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NAMING rights for next year’s $30,000 Wagga Pacers Cup has been taken out by XXXXX Gold following  lastSaturday night’s awards function. The Group 3 feature race will be held on Sunday May 24 while the other feature races for the season were claimed by Hillis Motor Group (Derby)), Sheather’s Painting (Oaks) and Ron Crouch Transport (2yo Rising Stars). Wagga Harness Racing Club’s remaining feature meeting for the season is the Christmas meeting on December 14 where Duke Of Kent Hotel won naming rights for the Christmas Cup. There were many additional awards for the 2018-19 season presented at the Rules Club before 115 guests where Bruce Harpley took home the Southwest & Riverina Trainer of the Year and the overall consistency award. Harpley was pleased to win his first regional trainer’s title following on from his late father, Allan Harpley. “I have won some Group One races with Frith, but this is just as big as those for me,” Harpley said. The Junee trainer’s right hand man, young reinsman Jordan Seary, claimed the Nic Dewar Memorial award after a fine season. Seary is one of the drivers for Southwest & Riverina Pacer of the Year Ned Pepper who won and was placed in many regional cups for trainer Katie Jenner. Top flight driver Blake Jones won both the Riverina and Wagga driving titles while his partner, Ellen Bartley, was the leading female trainer-driver. Wagga trainer Paul Kahlefeldt won three awards taking out the trainer of the year title at Wagga in a tight finish that went right down to the final meeting of the season. Pacer of the year Seattle Trace, which he owns, helped him seal the award while he was also named owner of the year. Three-year-old Western Secret took top honors in the Riverina and Wagga juvenile filly of the year, while Major Roll was named the best three-year-old male. Peter McRae was the recipient of the leading junior driver title, while Blaster Ranger and Matthew Harris had the best strike-rate of any duo at Wagga during last season. After winning three races in the space of six days, Lenas Art was announced as the iron horse award winner for trainer David Druitt. Young trainers Jacqui Ingham and Andrew Harrington both received Encouragement awards. Fellow concession drivers McRae, Bartley, Seary, Jared Kahlefeldt, Jess Prior, Bayley Duck, Blake Micallef and Miranda McLoughlin were acknowledged for finishing in the top bracket of the Wagga concessional drivers’ premiership. Wagga will race next on Friday afternoon.   Graeme White

FINALLY . . . that was the only way to sum up the breakthrough victory by teenager Molly Turton at Wagga on Friday night. Driving her own horse that she races with her mother Monique, the 19-year-old drove the perfect race to crack it after 43 drives. A graduate of the mini trotting ranks, Molly gave Spooky Dreams every chance behind the leader from a favourable barrier one draw. With her father Glen, mother and sister Eliza cheering her on, Molly got the result she desired in a race where there was an additional $1000 from the NSW Standardbred Owners Association for eligible members. On top of the extra prizemoney of $4200 it was a nice pay day for the Turton’s who have been right by their daughter’s side from the time she started out. She has been nurtured by her parents and trainer Bruce Harpley who were delighted to see her win. As was Molly. “I have had more than 40 drives and this (win) is more than I could have hoped for,” the beaming Turton said. “It has taken a while, but I finally did it.” Spooky Dreams won at Wagga in April with Turton as the trainer and Harpley as the driver. This time it was all hers and you could hardly wipe the smile off her face. Spooky Dreams has won six of his 57 starts and earned over $33,000. Meanwhile, the bonus money continued when Me Mate Les won his second race in the space of a week for his new connections. Me Mate Les raced for the first time for his new owners winning at is first start for Ellen Bartley and Blake Jones and did it again with an additional $800 rolling over as the jackpot horse. Me Mate Les is the first horse his owner Brayden Scarr has raced. GRAEME WHITE

Victorian trained harness racing two-year-olds claimed the opening heats of the 2017 Alabar Breeders Challenge series at Wagga on Tuesday night. The favourite Little Peanut won the colts and geldings division in smart fashion for trainer-driver Greg Sugars while Sounds Of Terror caused an upset taking out the fillies heat for Anton Golino and local driver Cameron Hart. Sugars was in a similar predicament a few years ago when he guided the then rising star Sushi Sushi to victory in a Breeders Challenge heat at Wagga. Little Peanut is one of three pacers he trains himself in between his busy driving schedule. “He is no Sushi Sushi but a nice two-year-old who will go on to the semi finals at Menangle,” Sugars said. Little Peanut is raced by a group of five who hail from Newcastle and Grafton. The owners also raced and bred the winner’s half-brother, Youranut, who won 14 races. Little Peanut settled in fifth place and when asked to extend gathered in Sword And Shield for his third win from five starts. Although second past the finish line, Sword And Shield was relegated to third when Stone Cracker’s driver David Hewitt lodged a successful protest. Sounds Of Terror made the six hour trip from Cardigan in Victoria worth the effort when she claimed her first win at her third start. The fillies’ heat looked in the keeping of the favourite Man Hands until she galloped at the 300 metres presenting a run through for Sounds Of Terror. The winner is owned and was bred by Yabby Dam Farms which races a large number of trotters and fewer pacers. Sounds Of Terror provided Junee reinsman Cameron Hart with his biggest career victory in the $15,000 race. He was impressed with the manner the youngster extended when called on. “She finished off really well. We had a bit of luck when the favourite galloped but she was travelling well at the time and won nicely,” he said. by Graeme White

