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At first glance Raptors Flight looks to be one of the greatest downgraders of the harness racing season at Alexandra Park tonight.  But even though he drops back from an Auckland Cup to an intermediate grade race that doesn’t make the five-year-old the certainty it may suggest.  The Barry Purdon-trained pacer has taken on Turn It Up and some of the best horses in the country his last two starts, far from disgracing himself with a seventh and a ninth in the Franklin and Auckland Cups.  He sneaks into tonight’s main pace with the concession claim of junior driver Nathan Delany and while he is down enormously in class, these days that often doesn’t matter as much as the run you get at Alexandra Park.  The reality is even two-win horses can break the once daunting 2:40 for 2200m mobile, with a race rival tonight in American Empress pacing 2:37.8 last start winning on New Years Eve.   So if Raptors Flight gets back off the speed and a rival like American Empress can let loose with a sub 2:40 time tonight then any horse, even one who has been racing the elite, is going to struggle to come wide and win.  “He definitely has a chance because he is a nice horse but these type of races can be tough because they can all run good time these days,” says trainer Purdon.  That suggests American Empress might actually be the better bet in a race where another down in grade, Check In, also claims and like Raptors Flight could win with the right run.  Earlier in the night Purdon has one of the favourites in Pearl Harbour in the first fillies heat of the Young Guns series and he admits it is hard to line up the form.  “She has gone some good workouts and has the ability to win it is hard to know what to expect from the others with them all on debut,” says Purdon.  American Empress’s trainer Jeremy Young could be the trainer to follow tonight as not only does he has have her but two other winning chances in The Stunning Nun (race seven) and Best Western (race eight).  The last race should see a continuation of one of the trends of the season so far with three-year-old trotters too slick for their older rivals, with Vatican Hill, Tricky Ric and Fortunato all three-year-olds who look better than maiden grade.   Michael Guerin

Trolley is back on track. Harness racing trainer Erv Miller just hopes he can stay there. A 6-year-old male trotter, Trolley has won four of six races since returning from a 13-month absence because of a broken coffin bone. He won last week's Preferred Handicap at the Meadowlands by three-quarters of a length over Muscle Diamond and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line in Friday's (Jan. 18) $21,000 Preferred Handicap at the Big M. Melady's Monet, who brings a three-race win streak to the event, is the 9-5 favorite. Friday's 14-race card begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). "Trolley is on his way back, I hope," Miller said. "If he stays healthy, we'll see where he can go. I think we'll see a pretty good horse. He can really go. He's showed the talent off-and-on and we've just been waiting on him." For his career, Trolley has won 12 of 26 races and earned $302,959 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis, and Andy Willinger. He started a total of only seven times at ages 2 and 3, but was a two-time winner on the Pennsylvania-stakes circuit and runner-up to Southwind Frank in the 2016 Beal Memorial. As a 4-year-old, he won six of 13 races and established his career mark of 1:51.4 at the Meadowlands. "He was a real immature horse early," Miller said. "He was a big horse - big, strong horse - he just wasn't ready to go young. As he got older, he kept getting better and better. He showed some real talent so we kept hanging on with him. Hopefully he's going to pay us back for waiting on him. "We tried standing him (at stud) last year. But if he holds up for us, we'll be glad it didn't work out. He's sure coming back good so far." Trolley, driven regularly by Marcus Miller, is a son of Donato Hanover out of Lakeside Bride. He was purchased as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale. "He wasn't a real pricey horse because he was a little oversized for a young horse," Miller said. "He's made money along the way. It's not like he's not been paying his way. "He's a nice horse to be around. He gets around real good. He's versatile. He can race from the back or on the front, it doesn't matter which way you race him. He's a big, strong horse." Miller will be watching Trolley in the coming weeks to determine how to stake the horse when payments are due in February. "If he stays healthy until staking time until February, we'll be putting him in some stakes races," Miller said. "I think he's a top horse if we get enough races in him and he stays sound. Right now he seems as sound as he's ever been in his life. Hopefully that will keep going. Hopefully we're ready to rock along." For Friday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

YONKERS, N.Y. – Harness racing owner Evan Katz makes a habit of perusing the listings on online auction sites. In fact, he checks them almost daily in the hopes of finding another horse to add to his stable. When Katz came across a listing for Itty Bitty in fall 2016, he found a diamond in the rough. Then a freshman, the pacing filly by Always A Virgin out of the Warrior For Peace mare Bananih had 15 starts on the Indiana fair circuit for owner, trainer, and driver Charles Conrad. Itty Bitty earned two wins and another eight seconds and thirds, but it was her finishing ability that caught Katz’s eye. In her final start for Conrad, Itty Bitty came home in :27.4 at the Fayette County Free Fair in Connersville, Indiana. “She showed some really good fair lines in Indiana with some really good final quarters. If you know the tracks there, anything semi-decent is a real fast last quarter,” Katz said. “She was always closing. From the top of the stretch to the wire, she was always passing horses. That’s what you have to look for, horses that finish.” Despite her low opening bid, as a regular user Katz knew that the online auctions are generally quiet until the timer reaches the final few minutes. He waited and waited, but there was little activity. When the auction ended, Katz bought the filly for $8,000. “It’s pretty much sight unseen. You go by the lines and hope the people are being upfront with you,” Katz said. “There’s an offer or a starting bid and in the last 10 minutes, usually people really start to bid. There really wasn’t a whole lot of action on her. “I’m not sure why other people really didn’t go after her,” he continued. “I don’t think the guy who had her realized the potential. She’s really a natural. She’s loves to race.” Katz gave Itty Bitty to Billy Parker and sent her to Monticello for her first start subsequent to the auction. They spotted her in a $3,300 overnight for non-winners of a pari-mutuel race October 5, 2016. Itty Bitty’s rivals proved vastly overmatch as she circled the field and stormed away to an 18-length win. She stopped the clock in 2:00.1 with a :27.3 final quarter. “She just exploded halfway up the backstretch. She was real impressive, she just drew off. Then I realized that she was a little better than I had thought,” Katz said. Shortly after that start, Katz gave Itty Bitty to trainer Andrew Harris, who along with Bob Darrow, bought an ownership interest in the filly. In 70 starts, Itty Bitty has amassed 17 wins, 11 seconds, and 10 thirds good for $220,377. Her biggest victory to date came last Friday (January 11) when she took the $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway. Starting from post three with Jason Bartlett in the sulky, Itty Bitty watched as Wishy Washy Girl took command from post five around the opening turn. Bartlett wanted the lead, however and pulled Itty Bitty entering the backstretch. The pair made the lead in a :27.4 opening quarter and the even-money favorite never looked back.  