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The harness racing barrier draws have been conducted for this Saturday night’s Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint and Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  The $200,000 events will be run on night one of the Sky Racing Carnival Of Miracles and both are qualifying events for the $750,000 Miracle Mile on Sunday February 28. COCA-COLA AMATIL SPRINT BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 EASY ON THE EYE SHANE TRITTON 2 MY GENERAL LEE (EM 1)   3 BLAZIN N CULLEN JOHN MCCARTHY 4 BEAUTIDE JAMES RATTRAY 5 COLD MAJOR DAVID AIKEN 6 SUAVE STUEY LOMBO SHANE TRITTON 7 MAJOR CROCKER VINCE VALLELONGA 8 LOUS LAD (EM 2) PAUL FITZPATRICK 9 OUR SKY MAJOR BARRY PURDON 10 OUR HI JINX  ODM BELINDA MCCARTHY   CORDINA CHICKEN FARMS SPRINT   BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 MY GENERAL LEE (EM 1)   2 FIVE STAR ANVIL ADAM KELLY 3 MODERN RULER JAMES RATTRAY 4 BLING IT ON BELINDA MCCARTHY 5 IAM MR BRIGHTSIDE KERRYANN TURNER 6 MACH BEAUTY SHANE TRITTON 7 LOUS LAD  (EM 2) PAUL FITZPATRICK 8 MY HARD COPY GARY HALL SNR 9 BETTOR BET BLACK DARREN MCCALL 10 MONIFIETH JOHN MCCARTHY     Greg Hayes      

The harness racing barrier draw has been conducted for this Saturday night's Form 700 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The $200,000 event will be run on night one of the Sky Racing Carnival Of Miracles. The Cordina Chicken Sprint and Coca-Cola Sprint will also be conducted on Saturday night. The $200,000 races will also be qualifying races for the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile on Sunday February 28.   BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 LORD ZIN ZAN JOHN MCCARTHY 2 EXPRESS STRIDE BELINDA MCCARTHY 3 AMERETTO ASHLEE GRIVES 4 CRUZ BROMAC DEAN BRAUN 5 AZTEC BROMAC KERRYANN TURNER 6 ADMIRAL BRONSKI (EM 1) TAHN CAMILLERI 7 LETS CUT LOOSE KEVIN PIZZUTO 8 KILCULLEN JOHN MCCARTHY 9 ARMS OF AN ANGEL SHANE TRITTON 10 TACT TATE AMANDA TURNBULL 11 HAVE FAITH IN ME MARK PURDON 12 WINGARA (EM 2) PETER ROMERO       .                       Greg Hayes

With all reinswomen across New South Wales wearing teal coloured driving pants until March 12 to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, Bathurst harness racing driver Emma Turnbull has taken her involvement in the campaign to a new level. Harness Racing NSW and corporate partner TAB will donate $200 to the Women's Cancer Foundation Ovarian Cancer Institute each time a lady driver wins a race across the state. Emma is one of three drivers that will be wearing the Women's Cancer Foundation silks as well as the teal pants in every race she competes in until March 12. Emma Turnbull and her mother Wendy have called upon local businesses and supporters to get behind the campaign. 50 'sponsors' will donate $20 to the cause every time Emma drives a winner. "We've still got another 13 people to ask and I'm hoping we can push it past 50 because that would mean an extra $1000 would go the Ovarian Cancer Institute each time Emma drives a winner between now and March 12," Wendy Turnbull said. "So many people have been happy to jump on board and support the concept, Emma and I have agreed to donate $100 every time she wins on one of the horses I train as well." It is the first year HRNSW has been involved with the Women's Cancer Foundation after a successful partnership between Harness Racing Victoria and the group started several years ago through successful owners Duncan McPherson and Michael Taranto. Mr McPherson's wife died from ovarian cancer. The Turnbull family are encouraging other drivers to find sponsors of their own. "The message about ovarian cancer is a very important one and anything the harness racing industry can do to raise money to help fund the vital research of creating a vaccine and funding research nurses is very important. "We aren't sure how many winners Emma will drive between now and March 12 but if she can drive a handful, it is all extra money raised and hopefully this might encourage some of the girls to find some sponsors too." The people and organisations that have agreed to donate $20 to the Women's Cancer Foundation Ovarian Cancer Institute every time Emma Turnbull drives a winner include - Agnes Banks Vet Clinic, Stewart St Vet Clinic, Campbell Advisory, Inland Builders, Golden Gait Stud, Allied Express, John Coffey, IMP Pumps, Mitchell Plant Hire, Rob Nalder, Tony Dumesny, Noel Daly, Noel Creenaune, Frank O'Sullivan, Robinsons Auto, Friendly Bin Man, Gail Osborne, Kelso Newsagency, Macquarie Skin & Day Spa, Apsley View Estate, A.D Turnbull, Therese Turnbull, Newhams Rural Supplies, Vic Hotel Bathurst, Pit Express, Raine & Horne Bathurst, Bedwells Feedbarn, Hothams Sand Soil and Gravel, Bathurst Auto Parts, South Bathurst Butchers, Pit Stop Pies Bathurst, Bowyer & Livermore Stock & Station, Vanessa Pringle Floral Designs, Ardina Electrical Bathurst, Phillip Webb, Johnson Mechanical & Towing Bathurst, Yirribee Pacing Stud, Lands Legal Sydney, Madik Construction O'Connell, Mick Beresford Painting, Bay View Hotel Woy Woy, Banjo Patterson Hotel Jindabyne, Royce George Roofing, Ray Osborne Plumbing, Warwick Osborne Plumbing, Rayngold, Bathurst Harness Racing Club, Kristy Schofield, Bathurst Dental Practice and Chris' Pies at Grenfell. Greg Hayes  

