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The holy grail of harness racing in Australasia has always been the Inter Dominion series until some brightspark changed the format three years ago and shifted the date. What we have been left with since then is a series that is a shadow of what it use to be and due to its timing it is devoid of most of the major players on the Grand Circuit in Australasia. The outstanding Beautide is back to defend his title against a field severely weakened by withdrawals or no shows. Still Beautide can only beat what is placed in front of him and barring accidents that is exactly what he will do tomorrow afternoon. So here is our runner by runner preview of the Inter-Dominion Grand Final. 1) Lennytheshark - Starts 33 - Wins 16 - Seconds 10 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $468,,550 A genuine Grand Circuit horse who has come back at five in great touch. From the draw he can make his own luck but hard to see how going to war with Beautide will help his winning chances. Second looks his for the taking from the draw but not if he gets sucked into a arm wrestle with Beautide. The likely winner if anything goes wrong with the hot favourite so include in all bets. 2) Blazin N Cullen - Starts - 55 - Wins 15 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 7  -  Stakes $199,672 Surprisingly given a wildcard even though he only ran fourth in the weakest heat in the series. Did run second in the Gold Coast Cup and fourth in the Queensland Pacing Championship but both fields only had two genuine Grand Circuit horses involved in For A Reason and Avonnova so hard to give those results any weight in our view. Too many here going better so not for us 3) Flaming Flutter - Starts - 47 - Wins 16 - Seconds 10 - Thirds 8  -  Stakes $267, 395 In our view Flaming Flutter is in career best form and has run some great races this campaign. Has been racing regularly since August but he seems to be thriving on the long campaign. Really good sixth in the Hunter Cup followed by second in his heat to Lennytheshark shows us that Flaming Flutter from his handy draw is ready to run the race of his life tomorrow. A definite trifecta and first four player for us. 4) Ultimate Art - Starts 44 - Wins 19 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $305,753 Won the supplementary heat which was the weakest heat in our view and only after getting every possible advantage during the running. He is very honest but too many here have the class edge in our view. Not for us 5) Beautide -  Starts 71 - Wins 43 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $1,562, 212 Just a class above this field. When right he only has two challengers on the Grand Circuit in Christen Me and Adore Me and with neither of them here this is his for the taking. Had a few issues leading into the Victoria Cup but heat win showed he was back to his best when he absolutely bolted in. Barring accidents Beautide just wins. 6) I'm Corzin Terror - Starts 66 - Wins 18 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $329,982 Ran tough third in the Melton heat but  still hasn't convinced us that he is a player here That was the first show of form for a few runs after a poor tenth in the Victoria Cup and an ok seventh in the Hunter Cup. Gavin Lang is a notable help in the bike but still only an outside first four chance for us. 7) Monifieth - Starts 59 - Wins 17 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 7  -  Stakes $249,363 Ran a good third to Beautide in his heat but was a fair way from the first two. Very competitive at the level just below the Grand Circuit but a few here would seem to have his measure in our view. Even though he is as honest as they come, we struggle to see him being a player in the final. Not for us. 8) Majestic Mach - Starts 49 - Wins 32 - Seconds 6 - Thirds 5  -  Stakes $731, 354 Former outstanding two and three year old who has found the transition to the Grand Circuit a lot harder. Did go really well in his heat in Brisbane but we are convinced the reason for that was the manner in which he was driven. For once he was driven with a sit and as a result he rounded the race off really well. This track suits that style of racing but not convinced that is how he will be driven. Driven cold Majestic Mach is an outside trifecta and first four player 9) Terror To Love - Starts 73 - Wins 31 - Seconds 16 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $2,353,353 The enigma of the field in every sense. If the real Terror To Love fronted tomorrow then Beautide would have some serious competition. But he has a terrible record at Menangle for a horse of his ability and to make matters worse he appears to be several lengths off his best at the moment. A career worst run in the Hunter Cup followed by a battling third in his heat against horses he would normally beat easily tells us that he will struggle tomorrow. Not for us. 10) David Hercules - Starts 99 - Wins 37 - Seconds 17 - Thirds 15  -  Stakes $1,189,419 Old warhorse from the west who has had a new lease of life this season now I'm Themightyquinn is not around in Perth. Sound sixth in the Victoria Cup in his only start in the east this season although he did race three back on the inner the whole trip. Draw makes it really tough for him but has more ability than quite a few here. Track will suit but needs to be driven cold in our opinion to come into play for trifecta and first four players at big odds. 11) For A Reason - Starts 50 - Wins 27 - Seconds 9 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $1,046,240 One of only two horses in this field that we think could possibly trouble Beautide if the favourite was to strike big trouble during the running. He is a proven Grand Circuit performer and followed an unlucky seventh in the Victoria Cup with a good second to Beautide in his heat. Was clear of the rest of the chasing pack that night and from one on the second line he should get a very economical run on Lennytheshark's back. Goes his best races with one run at them and drawn to get just that run. Major player for quinella, trifecta and first four takers. 12) Easy On The Eye - Starts 58 - Wins 17 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 10  -  Stakes $433,250 Only run of any note for us in this campaign was his good run for third in the Hunter Cup over 3280 metres so distance shouldn't be a worry you would think. However did get a beautiful run that night three pegs and draw here makes his task a huge one In New Zealand he had a reputation as a sprinter and was favoured over trips a lot shorter  than tomorrows. Run over in his heat over 2400 metres and that confirmed to us that he will struggle to be a major player here. Not for us. 13) Avonnova - Starts 121 - Wins 41 - Seconds 23 - Thirds 12  -  Stakes $588,569 Very under rated horse who has hardly put a foot wrong all season except when Shane Graham  had a brain fart in the Miracle Mile and went crazy early. Second line draw means he can stay out of the early speed duels for once and that gives him a place chance in our view. Tough as teak and track and distance will suit down to the ground. Trifecta and first four player for us. 14) Teo Enteo - Starts 62 - Wins 18 - Seconds 14 - Thirds 7  -  Stakes $217,827 Has had just a passable season at best and just battled into fourth in his heat. Stronger field and poor draw makes this mission impossible for him. Best we can see him finishing is midfield so not for us. 15) Franco Ledger (1st Emerg) - Starts 74 - Wins 22 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $546,553 A combination of events led to him not getting one of the wildcard entries and it was nothing to do with the racing performances of Franco Ledger. It is a real shame because the track is perfect for his style of racing and he would have been a big trifecta and first four player in our opinion. If he somehow makes it into the race through a late scratching, then you need to include him in all your multis. 16) Wartime Sweetheart - Starts 135 - Wins 21 - Seconds 17 - Thirds 14  -  Stakes $268,376 Really hard to see her being competitive even if she did make it back into the field. Operates well at the level beneath the Grand Circuit but this is a bit rich for her. Not for us. SELECTIONS  Barring accidents Beautide appears to have a mortgage on the race. He made a real statement in his heat and looks yards better than the rest. Second is a toss up between Lennytheshark and For A Reason and we couldn't separate them. After that it gets real interesting and for trifectas and first fours we would include Flaming Flutter, David Hercules and Avonnova. For those wanting a wider coverage add in Im Corzin Terror and Majestic Mach. Harnesslink Media