With Bartlett comfortable in the bike and with a good hold of her, Itty Bitty increased her margin to 2½ lengths past three-quarters. By the time she reached the top of the lane, she increased her advantage to 4 ½. Itty Bitty cruised past the finish 5 ¼ lengths clear of the field in 1:55.  Katz was quick to praise his team for Itty Bitty’s unlikely rise to the top. “Andrew does a great job with her, as with all the horses I have with him,” Katz said. “He deserves a lot of the credit. To keep her sharp, keep her happy. He’s always on top of things. He’s probably the only trainer that talks to me every day and tells me what’s going on. Very honest guy. “The feedback is always good about her,” Katz continued. “She always tries. Every race she tries. She reflects the name; she’s not very big. She just has a big heart.” Itty Bitty will try to double up in Yonkers’ distaff feature as she will start from post seven in this week’s $44,000 handicap. With Bartlett back in the bike, the pair are tepid 5-2 morning line favorites despite the wide assignment.  Itty Bitty’s competition includes last week’s runner up Clear Idea, who makes her second start off a winter freshening and may be better poised to utilize her characteristic early speed. She’s 3-1 on the morning line for Matt Kakaley. Brazuca ships in from the Meadowlands off a third in the Swamp’s top class for distaffers December 28 and drew post three. Ella Michelle, Culinary Delight, Amateur Hour, and Made Of Jewels As complete the field. “I’ve always had a positive outlook on her. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but last week she won and he never even popped the plugs and she won in hand,” Katz said. “I think she’ll be alright. She’ll probably be the favorite, so I’m sure she’ll be in play and we’ll hope for a decent trip. If you take off the gate, you’re seventh and where do you go from there?” First post time Friday is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Sheila Napier, who works in the Chris Beaver Stable, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Caretaker of the Year Award sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park (HRRNP) in conjunction with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Napier, 37, has worked for Beaver for three years, and in 2018 her horses included the $500,000-winning 3-year-old filly trotter Custom Cantab. She also had four horses that made the Ohio Sires Stakes championship card at Scioto Downs, including three in the 2-Year-Old Filly Trot. Prior to working for Beaver, Napier's 10-year stint with Ron Potter including being the caretaker of the 2011 Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John. "I've always read about this award and this is really great," said Napier, a native of Cincinnati whose first job working with horses came while in high school in 1995 at the Delaware (Ohio) Equine Lab. "I've been doing this for a long time and something I looked forward to as far as possibly getting, but maybe in Ohio and not this big." All caretakers in North America were eligible for the award, with nomination letters submitted detailing the skills and special qualities of the nominee. A seven-member panel - all of whom were former caretakers themselves - selected Napier as the winner. Beaver nominated Napier, and in his letter he noted, "Sheila takes unrivaled pride in the condition of her horses. I can rest at ease when she has a horse racing. I know it will get on the road on time and will be wearing all the right equipment, even if I can't make it. "Her horses are never shorted on the care that I expect for them and that is required," added the Ohio-based Beaver, who also winter trains at Spring Garden Ranch in Florida. "She can't stay away from her horses. She truly loves them and takes incredible pride in their accomplishments. My life would be a lot easier if more grooms brought the passion into their work that Sheila has." Napier said she usually has at least eight horses under her care in the Beaver barn, and it was Custom Cantab who was the star in 2018. Included among Custom Cantab's 13 wins were the Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final at Hoosier Park and the season-ending Matron at Dover Downs. "Oh, that filly," said Napier, whose travels always include her 11-year-old daughter Jess. "Custom Cantab is one of those special little fillies that wants to finish in the top three her whole life. She's quite sassy, amazing and full of heart. I absolutely love that filly; she is very special." As winner of the HRRNP Caretaker of the Year Award, Napier will receive a cash prize of $500, transportation, hotel accommodations and two tickets to USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, where she will be presented a trophy. Napier, along with all the USHWA 2018 award winners, will be recognized during the Dan Patch Awards banquet. Information on accommodations at Rosen Shingle Creek and dinner tickets can be found at www.usha.net. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park/USHWA  

Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman scored the 11,000th win of his driving career while driving Brooklynite in Northfield Park's 10th race on Wednesday (Jan. 16). Brooklynite started from the second tier, brushed boldly and the half to take the lead and never looked back, winning by 5¼-lengths in 1:52. Merriman, 40, keeps a torrid schedule, regularly competing at Northfield Park and The Meadows. However, he also races at various other venues throughout the year. Aaron is the reigning North American dash champion. In fact, last year he became the first driver in harness racing history to post multiple 1,000-win seasons. In 2013, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. He has won more races at Northfield than any other driver in the track's history. Last year, he broke the record for the most Northfield wins in a single season, posting 711 scores over the Flying Turns in 2018. Aaron's talents have also been noticed on the national stage. He was just voted Harness Racing's Driver of the Year for 2018 and will officially receive this award at the annual Dan Patch Awards Ceremony in Orlando, Florida in February. Merriman's richest win came in a $300,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final aboard Palazzo Princess. Aaron's fastest win was race timed in 1:48.3 aboard Kanaris at Scioto Downs in September, 2014. Merriman remembers his first win as being aboard a pacing mare named Albert's Filly at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. Although there are 11,000 to choose from, Merriman says that he is definitely partial to his first, "It always feels great to win a race. I have had the same elated feeling every time I have been to the winner's circle," explained Merriman, "But that first one felt especially nice." Aaron has sat behind countless horses, but one sticks out to him above all others: "I will always feel indebted to Midnight Jewel. She made me look good every week and really helped my career blossom." Merriman started driving at the age of 21 and appreciates the successful 19-year career he has experienced so far; accomplishing the 11,000-win milestone and purse earnings in excess of $72,000,000. "I've had a great run for a long time and so many owners and trainers that have helped me," said Merriman. "There are a lot of people who work very hard every day to keep racing alive and well and I just feel fortunate to be part of it." Ayers Ratliff

