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A Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) race meeting set for Junee last Friday was abandoned as the state organisation grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. Junee Harness Racing Club was set to conduct an eight-race TAB meeting but a previous suspension of harness racing in the state was extended a further day, causing the meeting to be cancelled. HRNSW suspended all racing in the state last Tuesday after it was established that persons in attendance of a meeting at Penrith the week prior had been in contact with someone with coronavirus. HRNSW were then forced to await the COVID-19 test results of a steward before they were able to make the decision to lift the suspension across the state. "HRNSW advises that the results of a COVID-19 test taken from a HRNSW steward have still not been received," read a HRNSW statement released late last Thursday. "Consequently, HRNSW has determined that the race meetings scheduled for Friday 27 March 2020 will be abandoned. "Nominations are still being taken for other scheduled race meetings and race fields will be drawn up as usual. "HRNSW will provide a further update once the results of the test are known." On Friday morning, HRNSW announced the steward had received a negative test result and had been cleared for coronavirus. However it was too late for the Junee meeting, with races resuming across the state on Saturday, March 28. By Matt Malone

Four winning drives, including taking out the harness racing feature Wattle Time Cup and a pair of track records – it was a very good Sunday at Junee for Amanda Turnbull. She closed in on 100 winning drives in her home state this season as she dominated Cootamundra Harness Racing Club’s Carnival of Cups meeting, the tally for the The Lagoon native standing at 91 as of Sunday night. Two of her winning drives came aboard members of her own team – Mach Le More and Alta Mach – while the track records were clocked while doing the driving duties for fellow trainers. The first of them came in a 1,760 metres Club Menangle Country Series Heat with $1.40 favourite Joes Star Of Mia. Trained at The Lagoon by Steve Turnbull, Joes Star of Mia was guided three wide early before settling in the death seat. The four-year-old hit the front down the straight, getting home in a 28.5 seconds split to not only win by a comfortable 6.1m, but clock a track record 1:56.0 mile rate for the trip. In the feature $14,999 Wattle Time Cup (2,170m), Turnbull claimed the spoils with the Nathan Jack trained Trickys Beaut ($3.70). A four-year-old son of Christian Cullen, Trickys Beaut flew out of barrier three to take the lead and there he stayed. He kicked clear of his rivals down the home straight, winning by 5.2m over Blackbird Power ($18.50).  Closing sectionals of 28.9 and 28.5 led to the 1:57.9 record mile rate. Meanwhile, the upset of the day belonged to Bathurst trainer-driver Greg Rue, who took out the Custodian Invite To The NZ Jewels Pace (2,170m) with $20.90 chance Begging Me Please. The four-year-old gelding by Abercrombie Dexter out of Verroom began well from barrier five and rolled to the lead with two laps to travel. From there he went on to win by a comfortable 4.1m over $2.10 favourite Tulhurst Cash, who came from three back on the pegs to snatch second for Nathan Hurst and Angela Hedges. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Junee Show day will see the return of harness racing to the showground. The club will provide plenty of different aspects on Saturday afternoon. There will be led classes for judging at 3pm before the mini trotters and harness racing spring into action at 4pm. This week also sees the return on Wednesday night trials from 7pm. Junee will hold its first meeting on the season next Friday, November 3 with two Menangle Country Series heats the feature. Courtney Rees Reprinted with permission of The Junee Southern Cross

