Day At The Track
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When it comes to tight track harness racing the Weidemanns take command. The reigning champion at the Royal Queensland Show, Lola Weidemann got off to a flying start to defend her title, winning two of the three Ekka harness racing finals raced so far at this year's show. The other final was won by her niece Stacey Weidemann with all three horses trained by Lola’s sister and Stacey’s aunty, Julie Weidemann. Lola Weidemann won the Friday night Final driving Ghost Gum (Jet Laag – Eagle Street) with the striking 3yo grey pacer finding the lead early to go unheaded over the four laps of the 1609 metre standing start pace. On Saturday Lola and Stacey Weidemann shared the heat wins with Aviators Dream, Mister Armageddon and Mac Sweet winning, then on Saturday night Stacey made it three wins for the day steering Aviators Dream (Mr. Aviator – Milady Bistro) to victory in the Final. On Sunday, the heat wins were shared around a little more evenly between the stables supporting the show. In front of the big weekend crowd Dutch Cream (Steve Burke) won heat one, Blessed Is The Boy (Narissa McMullen) took out heat two and Jacks A Smarty (Stacey Weidemann) won the third heat. Then on Sunday night with the stands around the main arena full to capcity, Lola Weidemann was back in the winner’s circle winning the day's final on last year’s Grand Final winner Lonesome Mach (Mach Three – Little Pheobe). The Weidemann’s are on track to win their fourth Final at the Ekka with two heat winners this afternoon and three runners in tonight’s final. Heat one today went to Emargee (Ricky Gordon). Heat two was won by Mister Armageddon (Lola Weidemann) and the third heat went to Mac Sweet (Lola Weidemann). Harness Racing continues all week at the Ekka with the $10,000 Garrard's - Big Dog Grand Final raced on Sunday. David Aldred

If breeding is any criterion, four-year-old harness racing gelding Soho Wonder should send punters home in good spirits by winning the final event, the 2100m Retravision Pathway Pace, at Bunbury on Friday night. A newcomer to the Waroona stables of Bob Mellsop, the WA-bred Soho Wonder will be making his debut in this State after having 45 starts in Victoria and two in Tasmania for six wins and ten placings. He is an accomplished frontrunner and is perfectly drawn at No. 1. He was a winner three starts ago when he began from the back line before dashing forward in the first circuit to set the pace and score by more than two lengths from Terra Beau over 2080m at Cranbourne. None of Soho Wonder's nine rivals can boast such a significant pedigree. By the American stallion Jet Laag, his dam is the Troublemaker mare Lombo Silhouette, who raced 58 times for nine wins, 21 placings and $92,528 in prizemoney. Soho Wonder is closely related to former star pacers Misty Maiden (37 starts for 12 wins, 11 placings and $245,449), Lombo Skyrider (321 starts for 63 wins, 84 placings and $841,611) and Lombo Pocket Watch (83 starts for 45 wins, 17 placings and $1,522,638). Soho Wonder's most serious rival appears to be six-year-old Itz Darknstormy, who has been unplaced at his four starts after resuming from a brief spell. He is a smart frontrunner and should be prominent from barrier two on the front line. Itz Darknstormy is one of three runners in the race who are prepared by John Graham, the others being Estilo and Gunner Bromac. Tom Buchanan had the choice of those three runners and he opted for Itz Darknstormy. Graham has engaged Micheal Ferguson for Estilo and Justin Prentice for Gunner Bromac, a six-year-old who will be making his first appearance since he broke down in a race at Collie early in March 2014. Ken Casellas  

Emotions were running high following Classic Jet’s drought breaking victory at Stawell yesterday. Absent from the winners’ circle since May 2013, Classic Jet’s triumph was also the first since his previous trainer Lawry Mercieca passed away. Given her husband’s love for the pacer and harness racing, Lynne Mercieca decided to apply for her trainer’s licence despite having little knowledge of preparing a horse. “I had strapped for Lawry for a long time, so I knew a little bit, but I had never fast worked before,” Mercieca explained. “I didn’t really know the fine details of training, but have been learning as I go. “I’ve had a lot of help from people, who have been wonderful.” Driven by Scott Rains, Classic Jet overcame a second row draw to score by six-and-a-half metres from Doyouseewhatisee, with Elsu Prince a neck away third. Covering the last half in 60.4 seconds, the son of Jet Laag rated 2:00.9 for the 1780 metres. “To have him win has been very emotional,” Mercieca declared. “It reminded me of the first time he won for Lawry, which made me cry. “Lawry loved his horses and this one is the horse I had the most to do with since he was 15 months old.” With no major plans in mind for the eight-year-old, Mercieca will find suitable targets as they become available. “I’m not sure where I will head with him next,” Mercieca said. “I will just find races where I can.” PAUL COURTS

Persistent Threat remained unbeaten when winning the $100,000 WA Sales Classic at Gloucester Park last night. Trained by Bunbury's Josh Graham, the  two-year-old brown gelding is remarkably the only winner to date sired by Advance Attack, who is a full-brother to racing and siring sensation Courage Under Fire. Advance Attack, who was originally trained by Mark Purdon, was a brilliant early two-year-old winning his first eight starts and 10 of 16 in New Zealand. He was then sold to Australia where he won a further 18 races from 73 starts for stakes of $406,094. Persistent Threat, who looks to have inherited all of his family’s early two-year-old ability, showed a dazzling turn of foot when launched to the front by driver Thomas Buchanan with a lap to go before sprinting away to win easily by 4.7 metres over Captain Oaks. He has now all four of his race day appearances and looks set for a big future. La Mia Juliette (Jet Laag), who also remains unbeaten, was successful in the $100,000 fillies final for trainer-driver Peter Tilbrook, while Alta Christiano was also an impressive winner on the card.  

