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Ego's aside . . . McCarthy's just too good for them Luke McCarthy simply thrives when the big races roll around. And the champion reinsman was at his best tonight to land the Group 1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle with a supreme display aboard amazing pacer Expensive Ego. Drawn closer to the outside fence than the inside, McCarthy had to be at his wily best to land the four-year-old feature, scoring in a stunning 1:48.9 beating a plucky Zeuss Bromac (Gavin Fitzpatrick) and Victorian success story Kowalski Analysis (Sophie Arvidsson). The lone mare in the race, Stylish Memphis finished a close fourth. Ever the perfect sport, McCarthy paid tribute to Expensive Ego's former trainer David Thorn who prepared the horse, including several Group 1 wins, before he was transferred to Team McCarthy. "This horse had some tendon problems and that's the only reason we got him," said McCarthy, "David Thorn did a superb job with him but we needed to be able to swim him and use the water walker and that has made a massive difference to this horse." McCarthy explained that from the wide gate he didn't have a lot of options on where he would settle. "I dropped him out and didn't get involved in any of the early speed battles," said McCarthy. "Then we got a nice cart into the race on the back of Bondy's horse (Minstrel). "He was so strong last week that we were quietly confident going into this race. "He travelled really well throughout the race, was three-wide and then two-wide but he's such a good trier this horse - he never gives up." Watch the race replay click here! Expensive Ego became the second horse into the Miracle Mile, joining Newcastle Mile winner The Black Prince as the first two into the $1million race in two weeks. "When you can go 1:48 you are always going to be competitive - even in a Miracle Mile," said McCarthy. "He's just as good when he can race off the speed and I'm sure he'll handle it well." While nothing could be taken away from Expensive Ego's stunning victory, third placegetter Kowalski Analysis also earned plenty of plaudits with his mighty effort to lead early and still be a contender in the run to the line. "He'll be even better next year," said Club Menangle racing manager David Wonson. Club Menangle  

Stewart, Gath bag another feature on a stellar night IS there anything trainer Emma Stewart and gun driver Kate Gath cannot do? Stewart dominated the heats of the NSW Oaks, winning all three earlier in the night, with Gath winning one of them for her with Tough Tilly. The pair were back in the winners' circle again when they captured one of the night's major features, winning the $50,000 Group 2 Robin Dundee Stakes with another of Stewart's stable stars Maajida. It was something of an upset as Belinda and Luke McCarthy's star mare Bettor Enforce was sent out an odds-on favourite in the 1609m dash but Maajida and Gath dictated terms to score an amazing win in a slick 1:50.2 mile rate. Watch the race replay click here! The surprises were on right from the start of this race when Queenslander Justalittle Torque shot out of the gate from nine and showed any amount of speed to find the front in a quick sprint-off with Maajida, who drew a lot better in five. But Gath would have none of that and no sooner had Leonard Cain settled his charge in front when Gath took her on again and found the front where she could dictate terms with opening splits of 26.5 and 28.2 seconds. In the meantime Luke McCarthy had a quick 'look' for the front with Bettor Enforce before Gath showed she would have none of that and held the front. Rocknroll Angel (Cameron Hart) then appeared on the scene three wide and McCarthy had little choice but to drop back into a one-one trail hoping for a final crack at them in the straight. Yet that was about as close as Bettor Enforce was able to get to them as Maajida held them all off in the run home with a last half of 55.6 seconds (27.5, 28.1) to score by a half head from Rocknroll Angel with Miss McGonagall third and Bettor Enforce a close fourth which was enough to get her through to next week's Ladyship Mile, where she will again have a crack at the three placegetters. Club Menangle

