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In his last three victories the Kevin Pizzuto trained Freyberg has beaten several Gr. 1 performers.  Four starts ago he proved too strong for three time Gr. 1 winner Gaius Caesar, two starts ago he beat 2013 Blacks A Fake winner Ideal Scott and Inter Dominion placegetter Seel N Print and last weekend he spoiled the party when he ran down Smoken Up in what will be the dual Miracle Mile winner's last run at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "He is going really well at the moment, actually it is probably better described as flying because he is just getting better and better," Pizzuto said. "What I am really happy with is that he has developed some gate speed while he has been racing up in the grades, when he first arrived from New Zealand he didn't possess much early speed at all but with the experience against the better ones he is learning and his gate speed is now becoming vital in these races." Freyberg has been driven predominantly by Inter Dominion winning reinsman James Rattray and Pizzuto acknowledges that he will be on the lookout for a new driver next season. "I want to target Freyberg for races like the Miracle Mile and that means he may clash with Beautide at some stage and James won't be able to drive my horse, we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it and it isn't a major worry but it is something that I have been thinking about with all of his good recent runs. "Freyberg arrived in Australia and was eligible to compete in C2 races and I actually took him to Penrith for his first three starts and he ended up winning five in a row before he was beaten for me." Freyberg is no stranger to Gr. 1 level after he placed third in the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown last December behind Washakie. "I'm going to set him a pretty big campaign next season and hopefully he can work his way into some of the big races, it would be nice to have a runner in the big ones." By Greg Hayes (HRNSW)                                                                                                                                         

With the end of the season only just over four weeks away it is no surprise to see some trainers and drivers in New South Wales reaching milestones. Driver Gavin Fitzpatrick recently brought up his 100th winner in the sulky for the season, Belinda McCarthy made it consecutive seasons of training 100 winners and KerryAnn Turner was able to join the 100 club on Saturday night as a driver when Fernleigh Renegade won at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "It was really nice to bring up 100 winners as a driver on the weekend and it is actually something I would never get the opportunity to do because Robbie (Morris) does most of the driving for our stable," Turner said. "But with Robbie on the sidelines with his injured leg it gave me a few more opportunities late in the season and I have been able to get to the magical 100." Turner was full of praise for the support she had received from her owners and family. "I couldn't have driven all those winners without the support of all of the owners we have. Obviously we have been having a good run lately and July has been a pretty good month because I also was able to train a couple of Gr. 2 winners in the Breeders Challenge Blue Finals." "Also both Robbie's family and my family have been great, it really has been a team effort and all the hard work has really paid off." With Robbie Morris due back from injury in the short term, Turner is happy to take a back seat when it comes to the race driving. "Yes definitely, it will be good to have Rob back because I much prefer the training side of things to the driving, don't get me wrong I enjoy the driving but I just get a bigger thrill out of the training of the horses." "With a month of the season still left it would be nice to get another 10 winners or so but I will just have to see how everything unfolds over the next few weeks." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing Australia)

There will not be a dry eye at the track should the David Thorn trained Gamebreaker win Thursday night's The MonSTaR Foundation Danny Bergan Memorial at Penrith. One of Gamebreaker's owners in Danny Bergan's son, Daniel, and after an approach was made to Harness Racing New South Wales permission has been granted for the son of Mach Three to wear Bergan's old race colours. On the 10th March 2007 Danny Bergan passed away after a two year battle with Motor Neurone Disease and in his memory, Danny's son Daniel and good friend Stuart Jamieson set out to do all they could to ensure that Danny's wife was financially secure and they would do all they could to help raise awareness and research into the debilitating disease. In 2010, Daniel and Stuart took their fundraising efforts and linked up with the MonSTaR Foundation and since then all money raised at the Danny Bergan fundraisers has gone directly to the Foundation, a body that has raised over $1 million, all in the name of supporting sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease. Daniel and Stuart have raised a combined total of $320,000 over the last five years with the majority of the money going to the MonSTaR Foundation and Thursday's meeting at Penrith will be another fundraising event. Gamebreaker is only lightly raced, having had two starts for a victory, however the four year old has not raced since August of last year. "He is beautifully bred, he is out of a half sister to Blacks A Fake and we have had to be a bit patient because he has had a few issues," syndicate manager Mitch Lenaghan said. "If it could win on Thursday night for Daniel and his family, wearing Danny's colours, it would be a very special night." The MonSTaR Foundation Danny Bergan Memorial is race five at Penrith and is scheduled to begin at 8:17. By Greg Hayes  

