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Australia’s top pacer King Of Swing is nearing a racetrack return and the rescheduled Blacks A Fake is a major target. Driver Luke McCarthy said he was thrilled Racing Queensland has opted to run the Blacks A Fake on December 12. “It’s great timing for us and an ideal target for King Of Swing,” he said. “He’s almost ready to go. He’ll trial in mid-July, then we’ll get him back to the races.” King Of Swing took harness racing by storm when he won the elite Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile double in February/March. He was spelled straight after the sparkling Miracle Mile triumph. “Gee he’s blossomed during the break. He’s bigger and a stronger, a real brute. He’s just furnished into a magnificent horse,” McCarthy said. “He’s still got upside. He’s only five and what he did in a short period of time was quite amazing. “He’ll have a couple of runs at Menangle in August and September, go to the Victoria Cup in October and then come home and head to Queensland for the Blacks A Fake. That’s how the rest of his year looks.” McCarthy, who grew-up in Bathurst but spent much of his life in Queensland, can’t wait to get back to the Sunshine State. “I love getting back up there and we usually take a team up for the Carnivals,” he said. More immediately, top NSW trainer Anthony Butt desperately wants to head north with his star three-year-old Perfect Stride. The Victoria and NSW Derby placegetter returns from a spell at Menangle on Saturday night. “We want to run in the South-East Derby (July 18), we just need the restrictions to be eased so we go up with the horse,” he said.   Racing Queensland

The 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit came to a dramatic finale at Albion Park in Brisbane tonight (Saturday) with local hero Colt Thirty One storming to victory in the Gr.1 $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. Trained and driven by Grant Dixon, Colt Thirty One ($4.60) sat off a hot pace before thundering down the outside to defeat Alta Orlando ($26) and Letsspendanitetogetha ($51) in the 2680m mobile start feature. Colt Thirty One created a new track record when recording a winning mile rate of 1:53.7 – easily eclipsing the previous mark of 1:54.8 set last year by Let It Ride. Win, lose or draw the title of Grand Circuit champion was safely in the keeping of Tiger Tara but that didn’t stop the double millionaire attempting to put an exclamation mark against his dream season. Triumphant in the Inter Dominion Grand Final, Victoria and Hunter Cups, the Kevin Pizzuto trained star was installed as favourite for the Brisbane feature despite a second-line draw but faced stiff opposition from a number of in-form rivals. With Our Uncle Sam, Cash N Flow and Ohoka Punter all leaving the gate with urgency, it was Ohoka Punter who owned the best gate speed as he cleared from his wide draw which left Our Uncle Sam without cover while Cash N Flow landed the position on the back of the leader. Dixon sat patiently towards the rear of the field and allowed Colt Thirty One to find his rhythm while the early jostling continued at a frantic pace. The lead time was covered in 75.5 seconds. Ohoka Punter led the way from Our Uncle Sam while Tiger Tara made his move passing the 1800m marker and really forced the pressure. The first half of the final mile was covered in 27.3 and 29.3 seconds. Entering the back straight, Ohoka Punter led the way with Tiger Tara drawing closer on his outside while many rivals started to feel the pinch. Cash N Flow raced roughly mid-way down the back straight and gave ground quickly which checked a number of runners including Northview Hustler. The third quarter was covered in 28.6 seconds. At the top of the home straight, Tiger Tara raced to a narrow lead while Watch Pulp Fiction loomed to his outside quickly before Colt Thirty One and Alta Orlando began to charge. Colt Thirty One held Alta Orlando while Letsspendanitetogetha bobbed for third just in front of Watch Pulp Fiction, Alleluia and Tiger Tara. The winning margin was 1.7 over Alta Orlando while there was a further 7.1m back to Letsspendanitetogetha in third. The final quarter was timed in 28.7 seconds. An official protest was lodged by driver Anthony Butt (Alta Orlando) against the winner for alleged interference over the concluding stages but was ultimately dismissed. “The speed was strong throughout which gave us an opportunity to work into it over the latter stages, he was solid in the straight and did it nicely.” Dixon said. The victory provided Dixon with his maiden Grand Circuit victory. Bred and raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, the Mach Three – Charm Personified four-year-old registered his 32nd victory from 46 starts while his earnings now exceed $711,000. Colt Thirty One has now won three Gr.1 events to date. The 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season is now complete with Tiger Tara the official Grand Circuit champion after amassing 375 points for the term. Tiger Tara finished well clear of Thefixer (164) and Our Uncle Sam (121).   Chris Barsby

