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The first harness racing meeting for the new season at Methven comes up for decision on Sunday and as per usual for this time of year it sees the emergence of a lot of spring 3 year olds. Race 1 for the CO 3 year olds and older over 2300 meters from behind the mobile has drawn a smart field with several promising 3 year olds lining up. McArdle Star form the Ken Barron barn has drawn poorly at three on the second line but his trial runs suggest a big debut run from the son of McArdle. Brought out of the 2013 Australasian Classic Sale for $30,000 by long time stable clients Steve Thompson and Grant Dickey, McArdle Star will have the services of in form reinsman Blair Orange and looks a big winning chance. Highview Freddy from the Robert Dunn barn is another 3 year old who looks above average and from the one draw can make his own luck. A full brother to the outstanding Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($1,021,904) Highview Freddy had four starts at two against Say My Name and company so it is a big drop back in class here. He ran a lovely fourth behind Margarita in his first run back from a spell and looks sure to be a major player with Sam Ottley in the bike. Another runner from the Robert Dunn barn is Altissimo who has drawn nicely at barrier three. She is a 3 year old daughter of Mach Three from a Beach Towel half sister to the champion pacer Elsu 1:53.6 ($2,083,352). Altissimo qualified recently on the track in very impressive fashion and has the services of leading reinsman John Dunn in the bike.  Another 3 year old making his debut for the season is the Gotta Go Cullect gelding Until Further Notice from two on the second line from the Jimmy Curtin barn. Until Further Notice is a recent addition to the stable and he is now owned by long time stable client Ralph Nieper who raced his half brother Slash An Burn 1:54.7 ($277,288) from the Curtin barn. Placed twice as a two year old when racing out of the Murray Swain barn in Southland, Until Further Notice won a trial last week at Ashburton with smart closing sectionals of 56 .8 and 27.4 and looks ready to rumble. Just so all the 3 year olds don't have it all their own way, the Nigel McGrath trained and driven Western Art with four seconds in his last five starts looms as a fly in the ointment for the 3 year olds as he is well overdue to take out a maiden race.  We think with his favourable draw Highview Freddy just gets the nod from us but it  really is an open race and it wouldn't surprise us to see one of the other four mentioned in this article salute the judge. Harnesslink Media

On Sunday SA BOTRA will host their annual fundraiser "Xmas in July" to be held at the Globe Derby this Sunday starting at noon with the special guest of honor being champion New Zealand reinsman Anthony Butt. Hall of Famer Butt, who has achieved most things in the sport of harness racing including New Zealand, Auckland, Hunter, Rowe Cups and four Inter Dominion finals in a stellar career to date.  Butt, will be interviewed by race caller Jim Jacques in what should be great entertainment. Also during the afternoon you will have a chance to bid on one of nine stallion services that will go under the hammer and in that line up is some of Australia’s most sort after sires: Auckland Reactor, Smiling Shard, Lombo Pocket Watch, Gotta Go Cullect, Western Edition, Tiz A Masterpiece, Art Official, Elsu BG’s Folly, Cullen’s Legacy and Artesian. Tickets are just $40 and includes a three-course meal so please contact Lois Randall on 0402978424. by Gary Newton   

A nasty smash which caused the $45,000 Group Two Southern Supremacy to be abandoned put a dampener on what was otherwise a great days harness racing at Invercargill. As the talented 12 horse line-up raced into the back straight, Meticulous (Natalie Rasmussen), who was four back the fence, galloped and then fell, causing chaos to the second half of the field. Both Mark Purdon (Gentle Western) and Kirk Larsen (Jango Fett) were dislodged from their sulkies. Jango Fett then galloped off driverless and the race was quickly called off due to safety precautions. All horses and drivers came through the crash relatively unscathed but because the race had gone further than 1000 metres the race was unable to be re-run and was therefore abandoned. It is currently unknown if the race will be rescheduled for a later date. Meanwhile, the $45,000 Southland Oaks was taken out by the Gordon and Colin Lee trained Royal Counsel, who clocked a track record time of 2-39.4 when winning the Group Two feature. Driven patiently by Gordon Lee, who celebrated the win with a victory salute, Royal Counsel boomed down centre track to down Raksdeal by a head. Goodness Gracious Me and Willow, who was made to work hard early, were close up in third and fourth. Royal Counsel, who was sent South to Gordon & Colin Lee by Malcolm Shinn, is owned by Shinn’s partner Lisa Daily along with Jan Calvert. The big strong daughter of Gotta Go Cullect has now won three of her nine starts. For Colin Lee, it was his second win in the prestigious Southland race after taking out the 1988 edition with Scapa Chip. Other impressive winners on the card included stylish two-year-old debutant Kept Under Wraps, who downed the previously unbeaten Itz Bettor To Win, while Pemberton Shard claimed victory in the $25,000 Southern Country Cups Final. By Mitchell Robertson    

