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Brandy Hill harness racing trainer Sam Dimarco hopes reuniting Black Silhouette with Sydney driver Chris Geary at Newcastle International Paceway on Friday will help reinvigorate the four-year-old mare. Black Silhouette has been unable in 2019 to recapture the form that saw her named best filly and three-year-old at the 2017-18 Newcastle Harness Racing Club awards in October.   She has placed three times in 10 races during the last two months, resuming on December 29 from a spell that began in July.  Four of Black Silhouette's eight wins last season came with Geary on board and Dimarco thought this move could provide the spark. "She [Black Silhouette] was a very smart filly but she just hasn't come back as well as a mare," Dimarco said. "Hopefully having Chris [Geary] on board and reuniting them might make a difference."  Black Silhouette, which drew barrier 10 in the first (1609 metres) at Newcastle, combined with Geary to win a Gold Bracelet (2260m) heat in Bathurst last year but finished seventh in the final. Dimarco was successful at the same central NSW carnival in 2015 with two-year-old Shadow Runner claiming the group 1 Gold Crown (1730m). He wants to taste victory out west again next month but with another runner Miss Serendipity. After three trials, the untried two-year-old filly will race the eighth (1609m) at Newcastle with Geary in the gig and Dimarco's eyeing off the $100,000 Gold Tiara at Bathurst.  "Hopefully she [Miss Serendipity] can make a good impression," he said.      Geary has two other drives on Friday's card including Alabama Shakes, one of three for Roy Roots jnr in the fourth (1609m). Roots jnr will then head to Menangle for Miracle Mile night on Saturday with Miss Streisand in the group 1 NSW Oaks (2400m) and The Black Prince in the listed Alabar Stakes (2400m).     Last month's Newcastle Mile qualifier Yayas Hot Spot, trained by former Hunter pair Shane and Lauren Tritton, has drawn barrier four for the $1million Miracle Mile (1609m). By Josh Callinan Reprinted with permission of the Newcastle Herald

LEADING reinsman Chris Geary became the youngest driver in New South Wales to reach 500 winners. The 20-year-old has piloted 508 winners overall and achieved the 500-milestone last month. He is the second youngest driver to achieve the feat in Australia with Queensland’s Pete McMullen claiming the top honour at the age of 20 and three months while Geary was 20 years and 10 months old. “It’s something pretty special for me, more so that I’ve never really been the number one driver for a large stable,” said Geary. “In saying that, I’ve had great support from many stables and hope it continues into the future.” Geary has driven Group winners and won some of Australasia’s biggest races since he began driving in November 2013, including the Gold Tiara and the Len Smith Mile. It took him five drives to land his first winner and that was Western Gailes at Bankstown on December 7, 2013. “I’ve been fortunate to have been associated with some nice horses like My Sweetchilliphilly, Cruz Bromac, The Black Prince, Miss Streisand and many others,” said Geary. “But I’ve always really enjoyed the driving trips that I have been lucky enough to go on, meeting new people and travelling around Australia.” Geary will represent NSW in the upcoming Australasian Young Drivers Series that takes place in Queensland from November 22. As for NSW records, Lauren Tritton is the youngest female driver to reach 500 winners. Others such as Luke McCarthy, Amanda Turnbull, Robert Morris and Blake Fitzpatrick also sit amongst the top 10 youngest drivers in Australia when they reached the 500-win milestone.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  HRNSW