TRAINER Chris Frisby sick of chasing Tiger Tara with his stable star Our Uncle Sam. In four meetings, Our Uncle Sam is yet to beat Tiger Tara home, but everything favours Frisby’s pacer to turn the tables in Saturday night’s $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park. “This is our chance the way the barriers have fallen and how well we’ve got ‘Sam’ going into the race,” Frisby said. “If we can find the lead, and I think there’s a great chance we can, we won’t be handing-up to Tiger if he comes attacking. We’ll make him do all the work.” Our Uncle Sam has run second to Tiger Tara at their past three meetings, including in the Inter Dominion final and Hunter Cup. “But the difference this time is Tiger is drawn the back row and we’ve drawn so well (gate two),” Frisby said. “I also really believe we’ve got ‘Sam’ as good as we can have him. “We were really confident heading into the Sunshine Sprint last week, but Alta Orlando wiped us out at the start and that was the end of that. “We were due for some luck and we’ve got it with the draws this week. And the 2680m suits him better than sprint racing as well.” Aussie TAB punters agree with Frisby’s confidence, having quickly backed Our Uncle Sam from $3.60 into $2.80 since Tuesday morning’s barrier draw. He could challenge for favouritism with Tiger Tara already easing from $2.40 to $2.60. Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto remains confident despite the barrier draw blow. All of Tiger Tara’s three Group 1 Aussie wins have come from front row draws. “The draw makes it harder, but I’ve got the horse where I want him. That (Menangle) win the other night was easy and it topped him off nicely,” he said. “Everything tells me he’s at least as good, if not better, than last time in work.” Queensland’s pin-up horse Colt Thirty One is the other major player as a $4.80 shot from the back row (gate 11). He was beaten after burning to hold the front last week, but it again showed he’s at his most lethal coming from off the speed.   Adam Hamilton

TWO things firmly stamped Tiger Tara as the horse to beat in next Saturday night’s $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park.  First was his ultra-impressive winning return at Menangle last night (Saturday).  And second was the upset win of veteran Ohoka Punter in last night’s (Saturday) Group 1 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park.  No disrespect to Ohoka Punter, but the fact he beat boom stablemate Colt Thirty One and others will surely have put a spring in the step of Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto.  Colt Thirty One was crunched into $1.45 favourite, but had to blaze a 26sec opening quarter to hold the front from Alta Orlando and was always some query after that for a horse who hasn’t be used off the gate much.  Trainer-driver Grant Dixon slowed a dawdling 32sec second split, but it was evident at the top of the straight Colt Thirty One had a battle on his hands and the four-year-old was unable to hold-out his rising 10-year-old stablemate along the sprint lane.  It was a Dixon and owner Kevin Seymour quinella, but not in the order punters wanted.  Ohoka Punter snatched a 1.3m win with young driver Paul Diebert aboard in a cosy 1min53.2sec mile rate, well outside Im Themightyquinn’s 1min50.4sec race and track record.  It was by the far the biggest win for Diebert, who moved from NSW to work for Dixon just before last Christmas.  “It’s unbelievable. Kevin (Seymour) was at me all week saying this old horse would run a great race,” Diebert said.  The much-travelled Ohoka Punter will be chasing his second Blacks A Fake win next week, having won it when trained and driven by Nathan Purdon.  But Tiger Tara looms ominously after pacing a 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2300m first-up at Menangle.  “He ran home in 54.8 and 27.1 and Todd (McCarthy, driver) was stoked,” Pizzuto said. “He did it so well and now it’s off to Queensland.  “I’m not sure exactly when I’ll take him up, but his last workout will be here so it’ll be later in the week.”  It was Tiger Tara’s first run since finishing fifth in the Miracle Mile more than four months ago.   Adam Hamilton

Tim Butt isn’t one to rest on his laurels. Fresh from his Grand Circuit triumph last weekend at Albion Park with Let It Ride stamping himself as a genuine star of the future following his easy victory in the Gr.1 $200,540, UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship, the champion trainer is already plotting his next move. And it could mean a return trip to Brisbane next year. Butt and stable clients have negotiated a deal to secure unbeaten Riverina two-year-old Whereyabinboppin from the stables of Steven Harris for a six figure sum. Whereyabinboppin is a son of first season sire A Rocknroll Dance from the Modern Art mare Whereyawheeliebin, a winner of 5 races. He is the first foal to race from the mare. The speedy gelding has looked ultra-impressive in both victories at Wagga with the latest coming on July 17 when scoring by over 34m in a time of 1:56.5 for the 1755m. The current track record at Wagga belongs to Untitled at 1:55.6 set back in May this year. Whereyabinboppin will start this Sunday at Bathurst in the consolation of the Alabar NSW Regional Breeders Challenge. He will start from the outside of the second-line, gate 11 in the 1730m event. With Butt heading to Victoria next week with his talented three-year-old trotter Majestic Courtney who will tackle the Gr.1 $75,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Victoria Derby at Maryborough (August 5), he will pick-up his latest acquisition on the way south. And Butt is already looking at the Derby classics next season. Who knows, he might be aiming at claiming the Blacks A Fake and Queensland Derby double next year. And given how good his Group One record is, it’s hard to doubt him.   Chris Barsby

