kept Under Wraps. Formerly trained by Mark Purdon, the four-year-old is unbeaten since joining the McCarthy stable and Kirkwood is hoping to follow a family tradition by winning the race. "My cousin Grahame won the race in 1974 with Blue Mineral and my father went close as an owner in the late 60's with a horse called Maitland's Elect," Kirkwood said. "I would certainly like to win the Inter City Pace because of the family connection and the fact the race has a rich history and is held in high regard by all local participants." Kept Under Wraps won last season's NSW Breeders Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle when prepared by Purdon and the next logical step for the talented four-year-old is another clash with My Chachingchaching in the lead up races of the Chariots of Fire. For the record when the pair met in the Northern Derby - Kept Under Wraps finished ninth, one metre ahead of the tenth placed My Chachingchaching and according to the market for the Inter City Pace they look set to finish side by side again. Greg Hayes

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