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands offered twin $30,000 Open harness racing features on a brisk late February Friday night.   Odds On Amethyst took the top class trot for the second time this season with a start to finish romp in 1:52 for Brett Miller. Miller set his charge away sharply from post eight and crossed over instantly. Odds On Amethyst set honest fractions, fought off a legitimate bid from Melady's Monet through a grueling 27.3 third panel then held sway for the win. B Yoyo sat a tight pocket throughout, menaced the winner late and held well for the place with DW's NY Yank surviving an adventurous trip from the far outside to be third in his first seasonal start. The winner returned $9.20 and the exacta a healthy $122.60. Jimmy Takter trains for Diamond Creek Racing.   The Open Mare Pace went to Inittowinafortune and Corey Callahan in an identical time of 1:52. Callahan fashioned an ideal second-over trip then rallied the mare late from just off the pace to track down Radar Contact after a stretch-long battle and prevail in a photo. Inittowinafortune returned $18.40 while winning her third straight for owner Mike Pagonas and trainer Mike Russo. It was Callahan's third winner of the night.   In wagering news, the Hi 5 Jackpot carried over in the fifth race at $37,167 and the last race Jackpot eclipsed $142,000 going into tomorrow night's program.   The Saturday card features three Winter Series finals among the thirteen races. Post time is 7:15 pm.   From The Meadowlands Media Relations Department  

Name the first A Rocknroll Dance foal born at Diamond Creek Farm and win $10,000 in yearling credits! Diamond Creek’s first A Rocknroll Dance foal, a filly out of Whetstone Hanover, arrived amid excitement and anticipation on Wednesday. She’s nameless, and soon to be famous.   Contestants can submit their name suggestions from now until March 14th. Adam Bowden, Owner of Diamond Creek Farm, will choose his 3 favorite names, and on Monday, March 16th, voting will open. All are welcome to submit their suggestions, and all will be welcome to vote on their favorite. The name with the most votes on March 20th at 5pm wins!  “We’re hoping to put a spotlight on A Rocknroll Dance and his potential as a stallion, but I’m really looking forward to meeting the winner and seeing their excitement at having an extra $10 grand to spend at the sale,” says Bowden. To enter, go to www.diamondcreekfarm.com/contest and type in your suggestion. You can also submit your name by commenting or messaging Diamond Creek on Facebook, DiamondCreekFarmLLC, or Twitter, @DiamondCreekKY, but contestants are cautioned: leave your contact info in case you win! Rules: All names must be submitted by 11:59pm on March 14th, and voting closes at 5pm on March 20th. Names must be USTA eligible, 18 characters or less, and not currently in use. You can check if your name is taken at http://pathway.ustrotting.com/search/. Multiple submissions of the same name will be credited to the first person to submit the name. Diamond Creek will try to let contestants know if their name was already submitted, but cannot guarantee all duplicates will be caught. The best thing to do is submit more than one name, and submit early! From Diamond Creek Farm