Champion horseman Tim Butt, who has prepared more grand circuit winners than any other harness racing trainer in Australasia, is poised to set more records when his brilliant seven-year-old My Field Marshal contests the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 51-year-old New Zealand-born Butt, who relocated from Christchurch to Menangle in New South Wales early last year, is confident that My Field Marshal will prove the best stayer and win the testing 2936m mobile group 1 classic in the stallion’s first attempt over a distance beyond 2700m. “He’s fantastic and has come through his wins in the Village Kid Sprint and Fremantle Cup absolutely terrific,” he said. Asked if the 2936m was a concern, Butt said: “It’s only 400m longer than last week’s Cup and I couldn’t be happier with the barrier draw (No. 3 on the front line).” Queried about the likely driving tactics to be employed by his elder brother Anthony, he said: “We haven’t done the form yet, but we’ve got options from that draw. “The horse hasn’t done a lot since he led and won the Fremantle Cup. He had a hoppled run this morning (Tuesday) and I just ticked him over like I normally do. He’s bright and he loves it here.” The Butt brothers are full of hope that they will be able to go one better than they did when Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karita in the 2007 WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red, second favourite at 3/1 from barrier five, raced wide early and three wide again in the middle stages before working hard in the breeze. He fought on doggedly behind Tealsby Karita, the 11/4 favourite who made most of the running. “Flashing Red was a great horse and a great stayer, but My Field Marshal has got a bit more brilliance,” Tim Butt said. If My Field Marshal is successful this week, it will give the famous Butt family a special record, with the first set of brothers training a WA Pacing Cup winner. Roddy Butt, the youngest of the three Butt brothers, prepared Justaboyden, who was driven by Fred Kersley jnr and produced one of the most spectacular bursts of speed in a Pacing Cup when he was ninth at the 400m and sprouted wings to charge to the front at the 250m mark and career away to beat Southern Knight by more than three lengths in the big race in 1995. The WA Pacing Cup was first run in 1913 and the inaugural Fremantle Cup was in 1928 and, if successful, My Field Marshal will become only the eighth pacer to have won the WA Pacing Cup-Fremantle Cup double in the one season, a feat that has been performed by Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012) and Chicago Bull (2017). My Field Marshal, bred and owned by Syd and Shona Brown (who also bred and owned the horse’s dam Foreal, a winner of 18 races and $664,800 in stakes. My Field Marshal has earned $1,324,712 from 26 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts, has won six group 1 features --- the Taylor Mile and Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park, the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Cambridge (in successive starts in 2016), the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 2017, the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 on the same track last February and last week’s Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Anthony Butt, who will return to Perth from Sydney on Friday, was full of praise for My Field Marshal after the horse’s exciting all-the-way victory in the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, saying: “To lead and cop that pressure just shows what a great horse he is. He did a mighty job; he had to burn out of the gate and then never got any peace. “He kept running fast quarters and it was a great effort. It won’t be easy this week when I’m sure it will again be a truly-run affair. But he has got that class on his side and no matter what race he’s in, he’s always hard to beat.” Tim Butt said that My Field Marshal would not contest the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 and that the horse’s main mission after the WA Pacing Cup would be the Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 3. “My Field Marshal will return to Sydney next Wednesday and he’ll probably have one lead-up run before the Miracle Mile.” With My Field Marshal starting from barrier three on Friday night, Anthony Butt will be ready to make snap decisions after the mobile barrier releases the quality field of 12 runners. He knows that Maczaffair (barrier one) and Rocknroll Lincoln (two) will come out flying in bids to take the early lead. Whether the speedy My Field Marshal can burst straight to the front is highly problematical. Sharing the Butt camp’s confidence is Mike Reed, the trainer of Maczaffair, and Gary Hall Jnr, who will be in the sulky behind the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Maczaffair is the only mare in the field and Reed is bullish about her prospects of becoming the first of her sex to win the WA Pacing Cup since Pyramus beat Chief Attain and Sir Alex in 1972. She will again be handled by Reed’s son Mark, who was most impressed with her effort when an unlucky sixth in the Fremantle Cup, only one and a half lengths behind the winner. She was ninth at the bell and was badly blocked for a clear passage before flying home along the pegs in the final few strides. Maczaffair, the winner of five group feature events, showed her class against all-male opposition when second to Ultimate Machete in the group 1 2536m Golden Nugget championship in December 2017. Hall, who has driven the winner of seven WA Pacing Cups, said that Rocknroll Lincoln was travelling strongly and was a sound winning chance before being badly checked approaching the home turn in the Fremantle Cup. Rocknroll Lincoln broke into a gallop and finished 11th. Hall said that the 2936m journey this week would not worry Rocknroll Lincoln. “Barrier two looks good on paper and he’s got genuine gate speed,” he said. “If we get to the front, and I think he can, I won’t consider handing up.” Galactic Star, a gallant second in the Fremantle Cup, is in peak form and must be considered, despite drawing awkwardly at barrier seven. Ryan Warwick looks certain to opt out of any early speed battle and is likely to drive conservatively before deciding when to send the six-year-old forward. Galactic Star raced in eighth position in the one-wide line in the Fremantle Cup before Warwick sent the gelding forward, with a three-wide, burst approaching the bell. He sustained the effort and his performance was full of merit. Galactic Star is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented in the Cup by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden de Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). El Jacko and Saying Grace will start from the back line and have sound place prospects after unlucky runs in the Fremantle Cup in which El Jacko, a smart sit-sprinter, was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit before going across the line, full of running, in seventh position. Saying Grace, who trailed the pacemaking My Field Marshal throughout, went to the line, bolting under lock and key, in fourth place. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the WA Pacing Cup a record 11 times, is pinning his faith on Runrunjimmydunn, who will be driven by Clint Hall from barrier five. Runrunjimmydunn fought on from tenth in the middle stages to be a sound fifth in the Fremantle Cup. The WA-bred Vultan Tin, trained in Coolup by Phil Costello, is the only non-New Zealand-bred runner in the race. He will be driven by Chris Voak and will start from the outside of the back line. Vultan Tin was seventh at the bell in the Fremantle Cup before finishing fast, out six wide, to be an eye-catching third. Ace trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Saab for his WA Pacing Cup victory in 1999, has engaged Shannon Suvaljko to drive Im Full of Excuses from the awkward No. 6 barrier. Im Full of Excuses bounced back to form and ended a 22-month drought when he charged home with as three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to win narrowly from Gotta Go Gabbana in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. He will again be at long odds this week.   Ken Casellas

THE rise and rise of Buster Brady will be tested in Saturday night’s PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup as Kima Frenning’s debutant training experience dips its toe into the top tier of Australasian pacing. Plucked from New Zealand by new owners Stokie Racing Group after a career on the edge of the Kiwi’s elite, including a fifth in the 2017 New Zealand Trotting Cup, Buster Brady burst on to Australia’s scene with Geelong and Cobram cup victories. The only horse in Frenning’s care, the six-year-old was held back from the TAB Inter Dominion despite a late rankings rise that earned qualification, making Saturday night’s Group 1 his Australian debut against the big boys. “It’s definitely going to be a test for him to go out in the Ballarat Cup against a couple of the best ones and just see where we’ve got him,” Frenning told RSN 927’s Gait Speed. She will steer Buster Brady from gate five, outside race favourite Thefixer and directly inside TAB Inter Dominion placegetter Cruz Bromac, with the All Stars pair dominant in the market. At $4.40 with tab.com.au fixed odds, Buster Brady is the shortest priced challenger in a field of Victorians eager to put their case as the next big thing and boost their chances of getting a start in the February 2 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. “He’s pulled up really well from Cobram and seems really good,” Frenning said. “The draw looks a little bit tricky, but this probably gives us an opportunity to see if we can drive him with cover, just drive him for his speed and see how we go from there. He is very quick.” Frenning will also steer David Aiken-trainer pair Big Jack Hammer in the E B Cochran Trotters Cup and Malcolms Rhythm in the first Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby heat, the latter unbeaten in six starts since breaking his maiden status. “He’s just come through his races really, really well and keeps improving every single run,” Frenning said. “He’s still learning about racing, which is pretty scary. I would love to see when he actually switches on and starts to race. He’s just going really, really good and I’m super excited to go into the Derby heats with him.”   Trots Media

Reigning Miracle Mile champion My Field Marshal is looking to join a select group. The fastest pacer in Australasia (1:46.9) is set to join an exclusive club by winning the Miracle Mile one year followed by the WA Pacing Cup the following year. The members include Our Sir Vancelot (1997/98), Westburn Grant (1990/91) and Village Kid (1987/88) - three of the all-time greats with 179 combined victories and prizemoney in excess of $6.3 million. Another great in Preux Chevalier (40 wins - $790,331) achieved the feat in reverse, he won the Miracle Mile in 1984 before winning the WA Pacing Cup in 1985. And My Field Marshal is drawn to advantage after landing gate three for the 2936m mobile start feature. Fresh from his commanding victory in last week’s Fremantle Cup, the Art Major entire is looking to provide master horsemen Tim and Anthony Butt another Grand Circuit triumph. The Canterbury born brothers have won in excess of 100 Grand Circuit events, pacers and trotters combined! Interestingly, they’re yet to strike Grand Circuit event in Perth. Chicago Bull was the last horse to complete the Fremantle/WA Pacing Cups double (2017). The last time a winner came outside of the state’s border was Washakie back in 2010, prepared by then Queensland based John McCarthy. My Field Marshal is the only interstate trained runner contesting this year’s feature. The Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup is the fifth leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the staying feature is steeped in history after first being staged back in 1913 when Letty Lind proved victorious. The great race has been won by the likes of Beau Don, Radiant Oro, James Eden, Just Too Good, Don’t Retreat, Pure Steel, San Simeon, Gammalite, Preux Chevalier and Village Kid among others. In recent times, names like Westburn Grant, Our Sir Vancelot, The Falcon Strike, Baltic Eagle, Im Themightyquinn and My Hard Copy are listed as winners. Many of these great names listed above have won the Cup more than once. Last year, Soho Tribeca defeated Chicago Bull in an enthralling battle but sadly, neither pacer will start this year. Since 2002, the Hall stable have won the staying feature 11 times. The master conditioner has triumphed with The Falcon Strike (x3), Tealsby Karita, Im Themightyquinn (x3), Hokonui Ben, My Hard Copy (x2) and Chicago Bull. This year, the Hall stable will be represented by Runrunjimmydunn. Team Bond, the leading stable in the state has weight in numbers and provide half the field, 6 of the 12 runners. Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Galactic Star (Ryan Warwick), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden De Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). The impressive stable is chasing their maiden success in the Cup. Astute mentor Ross Olivieri, a winner of the Cup in 1999 with Saab, is represented by last start winner Im Full Of Excuses. Shannon Suvaljko, a winner of the Cup in 2008 with Vanlo Yorker is engaged to drive Im Full Of Excuses. Father/son combination of Mike and Mark Reed are chasing their first win in the Cup and line-up classy mare Maczaffair who starts from the inside gate. The last mare to win the state’s showcase event was Pyramus back in 1972 while Dainty’s Daughter won in 1970. Emerging open class force Rocknroll Lincoln will have plenty of followers after his unlucky effort last week in the Fremantle Cup. Prepared by brilliant young horseman Justin Prentice, Rocknroll Lincoln will be handled by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. Hall Jnr has won the Cup seven times previously. Rugged pacer Vultan Tin starts in the Cup for the second time for trainer Phil Costello and regular driver Chris Voak. Last year, they finished 10th. If My Field Marshal proves successful, he gains an excellent chance of being a major player for the title of Grand Circuit champion with a number of features still to come this term back on the east coast. Inter Dominion hero Tiger Tara currently leads the race with 260 points. The TABtouch WA Pacing Cup is scheduled as race 5 and listed to start at 7.58pm local time.   Chris Barsby