DEXTER Dunn’s glorious winning drive on Let It Ride in last night’s $200,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park almost didn’t happen. In fact, just 20 hours before the race, Dunn was back home in NZ and almost convinced a stomach bug would ground him, as it had done the night before at Addington. “When I went to bed about 7pm (Friday) I thought I was no chance to be on the flight to Brisbane,” Dunn said. “I sort of tossed and turned between 1-3am then at 3am I had a glass of water and said to myself if I kept it down, I’d head to the airport.” The water stayed down, Dunn scrambled together his gear and lobbed at Christchurch airport at 4.30am. The rest is now Grand Circuit history. Dunn, driving a horse who wasn’t even going to contest the Blacks A Fake just six days earlier, reminded everyone why is a former World Champion and one of the very best in the game. The spot everyone wanted to be in the race was leading then taking a sit on tough and classy four-year-old Atomic Red. Dunn’s early smarts and aggression landed him in that prized spot. “I knew I had to do a bit early and then when I got the front, Atomic Red was the right horse to sit on,” he said. “I was bolting all the way then when I said go, he just put a gap in them. He felt awesome out there tonight.” The win took Dunn’s unbeaten record on Let It Ride to five races, but the first four way back at the start of the now rising five-year-old’s career. “When I drove him he was a bundle of raw talent. He galloped out at his first start and still won. The potential was there, but he’s a different horse now. Tim (Butt) has done a fantastic job with him.” Dunn’s genius in the sulky was matched only by Butt’s quick-thinking and bold decision late last Sunday to switch from chasing the 4YO feature to the main event with Let It Ride. “When we knew Tiger Tara wasn’t coming up and Soho Tribeca went amiss, we thought it was worth giving Let It Ride his chance. You don’t get many $200,000 Grand Circuit races without many of the real stars of the sport in it. “I don’t like rushing my horses into things, but this looked a good option. “I must say I was surprised how easily he did it. He made light of work of it, but Dexter’s drive was a fantastic.” The win was Butt’s 52nd at Grand Circuit level – across pacing and trotting – and extended his commanding lead on the all-time winners’ list over Mark Purdon (32) and Gary Hall Sr (26). Butt hopes to add more later this year with Let it Ride, but his Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal, who ran way below his best again last night, won’t be racing again for quite some time. “Let It Ride will be set for the Inter Dominion. He’s earned it now. He’s not an NZ Cup horse … not yet, anyway,” he said. “He can have a month out now then I’ll target the Inter Dominion in Melbourne. “Something obviously isn’t right with My Field Marshal. We went right over him after last week and couldn’t find anything, but he’s not right. “I’ll get him checked over again, but he’ll go out for a big spell. He’s not an NZ Cup or Inter Dominion horse, so he won’t race again this year.” It’s a changing phase for Australia’s open-class ranks with so many big names retired, moving to the US or sidelined with injury, which makes the Blacks A Fake result so important. Let It Ride led home a quinella for four-year-olds with the ultra- tough and promising Atomic Red finishing a brave second. Just for good measure, Let It Ride’s 1min54.8sec mile rate also broke Our Hi Jinx’s 1min55.0sec track record for 2680m. It was also much quicker than the late Yulestar went (1min56.2sec) winning the 2001 Albion Park Inter Dominion over 2647m.   Adam Hamilton

