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Two of Queensland's most exciting young drivers the Barnes brothers are all set to take a break from harness racing. Hayden, 24, and his younger brother Brendan, 23, will swap their driving silks for overalls and steel capped boots next February and take up positions in the mining industry. "We plan to be away for at least 12 months. We'll be working in an open cut coal mine near Mackay and it's a one-week-on, one-week-off arrangement," Hayden said. "If we find we're really enjoying the work, we could be away for even longer. We are both looking forward to it, mainly because it's a change in our lifestyles - but also the money is very good!" he said. The brothers have made a huge impact on harness racing with over 800 career wins between them, including group two and three feature events as well as listed races. The boys' father Al, who is based at Tallegalla with his partner Cassie Saunders, has been involved in the sport for many years. After being based in the Tweed Heads area, he spent time training in Canada in the early 2000s before returning to Queensland. Despite the boys' success, Hayden said the demands of full-time harness racing bring a lot of pressure. "We're only young and I've been driving for seven years since I started with Darrel Graham. Then I went and worked for Peter McMullen and his wife Chantal Turpin before the last two years with dad," Hayden said. Brendan has had stints with such polished horsemen as Kevin Pizzuto, the Mcdowell family, Ricky Gordon, Shane Graham and more recently Jack Butler. "I've nearly left harness racing a few times in the past few years. I took a month off about two-and-a-half years ago and even then, I was a bit unsure if I was that keen to come back," Hayden said. "It's a great sport to be involved in and we're happy to be around horses. But to tell the truth, it's pretty much full-on and it's constant, and you can get a bit run-down. "We are both at the point where we're looking for a change because we've honestly become a little bit stale." Hayden admitted that he hadn't even intended to renew his driver's licence, but a recent run of success caused him to change his plans. "I landed five winners in a week, got a metro double and posted my 400th career win so I guess that was enough reason to have a temporary change of heart," he laughed. "I knew I was getting near the 400 milestone but I wasn't sure how close, but after I won on Saturday night at Albion Park on my own horse (square gaiter) Gee Up Neddy I could have guessed! Brendan and our mate Donald Ross, who is a clerk of the course, were waiting for me so we could all have a photograph taken to remember the occasion." Hayden Barnes after his milestone win Brendan, Hayden and fellow driver Matt Elkins were all closing in on the 400-wins mark earlier in the season, and there was some friendly rivalry as to who would get there first. "The other two got there a few months ago, and I'd had a bit of a lean time of it, so it was great to be able to join them," Hayden said. Hayden combined with his dad earlier in the night to get within one of the magical milestone when talented pacer Northview Hustler scored an easy win in the Open class feature. "It was great to get the money for dad, but, even aside from getting the 400 wins I was just so pleased to land another win with Gee Up Neddy. I own and train him as well, and he's certainly been a work in progress," Hayden said. "He got really sick there for a while. He wouldn't eat or walk which was a worry. I got him going and he had three starts, but he just wasn't right, so he went out for a spell and when I tried him again, he had some sore spots. "We pinpointed these to be in his stifles and back hocks and have done some work on that, so hopefully we are back on track now. That was his fourth win for me so with a bit of luck there might be a few more." Brendan landed 92 wins in the recently completed 2019-20 season, while Hayden finished with 66. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Fifty-six days after winning the biggest race of his career, Hayden Barnes, now wants to win his first Group event at Albion Park on Saturday night. The 23-year-old Tallegalla horseman won the Listed Flashing Red Pace at ‘The Creek’ on May 18, and tomorrow night he has five drives on the second night of the TAB Racing Queensland Winter Carnival – three of which are Group events. All five of his steers are trained by his father Al. He rated Lincoln Road as his best winning chance, even though he’s not in a Group race. “All of my drives on Saturday can win but they will need luck in the running and for the favourites to go poorly. I couldn’t believe that Trojan Banner is paying $71 to win the (Group Three) South East Derby, especially when he opened up as third favourite for next week’s Queensland Derby. “In saying that Self Assured and Lochinvar Art are both short-priced favourites and that’s why our fella is at long odds,” Barnes said. Barnes’ other Group One drives are behind Lincoln’s Girl in the $100,000 Queensland Oaks (7.33pm) and Northview Hustler in the $100,000 Sunshine Sprint (8.39pm). “Our Princess Tiffany is going to be very hard to beat from the draw (4) in the Oaks, and Northview Hustler could get some of it if Colt Thirty he can hold the lead. We should be one-out-and-one-back, or two-out-and-two-back at worst,” he said. Barnes said it was every driver’s dream to win any races, especially when the big money is up. “I’ve been driving six or seven years now and I’m still trying to get that elusive Group win. It’s something we all dream of, and to have three drives on one of our biggest nights of the year is a great thrill. “The horses are a real credit to Dad. He has done a great job with them. It’s going to be a great night. People from Lincoln Farms in New Zealand are coming over. All up I heard there’s about 30 or 40 coming over – so no pressure,” Barnes said. “If it doesn’t work out this Saturday, then there’s always another big night to come seven days later. No matter what the race, or where it is, it’s still very important tome that I beat home my brother (Brendan),” he added. Barnes went through his book of drives for Racing Queensland. Here’s what he had to say (with draws and TAB odds): Race 3: The Al Barnes trained VISARI (2)  $1.70 – “Even though he’s the favourite, this is still a tricky race for him, especially over the 2,138m. He’s better with a sit. He’s racing real well at the moment and just needs luck. If he gets a good trip he will go close. We sat on Trojan Banner’s back last start and he dropped the bit and then got going again in straight. Each-way.” Race 5: The Al Barnes trained TROJAN BANNER (11) $71 – “The short-priced favourites in this explain his large win price. When the odds came out for next week’s Derby he was quoted as a $5 third favourite. Northview Hustler is our current stable star, but next year I think it might be this fella. He’s going to develop into a real nice 4-year-old. If he gets a nice trip he can give them a shake-up. He follows speed real well.” Race 6:  The Al Barnes trained LINCOLN’S GIRL (2) $34 – “If she doesn’t pull she goes real well. If she pulls she doesn’t run on. Then again if she settles she can run in the top five here. She’s a rough place show if she can get a nice trip. If she gets that she won’t be too far away.” Race 7: The Al Barnes trained LINCOLN ROAD (2) $5.50 – “He’s racing real well. The wet track didn’t suit him last week and this time he drops back in grade. He is a nice each-way show in this. He’s my best chance of the night with the trip.” Race 8: The Al Barnes trained NORTHVIEW HUSTLER (10) $16 – “With the second row scratching he now follows out the favourite, Colt Thirty One, which will help. I’d say Grant (Dixon) will/lead with him and stablemates Our Uncle same and Alta Orlando should go and have a look outside Colt Thirty One. At worst I should be one or two back in the second line. If I don’t have to pull him out until the 300m he should be right in the hunt. If we do get one go at them I would rate him an each-way chance.”   Racing Queensland Media

Talented young Queensland harness racing driver Hayden Barnes is hot property at the moment, with recent victories in two States.   A last-stride win at Armidale, NSW, on Sunday afternoon with My Secret Torque (Auckland Reactor- Ella Palms (Speed King) gave the likeable 23-year-old five wins in just four days.   “Yes, it’s certainly been an awesome week. Three of the wins were for the boss (dad/trainer Alastair, of Marburg) so everything is going along nicely,” Barnes said.   “We were happy to get the win at Armidale because it was a 12-hour return trip. Fortunately, My Secret Torque put in a dive at the finish line to score by the narrowest of margins,” he said.   The winning roll started at Redcliffe on Thursday afternoon when Barnes combined with trainer Brett Cargill to score with Grizzly Montana (Lanercost-Pearl Of Montana (Art Major).   On the following day at Albion Park, he posted a winning double for his father Alastair with former Kiwi pair Trojan Banner (Bettors Delight-Caitlin Banner (Washington VC) and Lincolns Girl (Lincoln Royal-Tania Tandias (Falcon Seelster).   And then on Saturday night at Brisbane headquarters again, Barnes was back into it, keeping a smile on his dad’s face, steering four-year-old Lincoln Road (a full brother to Lincoln’s Girl) to victory in the opening event.   