In his last three victories the Kevin Pizzuto trained Freyberg has beaten several Gr. 1 performers. Four starts ago he proved too strong for three time Gr. 1 winner Gaius Caesar, two starts ago he beat 2013 Blacks A Fake winner Ideal Scott and Inter Dominion placegetter Seel N Print and last weekend he spoiled the party when he ran down Smoken Up in what will be the dual Miracle Mile winner's last run at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "He is going really well at the moment, actually it is probably better described as flying because he is just getting better and better," Pizzuto said. "What I am really happy with is that he has developed some gate speed while he has been racing up in the grades, when he first arrived from New Zealand he didn't possess much early speed at all but with the experience against the better ones he is learning and his gate speed is now becoming vital in these races." Freyberg has been driven predominantly by Inter Dominion winning reinsman James Rattray and Pizzuto acknowledges that he will be on the lookout for a new driver next season. "I want to target Freyberg for races like the Miracle Mile and that means he may clash with Beautide at some stage and James won't be able to drive my horse, we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it and it isn't a major worry but it is something that I have been thinking about with all of his good recent runs. "Freyberg arrived in Australia and was eligible to compete in C2 races and I actually took him to Penrith for his first three starts and he ended up winning five in a row before he was beaten for me." Freyberg is no stranger to Gr. 1 level after he placed third in the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown last December behind Washakie. "I'm going to set him a pretty big campaign next season and hopefully he can work his way into some of the big races, it would be nice to have a runner in the big ones." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing NSW)

Goulburn harness racing trainer Brad Hewitt celebrated the biggest win of his career when his two year old Spare Me Days won the Breeders Challenge Blue Final for two year old colts and geldings on Saturday night. Unfortunately for Hewitt he was unable to be trackside for the victory as he was in Queensland with his smart three year old Im Jay Tee. "Yeah it was really good to win a race like that, it was my first group win as a trainer and to see Dad (David Hewitt) drive him and win a nice race like that made it even more special," Hewitt said. "Dad had only had three or four drives back from a nasty fall at Canberra and it was actually his first night back driving at Menangle." Hewitt bred and owns Spare Me Days and has now decided to spell the son of Ifihadyourluck. "He's going to the paddock, he had a few little niggling issues in the lead up to the main Breeders Challenge final and his run in that race was huge, he galloped at the start and probably lost 30 metres and was only beaten about three. "There's not a whole lot of him so I think the spell will help him. He is a beautiful natured horse but once you take him to the races he turns into a machine." Stablemate Im Jay Tee will compete in Saturday night's Queensland Derby and Hewitt was impressed by his performance in last Saturday's Gold Coast Derby. "He ran fifth in the Futurity in his first run in Queensland and I was pretty disappointed with that but he did have to travel up from home so maybe that flattened him a bit." "The run on Saturday night was much better. He hit the line really well and was taking ground off horses like Bling It On and Alleluia so if he gets the right trip this week I don't think he will be too far away." By Greg Hayes  | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