Queenslander Alistair Barnes is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, courtesy of a former Kiwi pacer destined for big things in harness racing. Barnes, a harness racing trainer-driver based at Marburg, admitted he is still “pinching himself” after watching his pacer Lincoln Road post his fifth consecutive win at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon. “When I flew over to New Zealand to drive the horse he felt like a nice type, but he’s absolutely blossomed here after taking a little time to settle in,” he said. Lincoln Road (Lincoln Royal-Tania Tandias) is raced by newcomers to the sport in Cesare and Maria Di Gregorio, of Melbourne. It was a chance meeting while holidaying in Fiji that brought Barnes, his partner Cassie Saunders and the Di Gregorios together. “We met at a resort and Cesare and his grandson Dion were both keen to go on a deep-sea fishing trip – something that we had also wanted to do,” Barnes said. “Anyway, it was a complete disaster. It was blowing a gale, with big waves and rough seas. We didn’t catch a thing and even worse, Cassie got horribly sea sick,” he said. “On our return, the boat owner couldn’t go too close to the beach, so he dropped us all off in waist deep water and we had to battle along to eventually get back to the resort. “That was when we struck up a friendship. Cesare told us he had always wanted to own and race some horses but didn’t know how to get involved.” The new partnership had some fun with one of their first horses in Bet Im Special who has earnt around $14,000 and were then lucky enough to get onto Lincoln Road as part of a $60,000 deal including Auckland winner, Miss Blue Glory. Barnes said he has high hopes for Lincoln Road who he described as “the complete package”. “He is so versatile, and this combined with his unbelievable will to win makes him a bit special,” he said. “I have no doubts whatsoever that he’s going to go places.” The purple patch of winning form kicked off at Redcliffe on December 20 and four impressive victories at Albion Park have followed for the son of Lincoln Royal. Lincoln Road in full flight winning the Egmont Park Stud Pace at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon Lincoln Royal was himself no slouch on the racetrack, competing under the name of Sir Lincoln (he was renamed in Australia to Lincoln Royal).  He won the Group One Auckland Cup in early 2012 and finished his career with 21 wins and 15 placings for over $660,000 from 57 starts. Sir Lincoln is by Mach Three, the sire of other notables in Auckland Reactor, Somebeachsomewhere and Fly Like An Eagle. In the breeding barn, Lincoln Royal has so far had 134 three and four-year-olds in NZ for 30 winners ($413,241), while in Australia he has 22 progeny on the ground for seven winners ($74,899). Two of his offspring in Aramiss and Abraham have been exported to North America with Aramiss having won nine for $83,318 and paced 1.53-1 on the half mile Yonkers Raceway. Barnes has been involved in harness racing for over 25 years but said nowadays he was happy to leave talented reinsmen sons Hayden and Brendan doing the bulk of the stable driving. “At the moment Hayden gets most of the drives, but if he’s unavailable Brendan, who is with Jack Butler at Logan Village, is next, and then it’s me – but only as a last resort,” he said laughing. But Barnes snr is probably playing down his capabilities as over the years he’s landed more than a few long shots, courtesy of some heady drives. “I suppose I learnt a bit when working in the USA and Canada, but I’m more than happy to be on the sidelines cheering for the boys,” he said. The Barnes team, with 17 in work at present, is prepared on a 70-acre property. “It’s a family affair with Cassie, Hayden and myself doing the training part. Cassie’s mum Gayle cleans the boxes, does the waters and all the other jobs that come with having a big team,” Barnes said. While he is excited by the potential of a 2yo Auckland Reactor filly related to smart Victorian based pacer Lochinvar Art (seven wins), and a 3yo, also sired by Auckland Reactor, and related to former top-liner Roman Ruler (14 wins from 34 starts), Barnes has another NZ trip in the pipeline. “Yes, I’m going back as soon as possible to try out a few more—-another one like Lincoln Road would be brilliant!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When it comes to harness racing, Bud Hatfield wouldn't trade the feeling he gets from his horses for the world. In the past several years, the 69-year-old Ohioan has shared in ownership of a number of successful horses, including millionaire Bar Hopping and stakes-winners Wolfgang and You Know You Do. In December, he reached new heights when his Kissin In The Sand was named the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old female pacer. "It just doesn't get any better than this," Hatfield said. "I feel like a kid again." Kissin In The Sand is the first Dan Patch Award winner for Hatfield, who shares ownership of the now 4-year-old mare with Marvin Katz. Kissin In The Sand, trained by Nancy Johansson, won 10 of 15 races last year and never finished worse than second while earning $845,495 in purses. She will be among the honorees at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Award banquet on Feb. 24 in Orlando. Her wins included a memorable performance in the James M. Lynch Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where she was parked out from post nine for nearly the entire mile before passing Youaremycandygirl in deep stretch to win by a neck. Four months later, she nearly duplicated that effort in the Breeders Crown, parked out from post nine at the same track, but finished second. "People couldn't believe she won (the Lynch) and in the Breeders Crown everybody still thought she was the best horse," Hatfield said. "It was just a tough trip out there. Still to hang in there and be second was great. "It was almost like she was the people's horse because when she races she's so gritty. She's just a fun horse to watch." Other victories in 2018 for Kissin In The Sand included the Mistletoe Shalee, the Bluegrass Stakes, a division of the Glen Garnsey Stakes, and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. For her career, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Kiss Me Kate has won 17 of 29 starts and $1.07 million. Kissin In The Sand seen below is the first Dan Patch Award winner for Hatfield "Nancy did such a great job with this horse and they're like bonded," Hatfield said. "She had a lot of confidence in her and it showed up in her 3-year-old year. She came on to be a monster. She didn't put in a bad race. She never really threw in a bad race. She was just as consistent as heck. It's just a great feeling to be part of a horse like that." Hatfield, who owns 20 horses, hopes the feeling continues in 2019 when Kissin In The Sand returns for her 4-year-old campaign. "Hopefully we'll have some fun like last year," Hatfield said. "We've got our fingers crossed. "Marvin is a great person," he added. "I've got such good partners, with all my horses. I used to buy my horses by myself and when it's good it's good but when you hit the bottom it hurts. This levels everything out and you have just as much fun. It's just been a great experience." Hatfield was one of harness racing's top amateur drivers, getting started in the mid-1990s, and a two-time champion on the Billings circuit, where he was known as "Trader Bud" because of his career as a car dealer. He last drove in 2014. "I miss the driving a lot," Hatfield said. "Every time I go to the races I get that lump in my throat. But this (success with the horses as an owner) makes up for it." Hatfield does not rule out a return to the sulky, but is in no rush. In addition to owning horses, he enjoys spending his time with wife Kelli on frequent fishing expeditions. "Right now we're having a lot of fun," Hatfield said. "We fish a lot, every chance we get. We fish and we go watch the horses. It's a good combo. Everything is going good. The horses are exciting. I've had good horses in the past, but not the caliber of horses like I've had the last three or four years. I'm excited as I've ever been. "I'm in a good spot, is what I'm trying to say," he added with a laugh. One he wouldn't trade. Ken Weingartner  

