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CHAMPION Queensland horseman Grant Dixon may be watching on TV rather than driving his stable star Colt Thirty One in the opening round of Auckland Inter Dominion heats on Friday. Family comes first for Dixon and he’s not leaving home until his wife, Trista, gives birth to their third child. “She’s due today (Tuesday), but nothing much is happening yet. I certainly wouldn’t want to go anywhere until she’s had the baby,” Dixon said. “It’s another boy, that’ll give us three.” Dixon said is timing became really tight, he would consult with Colt Thirty One’s owner-breeder Kevin Seymour on a replacement driver for Friday. Victorian John Caldow, who won on Colt Thirty One at Melton last start, or Luke McCarthy, who has Bling It On in the series, are obvious stand-by driving options. Colt Thirty One is the lone hope to become the first Queensland-trained pacer to win the Inter Dominion since the recording-breaking dominance of Blacks A Fake. It’s fitting this year’s Inter Dominion is at Alexandra Park, the track where Blacks A Fake’s six-year-old Inter Dominion assault came to an end. Blacks A Fake finished second to Im Themightyquinn in 2011 Auckland final, which iced his Inter Dominion career record at six finals for a four wins (2006, 2007, 2008) and two seconds (2009 and 2011). No other horse has won four finals. Colt Thirty One is no Blacks A Fake, well certainly not yet, but this is not an overly strong Inter Dominion and he’s certainly shown enough through his Group 1 Blacks A Fake win and second in the Victoria Cup to say he be a major player in Auckland. Bling It On, who had a better run and beat Colt Thirty One in the Victoria Cup, is favourite in NZ’s Inter Dominion market. “He’s shown he’s worthy of going, that’s for sure, but he can’t go and make his own luck. I’m not sure any horse really can in this series,” Dixon said. “He arrived (to Auckland) Saturday and Dale Hogan, who travelled with him for his time in Victoria and now Auckland, said he’s seems really well.”  Unlike many Aussie trainers, Dixon is not fazed by Colt Thirty One having to race the opposite direction (clockwise) at Alexandra Park  “No, he’s done one of his workouts every week of his life going right-handed, so it shouldn’t worry him,” he said. “I’m more worried about me than him. I’ve never driven in NZ at all, let alone Alexandra Park. I’m keen to get over there to get some practice.” Dixon’s driven in four Inter Dominion pacing finals with Atomic Ark’s seventh at Menangle in 2010 his best result. “It’s fair to say this is the best horse I’ve driven in a series, the first one I’d really expect to be very competitive,” he said. But an outside front row draw on Friday gives Colt Thirty One a huge test. “It’s a tough start,” Dixon said.   by Adam Hamilton

Gun Queensland horseman Grant Dixon has never been to the far north-west Victorian tourist hot spot of Swan Hill - but he's excited to be there for the town's harness racing night-of-nights this Friday. Dixon will making the long trip for the $35,000 Group Three Swan Hill Pacing Cup as he starts to crank up his superstar pacer Colt Thirty One for the prestigious 2019 NZ Inter Dominion series in Auckland. "I'm really looking forward to competing in the Cup. It's a race that carries nice stakemoney and while there's only five runners in it, we're going to get a good gauge as to just where we are at for late November and December," he said. "The plan is to keep him ticking over and I hope to squeeze in probably another three runs if possible before the big Inter series." Colt Thirty One (Mach Three-Charm Personified (Perfect Art) has stamped himself as one of Australasia's greatest current pacers with 32 wins and 11 placings from 48 starts for nearly $755,000. The five-year-old bay horse is bred and owned by industry powerhouse couple Kevin and Kay Seymour, of Solid Earth Pty Ltd, and showed just what he is capable of when he took out the $250,000 Group One Blacks a Fake in Brisbane earlier this year. While he's recently had his colors lowered, but far from being disgraced, Dixon is confident of a solid showing in the cup. "He's only had two race starts and one trial since the Blacks A Fake win back in mid-July. With more runs he's going to get harder and stronger," Dixon said. "We thought his second placing to Bling It On in the Victoria Cup at Melton nearly a fortnight ago was a game effort," he said. In that event, Colt Thirty One recorded a sensational time of 1.51-6 for the 2240m trip - the second time he has run a sub 1.52. The other was a PB of 1.51-2 in winning at Albion Park over 1660m on June 29 this year. "His work since the Victoria Cup has been pleasing. We haven't gone to any trials because he does enough on the jog track when he's asked to click up," Dixon said. Colt Thirty One and Grant Dixon storm to victory in the Blacks A Fake in Brisbane earlier this year (Dan Costello Photograph) "The Swan Hill feature race should be exciting because Tam Major (Chris Alford) and San Carlo (Rebecca Bartley) are quality pacers. They are most likely going to land in front of me from the start and are going to be awfully hard to beat. But we'll have to work it out from there." Dixon said he realized early days that Colt Thirty One was something special. "I still remember the day I drove out to where he was being broken-in and sat behind him. I actually went up there to drive a few youngsters, but he was certainly the one that stood out," he said. Dixon, who is based at the picturesque town of Tamborine, in the Gold Coast hinterland, prepares a team of around 60-70 horses with his wife Trista and a staff of 12. The 46-year-old had a standout 2018-19 season in the sulky, with 237 winners ($1.9M in stakes), just a handful short of his personal best of 242 in 2009-10. It was way back in 1994-95 when he reached the magical century for the first time - and in the 20 seasons since 1999-2000 he has topped 100, bettering the double century on nine occasions. While Dixon says Colt Thirty One could be the best horse he's had, it's a close call because he still has great admiration for Majestic Mach (Mach Three-Midnight Lace (Fake Left), a pacer he raced for five seasons from 2012. Majestic Mach won at his first 12 starts, then finished second, before reeling off another consecutive dozen victories. "He finished with 35 wins, including four Group One events, for nearly $800,000 and it was a big blow went he went amiss in late 2017," Dixon said. Other outstanding horses that come to mind to race in the familiar Dixon stable black and white checks include I Am Sam, Atomic Art, Jeremy Lee, Majestic Major, Get In The Groove, Cherish The Moment and a whole lot more! Dixon, who admits he was "pretty much hopeless at school", was born into harness racing, being the son of Hall of Famer, Bill Dixon. Prior to relocating his family to south-east