As a part owner of the dual Miracle Mile winner Smoken Up, Peter Gadsby has enjoyed some tremendous highs in the sport of harness racing. However when Smoken Up races at Tabcorp Park Menangle for the final time this Saturday night, Gadsby acknowledges it is going to be difficult to comprehend. "I've lived at Menangle for nearly 30 years and to own a horse that has brought people such great pleasure especially just over the road at the track is something that is very special to me," Gadsby said. "Menangle has been such a happy hunting ground for Lance and Trigger and it is going to be a shame to think that we won't get the opportunity to see Smoken Up here in Sydney again." Gadsby believes the reason Smoken Up races so well in Sydney is because of the spacious surrounds. "It is no secret that he has struggled to get around some corners but here at Menangle it is totally different, the bends and the camber aren't an issue and he just loves to power down the big long straights." Smoken Up has won a number of feature races over the mile at Menangle but the one that sits above the rest for Gadsby is the Len Smith Mile victory in 2011 when the son of Tinted Cloud recorded his track record of 1:48.5. "That night was pretty special for everyone and the number of calls I received afterwards was unbelievable, people had never seen anything like it before." "He's still working well according to Lance and is still keen to be a racehorse but time doesn't wait for anyone or anything and for him to still be competing against top opposition at eleven is a credit to the entire stable." Smoken Up will compete in race seven on Saturday night, the Sew Eurodrive Pace which is scheduled to begin at 8:22 and will start from barrier eight. By Greg Hayes  (Harness Racing NSW)  

Hunter Valley harness racin trainer Shane Tritton is hoping he can go one better on his second placing in the Sunshine Sprint when he launches his attacking raid on the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park this Saturday night. Tritton has three runners in the race this weekend but his two main chances according to the bookmakers, Mach Beauty and Suave Stuey Lombo have drawn the same gates this week as they did in the Sunshine Sprint. "I'm happy with the draw for all three of my horses, obviously Mach (Beauty) drawing one is ideal because he needs to be on the fence, Suave Stuey Lombo can work forward this week from seven because he lost all winning chance in the Sunshine Sprint when he went back while Brave Wiggy should get a nice economical trip from barrier two," Tritton said. "Mach Beauty had a pretty tough run on Saturday night and was well beaten by Chilli Palmer but I think I have been a bit easy on him since I arrived in Queensland because I have been working on a new track. I will be really drilling the work into him this week and I expect him to be a much better prospect." Tritton acknowledges Im Themightyquinn is going to be incredibly hard to beat and deserves his favouritism. "He has been a great horse for so long and he has been in great form since he arrived in Brisbane including that huge win in the Sunshine Sprint when the track record was smashed." The Blacks A Fake has been a graveyard for short priced favourites since the race was elevated to Gr. 1 status, in fact three of the last four years has seen stars beaten. In 2012 Smoken Up was rolled by Terrorway, in 2011 Blacks A Fake tasted defeat at the hands of Georgetown while Mr Feelgood finished behind Rohan Home. The other Gr. 1 event on the night will be the Queensland Derby and the Tritton stable will be represented by Yayas Hotspot. "Gate three is good for him, he has been racing without the hood this time in and he hasn't been the same horse so I have decided to put the hood back on him and if his work early this week has been anything to go by I think he will improve a great deal." By Greg Hayes Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