POSSIBLE has become probable for Tim Butt’s surprise NZ Cup plans for new stable addition Bettermatch. Butt had been so impressed with the former star juvenile’s trackwork, he dared to telegraph a possible NZ Cup raid before Bettermatch had raced for him. And those who watched the now five-year-old blast home in a flying 1min50.4sec mile at Menangle yesterday (Tuesday) could clearly see why Butt is thinking such lofty thoughts. Bettermatch was the lone back row runner and settled worse than midfield in the running line, but was helped when the leader, Heza Bromac, blazed through a 55.1sec first half. Things got hairy coming to the home bend when driver Chris Geary was dragged back behind a tiring horse and lost a couple of lengths coming three-wide. Bettermatch copped another check and lost momentum at the top of the home straight, but Geary picked him back up and surged past the leaders for a powerhouse win. “It was a big win to overcome a few things in and run, give them such a big start and run that time,” Butt said. Butt immediately turned his thoughts to a path to the NZ Cup. “We’ve got a nice program planned,” he said. “There’s another race for him next Tuesday, then an M0 on October 6 over 2300m, which really suit him and he should be getting to peak fitness by then. “That M0 will let me know if he’s up to an NZ Cup and, if so, we have the Ashburton Flying Stakes on October 22, which is three weeks out from the Cup. “I think it’s a perfect preparation if he’s up to them.” Bettermatch was sidelined for three years with injury after his stellar juvenile season and returned with four wins and a third from five start for Riverina trainer Colin Thomas. Butt then bought the entire and was immediately impressed. Bettermatch’s win headlined a fascinating Menangle mid-week meeting where former top class Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson sparkled in a trial for Shane and Lauren Tritton. Franco Nelson, who hasn’t raced since finishing down the track in the Len Smith Mile, won his trial by 16m in a 1min52.8sec mile and blasted home in 54.0 and 27.0sec. The trial was enough for Team Tritton to put the Victoria Cup back as a genuine possibility. They already have the in-form My Alpha Rock and last week’s sparkling Menangle win winner Gotta Go Ya Hu being set for the Victoria Cup. My Alpha Rock (gate 10) is shooting for his fifth successive Menangle win, but faces another step-up against the likes of proven open-class stars Tiger Tara (gate 11) and Mach Doro (gate seven). They clash in the Health Foundation Cup (1609m) at Menangle on Saturday night.   Adam Hamilton

PROP-forwards in football teams are expected to “do the hard yards” up front, and that’s exactly how 21-year-old Jed Betts performs for the Bathurst Panthers first grade league side week in and week out during the season. After snatching victory in the dying seconds of last weekend’s sudden-death semi-final, Jed’s team is now just two matches away from making it to their second successive grand-final in the western districts competition. In what might well be an omen for the coming weeks, Jed steered Limbo Larry to a smart win at last night’s (Wednesday) Gold Crown Paceway meeting. Despite being just the fourth career win for this five-year-old son of the family’s  resident stallion Abercrombie Dexter (by Panorama), it took his earnings past $60,000 in a remarkably consistent  career of 148 starts which have included 37 placings. Now that’s “doing the hard yards “ in anyone’s language, and explains why Jed has a real fondness for “ATM”, his only horse which he also trains and drives. He led early in the C1 2260 metres event before handing up to Barkway Arnold which maintained a consistent tempo, and rather than wait for the sprint lane, he came to the outside to draw level with the leader halfway down the running before asserting himself close to the finish. It was a cool, calm performance - much like his team-mate’s winning field-goal out on the paddock a few days previously - and earned the laid-back, popular figure racecaller Craig Easey’s Drive of the Night award. There was much anticipation leading in to the HRNSW Guaranteed Two-Year-Old Pace, one of three races for juveniles on this final meeting of the Bathurst racing season. Obi One NZ had created an enormous impression in winning over the longer 2260 metres trip a week earlier, but was drawn on the outside over the sprint trip this time, with very strong opposition expected from Izzy Dagg NZ, a recent Addington winner which was a fine second in brilliant time at his Menangle debut last Saturday. As expected, Izzy Dagg led out of the gate, while Obi One did some work early to get around to the death seat. Chris Geary threw in a blistering 27.5s third quarter which gave him a little clear air turning in, and although Amanda Turnbull’s youngster didn’t shirk his task at all, he couldn’t quite match strides and finished five metres astern of the leader, whose winning mile rate of 1:55.6 was close to track record time. The name of the winner will be very familiar to football followers everywhere. Israel Dagg made his debut as an All Black in 2010, was part of the winning Rugby World Cup team the following year, and played a near-record number of games as full-back for the Silver Ferns, before switching to the wing in the last couple of seasons. He is revered in NZ rugby, as one of the finest players in recent years. He was a part-owner of the two-year-old named after himself, but now that he has signed to continue his career in Japan, he’s relinquished his ownership in the A Rocknroll Dance son. Both youngsters will now spell, with the classic races early in the New Year the targets for their respective trainers Tim Butt -himself a fine Rugby player, who spent time in Australia playing for the Western Reds - and Amanda Turnbull. The other 2YO events gave maiden wins to Kyle Shannon (Peter Bullock/Mackayler Barnes) and Kelli Frost (Blake Fitzpatrick/ Jack Trainor). Mackayler’s win was special because the horse was named for her father who passed away last year following a lengthy battle with cancer; Jack came back to scale declaring it was so cold out on the track that he couldn’t feel his hands, before admitting “I’m a bit ashamed to say that, because I’m a Kiwi!” If sympathy was owing to anyone on Wednesday night, it should have gone to the race stewards and the club officials, who contended with two lengthy delays - a nasty fall in the second race, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder for Cowra reinsman Darryl Davis who was transported to hospital, and then a generator failure which necessitated a 20 minute cooling-down period before the track lights could be switched on again. Everyone pitched in, particularly the trainers who managed to have their horses readied with the shortened gaps between races, and it was a commendable team effort. Just another way of “doing the hard yards.”   TERRY NEIL