Queensland in the early 80s, Bill Dixon, was a household name in the north of the state. Training out of Townsville, he was the leading trainer-driver for a number of seasons. Bill is now retired and a resident of an aged care facility. The father-and-son hold a unique record on the Gold Coast. Bill won the last race at the old Owen Park track (Queen Street, Southport) and then when racing shifted to the now-defunct Parklands complex (at the corner of Smith St and Parklands Drive), Grant won the final race conducted at that venue, in 2013. Parklands was closed when the site was formally designated as the athletes' village for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Prolific Queensland owner-breeder, Kevin Seymour, described Colt Thirty One’s gutsy 1:52.9 mile rate victory at Albion Park on Saturday as the best of his 28 wins. It was also a personal best time, and in doing so the reigning Queensland Horse-of-the-Year went past $500,000 in stake money. Then immediately after watching the C6 and faster $13,000 pace with Seymour and his wife Kay, the Brisbane couple announced that the tough son of Mach Three and Charm Personified (by Perfect Art) would stand at Egmont Park Stud when he retires. “He’s only four, but that is the plan when he does eventually end his racing career. That was a phenomenal win, the best I’ve seen from him. Even better than his Victoria Derby win at Melton last year. “I always thought he would make a decent 5-year-old open class pacer, but he’s now doing things at four I never expected him to do. I think he will hold his own against the guns here at the Winter Carnival. “He’s going as good as he ever has and Grant’s got him in the best condition of his life. He’s come back extra this time in so retirement is still a wee way off yet,” Seymour said. The Grant Dixon trained and driven Colt Thirty One had to be good to win on Saturday. Even though he was a hot $1.30 favourite Dixon still had to sit back and bide his time from the widest second row draw over the 1,660m mobile. “To sit near last and then make a move two-wide and then three-wide without cover for most of the last lap was astounding. He did it all on his own. “And over the mile and he was still running on at the end. That’s the toughest performance I have seen from him. He’s really starting to come back to form now. This is his first year in open company and we are so proud of him. We now just have to be careful not to break his heart.” Colt Thirty One had 3.8m to spare over Lincoln Road and Hayden Barnes in Saturday’s Silks Trackside Marquee Pace. He stopped the clock in 1:56.5 with 27.2, 30.5, 28.3, and 27.4 sectionals. The talented bay entire has now won 28 of his 41 starts and placed in eight others for $500,592 in purses. “He’s now doing things as a late 4-year-old that I never expected. He’s the best horse we’ve had with Grant,” Seymour stressed. Seymour said he would race through until next month’s Winter Carnival and then the Seymours and Dixon would get together to discuss the horse’s racing future. “I don’t want to look too far beyond the Winter Carnival, but he’s proved he can win down south and the way he’s going he would be a worthy Queensland representative no matter where he races. “Grant’s a family man and doesn’t like to travel away too much, however I think this horse could persuade him to campaign him outside of Queensland. “Grant told me he was still giving at the line. He was quite ecstatic really – really delighted with the win.” Seymour believed that being a son of Mach Three would help Colt Thirty immensely when it was eventually time for the entire to stand at stud. “He will make a great sire. My objective is to stand a high quality son of Mach Three at stud (him), and a top-line son of Bettor’s Delight. We will announce the latter one later. “Regardless of what’s in store for Colt Thirty One on the racetrack, his progeny will be around for many years to come,” Seymour said. “I think he will put Queensland on the map as a stallion as well,” he added. Meanwhile, it was a night for the McMullen family at ‘The Creek’ on Saturday. Siblings Narissa, Dannielle and Peter drove six winners on the 10-race programme. Narissa won behind the horse she owns, trains and drives in race five – Tom Me Gun. She also saluted behind the Mark Rees trained Karinya Mully and the Ron Sallis trained Maybetothemax in races seven and nine. Younger sister, Dannielle, was successful behind the Stephen Cini trained Clarry in race two, and then half an hour later triumphed behind the 4-year-old mare her partner Ryan Veivers trains – Getoutnwalk. Older brother Peter, aka ‘Leader Peter’ won the last race thanks to a perfect front-running steer behind the Bill Crosby trained Slippery Jade from the two gate.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

TWO of the “queens” of Aussie harness teamed to win South Australia’s richest race at Globe Derby last night (Saturday). Emma Stewart booked Swedish young gun Kima Frenning for exciting colt Pandering and they raced away to win the inaugural $100,000 Group 1 “The Allwood” final by 12.5m from Andy Gath’s Night Spirit. Female drivers snared the trifecta with NSW youngster Ashley Hart aboard Night Spirit and local Lisa Ryan aboard third-placed Ammicchi. __________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN claimer With Gusto has a special place in Chris Alford’s heart. Last year he gave Alford his 400th win of the that season and last Friday night he provided the champion driver’s 300th win of this season – still with almost three months of the season remaining. It moved Alford to tweet after the race: “Got to love ‘with gusto’ (sic) can find a milestone race to win, last season win 400 this season win 300, #gogussy.” Alford recently turned 51 and is driving better than ever. He sits poised on 99 career Group 1 wins. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter McLovin is issuing the challenge to Tornado Valley for the crown as stable star in Andy and Kate Gath’s barn. While Inter Dominion champ Tornado Valley is out spelling, McLovin has been building quite the CV. The six-year-old’s 12 starts since joining the Gaths’ stable have returned seven wins, two seconds and two thirds. And his latest win, in last Friday night’s Bendigo Trotters’ Cup, was the best of his career. McLovin chased hard early from a 20m backmark, did all the work outside the and plunge runner Cruisin Around and powered away to win as he liked in a track record 2min0.3sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip. We’ve really liked him since he got here. He’s got lots of speed for a trotter, but he really showed some toughness winning that way (at Bendigo),” driver Kate Gath said. The Gaths toyed with a Rowe Cup raid earlier this year, but the way McLovin is racing, he looks ideal to accompany Tornado Valley to the Dominion Trot and/or Auckland Inter Dominion later this year. In other stable news, the Gaths exciting three-year-old trotter Majestuoso snared his biggest win in the Group 3 Holmfield at Melton last night. The son of Majestic Son broke after the start and lost about 20m, then circled the field sit parked and rundown the leader, Georgias Pride, to win by 1.6m in a 1min59.