Day At The Track
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Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding will give Roll With Lachlan another taste of top-class harness racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday ahead of his push for a place in the $150,000 Breeders Challenge final. The Newcastle Derby champion qualified for June 22 semi-finals in the three-year-old colts and geldings series with second to Leonidas at Newcastle on May 31. Although safely through, Roll With Lachlan will take on NSW and Tasmanian Derby winner Max Delight in another heat on Tuesday. "We thought we'd give him another run for the fitness and to get him running the quick times at Menangle that he's not used to," Harding said. "He needs the run, but he's been going all right." Cessnock trainer Clayton Harmey's Stephens Spirit will also contest the heat. Harmey has Straddie in the second heat and Tralee Rocks in the fillies qualifier. Keinbah trainer Roy Roots jnr will look to get My Anna Rani into the semis of the 3YO fillies series. Harding hopes Roll With Lachlan's brother, Rocknlachlan, can qualify for the four-year-old Breeders Challenge decider through the semis on June 22. He was second at Peak Hill on Sunday. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

Bobs Farm harness racing trainer Geoff Harding loves coming to Dubbo but needed to secure a couple of winners to make it worth the 400-kilometre trip. He got exactly that on Tuesday night as he grabbed three winners during the Boxing Night meeting at Dubbo Harness Racing Club. Rocknlachlan, Sackheim, and Strathlachlan Andy all saluted while Trijet also came home in third. Harding said they had come expecting some success. “It’s too far to come for just a joy ride,” he said. “I reckon Dubbo’s a great little half-mile track and it’s even better when you win on it.” The night couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for Harding.  His son Matthew was in the gig for the $3500 Radio 2DU/Zoo FM Pace (1720 metres) for three-year-olds and older, with Rocknlachlan proving far too strong for the rest. The three-year-old gelding started from barrier four as the $2.10 favourite ahead of the Wayne Grey-trained and driven Shadow Dealer at $2.50. Shadow Dealer and Bee Bee Elle ($32.90) took the early lead, while the younger Harding was content to sit behind and take it easy. They covered the first half of the last mile in 60.4 seconds before Barry Lew’s Karloo Jonno ($84) tried to get in on the action. As they greeted the bell he went three-wide but wasn’t able to get around the leaders before the bend. He had to do plenty of work and along the back straight his challenge began to fade. At the same time, Rocknlachlan’s was only just beginning. He moved three wide as they came onot the home straight and raced away to claim a comfortable victory by 4.5 metres in a mile rate of 2:00.2. Shadow Dealer was second ahead of Michael Pay’s I’m Super Sophie ($12). Harding’s second runner Ruffalo ($16) just missed out on a placing. “We thought he could win,” his trainer said afterwards.  “He had a good run. Hopefully he can keep improving. If he improves a bit more he might make a handy horse.” Harding said he was preparing the Rock N Roll Heaven x Strathlachlan Kay progent for the Evolution Race Series at Newcastle. The meeting got better as Sackheim won the Ron Hoy Memorial (1720m) as a $1.80 favourite, ahead of Shazam Shannon ($10.90) and Barkway Arnold ($3.80). Harding’s treble came with Strathlachlan Andy’s victory as $1.30 favourite in the Tab.com.au Pace (1720m), beating Koloura Flight ($50.40) and Smart Major ($28.70) to the post. By Mark Rayner  

The Parkes Harness Racing Club will farewell 2015 on Thursday night with its feature meeting of the season. A big crowd is expected with a fireworks display on track after the last race adding to the trackside entertainment. Sparks look set to fly on the track, especially in the Langlands Hanlon Sprint, with a number of metropolitan performed horses engaged. The Geoff Harding trained Strathlachlan Andy has returned from a recent trip to Queensland and will be looking to return to the winners' list after finishing third in his two runs at Albion Park. Reinsman Matthew Harding will be back in the sulky after winning on the six-year-old in early October. "I couldn't get the time off work to go to Brisbane to drive up there so I missed the trip to Queensland but I'm looking forward to driving Strathlachlan Andy at Parkes," Matthew Harding said. "I thought his runs at Albion Park were really good, he was caught deep at his second run up there and just kept on trying but I don't think Thursday night's race is any easier." While Strathlachlan Andy has been driven aggressively as he has made his way through the grades, Harding believes he will need to be more conservative going forward. "It doesn't get easier from here. He is always going to be racing a nice horse in this class so we might need to be a bit quieter with him in the early and middle stages. "This week there are a few good chances and I would be very surprised if they didn't break 1:58.0 - I don't want to go in with a preconceived plan but I'm confident there will be speed on from the start." Harding confirmed the family did consider taking Strathlachlan Andy to Bathurst for the Shirley Turnbull Memorial last weekend. "Parkes was always on the agenda because he has been balloted out of a few races and we knew the handicappers couldn't leave him out of the feature sprint. "We did toy with the idea of going to Bathurst and while we know he couldn't have beaten that field, he might have been able to run a place with the right run." Harding has nominated Satellite Ace as the horse to beat on Thursday. "It looks set to get a nice run through in the early stages off the back row so Satellite Ace is a logical danger but there are a number of other chances." The Langlands Hanlon Sprint is race four on the card and is scheduled to begin at 7:47pm. Greg Hayes

Strathlachlan Andy and Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding will hit the road this weekend for Sunday's Carnival Of Cups harness racing meeting at Cootamundra. The son of Blissfull Hall does all of his fast work on Birubi Beach but will travel more than 1180 kilometres on his return trip to the Riverina this weekend. "All of my horses do their fast work at the beach, they can jog at home and I take the babies to the track but the majority of the time they are on the sand," said Harding. "Strathlachlan Andy is a good traveller so the long trip to Cootamundra won't worry him and I will leave on Saturday so it will give us plenty of time to get there for Sunday." Strathlachlan Andy will compete in Cootamundra's South West Fuel Centre Wattle Time Cup, the feature event on the eight race programme. The five year old has won seven of his last nine starts and despite drawing the back row does look hard to beat. "There is no doubt that he is getting stronger and he has been driven more aggressively this season but he is still a better horse when he is sat up. "James (Harding) is going to drive him again on Sunday, he has got a good record on him." Harding spent some time in America when James headed across to work for a leading trainer. "When James was in the USA I went over and spent some time watching Jimmy Takter and how he trains and I have brought back some of the ideas and I think it has made an improvement to my team. "I'm working eight at the moment and there are a couple of young ones there as well so there is enough to keep me busy." Harding is mindful that Strathlachlan Andy has had a long preparation and is considering a spell. "I'll see how he pulls up after Sunday but he is still only assessed M0 so I might take him to Queensland for a couple of races before giving him a break. "I can then bring him up again and concentrate on racing him at Menangle in M0 races next preparation." Stathlachlan Andy is looking to win his fourth Carnival Of Cups event for the season after winning at Tamworth, Narrabri and Armidale and is well placed to be crowned the leading horse for the series and win his owner a further $5,000. The South West Fuel Centre Wattle Time Cup is race seven and is scheduled to begin at 3:44pm. Greg Hayes

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