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Mario Attard hopes his beloved boy is ready to become a man. Dont Hold Back will step out Friday night in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Pace, the Courage Under Fire colt’s first exposure to open age metropolitan harness racing. “He has got to take it to the next level now,” Attard said. Attard is the just turned four-year-old’s owner, trainer and, more often than not, driver, and was at the centre of jubilant scenes when Dont Hold Back won the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series title on July 2. A season of age racing opportunities still lie ahead, but they will be intermingled with transitioning to M class racing, beginning with Friday night’s Group 3 $30,000 feature. Unfortunately it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. “I had (the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Pace) in mind and wanted to give him a couple of starts before hand, but about three weeks ago I took him down to the beach, where I have taken him plenty of times, and he cut his leg,” Attard said. “That put me back again. It is tough to go into a race like this without races under his belt.” Dont Hold Back trialled at Melton last Tuesday when third to Cruz Bromac and Field Major, and then again last night when he won in a 1:59.9 mile by a head from Wingatui Dew and Charlie Macsheen. The next chapter is clearly still to be written. “He’s got to step up to the next level,” Attard reiterated. “This horse has done what he’s done basically out of the paddock, I’ve nursed him for as long as I can, and now it’s make or break for him as far as making the step to the elite level.  “I will try and race him against four-year-olds. If he comes up to the next level I might go to Perth to contest the Golden Nugget, but that would be more about the holiday and the experience given how Chicago Bull is going. With him you take it day by day and he’ll let me know where we go to from here.” Friday night’s racing at Tabcorp Park Melton will also feature The Pegasus Club Pace, an $18,000 prize that has lured a nominee for Emma Stewart’s smart mare Berisari in addition to Our Missionary Man, Johnny Fox and last start winner Lucky Lombo. Race programme for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 21 October 2016 Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)    

“Everything is on track for the Inters for John of Arc and I’m very excited about his return to harness racing this week,” said Herron trainer Clive Dalton. The injury-plagued John of Arc will start from the outside in a field of eight in the 2130m TABtouch Super Pick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Dalton is confident that the Courage Under Fire seven-year-old will resume with a victory. John of Arc has not appeared since finishing seventh behind My Hard Copy in the WA Pacing Cup last January, but Dalton declares that the gelding should prove too talented for his rivals. This will be John of Arc’s first start for Dalton and the New Zealand-bred gelding will be driven for the first time by Chris Lewis. “John of Arc has got suspensory ligament problems, but he’s sound at the moment,” said Dalton, who is setting him and stablemate Elegant Christian for the rich TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. “He’s pretty strong and I think he’s a class above the opposition in this week’s race. “I’ll speak to Chris and we’ll work out a little plan. Initially, we’ll probably come out and have a look and Chris will then decide on his tactics. “If he goes back and then they slacken off, he’ll go forward to the breeze.” John of Arc, placed at each of his three starts in New Zealand, has had 23 starts in Western Australia for 16 wins and two placings. He will clash with five-year-old Ima Connoisseur, who is in dazzling form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, having won in fast time at each of his past three starts, the latest being in Kalgoorlie last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to win the Mount Eden Mile. Ima Connoisseur rated 1.55.2 over the 1750m journey after sprinting over the final 800m in 56.4sec. He also raced without cover before winning from smart stablemate Risk at a 1.53.4 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park two weeks earlier. That followed an all-the-way win over Our Ideal Act, rating 1.56.5 over 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Bonds will also be represented by Burning and Bettor Offer, while Gary Hall sen. will pin his faith on the lightly-raced eight-year-old Toretto, who will be having his third start after an absence of 15 months. Ken Casellas

Byford harness racing trainer Brendan Abbott has high hopes of starting the Gloucester Park meeting on a successful note by winning the opening event, the third heat of the Retravision Westbred Pace, with lightly-raced five-year-old Blacklist. And he has an excellent second string in four-year-old Cams Resurgence. The son of Courage Under Fire, to be handled by Shannon Suvaljko, will start from the prized No. 1 barrier and Cams Resurgence (Peter Tilbrook) is favourably drawn at barrier three. The 41-year-old Abbott took both pacers to Kellerberrin on Sunday and they warmed up for Friday night’s event in good style, with Blacklist sustaining a spirited burst which carried him from ninth at the bell to victory, by a length from Cams Resurgence, who fought on determinedly after working hard in the breeze all the way. Blacklist has been raced sparingly since he made a successful debut fort trainer-reinsman Suvaljko when he won a qualifying heat of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in April 2014. Then, at his next start, Blacklist finished third behind Persistent Threat and Captain Oats in the group 1 $100,000 final of the Sales Classic. While Blacklist impressed with his solid finishing effort at Kellerberrin on Sunday, he is certain to be seen in a vastly different role on Friday night. Suvaljko will be keen to take full advantage of the inside barrier and give the gelding the opportunity to enjoy a pacemaking role. Blacklist is a smart frontrunner who set the pace when a close third to Mako Shadow over 2620m at Northam three starts ago. Two starts before that, at his first appearance after a spell, Blacklist led and was beaten by a margin of a half-head by C C Chevron over 1730m at Kellerberrin. Cams Resurgence gave a stout-hearted performance three starts ago when he raced wide early and then without cover before winning from the pacemaker Texan Tycoon over 1730m at Gloucester Park. Before that victory Abbott had prepared Gloucester Park winners in the past decade with Ricky Rainbow, Death Adda, Shez Sensational and Sukhovey Wind. In an even field on Friday night, Hindu Rajah, Muscle Torque, Sea Me Smile, Gotta Go Chocolate and Master Play will have admirers. Gotta Go Chocolate, who will start from the outside of the back line, caught the eye at 87/1 when he was sixth at the bell and finished fast to be third behind Royal Mach and Kinda Black over 2536m last Friday night. He worked hard before winning easily over 2569m at Bunbury at his previous outing. Muscle Torque, a lightly-raced six-year-old who will start from barrier five, will pay to follow. He raced three back on the pegs in fifth position but was blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit when an unlucky fifth behind Mako Shadow over 2130m last Friday night. Hindu Rajah, trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, chalked up his third win from ten starts when he raced in the breeze before fighting on to get up and defeat the pacemaker Karloo over 1730m at Kellerberrin on Sunday. Ken Casellas

