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Nathans Courage, a typically small son of former champion pacer Courage Under Fire, looks set to give punters a flying start to the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the opening event, the 2130m Taylor Sulky Repairs Pace. The two-year-old, prepared at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, made an auspicious debut when he set the pace and won by almost two lengths from El Hombre, his only rival in a qualifying heat of the Breeders Crown at Gloucester Park on Monday. He sprinted over the final quarter in a sparkling 27.3sec. Reinsman Chris Voak was impressed with the gelding, saying: "He's got potential and there's plenty of upside. I think he will have benefitted from his run on Monday." "He's drawn barrier four on Friday and that's the best of the main chances." "He showed good gate speed on Monday and I'll be looking to replicate that performance." "I'll be heading forward to take the lead; that's my game plan and I think that Mouse (Brennan) will agree." "This is a jump up in grade and will test him." "But he's up to the challenge." "He did it quite comfortably on Monday and I didn't pull the ear plugs or really get stuck into him." "He's got a quick quarter and can run a good half." "I don't expect too much pressure, but maybe Browny (Colin Brown) might have a crack with Franco Rayner." Franco Rayner, an effortless all-the-way winner at his Australian debut, over 2185m at Pinjarra on July 13, finished seventh behind Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park four nights later when he started from the back line and was always well back. Franco Rayner will start out wide at barrier eight on Friday night. He dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. when an easy winner in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. "He handled Pinjarra a lot better than he handled Gloucester Park," Brown said. "He's not a big horse, but he wasn't comfortable in the run at Gloucester Park." "I changed some gear on him for Sunday's trial, but it didn't work." "However, he still ran home very quickly." "Now he will have a lugging bit added and hopefully I will have a better steering horse." Ken Casellas  

Harness racing royalty in the form of Franco Jamar, a beautifully bred son of Courage Under Fire will stand his first season at stud at Lancefield Park in Boyanup at a very competitive fee of $1,500 with a live foal guarantee. Brought to Western Australia by Bridgetown owner/trainer Graeme Waters, Franco Jamar was a quality racehorse winning a total of 21 races and taking sub 2:00 records as a 2yo, 3yo and his lifetime mark of 1:51.2 as a 5yo on his way to earnings of $378,302. Franco Jamar finished second to Captain Peacock in the Group One $250,000 New Zealand Derby before beating that horse in the Group Two Southern Supremacy Stakes at his next start. Interestingly Franco Jamar won two 3yo races in New Zealand with the now WA based Reon Tither at the reins. As a 5yo Franco Jamar won six straight city class races at Menangle culminating in the Group Two Coca Cola Sprint when he overcame the extreme outside barrier over the mile in 1:52.2  to thrash the field by more than 10 metres running the final quarter in 26.4 seconds and last half in 54.9 seconds with the WA owned millionaire polemarker Washakie back in fifth place. A month later Franco Jamar finished fifth to Smoken Up, Mr Feelgood, Raglan and Washakie in the $425,000 Victoria Cup  with WA champion Im Themightyquinn down the track in 12th place. Franco Jamar is one of three 2:00 winners produced by the Falcon Seelster mare Jamel Franco 1:57.7TT. Courage Under Fire has sired 15 horses which have each won in excess of $300,000 in stakes – five of the 15 are out of mares by Falcon Seelster. By virtue of Franco Jamar standing in Western Australia his progeny will be eligible for Double Westbred Bonus payments when winning as 2yos and 3yos. For further information contact Graeme Waters on 0402 779 662 or studmaster Lisa Adams on 0429 315 239. Alan Parker

