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Queensland horseman Steven Doherty is ready for the next chapter in his career. Today (Monday), Doherty will leave Australian shores bound for Europe where he will be based with trainer Henk Grift in Germany for the next twelve months. The 28yo will join the Dutch born trainer who prepares a huge team of trotters near Dusseldorf. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for the gifted farrier and he’s eager to make the most of his time abroad. “I’ve got to thank Darren McCall and his partner Karina for providing me with this opportunity. Karina is a good friend of world respected administrator Klaus Koch and things snowballed from there, I got my visa sorted at the German Consulate in Sydney and now we’re off and I can’t wait.” Doherty explained. Grift regularly competes at venues in France, Germany, Scandinavia and his native Holland with great success. Doherty will carry out plenty of farrier work for the Grift stable but is also hopeful of doing some race driving during his time in northern Europe. “I’m not actually sure what my role will be within the stable but I know there will be plenty of horses to be shod and that’s fine because I’m certain to learn many new techniques, it will be vastly different to what I know but I’m really looking forward to creating new styles and learning a lot more in this area. “If I can carry out some race driving during my time up there that will be an added bonus, I enjoy the trotters and it will be great to work with some very talented animals. “The timing is just right; I’m young and single with no major commitments and I’ve heard so many great stories from those who have travelled previously. I’m going with an open mind and I’m really looking forward to it although the language barrier may take some sorting but that’s all part of the adventure.” Doherty is the son of Peter, a respected horseman along with his grandfather Jim Madden while his Uncle Craig McKinnis, is a highly decorated Victorian based farrier. In 2006, Doherty represented Queensland in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship staged in both Victoria and Tasmania. Doherty drove his first winner at age 16 when successful aboard the Ann Perrin trained Karamea Rosalie at Rocklea. Former Redwood Classic winner Bonbillie Fella is rated as the best trotter that Doherty has set behind, winning three of his four drives behind the Fake Left entire. By Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)  

Terang trainer Marg Lee continued her remarkable strike rate, when first starter Keayang Active greeted the judge in the Bayswater Jayco 3-Y-0 Pace over 2100 metres at Charlton in Central Victoria on Monday September 25, returning a mile rate of 2-02. Driven by nephew Glen Craven who has only just returned to the sulky after having a knee attended to, Keayang Active a well supported gelded son of Art Major and the Fake Left mare Delta Dream began speedily from the pole and despite a serious challenge as the mobile pulled away by Jumbo Asakei (gate six), easily retained the inside running. Travelling boldly under a tight rein, Keayang Active bounded away on the final bend to record an untouched 5.1 metre victory in advance of In The Trenches (one/two – three wide last lap), with Jumbo Asakei which had dropped down to trail the winner after the early burn a further 1.9 metres away in third place. The heavily backed Ellen Tormey trained and driven favourite Done And Dusted also on debut, dropped out after moving to face the open mid-race. Popular Moonlight (Maryborough) trainer John Douglas made a welcome return to the winners stall when lightly raced 8-Y-0 Wind Cries Maori/Lopsided gelding Right Side Up scored in the Charlton & District Community bank Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2100 metres. Making his 30th appearance at the races, Right Side Up with Bendigo’s Chris Svanosio in the cart, led throughout in accounting for a death-seating Sans Frontiere which appeared to have him covered on the home turn, with the 40 metre equal backmarker Allawart Ugo (one/one) third. The mile rate a pedestrian 2-09.5. John Douglas was one of Victoria’s top junior reinsmen in the Showgrounds and early Moonee Valley era when attached to John Harland’s Flemington stable. On a day of short priced favourites, Mildura’s Shayne Cramp combined with Nathan Jack to land the Dunlop Superdealer Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2100 metres with South Australian owned mare Spokeswoman, a 4-Y-0 daughter of Art Major and Fatalistic. Safely holding the inside running from the pole, Spokeswoman ($1.50) was untroubled to lead throughout to score from Tere T which had an early dig for the front from gate four before dropping down to be three back the markers. Aftermidnight Sam (one/one – three wide last lap) finished third. The mile rate 1-58.5. Last season’s leading trainer at Charlton, Rochester based  Mark Thompson snared the Charlton Community Newsletter Pace with classy 4-Y-0 Falcon Seelster/Karamea Toastime gelding Timeseel an unbackable $1.10 chance. Driven by stable reinsperson Ellen Tormey, Timeseel had nothing more than “a stroll in the park”, winning by 14.5 metres from Wealthy Warrior which trailed and Absolootmagic (one/one) in a rate of 2-00.6. by Len Baker