Bankstown harness racing trainer Jim Webb left hospital after seven long months recently and is slowly becoming accustomed to his new routine and surrounds. Jim suffered a spinal cord injury in June last year after falling while working a horse on the Bankstown track and has no movement in his legs and very little movement in his arms and hands. Webb has been amazed at the amount of support he has received from the harness racing industry and has passed on his thanks to everyone who has contacted him passing on their best wishes. Since leaving hospital, Webb has moved into a care facility with his family and plans to purchase a new house equipped with necessary modifications. The family has sold its previous home in Auburn and is looking forward to the future. Webb and his family have asked for some privacy in the short term as they become accustomed to the new care facility and contemplate another move to a new home. Greg Hayes

Every female harness racing driver in New South Wales will be wearing teal coloured driving pants from February 1 to March 12 to increase the awareness of ovarian cancer.  Each time a female driver wins a race during the period, Harness Racing New South Wales will donate $200 to the Women’s Cancer Foundation – Ovarian Cancer Institute with corporate partner TAB matching the donation. More than 70% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will not survive and there is no early detection test available.  Harness Racing Victoria has worked closely with the Women’s Cancer Foundation for several years and HRNSW has been welcomed aboard in an attempt to broaden the reach of the important message being delivered. In addition, three leading female drivers – Lauren Panella, Emma Turnbull and Ellen Bartley - will wear Women’s Cancer Foundation silks from Monday until March 12 and will be ambassadors. HRNSW Chief Executive congratulated all of the female drivers throughout NSW for supporting the initiative. “HRNSW is proud to support the Women’s Cancer Foundation – Ovarian Cancer Institute.  It is currently striving to find an ovarian cancer vaccine and funds research nurses which in time will save the lives of women around the world,” Mr Dumesny said. “There are 60 or so female drivers currently participating in the state and I want to thank them for getting behind this awareness campaign and hopefully together they can win a number of races between February 1 and March 12 because that will mean a large donation to the WCF.” During the same period last year female drivers won 75 races in NSW and if that was to be repeated it would mean a $30,000 donation to the organisation. “Harness racing is a sport that thrives on the success of the female participants, in recent years Amanda Turnbull and Lauren Panella have dominated the NSW driving premiership and with so many other successful women competing  it makes sense for HRNSW to be associated with such a cause. “The teal pants have been sent right across the state, no one has been forgotten and with the Miracle Mile carnival set to be run next month it will mean so much more exposure for the cause.” HRNSW will provide a daily update on the results of the female drivers on twitter and facebook. Greg Hayes