Talanted Courage Under Fire two-year-old pacer Ken Two Stars delivered another stellar performance to win his second race in the space of five days when he powered home to take out the Decron Horse Care 2YO Pace over 1680m at the harness racing meeting at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston last Friday night. With Grant Hodges in the sulky, Ken Two Stars settled handy to the lead from a good gate and when Hodges presented the gelding to stake his claim in the home straight he powered to the lead and then staved off determined challenges to go on and score comfortably from Streetside Classic with Goggo Gee Gee storming home along the rails to grab third ahead of Metro Mouse. Ken Two Stars is trained at Scottsdale by Wayne Campbell who prepared a double courtesy of Grace Campbell scoring an impressive win in the opening race on the seven-event program. Ken Two Stars is so named because he has two distinctive star markings on his forehead. The gelding clocked a mile rate of two minutes and ran home his last half (800m) in under a minute. Ken Two Stars will contest a Breeders Crown heat in Launceston on Sunday night and victory will secure him a berth in a semi-final in Victoria later this month. However top Victorian trainer Dean Braun has sent his handy youngster Soho Chelsea to Tasmania and the Mach Three gelding will also line up in the heat. Soho Chelsea comes off wins at his past two starts at Cranbourne and Warragul. Peter Staples

Scottsdale harness racing trainer Wayne Campbell will make a decision on whether to enter his two-year-old gelding Ken Two Stars for next Sunday night's Dandy Patch sires stakes final tomorrow morning following the gelding's impressive win in the Single Again Pace over 1609 metres on Sunday night. Ken Two Stars (Courage Under Fire-Sharevonah) outgunned a small field of four at what was only his second start but it was his tremendous turn of foot that excited driver Grant Hodges to suggest he could measure up against the state's best. Campbell was delighted with the win and even though it was only a small field he was impressed with the way his two-year-old produced two sharp sprints in the run. "We bred this horse and I've always had an opinion of him and on what he did tonight I'm inclined to let him have a crack at the Dandy Patch next week," said owner-trainer-breeder Wayne Campbell. Driver Grant Hodges also was impressed with the speed Ken Two Stars showed during the race. "His first two runs were good and tonight he was well placed to get a win and he never let us down," Hodges said. "He's got a real good turn of foot and to be able to use that twice in the race suggests to me that he could measure up against some of the better ones," he said. Ken Two Stars settled last in the field of four but when the leader Striker Jim (Guy Allen) slowed the tempo Hodges sent his charge around the field to take control. The Barrie Rattray-trained first-starter Kvitova Leis settled third but was the first off the fence to face the breeze and she moved alongside the leader halfway down the back straight the last time. But just when Kvitova Leis looked likely to throw down the gauntlet to the leader Ken Two Stars slipped into another gear and rattled off a last quarter in 27.7 that gave nothing else a chance of overhauling him. Ken Two Stars hit the line 3.3 metres clear of Kvitova Leis with Striker Jim 6-1/2 metres away third while Beena Regal finished last and about 34 metres from the winner after galloping twice in the run. Peter Staples

Emma Stewart keeps putting Smythes Creek on the map. Victoria’s leading harness racing trainer scored a winning quartet on Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final night last night at Tabcorp Park Melton and set herself up for a big grand final night next Saturday. On the strength of the semi-final results Stewart looks set to walk away with at least some grand final silverware, four-year-old mare Berisari expected to lead the charge after her dominant display last night. The night's success for Team Stewart began early with Always A Virgin/Lifeline filly Lovelist taking the first race on the 12-event program, the three-year-old fillies’ first semi-final. Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, Lovelist powered home by 2.5 metres over reigning Vicbred champion Niki No No (Greg Sugars) with Vapar Grin (Matthew Craven) third in a mile rate for the 2240-metre trip of 1:58.6. Stewart then teamed with Sugars to win Race 4, the two-year-old fillies’ first semi-final, with Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen youngster Whirily School, who won by 2.1m win over Drumborg’s Just Wantano (Craven), with Lang piloting Heirloom Angel into third place 10.6m behind the winner. Whirily School, already a Group 2 winner via the Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Final last month, worked her way to the lead 1800m out before rating 1:59.9 in victory last night. Stewart’s next winner was another two-year-old filly, this time impressive Rock N Roll Heaven/All The Magic bay Rocknroll Magic, who led from the pole and held off a late challenge by Soho Madeleine (Luke McCarthy) to score by a head in 2:02.4. Rounding out the night for Stewart was $1.10 favourite Berisari – by local sire Safari, who Stewart trained, out of Beris Holmes – winning the last race, the second of the four-year-old mares’ semis, by almost eight metres in 1:56.8. Stewart’s other qualifiers for Super Series finals were Apache Shark (fourth in the first semi-final of the two-year-old colts and geldings), Ideal For Real, who ran second to Follow The Stars in their three-year-old colts and geldings’ semi and Shadow Sax, whose superb second to Christmas Jolt in the two-year-old colts and geldings semi has him well-placed for Group 1 success next week. Click here to view the full Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final results Cody Winnell