EVEN rival reinsmen could not believe their eyes. The short-priced favourite for today’s TAB.com.au Len Smith Mile was gone as soon as the starter let them go. Soho Tribeca went into a full stretch gallop just as the mobile arm let them go and suddenly this whole Group One feature completely changed complexion. My Field Marshall found the front but his reinsman Anthony Butt had no hesitation handing up the front to Cruz Bromac (Chris Geary) in that frantic run to the first turn. After that the young man who is regarded as one of the finest young horsemen in the land, Geary was able to dictate terms to suit himself and Cruz Bromac did the rest. His trainer Kevin Pizzuto later relayed how confident he was going into the Len Smith Mile: “He worked so well when I fast-worked him yesterday morning I actually told the owner he was a moral,” grinned Pizzuto. “As a matter of fact we were so confident we probably won more on the punt then the race was worth so it’s been a pretty good result all around.” Owner Denis Zavitsanos also paid tribute to Pizzuto: “He’s only had the horse for less than a month and he’s already taken him to the next level,” said the part-owner. photo by Ashlea Brennan Photography Geary was also stoked after scoring the biggest win of his fledgling career: “The owners could have more an older more experienced driver on him but they stuck by me and I have to give them a big thank you for trusting me with such an important drive,” he said. “Kevin said the horse was going really well and he’d have him ready to win and he’s rarely wrong.” After coming out of the gate in 26.4s, Geary was able to back the speed off with a fairly leisurely middle half of 57.2s (splits of 28.9 and 28.3) which meant the son of Falcon Seelster was able to dash home in 26.4s for a 1:50.1 mile. Cruz Bromac finished up scoring a four and a half metre win over My Field Marshall, who tried hard but couldn’t run him down after getting clear late in the straight, while Mach Doro was a strong third, just ahead of Gotta Go Ya Hu. And another feature race was headed home to one of Australia’s most successful stables – the Kevin Pizzuto barn. As for Soho Tribeca? He trailed home a long last.   Mandy Madern     6 3:26pm TAB.COM.AU LEN SMITH MILE (GROUP 1) 1609M $100,000 RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Fr6 7 Kevin Pizzuto Chris Geary   $ 25.90   GS L QUER SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by FALCON SEELSTER USA out of CROWN DEFENDER (NZ) (LIFE SIGN USA)  Owner(s): D Zavitsanos, P M O'Shea, Z D O'Shea, J Zavitsanos, W R Viney  Breeder(s): Bromac Lodge Ltd 2 MY FIELD MARSHAL NZ      Fr1 1 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 4.60 $ 5.40   PRBT SWAB 3 MACH DORO      Fr3 3 Craig Cross Luke McCarthy 7.60 $ 23.80   PRBT HUE SWAB 4 GOTTA GO YA HU NZ      Fr5 6 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lachie Manzelmann 7.90 $ 79.60   PRBT D/F$400 UW 5 CELESTIAL ARDEN NZ      Fr4 5 KerryAnn Turner Robert Morris 8.90 $ 28.80   RAS 6 TACT TATE NZ      Fr7 8 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 9.60 $ 33.80   RAS 7 MAJORDAN      Fr9 10 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 11.70 $ 12.30   PRBT 3WE WF QUERP VXAR NAR 8 FRANCO NELSON NZ      Fr10 11 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 12.50 $ 18.40   RAS 9 MATCH IN HEAVEN      Fr8 9 Paul Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 14.70 $ 48.70   PRBT 10 SOHO TRIBECA      Fr2 2 Michael Stanley Michael Stanley 375.90 $ 1.40 fav  PRBT HOSU GO WI VXAR CR SD7D SDVC Scratchings   CHARLAVAL 4 ULTIMATE ART 12 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:50:1 Mile Rate: 1:50:1 First Quarter: 26.4 Second Quarter: 28.9 Third Quarter: 28.3 Fourth Quarter: 26.5 Margins: 4.6m x 3.0m  