Tim Butt knows a thing or two about preparing a Grand Circuit winner. The champion horseman has prepared more Grand Circuit winners than any other trainer in this part of the world….and by a good margin! His tally now stands at 52 (17 pacing & 35 trotting events). And his latest winner came via the final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season, the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). Rising star Let It Ride ($4.30) confirmed his status as a genuine star of the future with a brilliant and resounding victory in the 2680m feature event when easily defeating Atomic Red ($3.90 fav) and Alleluia ($32.60) in a track record time of 1:54.8 (Our Hi Jinx held previous mark at 1:55.0). Handled by star reinsman Dexter Dunn who overcame an illness the night prior, the recent Gr.1 Breeders Challenge winner was given a perfect run in behind the pace setting Atomic Red before racing clear soon after straightening. With Glenferrie Hood and Tact Tate both leaving the gate with urgency, Dunn bided his time before charging forward quickly to take the lead away from Glenferrie Hood at the 2000m mark. The winning move came shortly after when Dunn elected to take cover behind the hard-running Atomic Red. The lead time was covered in 74.9 seconds. Atomic Red led the way from Ultimate Art who improved his position quickly while Let It Ride sat perfectly in the trail. The first half of the final mile was covered in 29.2 and 29.4 seconds. Entering the back straight, Atomic Red led from Ultimate Art and Let It Ride while Cruz Bromac improved three-wide solo with My Field Marshal catching his cover. Cruz Bromac raced roughly mid-way down the back straight and checked My Field Marshal while Carlas Pixel and Ohoka Punter also copped interference. The third quarter was covered in 28.9 seconds. At the top of the home straight, Atomic Red attempted to kick away but Let It Ride quickly loomed to his outside and the put the result beyond doubt very quickly. The winning margin was a widening 13.5m over Atomic Red while there was a further 4.5m back to Alleluia in third. The final quarter was timed in 28.7 seconds. “We got a perfect trip and got lucky to follow the right horse throughout, he took us right to the home straight and I knew my guy was feeling great in the pocket and he quickened nicely over the latter part.” Dunn said. For Dunn, it was his 7th Grand Circuit victory. Again, the management of Butt was pinpoint accurate following his decision earlier this week to bypass the original target of the 4yo Championship (support feature) and concentrate on the main event coupled with flying Dunn in from New Zealand to partner the gelding. At the time, it was a big gamble but one that has paid handsome dividends. It was first test against genuine open class rivals. Let It Ride has now won 15 of his 27 starts. Connections will now switch their focus towards the Inter Dominion series in Melbourne later this year. The 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season is now complete with global superstar Lazarus set to be crowned champion after amassing 304 points throughout the term. Lazarus finished well clear of Soho Tribeca (205) and Tiger Tara (145). Chris Barsby

The biggest night of the Albion park harness racing calendar is finally here and the competition looks as fierce as ever. Tomorrow night we will honour the famed pacer Blacks A Fake, who earnt over $4.5mil with 72 wins under his belt. Trained & driven by Natalie Rasmussen, he won the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Inter Dominion Championships - making him the only four-time winner of Australasia's premier harness race. Other achievements include wins in the Queensland Winter Cup (3 times), Victoria Cup, Hunter Cup and three Australian Horse of the Year titles. The $200,000 grand circuit event, the "UBET Blacks A Fake" starts as race 8 on the program at 8.40pm. Race favourite, Atomic Red lines up against last week’s Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint winner, Tact Tate as well as the likes of Let It Ride, My Field Marshall, Cruz Bromac and Glenferrie Hood. Additional group races on the program include the G1 QBred Triad Finals for the two year olds, G2 AQWA Constructions Queensland Derby, G3 Ted & Edna Badcock Memorial 4YO Championship and G3 Haras Des Trotteurs Marathon. The program also highlights Australasia’s most talented drivers in the Garrard’s Horse & Hound Drivers Invitation Pace with New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn joining Queensland drivers Nathan Dawson, Grant Dixon, Pete McMullen, Gary Whitaker and Kelli Dawson alongside interstate competitors Luke McCarthy, Chris Geary, Amanda Turnbull, Anthony Butt, Matthew Craven and Rob Morris. For the meetings full form analysis and selections refer to Racing Queensland harness racing specialist Darren Clayton’s deliberations on the meeting: http://www.harness.org.au/punting/punters-corner/form-analysis/?keyNum=221470 The race meeting has a number of exquisite betting propositions courtesy of wagering service provider UBET. Headlining these offers is a $25K First 4 jackpot pool on race 1 scheduled for 5:08pm EST. This is complimented by a $5K First 4 jackpot pool on race 8, the UBET Blacks A Fake. Additionally, a $2.5K Quadrella jackpot is listed for races 2 to 5 with the first leg due at 5:42pm EST which is complimented by $2K jackpot Trifectas on races 3 to 6. The first race of an action packed 10 event card begins at 5.08pm EST. For further information contact the Club on 07 3262 2577 or info@aphrc.com.au Racing Queensland