Harness racing fans on both sides of the Tasman have gotten use to the All Stars barn having nights that most trainers only dream about. Last night at Menangle the all conquering Kiwi barn had three runners involved and as has become the norm they produced three winners. First up was the rejuvenated Smolda who showed yet again that he back at his best and is cherry ripe heading to the Queensland Winter Carnival. Away well from barrier 10, driver Mark Purdon sent him forward early and he lobbed the one by one with a lap to go.  From there he was always travelling like the winner and whenMark eased Smolda out on the last corner, he quickly put paid to them, The son of Courage Under Fire was recording his 21st victory at just his 38th start and took his earnings with last nights win over the $670,000 mark. The second winner was the two year old filly Golden Goddess who made it two from two lifetime with another easy win. Driver Mark Purdon let the daughter of Art Major find her feet early before taking the lead after 200 metres. Buttoning off during the middle stages,Mark let her run from the 400 metres and she dashed home in 26.6 without too much effort for another impressive win. She stopped the clock at 1:55.1 which was three seconds slower than the other semi-final winner Heaven Trend but Golden Goddess did appear to have plenty up her sleeve and the final should be highly competitive.  The third winner for the night was the outstanding two year Waikiki Beach who made it eight from eight with another impressive victory. Sent straight to the front by driver Mark Purdon in a 27.9 first quarter, Waikiki Beach ambled through the next two quarters before sprinting home in 26.7 to remind everybody why he is the favourite for the Breeders Challenge final. The scary thing was the son of Somebeachsomewhere looked a bit burly last night and should strip a much fitter horse for the final in two weeks time. An interesting sidelight of last nights three winners from the All Stars barn was that all three were bred in Australia. Harnesslink Media 

Harness racing trainer Steve Dolan is back in Group I company and hungry to make sure it's where he stays. The Russley trainer has Mr Franklin in the four–year–old Emerald and Tintinara as the first emergency for the three–year–old Diamond at Saturday's Harness Jewels at Ashburton on Saturday. Neither will have punters running for the tote with wallets in hand, but for Dolan it is a giant stride in the right direction. He knows the ebb and flow of harness racing all too well. A few short years ago his stable was heading for greatness with star pacer Franco Jamar contesting the Inter Dominion final, Miracle Mile, Harness Jewels and New Zealand Derby. By Courage Under Fire out of Jamel Franco, Franco Jamar went on to win 20 races, eight in his three–year–old season alone, and earn more than $380,000. He also had the likes of Dream Out Loud, Castellina Lover and Candy Styx who were winning races for fun but things soon slowed down. The race wins have kept coming for Dolan but not on the big stage. "It's like a rugby player, it's nice to play at club level and do well but playing test rugby at the very highest level is the ultimate and I'm desperately keen to get back to racing horses at that very high level." But with two runners in Jewels contention Dolan is starting to climb back up the ranks. I'm aspiring to get back to where I was a few years ago when I had a couple of open class pacers in the stable and a three–year–old filly contesting the Group I races," Dolan said. "I'm looking to grow the stable and find those horses that can contest those classic races." He is realistic about the chances of Mr Franklin who needs a stack of luck against the likes of Tiger Tara, Sky Major, Messini and Ideal Success. Raced by Mark Wotton, Mick Braithwaite, Neil Struthers, Wayne Milligan, Simon Consedine, John Gould and Tim Sissons, the Grinfromeartoear gelding has a horror barrier draw to contend with starting from the outside of the front line. "It will be a big thrill for the owners to be in the race but they are realistic and know they we are probably not much of a chance of winning," Dolan said. Dolan said the Jewels was never the aim with Mr Franklin but after a consistent season and a few withdrawals they began to realise they were a good chance of making the field. He would love Tintinara to get a start but said they are also realistic about her chances if she does make the field.  "We are realistic that the likes of Fight For Glory and The Orange Agent are a class above, they are top class fillies." By Mat Karmeen Reprinted with permission of the Christchurch Press