The annual Canberra Harness Racing Club Presentation night signalled the end of another stellar season of racing in the nation's capital. The evening's biggest winner was local trainer Michael Hawke who took home four awards including the coveted Trainer Of The Year Award. "The stable had a really good year and to win 14 races this season and pick up the Trainer Of The Year title and the Local Trainer Of The Year has been a great effort by everyone who comes and helps out at the stables," Hawke said. "I had a bad race fall during the season which meant I wasn't able to do as much as I wanted to do for a little while but my daughter Melissa made sure everything ran smoothly and it was great to see a couple of horses she drove for me during the year receive awards too." Perfect Trouble trained by Hawke, won Horse Of The Year winning five races throughout the season and also placed a further four times. Stable mate Runs On Attitude won the Juvenile Horse Of The Year thanks to three wins and five placings throughout the season from thirteen starts. Scott Osmond made a clean sweep of the driving awards picking up Driver Of The Year and Local Driver Of The Year. "It was great to get so much support this season from outside stables and if it wasn't for that type of support then I couldn't have won the awards," Osmond said. Osmond finished the season with 10 wins and 29 placings from 95 drives. The John Platts Appreciation Award was won by Leanne Nugent for all of the help she provided the club throughout the year while Shelly and Paul Evans won the Encouragement Award. By Greg Hayes | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Four year old trotter Vincennes brought up his first Gr. 1 victory when he won the Vicbred final for trainer Blake Fitzpatrick on Friday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Fitzpatrick was extremely proud of the gelding and believes he deserved to win a race at the highest level. "Vincennes has always had his fair share of ability but what a lot of people don't realise is that he is a February foal so he has always been giving away ages to his rivals," Fitzpatrick said. "I was rapt with Friday night's win, they ran 28.3 for the third quarter, he made up a lot of ground on the leaders between the 800 and the 400 metre mark and then was able to drop in for a quick breather on the turn before coming out again. To beat a horse like Blitzthemcalder is a big effort." Unfortunately for connections, Vincennes is not eligible for the rich Breeders Crown series. "No he's not a Breeders Crown horse so the plan is to bring him back to Sydney and let him have a few runs at Menangle before going for a good break, every time in the past that he has had a break he has come back a little bit stronger so hopefully that is the case this time around." "The next step for him will be to measure up against the open class trotters, you never really know if they are going to go to that next level until you give them their chance but I'm pretty sure he will be able to make that leap." Closer to home Fitzpatrick will have two runners at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. "Annie Morva has been knocking on the door and she is going to win another race soon, I don't think she has won one since February but hasn't been far away lately." "Iamboogie has been racing really well, he has had 19 starts and has never finished further back than 4th." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing New South Wales)  

Harness racing reinsman Gavin Fitzpatrick looks set to bring up another century of winners in a season in his home state of New South Wales        .  The son of leading trainer Paul Fitzpatrick has 97 winners for the season and has two good drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. "I'm pretty sure I have got to the 100 winners three or four times in the past but I haven't done it for a couple of years," Fitzpatrick said. "Dad is working the same size team as he has in the past but we have just had a really good season, there is a lot of nice horses in the stable that started on good marks and have worked their way through the grades which obviously helps kick along my tally because I don't do a lot of outside driving." Fitzpatrick will drive Breeders Crown placegetter Rogers Passion in race three on Saturday night and was very pleased with her first up performance. "Her run at Penrith was very good, she got a long way back and made up a lot of ground and it was her first run back for a couple of months so I think she should take a lot of benefit from that." "She is paid up for the Breeders Crown this season and she did run second behind Frith in the three year old fillies final last year but we will just see how she progresses at this stage." In race one on Saturday night Fitzpatrick will drive Swift Exit. "He's been racing very well at Penrith and it will be his first run back at Menangle in quite a while. Saturday night will be a little bit harder but if he holds his form he shouldn't be too far away." Fitzpatrick also confirmed that Ocean Diva will not go to Queensland and will now be aimed at the Breeders Crown in Victoria. By Greg Hayes (Courtesy of Harness Racing NSW)  

Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile winner Beautide has been back in work for about a month and trainer James Rattray is confident his stable star is on track to defend his sprint title in November. Beautide has already had a few strong gallops after his month long spell after winning the Len Smith Mile. "I'm extremely happy with him at the moment. He came back from his spell and had put on some condition and looks really strong so I'm looking forward to getting him back to the races," Rattray said. "In saying that, I'm in no rush to get him back. At this stage I think he would only have one or two runs before going around in a race like the Newcastle Mile. I might take him to the trials once or twice as well just to make sure he was ready to go." Fresh from a break in Europe, Rattray is currently only working a small team. "I've only got a few in work at the moment but it is a good time of the year to be working a small team, we got back from Sweden after going to the Elitlopp for ten days and had a really good time." "I got the chance to catch up with some of my American friends who were also in Sweden at the time and there were a few Aussies over there that I spent some time with as well." Rattray drove the Kevin Pizzuto trained Freyberg to victory in Sunday's Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle. "Freyberg is a really nice horse, he has been racing against some quality horses lately but he proved he is tough horse over the weekend with the win over the 2300 metres." "He loves leading in his races and when he got left alone in front he was always going to be very hard to beat. I think his recent runs have all been pretty good." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing NSW)