Sporty Spook has been a great horse for harness racing trainer David Kennedy. The four-year-old gelding has won more than $125,000 and while his efforts have given Kennedy plenty of excitement, a victory in Sunday night’s Junee Pacers Cup could potentially be the talented horseman’s 250th winner as a driver.  Kennedy will go into Sunday’s meeting on 249 winners and will have the opportunity to drive in two races prior to the Junee Cup but it seems almost poetic that a career milestone could be achieved on one of Kennedy’s better performed runners in a country feature race.  “It is going to put a bit of pressure on me now but look he’s a pretty faultless pacer and he just got it all wrong at Temora last start so I’d forgive him for that,”  “He has been working really well last start, Jarrod Alchin went to Temora last time out to drive him for me because I wanted his opinion on whether Sporty Spook and Shes A Runa were going well enough to take to Sydney for a couple of races but neither of them performed up to standard.”  Kennedy is thinking about putting Sporty Spook in the Chariots Of Fire qualifier, the Paleface Adios Stakes while he is hoping Shes A Runa will get a start in a Ladyship Mile lead-up.  “I want to try and concentrate on races that I actually think I can be competitive in because last year I took Sporty Spook to the NSW Derby, he ended up running third but it probably cost him because by the time the Breeders Challenge came around later in the season he wasn’t in top form. “So with the Breeders Challenge in mind again, I just want to see how he goes on Sunday night at Junee before deciding on going towards a Chariots qualifier.”  Shes A Runa will compete in the Allan Harpley Memorial on Sunday night and Kennedy was happy to see her return to form last start at Wagga.  “I trialled her leading into Temora but she was probably a little bit underdone and then she had to do so much work because of the draw and that brought about her undoing.  “It was good to see her return to winning form at Wagga last start, when she strode up to them around the turn she felt like she was in second gear, I’d been really happy with her up until Temora so hopefully she’s back in that sort of form again.”  After reaching M2 assessment, Kennedy is weighing up his options with the former NSW Oaks winner. “If she won another couple at Menangle it would take her through to an assessment of M4, then she would be competing against the free-for-all horses every week which is a bit tough, so this could be her last season of racing.”  The Junee Pacers Cup on Sunday night is race six and is scheduled for 8:49pm.  Greg Hayes                

Bendemeer horseman Len Clement has hit a bump in the road in his quest to drive at every registered harness racing track in New South Wales. Currently stationed in Junee, Clement's expedition was severely hampered when it was discovered his mare, Lifeslittlesecret, who he has been travelling across the state with, has a potentially career-ending respiratory problem. "The horse has fallen off the wagon so to speak," Clement said. "She seems to have a respiratory problem and is making a roaring noise. "She has no temperature and no cough but is showing no signs of improving. "It is a big shame that this has happened but at least I still have a horse on her feet." Despite this setback, Clement is still determined to achieve his goal. With just 11 tracks left to drive on, including Broken Hill, Clement is now looking for a new horse to take on his travels. "I need to get my hands on another horse," Clement said. "I'm happy to take a horse on lease even with an option to buy later. "But I really need a horse to take out to Broken Hill in three weeks time. "I have a horse sorted to drive around town . . . Nunya." If anyone would like to help Len on his quest or have a horse he can lease please contact Harness Racing New South Wales Racing Liaison Officer Amanda Rando on (02) 9722 6651. By Amanda Rando

The popular City versus Country Drivers Challenge will be a feature of the Carnival of Cups meeting at Junee this Sunday night.  Harness racing club secretary Joanne Judd has been busily preparing and was proud to confirm the ‘City’ team that will be making the trip to Junee. “The five reinsman that will be travelling to Junee to represent the city are David Morris, Josh Aiken, Zac Phillips, Josh Duggan and Alex Ashwood,” Mrs Judd said. “We are still awaiting the confirmation of the country team but we have four confirmed drivers David Moran, Corey Bell, Scott Osmond and Dennis Picker while Mat Rue will confirm whether he can be the fifth driver on Tuesday.” The challenge has been highly entertaining in recent years with several Grand Circuit stars including Anthony Butt and Chris Alford having competed in previous years. “The club tries to mix it up every year and have different drivers compete, Amanda Turnbull won it last year and we try to make it exciting for the on-course patrons that live locally who watch all of these drivers compete on the television but never get the chance to see them drive in person. “Matt Harris came up with the idea a number of years ago and it is something that the Junee club enjoys running each and every year.” Owners and trainers are reminded that each of the three heats in the City v Country Drivers Invitational are penalty-free events. “Each of the races is worth $8,000 and being penalty free they are very attractive options for a number of trainers and owners who might be considering making the trip to Junee. “There is a heat for C0 horses, C1 and C2 to C3 so we hope to receive strong nominations for the challenge.” The feature race at Sunday’s meeting will be the Phoenix Accounting and Business Services Junee Pacers Cup.  The race is worth $14,280 and is for C3 to C6 horses.  The Trevor White-trained Hollywood Stride won the 2015 Cup in a big upset with odds-on favourite Business In Motion finishing ninth. Greg Hayes