Harness racing driver David Morris is looking forward to welcoming back My General Lee on Australia Day in the group three Goulburn Cup. The talented five-year-old pacer has not raced since finishing second in the Breeders Crown last season behind Hectorjayjay but has had two recent trials to prepare him for Tuesday's feature event. My General Lee will start from the inside of the second row in the $31,800 event and will need to perform strongly to defeat the quality opposition headed by Inter Dominion finalist Blazin N Cullen, Teo Enteo and Pachacuti. "It's not an ideal draw in a race where there is so much depth, My General Lee does have very good speed when saved up for one sprint therefore I think he is entitled to be considered a winning chance," Morris said. "I've spoken with connections about the barrier draw and they are very keen for me to come off the fence as early as possible so that will be the plan as soon as the starter lets the field go." Morris confirmed there was a great deal of improvement between the gelding's first and second trials and expects him to be even fitter on Tuesday afternoon. "His first trial was against Beautide and although the opposition was very strong I thought he was a bit disappointing because he struggled to the line but on reflection he obviously needed the run. "We sat behind Bettor Bet Black in his second trial and followed him before coming to the outside in the straight, he only beat us home by about a neck and the times were a lot better." My General Lee was expected to have another trial at Menangle on Friday afternoon as a final hit-out before Tuesday's race however the trials were called off and the son of Art Major hoppled on Saturday morning instead. "His work was really strong on Saturday morning, it was exactly what you want to see a few days out before a race and he felt spot on. "I haven't really discussed with Daniel Neagoe and the owners what the long term goal with him is but he is assessed M4 so wherever he goes he has to take on the better horses." Morris drove at Menangle on Friday afternoon and Saturday night and will drive to Junee to compete in an invitational drivers' series on Sunday. "It was nice to be invited to take part in the series, Ash Hart played a big part in me being asked to take part in it. "I won't get home until late on Sunday night and I've got to be up early to work horses on Monday morning but I'm sure it will be worth the trip." Greg Hayes

Sporty Spook has been a great horse for harness racing trainer David Kennedy. The four-year-old gelding has won more than $125,000 and while his efforts have given Kennedy plenty of excitement, a victory in Sunday night’s Junee Pacers Cup could potentially be the talented horseman’s 250th winner as a driver.  Kennedy will go into Sunday’s meeting on 249 winners and will have the opportunity to drive in two races prior to the Junee Cup but it seems almost poetic that a career milestone could be achieved on one of Kennedy’s better performed runners in a country feature race.  “It is going to put a bit of pressure on me now but look he’s a pretty faultless pacer and he just got it all wrong at Temora last start so I’d forgive him for that,”  “He has been working really well last start, Jarrod Alchin went to Temora last time out to drive him for me because I wanted his opinion on whether Sporty Spook and Shes A Runa were going well enough to take to Sydney for a couple of races but neither of them performed up to standard.”  Kennedy is thinking about putting Sporty Spook in the Chariots Of Fire qualifier, the Paleface Adios Stakes while he is hoping Shes A Runa will get a start in a Ladyship Mile lead-up.  “I want to try and concentrate on races that I actually think I can be competitive in because last year I took Sporty Spook to the NSW Derby, he ended up running third but it probably cost him because by the time the Breeders Challenge came around later in the season he wasn’t in top form. “So with the Breeders Challenge in mind again, I just want to see how he goes on Sunday night at Junee before deciding on going towards a Chariots qualifier.”  Shes A Runa will compete in the Allan Harpley Memorial on Sunday night and Kennedy was happy to see her return to form last start at Wagga.  “I trialled her leading into Temora but she was probably a little bit underdone and then she had to do so much work because of the draw and that brought about her undoing.  “It was good to see her return to winning form at Wagga last start, when she strode up to them around the turn she felt like she was in second gear, I’d been really happy with her up until Temora so hopefully she’s back in that sort of form again.”  After reaching M2 assessment, Kennedy is weighing up his options with the former NSW Oaks winner. “If she won another couple at Menangle it would take her through to an assessment of M4, then she would be competing against the free-for-all horses every week which is a bit tough, so this could be her last season of racing.”  The Junee Pacers Cup on Sunday night is race six and is scheduled for 8:49pm.  Greg Hayes                

