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Harness racing driver and trainer Mark Purdon and his war horse the Courage Under Fire eight-year-old Smolda was outstanding in taking out the $1.1 million TabTouch Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park in front of a large crowd tonight Friday the 9th of December.. Smolda beat the favourite Hectorjayjay who ran a great race and Beaudiene Boaz finished third. The time of the final was a track record 3.31.3 for the 2936 meters which is a very fast 1:55.8 mile rate. Smolda takes his earnings over the $2 million mark with this win. Full article will follow soon. Here is the race; Here is the full article courtesy of Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) In a fantastic fight between two champions it was the New Zealand warhorse who held off the Victorian firebrand to win a barnstorming Perth Inter Dominion. Mark Purdon’s outstanding eight-year-old Smolda led Hectorjayjay into a briskly run race and then held out David Aiken’s superstar, a $2.20 favourite, to win by a half-neck. “It was just a case of fight to the death, to the wire,” a proud Purdon said, savouring further success for the All Stars stable that he shares with trainer Natalie Rasmussen. The crown is added to their Hunter Cup (Smolda), Miracle Mile (Have Faith In Me) and New Zealand Trotting Cup (Lazarus) wins in an incredible 2016 for the stable, which is Victorian bound for the Summer Of Glory at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 28 and February 4. For Aiken’s Avenel team, whose campaign was partly derailed when Lennytheshark was scratched owing to a foot abscess, Hectorjayjay and driver Josh Aiken departed the track knowing they had given all they had. Aiken elected to take Hectorjayjay to the back of the field from gate nine and it would prove wise, with Run Oneover setting an electric pace in finding the front, crafting a 1:35.4 lead time in the 2936m staying test. It seemed the key swoopers were well paced, with Bling It On leader’s back and Beaudiene Boaz one-out and one-back, but there was little respite in 29.8 and 29.3 first and second quarters. Then Purdon broke the race open when he stepped out three-wide from the back and charged around the field, carrying his main threat into the race. The scene appeared set for Hectorjayjay to let down with his scintillating sprint, but the pace had taken its toll and despite Aiken’s best effort it was the Courage Under Fire veteran who would outstay them all and win in a 1:55.8 mile rate, some 1.2 seconds under the previous track record. “A lap out here I wondered if I made the right move,” Purdon said afterwards. “Down the back I knew (Smolda) was enjoying his work, I knew the horse to beat was outside me. “(Hectorjayjay) was going better than me on the corner. I think when Josh (Aiken) went for him, he went for a little bit, but the time that they were going just took its toll.” And with that, Smolda was the 2016 Perth Inter Dominion champion, with Hectorjayjay finishing a half-neck second and Beaudiene Boaz a further 7.9m back in third. The victory would have also brought great joy to Victorian breeder Paul Blackshaw, with Smolda coming from a maternal line his family had been breeding for more than four decades. “He was a magnificent looking individual,” Blackshaw told harnessnews.com.au. “He was just so athletic and carried himself so well, even as a foal. He just had something about him from the start.” It was a point not lost on Purdon as the gelding out of Under The Mattress surpassed $2 million in career stakes. “We bought him the first year (at Australian sales),” he said. “He’s been a wonderful horse, holds a lot of special memories and just one of those horses who never lets you down on race night.” For the full results of the night click on this link.   Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

New Zealand harness racing junior driver Robbie Close is still tied for the lead in the Australiasan Young Drivers Championships with one race left in the series.  Brad Williamson managed to get a win yesterday at  Narrogin after several placings in the earlier heats. Brad won aboard All About The Cash when he led all the way from barrier two with Robbie Close second driving Mon Alisa Jet. After yesterdays Narrogin heat Robbie Close is tied in the lead with Todd McCarthy (NSW) on 69 points with a further six points back to another kiwi Kyle Marshall on 63 points. In the event of a tie, the driver with the most victories shall be declared winner. If still tied, the greater number of seconds and so on until the winner is declared. Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship Points Table: Robbie Close (NZ)            69 Todd McCarthy (NSW)   69 Kyle Marshall (NZ)           63 Matt Anderson (NZ)       62 Nathan Dawson (QLD)    60 Brad Williamson (NZ)     60 Jayson Finnis (SA)            49 Jason Lee (VIC)                40 Stuart McDonald (WA)   29 Wade Rattray (TAS)         27   Harnesslink Media