Harnes racing trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec dominated the two heats of the SA BOTRA Colts and Geldings Pace for three-year-olds at Globe Derby Park. Hryhorec trained and drove both winners, scoring with Hit Maka in the Virginia Meats heat and leading throughout on Blurred Lines in the Gary Crocker Home Loans second. Resuming from a spell, Hit Maka ($2.60) a gelding by Shakamaker scored a one metre win from Farasthe Eyecansee ($18.20) with the heavily backed Jeremes Bonus ($2.40 fav) six metres away third. Blurred Lines ($2.40 fav), a colt by Courage Under Fire also resuming from a short break had six and a half metres to spare in beating Bongiorno Boys ($35.50) with Im Supreme ($9.70) a metre away third. Hit Maka rated 2:01:8 compared with 2:01:9 recorded by Blurred Lines. “They are both nice horses,” Hryhorec said. “But I have to say I am excited about Hit Maka because I’m not sure we have reached his full potential. “Because he has had a few setbacks we haven’t been able to have a complete campaign and while he never wins easily, I’m sure he has a lot more to give.” Coming from the outside draw on the second row, Hryhorec settled last in the 2230 metre event but allowed Hit Maka to stride to outside the leader Jeremes Bonus mid race and was able to put that horse away on straightening and it was left to Farasthe Eyecansee to issue a late challenge but the winner always looked in control. “That was his first run since the end of February and he will be fitter again this week.” Blurred Lines came from gate one and the driver was able to control the race with 31.7 and 31.1 first quarters then sprint homer strongly to score easily. “I was always confident when I got away with a comfortable lead. He’s a good colt with a promising future.” Hryhorec also revealed that Glenferrie Bunter, a devastating winner of the Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas at his most recent run on April 11 should be ready to return to the racetrack at Port Pirie on Saturday night. “He was nearly ready for this week but I felt needed another week.” by Graham Fischer Harness Racing South Australia Related Links Race programme for Globe Derby Park, Friday 29 May 2015

Evergreen harness racing pacer Motu Crusader continued his winning streak by capturing his third win in succession in the $10,000 Plunkett Family Ascot Gold Cup over 2579 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Motu Crusader was the sole handicapper off 30 metres but the gallant eight-year-old made light of the task. With Gareth Rattray aboard he stepped brilliantly from the standing start and quickly made up ground to tack onto the main body of the field. When Rattray made his move down the back straight the last time he had the leaders in his sights turning for home and then powered up the home straight to score comfortably from Ardlussa Express and Outback Mach. The Zeke Slater-trained Courage Under Fire gelding won the $10,000 Elite in Hobart three starts back and followed up with an impressive win in the $10,000 Golden Mile in Launceston. "That's three feature race wins in a row for this horse so it proves he is definitely back to his best," Slater said. Motu Crusader will attempt to extend his winning sequence in the Brighton Cup in Hobart next Sunday night. Peter Staples