So much change can take place in the space of twelve months, especially when you're sixteen years old. During the Golden Guitar carnival last season harness racing junior driver Tom Ison failed to get a drive at the meeting when the heats were conducted nor did he get a drive on final night. Fast forward to 2016 and now seventeen Tom is right amongst the action, he had six drives on Golden Nugget night, three drives at the meeting when the heats of the Golden Guitar were held and will drive in races at the feature meeting on Friday night. Ison believes the arrival of Graham and Jenny Moon to Tamworth has been the biggest reason he has received more opportunities. "Yeah I think so, Graham and Jenny have been great to me since they arrived, they were using my older brother Sam a bit but now I tend to get most of the drives for them which is good," Ison said. "I'm driving Franco Seville for them in the Tamworth Cup, his run in the Golden Nugget was very good and he has got a better draw this time but there is a little bit more depth in the race this time as well." Ison was given the opportunity to compete in the 2015 HRNSW Rising Star Series which enabled him to learn a lot from other junior drivers across the state. Prior to last year's Golden Guitar meeting Ison had only driven eight winners in his career and since then has added another nineteen to his tally. "My best chance on Friday night would be another one for Graham - Hayabusa Flyer - it ran fifth in a heat of the Golden Guitar and moves to the front row this time but I think most of my drives are each way chances with a bit of luck. "I'm driving Tepary for Dad and we got her off the Moon's a couple of starts ago, she did a pretty good at her first run for us then won last time out. "I think she can win another couple of races around here, especially being a mare with the drop back and then my junior claim." While Ison will not be driving in the feature event he has nominated the McCarthy family as the people to beat in the Golden Guitar. "I think one of the McCarthys will win it, John's horse went really well in the heats and ran a good time but it has drawn out wider than the horse Luke will be driving, it is a pretty strong race." Greg Hayes

Harness racing trainer Bill Lesslie has been making his annual trip from Dubbo to Tamworth for more than 30 years. Lesslie enjoys getting to the country music festival each year, enjoys camping out on the track, catching up with his friends and throwing a horse on the float to make the trip worthwhile. This is set to become Lesslie's most memorable year as he has qualified a runner for Tamworth's feature event - Pryde's Easifeed Golden Guitar. Zodiac Dream will represent the Lesslie stable in the $25,500 final and it will be the first time in nearly two decades Bill has had a runner in the event. "I've been making the trip for as long as I can remember, I really enjoy it because we camp out at the racetrack and we catch up with the crew from Queensland every year, listen to some music and go to the races - it doesn't get better," Lesslie said. "I always bring a horse up, Albaglen Bay won a heat for me in 1998 but we came back the next day in the final and finished eighth. This year Zodiac Dream has drawn well and although it is a strong race I think he's got a good chance." Zodiac Dream has won his last four starts for Lesslie but there was never a preconceived plan to target the Golden Guitar with the four year old. "He started his career in Sydney with the Fitzpatrick stable, he actually arrived at my place while I was away in Tamworth last year and was waiting for me when I got home. "He has always shown me that he has had ability, but I thought it was going to take me a little bit longer to get him going as well as he can. I thought he might hit his straps as a five year old." Zodiac Dream will be driven by Bathurst reinsman Nathan Turnbull and while it will be his first drive on the son of Four Starzzz Shark, Lesslie has had success with him in the past. "I think Nathan has had one drive for me for one win so that will do me, it is the strongest Golden Guitar I've seen and there are so many chances in it. "While barrier one is a great draw there are five horses drawn wider that will want to cross him so he's going to have to be ready to run the best race of his life." When asked what sort of celebration would be organised if Zodiac Dream did happen to win, Lesslie responded: "I don't know when I'd see Dubbo again, it would be a pretty big party that's for sure." The Golden Guitar is race six at Tamworth on Friday night and is scheduled to begin at 9:10pm. Greg Hayes