All week the harness racing pundits previewing the Great Northern Oaks had predicted that Classical Art from barrier one would lead and control the race with the favourite The Orange Agent unlikely to get the lead off her. No one obviously told Maurice McKendry on The Orange Agent because he did exactly what everyone said couldn't be done. Maurice worked her forward from barrier four and grabbed the lead from Classical Art inside the first 200 metres and that effectively was race over. Allowed to get away with a couple of easier mid race sections, Maurice applied the pressure from a fair way out and then blew them away with a last half in 55.1 and quarter in 27.4 to cruise home home by five lengths in a new New Zealand record of 3:18.8 for the 2700 metres mobile. When talking to Harnesslink during the week, Maurice said contrary to what a lot of people thought, The Orange Agent could really leave the gate and he thought he would go forward. The daughter of American Ideal has been a revelation this season with her win tonight her seventh from just nine starts with her only unplaced run coming in the Sires Stakes Final for fillies on New Years eve when pushed out four wide by Democrat Party with a lap to go. The inexperienced Start Dreaming provided a minor highlight of the race by running home well for second to give American Ideal the quinella with Supersonic Miss holding on for third after sitting parked for the last 1200 metres and Classical Art disappointing in running fourth after having the run of the race. Maurice was pretty philosophical about the win post race. " I got the lead pretty easily really and there was no real pressure so I was pretty confident during the running that she would be tough to beat." " When you run home in front in 55 it makes it pretty hard for those behind you." " She knocked off a bit the last 100 metres when she was out on her own but she won with a bit in hand". " I like winning those Group 1 races because the extra money keeps the bank manager happy," Maurice said with a bit of a chuckle. Maurice thought that The Orange Agent would now head south to Addington. " The plan at the moment is to head south now for the New Zealand Oaks and Nevele R Fillies Final in early May," Maurice said. With a combination of a filly as talented as The Orange Agent and a driver right at the top of his game like Maurice McKendry, then you need to look no further for the favourite for the remaining fillies classics this season. Harnesslink Media  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, February 26, 2015- Dan Dube, Yonkers Raceway's leading harness racing driver thus far in 2015, won his 8,000th career race Thursday night. The milestone victory was a wire-to-wire performance with outsider Clem ($22.60) in the $14,500, eighth-race pace. From post position No. 7, the 6-year-old gelding held sway a half-length in 1:56. Dube, who entered the evening needing a pair of wins for the plateau, immediately halved that number when Upfrontwhosurlady ($16.60)-in her first purse try since mid-September-was a loose cover victress in the $9,000, pacing opener (1:55.4). He then finished second, second, fifth, fifth and fifth in next five drives before earning his required-by-law congratulatory sign. "I don't really look at (the numbers)," the 45-year-old Quebec native said a couple of days ago. "I don't put any pressure on myself. I'm happy the season has gone well so far." Dube, approaching $95 million in career purses, is best known as the primary driver for two Harness Horses of the Year, Gallo Blue Chip (2000) and Rock N Roll Heaven (2010). The Raceway's live season continues Friday and Saturday (post times at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

The Carnival of Cups rolls into Albury on Saturday night and Junee harness racing trainer Trevor White is hoping Hollywood Sign can continue on his winning way in the feature event – the Albury Cup.  Hollywood Sign has been in career best form since resuming, but White admits the gelding will have to keep on improving given the depth of the race. “I’ve been really happy with the way he has been going, but this is going to be his biggest test because it is open class and is over the 2570 metres,” White said. “I’ve won a couple of Wagga Cups, a Temora Cup and a Leeton Cup, but the Albury Cup is a race I haven’t been able to win. “I have gone close a couple of times, so hopefully that changes on Saturday night.” The son of Life Sign has won at Leeton, Temora, Junee and Canberra this preparation and White believes his last spell has been the key to his improvement. “Hollywood Sign has always had his fair share of ability, but he did have a good spell last time and I think that really strengthened him up,” White said. “If he races well on Saturday night then I will target the Wagga Cup and then he will have to travel back to Sydney and have a crack at the metropolitan races. “He has run a couple of good races at Menangle before, but he has just been pipped a couple of times down that long straight.” White will take several team members to the provincial meeting, including three-year-old filly Official Jasper. “Yeah she will go around in the String Of Pearls,” White said. “She is a nice filly, but I thought she may have finished her race off a bit better last week in a heat of the New South Wales Oaks.” “In saying that, it was her first go at Menangle and also her first go at the 2400 metres, so I’m expecting a better run on Saturday night despite the tough draw.” HRNSW Media

TORONTO, February 26 - A few weeks off didn't bother Nippy W Hanover as she was razor-sharp in winning the harness racing $41,200 Miss Vera Bars series final Thursday night at Woodbine. Originally set for two preliminary legs and a final, Mother Nature caused the second-leg of the Miss Vera Bars to be cancelled twice, forcing officials to scrap the second-leg and send the series directly to a final Thursday night. All nine three-year-old pacing fillies that competed in the first leg on February 5 returned for the final. Maplelea, the winner of leg one, took most of the support at the windows and was sent off as the 4/5 favourite. However, she would have to settle for second-best, as Nippy W Hanover got the job done in 1:57.1. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Nippy W Hanover got away in second from her rail starting spot. Down the backstretch, Baillargeon opted to circle around to the lead and never looked back. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:28 with Maplelea first up at her wheel, Nippy W Hanover turned aside the favourite's challenge in the lane and paced home in :29.1 to win by 2 ½ lengths. Wake N Bake closed well to finish third, while Docs Hollywood took fourth. A daughter of American Ideal, Nippy W Hanover is trained by Blair Burgess for owners Karin Olsson Burgess and Mac Nichol. The sophomore pacing filly finished second in the first leg after winning her 2015 debut the week before. The series final victory improves Nippy W Hanover's career record to four wins from 12 starts and earnings exceeding $50,000. A $2 win ticket on Nippy W Hanover returned $6.90. Nippy W Hanover In order to be eligible to the Miss Vera Bars series, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