Did Hanress Racing owner Neil Pilcher have a wee inkling or was it yet another smart business move by Trevor Casey? A few days prior to Our Waikiki Beach’s first defeat in 20 starts at Menangle yesterday (Tuesday) Casey bought out Pilcher’s third share in the gifted 3-year-old. Casey now owns two thirds of Our Waikiki Beach with the remaining third owned by Cheryl Rasmussen of Australia. “Neil doesn’t want to travel around as much as he used to and I’m the opposite when I work allows. He’s had a lot of success in racing and I made an offer to him. “I wanted to keep the major shareholding in New Zealand,” Casey told Harness Racing New Zealand a few hours before Our Waikiki Beach’s shock 1.4 metre second behind outsider Ideal Situation in the $9,000 C91.3 FM Mobile for the C5-plus pacers. The $1.10 hot favourite and Luke McCarthy led into the straight but was overhauled 50m out. The winning time for the mile was 1:52.8 with 28.3, 28.9, 27.9, and 27.7 sectionals. It was also the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained bay’s first defeat in 13 starts on the track. He has recorded a 1:50.6 mile at Menangle. But Casey who travelled to Sydney to watch his pride and joy run, rated the Somebeachsomewhere gelding right up there with Lazarus and Stent as the best horses he has owned. “Mark and Natalie have always had a high opinion of this horse and he has reinforced that on the racetrack. He could be anything. People have told me he could easily go a sub 1:50 mile. There’s not much between him and Lazarus but just now I’d probably rate him second just behind Lazarus,” Casey said. “It’s amazing to think that I part-own two of the best 3-year-olds going around in Australasia,” he added. Casey and his co-owners paid $70,000 for Our Waikiki Beach at the Melbourne Sales, simply because they wanted to buy a well-bred Somebeachsomewhere gelding. The 55-year-old Christchurch businessman said the horse nicknamed ‘Barney’ would line up in a Breeder’s Crown heat in Sydney next week before heading to Melton for the Finals next month. Thereafter Casey said Our Waikiki Beach would spell for six weeks and then come back and tackle the big 4-year-old races in both Australia and at Alexandra Park. “The Chariots Of Fire, the Taylor Mile and the Messenger are races I’d like to see him start in but as always Mark and Natalie will make the final call. “They are very astute trainers and I back them in all they do. I’m guided by them,” said Casey. He said Our Waikiki Beach would not start in this year’s New Zealand Cup but fellow 3-year-old Lazarus would. “No we will be concentrating on the 4-year-old races with him next season. He will line up in a Cup one day but not next year. That is Lazarus’s target and at this stage of their respective careers he’s more the Cup horse,” said Casey. As for records Casey said enjoy them while you can. “They all get broken eventually. I just love seeing my horses win and if they happen to break records or run quick times, then that’s a bonus,” he said. Our Waikiki Beach has won four Group 1 races. As a 2-year-old he won the Australian Pacing Gold, the New South Wales Breeders Challenge and the Australasian Breeders Crown. This season he took out the rich New South Wales Derby. The gelding has won $674,221 in his career and there has never been a faster three year old in the Southern Hemisphere. Our Waikiki Beach equalled the time set by Border Control of 1:50.6 when he won a race at Menangle in February. Only six standardbreds have won more than 19 consecutive races in Australasia. San Simeon holds the record with a winning streak of 29. Lucky Creed, Maori’s Idol and Courage Under Fire won 24 races in a row while Aachen and Lyell Creek won 20. With his second placing on Tuesday Our Waikiki Beach joined Satinover, Hyperstat, Village Kid and Lombo Pocket Watch with 19 consecutive wins. Auckland Reactor won his first 17 races in a row. Duane Ranger

Mario Attard handed the keys to harness racing driver Gavin Lang and ‘Group 1 Gav’ did the rest, guiding his beloved three-year-old colt to Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series glory at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Dont Hold Back won to rapturous applause for owner-trainer Attard and his sea of supporters, with the colt by Courage Under Fire out of Braeview Express mowing his opponents down in the straight to claim the Group 1. “I’m really excited,” Attard said. “I’ve got a great family and a great bunch of friends. It’s a lot of fun.” It was Lang’s first drive on the colt, who Attard had previously steered, but with the $110,000 prize pool decided to call in another. “I thought (Gavin’s) the man to give the horse every chance,” Attard said. “I believe he is the best around and he was the right man for the job.” Lang was only too happy to accept, and was up to the challenge of overcoming Dont Hold Back’s tricky barrier draw. Soho Tribeca took up the front running, with Brallos Pass joining him by taking the breeze before the bell. Lang was one-out and five-back, and took Iceenothink’s back to get an armchair ride into the race. At the 100m mark they were a line of four, come the finish line it was Dont Hold Back by 2.8m to Iceenothink, with Brallos Pass a further 3.2m back in third. “Gav being Gav, he knew that Gary Hall was on Iceenothink and he knew he was going to pull out in front of him, the guy is a genius,” Attard said. “I’m very happy,” Lang said. “It was a big decision for Mario to step down and let somebody who had only ever watched the horse before step up and drive him. A little bit of perceived pressure I suppose to get the job done and fortunately the horse was good enough to deliver.” Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