Whirily School and Showgun Thomas have taken out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic two-year-old Finals at the harness arcing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton last night.   Whirily School won the fillies’ final for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Greg Sugars as an odds-on favourite at $1.50, while Chris Alford combined with trainer Heath Redwood to take out the colts and geldings’ final with Showgun Thomas at $12 after race favourite Hellbewright galloped early and lost all chance.   Whirily School, by Courage Under Fire out of Mayhappen, found the front early from the 1720-metre start and controlled the race, jogging through a 32.7secs second quarter after an opening stanza of 29.9secs for a 62.2secs first half.   Greg Sugars had his rivals stacked up off the back after a third split of 30.7secs before the impressive young pacer extended and left his rivals paddling, dashing home in 27.4secs for a 3.3m win in a mile rate of 2:00.2.   New Romantics finished second after trailing the leader throughout from the pole, while Courageous Call moved to the breeze early and battled on for third just ahead of Swiftly Tothebeach.   Showgun Thomas, by Bettors Delight out of Forest Charm, won a roughhouse affair in the two-year-old boys’ division, Alford driving the polemarker through along the sprint lane from the leader’s back spot in the home stretch to edge out Pop The Cork (Anthony Butt) and Four Starzzz Forsa (John Justice) in a thriller.   The second horse had to survive a protest post-race from the third and fifth (That’s How Weroll) placegetters.   Showgun Thomas rated 1:57.0.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

A host of promising two-year-olds will vie for a share of the rich Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic prize money starting this week at Ballarat and Geelong. The colts and geldings will be in action at Ballarat on Wednesday night, while the fillies will take to the track on Thursday night at Geelong. Kialla trainer Heath Redwood will take two youngsters to Ballarat in the hope of qualifying for the $50,000 Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic Final at Melton on May 15. His best winning chance appears to be unbeaten colt Iconic Valor, which has been the subject of several sizeable offers after winning his two starts. “He’s a very nice horse,” Redwood declared. “I’m really happy with him. He’s 100 per cent and he’s drawn perfectly, with his main danger (Apache Shark) drawn eight.” Redwood begins the night with last-start winner Showgun Thomas, with the son of Bettors Delight to come from barrier eight. “He’s got a good draw for him because he’s an opportunist, who can sit on the speed and peel off a pretty good last sectional,” Redwood said. “Andy’s (Gath) horse (Franklin Art) will probably push forward from the pole, so we should get our shot at them.” In the first of the fillies’ heats the Emma Stewart-trained Whirily School will be looking to stretch her record to three wins at her fourth start when she begins from gate four. To be driven by Greg Sugars, the daughter of Courage Under Fire boasts two professional victories over Diamond Jasper at Geelong and Maryborough. Highly-rated pacer Swiftly Tothebeach will line up in the second heat. Backed into $1.40 favourite on debut, Swiftly Tothebeach finished third, beaten two-and-a-half by Whirily School after working in the breeze. HRV Media

Plans remain uncertain for exceptionally-bred harness racing youngster Madeeba despite his victory at Horsham yesterday. Scoring at his second start, the Maree Caldow-trained freshman is eligible for several majors, but his wayward manners may have altered connection’s original schedule. Looking to contest the Vicbred Platinum Series with the two-year-old, Caldow is likely to bypass the Empire Stallions-sponsored feature. “He is out of the draw because of his little mistake at the start yesterday, which could see him miss the Platinum,” Caldow’s reinsman-husband, John, said. “The heats are next week, with the Final eight days later, which means he will be ODM for the series. “Over 1700 metres, that makes it pretty tough, so we may give it a miss and work on getting him back in the draw before the Vicbred heats start up in June. “He’s also got the Breeders’ Crown after that, so there are still plenty of options.” Galloping during the score-up, which saw him miss the start by a conservative 20 metres, Madeeba was sent forward three-wide as soon as he settled into stride. Quickly navigating the field, Madeeba worked his way to the front as Warminster was eased to take the trail. With John sitting quietly in the cart, the colt sprinted to a five-and-a-half metre win from Streetside Classic, with Warminster a head away third. “He is a pretty nice type, which goes well,” John said. “He has always shown a bit of ability and is definitely improving. “Hopefully he can keep improving as the season goes on, but I can’t see any reason why he won’t.” By Courage Under Fire, Madeeba is from former handy mare and good producer, Mesmerizing, which is also the dam of Group One winner, Messini. “She also has a three-year-old by Grinfromeartoear which is about three weeks from trialling,” John said. “He goes already too, but has just been too overgrown to race. There has never been anything wrong with him, he just kept growing and simply wasn’t ready. “With a bit of luck he can make up for lost time.” PAUL COURTS