Exciting Victorian pacer Hectorjayjay, an abysmal failure at his harness racing debut, is poised to become one of greatest bargains in recent times by proving the master of his nine rivals in the $1.1 million final of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The six-year-old is only the second pacer owned by school maths teacher Matt McLellan, who became interested in harness racing seven years ago and did not even go to the Shepparton yearling sales in early 2012 when he relied on a friend to act as his agent, with a budget of just $15,000. “I had never set eyes on any of the yearlings and I got in touch with Cranbourne Harness Racing’s CEO David Scott and asked him to pick out a yearling for me,” the 38-year-old McLellan said. “The first yearling he selected was out of my price range and the second one was a Dream Away colt who cost $10,500.” Now a six-year-old gelding by the name of Hectorjayjay, the brilliant pacer has amassed $672,184 in prizemoney in a glittering career of 36 wins and 20 placings from 69 starts. A win on Friday night will result in his earnings rocketing to $1,277,184. “I named Hectorjayjay after my late grandfather Hector James Johnstone and he was only the second pacer I owned,” said McLellan, who admitted he had a sinking feeling after watching the pacer fail at his debut, finishing a distant last in a two-year-old event at Geelong on March 19, 2013. “I was told ‘you might have a good horse here’ but after he finished a long last I thought that he’s not much good by the looks of it. He was just holding on, but with about 400 or 500m to go he completely lost touch with the rest of the field.” McLellan, the senior mathematics teacher at the prestigious Brighton Grammar School, was heartened when Hectorjayjay showed improvement to finish third at Cranbourne at his second start and the youngster quickly blossomed into a highly-promising pacer.” “He has never looked back since those early days,” said McLellan, who revealed a remarkable side of his unselfish nature when he decided to sell shares in the pacer last February while retaining the majority 67.5 per cent shareholding. Hectorjayjay had earned $243,471 from 23 wins and 17 placings from his first 52 starts at that stage when the gelding’s ownership swelled significantly. “I made this decision to sell some small shares, for two reasons,” McLellan said. “One was because the financial offer was getting too nice to reject and the second reason was that you don’t get the same excitement when you race a horse by yourself. “Financially it was fantastic, but you don’t get the same excitement as a sole owner as you do when you’ve got a few others in the ownership. It was enjoyable when I had the horse by myself, but now it’s more enjoyable sharing with people you like. It was remarkable how much bigger the offers were earlier this year compared with the offers when he was a three-year-old. Selling the shares has enabled me to buy a couple of other horses.” Driving the bid to get shares in Hectorjayjay was Sydneysider Mick Harvey, a keen student of horseflesh who had never met McLellan when he started communicating with him and asking for a share of the pacer. “I saw Hectorjayjay win a group 2 race at Melton and saw that he possessed unbelievable speed,” Harvey said. “After backwards and forwards a few times we came to an agreement and I split my share among the others --- my partner Jane Hughes, Sky Racing’s pacing expert Gareth Hall, a mate of mine from Manly, the Stokie family and Earl Sakareassen, a prominent businessman in Victoria and owner of a big thoroughbred stud farm in central Victoria.” Several members of the Stokie family will return to Australia from a trip to England in time to watch Friday night’s final and Sakareassen will be delighted to watch the big race in which Hectorjayjay is the first pacer in which he has an involvement. Sakareassen has a Norwegian background and Hectorjayjay races in the colours of Norway’s national flag --- red with an indigo blue Scandinavian cross fimbriated in white which extends to the edges of the flag. Hectorjayjay raced in white with a purple star when he was trained by Bill Walker and then his daughter Simone. McLellan had no hesitation in agreeing to the change of colours, saying that the Brighton Grammar School’s colours were red and blue. “Earl is the only one I actually knew before I decided to sell a few shares in Hectorjayjay,” McLellan said. “I had to convince him to get into the standardbred scene and now he’s loving it with his very first pacer.” McLellan’s first harness horse was Marlon, an Our Sir Vancelot gelding who won one minor race from 13 starts in New Zealand (early in 2011) before being bought by the school teacher. The gelding raced in Victoria as Za Marlon, with McLellan explaining he added the prefix because he had a superstition about the letter Z. Za Marlon won at his 17th start (at Cranbourne) for McLellan and driver Simone Walker and was retired after having 41 starts for McLellan for just one win and ten placings for stakes of $10,600. But this lack of success did not deter McLellan, who has struck it rich by his decision to buy a yearling at the 2012 Shepparton sales. But everything that McLellan touches does not automatically turn to gold. He’s had a few ups and downs in the sport. He paid $16,000 to purchase Hectorjayjay’s half-brother Maycasaurus, who has inherited none of Hectorjayjay’s wonderful ability. “I tried to get him to the racetrack, but he was never good enough,” McLellan said. “After three trainers tried him out and said that he had no hope of racing, I’ve put him in a paddock at Earl’s property and just use him as a riding horse. ”Recently we purchased a couple of Christian Cullen youngsters from New Zealand --- and one of them had a heart attack and died when jogging four weeks ago. That’s the racing game; you’ve got to take the good with the bad. It’s a lottery.” McLellan has not seen all of Hectorjayjay’s races. He was in England as coach of Brighton Grammar’s first and second cricket elevens in the middle of 2015 when the gelding was competing in feature events for four-year-olds in Victoria. He was watching on his mobile phone when Hectorjayjay led and was just beaten in the final stride by Messini in the $110,000 group 1 Vicbred Super Series final. He and his new partners will form a highly-excited group at Gloucester Park on Friday night as they cheer on the brilliant Hectorjayjay. “It’s a very open race and there’s lots of variables,” McLellan said. “I’m just proud that my horse has made it to the big dance and whatever happens, happens.” Ken Casellas