Club Menangle is pleased to announce that the bread-and-butter prizemoney, so important to keeping our harness racing industry going, is heading in the right direction. After receiving an improved funding forecast, the Club Menangle Board has approved significant increases, focussing on prizemoney for week-to-week racing. The most notable changes are: * Midweek prizemoney increases from $8,000 to $9,000 per race; * Minimum Saturday night prizemoney increases from $11,000 to $13,000; * The $16,000 tier of prizemoney increases to $18,000; * The $18,000 tier of prizemoney increases to $20,000; * The $22,000 tier of prizemoney increases to $24,000. There will also be a significant increase in the number of $20,000 races, which were being run at lower prizemoney levels. Club Menangle will also resume responsibility for funding the highly successful Country Series, which has been re-established with a series to be run every month. The increases will commence from 1 January 2021, and in total will result in an additional distribution of $1.6m over the course of a full year. Club Menangle Chief Executive, Bruce Christison, pointed out that the club was forced to make reductions in May, when the industry budget was released showing a reduction of 20 per cent in funding. At that time, the club assured industry participants that increases would be made as soon as more favourable funding information was available. “These projections we have received are based upon a combination of actual revenue and wagering trends, which factor in the easing of the Government’s economic stimulus package,” said Christison. He added that the funding reforecast was still close to $700,000 below the budget for the previous year. The Club has indicated it will continue to closely monitor the projections and where possible increase prizemoney further to take it beyond the pre-COVID-19 levels. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE CHIEF EXECUTIVE BRUCE CHRISTISON ON (02) 4645-2200.

Club Menangle is pleased to announce that the bread-and-butter prizemoney, so important to keeping our industry going, is heading in the right direction. After receiving an improved funding forecast, the Club Menangle Board has approved significant increases, focussing on prizemoney for week-to-week racing. The most notable changes are: * Midweek prizemoney increases from $8,000 to $9,000 per race; * Minimum Saturday night prizemoney increases from $11,000 to $13,000; * The $16,000 tier of prizemoney increases to $18,000; * The $18,000 tier of prizemoney increases to $20,000; * The $22,000 tier of prizemoney increases to $24,000. There will also be a significant increase in the number of $20,000 races, which were being run at lower prizemoney levels. Club Menangle will also resume responsibility for funding the highly successful Country Series, which has been re-established with a series to be run every month. The increases will commence from 1 January 2021, and in total will result in an additional distribution of $1.6m over the course of a full year. Club Menangle Chief Executive, Bruce Christison, pointed out that the club was forced to make reductions in May, when the industry budget was released showing a reduction of 20 per cent in funding. At that time, the club assured industry participants that increases would be made as soon as more favourable funding information was available. “These projections we have received are based upon a combination of actual revenue and wagering trends, which factor in the easing of the Government’s economic stimulus package,” said Christison. He added that the funding reforecast was still close to $700,000 below the budget for the previous year. The Club has indicated it will continue to closely monitor the projections and where possible increase prizemoney further to take it beyond the pre-COVID-19 levels. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE CHIEF EXECUTIVE BRUCE CHRISTISON ON (02) 4645-2200.   Club Menangle