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The big question is whether heavily-backed favourite All The Muscles was going to beat him when he switched back to the sprint late to challenge, but went into a gallop. Majestuoso struggled for manners at two and won just two of his nine runs, but has returned better and more reliable with six wins from seven runs this season so far. __________________________________________________________________________________ IT hasn’t taken long for former Kiwi driver Trent Lethaby to make an impact in Queensland. Lethaby, who had stints with Brent Mangos and Jay Abernathy, is now with one of Australia’s top trainers Grant Dixon in Queensland. And, at just his sixth drive for the new boss, he led throughout to win by a whisker aboard Rocknroll Emma at Albion Park last night (Saturday). “It’s bloody great here. I’ve been here four weeks or so, but I’m loving it,” Lethaby said. __________________________________________________________________________________ COLT Thirty One remains Queensland’s best pacer and a serious player for the upcoming Winter Carnival. As good as recent Kiwi import Northview Hustler has been winning all his three Queensland runs, Colt Thirty One has a bigger score on the board … at least for now. Grant Dixon’s four-year-old reminded everyone how good he was with a powerhouse and very quick free-for-all win at Albion Park last night (Saturday). He settled near last over the 1660m from a back row draw, but sustained a long three-wide run around the field without cover to win running away by 3.8m. And the mile rate was a blistering 1min52.9sec. Whether he can beat the interstate raiders in upcoming Group 1 races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake remains to be seen, but Colt Thirty One certainly has the sheer speed to be very dangerous with the right run. __________________________________________________________________________________ RENOWNED giant-killer Loorrim Creek barnstormed his way to another upset win in the free-for-all at Menangle last night (Saturday). The race was expected to see emerging star Ignatius return to winning form, but instead Loorrim Creek roared home to snatch a neck win over the much-improved Franco Totem with Ignatius a tiring third. Admittedly Ignatius was first-up from a freshen-up and did all the work outside leader, Letspendanitetogetha, in a solid 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2300m. Ignatius now heads to the semi-finals of the NSW Breeders Challenge on June 22 before the final eight days later and a possible Queensland winter campaign. On the same card, Victorian trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan snared the Group 3 Go Girlfriend final with their improving mare Rocknroll Pearl, who led throughout to win easily in a slick 1min52.8sec mile. And former Kiwi pacer Cullenburn made it four wins (and a second) from his five Aussie runs for Craig Cross when he paced a slick 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2300m. __________________________________________________________________________________ ONE of Aussie harness racing’s great “non-winners” is a new horse since a stable switch. As great a trainer as Gary Hall Sr is, Luis Alberto was an exasperating pacer in his care and continually found ways to go close but very rarely winning. Luis Alberto moved to the care of Debbie Lewis, wife of champion driver Chris, and has roared through the grades to win a free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was his eighth win in just 16 starts for Lewis. Luis Alberto’s latest win was a big upset as a $61 outsider against the likes of King Of Swing (sixth), My Hard Copy (fourth), Whoideawasthis (fifth) and Vultan Tin (11th) in a slick 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The win came just 30 minutes after Debbie and Chris Lewis combined to win the feature race of the night, the 4&5YO Westbred Mares’ final (2130m) with exciting Advance Attack mare The War Nurse. In other highlights of the night, Gary Hall Sr’s emerging star Ideal Liner won easily again, making it seven victories from just 10 starts. And Justin Prentice’s emerging three-year-old Know When To Run won as he liked in a good field with Gary Hall Jr aboard. __________________________________________________________________________________ BUZZ juvenile Mirragon suffered a surprise defeat when second to Youaremy Sunshine in the Youthful Stakes (1730m) at Melton last night. Touted as being the equal of any juvenile seen so far this season, Mirragon had a lovely trip and always looked the winner, but was beaten on his merits by Damian Burns’ Hurrikane Kingcole colt in a slugging finish. They paced a sizzling 1min53.8sec mile rate.   Adam Hamilton

“Pressure? What pressure? I’m too old for pressure. I’m even too old to get excited these days,” joked Australia’s number one trainer, Grant Dixon. The Tamborine horseman was referring to his champion four-year-old pacer, Colt Thirty One, when asked how he felt when the TAB opened him $1.05 to win Saturday night’s Listed $25,000 QBRED 4YO Triad Final at Albion Park. "I don't take any notice of what the TAB says. If it I did I'd be a wreck. All I worry about is having my horses spot on come race-night, and so-far Colt Thirty One has done everything we have asked of him this preparation," 46-year-old Dixon said. Colt Thirty One, who is Queensland’s best pacer and the state’s current Horse-of-the-Year, has drawn three on the second line (10) in Saturday’s 2,138m mobile. However, the way he won his trial at Albion Park on April 2, he’d still be at minuscule odds, even if he drew 20. "That was his first hit-out since late January and Trista (Dixon) drove him confidently. It was what we needed going into Saturday night,” Dixon said. Dixon initially sat parked with the son of Mach Three before letting him loose down the back straight the last time. The pair then strolled up the home straight to win by an increasing 7.9m, under a hold. The winning time was 1:58.8 with a 1:55.1 mile rate. His sectionals were 28.6, 30.8, 28.7, and 27.1. “That was a nice run. He’s fit and ready to race. I’ll see how he progresses throughout autumn and winter and then take it from there. I’m not one to look too far ahead,” Dixon said. “Potentially this fella is up there with Majestic Mach as the best I’ve had.” That’s a big call considering Majestic Mach won 35 of his 94 starts, including four Group One events, between March 2012 and September 2017. He also placed 20 times, paced a 1:53.9 mile and