Lloyd Arnold and Stan Bergstein, two legendary figures in harness racing, have races named in their honor this weekend at Cal Expo. The Lloyd Arnold Pace is set for Saturday night and the Stan Bergstein Trot is the feature on Sunday. Lloyd Arnold was an owner and track operator of the highest caliber. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 83. Originally the owner of Arnold Cattle Co. in Iowa, Mr. Arnold raced hundreds of horses in Illinois and across the Midwest throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. During that era, Mr. Arnold raced horses like Warm Breeze, who earned more than $250,000 in two seasons of racing in the mid-1970s, and Dancing David, who earned more than $200,000 in the 1960s. Warm Breeze took Mr. Arnold to racings pinnacle for the first time when he set the all-age world record at over this track, then known as Golden Bear Raceway. His top horses in later years included the pacing mare Sanabelle Island, who earned $1.6 million lifetime and won 57 of 110 starts. Also of note was Bagel Beach Boy, who won the 2001 Messenger and Matron stakes. In August 2003, Mr. Arnold bought Chevie Duramax, who then went on to set world records for 2-year-old pacing geldings on both mile and half-mile tracks. The fastest 3-year-old pacer in North America in 2004 belonged to Mr. Arnold as Quik Pulse Mindale won in 1:48 at Balmoral. In addition to being a prominent standardbred owner, Mr. Arnold operated this track during those Golden Bear Raceway years and also bought Los Alamitos in the late 1980s, eventually selling the track to his partner, Ed Allred. Mr. Arnold was inducted into the California Harness Hall of Fame in April of 2008. He also enjoyed personal honors in 2001 when he was feted by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters at their annual awards dinner and received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers' Association. Chris Bardis said, Harness Racing was one of Lloyd's great passions. He accomplished so much for the sport not only in California, but nationwide. He was Mr. Harness Racing. He conducted race meetings at Cal Expo, Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, Pomona, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos. I know of no one else who has had a greater impact on the harness world. Sundays Stan Bergstein Trot is named for the legendary figure in harness racing who passed away in 2011 at the age of 87. Mr. Bergstein was a harness-racing titan who advocated for cooperation between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries to solve the sports' common problems. He stepped down in 2011 after 50 years as the executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, the Standardbred industry's trade association. He was immediately appointed as the organization's first executive emeritus, and continued to advise the association and write guest columns for the Daily Racing Form until the weeks before his death. The only person to ever be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and its Communicators Hall of Fame, Mr. Bergstein worked in a wide variety of roles at racetracks, auction houses, announcer's booths, and racing publications, and he maintained extensive collections of harness-racing books and artwork. He was widely respected not only in the harness industry, but also in the Thoroughbred industry, and he served as a mentor to generations of young racing professionals through a close association with the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, located in Tucson, for the past 40 years. Mr. Bergstein was a forceful proponent of forging closer ties between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries, most notably in tackling medication abuse and problems with drug-testing. In dozens of commentaries, Bergstein maintained that the Standardbred industry's problems were, or would be those of the Thoroughbred industry, and that neglect of a problem in one sport would damage the other. Bergstein borrowed from the Thoroughbred industry early in his career, incorporating claiming races as a racing secretary while working at the Chicago tracks in the 1950's. At the time, the harness racing industry did not run claiming races, and they are now as commonplace in Standardbred racing as they are in Thoroughbred racing Bergstein also spearheaded the creation of Standardbred Investigative Services, a security agency modeled on the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. A native of Illinois, Bergstein attended harness races as a young man and received a journalism degree from Northwestern University. He was the former executive editor of Hoof Beats magazine, and the former vice president of publicity and public relations for the United States Trotting Association. Cal Expo trackman/program director Marty Bridges credits Stan Bergstein with bringing him into harness racing as a profession. After college and two years in the Army, I was employed by the small business association. At night, after work, I was a regular patron at Sportsmans Park and Maywood in Chicago. My supervisor, a former sportswriter for the Chicago Daily News, knew of my interest and called Stan to set up a meeting. Surprisingly, I was to meet him at Du Quoin on Hambletonian Day. Watching Stan call the races from a slightly elevated booth on the infield adjacent to the finish line was thrilling and between races we talked about racing, horses, drivers and trainers. His knowledge of the sport was amazing and I had never met anyone like him, and still havent. He introduced me to John Tinsley, the program director for all the Chicago tracks and John hired me on the spot. Its been a great ride, doing something I love. Gene Vallandingham first met Stan Bergstein in 1959 when he was working for the legendary Joe OBrien. Stan came to Joes farm every spring for the annual Camptown racing weekend, when all of Shafter would be there for a day of racing. Stan was the true voice of harness racing, he was liked by all and I miss him. Chris Schick said, "Stan was foremost a kind and compassionate person. He was a true visionary in the harness racing industry. In 1979 well before simulcasting, he so rightly stated the future of the industry was in how well we brought the product to the public. He was also very vocal of the industry for being reluctant to embrace change. Our industry lost a giant when he passed. Arnold Pace, Sire Stakes, Jackpot 6 spotlighted The $10,000 Lloyd Arnold Free-for-all Pace, a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes and a $48,130 carryover in the Jackpot 6 are among the main attractions Saturday night at Cal Expo. A 14-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Jackpot 6 is one of four wagers on the program that feature a reduced 16% takeout rate. The others are the Hi-5, which like the Jackpot 6 is a 10-cent minimum bet; the 50-cent Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool. Looking at the Arnold Pace, China King is fresh from a 22-1 upset in last weeks Open when he hung a narrow decision on heavily-favored Pancetta in a 1:52 1/5 mile He drew the outside post in the field of seven. A 7-year-old American Ideal gelding who carries the banner of Gary and Jen Sabot with Gene Vallandingham training and Steve Wiseman in the sulky, he went-to-coast to capture the January 17 Open at 19-1, then came back last time to score from a tracking position at another nice price. Taking him are Pointsman, who gives the Vallandingham barn two looks at the outcome; Rusty Skipp and J C Onthebeach for conditioner Ray Burt; Alligator Falls from the Sal Wenceslao shedrow; the Junior Wilkinson-trained A Real Miracle; and Love Live Laugh for trainer Denise Maier. Uringoodhands and Hi Hos Little Rev have dominated the sophomore pacing colts Sire Stakes to this point and get another chance to settle the score on Saturday, while Placer gets top billing in the stakes gathering for the 4-year-old trotters. By Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo Harness                            