Prominent West Australian owner Steve Chapman was devastated four months ago when his star pacer My Hard Copy fractured a bone in a leg and plans for him to contest the rich harness racing TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series had to be scrapped. But now he is bubbling with enthusiasm and has high hopes of winning the $1.1 million final at Gloucester Park on Friday night with his second string pacer Run Oneover, whom he races in partnership with his wife Tina and their daughter Danielle. Ace trainer Gary Hall sen. has timed the five-year-old’s preparation perfectly for the big race to be run over the marathon journey of 2936m and top-flight reinsman Clint Hall gives the New Zealand-bred gelding a great chance of victory. “He can do it,” Clint Hall declared after Run Oneover drew favourably at barrier two on the front line. “You don’t get the chance very often to be able to lead and win the interdominion. So that’s my aim, to set the pace. “Run Oneover has emerged as a genuine prospect after his tremendous performances in the heats.” Hall sen. shared his son’s confidence, saying: “Run Oneover has gone from strength to strength in this carnival, and it’s exciting.” Run Oneover has struck peak form in the Inters heats, working hard in the breeze when a splendid one-length second to Hectorjayjay, setting the pace from barrier three and coasting to victory over Freyberg and Smolda at Bunbury and then starting out wide from the No. 8 barrier and dashing to the front after a lap and winning from Lennytheshark at Gloucester Park last Friday night.  Whether Run Oneover can forge to an early lead on Friday night is problematical. He has sound gate speed, but could have a problem wresting the early lead from Bling It On, who has a distinct advantage after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Star New South Wales reinsman Luke McCarthy indicated after the barrier draw that he would drive Bling It On with aggression. “He’s got good gate speed and I’ll be going all-out to hold the frontrunning in the early stages,” he said. “After that I’ll decide whether it’s best to keep the lead or take the trail.” Most of the drivers in the final are likely to determine their tactics after the mobile releases the field. There is the possibility that reigning champion Lennytheshark (barrier four), Hectoryjayjay (nine) and Bettors Fire (eight) will charge forward in a bid for the early lead. Alternatively, the drivers of those pacers could well decide to restrain at the start and look for a handy position in the one-wide line. My Hard Copy unwound devastating finishing bursts to score brilliant victories in the past two WA Pacing Cups and he finished a sound sixth behind Lennytheshark in last year’s Inters final at Gloucester Park after being restrained at the start from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. It is interesting that Chapman purchased Run Oneover without realising that the gelding was closely related to the pocket sized sit-sprinter My Hard Copy.         Run Oneover is by Changeover (by In The Pocket) out of Presidential Belle, whose dam Nuclear Atom is a half-sister to Readallaboutit, the dam of My Hard Copy. The David Aiken-trained Hectorjayjay, a firm favourite for the final, is not particularly well bred on his dam’s side. Hectorjayjay is out of Sheer Finesse, who won six minor Victorian country events in the late 1990s and, apart from Hectorjayjay, has produced Teejay Fella (12 wins and $64,177), Wolfgang (three wins and $13,084) and De Santa Anna (seven wins and $39,900). Sheer Lace, the dam of Sheer Finesse, won at 17 of her 67 starts and earned $77,027. The best of her six winners was her first foal Country Duke, who earned $270,650 from 198 starts, which included 19 wins in Victoria and 26 in America. Hectorjayjay’s great, great, great granddam Cherry Blossom was the mother of champion New Zealand mare Robin Dundee, who dead-heated for first with Jay Ar in the final of the 1965 interdominion championship in Dunedin in 1965. While Hectorjayjay possesses dazzling early pace and is a brilliant frontrunner, he is also an outstanding sit-sprinter who can unwind a sizzling burst of speed at the end of his races. Twenty-three-year-old Josh Aiken has driven Hectorjayjay with great skill, aplomb and confidence in the heats. The six-year-old was not extended in winning all his heats. Many pundits rate Hectorjayjay as a devastating sprinter, but have some reservations about his staying ability. However, there is no doubt at all that Hectorjayjay will not be vulnerable over the 2936m of Friday night’s final. Hectorjayjay won the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in June this year, beating Lennytheshark in 1.50.5 over the 1609m journey and two weeks later he gave a phenomenal performance to charge home from a seemingly impossible position in second-last place 400m from home to win the 1660m Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park, rating 1.51.8. He has proved his staying strength with victories over 2627m and 2600m (twice). He also finished a splendid second to Ohoka Punter in the group 1 Blacks A Fake Classic over 2680m at Albion Park in July. Trainer David Aiken said that Hectorjayjay was far from being a one-dimensional pacer. “Josh won’t be intimidated by the occasion and he will have plenty of options,” he said. The barrier draw has made the final a most intriguing affair, with several pacers capable of winning the rich prize. Ace reinsman Gary Hall jun. is happy with Beaudiene Boaz’s draw as the only runner off the back line and he considers the five-year-old millionaire a strong each-way prospect. Here is the full field for the $1.1 million Final; 1 - Bling It On - by American Ideal 2 - Run Oneover NZ- by Changeover 3 - Our Jericho NZ - by Tomahawk 4 - Lennytheshark - by Four Starzzz Shark 5 - Joan Of Arc NZ - by Courage Under Fire 6 - Franco Nelson NZ - by Christian Cullen 7 - Smolda - by Courage Under Fire 8 - Bettors Fire NZ - by Bettor's Delight 9 - Hectorjayjay - by Dream Away 10 - Beadiene Boaz NZ - by Badlands Hanover 11 - The Bucket List NZ (EMG) - by Christian Cullen 12 - Our Jimmy Johnstone NZ (EMG) - P Forty Seven Ken Casellas