The trip to Armidale, with a pair of Chantal Turpin-trained stablemates, saw Barnes making his driving debut on the 770-metre circuit, in a meeting that was another of the NSW harness racing showcase, Carnival of Cups.   “It’s a good set-up and I’ll remember my first visit with the win, that’s for sure,” he said.   “I copped a check in the early bit and found myself last, probably 30 metres off the leaders. But the horse felt enormous and I wasn’t concerned in taking off three wide to make a run because I had to get into it.”   My Secret Torque scooted around the field fairly quickly to join the leaders. Just when it looked like the mare was about to take control, the leader Roll With Tricky (Sam Ison) got a second wind and fought back doggedly.   The pair went head and head down the home straight, with the Queensland visitor grabbing a slim victory.   “We hit the line together, but I thought I’d just won. I think My Secret Torque had one last kick when it counted,” Barnes said.   “The race was worth $7650 and came with a free stallion service donated by the Seymours, which was just perfect because the owner Ian Carazzol is a keen breeder as well.”   Hayden Barnes   Barnes said trainer Chantal Turpin and her partner Pete McMullen were unable to make the 500 km trip to Armidale.   “They had a christening ceremony for their daughter Olivia, but I was happy to take the horses for them,” he said.   “It was a bit disappointing that I had to retire their other runner Bells Beach House in the Armidale Cup, but that’s racing.”   Barnes was forced to pull the horse out of the feature event after getting a flat tyre in the backwash of a scrimmage on the first corner, when driver Andrew Millard was tipped out.   The $10,200 Cup was taken out by a roughie in $31 chance Our Major Day (Major In Art-Diligent Miss (D M Dillinger) for Richard (trainer) and Dayl (driver) March. Stablemate Clintal Do was runner up.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Queensland's young driving talent will again be in the international harness racing spotlight tonight when Hayden Barnes and Dannielle McMullen make their Canadian driving debut at Flamboro Downs in Ontario. Barnes and McMullen will drive stablemates in the second and third races at Flamboro for Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Carl Jamieson. Both horses are newcomers with Barnes' drive The Big Digger (Up The Credit - Lone Mystic) a 6-1 shot from gate four and McMullen's drive Ninoscredit (Up The Credit - Security Banner), a 3-1 third favourite, leaving from the pole in race three. The duo have been chaperoned in Canada during the past month by aussie Natasha Day with the usual bucket list items all ticked off including North America's Niagra Falls and an Ice Hockey game. There's also been qualifier drives at Mohawk but tonight's race drives are sure to be a highlight. Barnes who was a co-winner of last seasons Mercedes Benz Toowong "Queensland Young Achiever" award simply dispalyed "first drive (in Canada)" on his social media page today. Both Barnes and McMullen have had several representative driving experiences over the past 12 months, representing Queensland interstate and in New Zealand. In NZ Barnes was a race winner and he also was the leading driver in the Qld Vs. Vic driving series. Their Canadian trip, a prize awarded to further their international and overall harness racing experience was sponsored by Kevin Seymour. by David Aldred

Queensland young guns Brittany Graham and Trent Moffat jetted into New York on Sunday and have quickly settled in nicely to harness racing USA style. The two winners of the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz (Toowong) Young Achievers Award at last years RQ Industry Awards, commenced their one month educational prize this week easily filling in their first two days in North America at expat Aussie trainer Ross Croghan’s Gateway Farms, New Jersey. “What an amazing place,” Graham said. “There are about 600 horses on the property which is privately owned and trainers rent barns. “(On our first day) Trent and I both got to do two jog trips which was exciting. “ Day two delivered even more positive experiences for the two Queenslanders. “We both got the opportunity to do trainers (fast workers) so that was very exciting, and I drove a two-year-old colt out of a half-sister to Rocknroll Hanover and Trent drove two other pretty promising colts,” an excited Graham said.  “I also got the opportunity to train a mare called Sudoku who has paced a mile in 1.51.4 this season. “As well as that I got to jog a mare called Single Me who is in a half-million dollar (US$500,000) race on Saturday night! “All in all a good day. “We are sitting and watching some races at Pocono Downs now and trying to learn what we can, which will hopefully help us out!” The education prize of the trip to the USA was the brainchild of Queensland’s young guns ‘supremo’, Kevin Seymour. With the assistance of Racing Queensland's management, Albion Park Harness Racing Manager Damian Raedler and Management at The Meadowlands, Seymour was able to initiate a harness racing educational trip of a life-time for the star young drivers. The duo is being mentored by Croghan and the team at Gateway Farms in all facets of training and driving. They will return after an Los Angeles stopover at the end of this month. Not one to rest on his laurels, Seymour has already selected another two young Queensland drivers, Danielle McMullen and Hayden Barnes to be educated in Canada next month. David Aldred

Victory aboard the aptly named Highview Sign last month set Clifton driver Stacey Weidemann on her way to a heartfelt win in the two meeting Mitavite Marburg Ipswich West Young Drivers Invitation Championship decided on Saturday and it was likely that she had her biggest supporter smiling from above. Saturday’s Championship win meant a lot to Stacey, so much so that she paid a special tribute to her pop soon after the race. In March this year the Weidemann family lost harness racing stalwart, Ross Weidemann.  “My biggest supporter didn’t get to witness me take the honours, but I sure hope he got a smile on his dial up there,” Stacey said. “Poppy was my biggest fan, he always was behind me telling me to have a go, I do miss that.” . The up and coming young driver who celebrates her 24th birthday early next month also congratulated the Marburg Pacing Association for the event and thanked the sponsors, Mitavite and the Ipswich City Council. Stacey, the niece of harness racing sisters Julie and Lola Weidemann, didn’t get a winner at Marburg on Saturday but her drives were competitive enough for the concession driver to take out the 2015 title. The two meeting race series was raced on 3 May and 20 June. “The horses I drove during the Championship raced well and I was appreciative that the trainers were encouraging, they were really good with no pressure, that helps,” Stacey said. On day one Stacey drove a winner, Highview Sign and a third placed Fiscal Cliff and went into the final day of competition just ahead of Hayden Barnes who also got a good start in the series with a winner Wecanonlyhope and a fourth placed Eternal Glory. Really, Stacey only needed to place better than Hayden in the two races to stay on top of the leaderboard. The big movers in the competition were the runner up Amy Rees who catapulted herself into contention driving the first winner and Matt Elkins who steered home the second heat winner. Stacey’s drives Hez To Blame and Extreme Makeover both finished in 5th place in their respective heats while Hayden’s drives Rubys Falcon and Melton Maxbye finished 8th and 4th respectively. Amy sent out the clear message that she was there to play hard when she scored an emphatic 18.4 metre win $1.25 favourite Stylish Boulevard for Bart Cockburn in heat one. Matt finished fourth in the first heat on Man With Attitude. Amy needed the $2.70 favourite Half Moon Bromac to win the second heat to dislodge Stacey from the top position. After leading most of the way, Half Moon Bromac failed by two metres to get the prize with Matt getting home first on the Julie Weidemann-trained Isobell Maree, a head in advance of Uncle Paul driven by Michael Johnson. Justin Storie who competed on day one of the series was not available to drive in the second round and the Marburg Pacing Association invited Nathan Dawson as his replacement. The points earned by each driver were allocated to their own personal tally. David Aldred

Saturday’s Mitavite Super Feeds Ipswich West Marburg Young Drivers Invitation will go right down to the wire with just one point separating harness racing drivers Stacey Weidemann and Hayden Barnes with two races to be decided. But the competition at the Marburg track is far from a two driver race with this year’s BOTRA Queensland Young Drivers Champion, Brittany Graham just a few points off the pace and well in contention and Amy Rees 11 points off the lead ready to catapult up the leaderboard. James Lewin’s 10-year-old Extreme Makeover may be good enough to get Stecey Weidemann over the line. Drawn at gate four in the final 1850 metre heat, Extreme Makeover loves racing at the Marburg track, posting three victories on the circuit and the gelding showed a glimpse of its best form when runner up at Albion Park in 1.58.4 