This Friday night sees the running of the $450,000 TABtouch-WA Pacing Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park, the first of seven Grand Circuit Harness races for the calendar year. First run in 1913, where it was taken out by Letty Lind, the state’s premier race became a part of the Grand Circuit in 1977 where it sits alongside races like the Hunter Cup and Inter Dominion. Notable winners of the WA Pacing Cup previously include; Pure Steel (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980), San Simeon (1981), Preux Chevalier (1984), Village Kid (1985, 1986, 1988, 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002, 2004, 2005), Im Themightyquinn (2011, 2012, 2013) and My Hard Copy (2015, 2016). Friday night will mark the 90th time the WA Pacing Cup has been run at Gloucester Park, after the first 16 editions of the race were run at the WACA Ground. Soho Tribeca took out last year’s WA Pacing Cup for reinsman Kim Prentice and trainer Bryan Cousins. Soho Tribeca’s win in last year’s Pacing Cup broke a run of seven straight wins in the race for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. Hall Snr has been the dominant figure in the WA Pacing Cup over the past two decades, winning 11 of the past 17 editions of the race. This year, his sole runner in the race is Runrunjimmydunn, to be driven by Clinton Hall, a winner of three Pacing Cups himself. Gary Hall Jnr has been a big beneficiary of his father’s dominance in the race, winning it on seven occasions. As he did in the Fremantle Cup last week, Hall Jnr has elected to team up with the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln in this week’s feature. My Field Marshal is once again the favourite to take out the WA Pacing Cup, as he was in the Village Kid Pace and Fremantle Cup. The last horse to win the Village Kid, Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the one year was The Falcon Strike in season 2003/2004. Chicago Bull was the most recent horse to claim the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the one season, one of eight times since 1988 a pacer has achieved that feat. Maczaffair, the sole mare in this week’s WA Pacing Cup, will be looking to become 20th mare to win the race and the first since 1972. The TABtouch-WA Pacing Cup gets underway at 7.55 on Friday night.   Tim Walker

Apart from the breeders of the handful of multiple WA Pacing Cup winners only one breeder has managed to breed two winners of a WA Pacing Cup. Western Australian breeder Norm Duncan had a stud farm in Mills Road, Gosnells and while he stood a stallion or two he was basically a hobby breeder and owner. Duncan’s two Pacing Cup winners were Dark David in 1947 and David’s Reward in 1955 and were two of nine individual WA Cup starters that Norm Duncan bred. Those nine horses had a total of 18 starts in a WA Pacing Cup. Some idea of the enormity of Duncan’s WA Pacing Cup record as a breeder can be gauged from the fact that only J P Stratton comes close with eight individual Cup starters as a breeder with those horses having a total of 15 starts in the race. Stratton bred the winners of 1034 races in Western Australia of which just under half (503). were in the city. Norm Duncan bred the winners of 309 races in this State of which 205 (67%) were in the city. Modern day breeding legend Mick Lombardo is third on the list of breeders of WA Pacing Cup starters with seven individual starters of 13 starts courtesy of his Lombo Standardbreds breeding operation. Mr Lombardo was involved with two other Pacing Cup starters through other breeding entities. Norm Duncan was also prominent as an owner of WA Pacing Cup runners with 9 individual starters which had a total of 19 starts in the race between 1941 and 1960. While Duncan was the sole owner of his 19 starters in the race, modern day owner Beth Richardson heads the list with a share in the ownership of 20 Pacing Cup starters through 11 individual horses. The record for most individual starters in a WA Pacing Cup for an owner is held by Hall Of Fame trainer Cliff Clarke who owned 13 individual Pacing Cup runners which had a total of 17 starts in the race. Hall of Fame nominee Jim Hand had 12 individual starters in WA’s premier harness race and those horses amassed 15 starts in the race. Both of the WA Pacing Cup winners bred by Norm Duncan were sons of the stallion Storm Cloud which had been bred in Tasmania by Edgar Tatlow in 1930 and imported to WA in late 1934 by Jack Hallam. Storm Cloud had been through several owners and trainers winning 10 races in Perth before being purchased by Norm Duncan in 1939 and entering the stables of Arthur Hough. Storm Cloud was to mix racing and stud duties for a further five years winning a further 10 races including a heat of the 1941 WA Pacing Cup and the 1944 Stratton Cup at the age of 14 years. Storm Cloud sired a total of 33 individual winners in WA of which 20 were bred by Norm Duncan and six of his 33 winners started in a WA Pacing Cup. In addition to his two winners for Norm Duncan he also sired Huon Cloud which was runner-up in the 1943 WA Pacing Cup. Eleven of the 12 starters in the 2019 WA Pacing Cup are New Zealand bred with only Vultan Tin representing Australian (and West Australian) breeders. Starter Breeder Year    Sire Dam El Jacko NZ Kahukuri Bloodstock Ltd 2012  g Elsu NZ Exposay NZ Galactic Star NZ P T Cummings, D J Cummings, J M Davie 2012  g Bettors Delight USA Petras Star NZ Im Full Of Excuses NZ O Haines, I K Haines 2011 g Jeremes Jet USA Minnie Me NZ Maczaffair NZ Alabar (NZ) Ltd 2013 f Mach Three CA Presidential Affair NZ My Field Marshal NZ S A Brown, S B Brown 2011 c Art Major USA Foreal NZ Our Jimmy Johnstone NZ J K McRae 2008 g P Forty Seven USA Sammi Franco NZ Our Max Phactor NZ Breckon Bloodstock Limited 2012 g Art Major USA Tact Philly NZ Rocknroll Lincoln NZ Lincoln Farms Ltd 2013 c Rocknroll Hanover USA Preside Over NZ Runrunjimmydunn NZ J P Green, B Hughes, P G Hughes 2013 g American Ideal USA Delightful Paula NZ Saying Grace NZ The Daily Grind Syndicate 2013 g American Ideal USA Move Heaven Andearth NZ Vampiro NZ L W Ridge, M E Slagter 2013 g Rocknroll Hanover USA Fortune Lover NZ Vultan Tin P J Costello, D A Costello 2011 g Dawn Ofa New Day USA Ellevarrac     Alan Parker