Kiwi horseman Mark Jones is returning to Brisbane. The former World Driving champion campaigned for the first time in the Sunshine State last year and although went winless in the major events, he’s keen to right that wrong. His major drawcard last season was the now North American based Delightful Memphis who chased home Shartin in the Queensland Oaks. This year, Jones is sending a pair of talented three-year-olds in The Bus and Tres Vite. Both will target the Derby and Oaks features in the coming weeks. “They’re only three once and these race make strong appeal, both horses are fit and well and deserve an opportunity to land a big race result. I had a great time in Brisbane last year and keen to head back again.” Jones declared. The Bus will start on Sunday in the Gr.1 $150,000 Breeders Challenge Final at TABCORP Park, Menangle but has drawn poorly and takes on the most exciting pacer in the country in Ignatius. Young reinsman Chris Geary has the job of navigating a path from gate 11 while Ignatius has drawn ideally in gate 3. Last start in the semi-final, The Bus finished a tidy second behind Ignatius in a time of 1:53.1. The Bus will start in both the Gr.3 $$30,540 South East Derby on July 14 before tackling the Gr.2 $75,540 Queensland Derby the following week. Tres Vite will accompany The Bus to Queensland and the talented filly will be set for the Gr.3 $30,540 South East Oaks next week before starting in the Gr.2 $75,540 Queensland Oaks the following week. Unbeaten in both starts to date while in Sydney, the Bettors Delight filly scored an impressive victory via the passing lane at Bathurst last night (Wednesday) when handled by Ellen Rixon. Tres Vite rated 1:55.8 after scoring at Penrith the start prior in a time of 1:57.4. Earlier this season, Tres Vite finished second behind Dibaba in the Gr.2 $45,000 Southland Oaks at Ascot Park in Ivercargill. “Both horses are above average and will acquit themselves well in whatever they contest. Given their current form, I’m keen to see if we get some black type against their names before seasons end. “The Bus has always been held in high regard and it’s just a shame he’s got such a bad draw this weekend, I thought he went really well in the semi-final. He’ll need plenty of luck this weekend but he can feature in the Queensland features. “We were undecided about Tres Vite and the Queensland trip but when she won again last night, we decided to go for it and I think she’ll race well. Hopefully we can get some luck with draws and then we won’t be far away, I think Sociable looks the filly to beat this season.” Jones operates from Christchurch while also having a satellite stable at Menangle in Sydney. Chris Barsby

They have driven more than 1000 winners between them and now Todd McCarthy and Chris Geary will fly the flag for New South Wales in the Garrards Australasian Young Drivers Championship. The AYDC begins at Redcliffe on Wednesday and wraps up at Albion Park this Saturday where 10 leading young drivers from Australia and New Zealand will compete for the title of being Australasia's top driver. McCarthy is the defending champion of the series having won the AYDC in Western Australia last year and his word of advice for winning such a championship is "consistency". "Consistency certainly pays off and most of all drive each horse as best as you can," McCarthy said. "Sometimes you might not have the best chance in the race but know the horse and try and get the best position possible and you might finish one spot closer . . . it's all about getting as many points as you can." As for Geary, the Group 1 winning reinsman is fresh from competing in the Australian Drivers Championship in Tasmania where he finished third to top Victorian reinsman Chris Alford and leading WA driver Chris Lewis. "It was a great experience and I'm honoured to representing NSW again in this series," Geary said.   Todd McCarthy stats (as of December 11) Started driving: March 2010 Drives: 3799 Wins: 657 Places: 969 Prizemoney: $6,488,193.16   Chris Geary stats (as of December 11) Started driving: November 2013 Drives: 3012 Wins: 404 Places: 729 Prizemoney: $3,369,230.19   AMANDA RANDO  