Always A Virgin gelding Blackntan remained unbeaten with his third win in three attempts in tonight’s $15,000 Kindergarten Stakes at Adelaide’s Globe Derby Park track. Blackntan won from the Grinfromeartoear filly Whats Emma Got and Go Go Red. Lot 38 in today’s WA Yearling Sale is the only Always A Virgin yearling in the catalogue and is a filly from the Million To One mare Our First Million. There are a pair of Grinfromeartoear fillies in today’s catalogue including one from the Group One winning 2yo filly Sheza Clout 1:58.1 $252,928. Lots 72 and 73 in the Western Australian sale are a colt and filly by Gotta Go Cullect who sired his 15th winner when the 3yo colt Gotta Go Chocolate won on debut at Bunbury last night in a smart 1:59.6 rate over the 2100 metres. Earlier in the day the 3yo Gotta Go Cullect filly Royal Counsel won her second race of the season at Wyndham in New Zealand at her sixth start in a time of 1:57.0 over the mile. The Group Three New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes for 2yos at the same meeting was won by the Bettor’s Delight filly Itz Bettor To Win which ran the mile in a scintillating 1:54.3 to win from the Art Major filly Say My Name. Itz Bettor To Win is from the Courage Under Fire mare Itz Queen Of Newyork. Lot 10 at today’s Gloucester Standardbreds WA Yearling Sale is a filly bred on the same cross being by Bettor’s Delight from the Courage Under Fire mare Priscilla Rocks. While Itz Queen Of Newyork won just one 3yo race in a moderate 2:03.0, Priscilla Rocks won four races as a 2yo and a further four as a 3yo including a prelude of the WA Oaks on her way to career earnings of $115,179. The 2014 Gloucester Standardbreds WA Yearling Sale gets under way at the Belmont Park Sales Complex at 1:00pm with a parade of yearlings commencing at 10:00am. The office at the complex will open at 8:00am for those wishing to make an early start on finding their champion.

When it comes to racing in the North Island, especially at some of the lower key meetings away from Alexandra Park, it pays to follow Abernethy brothers, Jay and Sailesh. The capable pair were at it again at Manawatu on Thursday night, with Sailesh winning one race and Jay training and driving two. The brothers also quinelled the tenth race on the card with Gotta Justdoit (Jay) narrowly downing Thats Bettor (Saliesh). The Manawatu Quinella remarkably comes just four days after they drove back-to-back Quinellas at Stratford. Jay has now reined home 21 winners for the season, while younger brother Sailesh is hot on his tail with a tally of 19. Both of Jay’s winners on Thursday were bred by Sue Martin, hence the ‘Gotta Go’ name tag they both carry. The first of Jay’s winners, Gotta Go Armbro, has now won 3 races from just 15 starts, making him the second most successful New Zealand bred son of promising sire Gotta Go Cullect. By Mitchell Robertson