Talent comes in many forms. And in many shapes and sizes. But for Luke McCarthy, as a kid growing up in Bathurst, all he wanted to do was horses, or harness racing to be more precise. He would shadow his father John with the family horses, always keen and eager to learn as much as possible.  The young country kid dreamed big. And when the family packed up their home and headed to the ‘big smoke’ of Brisbane, young McCarthy put plans in place. As a fresh-faced teenager, he captured much of the public imagination with his precocious talent and his unparalleled skillset in the sulky which netted many features in a short space of time. Owners and trainers alike were flocking to utilize his services on race day. It was all but impossible not to fall for him, so splendid were his gifts, so endearing his personality. From a very young age, he was destined to become a big time harness racing driver. And he can drive fast. Never fussed on achieving high academic grades, he watched time tick by at school until the bell sounded so he could get home and grade his equine students on the family property. He would mark his calendar and counted the days down until the next set of school holidays so he could spend time with the likes of famous Turnbull clan at The Lagoon and the legendary Brian Hancock. His thirst for knowledge was unwavering. He would ply his trade at every available opportunity, always looking to hone his style after watching as much vision as possible. His first drive resulted in success, steering Castle Belles to victory at Redcliffe on March 5, 1999. Now boasting over 2200 lifetime victories, McCarthy has firmly established himself as one of the best big race drivers in the sport. His winning drive behind Muscle Hill (widely regarded as the greatest trotter of all-time) in the 2009 World Trotting Derby at DuQuoin, Illinois is a clear illustration of his talent. He has 55 Gr.1 victories while 12 have come via the Grand Circuit. And 8 of those Grand Circuit triumphs have come at his favourite track – Albion Park. This weekend, he can add to that tally. McCarthy will partner star mare Carlas Pixel in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. The Dean Braun trained mare must overcome gate 13, the outside of the second-line in the 2680m mobile feature. Gambling giant UBET has listed Carlas Pixel as a $10 chance. “We’ve got a good shot; I know the draw looks bad on paper but I still think she’s good enough to win, she felt so strong last week and should improve a little further with the extra week up here. We just need a strong first lap which will bring us right into it.” McCarthy said. Carlas Pixel thrashed her rivals in her Queensland debut when brilliantly winning the Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes against her own sex. History is against the fairer sex in this event, first staged in 1969, only one mare has proven successful, champion mare Tailamade Lombo scored back in 2000. McCarthy guided Cobbity Classic to victory in 2004 followed by Slipnslide (2005/06), Mr Feelgood (2010/11), Washakie (2012), Ideal Scott (2013) and For A Reason (2014). During a decade long reign, only Blacks A Fake (2008/09) stopped a McCarthy family clean sweep of the Sunshine State feature. Now based in Sydney near Menangle, McCarthy has only scored one Grand Circuit victory in his home state, he took the winning drive behind Washakie in the 2010 Treuer Memorial when defeating Blacks A Fake while other Grand Circuit triumphs have come via Melbourne with For A Reason and Mr Feelgood (Victoria Cup) while Bling It On (Hunter Cup - 2017) is his most recent winner. And while he craves more success on the Grand Circuit, he’s chuffed with what he’s got and where he’s got it. “Make no mistake, I love driving at Albion Park and enjoy getting back there as often as I can. I suppose because we had so much family success at the track and because it provided a perfect spring board to where we are now, it makes it a special place and we all have so many great memories. “While I’ve been lucky enough to drive on so many great tracks around the world, I still rate Albion Park as my favourite venue to drive at. All of us (Luke, Andy & Toddy) boys kicked off our careers here in Brisbane and we’ve all won big races here too along with dad. “I don’t take these victories for granted, it’s hard to get horses good enough for this grade let alone winning them. I can vividly remember all of my big race triumphs at this track and hopefully there’s another one just around the corner.” Judging by his recent efforts over the past three Saturday nights, his form is as good as ever. From 23 drives, McCarthy has landed 12 winners including his quintet last weekend. Interestingly, with all the glory he has achieved in Queensland, McCarthy has never won a state drivers premiership. However, he has dominated the metropolitan drivers’ premiership. McCarthy secured the Albion Park premierships during the 2001/02, 02/03, 03/04, 04/05, 05/06, 06/07 and 2009/10 seasons. His strike rate this season currently sits at 1 win in every 4 drives. His biggest season came via the 2006/07 term when he landed 164 winners. And only once during the past 17 seasons has McCarthy missed the century mark (2008/09 – 90 wins). Another feature McCarthy is chasing this weekend is the Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Derby. He will partner boom pacer and race favourite Duplicated who starts from the coveted inside draw. Like Carlas Pixel, Duplicated hails from the stables of Braun. “This is a very serious prospect; he surprised me in a very good way last week when taking my first drive behind him. He was sharp and will improve plenty from the run; he’s got great stamina and a very high cruising pace. “I’m really looking forward to driving him again, he’ll be spot on and he’s the horse to beat. Dean’s a great trainer and a pleasure to drive for; I know he’s excited about the weekend too.” Duplicated is rated as a $1.40 elect with UBET. The McCarthy/Braun combination struck last year when they combined to win the Queensland Oaks with Shartin, now considered the best pacing mare in the world following a spate of big race victories in North America and Canada this year. Luke McCarthy Rates His Top 5: Muscle Hill ("and by a fair margin") Be Good Johnny Mr Feelgood Slipnslide Bling It On Special mentions – Famous Forever and All Speed Hanover. McCarthy will turn 36 in November this year. Chris Barsby