It has been two years since KerryAnn Turner thought she had trained her first Gr. 1 winner. Blissfull Guy crossed the finishing line first in the 2012 Breeders Challenge Final for two year old colts and geldings but lost it in the stewards room after a protest was lodged by the second horse No Ah Saint. Time has dulled the pain but Turner is still chasing that elusive first Gr. 1 winner and with six individual chances this Sunday at Tabcorp Park Menangle she is hoping this weekend is her breakthrough meeting. "Two years ago it was pretty upsetting but that's racing and you just have to get on with the job, I've got a big team in this Sunday and I have my fingers crossed that this Sunday will be the day that I get my first Gr. 1," Turner said. "Blissfull Guy and Dealer are probably the best chances from my stable but the way the barrier draws have fallen I think most of them have a chance." At just 25 years of age, Turner has been based in Sydney for five years and is thoroughly enjoying the experience of training such a large team. "We have a number of horses in work and that means a lot of work but I'm really happy with how everything is going for us, we have had a great season and there is still a couple of months left to go." "With Robbie (Morris) out injured at the moment it has meant a little bit more work at home and a lot more driving at the races but I have enjoyed it." Blissfull Guy finished fourth in his semi final behind his old sparring partner No Ah Saint on Saturday night. "He did a good job to qualify because of the tempo of the race, he has to be driven quietly but if there is plenty of speed on I can see him being in the finish, he is very consistent." "Dealer finished second on Saturday night and he has won two of his last five so he's at the top of his game." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing Australia)

Talented harness racing reinsman Jarrod Alchin will drive two horses in Breeders Challenge Finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle, two year old gelding Sporty Spook drew barrier one while three year old filly Amanda Von will start from the outside after coming up with gate twelve meaning she will start from ten with the emergencies out. "Sporty Spook has drawn perfectly, he has some options from the good gate because he has the speed to lead or he can take a sit, that decision will be up to David (Kennedy trainer) and we will talk later in the week," Alchin said. "Amanda Von just lacks high speed but she will be suited down to the ground with the distance of the race, if they go hard she'll be running home well, the quicker they go the better." Sporty Spook was impressive beating the older horses at Wagga last week and Alchin was pleased to see the performance after being a little disappointed with his semi final run when he finished fourth behind Ominous Warning. "I thought he was only ordinary in the semi final compared to how he has felt in the past but David did say he might have got away on him in the week so he took him home after the Menangle run and worked him really hard, it obviously worked because his run at Wagga last Friday was great." "I think Ominous Warning is the hardest to beat, he has got the good alley, before the draw I thought there were a few chances but afterwards I think Sporty Spook and Ominous Warning deserve to be the favourites." Alchin trains Monarkmac and he will compete in the Rising Stars Final and will be driven by Nathan Xuereb. "I think Nathan will really suit Monarkmac, he needs to be driven quietly and in these young drivers' races they tend to go very hard and set it up for something from the back so hopefully he gets the right run in the race." "His win two starts ago was really good and he has been working well since." HRNSW