David McCarthy does a great job at the All Stars Racing Stables with his previews of all of their runners each weekend and this week is no exception with his preview for the big weekend of harness racing ahead. With the kind permission of the All Stars team we have reprinted the preview below. Auckland - Friday night Race 2 Chase The Dream (8) Natalie Form: Impressive late run to win the Sapling Stakes on debut. Ability not in question. Comment: "First time that way round but he has high speed and he is also pretty tough. The sort of hors e you can use a bit and he will still kick on. Doing well up there too" Race 3 Wanna Play (3) Natalie Form: Broke last week after good racing in south Comment:  "One I am not too confident about. Standing starts are not really her thing and she is not quite as good right-handed. On ability she would win it but I have reservations" Race 4 Arden's Choice (6) Natalie    Form:  Strong second to stablemate at Timaru mile rate1.57 plus and home in fast time. Comment:  "There's not much between our fillies and I don't know a lot about some of the others. outside the two favoured ones. I will go with Dream About Me in spite of the draw but my drive Arden's Choice is up there with her and the run of the race will decide  the best of our pair. They haven't had a lot of practice raceday but should be ready.  Dream About Me (11) Tim Form: Won debut at Timaru. Hard form to fault. Comment: see above Race 6 Change Stride (10) Brent Mangos Form: Consistent form over the summer and again last week. Draw no help. Comment: Yes working ok up there and will go a good race but maybe just a little below our other two at this level. Kept Under Wraps (6) Natalie Form: Eye catching trial and then eye catching first upper last week. Danger here. Comment: "The boys up north are very pleased with him and he will improve a lot with that last run after one trial. He will improve again with this but is competitive.  Follow The Stars (13) Tim Form: Brave in Victoria Derby beaten by the draw. Not a good one here either. Comment: "Doing really well up there and I expect him to win even from that draw with any luck at all" Race 8 Classical Art (1) Natalie Form: Progressed nicely from quiet trial to bold run last week. Poised. Comment: "Nothing will beat her out of the gate but the decisions are not easy after that. If I don't go out of the gate she could end up pulling three back on the fence and that is no way to go about it. Its a question whether I hand up to one of the top ones and risk her tugging in the trail or just try and win it from the front which is  hard to do but she is capable of doing it. The tactics will be interesting but I expect her to lead early at least. Linda Lovegrace (5) Ricky May Form: Missed a race last week but flashed home strongly at Ashburton previously. Comment: "I am not too worried about her missing that race last week. She hasn't missed any work. Also she always seems to go really well when she is freshened. Her best races have sometimes been like that. So she is a contender though not my top one. Supersonic Miss (10) Tim Form: Showed her class as false odds last week. Super on best day. Comment:  "I think she is the best chance of the three actually. From that draw she will be out of the early rush and will have options after that. She thrives on racing and should only  have improved with that race.  She gets top billing. Race 9 Border Control (2) Tim Form: Did some work to lead last week from a handicap and beaten by passing lane. Ran fastest time. Still on up.   Comment: "Another good run from a handicap last week and he can still get better. Each way chance and a good one. Smolda (5) Natalie Form:  Outstanding first up last week from a long handicap and should only be improved Comment: "I think he can win. That is based on his first up run last week  which was great and his work this week has them really happy up north. He has stepped up they feel so he should be competitive in this field. " Menangle - Sunday Afternoon Race 3  Fight For Glory (11) Natalie  Form:  Easy winner of her heat and one of the hardest to beat here. Comment: "She doesn't need bad luck but she doesn't need good luck if you get what I mean. Even from that draw  if she gets a reasonable run she should be very hard to beat. Her heat run was most impressive. She is at the top of her game and I think unless I do something stupid or somebody else does she is the one to beat. Race 4 Adore Me ( 12) Natalie Form: Went 1.51 last week but has a woeful draw. Comment: " Mark was happy to just do the training for the day as I am driving the others and if anything comes up he has the time to deal with it. It is all good news on the training front from Sydney. I don't know about that draw, whether to go straight out of the gate or wait a few seconds and see what happens. There is a bit of speed on the front line so it will be interesting. I notice that while Ruby did it hardly any horses win at Menangle  when parked so we will have to see.  She is the best horse in  the race so unless I stuff it up she should still be the horse to beat. We would decide on an Auckland Cup run after seeing how hard a race she has " Race 5 Hug The Wind (1) Natalie Form: Devastating heat win makes him favourite. Draw might be tricky. Comment: "As I said I would actually have preferred a gate one or two out. You need gatespeed from one and fortunately he has it  What unfolds from there is not so easy to predict.  You run the risk of getting trapped if you hand up to the wrong horses. He is really well and probably the one to beat" Race 6 Isaiah (5) Natalie  Form: Outstanding leadup over a mile last week and improved with that Comment: Well he has stepped up all season really but this will be his biggest test. Sky Major in particular looked very impressive last week and Bling It On is highly rated so from 5 I will just have to see what develops. It was a great leadup last week and he will improve with that so I am very hopeful he can pull it off" Cheviot - Sunday Afternoon Race9 Sophisticated Lady (3) Jim Curtin Emeli Maguire (4) Ricky May Northern Velocity (10) Matt Comment : "Northern Velocity would be the pick of them but she has that woeful draw which will not help.She hopped out of her gear last week but it was just that she lost concentration. She is still a bit  dumb when it comes to racing. The other two are sort of in the same boat. Emeli Maguire might have a break after this. We will see how she goes. She is a lanky filly and has some growing to do. Sophisticated Lady had a run just good enough to qualify at the trials with a race coming up. She might also need a little break after this we will see. Northern Velocity wouldn't want to be giving the other two too much ground turning for home but if all goes well she will be the best of them" Courtesy of All Star Racing Stables - Check Site here                                                                                                                                                                             