Smythes Creek harness racing trainer Emma Stewart holds plenty of aces in next Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. The three-year-old pacing fillies’ division appears to be one of her strongest hands. Stewart has four runners in the field and semi-final winner Whirily School’s stocks only rose when she pulled gate one at the barrier draw. “It was one of those cases where the wide barrier draw was actually to her advantage,” Greg Sugars said of Whirily School’s semi-final win tonight. “We were able to press forward and once she was able to take up the lead she was always the one to beat. “It’s probably a very honest and fair assessment to say she’s probably a length or so behind the very best of her age group, but she is certainly not far behind them . With a bit of luck in the final she is definitely in with a chance.” Whirily School (Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen) worked forward to eventually find the lead through a 45secs lead time and posted quarters of 30.5, 32.5, 28.9 and 28.9 for a mile rate of 1:58.7. Stablemate Rocknroll Magic will take a power of beating in the final though, despite drawing barrier 11. The filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic made it 15 career wins from 22 starts tonight, notching a 1:57.5 mile rate in the chair (55.2 last half) to overhaul leader Rockstar Angel by a half-neck. “I probably expected that is where I would land in the run but I was still confident enough she’d be good enough,” winning driver Gavin Lang said. “She’s one of the main players (in the final), as you know with Emma and Clayton’s horses this time of the year they’re always on song.” Rockstar Angel has drawn barrier eight so will follow Whirily School. In the three-year-old colts and geldings’ final, semi-final winners Soho Tribeca (American Ideal/Pixel Perfect) and Iceenothink (Art Major/Decethree Lombo) have drawn gates three and four for the Final. Iceenothink finished powerfully tonight for Chris Alford and trainer Larry Eastman (who combined to win this section last year with Menin Gate), holding off Mario Attard and Don’t Hold Back, who also savaged the line from well-back. Iceenothink posted a 1:57.4 mile rate. Soho Tribeca, trained by Jayne Davies and driven by Alford, scored by a half-neck over Carter Bromac, with Brallos Pass third in a rate of 1:57.4. “He was going to get a good run through, (it was) just whether he could stay in front of Brallos Pass. That didn’t work out but he (Brallos Pass) had to do a fair bit of work,” Alford said. “Just got to hope he gets a good draw and he can play a part next week.” Burrumbeet trainer-driver Michael Stanley is set for a busy Vicbred finals night once again, qualifying six pacers through tonight’s semis. His three-year-old Spiritwriter drew the pole in the males’ division and that brings him right into contention.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final Barrier Draw 1: Whirily School 2: Ideal Lifestyle 3: Kalinda 4: Platinum Power (em) 5: Just Wantano 6: Nikkibadwagon 7: Flojos Gold 8: Rockstar Angel 9: Alessa 10: Celebrity Guest 11: Rocknroll Magic 12: Rockabella Starz 13: Champagne Taste Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts & Geldnigs Final Barrier Draw 1: Spiritwriter 2: Battle Born 3: Soho Tribeca 4: Iceenothink 5: Keep On Rocking 6: Senor Macray 7: Brallos Pass 8: Herehecomes 9: Professor Tom 10: Showgun Thomas 11: Illawong Maestro 12: Dont Hold Back 13: Carter Bromac ..................................................................................................................................................................................... Advantage Sundons Courage and Princess Phoenix after the three-year-old trotters' barrier draws for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. Drawn on Friday night amid the pacers' semi-finals, Sundons Courage drew the front row in the colts and geldings and fellow heat winner Cruisin Around will start from barrier eight, while Sky Majesty will start from barrier 12 in the fillies, opening the door further for her rivals. The three-year-old fillies semi-final promises to be an evenly fought and engaging final, with several winning hopes. Among them is Princess Phoenix, a $1.80 favourite in the second heat at Bendigo last Wednesday, who led but was beaten into third by winner Into The Unknown, from Donna Lewis’ Toolern Vale stable, and Geoff Webster’s Rift Valley. The first heat was all about Sky Majesty (Skyvalley/Mystic Hush). Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan was rapt with her filly’s heat win, which she said was one of her “best runs to date”. The 12m victory came after she found the front and careered away, and Sky Majesty should be right in the final despite the tough draw. “I was very happy with her heat,” Quinlan said. “She’s a good chance. There’s not a lot of difference between the horses in the grade, it is pretty even. “(Sky Majesty) can sit and sprint. She is not a class above them, but I think they have all come back to each other.” The three-year-old colts and geldings final also promises much, not the least of which is another showdown between Cruisin Around (Bacardi Lindy/Cloud Chaser) and Sundons Courage. Both won their heats, with Sundons Courage (Sundon/Truscott Photo) a 1.6m winner for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove and Bolinda driver Chris Alford, with Brent Lilley’s $34-shot Kyvalley Tinman running into second. Cruisin Around’s win was even tighter. Driven to one-out one-back by Myrniong’s Greg Sugars, Cruisin Around lost touch with front runners Calder Knight and Big Jack Hammer at the final bend but wound up sufficiently in the straight to win by a short half-head. Bannockburn trainer-driver Geoff Webster’s three-year-old Big Jack Hammer (The Press/Running Pinevale) punched on for second in the breeze and will be a threat come next Friday’s final, says Cranbourne’s Michael Hughes, trainer of Cruisin Around. “There are three or four really good horses,” Hughes said. “(Cruisin Around) has always had a ding-dong battle with Sundons Courage. Big Jack Hammer looked back on song, and a few others are also a chance. It will all come down to who has the best luck.” Hughes’ confidence about his own charge’s horse were only emboldened with Cruisin Around’s heat win. “I think he went pretty good. I was a little worried when he lost ground at the top of the straight, but he did a good job to pick them up in such a quick quarter,” Hughes said. “I give him a really good chance as long as he does everything right. The horse is really good, feels really good, there are no issues. He is a good sit-sprinter, but has also done it the tough way and led before.”   Barrier draws: Three-year-old colts and geldings trotters 1: Kyvalley Tinman 2: Skyflyer 3: Big Jack Hammer 4: Calder Knight 5: Sundons Courage 6: Cargerie 7: Sun Valley Road 8: Cruisin Around 9: Diamond Wes (emg) 10: Sky Me A River 11: Menewa 12: Shetland  13: Imahe Man (ODM)   Barrier draws: Three-year-old fillies trotters 1: Aldebaran Eve 2: Never Never Land (emg) 3: Princess Phoenix 4: Mizurri 5: Defence Power 6: Into The Unknown 7: The Cooler 8: Tension Seeker 9: Getthenet 10: Illawong Bliss 11: Rift Valley 12: Sky Majesty 13: Scottish Sardius (ODM) Michael Howard/Cody Winnell