The Australian debut of New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer could hardly be going better. Now all the five-year-old has to do is win Saturday's A$110,000 Ballarat Cup. The Canterbury pacer went missing in action after winning the New Zealand Cup, with his champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen giving him an easy time and dodging the Auckland Cup before he returned with a luckless run at Cambridge last Friday. But while he couldn't get into the Flying Mile there because of a bad draw his luck looks to be turning around as he aims at his next target. Not only has Australia's best pacer Tiger Tara been a surprise withdrawal from the Ballarat Cup but the field has fallen away in general, with Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal in Perth for the West Australian Cup and Kiwi pacer Pat's Delight's trainer Cran Dalgety deciding to miss Saturday's race. So Thefixer and stablemate Cruz Bromac dominated the market for the Ballarat feature before yesterday's draw and Thefixer was elevated to clear favouritism after drawing barrier three. While he isn't known for having the gate speed that will ensure his draw sees him stroll to the lead, Thefixer should settle handy and Purdon wouldn't be surprised if he does use his draw to reach the top. "He has natural speed and while he hasn't been asked to run off the gate in the past I am sure he will have early speed if we ask him," he suggests. So with the high class withdrawals and his seemingly perfect draw Thefixer opened clear favourite with the Australian TAB and could continue to shorten as punters there love a well-drawn favourite. Cruz Bromac probably has the greater gate speed of the pair but has drawn wide at barrier six and early tactics will be crucial. He hasn't raced since his brave third in the Inter Dominion Final on December 15 but was impressive at the Melton trials last week. The pair's stablemate Spankem will be kept to an easier grade on Saturday night as he prepares for his clash with Pat's Delight in the Bonanza at Melton next week, a four-year-old race that would qualify the winner for the Chariots of Fire in Sydney. New Zealand will also have reps in heats of the Victoria Derby with Another Masterpiece one of the favourites for a very deep Derby series while Supreme Dominator has also been sent across by trainer Barry Purdon and remarkably both have drawn barrier one in their heats. Steven Reid is set to take his stable stars Star Galleria and Utmost Delight this week while Nicky Chilcott has Juice Brogden entered in an intermediate grade pacer at Melton on Friday night. Star trotters Marcoola, Speeding Spur and Amaretto Sun will join the Kiwi team in Victoria from this weekend.   Michael Guerin

Dover, DE - On Friday, January 11 The Delaware Standardbred Owners Association (DSOA) held their 22nd Annual Harness Racing Awards Dinner.   On this evening the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund Champions were also honored, along with some other awards deserving recognition. The awards were emceed by Heather Vitale and Bill Ellis. In the beginning of the evening, a special tribute video was also played to honor the memory of Hall of Famer and Dover Downs Publicity Director Marv Bachrad, who recently passed away. A highlights video from the DSOA-produced Post Time Show, which airs on the local CBS affiliate, was also shown before the awards were given out. There were seven DSOA scholarships awarded totaling $7,000 dollars. The winners of those scholarships were Lena Berry, Sydney Botsch, Amanda Bowman, Camryn Dennis, Brendan Gray, Alleigh Townsend and Riley Wolfenden. Several legislators came out to celebrate our Standardbred industry's stars on this evening including: Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor. Bethany Hall-Long, Senator Trey Paradee, Senator Dave Wilson, Representative Gerald Brady, Representative Ruth Briggs-King, Rep Ron Gray, Representative John Kowalko, Representative Shannon Morris, Representative Charles Postles, Representative Mike Ramone, Rep Lyndon Yearick and retired Senator Nancy Cook. The DSOA Directors are President Andy Markano, 1st Vice President Brenda Bramble, 2nd Vice President George Dennis, Treasurer Frank Deliberti, Secretary Frannie West, Richard Ashley, Jim King Jr., Vic Kirby, Charles Marsh, George Teague Jr., Valerie Warnick & Ross Wolfenden. Also in attendance were representatives of the Delaware Harness Racing Commission and Delaware Department of Agriculture including: Chairwoman Beth Ann Steele, Commissioner George Statts, Commissioner Pat Wagner, Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger and Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse. The following is a list of award winners from the evening: HARRINGTON RACEWAY AWARDS Claimer of the Meet at Harrington Raceway -AUNT BETTY Owner: Ron Davis - Trainer: Brooks Gray Trotter of the Meet at Harrington Raceway - MURMUR HANOVER Owner: Zippett Racing Stable - Trainer: Jay Gannon Pacer of the Meet at Harrington Raceway - FOOLISH HEART Owner: Tom Lazzaro & Brit Evans - Trainer: Dylan Davis DOVER DOWNS AWARDS Claimer of the Meet at Dover Downs - MISTER VIRGIN Owner: Ron Davis - Trainer: Brooks Gray Trotter of the Meet at Dover Downs - THERESADEMONINME Owner: Michael Casalino & Dylan Davis - Trainer: Dylan Davis Pacer of the Meet at Dover Downs - BODEGA BAY Owner & Trainer: Gary Ewing Special Recognition Award- LATHER UP The Delaware-owned and trained three-year-old pacer had and incredible year including a win in the North America Cup. Owned by Gary & Barbara Isles - Trained by Clyde Francis Driven by Montrell Teague Special Recognition Award - SHARTIN N The Dan Patch Award winner, became the first pacing mare in history to win a million dollars and is First State trained and co-owned. Owned by Rich Poillucci & Jo Ann Looney-King - Trained by Jim King Jr. Driven by Tim Tetrick President's Special Appreciation Award - DE SEC. OF FINANCE RICK GEISENBERGER The Delaware Secretary of Finance is a huge supporter of the business and an important part of our Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund program. James T. Case Jr. Horizon Award - JOE COLUMBO The award is presented to a young horseperson who is a rising star on our Delaware circuit. The Delaware Standardbred Breeeders Fund Awards were also given out on this evening. The list of winners are as follows: Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter - DISCO SOLIEL Breeder & Owner: Rod Allen Trainer: Rod Allen & Carlo Poliseno Driver: Rod Allen Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer - THE LADY SHERIFF Breeder: George Teague Jr. & K&R Racing Owner: George Teague Jr., K&R Racing & Montrell Teague Trainer: Clyde Francis Driver: Montrell Teague Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trotter - EMBRACE THE GRIND Breeder: Leigh & Tyler Raymer Owner & Trainer: Bobby Glassmeyer Driver: Jon Roberts Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer - CHILLAXIN AWAY Breeder & Owner: Jo Ann Looney-King Trainer: Jim King Jr. Driver: Vic Kirby & Tim Tetrick Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter - STAR SAPPHIRE Breeder Serendipity Stable Owner: Shirley Shand Trainer: Tui Stone Driver: Russell Foster Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer - GO SANDY GO Breeder: Brent Outten & Green Racing Owner: Richard Lombardo, Brent Outten & Green Racing Trainer: Josh Green Driver: Jason Green Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter - SUPER FLY Breeder: Marvin & David Meyer Owner: Stacy Johnson-Stafford, Leigh Raymer & StephenMoss Trainer & Driver: Art Stafford Jr. Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer - SLICK TONY Breeder, Owner & Trainer: George Leager Driver: Russell Foster Pacing Broodmare Of The Year - QUEEN KATHY Owner: George Leager Dam of DSBF Champ Slick Tony Trotting Broodmare Of The Year - MLT FEDS Owner: Ronald Whitehouse Dam of Super Fly & Spunky MLT Delaware Standardbred Owners Association.