over 1660 metres  earlier this month.The veteran pacer also won the Des Wallace Memorial Pace at Marburg in April. A member of Queensland harness racing’s  Weidemann clan, Stacey is a niece of Lola and Julie Weidemann and is starting to make her mark on the track. Stacey commenced her career and drove her first winner at last year’s RNA Brisbane Exhibition and has since posted a further nine wins in races at registered tracks. Stacey’s other chance to pick up points on Saturday is the Noel Parrish-trained Hez To Blame. The 5yo also has a pretty good record at Marburg and was a Redcliffe winner in March. Two starts back on 3 June at Redcliffe, the son of Western Edition also showed good speed when third in a 1780 metre C1 Pace. Hayden Barnes doesn’t appear to have been dealt as strong a hand with his drives Rubys Falcon for Lorraine Laggin in heat 1 and Melton Maxbye for Dannielle McMullen in heat 2.  Melton Maxbye’s form has tapered off at his recent outings but the 8yo did notch a Redcliffe win and placing prior to that. Hayden has had a stellar season and has twice been named as the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz (Qld) Young Achiever for the months of January and April this year. The two leaders will be looking over their shoulders for Brittany Graham and Amy Rees. Reigning Co- High Achiever Award recipient, Brittany is counting down the days until she jets off to the USA to experience racing life in New Jersey and New York and the ultra-competitive young driver will be keen to add another title to her impressive resume. Brittany drives Fui Fui for Peter Jones in heat 1 and Mister Attitude for Allan Halliday in heat 2. Fui Fui hasn’t won since 2013 while Mister Attitude can improve in this company. Amy, the voice of the BOTRA / RQ Girls In Pink Breast Cancer promotion has drawn the pole position in the two heats with Bart Cockburn’s Mach Three mare Stylish Boulevard, a recent Albion Park placegetter sure to add valuable points to her tally in the first heat and her drive in the second heat, the Lacey Hinze-trained Half Moon Bromac who displayed good speed with fifth at Redcliffe last night also a good contender. Mitavite Super Feeds Ipswich West Marburg Young Drivers Invitation Leaderboard 16  Stacey Weidemann 15  Hayden Barnes 11  Brittany Graham; Justin Storie 9    Isobel Ross 5    Amy Rees; Matt Elkins 4    Michael Johnston Points allocation: 1st 10pts; 2nd 7pts; 3rd 6pts; 4th 5pts; 5th 4pts; 6th: 3pts; 7th 2pts; 8th 1pt. by David Aldred Related Links Fields for Marburg, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Marburg, Saturday 20 June 2015

Talented young gun Brittany Graham capped a tremendous harness racing season with a one point triumph in Saturday night’s BOTRA Queensland Young Driver’s Championships. In a thrilling finish, Graham edged out Hayden Barnes 51 points to 50 in the last race of the Championship at Albion Park on Saturday night. Both Graham and Barnes were locked on 49 points going into the final race and both went into the decider driving long shots. “It was a matter of who was going to finish ahead of who in the last race and Brittany got there,” BOTRA Queensland secretary Marg Reynolds said. “You never saw anyone cheer as loud for a horse to finish second last in a race as you heard from Brittany’s mother Linda Graham when Brittany got past Hayden in the run to the post.” Graham drove My Ultimate Hell which finished 9th, just one metre ahead of Red Rocker (10th) driven by Barnes. Early Championship leader Justin Storie finished third in the six race series on 43 points. Graham started the night well winning the 5th heat on the Vicki Rasmussen trained  Mind The Wire with the sixth heat won by Well To Do Lombo, driven by Trent Moffat. It was fitting the Graham and Moffat came to the fore on the final night of the Championships which was conducted over three nights at Redcliffe and Albion Park. Graham and Moffat have had stellar seasons, starring at representative level both nationally and overseas. In a couple of months the duo will head to the USA to join expat Aussie trainer Ross Croghan’s stable for one month of driving and training experience. Graham and Moffat won the right to represent Queensland in the United States as part of the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Young Achievers Award prize for their success during the 2013/14 season. by David Aldred  