The countdown to next month’s Eugowra Canola Cup has already begun with Bathurst trainer Mark Butler targeting the feature maiden event with three talented pacers.  The best performed of the trio is Sky Falcon, a half brother to Our Sky Major, and he has been performing extremely well at the trials at Bathurst over the past month and looks set to be a major contender for $20,000 event. “He has won three trials at Bathurst over the last few weeks and I’m really happy with where he is at and by the time the Canola Cup comes around he will be spot on,” Butler said. “When he first arrived in Australia he was pretty fine but after the few runs that I gave him he had a good break and he has really thickened up with the spell, he is looking super.” Butler has been giving the son of Falcon Seelster plenty of ground work and he admits that it has been a case of timing his run with the four year old. “He has been brought up very slowly but I have focused on the Eugowra race because it is one I would really like to win in the country, it has been won by some really nice horses and you have to have a fair bit of ability to win one of them.” “The other two horses I have ready for the race are Marty Bee, he is a bit of a one paced type but he is very tough and he just keeps on coming and Left Neglected, I think he is one of the last sons of Fake Left, he is unraced and a big raw boned type but he is going to make a nice horse.” Butler is contemplating setting Sky Falcon for the Mount Eden Series during the Miracle Mile carnival, a race eligible for four year olds assessed C0 to C5. “It is definitely the sort of race I would be thinking of setting him for after Eugowra, if he isn’t quite ready for that then one of those country finals at Menangle would be a good option too.” Courtesy of Harness Racing New South Wales

Talented two-year-old pacer Mickwillrev stamped himself as a horse with a future following his game win in the $10,000 Tasmanian Premier’s Breeders Plate over 2090 metres at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart tonight (Sunday). Mickwillrev faced the breeze outside of the well-backed Victorian youngster Hand Of The King for almost the entire race but he made light of the task. Premier reinsman Gareth Rattray looked to be working overtime on Mickwillrev turning for home but the bay gelding dug deep at the business end of the race to go on and score by a metre from Rusty Red Comet that trailed the leader and had to be eased back to make his run three-wide. Hand Of The King hung on for third ahead of the fast-finishing Vande Velde and Who Is Hardeen. It was Mickwillrev’s third win from only five starts this season and he was second at his other two outings. The Craig Hayes-trained gelding is by Live Or Die from the Fake Left mare Midnight Sapphire that has had two foals to race and bother are winners with the other being Cantiscape that won eight and was placed 14 times from 60 starts in New South Wales. by Peter Staples

Pelicanrama, Miss Galvinator, Lourdes and Cornsilk, four of the best harness racing mares ever raced in this country, will go up for auction at the Soho Standardbreds Weanling and Mares In Foal Sale to be conducted by Davidson Cameron & Co Dubbo Pty Ltd on Sunday, July 28 at Tamarin Park, Toolern Vale.

As part of our Breeders Challenge sponsorship with Alabar Bloodstock, Harness Racing NSW will proudly offer services to both Art Major and Mach Three again this season.

Empire Stallions' flagship Rocknroll Hanover topped the sire averages at the Australian Pacing Gold Melbourne harness racing sale held at Oaklands Junction on Sunday (February 3).

Devil Dodger's an upbeat character who has adjusted well to his new Queensland lifetsyle, but tomorrow night (Friday January 25) the former Kiwi will face his toughest harness racing test yet in the Group One $150,000 Ballarat Pacing Cup at Bray Raceway.

In its second season, the first heat of the Christian Cullen mares' harness racing series ticked all the boxes. John Mooney the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Chairman was delighted with the outcomes reporting that.

Scott Phelan is backing doing what he does best on his favourite harness racing track. The 30-year-old Clevedon reinsman notched up his fourth winner since early September at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday November 2).

Art Major, Safely Kept and Fake Left, three stallions who have had a profound influence on breeding in Australia over the past decade, were recipients of IRT sponsored Globe Derby Awards for the 2011/12 season.

In further support for the victims of the Leeton Paceway fire, Yirribee Stud at Wagga and the McCarthy harness racing family have donated a service to For A Reason, the first son of Art Major to stand in New South Wales, with a service fee of $2,500.

Hold your horses North American harness racing fans - you can't lay claim to fame to possessing the richest pacer in history as stated by the world's media last week.

The annual Alabar Bloodstock Blue Ribbon Sale of harness racing broodmares and yearlings is generally regarded as the best production sale in the country. The 21st renewal, to be conducted by Davidson Cameron & Co Dubbo at Alabar's Echuca farm on Sunday, September 23, features an outstanding catalogue of 87 horses including broodmares, yearlings, two and three-year-olds and other racing stock.

Prominent Tasmanian harness racing breeders Fred and Pauline Barker have made moves to wind their enterprise down with a dispersal sale last weekend resulting in all of their breeding stock changing hands.

It might be told as a tale of two coasts. Monticello Raceway pacer, Imposter A scored his 10th harness racing seasonal triumph already this year and he's at the top of the North American leaderboard but he is joined at the acme by Cal Expo pacer Double Dakota, who also has accumulated 10 wins this season.

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