Eight year old Jet Laag / Preserved entire Im Blue Double Dee was victorious in taking out 57th running of the harness racing $50,275 (Group 2) Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup for M0 or better class horses over 2600 metres at Mildura on Saturday April 13. In what was a real family affair, Im Blue Double Dee trained at Bathurst (NSW) by Steve Turnbull, raced by wife Jenny and driven by daughter Amanda settled four back along the markers after starting from gate two on the second line, with the polemarker Maastricht leading as the start was effected keeping the favourite Flaming Flutter (gate three) wide and Machin Out even wider on the track from outside the front row. Driven with aggression by Greg Sugars Flaming Flutter was able to assume control within a lap. The action didn’t stop there however, as runs came thick and fast with Hilltop Hustler and Mark Dennis both making forward moves through the middle stages. This allowed Shayne Cramp aboard the home town hero Washington Heritage to ease away from three back the markers into the running line mid-race after starting from inside the second line and going forward to park outside the leader with around two laps to travel. Putting his foot to the floor at the bell, Cramp and Washington Heritage pressured the leader which kicked away on the final bend. While all this was going on, Im Blue Double Dee which had moved to be three back the markers after Washington Heritage left the inside appeared to be travelling approaching the final bend. Gaining an inside passage on turning (no sprint lane), Im Blue Double Dee ran home best to score by two metres in a thrilling finish over a game Flaming Flutter, with Maastricht running the race of her life to finish third .9 metres away. Both the runner up and third placegetter shifted away from the inside on straightening. Kotare Roland finished fourth after following the winner throughout. In quarters of 30.7, 31.7, 29.7 and 28.4 for the final mile, Im Blue Double Dee returned a mile rate of 1-59.1 for the journey, nine tenths of a second outside Safari’s 1-58.2 set in 2007 and in winning, took his stakes tally to almost $200,000. A winner of 21 races from 110 outings prior to the race, Im Blue Double Dee has been a consistent performer in the Western part of NSW since he first graced the tracks. Im Blue Double Dee was the fourth NSW trained winner of the prestigious race, the others being Wongala Glen (Bill McKenzie 1965), Dillon Light (Kevin Robinson 1973) and Ben’s Image (Vic Frost 1987), although Wongala Glen did the majority (if not all) of his racing in Victoria as he was trained just across the Murray River from Swan Hill. On a night of features, S-A visitors Caribbean Crest (Toby Ryan – Scott Dyer) scored in the $30,275 (Group 2) Mark Gurry & Associates Cup and Glenferrie Affair (Ryan Hryhoric) the $15,275 Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas, while Uncle Wingnut (Vince Costa – Michael Bellman) the $17,775 Loddon Valley Stud Free For All. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

The two mandatory harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday July 11, with Shepparton racing during the afternoon and Ballarat at night.

Western District racing was held at Terang on Tuesday July 9 with surprisingly only three winners coming from the area, the highlight of the evening's harness racing being Ararat reinsman Michael Bellman chalking up 100 winners for the season.

Fifty-five nominations have been received for the Soho Standardbreds Weanling and Mares In Foal Sale, which will be conducted by Davidson Cameron & Co Dubbo Pty Ltd on Sunday, July 28 at Tamarin Park, Toolern Vale.

Great Western sisters Michelle and Kerryn Manning took the honours at the Stawell harness racing fixture held on Wednesday May 8th, Michelle with a training and driving double - Wheatsheaf Avaball and Aheadofhistime and Kerryn with a driving double - Shandorlass and Paparazzi Snapshot.

Backers of 7/4 on favourite Your Good Fortune, as well as harness racing reinsman Colin Brown, survived an early scare before the New Zealand-bred gelding gave a stylish frontrunning display to win the $35,000 Alltools Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

This son of Laag is shown in one of the pictures winning his American National elimination race with the late Brian Pinske in the sulky on June 1, 1996 at Sportsman's Park. A week later Jet Laag would capture the $251,000 American National Final with harness racing driver Bill O'Donnell at his lines

Smart McArdle/Nuclearaccelerator gelding Almost El Eagle who showed outstanding potential in his two year old year has returned to harness racing form in fine fettle, making it two from two this time in by taking the 1st Heat of the George Croxford Tribute over 2170 metres at Cobram on Monday February 4.

Champion pacer Im Themightyquinn is marching inexorably towards becoming the world's richest standardbred. The remarkable and seemingly indestructible harness racing eight-year-old added another glittering jewel to his golden crown when he produced another dazzling trademark performance to crush his rivals in the $400,000 SEW-Eurodrive WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Hamilton harness racing trainer David Lewis has home bred Art Major/Jolaura entire Amajorjo absolutely airborne at present, chalking up four wins in succession when victorious in the Hamilton Pacing Cup 13 January Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1660 metres at his home track on Monday December 17.

Pint sized Sebastopol owner/trainer/driver Tina Ridis scored a terrific victory with 5-Y-0 Digger Almahurst/Keyfield mare Atego Lilly in the Bayswater Jayco Trotters Handicap for TR0 or better class over 2100 metres at the harness racing Charlton meeting on Monday December 10.

With the 2012/13 B\breeding season recently commenced there is no better time to ensure that your harness racing mare is bred in Victoria.

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