The weather was stifling, and so were the times at the third annual Garrards 2YO Trialling Sale at Tabcorp Park, Menangle, last Sunday. A crowd of 500 or so people sweltered in 38 degree heat to see 45 youngsters trial then go under the hammer. The top price, at $115,000, was a New Zealand-bred Gotta Go Cullect filly, from Russian Rocket, offered by Christchurch-based horseman, Greg Payne, and bought by veteran Victorian enthusiast, Jack Knight, to join the astute Wayne Potter stable. The filly electrified the crowd with her half mile trial with splits of 28.1s and 27.6s, never flinching. Knight and Potter also signed for a $70,000 Somebeachsomewhere colt from More Sassie Lombo, which was offered by Young-based studmaster, Ken Smith, and which finished off with a solid 27.8s on the back of a 31s first quarter. Alliex Express' father-and-son team of Colin and Dean McDowell bought two youngsters - a Somebeachsomewhere gelding from Scoots Away for $30,000, and $36,000 for another Gotta Go Cullect filly, from Glowable. Industry virtual newcomer Brad Canty, whose background is in the greyhound industry, was active with four purchases, three for Brisbane's Mat Neilson and another for local horseman Blake Fitzpatrick, who is training a New Zealand-bred, the only Bettors Delight progeny in the sale, a filly from Beaudiene Bianca, which brought $44,000. Neilson took home a $9000 colt by The Globe from Just Sweet, a $30,000 Real Desire colt from My Spirit Of Tara and a Sportswriter-Tycoon Tess gelding for $13,000. Experienced Riverina-based horseman, Steve Harris, brought two colts, which sold well: a Sportswriter-Stylish Storm to Rob Davis for $44,000 and a Quick Approval half-brother to Majorlicious, which went to Doug Johnson for $32,000, while Trec Saverio paid $50,000 for a Victorian-bred Modern Art gelding from Soaring Franco. Veteran South Coast New South Wales identity Bill Green spent $30,000 on the half-brother to Jedi Mind, a colt by Live Or Die, to join Robbie Morris and Kerry Ann Turner, who also took home a striking syndicate-owned New Zealand-bred Santanna Blue Chip colt for $35,000 from Payne. The crowd included enthusiasts from as far afield as Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria, with the likes of young Perth-based horsemen Ryan Bell and Kody Charles, north-western Tasmanian owner, Michael Filleul, Queensland trainers Daren Garrard, Darrel Graham and Mat Neilson and Victorians David Aiken, Michael Stanley and the father-and-son combination of Peter and Matt Craven. Local figures in the throng included Jarrod Alchin, Darren Binskin, Ron Cooper, Neil Day, Blake Fitzpatrick, Paul Fitzpatrick, Damian Gallagher, Anton Golino, Darren McCall, John McCarthy, Luke McCarthy, Robbie Morris, Kerry Ann Turner, Steve Turnbull and Peter Walsh. The day proved a complete entertainment package, with a performance by singer-songwriter Luke Koteras and the Garrards Industry Day and Trade Fair. A small number of bought-back lots are still on the market, through the agency of Australian Standardbred Consultancy Pty Ltd, by contacting Kerry Baker on 0402 336 598 or at Courtesy of Harness Racing NSW                   Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |   22 Meredith Street Bankstown NSW 2200   T: 02 9722 6600| F: 02 85805792 | E:| W: &       Warning to recipients:   This email and any attachments are confidential and subject to copyright. If you are not the intended recipient any use, disclosure or copying is unauthorised. If you have received this email in error please advise us immediately by reply email and delete all copies. It is your responsibility to examine this email and any attachments for viruses. Any personal information in this email must be handled in accordance with privacy legislation.            