Connections of talented pacer Mister Jay Cee are hoping he can change his family’s history in one of harness racing’s premier events. A well-bred gelding, Mister Jay Cee is engaged in Sunday’s Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Despite drawing perfectly in barrier one, Mister Jay Cee is one of the outsiders for trainer Richard Baverstock. By Modert Art, the four-year-old is from Bettor By Far, making Mister Jay Cee a relative to Kept For Pleasure, Its My Pleasure and Nowtizku, which were all unplaced in the Group One. Kept For Pleasure finished sixth in the 2009 edition, followed by Its My Pleasure and Nowitzki, which finished seventh in 2011 and ’14. Thrilled with the draw, Baverstock feels Mister Jay Cee can upset a few of his rivals with the right run. “We are just rapt to make the Final,” Baverstock said. “He’s not quite up to the real top ones, but he goes well enough. “The biggest problem with him is he switches off in his races and drops the bit, which you can’t afford to do against this level. “If the penny drops with him he will be a lot better horse. “The draw has really helped and if he gets a good run along the pegs he may be able to sneak a placing.” PAUL COURTS

Dan Dube is feeling good. As a result, the 45-year-old harness racing driver is doing good as well. Two years removed from back surgery to correct a sciatic nerve issue, Dube is the leading driver this season at Yonkers Raceway and entered Thursday needing only two wins to reach 8,000 for his career. Dube has won 65 races this year, with 64 coming at Yonkers, where he leads the raceway's defending driving champ, Jason Bartlett, by 22 victories. He is winning at a 24.5 percent clip at the Hilltop and is the only Yonkers regular with a win rate of better than 16 percent. He has won $771,770 in purses this year, trailing only Corey Callahan for the most in North America. "You have great drivers at Yonkers, but right now I'm just on a good run," Dube said. "I'm driving for some hot barns and driving good horses helps a lot. "So far this year everything I do seems to be right. Sometimes you can do nothing right, but this year everything is going the right way. That's fun." Dube said his success was "a little bit of both" feeling better physically and getting horse power. The Quebec native decided to have back surgery in January 2013 after winning 206 races the previous year. It was his second-lowest win total in more than two decades. He missed six weeks of action because of the surgery. "Back pain affects everything," Dube said. "It's tough to be focused. You're not comfortable. You can't sit right on the bike because you're in pain. It bothered me for a while, but I was scared of surgery because you never know what can happen. But I'm glad I did it. I'm glad it all went away." Dube received the Rising Star Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association in 1997 and three years later was the regular driver of Horse of the Year Gallo Blue Chip. He also drove 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven. Although he has no Grand Circuit-type horses on his radar now, Dube would welcome the chance to drive in some of harness racing's major stakes. "If somebody asks me to go with a good horse, for sure I'm going to go," said Dube, who among his top lifetime wins counts five Breeders Crowns. "It's fun to win races and it's always fun to win big races. It's a thrill." As he nears 8,000 career victories, Dube also is approaching $100 million in purses. He needs $4.29 million to surpass that plateau. But don't expect the soft-spoken Dube to readily know his stats. "It's good to have 8,000 (wins), but it's just a number," Dube said. "I never look at numbers, but it's good. I just hope to keep doing good." He added about his aversion to interviews, with a laugh, "I try to run away." "Even in French, I'm no good," Dube said. "I'm not a big talker. I like to keep quiet. That's just the way I am." Dube is happy racing at Yonkers, where he drives for a variety of trainers including Jimmy Takter, Scott DiDomenico, Rob Harmon and Rene Allard. "I got some good horses right away and it helps with everything," Dube said. "The trainers and owners have more confidence in you. I got off to a good start and it's kept going so far. Hopefully it keeps going." And everything keeps feeling good. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