Queensland continued on their winning way last night. A team of six from the sunshine state took on Team Victoria in a harness racing junior drivers challenge at TABCORP Park Melton in a two race series. The Queensland team was made up of Hayden Barnes, Brittany Graham, Dannielle & Narissa McMullen, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees. Team Victoria comprised of Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Haydon Gray, Mark Pitt, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips. It was a clean sweep for the Queensland team. Heat one went the way of Dannielle McMullen who took the winning drive aboard the Peter Thompson trained Our El Fuego in a time of 1;57.8 in the 2240m event. Placing’s were filled by fellow Queenslanders Narissa McMullen (Our Summer Wind), Trent Moffat (Mister Rufus) and Hayden Barnes (Brite Spark Lombo). Our El Fuego was the rank outsider and returned a dividend of $61.50. Heat two went the way of Hayden Barnes (Jambiani) who defeated Trent Moffat (Bushi) and Brittany Graham (Clarenden Daydream) in a time of 2;00.9 for the 2240m journey. Following a countback, the individual winner of the series was Hayden Barnes who beat Trent Moffat. “It was a great result for Queensland with a clean sweep and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they showcased their talents on foreign soil. It was great to see them catch up with friends while making new contacts; hopefully this helps them going forward,” Queensland Team Captain Kevin Seymour said. “I would like to thank Harness Racing Victoria and all of the trainers who supported the series, it’s about gaining experience and making them better and this is a great opportunity to do this.” Seymour added. In three series to date, Queensland has a perfect record after inflicting defeats over New South Wales, New Zealand and now Victoria. The winning form of Hayden Barnes continues with victories at Alexandra Park, Auckland late last year with Millie Sampson and then again last night at Melton with Jambiani. Seymour is now eyeing off a series against South Australian in the coming months. by Chris Barsby

Young Queenslander Hayden Barnes is enjoying a breakout harness racing season. The promising horseman is racking up his best numbers to date, driving with skill and poise while making the most of his opportunities come raceday. In only his third season of race driving, Barnes has booted home 46 winners to date this season which includes victories in the recent Girls On Track Final at Albion Park behind Benazir Bhutto plus his triumph on foreign soil when successful aboard Millie Sampson at Alexandra Park, Auckland during the Australasian Young Guns Challenge last November. Barnes is currently ranked equal fourth on the concession driver’s premiership table behind outstanding talent Narissa McMullen who has driven 69 winners to date. This season, Barnes has taken 253 drives for 46 wins and 58 minor placings. On Saturday night, Barnes has been presented with a wonderful opportunity when he will partner in-form pacer Bettor Draw. The Bettors Delight gelding equaled the Albion Park 2138m track record with his stunning 1;54.0 victory after racing without cover on March 31. Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova is the co-owner of the track record. “It’s a great thrill to be driving a horse like Bettor Draw, he’s clearly the best horse that I’ve driven to date and I’m thrilled that Narissa (McMullen – trainer) has put the faith in me.” Barnes said. Bettor Draw must overcome a second-line draw in the Fiery Tan Pace over the 1660m while in-form rivals Medal Of Honour, Mista Mara, The King Of Swing and Livinthehighlife have all drawn the front-line. Since being transferred to the care of McMullen, the seven-year-old gelding hasn’t missed a beat with placings in 9 of his 10 starts including a career best performance at Menangle in 1;51.9 three starts ago. “I think he looks well placed in this field and hopefully we can push forward and get fairly close to the action early, his form at the sprint trip reads very strong. “His winning effort last start was just unbelievable, he was a monster and I’m really looking forward to the challenge this weekend.” Barnes is also listed to drive Skippy Saddler (Race 1), Western Union (Race 3) and his own runner Donegal Under Fire (Race 5). He has trained 4 winners from 42 starters to date with his first winner coming with Alberts Flight last year while the other three winners all coming from Donegal Under Fire. Barnes is currently employed by Chantal Turpin after spending his early days with Darrel Graham. In fact, his first driving success came aboard the Graham trained Palazzo Las Vegas at Marburg on June 1, 2013. After 449 drives, Barnes has 69 lifetime wins while being placed on another 100 occasions. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 11 April 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 11 April 2015

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