In recent years the Australian export market has become a vital component of the New Zealand Standardbred industry, providing harness racing owners here with a chance to on-sell all grades of horses and to keep their finances in good shape. Good horses like Cardigan Bay, Stella Frost, Young Quinn and Robin Dundee lead the way in promoting the southern part of the South Island and over the years, thousands of horses have left the area to race in Australia. Some are purchased at the yearling sales but the majority are purchased in Southland by agents or privately through the trainers. In recent times the Southern Bred Southern Reared flag has been flown by horses like Themightyquinn, Smiling Shard, Field Marshal, Arden Rooney, Highview Tommy, Iraklis, Chicago Bull, Sokyola, Holmes D G, Washakie and Beaudiene Boaz all of whom won major races in both New Zealand or Australia, each winning over $1,000,000.00 in stakes. Records show that Themightyquinn was Australia’s leading stake earner in 2011 ($619,360), 2012 ($1,250,060) and 2013 ($941,360). In recent times horses such as Chicago Bull, Beaudiene Boaz and (My) Field Marshal have kept the SBSR name to the fore in Australia. My Field Marshal and another SBSR horse Galactic Star quinellaed last Friday’s Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Horses from the southern region of New Zealand have dominated this race in the last few years with Chicago Bull winning in 2017 and Beaudiene Boaz in 2016. Let’s have a closer look at some the horses flying the SBSR flag in Australia. Chicago Bull has been a real revelation in Western Australia. He was bred by John, Katrina, Roger and Helen Price of Winton and won he two races as a two year old before he headed to Perth and took up residency at Gary Hall Senior’s stable. His size put a few buyers off but not Hall, who’s judgement that size doesn’t matter is proving to be a big windfall. He won thirteen of his first sixteen starts there and has started in twenty seven Group races in his sixty one start racing career. In total he has won $1,820,709, his biggest wins being the Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup and the $450,000 West Australia Cup, within seven days of each other. Having won a total of three Group One races, he’s never finished further back than fourth in his 54 starts in Australia. The Bettor’s Delight six year old has a best mile time of 1-51.6 and no doubt there’s more to come. Chicago Bull’s impressive lifetime record is: 61-40-8-8 $1,820,709 Chicago Bull (My) Field Marshal is another Southern Bred Southern Reared racehorse flying the flag at the highest level in Australia. He was bred by Syd and Shona Brown of Mosgiel. By Art Major out the eighteen win Washington VC mare Foreal he’s also tasted Group One success in Australia winning the 2005 NSW Oaks and the Ladyship Mile, both at Harold Park. Field Marshal’s biggest win came in last season’s $750,000 Miracle Mile which he won in 1-46.9. This was the seventh fastest mile time in the world at that time and Field Marshal is still the fastest pacer in Australasia. In New Zealand he also won the 2016 Four Year Old Emerald worth $150,000, the New Zealand Messenger Championship ($100,000), The Taylor Mile in 2016 and the Superstar Championship. He continues to race well in well in Australia, recently winning the $300,000 Group One Fremantle Cup in Perth. Lifetime record for Field Marshal is: 61-26-15-6 $1,324,712 (15th January 2019) (My) Field Marshal Galactic Star was bred by Peter and Dan Cummings and their sister Julie Davie. By Bettor’s Delight out of their Christian Cullen mare Petra’s Star, he was purchased by Browns trainer Des Baynes for the Test Syndicate for $16,000. He raced in the south for one season as a three year old winning four of his thirteen starts. He was then sold and exported to Australia where he’s won another twenty races including a heat of the Interdominions at Gloucester Park last season. He’s won or has been placed in a number of Group races and his career earnings are $385,235.  He’s recorded a best lifetime mile rate of 1-52.0. He recently competed in the Interdominion Championships and finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in his three heats before running 6th in the Grand Final. He has now won 25 races and banked $465,335 (15th January 2019). Galactic Star Bred by the late Bessie Dynes, Tact Tate had one season of racing in the south for Winton trainer Trevor Procter before heading across the ditch. He’s won twelve races in Australia including the $100,000 Group One Bohemia Crystal FFA at Menangle, the Group Two Treuer Memorial at Bankstown and the $100,000 Group One Four Year Old Bonanza at Melton. The seven year old by McArdle has won $348,138. He has high speed, and given the right run there could be more big races in this gelding. His lifetime record is: 46-15-3-5 $348,138. Tact Tate Aged gelding Maximan is a very good example of how SRSB stock have plenty of longevity. The Armbro Operative gelding was bred by Ian Bennett who raced him out of Craig Laurenson’s Edendale stable. From fourteen starts he won three races for Laurenson and was placed second five times before he was sold and transferred to Jim Curtin’s stable. He won the 2013 Westport Cup and two more wins earned him the West Coast $5,000 bonus. He was sold to Australia and this ninety start veteran has now collectively won twenty three races, paced a mile in 1-51.4, and banked $324,909. Maximan Back on this side of the Tasman the Southern Bred Southern Reared brand has also been winning races. The Tuapeka Lodge bred Bonnie Joan has kept the Cummings breed to the fore. She’s won ten races in a relatively light career; seven as a three year old, including the Southland Oaks. She ran second in both the Nevele R Fillies Final and New Zealand Oaks, both Group One races. Last season as a four year old she won the North Island Breeders Stakes and Premier Mares Championship. Bonnie Joan The emergence of quality filly Mossdale Art also highlights a breed that Northern Southland breeder Neil Timms developed and raced over the years. This side of the family continues to bring success to Cromwell breeder Archie Affleck who races Mossdale Art.  Mossdale Art won her last two starts and has cleared maiden company by running 1609 metres in 1-52.5 at Winton. Mossdale Art It’s clear there are plenty of flag flyers on both side of the Tasman keeping the Southern Bred Southern Reared brand in front of potential buyers and I suspect there are plenty more green and black flags to be hoisted yet. Bruce Stewart

MINISTER for Racing Paul Toole in conjunction with Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rod Smith today announced that the new Riverina Paceway Wagga will host four Group 1 races in the coming season. The announcement of four $100,000 races, to be conducted under Heats and Finals during a Carnival, will be a major boost to owners and breeders in NSW with the yearling sales in March. "This latest announcement will give participants and potential owners confidence to purchase at the upcoming yearling sales knowing that there is higher prizemoney available for eligible four and five-year-old pacers," Mr Smith said. "This adds to the opportunity for participants to race in $100,000 events for two and three-year-old horses at the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival. "There will be separate divisions for four-year-old mares, five-year-old mares, four-year-old stallions and geldings and five-year-old stallions and geldings which are eligible for the NSW Breeders Challenge and/or horses sustained for the Bathurst Gold Crown. "This initiative adds to the support given to the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival where there are now $100,000 Finals for both sexes in the two-year-old and three-year-old divisions." Mr Toole said a new racing carnival run each April at the state-of-the-art facility in Wagga with four Group 1 races demonstrates the progressive planning of the Board and management of HRNSW. "This wonderful new track combined with the launch of Group 1 racing will prove to be a real game-changer for harness racing in the Riverina," Mr Toole said. "I congratulate Harness Racing NSW on developing this bold new state-wide vision which will ensure the sport keeps growing across the regions." Mr Toole said not only will the new track and Group 1 racing will lift the profile of harness racing in the Riverina and give local breeders more opportunities to showcase their fine horses. "It will also encourage more young people to take up the sport, progressing from mini trots which are very popular in the region," he said. "A modern, comfortable public building will help boost public attendances while spacious race stalls will be welcomed by participants." This latest announcement formed part of the sustainable future developed by the Board for the NSW harness racing industry according to Mr Smith. "Along with my fellow Board Members it is extremely pleasing that we are able to announce yet another strategic initiative for the NSW harness racing industry," he said. "The Board has a long held infrastructure strategy which is demonstrated by this magnificent facility here in Wagga. The Board has also developed sustainable growth in prizemoney across all levels which commenced with the grassroots increases announced last year. "It will also benefit owner/breeders especially those who aim towards racing more mature horses. "In regional NSW we will now provide Group 1 racing for two, three, four, five-year-old and older horses at tracks in Wagga, Bathurst and Newcastle which will complement the racing at Menangle Park. "The racing industry is benefitting from the Liberal/National State Government through Tax Parity and the Point of Consumption Tax which we in harness racing greatly appreciate as it will assist in building a stronger code here in NSW. "On behalf of the industry, I thank Minister Paul Toole for his continued support." Riverina Paceway Wagga will officially open on Sunday March 10 whilst the inaugural Four-Year-Old and Five-Year-Old Championships will be held as a Carnival in April 2020.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

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