IForm was well and truly on target last week as all of the selections over the weekend were successful.  While this weekend, the harness racing meetings look tougher iForm has again passed on the best bet for each of the NSW TAB meetings on Saturday and Sunday. Tabcorp Park Menangle – Saturday – Race 2 Number 11 Ive Gottalife Ive Gottalife has been placed in all ten of his starts this season and despite the second row draw does look to find a winnable race.  In his last two starts over the 2300 metres he has been defeated by Mac The Finn and Kilcullen but in Saturday night’s race Hancock does have the option of leaving the marker pegs in the early stages so he can put the son of Bettors Delight into the race once the speed drops. Junee – Saturday – Race 3 Number 2 Royal Canvas Royal Canvas was disappointing last start at Temora when finishing last but iForm has suggested the gelding deserves another chance.  Since resuming from a long break, the six year old had performed strongly at Albury and Junee and should enjoy racing against this week’s opposition.  From the good draw, David Kennedy will be aggressive in the early stages and with a comfortable run in front Royal Canvas should be very hard to run down. Tamworth – Sunday – Race 8 Number 4 Sams Cam Trainer/driver Nathan Xuereb has Sams Cam racing consistently recently and he looks well placed in a heat of the Golden Guitar.  The four year old last raced in a heat of the Inter City Pace at Maitland and was forced to chase home eventual series winner Kept Under Wraps.  Prior to that Sams Cam had been racing against strong fields at Bathurst and Penrith and from the front row draw expect Xuereb to be aggressive in the early stages. Greg Hayes  

IN pursuit of ticking another track off his 'bucket list' the race is on for Bendemeer harness racing horseman Len Clement as he swings by Junee this weekend. Engaged in the opening race on Saturday with his mare Lifeslittlesecret, Clement is looking forward to his first official drive on the Riverina circuit. And following this, Clement only has 17 tracks to visit before he can claim that he has driven on every track in New South Wales. "I worked out that prior to starting this trip I had driven on 11 tracks across the state . . . I have a few to go!" Clement said. For those that don't know the background to this story, Clement had a dream of driving on every track in NSW. And, after a handful of years, decided to turn this dream into reality. But he is not doing this alone - his wife Christine, their pacer Lifeslittlesecret, the cat and dog and yes, even the kitchen sink are all part of this journey too. They all embarked on this voyage two months ago and have already developed a following. With a race named in their honour at Junee on Saturday, the Clement entourage have received a warm welcome from the Junee harness racing community. Popular trainer-driver Bruce Harpley, has opened his stable to provide somewhere for Clement to keep his mare, Lifeslittlesecret, while the Junee Club have allowed Clement and crew to stay on track grounds this week. "I knew of Bruce Harpley and had driven against him a long time ago at Narrabri in a Sires' Stakes race but for him to give us somewhere to house our mare and not really know us goes to show what nice people there are in this sport," Clement said. "And it is getting to know people like this that are making this such a memorable trip for us." Following Junee, Clement intends to head to Blayney for the Carnival of Cups meeting on November 22. "We have had to shuffle our trip around after our mare qualified for a final at Griffith's Carnival of Cups meetings and we stayed in Griffith for a bit longer than intended," Clement said. "Blayney is the next track on our list and then hopefully we can try get to Albury and Wagga after that." Stay tuned for more on Clement's journey. And for more background on this story refer to this month's e-gazette at Greg Hayes

