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Former star harness racing pacer Lanercost is now on the board. As a sire. The dual Derby winner had his first qualifier yesterday (Tuesday) at Albion Park when Mighty Montana finished third in a 1660m trial against older rivals. Minion Girl won the trial rating 1:58.3 while Mighty Montana was personally timed in 2:00.4. Mighty Montana, a bay gelding from the Bettor's Delight mare Precious Montana is bred and raced by Dean Shannon, the owner of Lanercost. And just like Lanercost, Mighty Montana is prepared by leading horseman Darrel Graham. “This guy has been a sensible type from the day he entered my stables, he’s a good size and he moves particularly well. Adam (Sanderson – driver) said he was really happy with his trial, he was easy to drive and wanted to be out there and competing.” Graham said. Lanercost, a striking son of Courage Under Fire is standing again this season at famed Queensland nursery, Burwood Stud at Pittsworth on the Darling Downs. The early reports on his progeny have been very pleasing while his current foals are correct and intelligent individuals. “He’s leaving really nice types, both colts and fillies and the owners are really happy so that’s a good start for his siring career. As we know, he was a brilliant racehorse and he’s got a great pedigree being a son of the mighty Courage Under Fire.” Burwood Studmaster Noel Denning said. “I’m not surprised that he’s got a qualifier already, he was a natural two-year-old himself and his pedigree suggests that they should go early. He’s a Direct Scooter line stallion and they should all have the speed factor about them.” Denning added. Several leading stables inspected and bought his progeny at the Queensland sales last year, both the Australian Pacing Gold and Redcliffe Yearling Sales. Expect to see plenty more of the Lanercost progeny stepping out in the New Year. Lanercost stands at a fee of $1650 (GST inclusive). Also standing at Burwood is perennial performer Cammibest ($1200 – GST inclusive) and trotting stallion Brylin Boyz ($1650 – GST inclusive). by Chris Barsby

Queensland’s biggest harness racing nursery, Burwood Stud, is hoping their good fortune continues this weekend. Owned and operated by the Denning family and situated at Pittsworth on the Darling Downs, the farm covers 1500 acres of basalt and limestone country which provides a perfect grounding for producing elite racehorses. And the proof is there. Last weekend, on the final night of the Albion Park winter carnival, the stud experienced a massive result with their 2YOs born-and-raised at BURWOOD STUD won both $100,000 Group One QBred Triad Finals! Not only that, but juveniles born-and-raised at Burwood Stud trifectaed the 2YO Fillies Final:- 1. IM NORMA JEAN (by Modern Art) (Bred-and-owned by Jeff & Leanne Wallace; trained by Peter Greig; driven by Amanda Turnbull) 2. JANUARY (by Cammibest) (Bred by Burwood Stud, owned by Peter Poulsen, trained by Wayne Graham driven by Adam Sanderson) 3. JOSSIE JAMES (by Big Jim) (Bred-and-owned by Trevor & Louise O'Reilly; trained by Wayne Graham, driven by Shane Graham) It wasn’t just the fillies that stood tall because the $100,000 Group One 2YO Colts & Geldings Final saw one of the runners, Lucifers Legend, being bred at BURWOOD STUD, by resident millionaire successful sire CAMMIBEST, while the winner was also born-and-raised at BURWOOD STUD:- 1. CHANGEOVERME (by Changeover) (Bred-and-owned by Chris and Gayle Garrard; trained by Kylie Rasmussen & Darren Weeks; driven by Mathew Neilson) Burwood studmaster Noel Denning is naturally delighted with the results. “We’re very pleased with the results but without the support of our clients who have been with us for so long, these results aren’t possible. It’s been a very good year and that augurs well for the upcoming breeding season, if the owners and breeders are happy, we’re happy.” Denning said. Other big race results for Burwood this season include the fillies feature at Tabcorp Park, Menangle - $322,000 APG 2YO Fillies Final - 1st - PARK LIFE (Group One) Foaled down & reared at BURWOOD STUD plus at Albion Park - $80,000 Albion Park Gold Final - 1st - JOSSIE JAMES (Group Two)      Foaled down & reared at BURWOOD STUD Outstanding three-year-old Leos Best, a winner of the Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Final and the $20,000 Redcliffe Derby is a son of resident stallion Cammibest. The bayside club will play host to another feature meeting this Friday night and the stud is well represented in the Listed $25,000 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series 3yo Final including the two favourites in Leos Best and Timmo Time (by Western Edition). These results continue BURWOOD STUD's dominance of young horse racing, and follow in the footsteps of 2YOs bred and foaled at BURWOOD STUD, or by BURWOOD STUD's stallions, in feature races.  Burwood Stud will be standing Cammibest and dual Derby winner Lanercost this coming season. Chris Barsby Fields for Redcliffe, Friday 22 July 2016 Form guide for Redcliffe, Friday 22 July 2016