VICTORIA Cup winner Lochinvar Art picked-up where he left off at Melton last Saturday night. Having his first run for five weeks and “in need of the hitout” according to trainer-driver David Moran, Lochinvar Art still totally toyed with a handy field in the Preux Chevalier free-for-all. He came around the field early from the back to sit parked outside former NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac, but had him beaten before the home turn. Moran really just nursed Lochinvar Art in the run home to win by 6.3m over the emerging Wolf Stride with Sicario third and Cruz Bromac fourth. The mile rate was 1min55sec, but Lochinvar Art blazed home in 54 flat and 26.7sec. “He did that easier than I thought he would because it’ll really bring him for next week,” Moran said. “It’s the best he’s ever felt winning first-up from a break.” Lochinvar Art backs-up next week, either in Friday night’s $60,000 Group 2 Breeders Crown Graduate free-for-all at Melton or the $50,000 Group 2 4YO Crown final on Saturday night. Either target should be another walk in the park. Beyond that, Moran will make a final decision a possible Queensland trip, which is looking less and less likely by the day. “I’m leaning more and more towards staying home, going for the Vicbred 4YO series and then those Country Cups in January before the Hunter Cup,” Moran said. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ CHICAGO Bull and Shockwave will be on the quick back-up when they headline the field for Friday night’s $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. They were due to clash at Gloucester Park last Friday night, but the meeting was postponed just minutes before their race was scheduled because of heavy rain. The race was moved to yesterday and they eventually clashed in the Pat Cranley Memorial where Chicago Bull made the most of a better draw again to stretch his sequence of wins over Shockwave to four races. But, Chicago Bull has drawn better and dictated all four of those races. Shockwave, who beat Chicago Bull when he led first-up, has run second to him at their four clashes since. There’s nothing between them and they look the standout players in the Fremantle Cup and the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup on December 4. Team Bond’s Vampiro and, to a lesser extent, Mighty Conqueror look the other notable runners. It’ll be interesting to see if trainer Ross Olivieri throws exciting former Victorian Perfect Major into the big league after he sat parked and ran a ripper third to Chicago Bull yesterday at his first free-for-all attempt. Classy former Kiwi mare Wainui Creek is getting better with every run for Team Bond in WA. She beat most of WA’s best mares to win the Group 2 Norms Daughter in a 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2130m at Gloucester Park yesterday when she came out of a one-one trail to rundown stablemate Our Alfie Romeo. Wainui Creek’s past two wins have her nominal favourite for the state’s biggest mares’ race, the Group 1 WA Mares’ Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday week. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ A BLAZING opening half cost veteran star Bling It On his 50th win at his 100th start. The Victoria and Hunter Cup winner scorched a 53.5sec opening half to eventually find the lead, had to be vulnerable and actually fought on well for a close third to Fouroeight. Bling It On worked from the outside draw in a 26.5sec first quarter then had to run a 27 flat second split to wrest the lead from outsider Golden Year. They ran home in 28.9 and 28.5sec for a 1min50.9sec mile and Mat Rue’s Fouroright finished too strongly for Mafuta Vautin with Bling It On just 3.4m from the winner in third spot. Bling It On remains on target for a Queensland raid later this month with the Group 1 Blacks A Fake on December 12 the major target. McCarthy and trainer Craig Cross teamed later on the Menangle card for yet another win with star mare Bettor Enforce. The rising eight-year-old, fresh back from a terrific second in the Group 1 Queen Of The Pacific at Melton, worked to the front and posted her 12th win from 24 runs this season in a 1min52.1sec mile, capped by a 53.9sec last half. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ STAR Kiwi pacer One Change’s unbeaten Queensland romp came to an end last Saturday night. But the three-year-old certainly lost no admirers with a fantastic second to recent Kiwi import L L Cool J, who had a lovely run behind the leader while One Change did all the work.  L L Cool J, who won six of his 19 NZ runs, has looked good winning both starts for trainer-driver Nathan Dawson. They ran a slick 1min52sec mile rate for 1660m and One Change was only beaten 1.3m. It was his first defeat in six runs for Vicki Rasmussen. It’s unlikely to change plans for him to tackle fast-class in coming weeks as a test before a possible tilt at the Group 1 Blacks A Fake on December 12. Another ex-All Stars pacers Turn It Up is one of the early favourites for the Blacks A Fake. He was due to run at Albion Park last Saturday night, but the race was scrapped with a lack of acceptors. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ THE best of Dance Craze is something special. Trainer Anton Golino has nursed her through her challenges along the way, but she is still the best trotter in Australia at her best. And she showed it again, albeit thanks to a lovely run and superb Jason Lee drive, to win the Group 2 Lenin free-for-all in a blistering 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2240m at Melton on Saturday night. Dance Craze began well, but not quick enough to hold-out her main rival Red Hot Tooth, but it turned out sitting behind her was the perfect scenario. Red Hot Tooth overraced a tad in front, setting-up the slick time, and Dance Craze was simply too slick along the sprint lane at the finish to beat her by 1.5m. The sustained speed up front made it too hard for those back in the field like the classy Wobelee and McLovin, who finished seventh and eighth respectively.   Adam Hamilton