Talented harness racing performer Smolda capped off a sensational Australian campaign for New Zealand’s power couple Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen with his win at Menangle just moments ago. With Rasmussen in the cart, Smolda caused a minor upset in the Len Smith Mile – securing the feature in 1:50.6. After enjoying the perfect one-one trail, the son of Courage Under Fire scored by two-and-a-half metres from Beautide, with Lennytheshark two metres away third. The gelding’s victory provided the duo with consecutive Group Ones, having annexed the rich Australian Pacing Gold Final with Our Waikiki Beach less than an hour earlier. Last week Smolda captured the Group Two Renshaw Cup at Penrith. “I couldn’t be happier with that run,” Purdon said. “As I have said before, he was racing well back home without any luck and has really thrived at his two runs in Australia. “He got the great trail today and Natalie drove him to perfection. “It was very pleasing to see him finish the race off like he did.” Along with Our Waikiki Beach and Smolda, Purdon/Rasmussen have also enjoyed victories with exciting youngster Follow The Stars. Also triumphant at Penrith, Follow The Stars was a cut above his rivals in the Caduceus Cup at Melton last Friday night. With Luke McCarthy in the cart, the son of Art Major rated 1:56.8 over 2240 metres to easily account for Mister Wickham and Wingara. Interestingly, all three winners are Australian-bred! PAUL COURTS

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall is out to right a wrong. He is hell bent on breaking through for his first victory in the Memorial Day Stakes, which will be run over the sprint journey for the first time at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall prepares four of the 12 runners in the $22,500 feature, with lightly-raced five-year-old John Of Arc his best chance. The son of Courage Under Fire drawn awkwardly in barrier six. Halls other runners are Zacs Nuggett from barrier three, Notabadexcuse, which will begin from 10 and Benjamin Banneker, which has the outside of the second line to contend with. Successful at 12 of his 19 starts, John Of Arc finished fifth, two lengths behind the winner Pacific Warrior last week. John of Arc was restrained from barrier six and settled towards the tail of the field before Gary Hall junior made his move at the bell. After racing three and four-wide, John of Arc battled up the home straight. In what is a rarity for Hall, who has won nearly every major race in Western Australia, the Memorial Day Stakes keeps proving elusive. Hall’s best efforts in the event are five seconds - Zakara (1991), Bengeeman (2003), Patches (2006), Dartmoor (2009) and Whos Mistake (2013) and two thirds --- Talk To Me Courage (2010) and Sanjaya (2013). The Memorial Day Stakes was inaugurated in 1959 when Ken Ford drove Halt to victory over Noon Quest and Steel Master. KEN CASELLAS

Talented New Zealand harness racing performer Smolda kicked off his latest Aussie campaign on a winning note at Penrith last night. Sent across the Tasman to tackle several feature targets, Smolda annexed the popular Renshaw Cup. With trainer Mark Purdon in the cart, the son of Courage Under Fire scored with ease from Yayas Hot Spot and Blazin N Cullen. Covering the last half in a slick 55.9 seconds, Smolda rated 1:56.7 for the 2525-metre journey, with his time slicing a second off Blazin N Cullen’s track record established in last season’s Cup. Pleased with Smolda’s performance, Purdon stated the outing will “top off” the gelding heading into his main mission – Len Smith Mile. The Group One is scheduled to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 26. “He went super last night and never felt like he was going to be beaten,” Purdon said. “He has been racing well at home without a lot of luck, but tonight he showed he is at the top of his game. "I will keep him ticking along for the Len Smith Mile in 10 days.” Smolda’s success was the opening leg of a double for Purdon, who also scored with exciting youngster Follow The Stars. PAUL COURTS