Breeding for the harness racing market in Australasia is never an easy business at the best of times especially if you are trying to market and sell fillies, Buyers are notoriously reluctant to pay anything like the same premium for well bred fillies as they are for well bred colts but we feel that are missing out on a lot of opportunities because the buyers have missed the changes taking place in the stallion market down under. When you look at the present line up of stallions that are dominating the racing scene in Australasia, then just about all the elite stallions are outstanding filly sires. Bettor's Delight is without doubt the best filly sire in the world today, continually churning out champion fillies each season and in big numbers and they are keenly sought after at yearling sales in both hemispheres. Rock N Roll Heaven is another sire whose fillies to be honest are better than his colts in North America, Australia and New Zealand in his siring career to date. American Ideal is another stallion whose fillies often outperform his colts on the track while Shadow Play has five mares amongst his top eight earners in North America. So with such great filly sires dominating the stallion market in Australasia, you would think that fillies would be keenly sought after especially since any well bred ones have a good residual value once they have finished racing which the colts in the main just don't have. Looking through this weekends Australian Pacing Gold Sale at Brisbane and a great number of the fillies would appear to have a high residual value post any racing career. A lot of them come from high profile New Zealand families which are very current in the New Zealand market and have just fetched significant five figure sums at the latest sales in New Zealand. We thought we would highlight a couple of lots from Brisbane that in our opinion would have high residual valve post racing. Lot 450  -  Filly by Mr Feelgood from the Christian Cullen mare Tori Maguire 1:57 ($57,870) The first foal of a smart Christian Cullen mare in Tori France who is a full sister to a champion two and three year old filly in Lizzie Maguire 1:56.5 ($477,366). Christian Cullen is the leading pacing broodmare sire in New Zealand at the moment and for the foreseeable future. A colt by Mach Three from Unrehearsed making him a half brother to Tori Maguire made $40,000 at the recent Australasian Classic yearling sale at Karaka in Auckland. The family is seen as a rich source of  juveniles in New Zealand and has been selling well at the yearling sales for the last 15 years. Lot 431  - Filly by Lanercost from the Bettor's Delight mare in Manhattan Montana 1:57.6 The first foal from a 1:57.6 Bettor's Delight half sister to nine winners including such top liners as Village Hero 1:50.6 ($306,475) and He's My Hero 1:54.3 ($222,293), this is a family that is highly sought after in New Zealand as as can be seen from the latest yearling sales there Two Bettor's Delights colts from Christian Cullen half sisters to Manhattan Montana were sold at the Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka for $80,000 and $60,000 respectively The two Bettor's Delight colts in question are three quarter brothers in blood to Manhattan Montana. At the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch, a Washington VC half brother to Manhattan Montana made $45,000. Now both the fillies we have highlighted are by young sires  who still have to prove themselves at the highest level but the maternal families are so strong in our view that we wouldn't hesitate adding those two to a broodmare band when they are finished racing. There are numerous other lots for sale at Brisbane on Sunday that are just as well bred in our view and are from families that are in hot demand on both sides of the Tasman. In a lot of ways, the fillies are becoming a better financial investment than the colts these days. Harnesslink Media 