A win on the punt and a quick scroll through social media started a chain reaction that would lead Steve Salter, part-owner of dual Group 1 winner Tact Tate, from Victoria to Brisbane this weekend.  A masterful drive by Amanda Turnbull helped Tact Tate complete a long-awaited comeback to the winners’ stall in last week's Group 2 Sunshine Sprint, following a near 15-month stint on the sidelines through injury.   Salter bought into the gelding in August 2015 after Nathan Jack posted a notice via ‘Twitter’ that he and Turnbull were looking to syndicate a horse they’d bought from New Zealand. “I had a lucky win on the punt one day and then I saw that Nathan put it up on Twitter. I had always wanted to have one with Nathan and Amanda and I know Amanda likes the McArdles, so when I saw McArdle in the breeding I thought ‘Why not?’,” he said. “What I also bought into was a great bunch of owners. I have made lifelong friends and Nathan and Amanda have been terrific … I can’t speak highly enough of them.”  Tact Tate's Group 1 wins include the 2016 Nestle 4YO Bonanza and the 2017 Bohemia Crystal. But following the Bathurst Mayors cup in March 2017, scans showed the gelding had suffered a bone chip. He would race just once between then and June this year. Salter praised Nathan and Amanda for nursing Tact Tate back to full health.  “Hence the excitement after we won,” Salter said. “I had a few of my mates asking me ‘Why are you so excited, the Grand Final (Blacks A Fake) is next weekend’. “But it was the knowledge that we could have lost him that made the win all the more special.” Salter said he had now made lifelong friends in the ownership group, and hopes to be celebrating just as hard this weekend.  "I don't see any reaason why he couldn't (win). Hopefully he doesn't have to spend too much energy early. I'm worried about a couple inside us but if he shows the speed he did last week he can be up there. It's a Group 1 race and you've got to be in it to win it!"  Tact Tate can also earn his connections an extra $50,000 in UBET Grand Slam Bonuses, if he is able to win on Saturday night. A minor placing would also give them $15,000. Ohoka Punter and Celestial Arden can also earn their connections an extra $15,000 should either place or win.  By Alex Nolan Racing Queensland

The final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place this weekend. And the destination is Brisbane. The Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship will conclude the eight leg series and global superstar Lazarus will be crowned Grand Circuit champion following a shocking injury to Soho Tribeca last weekend. Heading into the final leg, Lazarus held a 99 point lead over Soho Tribeca but victory for the latter would’ve secured a thrilling victory but, unfortunately, a leg fracture sustained in the Sunshine Sprint has wiped out any chance of securing the title. So, with Lazarus guaranteed the title of Grand Circuit champion for the second straight year, the door has been left open for others to improve their position on the leaderboard or even perhaps, get on the leaderboard for the first time this season. The Sunshine State feature named after the greatest champion of all-time is staged over the 2680m and features some very richly talented pacers including last week’s feature race winner Tact Tate. The Amanda Turnbull trained and driven gelding scorched around the Breakfast Creek oval in a time of 1:53.0 taking the sprint feature and now looks to complete the Brisbane feature race double. In recent times, Hectorjayjay (2017) and Im Themightyquinn (2014) have completed the Queensland double and Tact Tate has a terrific chance of joining that exclusive club. Possessing blinding gate speed, Tact Tate will start from gate 6 and looks a great chance of finding the pegs early again. A major threat for Tact Tate could come from within with Atomic Red, prepared by Amanda’s father Steve; the ultra-talented four-year-old produced an eye-catching effort last week behind Tact Tate when fifth after starting from a nasty second-line draw. The rise in distance will suit Atomic Red and the ideal front-line draw (4) is another major plus. With the Turnbull name synonymous in harness racing, the father/daughter combination have filled a top two finish on many occasion but are yet to achieve the feat in a Grand Circuit event. Can they etch their names into the record books this weekend? Champion trainer Tim Butt is no stranger to Grand Circuit glory and is represented by a pair of outstanding chances with My Field Marshal and Let It Ride. My Field Marshal (1:46.9), the fastest pacer in Australasia, is looking to bounce back following a flop performance last week in the Sunshine Sprint when finishing at the rear of the field after racing three-wide throughout. A runner-up in this event last year, My Field Marshal will start from gate 11 with Anthony Butt taking the drive. Let It Ride, a proven Gr.1 winner, will start from gate 3 with Dexter Dunn booked to drive. A winner of his past five starts, Let It Ride makes his debut at the Grand Circuit level but looks ready following his victory at the track last week. Victorian trainer Dean Braun is chasing his maiden Grand Circuit victory with classy mare Carlas Pixel, the Gr.1 Ladyship Mile winner must overcome gate 13 – the outside of the second-line. The regally bred mare will again have the services of star reinsman Luke McCarthy. Cruz Bromac, a winner of the Gr.1 Len Smith Mile two starts ago makes his Albion Park debut and faces a second-line draw after landing gate 10. The Kevin Pizzuto trained gelding disappointed last start at Menangle when finishing 7th. Perennial Albion Park performer Ultimate Art returns to Brisbane and tackles the staying feature following some strong efforts of late at Menangle. Under the care of Queensland born but Sydney based Shane Sanderson while regular trainer Michael Formosa holidays in Malta, Ultimate Art will start from gate 9. Ultimate Art finished third in this race back in 2016 behind Ohoka Punter and Hectorjayjay. Young Cameron Hart takes the drive. Another Sydney trained runner is Celestial Arden for Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris, the talented gelding has drawn poorly in gate 7 – the outside of the front-line. Celestial Arden was a runner-up last week behind Tact Tate in the Sunshine Sprint. Leading trainer Grant Dixon is duly represented by Alleluia (gate 1) and 2016 winner Ohoka Punter (gate 12). Both pacers are racing in excellent form. Proven Albion Park feature race winner Glenferrie Hood starts in his second Blacks A Fake (9th in 2016) and will start from gate 5. Pete McMullen takes the drive for trainer Wayne Graham. Bodhi Tree tackles his biggest challenge to date the injury prone pacer continues to defy the odds and boasts outstanding recent form. Prepared by Peter Greig and Patrice Madden, the Blissfull Hall gelding will start from gate 2. Giant former New Zealand gelding Hughie Green is listed as the emergency (gate 8). In total, the 13 runners have won 265 races while amassing more than $5.48 million in stakes. The UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is scheduled as race 8 and listed to start at 8.40pm local time.   Chris Barsby