A bizarre judder bar may not halt Waikiki Beach’s path to the rarest number in New Zealand Harness Racing. Because the three-year-old pacing star could still hunt down Courage Under Fire’s record of 24 consecutive wins by season’s end. Waikiki Beach, who races with the Our prefix in Australia, missed last Saturday’s Breeders Challenge semi final in Sydney after his connections didn’t nominate him until too late because of a miscommunication. He would have been red hot to win both his semi and probably this Sunday’s A$150,000 Breeders Challenge Final, which could have taken him to 21 straight victories to start his career. He was then scheduled to embark on the defence of his Australasian Breeders Crown title, which will comprise three more races, so a clean sweep could have drawn him level with Courage Under Fire with the most consecutive victories by any New Zealand-trained horse to start his career. The connections of Waikiki Beach met last week and toyed with the idea of a Queensland Derby campaign or even bringing him home to New Zealand to prepare for the Breeders Crown. But he will now stay in Sydney instead and that puts the record back on the table for the superstar, who is unbeaten in 19 starts. Waikiki Beach will trial next week and possibly race in a minor race the following week before his Breeders Crown heat at Menangle on July 12. “That is the plan at this stage so he is definitely staying here,” says top Sydney horseman Luke McCarthy, with whom Waikiki Beach is stabled in Australia. That means he could have two seemingly effortless races to take him to 21 wins but with five weeks until the Breeders Crown semis in Victoria and three-year-olds so well treated in the Australian handicapping system, he could easily have another tune-up race in early August. That brings the 24-win record back into play, although the Breeders Crown is looking the toughest test of Waikiki Beach’s career. While leading Victoria rival Shadow Sax has been sidelined, Waikiki Beach’s stablemate and Jewels winner Heaven Rocks is being set for the series, as is the exciting Franco Christiano. “He is a hell of a horse and what happened last week was unfortunate but he is well and has plenty of opportunities to get ready over here,” says McCarthy. The Waikiki Beach stuff up leaves his stablemate My MacKenzie, who was surprisingly beaten in her Breeders Challenge semi last weekend, as the only New Zealand-trained starter at Sunday’s huge Menangle meeting. Lennytheshark warmed up Sunday’s A$100,000 Len Smith Mile with a sparkling 1:51.5 trial win at Menangle on Monday and sometime Auckland pacer Ohoka Punter looks his biggest danger after he bolted in at Menangle last Saturday. But Lennytheshark is red hot after drawing barrier two in the group one, with Ohoka Punter at barrier five. Meanwhile, Alexandra Park fans are in for rare mid-winter dash of pacing class tomorrow night with a stronger than expected line-up for the $20,000 Smith And Partners Lawyers Winter Cup. Not only do Derby and Jewels placegetters Shandale and Motown (respectively) return for the standing start 2700m but they are joined by Messenger placegetter Hug The Wind, Bettor Spirits, Spring Cup and Holmes D G winner Beyond The Silence and a newcomer to the northern scene in New Years Jay. The former Otago mare fashioned a huge reputation with her killer sprints in the south and has now joined the Barry Purdon stable. The Winter Cup is the highlight of a 12-race programme, featuring 120 horses, which shows the benefits of Alexandra Park, or Cambridge, racing as the sole northern club at the end of the week, especially in winter. Tomorrow’s big programme also comes during harness racing’s golden month for turnovers, with pools always larger on the Friday nights before the All Black’s June tests because there is no live rugby to draw punters away from Trackside. Michael Guerin

THE first heats of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge for this season will be conducted at Bathurst on Wednesday night.  Heats will be conducted at a number of different tracks across the state over the next month as horses attempt to qualify for the semi finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The aim of all owners, trainers, drivers and breeders is for their horses to qualify for ‘Super Sunday’ on June 26 with nine Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge finals to be conducted across three age groups. In Wednesday night’s two heats, thirteen different stallions are represented including Courage Under Fire, Art Major, Mach Three and Roll With Joe.  In the heat for the colts and geldings, the two leading stables in NSW are represented.  Belinda McCarthy has Bullet Stride drawn in barrier one while Steve Turnbull has three runners – Rainbow On Fire, Conviction and Atomic Red. Lightly race Mach Three gelding Machgower will have his first run since March for Bigga trainer Dennis Picker.  Machgower was scratched from a heat of the Bathurst Gold Crown and was immediately aimed towards the Breeders Challenge series. Local trainer Bernie Hewitt has four fillies in the second heat.  Leading Sydney drivers Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris have been booked to drive for the Hewitt stable while Bathurst reinsman John O’Shea will also get an opportunity to drive in the race. Sydney trainer Rickie Alchin will make the trip to Bathurst with smart filly Decapria on Wednesday after she broke through for an impressive maiden victory at Menangle last start.  Out of metropolitan performed mare Betapic, Decapria recorded a 1:55.5 victory and won by more than twelve metres.  Elle Yeah finished second and will be forced to race the talented filly again this Wednesday night. Other Alabar Breeders Challenge heats will be conducted at Penrith on Thursday night, Young on Friday afternoon and Newcastle on Friday night. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Greg Hayes Position: Media Manager Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email:

A year ago Luke McCarthy thought Our Waikiki Beach has special qualities.  Now he is sure.  “He’s a freak. He’s got gears. He’s the best horse I’ve driven for sure,” McCarthy said.  “There was something special about him at two, but he’s gone to another level.  “It might not be until he comes up against Lazarus when we’ll see him beaten for the first time. Even then, Lazarus will have to be every bit as good as they say.”  Our Waikiki Beach made it 18 wins from as many starts at Menangle last Saturday night.  It might only have been a $12,720 C3-C5 race, but the win left McCarthy shaking his head in amazement.  “I got attacked in front through the middle stages and I reckon a lesser horse wouldn’t have been able to keep going,” he said.  “At the top of the straight a top mare like Cyclone Kate had enjoyed the cold sit on me, came off to challenge and came quickly.  “But this guy is a freak so he was able to change gears again and hold on really strongly.  “Look at his last three quarters … amazing.”  Our Waikiki Beach was attacked by rank outsider Happyever Laughter through the middle stages, which started with a 28.5sec second split of the last mile.  He then went 27.8sec from the 800-400m and still ripped home in 26.8sec to hold-off Cyclone Kate and win by 1.1m in a 1min57.4sec mile rate for 2300m.  McCarthy aid Courage Under Fire’s NZ record 24-race winning streak was definitely achievable.  Our Waikiki Beach should be untroubled to post his 19th win in a heat of a NSW Breeders Challenge on Thursday week.  He will also be long odds-on to win a semi-final and final of the NSW Breeders Challenge.  That would put him on 21 wins headed into the Breeders Crown, in which he will need to contest a heat, semi and final.  So, if he keeps winning, Our Waikiki Beach could be trying to equal Courage Under Fire’s record in the Breeders Crown final.  “Wouldn’t that be awesome for the game,” McCarthy said. “Shadow Sax has come back really well this season … imagine them locking horns in that final.”  In other news, McCarthy has ruled-out a hit-and-run Melbourne trip this week with Bling It On.  “We looked at the 4&5YO Championship, but he’s not quite fit enough just yet,” he said. “He’s better staying here for another race or two before the Golden Mile then the Len Smith Mile,” McCarthy said.  Bling It On had no racing room when a first-up eighth at Menangle last Saturday night.  “He’s come back a bit on the big side now he’s a five-year-old bull. He needs racing to reach his peak and we’ve got time before the big ones,” he said.  McCarthy said the Purdon/Rasmussen filly My Mackenzie remained right on target for the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO fillies’ series despite being beaten at Menangle last Saturday night.  “She did a good job. She had to come wide on the last bend and I don’t think the 2300m suited her as well as the mile the previous run,” he said.  “It was a hard-run race. They went a 1min55.3sec mile and she was against older horses.  “Dropping back to the mile and against her own age and sex she is going to be very hard to beat.” By Adam Hamilton

Outstanding young harness racing driver Stuart McDonald makes no secret that five-year-old Bonny Under Fire is capable of reeling off a final quarter in 27 seconds, and it is that turn of brilliance that should enable the Victorian-bred mare to prove hard to beat in the $35,000 Races For Roses at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A victory in the 2503m stand would give Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri his third success in this event, after successes with Yippy Yi Yo in 1998 and Arctic Fire in 2011. Bonny Under Fire will start off 20m and McDonald is sure to be happy to keep the mare in a rearward position before calling on her to unwind her typical flourishing finishing burst. McDonald has formed a splendid association with the daughter of Courage Under Fire and has driven her in all of her 13 starts in Western Australia for four wins and five placings. The only query is her standing-start manners. She is one of six runners in the event who have not contested a standing-start event, the others being Bettors Gem and La Mia Juliette, Lady Willoughby, Sovereign Faith and Jungle Jewel. Bonny Under Fire has won at three of her past five starts, all in 2130m mobiles at Gloucester Park. In those three wins she dashed over the final 40p0m in 27.9sec., 27.8sec. and 27.7sec. Olivieri has an excellent second string in Lady Willoughby, who will start off 10m and will be driven by Chris Voak. She is one of three four-year-olds in the race and has excellent winning prospects. She has won at 14 of her 37 starts and this season she has been in splendid form, with her six starts producing three wins, two seconds and a third. Nathan Turvey is confident that the Ray Williams-trained Sovereign Faith will run a great race. He was full of praise for the mare after she had finished boldly, out wide, from sixth at the bell to win by a nose from Mighty Flying Thomas over 2130m last Friday night. “This was a very good warm up for the Race For Roses,” he said. “She steps the stand really good, she’s got a good turn of foot and she’s pretty tough.” Jungle Jewel, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, also ran a good trial for this week’s feature event when she finished strongly from tenth at the bell to finish a close third behind Sovereign Faith last week. She will start from 30m, with Sovereign Faith starting off the 20m mark. Leda McNally, an M14-class mare, will start off the back mark of 50m and cannot be underestimated. She has a losing sequence of eight in stronger company. She sprinted over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.6sec. in winning a 2185m mobile trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. An interesting runner is Bettors Gem, who rises steeply in class, but has the advantage of starting off the inside of the front line. She has raced only 23 times for eight wins, eight seconds and a third placing. Her form this season is hard to fault, with ten starts on country tracks producing five, four seconds and a third. She looked most impressive for trainer-reinsman Shane Young when she set the pace and was not extended in winning a 2185m mobile event at Pinjarra on Monday. She sprinted over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.4sec. Young is sure to be keen to lead with Bettors Gem and if the mare is not placed under pressure early or in the middle stages she could prove hard to catch. The previous time Young started from the No. 1 barrier in the Race For Roses was in 2008 when he was in the sulky behind 12/1 chance Mabel Rose, who raced three back on the pegs and finished second to the pacemaker Fake Occasion. Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 06 May 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 06 May 2016