The World Driving Championship headed to Penrith tonight for three harness racing heats.  Penrith is a suburb and a major centre in the metropolitan area of Sydney.  Penrith is located 60 kilometres west of Sydney on the banks of the Nepean River.  The Penrith track is 804 metres in circumference.  New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn took a 39 point lead into the night over his nearest rival USA’s Tim Tetrick. Canada’s Jody Jamieson dominated the evening’s proceedings winning two heats but it was his patience that was rewarded in heat seventeen.  Driving the favourite, Strawberry Courage from gate one, he got buried on the marker pegs.  Showing a lot of skill to get away from the inside Jody Jamieson charged home over the top to beat Emerging Art and Finland’s Mika Forss.  Just Pit Boss and Dexter Dunn finished third with Diesel Shannon and Denmark’s Knud Monster fourth. Heat 17 Knud Monster brought up his second win of the Championship when he brought Midnight Lights with a well timed run to win heat eighteen but when Dexter Dunn held onto second placing driving Lombo Final Touch it all but sealed the Championship for New Zealand.  France’s Tony Le Beller weaved through to get third with Flying Crusa while Billion Smiles and Mika Forss finished fourth. Heat 18 Jody Jamieson made it a double when Katsidis charged home late to score a narrow victory in heat nineteen.  Katsidis raced behind the leader for most of the race but when Marquez started to tire, Jamieson was able to extricate away from the marker pegs and build race winning momentum.  Marshal Dale and Tony Le Beller was second.   Norway’s Vidar Hop was third driving Tralee Bromac and Satu for France’s Pierre Vercruysse grabbed fourth. Heat 19 So with one heat remaining in the Championship the point score is as follows   Name Point Score After 19 Heats Dexter Dunn 183 Tony Le Beller 140 Tim Tetrick 137 Mika Forss 135 Jody Jamieson 131 Knud Monster 120 Chris Alford 116 Pierre Vercryusse 112 Vidar Hop 91 Guillermo Adrover 89 Peter McMullen Australia (travelling Reserve) For all of the latest news and replays log onto https://Vimeo.com/channels/wdc15 While Dexter Dunn cannot be beaten in the Championship, four drivers are still in contention for second place.  Tony Le Beller, Tim Tetrick, Mika Forss and Jody Jamieson will battle it out to be the runner up. Australia’s travelling reserve Peter McMullen picked up a drive in a non Championship race at Penrith and went onto win the event. The drivers will spend the next two days resting and enjoying the sights of Sydney before returning to Menangle on Sunday for the final Championship heat.  Sunday’s race will be run at Gr. 2 level. Greg Hayes | Media Coordinator | Harness Racing New South Wales |

We continue our previews of harness racings big day at Menangle Inter Dominion day on Sunday and this time the focus is on the three year olds in the New South Wales Derby.  New South Wales Derby 1) Hug The Wind - Starts 12 - Wins 5 - Seconds 5 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $202,234 One real classy three year old who has the draw to dominate this race. Won his heat from the death seat in what was his first run for seven weeks so natural improvement makes him very hard to beat. Has real gate speed as he showed at Auckland on New Year's eve and the all round game to take advantage of his draw. Natalie is driving in super touch at the moment so this combination looks terribly hard to beat. 2) Kilcullen - Starts 10 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 0  -  Stakes $48,173 Kilcullen has been disappointing in the main when lined up against the better three year olds. Kilcullen was poor in his heat of the Victorian Derby from barrier two and although he death seated for the last round in his Derby heat last Saturday, the first three got away on him the last bit. Doesn't look to get off the gate at all in his races so two draw is not a big positive Not for us. 3) Art Union - Starts 21 - Wins 12 - Seconds 5 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $130,555 Was a touch down on his best in his heat last week in our opinion. At his best he would have won that heat from in front but was under pressure a fair way out. Does have an all round game and great trainer/driver combination in his corner so can turn it around. Hard to see him beating Hug The Wind but big chance to run the quinella and a must have for trifecta and first four takers. 4) Burnaholeinmypocket - Starts 9 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $29,252 (2nd Emerg) He had only had one run this season leading into his heat last Saturday night and he didn't do himself any favours by over racing badly through the first 800 metres. Never left the inner in getting home well for sixth in a fast run last quarter and hard to see how he could improve enough to be a player in this even if he made it back into the field from the ballot. Not for us. 5) Sluggem - Starts 6 - Wins 2 - Seconds 1 - Thirds  -  Stakes $15,898 Very inexperienced horse but does have a big future. Settled last in his heat and made ground stylishly late in the piece. Formerly with the All Star barn in New Zealand and showed plenty of ticker when winning for them at Auckland at Xmas time. Hasn't got the all round game yet to challenge a few here but will be running on. Outside first four player for us. 6) Lets Cut Loose - Starts 11 - Wins 2 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $18,854 He had nine starts in New Zealand before coming to Australia and none of them were in top three year old company which raises questions for us. He had the run of the race last week on Hug The Wind's back but couldn't stay with him in the straight after drawing barrier one which doesn't instill confidence either. Harder draw and field this week in the Derby means we struggle to see him as a major player. Not for us 7) Corporal Luna - Starts 15 - Wins 6 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $34,582 Built up a strong record in Queensland but was only ok in his Derby heat last Saturday night at Menangle. Didn't take advantage of his barrier draw of two and ended up four back on the inner and even though he ran home well in a quick last quarter, he was still a fair way from the winner. Stronger field and worst draw makes it mission impossible in our view. Not for us 8) Sporty Spook - Starts 17 - Wins 9 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $83,050 Showed blinding gate speed to lead from barrier nine last week but did badly check a horse coming across which the driver copped three weeks for. Fought on well when clear so plenty of merit in the run for us. Plenty of gate speed inside him in the Derby so not sure same strategy of burning the gate will work this week. First four chance if driven a bit more conservatively this week in our view. 9) Padrisimo - Starts 10 - Wins 6 - Seconds 2 - Thirds 0  -  Stakes $75,505 High class colt who has not had the ideal preparation for a gruelling 2400 metres. His run in the heats last Saturday night was his first for nine weeks and only his third in eleven months which makes it very hard to see him being a major player here. Should have improved bigtime with the run but too many questions remain in our view. Not for us 10) Ideal For Real - Starts 9 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $52,185 Not the draw his connections would have been hoping for. Does pocess blinding speed if held up for one run as he showed in his Derby heat last Saturday night and in his heat of the Victorian Derby before that. Gavin Lang is just the man to get this American bred colt the run he needs but he is going to need Hug The Wind to have a run from hell to get him home over the top of that horse from barrier nine in our opinion. A winning chance and a must for quinella, trifecta and first four takers.  11) Aztec Bromac - Starts 8 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes If this horse had drawn better he would be a huge trifecta and first four player. Won his Victoria Derby heat beating Ideal For Real before being flattened in the final. Pushed Hug The Wind for a long way in his heat and was well clear of the pack in second. Draw makes it hard but we have a lot of time for this horse. Definite trifecta and first four player even from the draw. 12) Spare Me Days - Starts 14 - Wins 6 - Seconds 0 - Thirds 5  -  Stakes $98,940 (1st Emerg) Picked a bad time in his Derby heat to run off on the last bend costing himself a couple of lengths which cost him his starting spot in the Derby. From the draw and on last weeks run, he would be up against it in our opinion if he did make it back into the field. Has a great overall record but not for us in this field  Selections Hard to go past Hug The Wind in one for us The danger is undoubtedly Ideal For Real This two look a wee bit better than the rest of the field on last weeks runs. The horses to make up the trifectas and first fours are Art Union, Sluggem, Sporty Spook and Aztec Bromac   Harnesslink Media    