banked $796,397. Colt Thirty One has so far won 23 of his 35 starts, placed in seven others, sprinted a 1:53.2 mile, and has banked $453,345. Both pacers were bred and owned by Kevin and Kay Seymour. "He's a bit of a dud isn't he. Not much at all really," joked Seymour. Then he switched to serious mode. "The reason he's done so well is because Grant has managed him perfectly. He's only four and he’s looked after him and not over-raced him. He once told me that to get a good long-term open grade horse you have to take your time with them. "For that reason I think Colt Thirty One will make a nice grand circuit horse one day and Grant should have a top Free-For-Aller for several years to come. “Mr Feelgood is the best horse Kay and I have raced and Colt Thirty One is the best that we have bred.” Colt Thirty One is seventh of nine foals of out of the 2000 maiden Vanston Hanover mare, Charm personified. His older sister, Charming Allie (by Mr Feelgood) recorded a 1:53.9 mile and won 18 races and $266,329. She also nailed four Group Two races and ran second in the Group One $75,000 Queensland Oaks in 2014. Colt Thirty One won his first Group One at Albion Park on July 15, 2017 when he was too smart in the $100,000 QBRED 2YO Triad Pace. He also won the QBRED 3yo Triad a year later under Group Two conditions. Colt Thirty One also cleaned up a quality Victoria Derby three-year-old field at Melton's Tabcorp Park on January 27 last year. That race was worth $200,000 pocketing his owners a cool $114,000 for that win. He also placed in the Breeders Crown 2 and 3yo Finals in 2017 and 2018. Dixon has won Queensland Horse-of-the-Year previously with Majestic Mach and the 1990 Jeremy Laurence black colt, Jeremy Lee (22 wins and $216,971). "I was working for Dad (Bill) when he trained Speed Ace (1991 Speed King gelding). He was Queensland Horse-of-the-Year as well. He won 15 races ($130,274)," Dixon said. Dixon is currently Australia's top trainer with 187 victories - 31 clear of second-placed Emma Stewart. He also sits fourth on the national driving premiership with 118 wins behind Chris Alford (228), Greg Sugars (138), Ryan Warwick (123).   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Fake Left’s ghost was well and truly hovering around Albion Park last week. The 1992 Little Brown Jug winner has been dead since 2001, but that didn’t stop two of his progeny winning races three and six on Thursday’s seven-race card. The Grant Dixon trained and driven Saint Kilda Beach and the Chantal Turpin trained and Peter McMullen driven Timeless Appeal won by 2.8m and 5.2m respectively. It was their fifth and second career wins. However, Fake Left’s co-owner and prominent Queensland businessman, Kevin Seymour said the two pacers came about simply because he suddenly remembered he had the straws several years after freezing them. “We forgot we had a couple of straws tucked away and when we realised that we still had them we decided to make the most of them and impregnate Kelly Major (by Art Major) and Talented Tess (by Grinfromeartoear). That's how both Saint Kilda Beach and Timeless Appeal came about in 2015,” Mr Seymour said. "I'm just glad that we remembered the straws because it's quite remarkable to think that his frozen semen is still producing winners some 18 years after his death.” Seymour described Fake Left as a super sire and an even better broodmare sire. The Canadian bay, who stood in Australia for the first time in 1993, was also a quality racehorse, who recorded a 1:51.4 mile. All-up he had 51 starts for 17 wins,14 placings and $314,417 in prize money. By the end of the 2010-2011 season he was the only Australian-based stallion to have sired three millionaire pacers. They were three-times Interdominion champion and multiple Group One winner, Blacks A Fake (72 wins and $4.75m); dual Miracle Mile winner, Be Good Johnny ($48 wins and 1,656,489) and Miss Galvinator (60 wins and $1,148,446). Be Good Johnny had 16 classic wins, plus multiple Cup winners while Robin Hood recorded 11, and Safari 10. “I think he will be the leading broodmare sire here for many years to come. He has already proven that. There are no more straws out there that I know of, and sadly these two fillies are the last we will see by Fake Left,” Mr Seymour said. “He was an awesome stallion. He was very good to us and thankfully his memory will live on for many years to come yet.” Saint Kilda Beach is the first of three foals out of the two-win Art Major mare, Kelly Major. Timeless Appeal is the eldest (of four foals) out of the one-win Grinfromeartoear mare, Talented Tess. As for Fake Left, he was the 1989 son of the super sire Cam Fella (by Most Happy Fella) and was the second of five foals out of the 15-win ($164,845) 1977 Albatross mare, Madam Madusa. He sired 20-plus sub-1:50 milers. As a 2-year-old the colt won five times and placed in four races. It was as a three-year-old that in the words of his owners - "he's finally developed into the kind of horse we expected him to be" - after winning six races in the Midwest just prior to competing in the prestigious 1992 Little Brown Jug.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Gold Coast businessman, Greg Mitchell, loves his current Queensland-Trotter-of-the-Year, Our Overanova so much, he’s now gone and bought her little half-sister. “I’ve been keeping close eyes on the family, and this horse, for a while now. Her name is Smokey Nova and she is a grey 5-year-old Monkey Bones mare. Like Our Overanova, she will be trained by Grant Dixon at Tamborine. She will have her first Queensland start next week," Mitchell said. “I also tried to buy her older (Pegasus Spur) half-brother Flyanova from New Zealand a while back, but he failed the vet test. It will be nice to have another grey trotter going around, but we bought her primarily for breeding purposes. Anything else she does is a bonus." In June 2013, Mitchell (G.M.S. Racing) paid $14,000 for the then named one-win Monarchy gelding, Overanova. He has since gone on to so far win 53 of his 140 starts and $406,509. The son of Monarchy is a Listed Classic and Group winner, and he also holds two track records at Albion Park. The 140-race veteran went a 1:59 mile rate when trotting 2:41.8 for the 2,138m stand on September 19, 2015. Then just over two years later (December 16, 2017) he went a 2:00.3 mile rate when setting a new mark of 3:20.8 for the 2,647m standing start. The bay gelding started from 40m behind that night and just got up by half-a-head. The 9-year-old's fastest mile is 1:56.2. "He's still toughing it out off long marks. He's a quality trotter who has put plenty of smiles on our faces. Hopefully 'Smokey' can win a few for us as well, but don't think she will be ever as good as him. However, if she leaves us some nice foals one day then Sharon and I will be happy," Mitchell said. “Our Overanova has been so good to us and we