Very rarely in movie trilogies is the third movie the best.  Plenty of Hollywood directors have tried and failed, but when local trainer Trevor White prepared Hollywood Sign to win Sunday’s Junee Cup, the gelding’s third victory in a row, part owner Matthew Peden declared it as clearly the best of the three. “Up until Sunday night the biggest thrill I had with Hollywood Sign was when he won first up at Leeton and then backed it up at Temora and made it two in a row, but to make it three straight and win a race like the Junee Cup means a lot to all of us,” Peden said. “He was passed in at the sales as a yearling and Trevor, David White and I each took a third share and leased him and have raced him ever since, it has been a great ride.”   Peden was happy to see his good friend David White fly in from New Zealand, where he is working for kiwi trainers Graham and Paul Court, to witness the win. “Dave has played a big role with Hollywood Sign, obviously Trevor (David’s uncle) trains him, but when Dave was working for Blake Fitzpatrick, Hollywood Sign spent four months in Sydney with Blake and Dave and that has strengthened him up so much,” Peden said. “We kept it quiet to try and make it a bit of a surprise that Dave was flying in for the Junee Cup and I think his parents got a bit of a shock when he walked onto the track. “It was actually quite funny, as Dave and I drove down to Junee on Sunday we stopped in at Marulan for petrol and bumped into Graham Court, who is in Australia with Terror To Love, and he didn’t even realise that Dave had flown back to Australia.” Hollywood Sign will be looking to make it four in a row when he steps out next time and Peden has his fingers crossed. “I’m not too sure what Trevor has in mind, but he has now won three Carnival Of Cups races, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continue to target that series and try and pick up the Carnival Of Cups horse of the year,” Peden said. - GREG HAYES

The Junee Harness Racing Club will hosts its Carnival Of Cups meeting on Sunday, and while the feature event is the $14,000 Phoenix Accounting and Business Services Junee Cup, the Invitational Drivers’ Challenge is sure to attract plenty of interest.  Five ‘local’ reinsman are set to battle it out with five ‘city’ drivers over three races and club secretary Joanne Judd is very happy with the calibre of drivers the club has been able to attract this year. “The Monster Plant Sale Invitational Drivers’ Challenge is going to be exciting again this year,” Judd said. “We have changed it a little bit this time because in the past we have invited the city drivers from Sydney, but this year the Victorians drivers will compete against the local guys. “The city drivers are made up of Chris Alford, Anthony Butt, Josh Duggan, Nathan Jack and Daryl Douglas, while the local team is Bill Trembath, Bruce Harpley, Steve Maguire, Shane Hallcroft and David Moran.” The three series races are penalty free events (C0, C1-C2 and C0-C2 mares), while the club is also planning to run the Allan Harpley Memorial for open pacers and the Phyllis Harpley Memorial for the three-year-olds. “The Junee Cup is for C3 to C6 pacers, it should be a very good field this year and it looks as though the locals could figure prominently,” Judd said. “At our meeting last Saturday night we got a good crowd and we are expecting an even bigger one this Sunday because there has been a fair bit of hype locally, there is some advertising to take place this week and we will be having plenty of off track entertainment. “Singing duo ‘Duble’ who will perform throughout the meeting and after the last plus the kids will be entertained as well with a free jumping castle and face painting too.” Nominations for Junee’s meeting on Sunday will close on Wednesday morning at 9:30am. GREG HAYES  

Junee trainer Bruce Harpley will not have a runner in his hometown Cup this Saturday night but is still looking forward to the Carnival Of Cups meeting for a special reason. Along with the Junee Cup, the club will also run two memorial races in memory of his hard working parents Allan and Phyllis Harpley. "Junee Cup night is always a very special one for me and the entire family because of the races the club runs for Mum and Dad, it is always a very emotional night for me and while I won't have a runner in either of the races this year, there will be a fair part of the extended family on track to remember my parents," Harpley said. "There will be somewhere between 20 and 30 family members there and it is always nice to sit back and realise that the locals appreciate just how much Mum and Dad put into the club, without them and their input over the years the club would be a shadow of itself today." Harpley has eight horses in work currently and while he admits most of them will be targeted at races later in the season he will start Sokys Bigbullet this Saturday night. "Sokys Bigbullet has had three runs back this season and he is still yet to win one but he has run in some very fast races this campaign, you have a look at some of the closing sectionals he has been involved in and a few years ago horses in the Junee Cup wouldn't have been able to run times like that." "I think it is a spin off from the Menangle track that we are seeing right around New South Wales, the times are getting better and better." Stable star Frith has been back at Harpley's stable for just over a week but Harpley is unsure of when and where she will return to the track. "Good question, the programmes in New South Wales aren't out which makes it hard but sometime in late March or early April." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |            