Broken Hill harness racing horseman Anthony Adams is no stranger to training and driving multiple winners but his effort on Saturday night of driving three winners and training two of them was overshadowed by the performance of broodmare Parabadoo Magic. Parabadoo Magic is the mother of Im The Mighty Judd – the winner of the first race and Mister Magic Man – the winner of the last.  The brothers are both trained by Adams and he was pretty confident going into the meeting that he would have a good night. “Yeah on paper I thought I’d go pretty close with the two horses that won for me, they were very fit after competing at Mildura recently and that fitness helped them over the line on Saturday,” Adams said. “It was a good effort by Parabadoo Magic, there is a two year old filly by Safari out of her as well, she is nicely gaited and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does at the races.” Parabadoo Magic started her career at Broken Hill and raced well for Adams winning twelve races in her career, including her first three starts on her home track. “She did a good job for us, she was a little bit highly strung but she is still the holder of the 1610 metres track record.  They don’t race over that distance anymore, although they still start the races from the same spot and call it 1609 metres. “She had great point to point speed but her biggest downfall was her ability to get too excited and over race, Im The Mighty Judd has inherited that trait whereas Mister Magic Man is very tractable.” Im The Mighty Judd is named after former Carlton star Chris Judd who retired last season after 279 AFL games. “For a Carlton supporter, to give a horse a name like that you have to think he’s going to be pretty good and when he first started I really liked him and thought he was going to be a nice horse – so that’s how he got his name. “He has been injury prone, he tore his pectoral muscle and had to have a break and then had a mild suspensory tear and needed another six months off but he is going very well at the moment.” Mister Magic Man is by Mister Big and Adams is hoping to compete in the Breeders Challenge series later in the season. “He’s in the Breeders Challenge, the closest track that will have a heat will be Dubbo so if he keeps on improving I might make the trip to Dubbo with him. “It’s a fair hike but there is some nice money available so I’ll just wait and see what happens.” Adams confirmed he will continue to breed horses in the hope of finding his champion. “I think that’s what everyone is in the game for isn’t it?  To have that horse that is a top liner. “I don’t have the money to be going to the yearling sales to spend $50,000 on a young one and while it might cost me the best part of $25,000 or $30,000 by the time I breed one and get it to the races, I’m dreaming of finding that star.” Greg Hayes

Newcastle's leading concession driver Brad Elder is set to miss a large part of the harness racing season after sustaining serious injuries in a race fall at Tamworth on Sunday afternoon. Elder fractured his right wrist, tore ligaments in his ac joint and has also torn his pectoral muscle as a result of the incident and is yet to be given a clear indication on when he will be able to return to the sulky. "I'm not sure when I'll be ready to return but speaking with a few people about the injuries I've got it can take a long time to recover, I've even been told twelve months out is not out of the question," Elder said. "I have to go back to the fracture clinic on Thursday week and that should give me a clearer indication, my arm is in a half cast at the moment, they're going to remove that next week and have a look at it again to see if it is healing but if it isn't they will put on another cast." The news has come at the worst possible time for Elder, with the seventeen year old driving eleven winners in the last six weeks. "I thought I was just going to be a bit sore after the fall because I got up and got in the back of the mobile and they took me around to see the ambulance officers, I got checked out, they looked after some gashes on my knees because they were cut up a fair bit but I thought that was about it. "On the way back home in the car from Tamworth, my shoulder was pretty sore so I went to the hospital on Monday and while they were checking out my shoulder the doctor ran his hand down my arm and when he got to my wrist and touched it I just about did a back flip out of the window it hurt that much." Elder went up to the Maitland Showground on Tuesday so he could spend some time around the horses but soon became frustrated. "I'm right handed so I can't do anything, I can't help out and gear the horses up, it isn't much fun at the moment. "I'm not in a lot of pain it is just the inconvenience of not being able to use my hand or arm, I'm meant to go back to school in a couple of weeks but I don't even know if it is worth going because I won't be able to write." Elder can clearly remember what happened moments before and after the fall. "The horse inside me at the start (Rib And Roll) galloped and then my horse galloped and ran out onto the horse Luke McCarthy was driving (Madam Misty), we locked wheels and my gig ended up getting flipped up and I fell out, it all happened very quickly." "Hopefully I'm a quick healer and I can get back driving as soon as possible because I was really enjoying it and starting to get a number of opportunities." Elder is currently third on the NSW Concession Drivers Premiership behind Todd McCarthy and Chris Geary. Greg Hayes

Next month's Miracle Mile has had an injection of speed with connections confirming WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy will head to Sydney after the conclusion of his Victorian campaign. Harness racing driver Clint Hall is excited to be heading across to the eastern states to drive the son of American Ideal and believes Tabcorp Park Menangle would be a perfect track to unleash his top speed. "His recent mile record is pretty good and when he won a heat of the Inter Dominion at Bunbury he became WA's fastest pacer so with the right run I think he would be competitive in anything he contested," Hall said. "He will fly to Melbourne on Thursday week before getting ready for the Victoria and Hunter Cups and the only thing that will stop us going onto Sydney is poor form or bad health." My Hard Copy finished fourth behind Alta Christiano in the 2013 WA Derby and competed in the Golden Nugget as a four year old but was forced to undergo throat surgery last year after breathing difficulties. "I think the operation has taken him to the next level and he has really grown in confidence since then, we suspected there were some breathing problems and then one night I heard them in the warm-up. "It is hard to describe, I guess the best way to describe it is that he sounded like a vacuum cleaner that had something stuck in its pipe, you could hear him whistling." Three or four different operations were suggested but connections opted for the least intrusive - a tie-forward operation. "He went for a break in July last year and it was while he was off that he had the operation, it is something that you have to be aware of and something that you need to keep listening out for. "He did make the sound once or twice after he resumed but the more racing he has had since the operation, the better he has been." Hall has only driven at Menangle previously on one occasion when he drove Livingontheinterest in the 2014 Inter Dominion. The qualifiers for the 2016 Miracle Mile will be conducted at Menangle on Saturday February 13. Greg Hayes