absolutely love him. That’s why I have bought this mare, so I can always have a part of his family with us. He’s special,” said Mitchell who has also imported other top-liners like Devil Dodger and Alleluia." Our Overanova is the third foal (of eight) out of the five-win 21-year-old brown Sundon - Kayla Novander mare, Kayla Nova. Smokey Nova is foal six. She was exported to Australia from New Zealand as an unraced 2-year-old in November 2015. The striking grey had her first race in Australia at Ballarat on Boxing Day 2016. She has now had 30 starts for one win one (Ballarat, October 2017) and four placings. She finished ninth at Tabcorp Park Menangle in her last start on March 5. "I've been watching her race in New South Wales and Luke drove her last start. I spoke to him and then Shannon (Hoffman) put her on the market," Mitchell said. "I gave him $6,000 for her." It’s not the first time Mitchell has imported a grey mare from New Zealand. “My wife Sharon loves grey horses and now lightening has struck twice. In 2015 (June) we bought Millicent from New Zealand. She's not from the same family as 'the Novas', but she is also by Monkey Bones and out of a (three-win) Gee Whizz II mare, Black Onyx," Mitchell said. When he bought her, Millicent had won five races in the South Island. When she retired in September 2016, the newly named Sharon’s Millicent had won 16 of her 87 starts, placed 18 times, and banked $99,675. "I named her after Sharon because of her love of greys. We are now breeding from that mare and we have a rising 2-year-old Brylin Boyz bay colt and a Majestic Son weanling bay colt," Mitchell said. “She missed to Majestic Son this year," said Mitchell who has owned and bred standardbreds for 12 years. Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Queensland’s best pacer and the state’s current Horse-of-the-Year, Colt Thirty One, will leave Brisbane early next week in his bid to win the 2019  Chariots Of Fire Pace at Sydney’s Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Group One event, which will be run on February 16, is worth $200,000 and is one race that has eluded his trainer and driver, Grant Dixon. It will be a curtain-raiser to the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile on the same track on March 2. "The horse has come up well even though he has been beaten in his two runs this time in, he will still head south for the 'Chariots' and then he will come straight back to prepare for the Winter Carnival here," Dixon said. Australia’s leading trainer said Tennyson Bromac and Fame Assured could also make the trip south with Colt Thirty One, depending on how they perform in races four and 10 at Albion Park this Saturday night. "At this stage I'll just take Colt Thirty One and see how the others go. He's up to the 'Chariots' field, but I would liked to have him back winning again," Dixon said. "But in saying that I wouldn't be going all that way if I didn't think he was a winning show.” Colt Thirty One resumed from a month's spell with a 10-metre fourth behind Mach Alert at Albion Park on January 19 and then a week later he finished a close-up second behind Slice Of Heaven on the same track. "He's slowly gearing towards peak condition. I've campaigned horses in New South Wales before and he should be spot on come Chariots Of Fire day," said Dixon. The talented son of Mach Three and Charm Personified (by Perfect Art) has now won 23 of his 35 starts and placed in seven others for $453,345. He went 1:53.2 mile rate when winning the Kevin & Kay Seymour Rising Stars Championship C2/3 Final at Albion Park on April 28 last year. That was an appropriate victory considering their company - Solid Earth Pty Ltd, bred and owns Colt Thirty One. Colt Thirty One is seventh of nine foals of out of the 2000 maiden Vanston Hanover mare, Charm personified. His older sister, Charming Allie (by Mr Feelgood) recorded a 1:53.9 mile and won 18 races and $266,329. She also nailed four Group Two races and ran second in the Group One $75,000 Queensland Oaks in 2014. Colt Thirty One won his first Group One at Albion Park on July 15, 2017 when he was too smart in the $100,000 QBRED 2yo Triad Pace. He also won the QBRED 3yo Triad a year later under Group Two conditions. Colt Thirty One also cleaned up a quality Victoria Derby 3yo field at Melton's Tabcorp Park on on January 27 last year. That race was worth $200,000 pocketing his owners a cool $114,000 for that win. He also placed in the Breeders Crown 2 and 3yo Finals in 2017 and 2018. “I’d love to win my first Chariots Of Fire and I reckon I’ve got the horse to do it. He’s come up good,” said Dixon, who works a team of between 70 and 80. Dixon has won Queensland Horse-of-the-Year previously with 2009 Mach Three brown gelding, Majestic Mach (35 wins and $796,397), and 1990 Jeremy Laurence black colt, Jeremy Lee (22 wins and $216,971). "I was working for Dad (Bill) when he trained Speed Ace (1991 Speed King gelding). He was Queensland Horse-of-the-Year as well. He won 15 races ($130,274)," Dixon said. "I'm very proud of Colt Thirty One and we are all hoping he can go on with it on the national stage.”   By Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

SURE it was Inter Dominion weekend in Melbourne, but the most remarkable training performance took place on the other side of Australia. Greg and Skye Bond produced a truly remarkable result with the first five – yes, five – placegetters in Australia’s second biggest four-year-old feature, the $200,000 Group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park last Friday. They had half the field with the Bonds sixth runner, Thisbeachrighthere, finishing 10th. It was hugely-hyped Kiwi import Ana Malak who took first prize, with driver Ryan Warwick taking advantage of the pole draw to lead, dictate terms and rip home in 55.6 and 28.2sec to win by a whisker. But the run of the race without doubt came from stablemate Mighty Conqueror, who sat parked for driver Dylan Egerton-Green and just kept coming. He’d have won in another half a stride and in a slick 1 min57.5sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip. “He could be the real deal,” co-trainer Greg Bond said. “He’s a big fella still filling into himself, so there’s probably still some upside with him which is exciting.” There should be upside to Ana Malak as well. He battled a minor, but niggling hoof issue which limited his racing preparation for the Nugget. He won the big won at just his third start for Team Bond. The next three home for the Bonds were Fizzing, Bright Diamond and Bettor Aim. “We really like this batch of horses and it’s great to get a result like this,” Greg Bond said. With WA’s best pacer, Chicago Bull, sidelined, Bond is looking at running the cream of his four-year-old crop against the older horses in the Group 1 open-class features, the Fremantle and WA Cups, next