Chicago Bull has developed into an excellent sit-sprinter for champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. and he has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of a wide barrier and win the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget Championship over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The remarkably consistent four-year-old, who has taken no harm from minor abrasions he received when he ran into a water tank at Hall’s Serpentine property the day after he had scored a convincing victory in the McInerney Ford Classic last Friday week,  will start from the No. 8 barrier on the front line. Gary Hall jun. looks certain to restrain the little Bettor's Delight gelding at the start and will rely on his ability to sprint fast when held up for a late burst. Hall sen. is looking for his third training success in the Golden Nugget after wins with The Gold Ace in 2011 and Beaudiene Boaz last year. He also drove the Des Parr-trained Valley Champ to victory in the 1993 Golden Nugget. Hall jun. successfully adopted sit-sprint tactics when Chicago Bull started from barrier six in the McInerney Ford Classic in which the little gelding travelled kindly in tenth position for almost two laps before starting a three-wide run (with cover) approaching the bell. The final three quarters of the 2536m event were covered in 28.4sec., 28.1sec. and 28.9sec. and Chicago Bull rated 1.54.9 to set a track record for a four-year-old over 2536m. Chicago Bull took the lead 250m from home and won by one and a half lengths from the fast-finishing Vanquished, who had enjoyed a perfect run three back on the pegs. Vanquished, one of three runners from the all-conquering stables of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has drawn ideally at barrier two and should enjoy a favourable run throughout. The other Bond runners are Mister Daytona (a winner at ten of his 13 starts) at barrier one and the highly-promising Galactic Star at barrier No. 5. There is a strong possibility that the Michael Brennan-trained Nathans Courage will reveal his customary early sparkling speed from barrier three to get to an early lead for Michael Grantham. Nathans Courage led from the No. 1 barrier for the first 250m before taking the trail behind hot favourite Mr Mojito in the 2130m Four-Year-Old Championship last Friday night. He ran home gamely to finish second, a length behind Mr Mojito. Ace New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon faces a tougher task this week with the comparatively inexperienced but extremely talented Mr Mojito, who will start out wide from the No. 7 barrier. The Justin Prentice-trained Natural Disaster (barrier six) is in excellent form. He finished powerfully from 11th at the bell to finish third behind Chicago Bull in the McInerney Ford Classic. That followed his stylish all-the-way victory over Vanquished and Ideal Tyson the previous week. Another runner with sound claims is the Kim Prentice-trained Soho Tribeca, who will start from barrier four. Soho Tribeca had a torrid run and covered a lot of extra ground when a close fifth in the McInerney Classic. He also covered a lot of extra ground before winning from Cut For An Ace a week earlier. The $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget 1 - Mister Daytona NZ by American Ideal 2 - Vanquished NZ by Bettor's Delight 3 - Nathans Courage by Courage Under Fire 4 - Soho Tribeca by American Ideal 5 - Galactic Star NZ by Bettor's Delight 6 - Natural Disaster by Shadow Play 7 - Mister Mojito NZ by Real Desire 8 - Chicago Bull NZ by Bettor's Delight 9 - Franco Rayner NZ by Live Or Die ............................................................. 10 - Johnny Disco by Jereme's Jet 11 - Harry Hoo NZ by Bettor's Delight 12 - Ideal Tyson by American Ideal 13 - Sprinter NZ (EM 1) by Mach Three 14 - Motu Gatecrasher NZ (EM 2) by Changeover Ken Casellas

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice sounded an ominous warning to the harness racing connections of Major Reality’s rivals in the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he said that Major Reality ran times on his home track that not many other horses were capable of recording. After Major Reality had given a bold frontrunning performance from the No. 1 barrier to win the 2130m Norms Daughter Classic last Friday week Prentice said that he was delighted with the ease in which Major Reality ran such fast times in training. “She probably needed the run and I think that there is more improvement in her,” he added. The clash between Major Reality, the2015 WA Oaks winner, with Dodolicious, the 2016 WA Oaks champion, the richly-talented and highly impressive A Piccadilly Princess (winner of the Victoria Oaks and the New Zealand north island Oaks early this year), outstanding open-class performers Tricky Styx, Ideal Alice and The Parade as well as up-and-coming mares Sheer Rocknroll and Bettor Be Supreme promises to be a highlight on a magnificent ten-event program. Dodolicious, whose 25 starts have produced 15 wins and seven seconds, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Ryan Warwick will be keen to make full use of her gate speed in a bid for an all-the-way victory which would give leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond their second success in the Mares Classic, after Luke McCarthy had driven Baby Bling to a decisive win over Aussie Made Lombo in the group 1 feature event in November 2012. At her most recent outing Dodolicious started from barrier two and had a tough run in the breeze before wilting late to finish fifth behind the pacemaking Major Reality in the Norms Daughter Classic. The final quarters were run in 28sec. and 27.1sec. At her previous start, Dodolicious raced without cover before winning from Mon Lillies over 2130m. It will be interesting to see whether Prentice makes a strong bid to outpace Dodolicious and take up the early running or whether he will be content to control the tempo of the race from the breeze. A Piccadilly Princess was a certainty beaten when second to Ideal Alice in the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup last Friday night. She trailed the pacemaking Ideal Alice and was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit. She went to the line full of running, but with nowhere to go. A week earlier she gave a sample of her class when she finished with a devastating sprint to win easily from Ideal Tyson and Johnny Disco over 2536m. Star New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon will be anxious to slot A Piccadilly Princess into a favourable forward position in the one-wide line before setting her alight in the final stages. She has won at ten of her 21 starts and looks destined for a wonderful career. Ideal Alice, to be driven by Gary Hall jun. from barrier No. 5 for trainer Gary Hall sen., also is likely to be held up for a late charge. She notched her 17th win from 46 starts when she was untroubled to lead and win from A Piccadilly Princess last Friday night. $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m 1 - Dodolicious by Bettor's Delight 2 - Major Reality NZ by Art Major 3 - Sheer Rocknroll by Rocknroll Hanover 4 - A Piccailly Princess NZ by Bettor's Delight 5 - Ideal Alice NZ by American Ideal 6 - Bettors Gem by Bettor's Delight 7 - Bettor Be Supreme NZ by Bettor's Delight 8 - Hidden Bad NZ by Badlands Hanover 9 - Tricky Styx NZ by Jereme's Jet ................................................................ 10 - The Parade NZ by Real Desire 11 - Quite A Delight NZ by Bettor's Delight 12 - My Samantha Jane NZ by Extreme Three 13 - Mon Lillies (EM 1) by Artesian 14 - Paid Twice (EM 2) by Blissful Hall   Ken Casellas