*This is the first of a new weekly segment on where we will highlight one trial or workout meeting per week in attempt to find winners and indentify rising talent. If you weren’t impressed by at least one or two trialists at Winton last Wednesday, quite frankly, you wouldn’t know talent if you fell over it. Kicking off the day were two-year-olds Pulp Fiction (Art Major –Joys Underworld) and Bold Ruler (Changeover – H Adour) and while both were very green, the both look to have plenty in the engine department. In the end it was Pulp Fiction who held on to win by ¾’s of a length but, after having to shift ground twice in the home straight, it was Bold Ruler who in my opinion found the line the strongest. Race 1  2YO MOBILE PACE.    (Qualifying Time: 2-05.1) Video  Distance: 1609m     Weather: Fine     Track: Fast    Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Time Driver Trainer 1 2 PULP FICTION 2 fr 2-02.7 A L Stratford A L Stratford 2 3 BOLD RULER 3 fr 2-02.8 P M Hunter P M Hunter 3 1 CHANGE DOON NOW 1 fr 2-03.9 R H Swain R H Swain       Margins: 3/4 length, 5 1/2 lengths Times: Mile Rate: 2-02.7 Last 800m: 59.0 Last 400m: 30.9   The second heat of the day saw Nureyev step out and after what he did I expect him to be winning his debut. After settling three back the pegs, Andrew Armour moved the Murray Brown trained three-year-old around the outside to work to the front with just over a lap to run. The son of Christian Cullen and six win mare Idancedallnight then set a strong tempo down the back straight before waltzing away to win effortlessly by eight lengths in a handy time of 3-03.4, which is more than seven seconds under the required qualifying time. Nureyev looks to be a typical ‘Christian Cullen’ with a good physique and an unblemished pacing action. I think he has a bright future. Race 2  QUALIFYING MOBILE PACE.    (Time Required: 3-11.0) Video  Distance: 2400m     Weather: Fine     Track: Fast    Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Time Driver Trainer 1 4 NUREYEV 1 fr 3-03.4 A M Armour M G Brown 2 9 SET ME ABLAZE 6 fr 3-05.0 A R Beck D J Baynes 3 7 EVER SO CLEVER 4 fr 3-05.1 I D Jamieson D J Baynes 4 6 HIGHVIEW IDOL 3 fr 3-06.3 S P Walkinshaw A F H Hunter 5 5 MAN TO MAN 2 fr 3-06.5 B D McLellan B J Gibson-Smith 6 10 WITCH EYRE 7 fr 3-07.3 K N Larsen K N Larsen 7 8 Peruvian Ouzo 5 fr 3-12.0 E J Swain E J Swain       Margins: 8 lengths, head, 6 lengths Times: Mile Rate: 2-02.9 Last 800m: 57.2 Last 400m: 29.7   Andrew Armour was again at the helm of a smart Murray Brown trained runner in the fourth trial of the day. Love Filly Dale, a daughter of Gotta Go Cullect and Rhonda Dale, settled last before being let rip at the 600 metre mark. By the time she reached the 200 metres she was in front by 10 lengths before increasing her margin further to win by 15 & ½ lenghts at the line. I personally timed Love Filly Dale to run her last 800 metres in a smart 56.0.  Love Filly Dale is competing in race six at Invercargill today and has been opened up at $2.50 on the Final Field book. My advice to you is to take that until the cows come home. But if you don’t want to take my advice take Andrew Armours’s, after all it was his bet of the week in our ring-around segment. Race 4  QUALIFYING PACE.    (Time Required: 3-14.0) Video  Distance: 2400m     Weather: Fine     Track: Fast    Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Time Driver Trainer 1 1 LOVE FILLY DALE 1 fr 3-08.7 A M Armour M G Brown 2 2 VEDIKA 2 fr 3-11.8 E J Swain E J Swain 3 3 SHORTYS BEST 3 fr 3-11.9 A R Beck A R Beck 4 4 Star Of Knapdale 4 fr 3-14.1 R H Swain R H Swain       Margins: 15 1/2 lengths, 3/4 length, 11 lengths Times: Mile Rate: 2-06.5 Last 800m: 56.9 Last 400m: 29.2   Heat four of the day saw Jaccka Lonny lead all the way and post a very good time of 3-03.1 from a standing start Driven by Tim Williams for trainer by Brett Gray, Jaccka Lonny paced his last half in 57.8 to hold Don’t Die Wondering by one length at the line. Jaccka Lonny competes in the tenth race at Invercargill today and looks a strong chance after landing the ace draw. Race 5  PACE. (C0) Video  Distance: 2400m     Weather: Fine     Track: Fast    Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Time Driver Trainer 1 7 Jaccka Lonny 3 fr 3-03.1 T M Williams B R Gray 2 6 Don't Die Working 2 fr   G J Thomas R B & J L McEwan 3 5 McArdle's Ledger 1 fr   S P Walkinshaw A F H Hunter       Margins: 1 length, 12 lengths Times: Mile Rate: 2-02.7 Last 800m: 57.8 Last 400m: 30.0   Consistent trotter Nickelson is primed for his resumption at Invercargill today, after coming from 20 metres behind to win his trial by 1 & ½ lenghts. Nickelson came his last 800 metres in a tick better than 57.5 to beat Golden Gate by 1 & ¼ lenghts. The latter is just a maiden who could be a good chance in the first race today provided he gets things right. Race 6  TROT. (C0 to C2) Video  Distance: 2400m     Weather: Fine     Track: Fast    Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Time Driver Trainer 1 13 Nickelson U1 20m 3-11.2 R T McIlwrick (J) N P Williamson 2 14 Golden Gate U2 fr   A J Ryan A J Ryan 3 11 Makarewa Jake 1 10m   T R Barron T R Barron 4 9 Successful Way 2 fr   A K Black A K Black Other Starters not necessarily in finishing order UPL 8 Turkey Dinner 1 fr   A R Beck A R Beck UPL 10 Overcast U1 fr   T M Williams A D Paisley UPL 12 Sure Sign 2 10m   N P Williamson N P Williamson       Margins: 1 1/4 lengths, 1/2 length, neck Times: Mile Rate: 2-08.1 Last 800m: 57.5 Last 400m: 29.3 Another to put daylight between himself and his rivals was Bettor Buy It who won the seventh heat of the day by 13 lengths. Driven by Tim Williams for trainer Des Baynes, Bettor Buy It made a dashing move around the field with 1300 metres to find the front. He then treated his rivals with contempt to win by 13 lengths in a smart time of 3-01.3 (56.3, 28.9). Bettor Buy It is a three-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight and top producer Soky’s Sweetheart.  He was originally set to debut in a Sires Stakes heat at Forbury Park in October before being sidelined with a cold. He is definitely one to keep an eye on and in my opinion is one of the most exciting emerging talents in the south. Race 7  MOBILE PACE. (C0) Video  Distance: 2400m     Weather: Fine     Track: Fast    Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Time Driver Trainer 1 3 Bettor Buy It 3 fr 3-01.3 T M Williams D J Baynes 2 9 Its Bella 9 fr   T R Barron T R Barron 3 1 Acolyte 1 fr   S P Walkinshaw A F H Hunter 4 7 Lights Out 7 fr   K N Larsen K N Larsen Other Starters not necessarily in finishing order UPL 2 Bettor's Hot Shot 2 fr   R T McIlwrick (J) A D Paisley UPL 4 Kirsty Jaccka 4 fr   P M Hunter P M Hunter UPL 5 Rogart 5 fr   N P Williamson G F Knight & Mrs J J Knight UPL 6 Icanlivewiththat 6 fr   A M Armour G F Knight & Mrs J J Knight UPL 8 Aveross Brachole 8 fr   A K Black A K Black       Margins: 13 lengths, nose, 1 length Times: Mile Rate: 2-01.5 Last 800m: 56.3 Last 400m: 28.9   The last heat of the day saw Luminesce make her first public appearance since finishing ninth in the Harness Jewels. Driven by regular pilot Tim Williams, Luminesce lead early before taking a trail behind Skippy Rascal, who has since won at Gore. She was then pulled off his back late in proceedings and exploded past him to win by 2 & ½ lengths. Luminescence paced her last 800 metres in a tidy 56.4 and looks set to make a winning resumption in race five at Invercargill today. Race 9  MOBILE PACE. (C0) Video  Distance: 2400m     Weather: Fine     Track: Fast    Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Time Driver Trainer 1 4 Luminesce 4 fr 3-05.5 T M Williams J W Adams 2 8 Skippy Rascal 8 fr   T R Barron T R Barron 3 1 Cayenne El 1 fr   K N Larsen K N Larsen 4 3 Fortyseven Cruiser 3 fr   A W Kyle A W Kyle Other Starters not necessarily in finishing order UPL 2 Bad Lover Boy 2 fr   S P Walkinshaw A F H Hunter UPL 5 Terri Jaccka 5 fr   N P Williamson G F Knight & Mrs J J Knight UPL 6 Northview Gambler 6 fr   A M Armour M G Brown Scratchings SCR 7 Aveross Brachole 7               Margins: 2 1/2 lengths, neck, 4 lengths Times: Mile Rate: 2-04.3 Last 800m: 56.4 Last 400m: 28.7     By Mitchell Robertson