Team Tritton is hoping to put the disappointment of last year’s Breeders Crown behind them with their latest boom juvenile. Exciting lass My Sweetchilliphilly was a flawless Crown heat winner at Menangle today, enhancing her career ledger to 5/5 with a 1:57.4 win from the front. Reinsman Chris Geary only had to give the daughter of Betterthancheddar the tiniest of urging up the Menangle stretch as the filly notched 28 and 27.2 late splits for an 8.8-metre win over runner-up Love My Sister. “The best way to describe her would be to say she’s the classiest two-year-old I’ve ever had,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. And while confidence is clearly high in the camp given the filly’s burgeoning superiority against her Sydney rivals, Tritton is loathed to declare her – or anything in fact – a certainty on Crown Super Sunday after the racing gods refused to shine on the pink power at Tabcorp Park Melton last August. Team Tritton, consisting of Shane and his wife Lauren, produced Tingira Beach in the colts and geldings’ final as a $1.6 favourite. But to say nothing went right for the budding star would be somewhat of an understatement. After being squeezed underneath the pegs early, Tingira Beach jumped off stride before being buried away on the markers where he found more trouble half a mile later and all hope was gone. “We got knocked over … so you can never be too confident going into the big Group 1s, but she (My Sweetchilliphilly) is going to take some serious beating,” Tritton said. “I’d say it’s hers to lose at this stage. All the signs are there that she’s going to be something special.” My Sweetchilliphilly is already a Group 1 winner, having taken the Bathurst Gold Tiara ($104,000) in March in extraordinary fashion. The firebrand filly breezed throughout and from the 500m scorched her main rival, Lady Chatto, which was unbeaten to that point. Philly won by over 20m in 1:54.7. “She’s as tough as she is fast,” Tritton said. The plan between now and Race to Royalty grand final day is simple enough in theory, but of course Breeders Crown trophies aren’t won on theories. “We’ll go straight to the Semis then the final,” Tritton said. “We considered the Tatlow Stakes (at Melton) and taking her to New Zealand. And if she wasn’t as good as she is then we probably would have seriously looked at the Tatlow, but we’re taking it slowly with her. She’s never let us down. “She went 53 in a trial a few weeks ago and I’ve barely done anything with her since.” And so this year’s Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ section is shaping as an absolute classic – cliché to say, I know. But this is fair dinkum because Nostra Villa and My Sweetchilliphilly are both unbeaten to this point. Villa won last weekend’s Racing Hill Tatlow Stakes Final at Tabcorp Park Melton in 1:58.7 from the breeze, edging Amelias Courage, which sprint-laned, and stablemate Molly Kelly, which led and had the services of champion reinsman Chris Alford. The win made it six-out-of-six for Nostra Villa, a daughter of Art Major, who swept the recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and also captured the Youthful Stakes in June. Let’s hope both remain sound and well and we witness an absolute classic Semi-Final/Grand Final stoush next month. And, an important footnote: Congratulations to Shane and Lauren Tritton for another reason, welcoming their first child, Levi Shane, into the world overnight. Cody Winnell

Not even bad barriers will stop trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton having hot favourites in both major Bathurst finals. Three days after the Tritton’s buzz filly My Sweetschilliphilly demolished her rivals in a Gold Tiara heat, colt Divine State looked every bit as dominant winning his Gold Crown heat at Bathurst last night. Shane Tritton instructed young driver Chris Geary to stay out of trouble and give Divine State time to balance at his first race around Bathurst, wary of it being a fair bit tighter than Menangle where he won his first two starts. “I honestly thought the only danger was him not handling the track because he he can knock himself a bit,” Tritton said. Geary certainly did his part, basically sitting off the pace and in the middle of the track for the first 500m before surging forward to take the lead.\ Despite being wide in a 28.8sec opening quarter then running the next in 29.3sec, Divine State put the race beyond doubt down the back straight in a blazing 27.8sec split. Geary essentially let Divine State run to the wire under his own steam in a soft 31.1sec last quarter as he won by 37.5m. Despite being eased down, the 1min56.2sec mile rate was by far the fastest of the five heats on the night. The second quickest was the 1min57.3sec by Stone Cracker in the opening heat. Divine State has won by huge spaces and run blistering times in all three starts and looks a league above his rivals for next Saturday night’s final. In the Tiara, My Sweetchilliphilly’s only possible threat looks to be Kiwi raider My Chappo from the Tim Butt barn. The other Crown heat winners were Castalong Shadow (1min58.8sec), Maximus Red (1min59.1sec) and Royal Aurora (2min1sec).   Adam Hamitlon