Ace Victorian reinsman Chris Alford has built up a wonderful association with veteran West Australian harness racing pacer Major Catastrophe and he will be looking to drive the powerfully-built eight-year-old to victory in the $50,000 Garrards Horse And Hound Binshaw Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Alford has driven Major Catastrophe, bred, owned and trained by David Young, three times for two wins, including a heat and the final of the Binshaw Classic 12 months ago, and a third placing, in a heat of the Binshaw Classic last Friday night. Alford restrained the Art Major gelding from the wide barrier at No. 8 last Friday night and he brought the gelding home with a strong three-wide burst from tenth in the middle stages to finish third behind Ohoka Kentucky and Cut For An Ace. Major Catastrophe was a 13/2 chance in the Binshaw final last year when he started from barrier six and raced wide early before working hard in the breeze. He covered the final quarters in 27.7sec. and 28.8sec. and got to the front in the closing stages to defeat the fast-finishing Gotta Go Yanky, with the pacemaker Znana a head away in third place. Standing in the way of Major Catastrophe scoring another Binshaw Classic victory is the polemarker Rub Of The Green, who is sure to start a short-priced favourite after his most impressive win in a qualifying heat last Friday week.    Rub Of The Green, trained at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, will again be handled by Gary Hall jun. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old was restrained from barrier No. 9 in his heat. He settled down in tenth position before starting a three-wide move 1050m from home. He sustained his spirited burst to hit the front at the 270m mark and went on to win easily at a 1.56.4 rate from Max Meridius and The Storm Chief. Brennan also has sound prospects in the $35,000 TABtouch Interdominion Consolation over 2936m in which his talented seven-year-old The Bucket List will be driven by Michael Grantham from barrier four. The Bucket List finished powerfully from sixth at the bell to be second to Hectorjayjay over 2536m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Drawing barrier one in Friday night's TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park has given New South Wales pacer Bling It On a "live chance" according to harness racing driver Luke McCarthy. Currently ranked as the fourth elect with TAB Fixed Odds at $6.50 since the release of the draw, Bling It On is one of six horses that won a heat to qualify for the final. Blessed with good draws throughout the series, McCarthy is hoping to make the most of yet another good draw in the $1.1million decider. "We're really stoked to come up with a good draw," McCarthy said on Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday. "Now that we have a good draw we have a live chance. "He hasn't had a hard run through the series, he had some good trips and now we have a good draw hopefully we can settle handy right on the pace. "We will need a touch of luck but he seems to be going really well." Bling It On does have early speed and McCarthy has this card up his sleeve if needed. "We'll just come out as quick as we can and hold the most forward position that we can," he said. "He does have gatespeed there if we decide to ask him." With the race favourite Hectorjayjay drawn in barrier nine, McCarthy believes the $2.30 hope could cross early. "If Josh asked Hector I think he will cross them, he just has the natural speed," McCarthy said. "You seem to get a bit of momentum up in that back straight start at Gloucester Park too and he probably will have the speed to cross all of them." Bling It On showed early speed out of barrier two at Gloucester Park in the first round of Inter Dominion heats of this series, however, was soon eased out of the initial speed-battle and ultimately finished fifth to Hectorjayjay. Watch the race live on Sky Channel at 12:30am AEDT. Here is the full field for the $1.1 million Final; 1 - Bling It On - by American Ideal 2 - Run Oneover NZ- by Changeover 3 - Our Jericho NZ - by Tomahawk 4 - Lennytheshark - by Four Starzzz Shark 5 - Joan Of Arc NZ - by Courage Under Fire 6 - Franco Nelson NZ - by Christian Cullen 7 - Smolda NZ - by Courage Under Fire 8 - Bettors Fire NZ - by Bettor's Delight 9 - Hectorjayjay - by Dream Away 10 - Beadiene Boaz NZ - by Badlands Hanover 11 - The Bucket List NZ (EMG) - by Christian Cullen 12 - Our Jimmy Johnstone NZ (EMG) - P Forty Seven   AMANDA RANDO