Only a protest denied Luke McCarthy a night of absolute perfection at Menangle’s stellar NSW Breeders Challenge meeting on Saturday. McCarthy drove in five races for five wins, but lost the third of them on protest when first past the post on Keep Rockin in the $125,000 Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO Fillies’ final, but relegated to second behind defending champion Pelosi. The ironic twist there was Pelosi’s trainer Anna Woodmansey asked McCarthy to drive her filly before the series, but he had already committed to partnering Keep Rockin. McCarthy’s romp started by winning the free-for-all on classy former Kiwi pacer and Miracle Mile placegetter Alta Orlando in a slick 1min49.8sec mile, then followed with three Group 1 wins in the other NSW Breeders Challenge pacing finals. First came the Danny Zavitsanos-owned and Tim Butt-trained Mach Dan, who began well, sat behind the leader and zipped home along the inside to win in a 1min51.7sec mile as a $16 outsider. Mach Dan had previously won an SA Derby and run fifth in the NSW Derby and sixth in a Victoria Derby for trainer Emma Stewart. McCarthy then teamed with Craig Cross and Victorian horseman Mick Stanley to win both 2YO Breeders Challenge finals with brilliant pair Bar Room Banta and Soho Almasi. “Sure it’s frustrating I couldn’t be up there and a part of it all, but we got the job done and it’s a huge thanks to Craig (Cross) and Luke (McCarthy),” Stanley said. “I told those close to me a few months back I thought my pair were good enough to win both finals and it’s great to see them come out and do it. They’re both outstanding.” Bar Room Banta blazed his way to the lead in a 25.9sec opening quarter, crossing his main danger Tasty Delight, and kept going in a slick 1min51.3sec mile. Soho Almasi was surprisingly crossed by Arma Renegade in the fillies’ final, but sat behind her and quickly put the race beyond doubt when she saw racing room along the inside in the home straight to post an Australasia record 1min51.8sec mile for a 2YO filly. “They head straight back home to me now because the Breeders Crown heats are just around the corner,” Stanley said. Woodmansey was thrilled when Pelosi got the protest verdict for interference in the home straight over Keep Rockin in the 3YO Fillies final. Pelosi successfully defended the Breeders Challenge crown she won last season. “I’m so proud of her, she’s a wonderful girl and did a great job tonight,” Woodmansey said. The star of the Breeders Challenge trotting finals was Darren Hancock’s Drop The Hammer, who won as he liked in the 4&5YO final in a 1min56.3sec mile.   By Adam Hamilton

NOTHING was going to rain on the parade of trainer Troy Williams and his young square-gaiter Affaire De Cover at Menangle on Saturday night. The two-year-old surged through a torrential downpour – one of the heaviest seen at Menangle in years - to win the $30,000 TAB Trot NSW final, the third of three trotters’ features and the last race on a star-studded Breeders Challenge program. Williams was soaked to the skin, as was reinsman Rob Morris, but their smiles were like a ray of sunshine after Affaire De Cover mastered the horrendous conditions to score a 1.7m win over odds-on favourite On Advice (Blake Fitzpatrick), with Daimyo a distant third in a 1:59 mile rate in the night’s final feature. The three square-gaiting races were great spectacles with Affaire De Cover’s effort probably the only surprise result of the three. Darren Hancock’s impressive five-year-old trotter Drop The Hammer ($1.35 favourite) won the $30,000 Four and Five-Year-Olds’ final with a dashing display to account for Sobomba and Deneuve Star, scoring by 12metres in a 1:56.3 mile rate. Hancock turned the race into a real staying test, using Drop The Hammer’s great turn of foot to have his rivals chasing hard most of the way . . . and struggling to stay in touch with him. The three-year-old TAB Trot NSW Final saw the consistent Sunny Gee (Cameron Hart) quickly find the front from gate seven and the Russell Commens’-trained son of Majestic Son trotted perfectly all the way to beat Royalebomba and Strong Desire by 3.8m in a 1:57.6 mile rate. Then the rains really came and it was a tribute to the young trotters who handled the conditions with consummate ease with Affaire De Cover taking a trail behind On Advice mid-race before rounding him up in the straight the final time for a win that was impressive as any on a night which saw four $125,000 Group 1s for the two and three-year-old pacers, dominated by a Luke McCarthy hat-trick with Mach Dan (3-y-o colts), Bar Room Banta (2-y-o colts) and Soho Almasi (2-y-o fillies). Queensland-based filly Pelosi won the other rich final (3-y-o fillies) on protest; Blake Hughes took out the Rising Stars race with the Roy Roots Junior-trained Marty Major and Jess Prior won her second J. C. Caffyn Plate, getting Red Reactor home by a nose in the invitation-only race for Indigenous drivers.   Club Menangle