Self-titled “hobby trainer” Mario Attard wants to soak up every second of life as an owner and harness racing trainer of a boom three-year-old colt. The Rockbank resident will take the reins of Dont Hold Back at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, when the colt by Courage Under Fire out of Braeview Express will start at a short price in the Group 3 VHSRC Victoria Sires Classic. “Win, lose or draw he tries hard and I consider myself lucky to have him,” Attard said. “I’ll have a drive of him. (Regular reinsman) Greg (Sugars) is a fabulous driver and is probably 10 times the driver I am, but I will do it because I enjoy it. I’m a hobby trainer and want to give it a go. “I only have three horses after I bought a yearling. I break them in and get them going from the get go. That’s what horse racing is to me, it’s not about money. If it was I would put Greg on him because he would probably do the job better than I would, but I do it for the enjoyment.” VIDEO: SOAK UP DONT HOLD BACK'S FABULOUS FIVE WINS Dont Hold Back is certainly bringing plenty of joy to Attard’s camp, having claimed $62,830 in stakes after producing eight starts for five wins and two placings, including winning its VHRSC Victoria Derby heat and placing third behind Lazarus in the final. The only non-placing came last start at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 20, when Sugars suffered a flat tyre at the top of the straight after holding the lead with Dont Hold Back. He faded to seventh, 39m in arrears of a fast finishing Zee Dana. “They took my horse on and run a world record time (for three-year-old colts and geldings),” Attard said. “It is hard to keep going at that speed and I don’t think he would have been able to beat Zee Dana. The disappointing thing was that he failed to qualify for the final.” Attard said Dont Hold Back also didn’t “travel too well” in his Sydney stopover and so he put him out for a week “to freshen him up”. “I’m not exactly sure where he’s at.  He trialled last week at Melton and ran home pretty good,” he said.  “He is coming along good. He is going to have to be at his best, with some nice horses in the race. “Shadow Sax is a really smart type, Soho Tribecca won a big race last month, Rocknroll Gold – there are some nice horses in this race. It will come down to the luck on the night and the luck in the race.” Emma Stewart told Trainer Talk Shadow Sax was “a very nice horse” who was “big plans” beyond tonight’s race, but will have to overcome a worst-case scenario draw (barrier eight). TRAINER TALK: READ EMMA STEWART'S THOUGHTS ON HER SEVEN RUNNERS TONIGHT Andy Gath’s has prepared Battle Born for the Victoria Sires Classic and said he thought the horse “has a really good future”. “He is another horse who is a little bit green, he is a little bit in and out in his races, but one who is going to be better with time,” Gath told RSN’s Gait Speed. “He has had a break and freshened up really nice.” With Attard driving Dont Hold Back, Greg Sugars has been released to take the reins of dad Ross Sugars' chance Blackbird Power, which was drawn in barrier 10.  “He’s going really well, but will be up against some very smart horses,” Sugars said. “The barrier draw was no help, he is going well but will have his work cut out. It is a very smart field with Don’t Hold Back, Soho Tribecca and Shadow Sax clearly better horses.” For Attard, he will endeavour to drive Dont Hold Back to the front from barrier six to give him every chance and to, above all, bring him home safely. “I’m just trying to take care of him as much as I can so I can race him as long as I can,” he said. “I don’t have anything to replace him and doubt that I ever will.” Michael Howard

Bruce Harpley has been involved in harness racing longer than he cares to remember. He has enjoyed success at the highest level in the industry but confirmed two-year-old filly Rubies For Tash had shown him another side to the sport he loves and lives for. Up until the birth of the daughter of Courage Under Fire, Harpley never had any interest in watching a foal develop into a racehorse. However after Harley and his wife Tash bred the filly he found himself paying more attention to the young foal. "It is the first time we've bred and had around from the time she was born, I've never been one of those trainers who takes too much notice of a horse developing a character and traits but it has been different with Rubies For Tash, I've really enjoyed watching her develop," Harpley said. "We bought the filly's mother Roses For Tash and she was a good mare for us." " She was by Brioso Hanover, won a few races at Harold Park and now has produced this filly that I think will do a really good job during her career." Rubies For Tash has always showed ability and Harpley isn't surprised she has made such a good start to her racing career. "From early on she was a bit bossy with the other foals which I liked about her." "Trevor and Judy Rutland broke her in for me, I remember them saying speed is definitely not going to be an issue for her and I had the same opinion when I had my first drive of her." "When she had her first race start she showed a great turn of foot off a very slow speed and that got me pretty excited because that normally means there is something special inside." While barrier fourteen will mean Rubies For Tash will have to produce something special to win, Harpley believes the bigger Bathurst track will help. "If you drew outside the second row on the old Bathurst track the task would have been impossible but on the bigger track you have the option of saving them up for one last shot at the leaders and the barrier draw will mean I will have to do that." "I love two-year-old racing, the older horses just fill a gap between the crops of youngsters coming through my stable." "The babies are like a blank canvas - you don't know whether you are going to create a Picasso, a Ken Done or a picture that a four-year-old child could draw with crayons." "That is the beauty of preparing young horses, you go on the ride with them," Bruce said. Harpley is not labelling a particular rival the hardest to beat and is quick to acknowledge all of the fillies in Saturday's Gold Tiara have earned their spot in the final. "The draw has made the race very interesting and a leading trainer like Cran Dalgety wouldn't have sent Millwood Daisy over from New Zealand if he didn't think she could win, but I reckon there would be several other trainers going into the race that think with the right luck they can win."  "Rubies For Tash is eligible for the Breeders Challenge and the Breeders Crown later in the season, I'm not going to ask too much of her but I do think she is going to improve as she continues to develop," Bruce said. The Slingsby Holdings Gold Tiara is race five on Saturday night and is scheduled to being at 8:20pm. Greg Hayes