Injury has robbed one of harness racing’s premier events - the Great Southern Star - of its French group winner Used To Me. Tthe Anton Golina-trained stallion pulled up lame after impressively winning a trial at Menangle recently. The flashy chestnut stallion distanced his rivals as he carved out the mile trial in a slick 1.57.6, but was sore after the race and his  trainer’s worst fears were realized shortly afterwards. As such, Used To Me will miss the Group One at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 7. “Unfortunately Used To Me has pulled up with a strain to a ligament due to losing a shoe in his most recent trial win at Menangle, and on vet’s  advice, he will have to have 12 weeks to recover,” Golina said. “It's unfortunate as the horse trialled super with reinsman Luke Mcarthy saying he felt great and was just jogging.” Used To Me won several group races in France where he also stood at stud before relocating to Australia last year, where he has been preparing for the Great Southern Star at Golina’s Kemps Creek barn. He also served a small, but select, group of mares, including New Zealand Trotting Oaks winner Commander Jewel  (TR2.00.5. 10 wins, $61,000)  and the good winners I’m Ready Set (TR1.56.6, 10 wins $69,000), Speedy Naomi (TR2.03.9, 15 wins $77,000) and Another Player (TR2.03.9, 9 wins $62,000). Video link  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtshbO4cyI4 HRV Media

Exceptionally-bred filly Makes Every Scents will be out to emulate one of her mother’s feats when she competes at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday. A member of the powerful Belinda McCarthy stable, Makes Every Scents is engaged in the New South Wales Oaks, a feature her dam – Scent – captured in 1997. Prepared by astute horseman Peter Walsh, Scent caused an upset by scoring at 15/1, with Dougals Dream (16/1) and Concorde Lombo, the 6/4 favourite, filling the placings. Like her mum, Makes Every Scents will have to upstage the favourite, Delight Me, with McCarhty's husband, Luke, in the cart. Although successful in her heat last weekend, Makes Every Scents is considered a $12 chance after drawing six. The daughter of Four Starzzz Shark will slot into four with the removal of the emergencies. Also successful in her heat, Delight Me is listed at $2.20 from the pole, with New Zealand raider Fight For Glory the second elect at $2.50. Prepared by champion Kiwi horseman Mark Purdon, Fight For Glory will begin from gate nine. Referring to the Blue Riband as one of the strongest on record, McCarthy is confident Makes Every Scents can join her mother on the honour roll. “We are very happy with her and she is in perfect condition for this,” McCarthy said. “It’s a tremendous Oaks, with so many wonderful fillies engaged. “The draw is a little tricky, but with a touch of luck and the right run she will be right in the finish. “She went well in her heat and her work has been terrific this week.” PAUL COURTS

Story Book extended his winning streak to nine in a row, the harness racing betting favorite left hard from the rail and took the lead in the first turn, Astor driven by Jason Ryan gained the lead at the quarter pole in 29.0 and continued to show the way past the half in 58:2. At the quarter pole BB Smash started his move on the outside, at the top of the lane, he made a bold 3 wide move, Astor still had the lead at the top of the stretch, but when the passing lane opened up, Stalbaum tipped Story Book to the inside and the diminutive son of American Ideal easily withstood the challenge of Astor to prevail by a length in 1:58:4, to give Larry Stalbaum his 2nd win of the afternoon. Also on the afternoon leading dash winning drivers Bruce Aldrich won 3 and Jim Taggart Jr bagged 2 wins by Shawn Wiles

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