IT’S difficult to go home disappointed after winning three Group 1 features in one night. Yet even Luke McCarthy must have been wondering what might have been after being first past the post in all four of the $125,000 Breeders Challenge features run at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. While many horsemen might have been satisfied to win one – or even two – of the big ones, McCarthy was on a mission to win all four. And even after his victories with Mach Dan (three-year-old colts) and Bar Room Banta (two-year-old colts), he still felt his best chance all night was outstanding three-year-old filly Soho Almasi. And the ace reinsman drove the daughter of Mach Three accordingly, and positively, as he scored a four-metre win in the two-year-old fillies’ final, beating Anntonia and Arma Renegade in a slashing 1:51.9, setting an Australasian class record in the process and breaking the previous record by four-tenths of a second. McCarthy had earlier declared that Soho Almasi was something special and the Craig Cross-trained youngster didn’t let him down, settling perfectly in second and third spot before overpowering her rivals in the run home to give McCarthy his hat-trick of majors for the night. . . . and it was almost four after he was first past the post with Keep Rockin only to lose the race to Pelosi in the stewards’ room after some interference as the two three-year-old fillies slugged it out in the run to the line. Jimmy Douglas alleged interference in the run home – and the stewards agreed as Pelosi was awarded the race. McCarthy has had many amazing nights at Menangle and regularly lands a hat-trick of winners at Australasia’s leading track, but he’ll be hard-pressed to top a night like this and will head back to Cobbitty planning his next assault with the stable’s bottomless pit of open-class performers, led by King Of Swing and Cash N Flow, among others. For the moment though, Soho Almasi is the toast of Sydney’s most successful harness racing stable and both trainer and driver will be sorry to see her return to Michael Stanley’s Victorian stables to be set for their Breeders series in a few weeks’ time.   Club Menangle

MAYBE Luke McCarthy was smarting from his earlier defeat in the stewards’ room. Because the ace reinsman looked like he had a point to prove with super-slick youngster Bar Room Banta, who scampered to yet another stunning victory for McCarthy when he scored a devastating win in tonight’s two-year-old colts and geldings final of the NSW Breeders Challenge. All the talk before the race was about the equally-talented Tasty Delight, who sat outside Bar Room Banta and almost ran him down in the BC semi-final two weeks’ beforehand. Drawn inside the Craig Cross-trained Bar Room Banta for this $125,000 final, Tasty Delight was backed into favouritism and was expected to hold out Bar Room Banta and possibly outstay him over the flying mile. McCarthy obviously thought otherwise. Bar Room Banta zoomed out of the mobile and found the front before the first turn, meaning reinsman Brian Portelli had little option but to sit outside Bar Room Banta for the duration with Tasty Delight. After an incredible 25.9s first quarter, McCarthy was able to back off the speed a little with a 28.6 second split before putting the foot to the floor and coming home in quarters of 27.6 and 29.2 to score a stunning three and three-quarter metre win over the again-unlucky Tasty Delight, with Electric Eye, who had a nice soft run along the pegs, a half neck further back in third place. The winner rated 1:51.2 and now looks destined to return to Michael Stanley’s Victorian stables to be set for their feature races. The son of A Rocknroll Dance now has the enviable record of five wins from six starts and is a force to be reckoned with in anything he contests.   Club Menangle

SELDOM is a Group 1 decided 20 minutes after the horses are back in their stables. Yet that was the case in tonight’s three-year-old fillies’ final of the $125,000 Breeders Challenge when Queensland filly Pelosi, plagued by bad luck during the race, got some good news in the stewards’ room after reinsman Jim Douglass protested against Keep Rockin being first past the post. Pelosi had finished just a nose away in second place and Douglass had no hesitation firing in an objection after his filly looked like she was forced to veer away from Keep Rockin in the straight as both youngsters fought all the way to the line in the rich final. He’s one of the cleanest reinsman in the business and as they crossed the line it appeared that McCarthy’s champagne night would continue as Keep Rockin, a sister to the former class pacer Vincent hung on for the narrowest of victories. Certainly it was a masterful display as he came from the perfect one-one trail and looked likely to hold off the Queensland filly, who won last year’s two-year-old Breeders Challenge for two-year-old fillies. Luck went Keep Rockin’s way earlier as she managed to avoid an early scrimmage when Smoothe Style, a stablemate of Keep Rockin, galloped in that helter-skelter dash to the first turn. It was just enough to almost cost Pelosi her chance as Douglass had to quickly take some evasive action to avoid interference. Delightful Angel (James Rattray) found the front after the speedy Misdemeanor turned on the afterburners out of the mobile barrier and dashed across to find the lead. The well-backed Eye Can Run was just behind the leaders while the ever-alert McCarthy slotted into the coveted one-out and one-back position. After an opening quarter of 27.7, the speed did back off slightly with a 29.4 second quarter and McCarthy made his move in a 28.1 third quarter and turning for home found the front only to face a massive challenge from Pelosi, who charged down the outside and looked set for victory. Yet Pelosi appeared to baulk the wheel of Keep Rockin and in the charge to the line was beaten by the narrowest of margins, a nose, in a 1:52.5 mile rate. Jenden Strike was third, with outsider Misdemeanour an impressive fourth. Douglass fired in a protest claiming interference in the home straight. It took stewards almost up until the next race to decide to award the Anna Woodmansey filly the race, making it a night to remember for the Queensland trainer. Ironically, Woodmansey had approached McCarthy about driving Pelosi in this series but he was committed to Michael Doltoff’s filly, Keep Rockin. Douglass got the call-up . . . and the rest is history.   Club Menangle