Harness racing trainer David Aiken and connections of Lennytheshark received a major boost with the reigning Inter Dominion champion displaying significant improvement over the past 24 hours. Lennytheshark’s bid for back-to-back wins in the $1.1 Inter Dominion final at Gloucester Park on Friday has been in grave doubt since he pulled up sore in last week’s final round of heats. X-rays yesterday cleared Lennytheshark of any structural issues but a vet inspection by Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s (RWWA) Judith Medd, found the seven-year-old to be sore in the near foreleg. However; in a big turnaround and what shapes as positive news for one of the Inter Dominion’s major drawcards, Lennytheshark is showing continual improvement after his troublesome abscess was released. The seven-year-old, one of the leading fancies in harness racing’s showcase Inter Dominion final on Friday night, will hopple work tomorrow morning before undergoing another RWWA vet inspection on Thursday.  RWWA

Will he blast or will he wait? Young harness racing reinsman Josh Aiken faces his biggest decision with star pacer Hectorjayjay ahead of Friday night’s $1.1 million TABTOUCH Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park in Perth. The dynamic speedster has swept the series to date with three scintillating victories in his heats and as a result, he was a clear punters elect pre-barrier draw but things changed dramatically following Sunday’s barrier draw. Amid some minor confusion, Hectorjayjay was slammed gate 9 – the outside gate in the 2936 mobile start feature. Naturally, bookies reacted and quickly wound his price back out again while still a clear fancy. In recent times, favourites have a good record in the Inter Dominion Grand Final including last year’s winner Lennytheshark followed by the likes of Beautide (x 2), Im Themightyquinn, Blacks A Fake (x 3) and Elsu amongst others. The last pacer to sweep a series was the incomparable Im Themightyquinn back in 2012 and ironically, it was staged at Gloucester Park. So, can Hectorjayjay add his name to this great list? The David Aiken prepared gelding is blessed with brilliant gate speed which has been evident throughout the series to date, so the temptation is obvious. But his two most breathtaking performances since joining Team Aiken have been come from behind victories, the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in Sydney followed by the Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park in Brisbane. Many still sit in disbelief after he made high quality opposition eat his dust following the electrifying burst of acceleration he displayed on both occasions. It’s a massive decision for the 23-year-old and his army of loyal followers. While it remains unclear who is the top seed of the Aiken stable between Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark, the defending champion faces many other battles before Friday night’s final. Following his shock loss last week in the last round of qualifying heats, the glamour pacer pulled up noticeably sore and faces an around the clock battle to take his spot in the final. The most often asked question away from what tactics will be adopted for the favourite is whether Lennytheshark will be fit to take his spot? Lennytheshark has drawn gate 4. Leading Perth mentor Gary Hall has a double-edged sword with the richly talented pacers Run Oneover and Beaudiene Boaz representing the stable. Run Oneover has been hugely impressive winning two of his three heats while the multiple feature race winner Beaudiene Boaz has performed without much luck owing to awkward draws. On Friday night, Run Oneover will start from gate 2 for Clint Hall while Beaudiene Boaz will start from gate 10, the sole second-line runner for regular reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. Millionaire pacer Bling It On has flashed his skills during the series including an impressive display at Bunbury coming off the speed to win. Gun reinsman Luke McCarthy has options after the American Ideal entire landed the inside gate for the final. An added dimension to this year’s final is the New Zealand interest, classy pacers Smolda and Franco Nelson are set to chase the big prize following some tidy efforts during the qualifying stages. Smolda, prepared by champion horseman Mark Purdon, will start from gate 7 and looks suited over the staying distance and will relish the couple of extra days rest between starts. The Robert Dunn trained Franco Nelson went winless through the heats but has drawn nicely and will start from gate 6 in the final. Local pacers Our Jericho (gate 3), John Of Arc (gate 5) and Bettors Fire (gate 8) have all performed with great distinction throughout the series and will carry plenty of support in the final. Bettors Fire is considered as the fastest pacer off the gate in his home state and most expect him to make a play for the lead, the Kyle Harper prepared pacer scored an easy victory when leading throughout in the opening round of heats. The emergency runners are listed as The Bucket List and Our Jimmy Johnstone. All these questions will be answered on Friday night and another champion will be crowned. The Inter Dominion is the second leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. 1 - Bling It On - by American Ideal 2 - Run Oneover NZ- by Changeover 3 - Our Jericho NZ - by Tomahawk 4 - Lennytheshark - by Four Starzzz Shark 5 - Joan Of Arc NZ - by Courage Under Fire 6 - Franco Nelson NZ - by Christian Cullen 7 - Smolda NZ - by Courage Under Fire 8 - Bettors Fire NZ - by Bettor's Delight 9 - Hectorjayjay - by Dream Away 10 - Beadiene Boaz NZ - by Badlands Hanover by Chris Barsby