Burnham trainer Mark Jones once again justified the faith that owner Wayne Higgs has showed in him when Offtocullect (Gotta Go Cullect - Shazza's Dream) over-came a horror draw (1st on the 2nd row) to win race five at Forbury Park on Thursday night (August 29). Driven by Blair Orange, the 3-year old who was Gotta Go Cullect’s first winner as a sire back in March was quick to pop off the fence and sat 1 out 5 back before making his move with a lap to run to find the parked position. With 400m to run he took the lead before running away from the bunch over the last 300m for a 4 ½ length victory. Offtocullect has now won  three races and run second once in his 4 career starts. His 2nd came behind the smart Cran Dalgety trained 3-year old Locharburn. Offtocullect stopped the clock at 2-45.8 for the 2200m journey. His final sectionals were recorded in a tidy 58.9 and 27.9 "He's always shown ability and is quite a tough type," said Jones. When asked about his near future, Jones said nothing is set in concrete at this stage. "He will probably have a little bit of a freshen up now. Tonight's win was a penalty free win and he deserves a chance at a sire stakes heat now." "I Want to look after him as he will be a better horse later on,” Jones added. On his performances to date Offtocullect could be in for a fine season although his first test will come when he has to face some of the top 2yo's of last season. Higgs has sent some nice horses to Jones in the past ,including Spotafalcon – Winner of his only start for Jones before being sold to Australia, and Jackaroo Bromac, who won three in a row for Jones including the $25,000 Canterbury Regional Country Cups Final, before running in behind some top horses like Christen Me & Mach Banner. Courtesy of Andrew Fitzgerald