NOBODY, but nobody drives Tabcorp Park Menangle quite like champion reinsman Luke McCarthy.   The man they’re calling ‘Menangle’s maestro’ did it again at the south-western Sydney circuit again tonight, claiming the first Group 1 of an epic evening, scoring with three-year-old gelding Mach Dan for the Tim Butt stables.   Like so many of these major races, the first 100m is where the race can be won or lost and McCarthy switched on the gelded son of Mach Three to quickly secure the perfect spot behind the leader, Jerulas Grin.   Despite coming from gate four, McCarthy found the pegs and never went around another horse.   The improving Our Money Rocks (Jack Trainor) helped make the race a war of attrition as he darted across from the outside barrier to eyeball Jerulas Grin for much of the 1609m.   McCarthy was happily smoking his pipe behind the speed and made his move when the leader lugged off the pegs as they turned for home.   The well-backed Private Eye (Rob Morris) was about to make a run from near the tail of the field but missed his gait and lost all chance.   Our Money Rocks hung on tenaciously to take second place, with despised outsider Big Black Diamond (Tom Ison) an eye- catching third after coming from near the back of the field.   The winner rated a slick 1:51.7 in scoring by two and a half metres with a last half in 55.3 seconds.   Butt took over the training of Mach Dan from Victoria’s Emma Stewart and McCarthy already had an affiliation with the youngster, winning a heat of the Gold Challice at Bathurst earlier this year.   With Butt in control, Mach Dan put the writing on the wall with two impressive third placings in the heat and then the semi-final of the Breeders Challenge.   Yet his run in the final could not have been more perfect as McCarthy set himself for another big night at the track that has handed him more winners than any venue in the world.     Club Menangle

THERE’S something about Menangle that brings out the best in leading young driver Jess Prior. The softly-spoken young lady ironed out a star-studded field of indigenous drivers to claim her second J.C. Caffyn Plate at the premier track tonight, scoring a last-stride win with five-year-old gelding Red Reactor from the David Thorn stables. This year’s field . . . the 10th running of the race, promised so much for several drivers who have made winning it their annual goal. Experienced reinsmen like Jimmy Brown and David Caffyn have been outstanding ambassadors for this annual race which became “invitation-only” this year due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And another young reinsman, Danny Gatt-Bouquet has made it a personal ambition of his own to win this special race, which boasted a prizemoney boost this year and was worth more than $20,000. And Gatt-Bouquet looked like he was going to pull it off when he dashed clear at the top of the long Menangle straight with the well-backed local pacer Held To Ransom. Just as he was about to be called the winner, Jess Prior and pole-marker Red Reactor emerged from back in the ruck and took off after the runaway leader. Under Prior’s desperate urgings, Red Reactor dived right on the finish line to score an incredible short-half head victory over Held To Ransom with first emergency Masons Delight (Bruce O’Brien) a distant third in a 1:53.1 mile rate. It was an exciting affair with several moves throughout the 1609m race, which made it an exciting spectacle and had many regulars wishing there were more races driven with such enterprise from all involved. Prior first stamped herself as a talented horsewoman when she won the 2015 running of this race and now joins Royce Gregory-Jack as the only multiple winners of an event that has become much sought-after by all involved. Sadly for Brown and Caffyn, they will have to wait for another year to make their mark as Prior celebrated another personal milestone in what is becoming an impressive driving career. “I’ll be back . . . I’ll win one of these one day,” lamented Brown, who had to settle for eighth after driving an almost-perfect race on the Harry Martin-trained I Am Serengeti. “We just weren’t able to go with them when Danny sprinted.”   Club Menangle