The popular City versus Country Drivers Challenge will be a feature of the Carnival of Cups meeting at Junee this Sunday night.  Harness racing club secretary Joanne Judd has been busily preparing and was proud to confirm the ‘City’ team that will be making the trip to Junee. “The five reinsman that will be travelling to Junee to represent the city are David Morris, Josh Aiken, Zac Phillips, Josh Duggan and Alex Ashwood,” Mrs Judd said. “We are still awaiting the confirmation of the country team but we have four confirmed drivers David Moran, Corey Bell, Scott Osmond and Dennis Picker while Mat Rue will confirm whether he can be the fifth driver on Tuesday.” The challenge has been highly entertaining in recent years with several Grand Circuit stars including Anthony Butt and Chris Alford having competed in previous years. “The club tries to mix it up every year and have different drivers compete, Amanda Turnbull won it last year and we try to make it exciting for the on-course patrons that live locally who watch all of these drivers compete on the television but never get the chance to see them drive in person. “Matt Harris came up with the idea a number of years ago and it is something that the Junee club enjoys running each and every year.” Owners and trainers are reminded that each of the three heats in the City v Country Drivers Invitational are penalty-free events. “Each of the races is worth $8,000 and being penalty free they are very attractive options for a number of trainers and owners who might be considering making the trip to Junee. “There is a heat for C0 horses, C1 and C2 to C3 so we hope to receive strong nominations for the challenge.” The feature race at Sunday’s meeting will be the Phoenix Accounting and Business Services Junee Pacers Cup.  The race is worth $14,280 and is for C3 to C6 horses.  The Trevor White-trained Hollywood Stride won the 2015 Cup in a big upset with odds-on favourite Business In Motion finishing ninth. Greg Hayes

Miracle Mile winning reinsman Mat Rue achieved a career milestone at Parkes last week when the harness racing 26-year-old drove his 500th career winner.  While the victory by Tulhurst Ace may have gone unnoticed by many, winning on the Nathan Hurst trained four-year-old meant a great deal to Rue as the Hurst stable was one of his biggest supporters in the early days. On leaving school, Rue got a job working for Golden Gait Stud’s Wayne Lamb before securing a job at the Cowra Abattoir.  Despite being busy at work, Rue still found time to travel around the central west of New South Wales to drive at country meetings. “I’d finish at the meatworks by 12:30 and I’d head off to wherever I could get a drive in the early days, there were plenty of people who were willing to give me a go and that helped my development,” Rue said. “Dad (Ken Rue) helped me a lot too, he had two horses – Miracle In Time and Lace and Whiskey – and I was able to win quite a few which got my career going in the early days.” When Rue started to establish himself as a junior reinsman he moved to Bathurst and began working for local trainer Bernie Hewitt and it was during this time that he got his biggest break through unfortunate circumstances. “I was doing a bit of driving for Kevin and Nathan Hurst in those days and Nathan got hurt and had to have about eighteen months off so I started picking up about 70% of the drives for the stable and they had about 25 horses in work at the time. “Back in those days, trainers like Peter Trevor-Jones was a great support and he still is today, but once I started to get a few winners I started to get more opportunities.” It was during this period that Rue caught the attention of Luke McCarthy and Rue soon moved to Sydney to become the junior reinsman for the state’s leading stable.  Rue enjoyed his most successful season while living in Sydney and recorded 110 winners in 2011/12. However it wasn’t until April 2013 that Rue enjoyed the best day of his career when he drove a group one double at Tabcorp Park Menangle including the Miracle Mile on the McCarthy trained Baby Bling. “It was a day everyone dreams about and it is something that will probably never happen again but to win the Miracle Mile and the Australian Pacing Gold for two year olds on Lettucerockthem was so special. “I had dreamed about winning the Miracle Mile since I was young and to achieve it was something I will never forget.” Rue moved to North America for more experience and while learning a lot he was unable to drive a winner. “I think I had about 30 drives over there, I got six placings which was good but I was ready to come home and have a crack at it. “I moved back to Bathurst with Bernie and have been working for him since, nothing beats the thrill of driving winners but I’m really enjoying training the young horses and I have a small team of five in work.” At Bathurst tonight, Rue has a number of drives however he also trains lightly raced three-year-old Fouroeight in race six. “He is owned by Tony Pace and when I first picked him up it was only a couple of days after Australian cricketer Phil Hughes had died after he was hit in the head while playing for South Australia. “I named the horse Phil straight away because I am a pretty big cricket fan and when it came time to name him I asked Tony if I could put a name in for him and I decided to use Phil Hughes’ Australian test number and that’s how I came up with Fouroeight.” Fouroeight was Rue’s 499th winner as a driver and he brought up his 500th the following night at Parkes. “I’d love to keep doing what I’m doing, everything is going really well for me at the moment, my fiancé Gemma (Hewitt) and I are due to get married and hopefully the winners keep coming.” Greg Hayes