Mat Rue almost brought off a driving treble in the final race at Bathurst last Friday, going down by just a half-head, but it was hard to detect any disappointment in his voice as he came back to scale with the undoubted “ call “ of the night. “Lexy’s had a big few minutes!” he announced. This was in reference to a wonderful double for Eugowra owner Lex Crosby, with Lexys On Fire scoring its maiden win in the Bathurst race, just minutes after its younger half-sister Read About Lexy had led all the way to take out a heat of the Victorian Oaks at Melton. Lexys On Fire, the Gold Bracelet winner during the recent Bathurst carnival, is a well-known and much-admired filly, trained by Rue’s boss Bernie Hewitt. With the Oaks heat at Melton set to go only ten minutes ahead of the Bathurst race, Rue just, somehow, managed to be late onto the track with Zirconia, and already knew the Melton result. Rue’s drive was impeccable, but it wasn’t good enough to overcome Lexys On Fire ($14.40, Ken Sharp/David Harris), which came from midfield in the running line to get the bob in on the line.  The Courage Under Fire daughter had been most consistent, without winning, in nine starts this season, and her timing in securing this first win, within minutes of her little sister’s biggest success to date, was perfect. For Eugowra trainer Ken Sharp, it was a maiden win on the new Bathurst track, while David Harris, who’s a relative stranger there, was unsure of the result until he checked with the more experienced Rue. Lex Crosby would have been delighted by the spontaneous applause which erupted in the Bathurst clubhouse when Read About Lexy got up at Melton.  No doubt he staged an early exit from the post-race celebrations there, to get to a television monitor for that “other” race back at home.   All of which might be summarized as one late, one early, two Lexys, and timing that worked out just right. Earlier in the night, the feature Western Districts Derby saw a dominant display by Dubbo gelding Mister Jogalong ($2.30 favourite, Mick/Kurt Lew), which dictated terms throughout, sprinting the last half in 55.4 seconds to run out  a very easy winner, from Jethros An Eagle and Lexus On The Beach. It was his first run in six weeks, but a smart trial win at Dubbo had him well prepped for the race. The winner now of six from ten, he will likely aim up at the Breeders Challenge, but is also eligible for the Victorian Sires series, run at about the same time. Other winners on a night of competitive racing which produced some very close finishes: Likeallofus ($4.70, Wendy/Emma Turnbull), too tough in a 2260 metres C1 class, after the slow early speed prompted Emma to change tactics and work to the death seat, where it confirmed the stable’s good opinion with its gritty effort; Allnight  Kiss ($4.30 favourite, Bernie Hewitt/Mat Rue), came three-wide from the bell in a 2260 metres 3C0-3C1, to give Mat Rue the first leg of a winning double (with  a further three seconds); Makin Memories ($85.50, Pat McCarthy), responded well to several changes by his trainer-driver, and on his best behavior throughout the second division of the C1 class, to defy his starting quote; A Mighty Storm ($6.20, Wayne Watterson), highly impressive in a C2-C4 sprint, sprinting sharply when extricated from the markers and stopping the clock in 1:55.1, for his  highly delighted breeder-owner-trainer-driver; Our Castanea ($10.70, Ken/Mat Rue), ground out a tough win in the C0 sprint, after coming three-wide without cover, and prompting a warm tribute from the driver for his modest and unassuming dad; Tailamade Billy ($6.40, Steve Turnbull), its first win at start five, in a 2C O sprint, after some good efforts during the recent carnival, and possibly to continue on to the Breeders Challenge series. The Bathurst HRC made a presentation between races to Steve Turnbull, in recognition of his having his twenty-thousandth starter at a recent meeting.  A staggering milestone, for a champion trainer-driver who’s an ornament to the sport. by Terry Neil

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