Without fail at every harness racing yearling auction we have ever been to, you will find the odd yearling that is completely ignored by the buyers bench regardless of their breeding or type. Logic goes out the window and yearlings that should make $25,000, make $10,000 We have made a habit over the years of then following such horses through their careers and a lot have done a great job on the track and would have to be regarded as bargain buys. Looking at the catalogue for the Australian Pacing Gold Sale to be held at the Albion Park complex in Brisbane on Sunday, we have spied a yearling which we think won't reach her true value for various reasons but is well worth a second look by buyers. Lot 436  -  Filly by Lanercost from the Dream Away mare in Montana Tess 1:57.3 First crop stallions always face a big hurdle at the yearling sales and are usually heavily discounted due to the fact that buyers have no racing stock to judge the stallion by. Lanercost is firmly in that boat this year and you would expect his yearlings to earn every dollar they get in the sale ring. In cases like Lanercost, what you can do is look at the type of yearlings he is producing and make your own judgments as to his chances of making it as a sire. So we looked at all the photos of the yearlings by Lanercost on the APG site and several took our eye. The one that really impressed us was Lot 436. In our opinion, on looks and on type, she is the standout filly in the sale. She has that real masculine appearance that a lot of the top fillies have while still looking a very athletic type. When you look at the maternal pedigree of this filly, it is one of the strongest filly families to come out of New Zealand in the last 40 years. The third dam of this filly was the brilliant Tempest Tiger 1:58.5 who was good enough to beat the boys in the classics in New Zealand before becoming a champion broodmare. Two former outstanding racemares in New Zealand in This Time Franco 1:57.9 ($249,151) and There's A Franco 1:57.7 ($217,588) are grand daughters of Tempest Tiger. So Lot 436 ticks a lot of boxes for us and has the potential to be a very smart racemare but we doubt that her sale price on Sunday will reflect that. Harnesslink Media.

Smart pacer Five Card Draw has raced himself into the Brisbane winter carnival. The former New Zealand two-year-old Pacer of the Year has proved to be an astute mid-season purchase for big spending owner Dean Shannon and his trainer/driver Darrel Graham. Arriving in Australia back in February, the highly decorated pacer has now managed to win six races at Albion Park while running eight minor placing’s and banking close to $70,000 in prizemoney. His latest victory on Saturday night was quite easily his best winning performance since crossing the Tasman. Starting a heavily backed favourite in the $16,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final, Five Card Draw was chased off the gate at the start but galloped soon afterwards. Losing valuable ground, Five Card Draw managed to reset fairly quickly with Graham saving as much ground as possible by racing against the pegs. With Victorian three-year-old Diamond Ace setting cracking sectionals in front, Five Card Draw continued to make ground along the inside before forcing clear approaching the home turn and race away from Ida Tiger and Floyd Mayweather over the concluding stages. The winning mile rate of 1;54.1 is a new ‘PB’ for the Bettors Delight gelding. “That was a great victory and clearly his best winning performance since joining my stable earlier this year. After making that crucial error early, he had no right to finish off the way he did – that was a fantastic effort.” Graham said. So taken by the winning effort, Graham is now looking at the Queensland winter carnival features starting with the Gr.3 $45,000 4 & 5yo Championship at Albion Park on July 12. “His recent form surge proves he deserves his opportunity in some of these better events during the next month, at this stage I will tackle the 4 & 5yo Championship followed by the 4yo Championship and then I’ll take a look at the Redcliffe Cup. “He proved he can handle the standing start conditions when he contested the Premiers Cup series recently, his effort in the final behind Major Moment was his best run for me because he was so brave after doing all the work in track record time while the winner came via the sprintlane. “He’s low flying currently and I’m prepared to give him his chance in these upcoming features; he’s fit and healthy and he should relish a genuine tempo while being driven cold and saved for one run at them. We’ll give it a good crack anyway.” The Fernvale based mentor will have Sign To Inverell tackling the open class features in the next month starting with Saturday night’s Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park where he will meet champion pacer Im Themightyquinn, current track record holder Suave Stuey Lombo and the flying Avonnova among others. Comeback pacer Lanercost will skip this week’s sprint feature after missing last week’s open class event because a small niggling injury. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