IT has been a while between drinks, but Dexter Dunn will be out to an extend his unbeaten run aboard Let It Ride in Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park. Dunn drove the Tim Butt-trained pacer to win his first four starts – all at Addington – but hasn’t taken the reins since. The most recent of those wins was on March 31, last year. But Dunn was more than happy when told Anthony Butt had opted to stick with My Field Marshal as his drive in the Blacks A Fake, meaning Dunn would be aboard Let It Ride. “I’d have been happy to drive either horse. It was great to get the call-up from Tim,” Dunn said. “I actually went across this time last year to Brisbane and finished second on My Field Marshal in the Sunshine Sprint. “But Let It Ride is an exciting horse. I know Tim’s always had a big opinion of him and he’s taking him along really well. “He’s been racing well, has the good draw and Tim obviously thinks he’s ready to step-up to a race like this.” Dunn said this would be “about my seventh or eight trip to Albion Park” and his most recent major win came aboard Terry Chmiel’s filly Nek Time in the 2016 Queensland Oaks.   Adam Hamilton

2015 world champion driver Dexter Dunn has this morning confirmed he will drive at Saturday’s $500,000 UBET Blacks A Fake meeting at Albion Park. Dunn, who has driven more than 2000 winners in his decorated career, will guide either My Field Marshal or Let It Ride in the Group 1 UBET Blacks A Fake for trainer Tim Butt. He has also been invited to take part in the $20,000 Driver’s Invitation Race. Dunn won the 2015 World Driving Championship in record-breaking fashion. He scored an unprecedented 200 points across 20 heats, more than 50 points ahead of his nearest rival. Dunn is no stranger to the Albion Park circuit, with his most recent visit coming in 2017 when he guided My Field Marshal to finish second behind Hectorjayjay in the G2 Sunshine Sprint.  His recent successes at 'The Creek' include a 2016 Queensland Oaks with Nek Time.    Racing Queensland