Driving against the likes of some of Australasia's most accomplished harness racing reinsmen in a Grand Circuit race is something Chris Geary did not expect to achieve so soon in his career. Up against names such as Purdon, Lang, McCarthy and Alford, Geary will be going head-to-head with the best of them after landing a dream drive in Saturday's Group 1 Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. Geary was offered the drive on the Craig Cross-trained Mach Doro. It will be the first time Geary drives that pacer in race conditions and also the first time driving in Victoria. "They probably look at the formguide and say, who is this kid?" the 19-year-old said. "I've always watched races like the Victoria Cup and thought one day I'd like to be a part of it but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. "Hopefully these opportunities keep rolling around and I have to thank Craig and the connections for the opportunity and to be asked to be part of such a prestigious race. "It would be awesome to win it but just being part of the race is very special to me. "My horse has drawn well in barrier one and the plan is to punch out as hard as he can until one of the top horses comes around. "Ever since this horse arrived in Sydney I've had a big opinion of him." Geary has also picked up two drives in heats of the Victoria Derby on the night. This includes on the Shane and Lauren Tritton-trained Blue Moon Rising and also the Cross-conditioned Zahven Banner. "Blue Moon Rising is a nice horse," Geary said. "Some were disappointed with his run in the Canberra Derby but he made a lot of ground and went better off the track. "Zahven Banner is a really nice horse too that has come a long way in a short amount of time." But before all of this Geary will take part in Junee's TAB.COM.AU Carnival of Cups meeting on Thursday. He has been invited to contest the Club's annual City VS Country Drivers Challenge along with other Sydney-based drivers David Morris and Brendan Barnes. Geary will also drive Major Steppe for his father John Geary in the Phoenix Accounting and Business Services Junee Pacers Cup (2170m). Major Steppe has drawn inside the second row for the feature race and is currently an $8 chance with TAB Fixed Odds. A winner two starts ago, Major Steppe is having his first start at the Junee track like the $3.50 favourite Mammals Flash that is also first up from a spell. Geary's big weekend will continue into Goulburn's TAB.COM.AU Carnival Of Cups meeting on Sunday. He has a drive in four of the eight races at that meeting including in the main feature, the Goulburn Soldiers Club Frank and Edna Day Goulburn Cup (2240m). Originally booked with four drives in the Group 3, Geary has elected to stick with the grey pacer Clancys Fobwatch over the likes of the $3.50 TAB Fixed Odds favourite Yayas Hot Spot. "I'm sticking with Clancys Fobwatch, he is racing in super form at the moment," Geary said. "He is always thereabouts and if the race is run to suit then I'm sure he will be in the finish. "He is driven the same every week and hopefully he gets the right run as he deserves to win a race like this." Starting wide in barrier seven, Clancys Fobwatch is the $4 third favourite behind Yayas Hot Spot and Spare Me Days, the second elect at $3.60. Geary is currently the leading driver in New South Wales. AMANDA RANDO

It is not just all about Ballarat this weekend. About 10 hours up the road at Menangle, the countdown to the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire gets serious. It’s in the $50,000 Group 2 Hondo Grattan and most think it’s a match race between the All Stars’ Our Waikiki Beach and Shane Tritton’s much-improved Salty Robyn. The Aussie TAB has Our Waikiki Beach a slight favourite at $1.85 from the pole with Salty Robyn at $2.20 from gate three. Tritton can’t wait for the race and thinks Salty Robyn is good enough to not lonely beat Our Waikiki Beach, but sit outside of him and do so if that’s what it takes. “I hope Johnny (McCarthy) gets Waikiki away quickly enough to lead. I’d like Salty to sit outside him … that’s where he races best,” Tritton said. Sound crazy? Maybe not when you consider at his latest run Salty Robyn sat parked at Menangle and posted a scorching 1min49.2sec mile with splits of 27.1, 27.7, 27.6 and 26.8sec. It was his eighth win on end and his 14th from just 20 starts. But, of course, Our Waikiki Beach’s record is even better with 23 wins, a second and a third from just 25 starts. The key though his that third came at his latest run, his first for five months, when he got a mile back and could only get within 5.4m of the winner Mind The Wire in a 1min55.3sec mile rate for 2300m. “I can’t believe Salty Robyn isn’t favourite,” Tritton said. “If you go on latest form, no reputations, then Salty Robyn has to be the one to beat. “I’m going into it confident because I don’t see Waikiki as my danger to win the Chariots … that’s Lazarus.” Top young driver Chris Geary has the reins on Salty Robyn with Tritton’s wife and stable driver Lauren Panella pregnant and expecting their first child in August. Although Tritton is very Sydney focused at present, he is planning a Melbourne raid next week for the Victoria Derby heats with Blue Moon Rising. It will mean locking horns again with the All Stars team, who has odds-on prepost Victoria Derby favourite Vincent. Adam Hamilton