IForm was well and truly on target last week as all of the selections over the weekend were successful.  While this weekend, the harness racing meetings look tougher iForm has again passed on the best bet for each of the NSW TAB meetings on Saturday and Sunday. Tabcorp Park Menangle – Saturday – Race 2 Number 11 Ive Gottalife Ive Gottalife has been placed in all ten of his starts this season and despite the second row draw does look to find a winnable race.  In his last two starts over the 2300 metres he has been defeated by Mac The Finn and Kilcullen but in Saturday night’s race Hancock does have the option of leaving the marker pegs in the early stages so he can put the son of Bettors Delight into the race once the speed drops. Junee – Saturday – Race 3 Number 2 Royal Canvas Royal Canvas was disappointing last start at Temora when finishing last but iForm has suggested the gelding deserves another chance.  Since resuming from a long break, the six year old had performed strongly at Albury and Junee and should enjoy racing against this week’s opposition.  From the good draw, David Kennedy will be aggressive in the early stages and with a comfortable run in front Royal Canvas should be very hard to run down. Tamworth – Sunday – Race 8 Number 4 Sams Cam Trainer/driver Nathan Xuereb has Sams Cam racing consistently recently and he looks well placed in a heat of the Golden Guitar.  The four year old last raced in a heat of the Inter City Pace at Maitland and was forced to chase home eventual series winner Kept Under Wraps.  Prior to that Sams Cam had been racing against strong fields at Bathurst and Penrith and from the front row draw expect Xuereb to be aggressive in the early stages. Greg Hayes  

With the Miracle Mile only six weeks away the harness racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle is starting to build towards fever pitch and this Saturday night’s card is very strong.  Beautide is back at the races for the first time in eight months while the three year old fillies tune up for next month’s NSW Oaks by competing in the Gr. 3 Raith Memorial. HRNSW’s Amanda Rando has passed on her best bets for the meeting and is very keen on the chances of Express Stride in race four.  The former kiwi is now in the Belinda McCarthy stable and arrives with a very big reputation courtesy of some strong performances earlier in his career.  The son of Bettor's Delight has not raced since the Kaikoura meeting in November but Amanda expects him to make a winning start to his Australian campaign. Next best according to Amanda is the John McCarthy trained Monifieth.  He returned to his best last week when he produced a whirlwind finish and was second behind Bling It On.  Beautide will resume but is first up in eight months and Amanda expects Monifieth’s fitness to be an important factor. BEST BET – Race 4 No.1 Express Stride NEXT BEST – Race 6 No.8 Monifieth AMANDA’S QUADDIE – LEG1: No.2 Gina Grace, No.4 Our Dream About Me LEG 2: No.4 Blazin N Cullen, No.7 Freyberg, No.8 Monifieth, No.10 Beautide LEG 3: No.2 Im Johnny Jet, No.5 Lets Cut Loose, No.6 Abbey Cullen, No.9 Place Your Bet LEG 4: No.5 Glenferrie Dreamer, No.6 Flying Isa, No.9 On Thunder Road Greg Hayes

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