Junee horseman Bruce Harpley enjoyed one of his proudest moments in harness racing on Saturday night when Frith was named New South Wales Horse Of The Year. Harpley trained Frith during her three year old season and is looking forward to her returning to work later this year. "I'm expecting Bernie Kelly (owner) to send her back to me this season, I haven't heard anything different, but at the moment she is undergoing an embryo transfer so I'm thinking she will be back in work in late November or early December," Harpley said. "They should know whether the transfer process was successful later in the week but apparently there is enough time to try it again if it fails but the plan is to have her back to the races late March." It isn't the first time the Harpley name has been associated with a NSW Horse Of The Year. "My grandfather trained Welcome Advice and my father drove him and he won the award back in 1972, so to win it 41 years later with Frith is very special to me and means a lot." Frith will return as a C12 mare but is still a Metropolitan maiden. "I'm pretty sure she comes back a C12/M0 so there won't be any easy ones but a trip to New Zealand for the Jewels wouldn't be out of the question. Her season won't be too taxing, the Breeders Challenge and Breeders Crown are targets though." "I hadn't been to a NSW awards night before Saturday but I thought this would be as close as I would ever get to winning an award so I thought I better make the trip to Sydney and I'm glad I did." Harpley is hoping his success proves to the hobbyists in the industry that you can compete with the biggest stables in the state. "It is nice for the country bumpkins to win a big award and it has been a thrill and a half so far, I hope it only gets better." Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |

North-West Coast harness racing stalwart Rod Burgess has been rewarded for his dedication to the industry by being awarded the 2013 Edgar Tatlow Medal. The award was presented at the Tasmanian Harness Awards Dinner at Wrest Point Hotel, Hobart on Saturday night. The Edgar Tatlow Medal commemorates the major influence of the Tasmanian pioneer breeding legend Edgar Tatlow, whose stallions and their progeny have dominated Australasian Harness Racing since the 1930’s. Burgess was born at Wynyard in 1948 and spent his formative years at Smithton. He started driving track work at 14 and, at 17, drove his first winner at Spreyton. Over the years Burgess became involved in most areas of the industry – trainer, driver, owner, breeder and administrator. From his base at Smithton on Tasmania’s far North West, he quickly established a reputation as a quality conditioner of horses. He travelled statewide to compete in Tasmania’s best races with the trip from Smithton to Hobart taking a minimum of 6 hours one way and, in the early days, having an overnight stop at Hagley on the Friday and Saturday nights – a three day venture. His best horses included Byatic, Vespasian and Captain Byrd.  Vespasian won the Easter Cup in 1972 and won twice at the Melbourne Showgrounds at Ascot Vale the same year. In 1973 he moved to Ulverstone and the winners continued. Burgess was the state’s leading trainer for two consecutive seasons (1974/75 and 1975/76) and he was the state’s leading driver in 1975/76. His best performers were Captain Byrd, Fringe Benefit (Tasmanian Derby), Ben Ean (Carrick Cup and second in every major cup that season including the Tasmanian Pacing Championship) Junee Royal (City of Glenorchy Cup), Junee Princess, Karlindon (Devonport Cup) and Our Lady Lindy (Scottsdale and Hobart Metropolitan Cups). Nubeena won consecutive Easter Cups at Elphin in 1982 and 1983. Burgess represented Tasmania in driver’s invitation races in Sydney and Perth, winning the Sydney event at Harold Park. He was a professional farrier and he continues to successfully train a small team at his Ulverstone property. His contribution to harness racing includes administration where he has demonstrated his commitment to improving harness racing statewide. He joined the North West Tasmania Light Harness Association at age 17 where he is Life Member and he served as President for a total of 30 years. Burgess also is a past President and committee member of the now defunct Tasmanian Light Harness Association. In 2006 he received a Meritorious Service Award from Harness Racing Tasmania.   Rod was an active volunteer at the Ulverstone track when it existed and fought hard to maintain the track for the sake of the industry. He has driven the mobile at trials, and occasionally at race meetings, at Devonport and Burnie. He has assisted with track maintenance at Devonport and was a committee member of the Burnie Harness Racing Club for six years. He has been a member of the Harness Advisory Group for the last six years.   Previous winners of the Edgar Tatlow Medal reads like a who’s who in Tasmanian harness racing – Doug Martin (2001), Peter Cooley (2002), Keith Stanley (2003), Pauline Barker (2004), Darrell Rockliff (2005), Don Cornish (2006), Eric Fleming (2007), Eric Bean (2008), Tem Fish (2009), Henry Pullen (2010), Doug McKillop (2011) and Gerald Gee (2012) Peter Staples