month. _______________________________________________________________________________________ GRANT Dixon has his sights set on next year’s Auckland Inter Dominion with Queensland’s best pacer, Colt Thirty One. Dixon toyed with running in this year’s Melbourne series, but opted to stay home to ease his stable star into open-class racing through some home state features. And Colt Thirty One completed the double, following last week’s easy Xmas Cup win with a narrow but fantastic Group 2 Queensland Cup win last night. The son of Mach Three came from an outside back row draw, did all the work and dug deep to win a whisker in a slick 1min55sec mile rate for 2138m, beating stablemates Smooth Showgirl and Avonnova. “We did think about taking him to Melbourne, but I’m glad we stayed here and went through these races,” Dixon said. “I know Kevin (Seymour, owner) will want to chase the Inter Dominion next year if he’s going well enough.” Next stop is a trip to Sydney to target Australia’s biggest four-year-old race, the Chariots Of Fire, which promises to be an epic this year. Think of horses like Chase Auckland, Spankem, Im Pats Delight, Ride High, Poster Boy, Ignatius and maybe even WA pacers like Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror. _______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT a night it was for the girls at Melton on Inter Dominion final night. Kate Gath took centre stage with the Trotting Final win aboard Tornado Valley, but females won six of the 11 races on the card. They were: Kima Frenning (race two, Pizza Queen), Amanda Turnbull (races four and five on Conviction and Ellmers Image), Gath (races six and seven on Star Of Memphis and Tornado Valley) and Jodi Quinlan (race nine, Glenferrie Blade). Turnbull turned around an otherwise frustrating Inter Dominion series to win the consolation in gritty fashion with Ellmers Image and the free-for-all with Conviction. Conviction’s win was one of the runs of the night, simply running his rivals ragged in front in blistering times. His splits were 28.9, 28.2, 28.5 and 28.3sec for a 1min53.5sec mile rate over 2240m. Let It Ride finished strongly, but had his chance when second, while Buster Brady simply worked too hard outside the leader in the blistering times and did well to fight on for third. It was great to see Quinlan, one of the pioneering females at the top level, snare the Group 3 Richmond Lass win aboard Glenferrie Blade for partner, Craig Demmler. Glenferrie Blade trailed the leader and got clear when favourite Delight Me crushed the leader, My Harmony Blue, and kicked-away, but couldn’t sustain the sprint. They ran a 1min54.4sec mile rate for 1720m and it was a sprint home in a 54.4sec last half and 27.1sec last quarter. _______________________________________________________________________________________ MIRACLE Mile winner My Field Marshal will have to head to Perth without a lead-up race. A deluge of rain caused the abandonment of the Menangle meeting last night where My Field Marshal was due to return. Trainer Tim Butt is keen to get My Field Marshal across to Perth early for a lead-up run the Celebrity Sprint on December 28 ahead of the big Fremantle and WA Cup double in January. In a coup for Gloucester Park, Mark Purdon said he was “seriously considering” sending one of the All Stars’ open-class stars across for the Fremantle and WA Cups as well. “Nat and I need to sit down and think through it, but there is a flight which makes it attractive,” he said. _______________________________________________________________________________________ IT was great to see one-time budding star Mr Mojito returned to winning form at Gloucester Park last Friday. It was the now six-year-old’s first win since scoring at Melton on September 17, last year, when trained and driven by Kerryn Manning. Now with Ross Olivieri, Mr Mojito boasts a win and two seconds from three starts back from an injury which sidelined him for almost a year. He’s still very lightly-raced with 30 starts netting 12 wins, five seconds and two thirds. The free-for-all on the same night went to Kiwi import Rocknroll Lincoln in impressive style after leading and copping plenty of pressure in a sharp 1min54sec mile rate for 2130m, including closing splits of 55.9 and 28.4sec. Rocnkroll Lincoln’s win was his ninth from just 19 starts for trainer Justin Warwick. Another winner with a strong Kiwi flavour on the card was Our Angel Of Harlem, who dropped sharply in grade, led from the pole and thrashed a moderate field by almost 17m in a 1min57.3sec mile rate for 2130m.   Adam Hamilton

The 2018 Racing Queensland summer carnival came to a dramatic close last night (Saturday) at Albion Park. But to the delight of punters, both favourites saluted in their respective features. The Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup featured reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One and the mighty four-year-old prevailed by a nose margin defeating Smooth Showgirl and Avonnova in the 2138m mobile start event. Starting from the outside of the second-line (gate 13), trainer/driver Grant Dixon set alight his richly talented performer early and circled three-wide before parking outside of the race leader Glenferrie Hood. With a strong speed being set, Colt Thirty One was able to overpower Glenferrie before withstanding the late finishing burst of Smooth Showgirl who came via the passing lane. It was a nose margin in favour of Colt Thirty One ($1.75) over Smooth Showgirl ($9.50) while Avonnova ($23) was further 2.4 metres away in third. The winning mile rate was 1:55.0 – sectionals of 30.2, 28.4, 28.4 and 28.8 seconds. The victory was Colt Thirty One’s 20th at Albion Park and 23rd overall while remaining unbeaten in four starts this campaign. “He went well and had to fight hard in the straight, I knew it was close but I’m really proud of his effort.” Dixon said. The Mach Three – Charm Personified entire is raced by his breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour. The next major assignment for Colt Thirty One will be the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle in February. In the trotting feature, the Sydney trained Monaro Mia proved victorious defeating Miracle Rising and Needle in the Gr.2 $40,770 Egmont Park Stud Darrell Alexandre Memorial Trotting Championship Final. Slowly away and ending up nearer last than first, trainer/driver Darren Hancock bided his time back near the rear before taking off three-wide with a lap remaining in the 2647m standing start feature. Entering the back straight, Hancock seized the opportunity and sent his big striding mare into overdrive and quickly established a race winning lead. At the finish, Monaro Mia ($2 fav) defeated Miracle Rising ($10) by 3 metres with a further 8.4 metres back to Needle ($5.50) in third. The winning mile rate was 2:04.1 with the final 800m metres covered in sectionals of 28.7 and 28.6 seconds. “A big thanks to Uncle Brian and my son Corey who have looked after the mare and the rest of the team up here over the past three weeks, this mare has thrived and got better each start.” Hancock said. Monaro Mia is raced by Glenn Holland who was trackside for the victory. And the victory takes the mare’s prizemoney total past $100,000. In the $14,999 King of the Claimers Final, victory went the way of Rory Mach for trainer Darrel Graham and driver Jacob Wallace while the $21,160 C2/C5 event was taken out by classy mare Fame Assured who sprintlaned to beat stablemate Aqua Miss in a time of 1:53.6. Both mares are prepared by Grant Dixon. Another metropolitan card of racing is scheduled for next Saturday night. Racing Queensland