Nevele R Stud, in conjunction with Ian Dobson, is thrilled to announce that champion stallion Christian Cullen and exciting young sire Gotta Go Cullen are to stand at Nevele R in the 2013-14 season.

Punters who backed Mark Jones's 2yo son of Gotta Go Cullect called Offtocullect, were saying just that soon after he made his debut at tonight’s (Thursday March 7) harness racing meeting at Forbury Park.

Eric Clapton’s namesake, the Musician, got the nickname ‘the slowhand’ because if he broke a string at a concert he would stay on stage and replace it, while the audience would wait out the delay with a ‘slow clap.’ There is nothing slow about the harness racing version, quite the contrary in fact.

Jayesh Abernethy has driven quite a few winners for retiring harness racing trainer Sally Fenning. He will never forget the time her horses helped him qualify for the New Zealand Junior Driving Championships.

Many of Australia's leading stud farms have thrown their support behind the inaugural Terang Harness Racing Club Stallion Tender. Alabar Bloodstock, who operate standardbred breeding establishments in Victoria, New Zealand and the Riverina, has offered a choice of three stallions in Armbro Operative, Elsu and Gotta Go Cullect.

All but one of Wai-Eyre Farm's stallions will be available at the same stud fee as it was last season. The only change lies with the leading Canterbury stud's flagship sire himself, Christian Cullen, who heads into the 2012/13 harness racing season with a $12,000 price tag.

Most of Australia's Top Ten sires from the 2010/11 harness racing season are represented in the catalogue for the 2012 Victorian Premier Harness Yearling Sale, to be held for the first time at the Quest Shepparton Racing Complex Showground, on Sunday, 22nd January.

The Horsham Harness Racing Club will stage their annual 3YO feature events, the Alabar Horsham Guineas and Rosehill Princess Of The Wimmera, at the Racing Centre tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon. The contests have been around since the 1980's, when the Club's Ladies Committee sponsored the under the lights on the tight, showground circuit. The 2011 edition of the Rosehill Princess has attracted a small but classy bunch of fillies, headed by the former Kiwi pacer Highview Ebony from the Dean Braun stable.

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