A HEAVY storm shortly before the action didn’t dampen the action in tonight’s Harness Racing NSW Rising Stars Championship with a tried-and-tested team making the most of their opportunity. Blake Hughes and his brother Jake have been two of the bright stars of racing at Newcastle and Tamworth in recent months and Blake showed he was a real driver of the future with a superb display to score with seven-year-old gelding Marty Major for fellow Novocastrian Roy Roots Junior. Hughes would have been quick to pick the brains of Newcastle’s ‘other’ top young gun in Tom Ison, who normally takes the drives on Marty Major. And that showed as Hughes was quick to take advantage of Marty Major’s gate speed, whipping across the field to take the front from gate five and dictating the terms of the race. Marty Major sizzled through the opening quarter in 26.5 seconds before Hughes was able to give his charge a slight breather with a 29.4 second split before upping the ante and racing home in quarters of 27.8 and 28.6 seconds to beat the fast-finishing Star Major (Bayley Duck) and Game Set Major (Jack Callaghan) with both placegetters coming from well back and closing fast as they reached the finish line in a 1:52.2 mile rate. The four-metre win in quick time proved Australia’s best wet-weather harness racing track was at its best for the four rich Breeders Challenge finals scheduled for later in the night.   Club Menangle

TWO of the leading lights in harness racing in this country will combine in 2021 to present the race that everyone wants to win . . . Australia’s richest harness spectacle, the Miracle Mile.   Club Menangle is excited to announce Garrard’s as the new sponsor of the Miracle Mile.   Garrard’s and Club Menangle have shared a long association, which dates back more than 25 years to the days of the iconic Harold Park Paceway.   Garrard’s are a market leader and innovator in supplying products, equipment, training and technical support to the pest control industry and equine and canine markets throughout Australia and New Zealand.   The family-owned and operated business was established in 1985 and now boasts 17 branches across Australia and New Zealand, including one at Club Menangle Trackside.   The Garrard family has been heavily involved in the sport of harness racing for many years and Club Menangle CEO, Bruce Christison, said the sponsorship of the club’s flagship race was a perfect fit for the long-time major sponsor of the club.   “I have known Chris and Maureen Garrard and their sons Daren, Rodney and Ashley for many years and know their passion for our sport and the professional and innovative approach they have towards their business,” said Christison.   “The Garrard motto of ‘Service with Integrity’ is a perfect fit with our values and I am thrilled to announce the 2021 Garrard’s Miracle Mile.”   Garrard’s director Daren Garrard also expressed his thrill at being involved with Australasia’s greatest sprint. “Garrard’s are very excited to be able to sponsor the 2021 Miracle Mile and to be able to put back into an industry that supports us,” he said.   “It’s an industry that we not only have a huge involvement with, but we also share a huge passion for it as well.”   Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hover, one thing is for sure, there is certainly a serious crop of contenders for the 54th running of the Miracle Mile, which will take place on the first Saturday night in March.   New pacing headliner Ride High, with his freakish speed, will no doubt have the Miracle Mile high on his list, as will last year’s runner-up and recent Victoria Cup victor Lochinvar Art.   The Craig Cross-Luke McCarthy stable will have the home-track advantage, led by defending champ King of Swing, together with Menangle Mile specialist Cash N Flow and an endless supply of feature winners including Alta Orlando, Balraj and warhorse Bling It On.   Will the Purdon juggernaut be able to cross the ditch and bring back 2019 winner Spankem and the highly talented Self Assured?   Or will we see new Kiwi sensation Copy That touch down at Menangle?   Will our West Australian friends cross the Nullarbor, allowing their star warrior Chicago Bull to have a crack at Australia’s most famous Mile?   So many questions yet to be answered but rest assured the 2021 Garrard’s Miracle Mile will feature the tradition, speed and excitement we have all come to expect from Australasia’s greatest sprint race.     FOR FURTHER INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE CHIEF EXECUTIVE BRUCE CHRISTISON ON (02) 4645-2200. 