The lure of $30,000 prizemoney for the Wagga Pacers Cup is expected to attract one of the strongest harness racing fields in the race’s history early next month. Prizemoney for the Cup has doubled from $15,000 last year and also now carries Group 3 status on Saturday night, March 4. The race is expected to attract interest from metropolitan trainers who are regulars on the Carnival Of Cups circuit. The money for the support races is also enticing with $10,000 for the Derby, $9000 for the Oaks and the Two-Year-Old Rising Stars worth $8000. Total prizemoney is $80,000 which will help ensure quality fields. Many of the main local chances will have the chance to qualify for the Cup in the Prelude worth $8000 on Tuesday night, February 21. The first two horses to finish will be exempt from the ballot for the feature race Outside of the racing, there will be Fashions On The Field which has been sponsored by Myer for the second consecutive year. There will be prizes for the best dressed lady, best dressed gentleman and child under 16. One lucky oncourse patron will also go in the draw to win a Toyota Yaris, while the TAB has donated $500 in betting vouchers. CARNIVAL OF CUPS BONUSES Wagga’s Carnival Of Cups will be the next meeting where owners and trainers can accumulate valuable points for a rich bonus. There is $20,000 in Cups bonus with $10,000 for the owner and $5000 for the trainer with the leading point scorer. There is a separate $5000 Owner’s Bonus for every horse which competes at least twice in the selected Cups. To win, the owner must sign the on course checklist at a minimum of two Carnival Of Cups. To be eligible for the main bonus, a horse must contest at least four of the eight group races during the Carnival Of Cups. Already, two races in the series have been contested - the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst and the Goulburn Cup. Other races in the series are the Young Cup, Penrith Renshaw Cup, Bankstown Schweppes Cup, Newcastle Ross Gigg Mile and the Bulli Cup at Menangle. TWICE AS GOOD There will be harness and greyhound racing at Wagga in late March for possibly one of the last occasions at the Showgrounds. Harness racing will be conducted in the afternoon on March 31 and just over one hour later the greyhounds will race. With work on the new track at Wagga to commence shortly, there will be limited opportunities in the next 12 months for both codes to race at the same venue. Previously, both codes held a joint meeting on Easter Sunday with races held intermittently. The new laws governing greyhound racing, which don’t allow for extended kennelling times, means both codes can’t race at the same time. Wagga will still hold a harness racing meeting on Easter Sunday, April 16, which its plans to expand over the next few years. CHARIOTS BOUND More often than not, The Daily Advertiser sports reporter Courtney Rees is writing about harness racing - her number one sporting passion. Now she finds herself on the other side of the fence as the part-owner of top four-year-old Dashofluck. The well performed pacer won the Group 2 $50,000 Paleface Adios at Menangle last Saturday night and has earned a shot at the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire on February 11. It’s the biggest win for the Johnny Star Racing syndicate which also finished second at Menangle with Gotta Bewitched. Dashofluck has built an imposing record of seven wins from 13 starts and will take on the best four-year-olds in Australia in the Chariots Of Fire.     PRINCESS SERIES The dates for the Princess Series for two and three-year-old fillies have been announced with Wagga the first to run on Friday, March 31. Wagga will stage a two-year-old race with the conducting club contributing $1000 and Harness Breeders NSW $500. Wagga will also conduct a three-year-old fillies race on Sunday April 16. The other clubs involved in the Princess Series are Young, Bathurst, Penrith, Newcastle, Goulburn and Bankstown. LOCAL FLAVOUR Local owners and trainers haven’t been forgotten with Wagga to conduct one race at every second meeting for pacers trained within 200m kilometres of the city. The first race will be held for CO class horses on March 17 with one of the conditions being the horse must be with the trainer for 28 days prior to the race. The grade of the local race will step up a class at every second meeting. by Graeme White - Wagga HRC   KEY DATES February 21: Wagga Cup Prelude March 4: Wagga Carnival Of Cups March 24: Memorial Race Night April 16: Easter Sunday.    

As Classiemahon crossed the finish line for his seventh win for his current harness racing owners at Wagga on Saturday night, their thoughts were with the late Garry Burns.  It was Burns who selected Classiemahon (Jereme's Jet) for the syndicate late last year, but unfortunately he didn't get to see the latest win after passing away on Friday. Burns niche was finding a horse he thought had potential to improve and forming syndicates to race it.  The former bookmaker did it numerous times and mostly with success.  Proof of this were the results of horses he acquired, or owned, last week. Amanda Von (Ifihadyourluck), raced by the same syndicate, won at Penrith on Thursday night while his own mare, Shesa A Runa (Jereme's Jet), won the $30,000 VicBred final at Melton on Friday night. Syndicate manager Terry McMillan said it was Burns knowledge and keen eye that led to many members enjoying unequalled success in harness racing. "Garry selected all of the horses he thought could improve and these last two have won a fair few races," he said. "Amanda Von has been really good for us and Classiemahon has won seven from 18 since we bought him." Trainer Shaun Snudden has got the best from Classiemahon who has also been placed six times from his 18 starts with the stable.  Reinsman Corey Bell found the lead on the short priced favourite who sprinted fast from the 400 metres and held on for a comfortable win. It was a big night for the leading combination with a treble as East Emperor (Modern Art) and Somelovesomewhere (Somebeachsomewhere) were also successful.  East Emperor has won three races for owners Jody Ward and Mel Young, while Somelovesomewhere has claimed four victories and been a model of consistency for the Pellow family.  Snudden is closing in on 100 wins in the season for the first time after finishing in the 90s in recent years. Meanwhile, trainer-driver Mark Hewitt landed a double with track specialist Kenny Trickem (Stonebridge Regal) and two-year-old Jumping Jack Jimmy (Modern Art).  Kenny Trickem's past three wins have been at Wagga, while Jumping Jack Jimmy will push on to this week's Breeders Challenge semi-finals. "He wanted to switch off a bit at the end. It's good to see him win a race before the semis," Hewitt said. "Kenny Trickem loves racing here and his three wins have all been similar coming off the speed with a strong finish." by Graeme White

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