Tomorrows Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale at the Bathurst Showgrounds is quite different to most of the other sales held throughout Australia each season. Most of the other sales have a heavy emphasis on the top end of the market where $50,000 yearlings become quite common. The best of the best breeding wise change hands but there is no guarantee they will be the best on the racetrack. The average trainer - driver and owner are shut out in the main at these sales and it is left to companies like Graeme Board to fill the gap in the market by running sales such as the Bathurst Gold Crown. This weekends catalogue is a great example of having yearlings to fit everyone's budget with all the elite sires represented along with stallions just getting established or having their first crop being sold this year. Courage Under Fire is enjoying a great run on both sides of the Tasman at the moment and he has six entries in tomorrows sale. The pick of them for us is Lot 82 which is being offered on behalf of Tony Dumesny. He is a colt from the former top racemare Edna Anne 1:55.4 ($105,811) and is her first foal. The second dam takes most of the pedigree page so he is very hard to fault on paper. Four Starzzz Shark is always great value for money at the yearling sales and tomorrow at Bathurst should be no exception. He has seven representatives in the sale and we think all seven have something to offer the buyers bench. All of them have plenty of well performed relatives close up on the pedigree page and anyone who has seen Lennytheshark or Frith dominate this season on the track is aware of the quality that Four Starzzz Shark can produce. Modern Art is another stallion who under sells at a lot of sales in Australia and it is a mystery to us why that is. He is closing in on 400 winners in Australia alone and stake earnings in excess of $14,440,000, yet he doesn't quite get the sale results his record would suggest he deserves. He has four yearlings in tomorrows sale and all have a touch of quality about them. Lot 51 appeals to us a lot as the colt for sale is the first foal from a full sister to the very smart Bo Jasper 1:57.9 ($168,436)  Aces N Sevens continues to churn out the winners to the point he now has over 305 on his card with stakes closing in on $13,500,000. He has twelve yearlings in tomorrows sale and they cover a wide cross section of mares but there should be something for everyone pockets amongst the twelve on offer. People tend to forget that Aces N Sevens has produced such stars as Excel Stride 1:50.3 ($769,464), Drumfire 1:49 ($628,739), Ananz 1:53.8 ($527,844) and Lettucerocku 1:52.6 ($489,004) to name just a few and there are bound to be some smart horses amongst a draft of twelve yearlings from such a proven sire With Rock N Roll Heaven having a handful of entries alongside Art Major (3), Roll With Joe (4) and Sportswriter(4), the elite sires are well represented but just maybe the value may come from the sires we have highlighted in this article. Harnesslink Media

The two year old pace at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway tonight looked a fairly open race with several runners being well supported on the tote. Mongolian Storm was sent out the favourite but Tere The Terminator and Nicol Shard were very close up in the betting market as well. Tere The Terminator led from barrier one for Blair Orange and was out by a couple of lengths passing the mile marker and then for no reason galloped and veered out and almost collected Nicol Shard and Dexter Dunn who were improving on his outer. Mongolian Storm and Ricky May took the opportunity to work to the front and then hand up to Nicol Shard who after getting skittled by Tere The Terminator showed speed to whip around the field and lead. The order stayed the same until Bettor To Be Tricky went up and applied real pressure passing the 500 metres mark. Turning for home Bettor To Be Tricky surged to the front and looked the likely winner but Mongolian Storm slowly but surely started to real him in the last 150 metres and went on by in the last 50 metres for a deserved win. Bettor To Be Tricky stuck on really well for second with the first starter Cobra Banner running on late for third. In the coolish windy conditions, Mongolian Storm paced the 1950 metres in 2:24.1, a mile rate of 1:58.9 with the closing sectionals of 58.4 and 29.1. Trainer Paul Court was happy with the run by the son of Courage Under Fire " He has missed a bit of work lately so he was pretty short tonight." " I thought he might be vunerable because of that but class has got him home." " That run will tighten him up bigtime and he can go to the Sires Stakes heat next week now." " Also I think he is better driven with a sit because he has such high speed."  " Whatever he does at two is a bonus as I think he will make a lovely three year old," Paul said. Driver Ricky May was also happy with the run of Mongolian Storm. " He has actually won that a lot easier than it looked." "I was trying to look after him throughout the race as I knew he was short of race fitness." " It was really windy out there as well so it was a  good effort,"  Ricky said. Brad Mowbray, the trainer of Tere The Terminator was still shaking his head when asked for comment on his smart two year old. " He galloped for no reason really which is frustrating but I suppose you can say he is a work in progress."  "He did make up a lot of ground after his gallop to finish where he did so there is no problem with the ability". " We just needs the manners to come right," Brad said Harnesslink Media  