Astute “down under” breeders eyeing the credentials of arguably Australasia’s greatest racehorse Lazarus can take plenty of confidence from North America regarding the harness racing superstar’s capacity in the breeding barn. US and Canadian breeders are ecstatic with the looks and temperament of the superstar’s first crop– and with an 80 percent confirmed conception rate in North America (136 mares, 109 positives), Lazarus is ticking all the boxes. Club Menangle beat several leading stud farms to buy the Southern Hemisphere breeding rights to the $4 million-earning stallion who won 15 Group 1 races including an Inter Dominion, two New Zealand Cups as well as Victoria and Hunter Cups. Lazarus established five track records in New Zealand and another three in Australia. With USTA Foal Registration statistics now beginning to come in, Lazarus (Bettors Delight - Bethany (Christian Cullen) is more than measuring up to the best. US foal registrations are done on a calendar year basis, so the figures are preliminary. Click on the following link for USTA details USTA Foal Registration There are many breeders who do not register their foals until more towards the end of the year so a better indicator of registered foals would be by December 31, 2020. But Lazarus’ early registrations show 39 registered foals from the book he served – behind in registrations numbers only to the great Bettors Delight, Always B Miki, Sweet Lou at this early point in the season, and well ahead of other notable sires including Sportswriter, Sunshine Beach, Always a Virgin and Betterthancheddar for some examples. Any predictions you have heard to the contrary are false. Lazarus should have a full crop to race in North America resulting from his 2019 breeding season. Stallion                      Mares bred          Foals registered** Bettors Delight                 162                             40 Lazarus                            136                             39  Sportswriter                      142                            23 Sunshine Beach               207                             11 Betterthancheddar           187                             14 Always A Virgin                151                             33 Sweet Lou                        140                             56 Always B Miki                   137                             65              **as at August 14, 2020 USTA return data for Lazarus shows there are 75 live foals either registered or in the process of registration (and a further 27 still to be confirmed) so there’s confidence of around 90 to 100 Lazarus-sired foals to be registered by the end of 2020. A Lazarus N - Somekindamonster colt born on the 4th of June. Somekindamonster ($65,620) is by Somebeachsomewhere Lazarus was the dominant pacer in Australasia before he was sold to US thoroughbred breeding giant Taylor Made Stallions in a record deal. He served a book (136 mares) at US$10,000 (No discounts) in New Jersey and has returned to Australia already to stand at Yirribee Pacing Stud in Wagga Wagga, this season. For more information click here.  Yirribee stud has developed a state-of-the-art complex to house their star guest during his Down Under dates; an air conditioned, climate-controlled barn to help ensure issues that caused a disappointing first season in Australia are a once-off. Bred on Australasia’s golden cross, breed-defining stallion Bettors Delight out of a Christian Cullen mare, Lazarus has eight crosses to Meadow Skipper in his five-generation pedigree, similar to McWicked, Foiled Again and Anndrovette. Harnesslink Media      

The Club Menangle Board has taken the first step in addressing the prizemoney reductions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. From 21 July 2020, the principal club’s Tuesday prizemoney will increase to $8,000 per race. The Club has been heavily impacted by the projected decline in TAB revenue. Whilst recent forecasts are more optimistic, the budgeted revenue for the principal club has gone from $14.1M for the 2020 financial year to only $11.5M for the 2021 financial year, a fall of $2.6M. The Club will carefully monitor activity over the next two months however given the enormity of the funding shortfall will need to see improved results and not just rely upon more favourable conditions. The economic position is still very volatile, which has been exacerbated by the rapidly declining situation in Victoria. There is a significant risk of a negative impact on NSW as evidenced by the outbreaks in south west Sydney reported over the weekend. The Club must therefore proceed with caution. The Club is in the difficult position of setting prizemoney levels based upon a funding projection issued by HRNSW at the beginning of each year. The actual funding received each year is based on the performance of the wagering operators. This is normally within 1-2% of the projection however the COVID-19 crisis has dramatically impacted actual results for FY2020 and projected results for FY2021. For example, as recently reported in the Financial Review, the TAB have projected a 16% decline in earnings for FY2020, which will flow through to the racing industry. The reality is the Club’s revenue for FY2020 will be impacted by as much as $6M. This includes the impact on wagering revenue and the investment portfolio. The Club’s business plan is to use investment earnings to supplement prizemoney. The downturn in financial markets will result in no contribution from the investment fund for the current year. The Club’s investment policy is underpinned by the economic principle of protecting the investment capital to ensure the long term viability of the Club however in times like this the Club is fortunate to be able to draw upon these funds to protect the short term viability of the business. The Club will continue to monitor the performance of our wagering partners and the investment portfolio and as revenue improves the priority will remain the restoration of bread and butter prizemoney on both midweek and metropolitan programs.   For further information relating to this media release please contact Club Menangle Chief Executive, Bruce Christison, on (02) 46 45 2200.   Club Menangle

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