Harness racing trainer Darrel Graham is cautiously optimistic. On the eve on his shock race return, Fernvale based horseman Darrel Graham believes his brilliant pacer Lanercost will perform at the required level in the Sure Products FFA at Albion Park. The former Gr.1 Chariots Of Fire winner tackles the state’s best open class performer Avonnova while enigmatic pacer Franco Jamar resumes for Belinda McCarthy in the 1660m event. After standing a season at Yirribee Stud where he covered close to 40 mares, a decision by owner Dean Shannon was made earlier this year to return to full work. Lanercost has not started since finishing fourth at Albion Park behind Passion Stride back in January, 2013. With months of foundation poured into the Courage Under Fire entire and three recent trial victories, his time has come - again. “He’s ready to go, I’m really happy with his work and trial efforts and everything suggests that he’s ready to take that giant leap back into racing again. It’s a massive challenge bringing a horse back to the track after standing a season at stud but it can be done, look at For A Reason for example.” Graham said. Lanercost will start from a tricky draw, the inside of the second-line but Graham couldn’t be happier with the draw. The front-line is overloaded with pace with noted speedsters, Franco Jamar, Destreos, Holy Camp Boy and Lebron all set to run the gate hard early. “The draw is the least of my worries; I’m drawn to follow the pegs so whether that means I’m behind the leader or three pegs, it doesn’t matter because the guess work has been removed from the draw. “I’m expecting a time of 1;52.5 – 1;53 so the best place for me to be is on the pegs taking all the short cuts. There is no easy return for a horse of this calibre and despite all the work and trials, there’s nothing like match fitness. “He’s a big boy now, he let down nicely during his time away from the track so he’ll need a couple of runs to bring him back to peak fitness. Right now, I’d say he’s around the 90% mark – while that’s good, it needs to better when you’re racing at open class.” With the winter carnival features at Albion Park just around the corner, Graham isn’t planning any miraculous raids on those feature events just yet. A view to the spring carnival in October makes more appeal but Graham will let his stable star do the talking. “No plans are set in stone at this point, it’s a case of run by run but it’s likely the Grand Circuit race later this year is more feasible rather than next month’s winter carnival features. “This horse has surprised me right throughout his career, so it wouldn’t shock me with whatever he does this campaign but hopefully he recaptures that brilliant form he once displayed. He’s good enough to do anything so fingers crossed.” by Chris Barsby

Smart filly Montana Marie was recently retired, but another one of Darrell Graham’s pacing stars is well into his comeback. Brilliant pacer Lanercost, who stood at Yirribee Stud during the breeding season, is back on the racetrack after being retired due to ongoing ham-string issues. And that comeback took a serious step forward on Monday when the speedster, who Graham describes as the quickest horse he has ever sat behind, won a trial impressively at Albion Park in a mile rate of 1-55.7. The comeback is shades of For A Reason, who also stood a season at Yirribee, before embarking on an amazing comeback which saw him win the Victoria Cup and place in both the Miracle Mile and Interdominion Final. Even more coincidental, is the fact the Lanercost and For A Reason are the same age and were the two dominant three and four-year-olds of their respective seasons. It is likely that the former Chariots Of Fire winner, who has earned $A506, 000 in stakes, will target the upcoming Brisbane carnival. Meanwhile, the Queensland campaign of the smart Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained three-year-old Aldo Rossi is over before it even began. "He was fine when he left here but he has picked up a bug somewhere along the way and it has caused a throat infection which has affected his breathing,” said Mark Purdon on his All Stars website. “He will need a decent spell over there now and it is bad luck for all concerned,” he added. By Mitchell Robertson