Star horseman John McCarthy is not getting ahead of himself. The former multiple Albion Park Premiership winner has recently returned to take part in the 2018 Racing Queensland Summer Carnival at Albion Park where he grabbed the spoils on the opening night when Rakarolla proved too classy in the Gr.3 $31,400 Be Good Johnny Sprint on December 1. It has been the one and only start McCarthy has given the giant gelding in Brisbane. Until now. McCarthy will head back to Albion Park this Saturday night searching for another feature race victory when Rakarolla takes his place in the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, the final feature of the carnival. The 2138m mobile start event features rising star Colt Thirty One, the reigning Queensland Horse of the Year and McCarthy believes he’s the real deal. The Grant Dixon prepared Mach Three four-year-old had his first taste of open company last week when he quickly dispatched a tidy field in the Christmas Cup in race record time when coming from near last. “He’s a very good horse; he was brilliant last week and despite a nasty draw this weekend, he’s the horse we all have to beat. I had a good look at him at the wash bay and he’s a good looking horse, he’s got class written all over him.” McCarthy said. Colt Thirty One has drawn the outside of the second-line (gate 13) while Rakarolla has drawn nicely in gate four which gives McCarthy several options. Rakarolla took inside runs to win the sprint feature two weeks ago but McCarthy is adamant his versatility will have him as a key rival. “Despite his age, he’s actually quite an immature type who’s still learning but he’s adaptable to different situations. I think he’ll be even better next year and could measure up for some better races. “The fact he raced week in and week out in lead-up to the Brisbane trip has worked to his advantage, he raced six weeks straight and was really fit for the Be Good Johnny. “He’s trained on well since that victory and should prove competitive again, I was happy to bypass last week and focus on this week’s event.” UBET has listed Colt Thirty One at $1.90 while Rakarolla is quoted at $6.50. Rakarolla is raced by his New Zealand based breeder, Brendan Fahy. The Queensland Cup is listed as race 8 and is scheduled to start at 9.37pm local time.   Chris Barsby

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One solidified his position as the state’s best pacer with a brilliant come from near last to first victory in the $21,160 AQWA Constructions Christmas Cup at Albion Park last night (Saturday). The Grant Dixon trained and driven four-year-old was having his first official open class start when tackling the 2680m mobile start feature and many proven and seasoned stars. Starting from a tricky second-line draw, Dixon sat patiently towards the rear of the field with Colt Thirty One ($2 fav) before gaining perfect three-wide cover over the concluding stages before unleashing a devastating sprint to easily beat Aztec Bromac ($8.50) and Alleluia ($16). The Mach Three entire created a new race record when posting a winning mile rate of 1:56.4. The lead time was covered in 77.5 seconds; sectionals for the final mile were covered in 28.8, 30, 29.1 and 28.4 seconds. Triple Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova led the way from his inside draw before being overpowered over the concluding stages. “We’ve waited an entire life time to breed a horse like this and we’re so thrilled with the way he keeps stepping up to the challenge. It looked to be a tough challenge from the draw but Grant gave him another perfect drive and it was fantastic to see him round them up as easily as he did.” Winning owner/breeder Kevin Seymour said. Trading under the banner of Solid Earth Pty Ltd, Seymour shares ownership with his wife Kay. The victory of Colt Thirty One takes his record to 22 wins from 32 starts while banking more than $420,000. Colt Thirty One will back-up in next week’s feature, the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, a feature over the distance of 2138mbefore embarking on a Sydney campaign centred around the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 16. In the other feature, the $21,160 AQWA Constructions ‘Forever Gold’ Mares Open Pace, race favourite Smooth Showgirl ($1.60) led throughout to beat a game Eleniark ($2.60) and Annika Magic ($71) in a time of 1:55.7. The Art Major mare posted sectionals of 28.6, 32.1, 28.5 and 26.7 seconds. Prepared by Ian Gurney and handled by young Sydney reinsman Chris Geary, Smooth Showgirl registered her 20th victory from 69 starts while taking her career earning past the $300,000 mark. Next week, the Queensland summer carnival comes to a climatic ending with the running of the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, the Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, the $21,160 C2/C5 feature plus the $14,999 King of the Claimers Final. It promises to be another exciting night of action. Chris Barsby

It was a fitting result with leading horseman John McCarthy returning in style. The former multiple Albion Park Metropolitan Trainers Premiership winner returned back to his old stomping ground and claimed the Gr.3 $30,660 AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint last night (Saturday), the opening night of the Queensland summer carnival. McCarthy guided giant New Zealand gelding Rakarolla ($9) to victory in the 1660m feature after racing three back against the pegs before sprinting past the Ian Gurney duo of Mach Alert ($3.30) and Our Hi Jinx ($7.50) in a scorching time of 1:51.9. Sectionals of 27.3, 28.4, 28.3 and 27.9 seconds. The winning time is well outside of the track record of 1:50.4 set by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn back in 2014. It is the second time McCarthy has prepared the winner of the feature named in honour of his former champion after Washakie scored back in 2011. Now based at Cobbitty near Menangle, the highly decorated horseman prepares a team of around 20. “It’s great to win a race that’s named after my best ever pacer, I got a good run against the inside and that’s the best place to be when the running that sort of time. He finished off really well and we’ll start in the Christmas and Queensland Cups,” McCarthy said. “Earlier this week, I sat and thought about taking my horses to Newcastle and then thought I should drive a little further north and take in the Brisbane features. So I headed up with a small team and it’s been a good start.” He added. Rakarolla is raced by his New Zealand based breeder, Brendan Fahy. In the other feature, race favourite Mr Kalypso ($1.75) accounted for the Grant Dixon duo of Aqua Miss ($14) and Red Charmer ($7.50) in the AQWA Constructions APHRC Members Cup. The Kylie Rasmussen trained and driven pacer rated a strong 1:57.1 after racing without cover for the bulk of the 2138m event. Mr Kalypso remains unbeaten in seven Queensland starts. The Art Major – Kalypso five-year-old entire looks destined for bigger and better things in the future. Next week, the features include the $20,660 Christmas Cup and the $20,660 Forever Gold Mares Open Pace. RQ Media

Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One made a triumphant return to Albion Park last night (Saturday). Starting at prohibitive odds in the Gotta Go Cullect @ Egmont Park Stud Pace, the Mach Three entire quickly circled the field from his second-line draw before controlling the race outside the leader Our Major Day. The brilliant four-year-old quickly gained the upper hand soon after straightening and drew clear from a game Our Major Day while Top Flight Cruize filled third placing. The winning mile rate for the 2138m event was 1:57.2 while covering the final half in 55.6 seconds. The victory took his earning past $400,000. It was the first full metropolitan meeting staged at Albion Park since September 22 after the track underwent major remediation works following a spate of cancellations owing to poor weather. The Grant Dixon prepared pacer was having his first start since finishing second behind Ride High in the Gr.1 $195,000 Breeders Crown Final at TABCORP Park, Melton on August 25. And without the benefit of a public trial. “Obviously we couldn’t trial him at Albion Park in preparation for his return but we have plenty of handy types that can make him stretch out at home, I was really happy with where he was at prior to his return and he didn’t disappoint and felt like his normal self.” Dixon said. The Queensland summer carnival over the next three weeks has been added to his program as they build towards their main target, the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 16. “We’re definitely going to have a look at some these local features in the coming weeks, he won’t start in all of them but he will be tested at some point against the open class performers. “He’s destined for open class and this looks the right opportunity to dip his toe in the water, it fits his schedule nicely.” The Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprints kicks off the carnival on December 1 followed by the $20,660 Christmas Cup (December 8) and then the Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup (December 15). The trio of open class features will be raced over the distances of 1660m, 2680m and 2138m. With the return of racing to headquarters, Dixon enjoyed a great night preparing five winners. His haul included Eleniark, Fioki, Colt Thirty One, Alleluia and Our Overanova. It is the 10th time he has achieved the feat. And it’s the 7th time he’s achieved it at Albion Park. The previous occasion came earlier this year when preparing five winners on May 12. Chris Barsby

The return to racing for Leos Best is still a long way off. Since being crowned the 2016/17 Queensland Harness Horse of the Year, the Cammibest gelding has graced the racetrack only twice. Prepared by leading horseman Grant Dixon, the multiple feature race winner has been plagued by soundness issues for the past twelve months. The issues started after he pulled a shoe and drove a nail through his hoof late last year while niggling problems since have kept him away from the track. And he’s still no closer to a return. “He’s still spelling up at Egmont Park but he’s due for another scan next week so hopefully he gets the green light to resume work sooner rather than later.” Dixon explained. Raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, Leos Best has been based at their iconic stud farm at Biddeston on the Darling Downs under the care of Tobi Raeth. The now six-year-old made a cameo back in November, 2017 which resulted in a first-up victory at Albion Park on November 11 followed by a dismal effort two weeks later when unplaced. Leos Best finished fifth behind Smooth Showgirl but never threatened at any stage. He hasn’t raced since. Overall, Leos Best has won 26 of his 44 starts while banking more than $345,000. Chris Barsby

Queensland will not be represented in the 2018 New Zealand Cup. The famed two mile stand-start feature staged in Christchurch at Addington Raceway will take place on November 14 and Alleluia won’t be making the trip. Prepared by Grant Dixon for leading owner Greg Mitchell, a late entry payment was made last month which had the Art Major gelding on the cusp of the final field of 15 starters before slipping to 17th in the latest rankings form Harness Racing New Zealand. Following his third placing behind Let It Ride in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park during the winter carnival back in July, Alleluia continued his strong form with a string of open class victories at Albion Park during August and September. As a result, connections decided to chase the New Zealand Cup. But his form has dipped slightly in recent weeks including his latest effort last weekend when fourth behind his stable mate Ohoka Punter after leading. “While he’s a proven Redcliffe Cup winner he’s not entirely comfortable on the track, the other major factor of not going ahead with New Zealand is the travel involved. There is no direct flight into Christchurch meaning we have to road down to Sydney before flying to Auckland and then getting a connecting flight to Christchurch which is very taxing.” Dixon said. Alleluia remains in contention for the Inter Dominion series coming up in Melbourne starting on December 1. In the latest rankings from Harness Racing Victoria, he sits 36th. The Queensland Summer Carnival is another option available for connections with a trio of open class features scheduled The local carnival starts on December 1. “We’ll see where he ends up with the rankings for the Inter but the local carnival is a nice back-up and he’ll be very competitive in each of those races. “His form is still very solid, the open class races are very competitive here and once we return to Albion Park, I think his best will return.” Alleluia has won 33 races from 138 starts while banking more than $521,000.   Chris Barsby

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