Defending champion Lennytheshark looks increasingly likely to take his place in Friday's Inter Dominion final after a chaotic weekend that has seen the market turned on its head. The superstar Victorian pacer plunged the Perth series into a spin when he was surprisingly beaten last Friday night and stewards advised immediately after the race he was sore in both front legs. Trainer David Aiken quickly refuted that and said Lennytheshark's below-par performance in his heat on Friday was because of a hoof abscess. He will now have to undergo a veterinary examination before being allowed to start, with fears for his soundness so serious initially that the Australian TAB listed him as "doubtful" in their markets. "Being an abscess is far better than anything structural in his legs so we are quite relieved," Aiken's son and right-hand man Josh told the Herald. "So we will know more as the week unfolds but Dad is confident he can get him there." The loss and subsequent speculation saw Lennytheshark drift from $3 before Friday's heat to a remarkable $7.50 for the final with some bookmakers. He was drawn in the field on Sunday and has secured barrier four, which is seemingly perfect for him, and would start considerably shorter if punters thought he was going to be back to his best for Friday night. His troubles had a huge impact on the market but so, too, did hot favourite Hectorjayjay being handed the worse possible draw, the outside of the front line for the final. After dominating his heats to come through the series unbeaten, Hectorjayjay got as short as $1.70 pre-draw but has bounced back out to $2.50 with Australian bookies. His draw suggests he has no chance of running to his favoured pacemaking role and luck will now come into play around a Gloucester Park track on which leaders thrive. Kiwi reps Smolda (barrier seven) and Franco Nelson (six) have awkward draws and both look likely to have to come wide in the last lap, although as New Zealand Cup runner-ups they will at least be suited by the step up to 2936m mobile. The big winner in the draw was former Kiwi pacer Run Oneover, who has shortened from $81 pre-series to $4 second favouritism after securing barrier two, with Bling It On perfectly placed on his back from the ace. Smolda's stablemates Piccadilly Princess and Mr Mojito could both start favourite in supporting group one races on Friday night. The drama for harness racing's elite horses hasn't just been confined to Perth though, with Have Faith In Me's Auckland Cup defence looking in tatters. The Miracle Mile winner is undergoing an intensive veterinary examination in Waikato this week to diagnose why he has been pacing roughly and racing below his best this season, with trainer Mark Purdon admitting a Cup start is now unlikely. New Zealand's two best trotters are also out for the summer, with both Monbet and Speeding Spur to miss the Christmas carnival at Alexandra Park and the Victorian summer. Monbet is set to undergo a bone chip operation this week and could even miss the rest of the season, while the connections of Speeding Spur have pulled the pin on defending their Great Southern Star title. "We don't want to rush him back so the Anzac Cup and Rowe Cup are now our main aims," says Speeding Spur's co-trainer Josh Dickie. That leaves the trotting group one's over the summer shorn of their biggest names and with Stent still troubled by injury, 4-year-old Marcoola is now the big gun of the ranks for upcoming features. He has opened favourite for the National Trot on December 31, in front of Master Lavros, who is back trialling and Australian visitor Kyvalley Blur, who has remained in New Zealand because of the weakened open class ranks. "He is handling open class well and will travel north on Wednesday and start in the Lyell Creek on the 16th on his way to the National," says Marcoola's trainer-driver Clint Ford. Inter Dominion chaos The A$1.1 million Inter Dominion Final is in Perth on Friday night. The market has been thrown into chaos by an injury to defending champion Lennytheshark and a terrible draw for Hectorjayjay. Franco Nelson and Smolda represent New Zealand in the great race. by Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

Defending Inter dominion champion Lennytheshark will undergo another vet inspection on Thursday to see if he can take his place in the field for the $1 million final at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   Trained by David Aiken, Lennytheshark’s spot in the field is in doubt after pulling up lame when running second to Run Oneover in the second of the final heats at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   An x-ray conducted by Lark Hill vets today indicated there was no structural damage to the horse however Racing and Wagering Western Australian (RWWA) veterinarian, Judith Medd, following a further inspection, found the seven-year-old to be still sore in the near foreleg.   Bar plates have been fitted and poultices have been applied to aid the recovery and to assist with any discomfort the horse may be suffering.   Aiken’s own vet from Victoria will look over Lennytheshark tonight (Monday) with Medd to conduct another inspection on Thursday.   Lennytheshark, one of two Interdominion entrants for Aiken, has drawn barrier four in the final and is currently quoted a $6 chance with Tabtouch.   Heading the market at $2.45 is stable mate, Hectorjayjay, who has eased in betting after drawing gate 9. 1 - Bling It On - by American Ideal 2 - Run Oneover NZ- by Changeover 3 - Our Jericho NZ - by Tomahawk 4 - Lennytheshark - by Four Starzzz Shark 5 - Joan Of Arc NZ - by Courage Under Fire 6 - Franco Nelson NZ - by Christian Cullen 7 - Smolda NZ - by Courage Under Fire 8 - Bettors Fire NZ - by Bettor's Delight 9 - Hectorjayjay - by Dream Away 10 - Beadiene Boaz NZ - by Badlands Hanover   Media Contact:  Barry Hamilton RWWA Manager Harness & Greyhounds P: 08 9445 311 E: barry.hamilton@rwwa.com.au   Race programme for Gloucester Park, Friday 09 December 2016