The run of bad luck continues for Darrel Graham. But, there is an upside. The latest disappointment is the third in a short period of time that has rocked the Fernvale stables of the astute horsemen but he’s hopeful the tide will now turn. Giant mare Montana Marie has run her final race after succumbing to a slight tendon strain in her nearside front leg forcing owner Dean Shannon to make the obvious call. The Art Major – Just Del mare has been retired for stud duties. “It’s always been in the back of my mind something like this could happen because of her size, she’s a monster and unfortunately it has occurred which is really disappointing. It’s only a very slight strain but we were never going to take any chances with her, so it was an easy decision to make in the end.” Graham said. This latest news quickly follows on from exciting three-year-old Mafuta Vautin and feature race winning rookie Major Montana also succumbing to season ending injuries in the past couple of weeks. But Graham is philosophical about the run of outs he’s encountered recently. “This is the business we’re in and there’s always a possibility that plans won’t come to fruition. At the end of the day, we’re dealing with livestock and things can’t be guaranteed unfortunately. I haven’t had a horse succumb to a tendon injury in ten years and all of a sudden I’ve had three. “I never had to battle with injuries like this when I was racing the likes of Lanercost, Courageous Annie or Rollon Bigred. It’s disappointing but we keep the show on the road and keep moving forward.” Montana Marie went unraced as a two-year-old but rose to prominence last season when the well-related filly strung together a record 12 straight victories including her triumph in the Gr.2 $75,000 Nursery Pace Final at Albion Park. Her winning streak was ended by Kiwi filly (Our) Splendour in the $30,000 Gold Coast Oaks at Parklands which was followed by a rare mistake in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks when fifth behind Itz Nosurprisesthere. “Del was a filly I always had plenty of time for because she displayed talent from the very beginning, we gave her plenty of time to mature and develop and she repaid us in spades as a three-year-old. “The winning streak was the obvious highlight during her career on the track and it came together very quickly, she was in the zone and loving her racing during that period and she just kept winning. “Dean is building a select group of broodmares including Courageous Annie and now Del can join her at his Sunshine Coast property. Del is a half-sister to former iron horse I Am Sam so she can go and make babies now.” Montana Marie retires as the winner of 18 races from 27 starts while amassing more than $120,000 in prizemoney. Her final start was in the final of the Gr.1 $175,000 Australasian Breeders Crown Final when 8th behind star filly Frith at TABCORP Park, Melton last August. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

The Caduceus Club Cup has a rich honour roll of talented three-year-old’s. Horses like Cosmic Under Fire, It Is I, Lanercost and even Jodie’s Babe readily spring to mind. And last year’s winner Macha broke the clock running a 53.9sec last half in a stunning display. This term there might be no breaking records, but that doesn’t mean the result won’t prove an eye to the future of the open-class pacing scene. One man that may well have the horse to win Friday night’s race is Pearcedale trainer Bill Walker. Handling the promising gelding Hectorjayjay, the second row draw may have been of serious concern for most trainers. But given the blistering speed he showed in a Vicbred Super Series Semi-final from a similar position, and an expected early burn, there may not be a lot to worry about for the laconic trainer. “Simone (Walker, driver) said the night he led from 13, she saw the opening just a fraction earlier than he did and then he just put himself through it. He’s just incredible, he’s got a mind of his own in a way, he just loves racing,” Walker said. “I think the turning point was the gelding. Even though he wasn’t a rogue, he didn’t have his mind on what he wanted to do. He’s just a gentleman now and he loves working.” That renewed attitude to racing has seen Hectorjayjay progress from a talented colt to one of Victoria’s best three-year-old geldings. And with the transformation in full swing, Walker has set about tackling the end of season features to see just where his beloved son of Dream Away is at in the overall scheme of things.  “He’ll have a little let up now because we’ve always thought about the Sires Stakes and the Breeders Crown. It can be a very long taxing three-year-old year and in a year of good depth I think you have to look after your horse,” he said. “He’s one of the most loved horses in our stable that’s for sure.” Hectorjayjay is currently a $3.40 chance with TAB fixed odds.