IT has not taken long for talented young harness racing reinsman Chris Geary to outdrive his concession claim. After saluting with a treble at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday afternoon, the hat-trick pushed Geary past the 250-win barrier in his succinct career, thus losing his claim. However the soon to be 19-year-old, who has only been driving professionally for three years, believes this will not affect the number of drives he obtains. "I've been expecting to outdrive my claim for a while now," Geary said. "It shouldn't affect me much as 90 per cent of the drives I have don't use my claim anyway which helps." Obtaining his first race drive a day after his 16th Birthday and his first winner five drives later, Geary has steered home 251 winners following Tuesday's result which came courtesy of the trotter Rompers Monarchy and pacers Franco Novak and A Passion For Aces. Geary is currently the leading metropolitan driver in New South Wales and is ranked amongst the top 20 drivers nationally. Ahead of the likes of Luke McCarthy, Robert Morris and Lauren Tritton in the metropolitan driving ranks, Geary has a strong book of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night. With six drives already locked in, Geary may obtain a catch drive on the feature on the program the Group Three Norms Daughter Stakes. "It looks like at this stage I could be driving Tact Hayleys Delight in the feature race," Geary said. "I've driven her quite a few times before." Geary is currently ranked in second position in the NSW Drivers Premiership having secured 25 wins and 61 placings already this 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

Fresh from driving his 201st harness racing winner, young professional reinsman Chris Geary has a strong book of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The 18-year-old, who is only in his third season of driving, has emerged this term as one of New South Wales’ leading drivers. And seven catch drives at a metropolitan meeting, including in the two Group features on the card, supports that. His first drive is with the Darren McCall-trained Ideal Situation who has been a revelation since being claimed in Queensland and relocated to Sydney. “He has been a really good horse to me,” Geary said having won six races on the pacer since May. “He backed up over the 2300m here the other week and it didn’t suit him, he feels like a good miler that can follow speed well and also make his own luck. “Even though he is on the second row this is the closest draw he has had to the pegs for a while and should be in the finish.” Geary is driving a couple of horses for trainer Belinda McCarthy, whom he has worked with since he was 14, which includes the pacer Epaulette. “I was really happy with him first up a fortnight ago,” Geary said. “It was a big job to face 2300m first up, he will strip a lot fitter and back to the mile with this draw he can go close.” Geary is then sitting behind Don Boston in the claiming event. “I’ve never driven the horse before but I’ve driven against him plenty of times,” Geary said. “He seems to relish the 2300m and also a high tempo.” A race later Geary is partnering Takahoa in the Group Three Harness Breeders NSW Go Girlfriend Series Final. “I was really happy with her heat effort . . . it looked as though she was gone but she kept grinding away to finish third,” Geary recalled. “Barrier 12 isn’t a bad draw for her and even though it’s a tough race I’m not counting her out, especially if a few of them end up doing too much work.” Backing up in another Group Three, Geary is driving Dont Be Jealous in the Garrards Horse and Hound Ready2Run Sales Stakes. “It’s a good race and this is a step up for her but she is an honest little filly and anything could happen in a small field,” Geary said. Geary is ending the night in the trot driving the Russell Commens-trained Kip Keino. “He’s an honest horse that usually steps away well . . . he is facing some better trotters in this race but his form has picked up and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finished top four.” Amanda Rando Fields for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 23 July 2016 Form guide for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 23 July 2016