Pint-sized pocket rocket Tact Tate is in the box seat. The dual Group One winner landed a knockout punch when he rattled along the Albion Park sprint lane last Saturday night to secure the Gr.2 $50,540 Garrards Sunshine Sprint defeating Celestial Arden and Ohoka Punter in 1:53.0. This weekend, he will take his place in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship and look to complete the big Sunshine State double. And recent history is on his side. Twelve months ago, millionaire pacer Hectorjayjay landed both features while champion pacer Im Themightyquinn also did the double back in 2014. Im Themightyquinn set a track record of 1:50.4 when successful in the Sunshine Sprint, the record still stands. “The Albion Park Harness Racing Club has a proud and rich history; the names on the rolls of honor are a clear indication of the champion qualities required to succeed at this high level. The fact that Tact Tate has the chance to complete the double only adds to the excitement of the night.” APHRC Chairman David Fowler said. The feature this week will be staged over the staying distance of 2680m and Tact Tate boasts strong credentials at the distance range. Prepared by Amanda Turnbull, the McArdle gelding scored a great victory in the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal FFA at TABCORP Park, Menangle over the distance of 2400m while he also scored a victory in the Gr.2 $50,000 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown over the distance of 2540m last year. If successful, connections will pocket an extra $50,000 while a $15,000 bonus will be paid out if he is placed second or third courtesy of Racing Queensland and UBET. Following the barrier draw, Tact Tate will start from gate six and looks the likely early leader again after crossing from the outside gate last week. Gambling giant UBET has installed Tact Tate as a $4.80 chance. The Steve Turnbull trained Atomic Red is listed as the punters elect at $3.20.   Chris Barsby

Group 2 Sunshine Sprint winner Tact Tate has drawn barrier six for Saturday’s $200,000 Group 1 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park. The barriers were drawn at a function hosted by the Albion Park Harness Racing Club tonight in Brisbane, which can be viewed at the UBET, Racing Queensland or Puntersland Facebook pages. UBET installed Atomic Red as the $3.20 favourite after drawing barrier 4, with Tact Tate ($4.80) and Let It Ride ($7.50) holding down the second and third lines of betting. In what is the flagship race meeting of the 2018 UBET Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival, Albion Park will host three Group 1 races among six black-type events on Saturday night. The meeting also acts as a final chance for participants to share in $120,000 in UBET Grand Slam bonuses, with the connections of Tact Tate in line to earn $50,000 if the gelding can complete the Sunshine Sprint/Blacks A Fake double. Racing Queensland Harness Manager David Brick said the bonuses had helped attract some of Australia’s best horses and participants, leading to heightened interest from punters nationwide. “Punters have responded to the quality racing on offer, with Racing Queensland recording wagering growth of close to 20% for the carnival to date,” Mr Brick said. “With enhanced promotions via social and traditional media platforms in the lead-up to this weekend’s $500,000 race night, Racing Queensland will aim for that trend to continue.” Horse Barrier UBET Odds Alleluia 1 $26 Atomic Red 4 $3.20 Bodhi Tree 2 $101 Carlas Pixel 13 $8 Celestial Arden NZ 7 $34 Cruz Bromac NZ 10 $8 Glenferrie Hood NZ 5 $71 Hughie Green NZ (Emergency) 8 $51 Let It Ride NZ 3 $7.50 My Field Marshal NZ 11 $8 Ohoka Punter NZ 12 $12 Tact Tate NZ 6 $4.80 Ultimate Art 9 $12 2018 UBET Blacks A Fake Night – Albion Park – Saturday 21 July 2018   $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake (Group 1)   $100,000 QBRED Triad 2YO Fillies (Group 1)   $100,000 QBRED Triad 2YO Colts + Geldings (Group 1)   $75,000 Queensland Derby (Group 2)   $30,000 Four-year-old Championship (Group 2)   $20,000 Trotters Marathon (Group 3)   $20,000 Drivers Invitation Race   About the $120,000 UBET Grand Slam Bonuses   UBET’s generous sponsorship of the 2018 Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival has allowed Racing Queensland to offer up to $120,000 in bonuses, including:   $50,000 UBET Grand Slam Bonus  - Offered to the connections of any horses that can win both the Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint (July 14) and the UBET Blacks A Fake (July 21).   $15,000 UBET Slam Bonus – Available to the connections of any horse that can place in both the Blacks A Fake and Sunshine Sprint, or, win one and place in the other.   $20,000 Trainers’ Slam Bonus – Available to any trainer who wins two or more of the following feature races:   Queensland Derby UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Oaks Queensland Trotters Cup   Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland has released the field for Saturday’s $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake, with the barrier draw to be conducted in Brisbane tonight (Monday). Some of the headline acts include My Field Marshal, Cruz Bromac, Carlas Pixel, Ultimate Art and 2016 Blacks A Fake winner Ohoka Punter. Hughie Green is listed as the Emergency Runner. Winter Carnival major sponsors UBET, along with Racing Queensland and Puntersland, will stream the draw live via Facebook. Horse Alleluia Atomic Red Bodhi Tree Carlas Pixel Celestial Arden NZ Cruz Bromac NZ Glenferrie Hood NZ Hughie Green NZ (Emergency) Let It Ride NZ My Field Marshal NZ Ohoka Punter Tact Tate NZ Ultimate Art   Racing Queensland  

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