The flagships of the Division are the Australasian Classic and New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales held in Auckland Monday 17th February and Christchurch Tuesday and Wednesday 18th and 19th of February. Billed as the “Sale of the Stars” their graduates include seven modern day New Zealand Cup winners, thirty two Harness Jewels winners and thirty one Australasian Breeders Crown winners. Unity under the PGG Wrightson organisation has been a major benefit to the sales. Especially in producing a top quality catalogue, funding a very successful inward buyer scheme and the $1 million Sales Race Series now in its 24th year. Harnesslink is running a short series on some of the yearlings on offer. Lot 31 Premier sale - FREEDOM FIGHTER SIRE - Courage Under Fire was the best juvenile pacer to ever race in Australasia, winning his first 24 starts. He won six Derbies at three, a record that is unlikely to be matched let alone beaten. At stud he has done an outstanding job leaving such brilliant horses as Pembrook Benny ($839,232), Sleepy Tripp ($736,985), Lanercost ($506,102), Choise Achiever ($504,983) and Smolda ($461,307) to name just a few. They have that rare ability to excel at two and three yet go on to succeed as older horses on the Grand Circuit. DAM - Rafiki (2:00.8) is a race winning daughter of New York Motoring  who has lived up to her pedigree in the broodmare barn. She is already the dam of six winners including the very smart filly, Amboseli 1:58.7 ($71,645) and her full brother in Huey Hewitt ($71,000) as well as the recent Addington winner in Mashika 1:56.1. A race winning daughter in Tamarind has already left the talented mate Tamanisha (1;54.1) and Here's Shifty (4 NZ Wins). The grand-dam is the brilliant two year old of her year in Kisumu (1:57.4pl) who won the New Zealand Sires Stakes for fillies at two. At stud she has produced six winners including the standout filly of her year in Turkana (1:57.1) who won the Nevele R Fillies Final as well as the New Zealand and Queensland Oaks. The third dam Kinshasha left six winners and is a full sister to the champion broodmare, Sakuntala. OVERVIEW - A smart looking type from a top producing mare, this colt is from the the top juvenile producing family in the New Zealand stud book. Made famous by the full sister to Kinshasha in Sakuntala, it continues to produce juveniles capable of winning the age group classics. This colt has all the attributes to follow in the foot steps of his illustrious relatives. Catalogue pedigree. Lot 80 Premier sale - THE ACTOR SIRE - Mach Three is one of the elite sires where ever he stands and continues to leave quality racehorses world wide. Getting close to $100,000,000 in earnings world wide, his stock can get up and run at two and still be flying at five on the Grand Circuit. His standout colts in New Zealand include the champion Auckland Reactor ($1,837,043), Magical Mach ($1,238,943), Mah Sish ($747,331) and Sir Lincoln ($650,229) to name just a few. With a percentage of winners to foals of close to 60%, he ticks every box as a sire. DAM - The Actress (1:59.1) is a race winning daughter of Elsu from the top producing Soky's Atom broodmare Stage Talent who has left five winners from six foals to date, all in better than 2:00. Those winners include the very smart 3/4 sister to The Actor in Collectable (p2 1:58,2) who won three times at two on her way to winning $111,038, About Ambition (1:55.8) $88,478 and Slippery Mackenzie (1:57.3) $95,805. The third dam Stage Queen has left six winners including Dash For Cash (1:54) and her daughters have left such speedy types as Lucky Voodoo (1:54.4) and Estlers Light (1:54.3). She is a full sister to the brilliant Defoe (1:53)  $423,272 and a half sister to the dam of Silver Lined Pocket (1:50.2)  $307,838. OVERVIEW - This Mach Three colt is a 3/4 brother to top two year old filly in Collectable from a race winning Elsu daughter of the top broodmare Stage Talent. Direct Scooter line stallions have always crossed well with this family with Silver Lined Pocket and the the brilliant filly Secret Potion ($285,000) just two by that sire line to excel that are close up in this colt's pedigree. Catalogue pedigree. LOT 197 Premier sale - Handsome Hero SIRE - Courage Under