On the third night of the 2016 TABtouch Inter Dominion Championships the Gloucester Park racebook covers featured Clinton Hall driving a harness racing horse carrying saddlecloth number two. At yesterday’s barrier draw function for the $1.1 million dollar final of the TABtouch Inter Dominion this Friday night owner Steve Chapman drew barrier number two for his current star Run Oneover which will be driven by Clinton Hall. Chapman’s association with trainer Gary Hall and driver Clinton Hall brought earlier Group One success with dual WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy which won the State’s biggest race in 2015 and 2016 for the trio. The links between Run Oneover and My Hard Copy go further however with Run Oneover’s grand-dam Nuclear Atom being a half-sister to Readallaboutit – the dam of My Hard Copy. Both Readallaboutit and Run Oneover’s dam Presidential Belle are daughters of Presidential Ball. Clinton Hall also won the 2014 WA Pacing Cup with Hokonui Ben which coincidentally carried saddlecloth number two when it led throughout to beat Toretto and This Time Dylan. by Alan Parker

The all-important barrier draw for the $1.1M TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final has been held at a luncheon event at Gloucester Park today, with harness racing series favourite Hectorjayjay drawing barrier 9. Defending Champion Lennytheshark will need to overcome a veterinarian inspection after experiencing pain in both his front legs following his second placing in the final round of heats; he will start from the 4 hole if included in the final field. 1 - Bling It On - by American Ideal 2 - Run Oneover NZ- by Changeover 3 - Our Jericho NZ - by Tomahawk 4 - Lennytheshark - by Four Starzzz Shark 5 - Joan Of Arc NZ - by Courage Under Fire 6 - Franco Nelson NZ - by Christian Cullen 7 - Smolda NZ - by Courage Under Fire 8 - Bettors Fire NZ - by Bettor's Delight 9 - Hectorjayjay - by Dream Away 10 - Beadiene Boaz NZ - by Badlands Hanover Race programme for Gloucester Park, Friday 09 December 2016

Will defending champion Lennytheshark take his spot in next Friday night's $1.1 million Perth Inter Dominion final?  That’s the big question after David Aiken’s superstar pulled-up lame in both front legs after another shock defeat in his third-round qualifying heat at Gloucester Park last night.   A remarkably open and honest Aiken said moments after the race: “He’s obviously 100 per cent. The Lennytheshark of his best would have won easily.  “Chris (Alford, driver) said he didn’t feel right, even in the warm-up. It’s back to the drawing board and the next day or so is crucial.  “We don’t think it’s anything serious, but the timing makes it tricky.”  Lennytheshark was wayward in the score-up and almost broke, but Alford gathered him again and held the lead from the pole.  A huge gasp when around Gloucester Park in the middle stages when Run Oneover drew alongside Lennytheshark, challenged for the front and ran straight past him.  “He’d normally want to race another horse when it comes alongside him, but he didn’t tonight. He wasn’t right,” Alford said.  “He still felt like he’d come and go straight past the winner on the home turn when the gap came, but he went roughly and didn’t finish it off.”   Chairman of stewards Carl Coady said the on-course vet found Lennytheshark was lame in both front legs. “Now it’s a case of him having to prove himself fit before we allow him to run in the final,” Coady said.  The drama around Lennytheshark saw the Aussie TAB push his odds out from $3.20 to $7.50.  In contrast, his stablemate Hectorjayjay firmed to a remarkably short $1.70 for the final after another sparkling heat win. He was unbeaten and seemingly unextended through the three heats.  “I’m rapt. He won under a grip. Like Bunbury, I didn’t pull the plugs. He did that so easily,” driver Josh Aiken said.   “He’s really thriving through the racing. Some people thought it could be a query, but it’s the opposite. He’s loving it and feeling better with each run.  “He certainly didn’t get it all his own way tonight. Jimmy Johnstone really raced him through the middle stages as the times show, but Hector was always cruising.”  Hectorjayjay’s 1min56sec mile rate for the 2536m was easily the fastest of the three heats last night. He ran home in a 1min54.7sec last mile, including closing splits of 56.2 and 28sec.  The Bucket List ran a huge race for second, but it was only enough to make him first emergency in the final. He will make the field if Lennytheshark is scratched.  Comeback pacer John Of Arc continued his terrific form with a slightly unlucky third. He sat behind the leader and didn’t have much racing room in the final stages.     GRAND FINAL FIELD  (barrier draw Sunday 8pm NZ time)  Hectorjayjay  Lennytheshark  Run Oneover  Smolda  Bling It On  John Of Arc  Beaudiene Boaz  Bettors Fire  Our Jericho  Franco Nelson  The Bucket List (1st emerg)  Our Jimmy Johnstone (2nd emerg)    Adam Hamilton

The richest horse race in Western Australia and the pinnacle of Australasian harness racing is the $1.1 Million Dollar TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final. Following the three heat nights, the top ten point scorers will square off in the Inter Dominion Grand Final over 2936 metres. Over the years, Gloucester Park, and the Inter Dominion, have seen many champions etch their names in the history book, and on Friday December 9 history will again be made in a race for some serious prize money. The honour roll of past Inter Dominion winners reads like a who's who of racing but perhaps the greatest name of them all and certainly the greatest to have graced the track at Gloucester Park was Im Themightyquinn, winner of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Inter Dominion Championships. Hectorjayjay, Smolda and Run Oneover were all winners on the final round of qualifying heats held last night at Gloucester Park. Check back later today for the points table and final field and an updated press release on the final round of heats. For the full results of the nights racing click on this link. Here are videos of the three heat winners last night. Hectorjayjay - Retravision Inter Dominion Qualifying Heat 7 Run Oneover - Westral Inter Dominion Qualifying Heat 8 Smolda - Garrards Inter Dominion Qualifying Heat 9

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