The last leg of this years Australian Pacing Gold Sales Series will be held at the Albion Park Sales Complex in Brisbane on Sunday, starting at 11am and even though there are only fifty lots on offer, there is a real depth to the lots catalogued. A lot of the lots wouldn't be out of place at any sale in Australasia such is the strength of their pedigrees and we have decided to highlight a handful just to prove our point. Lot 415  -  Colt by Art Major from Courageous Annie 1:52.6 ($201,551) This is the first foal from the brilliant Courage Under Fire racemare Courageous Annie who took a lifetime mark of 1:52.6. on her way to winning 15 of her 27 starts. Courageous Annie was a $105,000 purchase at the New Zealand Ready To Run sale of her year which gives you a good idea of her value in the incredibly strong New Zealand market. This colt would attract attention where ever he was offered for sale in Australasia and to have him in the Brisbane catalogue is a big coup for the auctioneers. Lot 417  -  Colt by Christian Cullen from English Elegance 1:53.2 ($174,923) English Elegance was a top two and three year old filly in New Zealand as her record shows and she has done even better in the broodmare barn. Her first six foals have all been winners and all in better than 1:58.4, the whole six of them. Those winners include such smart types as Elegant Christian 1:53.9 ($219,389) who has won 14 from 25 to date and is a full brother to the colt being offered on Sunday. Other winners from English Elegance include Major Moment 1:54.2 ($149,983) and the mare Meet Me In Mayfair 1:58.4($45,793) whose first foal made $37,000 at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 22nd  Lot 424  -  Colt by Rock N Roll Heaven from Sassi (NZ) A half brother to four winners including such talented horses as Mark Anthony 1:54.6 ($190,600) and Assassinator 1:55.9 ($96,303), this colt is from a half sister six winners including the champion New Zealand age group performer in Roman Gladiator 1:55.8 ($424,516) and ill fated Scorching 1:57.9 ($117,138). It is a highly sought after New Zealand family with a reputation for producing high class juveniles. The grand dam of this colt  in Assisi was the star two year old filly of her year in New Zealand and has done a huge job in the broodmare paddock. Lot 426  -  Colt by Bettor's Delight from Joyous Times 1:57.9 ($88,824) A Bettor's Delight colt who is the first foal from a quality race winning mare is going to get the buyers bench active anywhere in the harness racing world and here will be no different. The bonus is the rest of the family on the pedigree page is very strong with such standouts as Joy's A Babe 1:55.1 ($221,504), Jaccamo 1:53.3 ($281,471) and Son Of Fortune 1:58.2 ($118,537) all close up in this colts pedigree. When you look at his photo on the APG site, you can quickly see what a classy individual he is and in our opinion he is an early short priced favourite to top the sale on Sunday. Lot 432  -  Colt by Auckland Reactor from Medium Strip This is a colt from the first crop by the champion son of Mach Three in Auckland Reactor from a half sister to one of the best racemares of all time in Queensland in Forever Gold 1:51.7 ($700,593). Drop Dead Gorgeous 1:54.4 ($345,836) and The Red October 1:57.8 ($175,639) are close up in the pedigree so plenty of depth there as well. At the recent New Zealand sales, several of the leading trainers outlaid good money for yearlings from the first crop by Auckland Reactor. Mark Purdon lead the way with three yearlings including the colt, Chase Auckland for $45,000 but he had plenty of company with Brent Mangos, Greg Payne, Sean McCaffrey and Nathan Williamson also taking an Auckland Reactor home which bodes very well for his future as a stallion. We could carry on here for quite a while reviewing these yearlings in the Brisbane sale such is the depth this year. We think it is the best overall catalogue we have seen in Brisbane for a long time and judging by all the photos of the yearlings we have looked at on the APG site, the stock are in wonderful order heading into Sunday's sale. Harnesslink Media

Little fish might be sweet but many harness racing fans at Tabcorp Park Menangle today were left thirsting for more. More Smolda that is, after the magnificent son of Courage Under Fire obliterated Global View’s world record of 1:53.4 set in March 2015 in accounting for his rivals in the $100,000 Group One Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All. Smolda (Mark Purdon) rated 1:52.7 for his last mile over the 2400m journey to leave many racegoers wishing he was lining up in the Miracle Mile later that afternoon. After drawing the inside of the second row, Smolda eased in the market just before the jump and looked in danger of being stuck in a pocket behind Major Crocker going up the back the last time. Still when Our Sky Major, trained by Mark’s brother Barry and driven by leading reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick, began to drop off before the home turn after a tough run, Smolda and Mark Purdon found a path away from three-back on the pegs and surged into calculations as they headed for the home turn. Purdon had no hesitation urging Smolda into the death seat and turning for home Smolda finished full of running to account for the surprise packet of the race Iam Mr Brightside (Robert Morris) with Major Crocker (James Rattray) showing something like his best form to hold third after leading. Smolda’s splits for the final mile were 29.5s, 28s, 27.6s and 28s for a 2.7m win and a deserved place in history . . . unfortunately not as a Miracle Mile winner but nonetheless still one of the best horses in Australasia. Purdon couldn’t hide his admiration for the seven-year-old gelding: “It’s a time-honoured race and there’s a lot of great horses here. “He’s a great horse and I knew we were rolling all the way. He felt great in the race and I was worried about our position but the chance came to get off and I had to take it. “This horse means a lot to us. We bought him from Australia and he’s always had a special place in our hearts. “He’s had his problems along the way but he’s come back every time. We just love him.”

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