Harness racing reinsman Chris Geary is enjoying the best season of his short career. The 18-year-old is in his second full season of driving and brought up his 100th winner for the current term at Goulburn on Monday afternoon. With the best part of three months remaining, Geary is aiming to remain in the state's top three leading drivers. While not aiming to drive 100 winners during the season, Geary admitted it may have become too much of a focus for him in the past fortnight. "I didn't start the year wanting to drive 100 winners but when I started to get closer to it I think I put a little bit too much pressure on myself and maybe tried too hard but I'm relieved that I can put that behind me now." Geary has a strong book of drives going into Saturday night's meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle and although he doesn't have a standout hope, he believes most have a realistic chance. "Ask Me Mach in the third has been going really well, there was just too much speed in the race last time and she actually hit the line really well despite being well beaten. Her form is better than it reads on paper. "I think she'll settle closer on Saturday night and if that is the case I think she has a good each way hope in that race." The Kevin Hayes trained Miss Artistic Tara is Geary's drive in the fourth event. "I thought her run last start was really good, I didn't drive her but she got caught outside the leader and battled it out right to the line. I thought she might be able to find the front and if she does she is another one that should be right in the finish. "I like to do the form on the horses I haven't driven previously or if a new horse comes to the area but I also like to keep an eye on which driver is driving each horse." Geary's association will continue with trainer Darren McCall in the feature race as he will drive Sevens Hope for the Menangle horseman in the Group 3 Mount Eden Stakes. "The horse had a really hard run on Tuesday but that doesn't worry him too much because he normally thrives off a run like that. I'm more concerned by the step up in class, he is a handy horse but has bumped into some very nice horses." Trainer David Aiken will provide Geary with his final two drives of the night, Composed in race seven and Peking Duck in the last. "Composed looks really well placed in the claiming race and despite the wide draw I think he can be a very good chance. If he goes forward and is able to find a good spot I think the race looks very suitable for him." "Peking Duck is my best chance of the night though. He is a bit one-dimensional but I think he should lead and if he repeats what he did last time out then he will go close." Without the support of a leading stable, Geary's efforts this season have been very impressive. "I work for Belinda and Luke (McCarthy) and they are very understanding if I have to travel away to drive in races and they have also given me plenty of drives too. Darren McCall has also given me a number of opportunities in the last few months and they have helped me as well. "However the majority of my drives come from smaller stables and I would like to thank all of the owners and trainers that have given me the chance this season. I'm really enjoying everything and I think my results show that." Greg Hayes

Talented Harness Racing reinsman Chris Geary has driven 93 winners this season and is set to become a member of the ‘100 club’ for the first time in his career.  Geary is currently enjoying his second full season of race driving and is third on the NSW State Drivers’ Premiership behind Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris. Geary’s winning strike rate has improved dramatically this season and he believes there is a simple reason for the improvement. “I’m driving against a very strong calibre of driver in Sydney and that is a quick way to improve,” Geary said. “Once you start driving against those top drivers week in and week out it moulds you and you get a better perspective on racing.  It has also calmed me down a lot, I use to fall victim of putting too much pressure on myself because there was a bit of expectation there but now I’m just more relaxed and really enjoying the racing.” Geary is one of a number of young freelance drivers that have appeared in New South Wales in recent seasons and is steering more than his fair share of winners. “The more you do travel and the more you put yourself out there the more opportunities come your way.  There are plenty of long days and long nights travelling but that is the hardest part, the racing itself is probably the easiest thing. “Nine times out of ten a few of the freelance drivers will travel to a track together which does make things a whole lot easier and a lot less expensive for all of us.  I do think New South Wales is becoming much more accepting of freelance drivers whereas in the past a lot more trainers have been inclined to drive their own horses.” While Geary does a lot of driving for the Belinda McCarthy stable he has also struck a good partnership with Menangle trainer Darren McCall. “Darren’s team is absolutely flying at the moment and I can’t thank Darren and Karina enough for the opportunities they have given me.  Darren does a really good job with his horses and any advice he does give you then you must take it onboard. “His horses tend to be spot on and I just try to do my best and drive them accordingly.  We’ve been having a nice run at the moment, he’s got some nice new horses in the barn, they’re all firing and it makes my job a whole lot easier.” Greg Hayes HRNSW

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