It was poetic that Lex Crosby's two year old filly Read About Lexy drew barrier eight in Sunday's Breeders Challenge Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The daughter of Sportswriter is from a family that is now into its eighth generation with the Crosby's and a win on the weekend would be a very emotional one considering the history attached to the breed. "It would be a big day for the whole family if Read About Lexy could win on Sunday afternoon. My father started it all back in 1955 when he bought Winsome Like in foal to Conflagrate and the resultant foal was Rapid Flow," Crosby said. "Rapid Flow fell over at a Fairfield gymkhana with my brother Russell driving and neither of them ever competed again but Dad continued to breed from the family." After the passing of Crosby's parents he made the decision to continue breeding from the mares within the family. "Rapid Flow produced Flowing In and she in turn had Big Sister and after both Mum and Dad had passed away I told the family that I wanted to keep Big Sister and continue the family which I have done." "Big Sister produced Aunty Alice, then Lexy Lobell came along, she had Lexys Laughing and she is the mother of Read About Lexy." When Crosby was born he was the youngest of ten and there are plenty of his family members that will be interested in Sunday's result. "Read About Lexy will have a cheer squad of about ten people trackside on Sunday afternoon but there will be a much bigger contingent tuning into watch or listen to her race because of the family connection." Crosby is the President of the popular country harness racing club at Eugowra and also trains thoroughbreds. After growing up in Sydney, Crosby made the move to Cowra in 1974 and has enjoyed the country lifestyle since. By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing NSW)  

Frith will compete in her first Gr. 1 this season on Sunday June 29th at Tabcorp Park Menangle when she starts a short priced favourite in the Breeders Challenge for four year old mares. The multiple Gr. 1 winner won her semi final on Saturday night but trainer/driver Bruce Harpley confirmed he was worried during the race and was pleased when she got to the winning post. "She always worries me because she likes to have horses around her and I was at her a fair way from home to keep her mind on the job," Harpley said. "Once she could sense Priceless Gem was on her outside she switched on and the best she felt during the entire race on Saturday night was in the last twenty metres." Harpley will not start his star mare this weekend believing she has done enough to be at her peak. "She has had to do a fair bit of work in the runs she has had this season, she hasn't really had a soft run yet plus I gave her a good hit-out at the Wagga trials last weekend so I'm pretty confident that she will be as good as I can get her in the Breeders Challenge final." While the barriers for the semi-finals were drawn using a preferential system, the final will be random. "I think that is the best way to do it, a lot of the lower class mares may not nominate for the semi finals if they were a chance of drawing the outside but I like the idea of it being random once the final comes around." "The Paul Fitzpatrick trained mare Grin For Miss was impressive in the other semi and she does possess some gate speed so if she drew underneath me it would be a good race for the early lead and Priceless Gem was very good in finishing second behind Frith last week too." Frith will be attempting to win her second Breeders Challenge after winning it last year as a three year old filly. By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing NSW)

Since the talented Hunter Valley trained pacer Ultimate Art resumed as a four year old his trainer Michael Formosa has had one target in mind, the Breeders Challenge. After competing in the finals as a two and three year old but finishing unplaced Formosa is hoping for a change of luck this time around. "He still has to qualify by running in the first five on Saturday night in the semi final but everything I have done with him this season has been with the Breeders Challenge as his main goal," Formosa said. "Ultimate Art finished fourth as a two year old behind No Ah Saint and then put in a very disappointing run as a three year old and ran seventh behind Home Of The Brave but it had been a very tough time for the family in the lead up last year because my wife's father passed away." Formosa has steered away from mile racing recently and has concentrated on stretching his Gr. 1 winner over a longer trip. "He was probably a bit one dimensional as a younger horse, he had to lead or sit outside them to produce his best but he has developed as he has aged and I've been teaching him to sit and sprint and he has really taken to it." "I've spaced his runs which should ensure that he is right to go and while I did consider giving him a run last weekend I was mindful that it would mean he would have to race three consecutive weeks which might have been a big ask." Ultimate Art last raced on May 24th but has had the benefit of recent trialling. "He has trialled twice this month, the first of them was super because he ended up recording a 1:54.5 mile at Newcastle and then last week he led and I was happy with what he did." "I will see how he goes in the Breeders Challenge and if he is still feeling ok I might think about taking him to Queensland for the 4 Year Old Championships, but there is a bit of water to go under the bridge between now and then." By Greg Hayes (Harness Racing NSW)  

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