Junee trainer Steve Harris will spend the remainder of the week in Sydney after his unbeaten four year old Majorlicious trialled at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday night's Country Series Final. Majorlicious has won his first five races including an all the way victory in a heat of the Country Series at Wagga last start and Harris is hoping to keep the unbeaten record intact this weekend. "I've always had an opinion of the horse, even the first time I put him in the cart I thought he would make a very nice horse, he was a big and gangly type but he has really grown into himself in the past twelve months," Harris said. "The plan was to trial him at Menangle on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week up here in preparation for his race this Saturday because he hasn't done a lot of travelling in his career but he isn't the only horse I have brought up, there is a few of them that have made the trip as well." Majorlicious won his first three races at Canberra in 2011 before being turned out for a lengthy spell and resuming in May this year. "He was a really big horse and I knew he wouldn't make it as a two year old but when he won his first three races it was during the drought at home and my track had become quite hard and he jarred up in all four fetlocks so I decided to give him a break to let him get over that." "The six month spell turned into a twelve month break and in the end it did him the world of good because he grew into himself and then when he resumed and won a Country Series heat at Young in May he came down with a virus and I just had to back off him again but he's on top of his game again now." Majorlicious is out of the talented racemare Bootylicious and is a half sister to the twelve time winner Blissfulicious. "Majorlicious is stronger than his mother and his sister, they could both do a little bit of work in their races but this bloke is better." Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Junee horseman Bruce Harpley is pleased with outstanding three year old filly Frith and believes she is on target to compete in the semi finals of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat this Saturday night. Frith has had an easy time since winning her heat at Tabcorp Park Menangle but Harpley confirmed the multiple Gr.1 winner produced an amazing trackwork session last Friday. "She worked the quickest she ever has for me last Friday, I couldn't be happier with her and what pleased me the most is that her heart rate was quite low which suggests she did it within herself," Harpley said. "The Breeders Crown campaign has all gone to plan so far, I just had her ticking along and keeping her on track for the series but last week's work proved to me that she is ready to go so I'm looking forward to getting her back to Victoria again because that is where she won her first Gr. 1 for me as the trainer." Harpley is resisting the temptation of staying in Victoria between the semi final and grand final and has decided to stick with his proven formula. "Obviously she still has to qualify for the Breeders Crown final but when I went down for the Victoria Oaks I made the decision to bring her back home between the heats and the final and it worked so I am not going to change a winning formula, if she qualifies for the final I will be bringing her home after the semi." "I think there are several other winning chances in the series, I was looking at the nominations on Monday night and there are three other fillies that have won around $100,000, so any filly that can win that much money has ability, but Im Smouldering has proved how good she is already, Montana Marie is very talented and Cran Dalgety's filly has plenty of ability as well." Frith will take her prize money over $500,000 on the weekend sitting $315 short of the career milestone currently. "The win in Western Australia proved just how good she is, in the majority of three year old races there are a couple of standouts and once they find good positions the races can become uncompetitive but in Perth they really made her earn it." Courtesy of Harness Racing NSW

A trip to Tamworth for the Country Music Festival was something harness racing trainer Michael Day Jnr and his wife Kelly had always planned to do and when the opportunity arose to take two horses to the Golden Guitar this year during the festival they packed their two children in the car and headed north from their base at Young.

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