Fire was the best juvenile pacer to ever race in Australasia, winning his first 24 starts. He won six Derbies at three, a record that is unlikely to be matched let alone beaten. At stud he has done an outstanding job leaving such brilliant horses as Pembrook Benny ($839,232), Sleepy Tripp ($736,985), Lanercost ($506,102), Choise Achiever ($504,983) and Smolda ($461,307) to name just a few. They have that rare ability to excel at two and three yet go on to succeed as older horses on the Grand Circuit. DAM - this is the third foal of Famous Lover who is a 1:56.1 daughter of boom broodmare sire, Dream Away. She won $30,743 in a brief career and is a half sister to four winners including the smart Flashbang (1:55). The first foal of Famous Lover is the speedy Santanna Blue Chip filly in Call Me Yours who ran second at her one New Zealand start before being exported to Australia. The grand-dam Susan Who ($33,075, 1:59.7f) has left four winners to date with two in 2:00. The third dam Socialite left three winners and her daughters and grand-daughters have left such smart types as At Your Service ($210,261), Greek to Me ($138,467) and Lionsixchristiansnil ($63,686). Socialite was a half to three outstanding pacers in Sassenach (12 wins) Stampede (11 wins) and Ryal (9 wins) who were all grand circuit level pacers. OVERVIEW - A lovely colt from a 1:56.1 mare whose first foal Call Me Yours has looked smart in her brief career to date. This is the branch of the Edith family that produced three cup class pacers in Sassenach, Stampede and Ryal and this colt would seem well placed to add to the legacy of this family. Catalogue pedigree. JC  

Buzz Queensland pacer Brigadier Bronski is on target to qualify for the Chariots Of Fire. The in-form four-year-old has arrived safely in Sydney in preparation for the Gr.2 $50,000 Hondo Grattan Sprint at TABCORP Park, Menangle this Saturday night where he meets fellow Sunshine State star Majestic Mach and boom Kiwi pacer Border Control. A top three finish this weekend will see him stamp his ticket for the $200,000 feature on Sunday, March 2. And his owner/breeder/trainer Stuart Hunter is happy with his stable star. “We arrived on Monday and he handled the travelling well and appears to have settled in nicely to his new surroundings. We have landed a good draw and everything seems to be in order so hopefully he continues with his good form.” Hunter said. This is the first time Brigadier Bronski has raced outside of his home state but his current form is unequalled, boasting eight victories at his last nine starts. Two starts ago, he produced a jaw-dropping performance at Albion Park to beat Majestic Mach and Caesar Augustus after racing three-wide solo over the final 800m in blistering sectionals. Brigadier Bronski cruised to an effortless victory in a career best time of 1;54.9 at Albion Park last week proving his previous victory was no fluke. “It was good effort last week but I told Shane (Graham – driver) before the race to look after him and not knock him around so he basically cruised around last week, the plugs still in while he was basically shut down over the final furlong. “We’re here for the Chariots and another forward showing this week should see him gain an invitation but it’s a tough field with several in-form pacers but I can’t fault my guy and the draw, it makes it easier from a good draw. “Obviously Majestic Mach and Border Control have big reputations and deservedly so considering what they have achieved to date so they have my attention and respect but my horse continues to improve and his form lines are brilliant currently. I think the big track will suit his style of racing.” Shane Graham will travel south on Saturday to continue his association with the Art Major entire. Queensland is chasing its third Chariots Of Fire victory following the success of Slipnslide (2005) and Lanercost (2011). By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

Smart three-year-old trotter Trouble Rieu is the latest to emerge on to the scene in time for Saturday’s $30,000 Group Three Hambletonian Classic at Ashburton, which is shaping up to be a stellar field. After disappointing when fifth at Addington on January 17, the Brent White trained son of Great Success looked right back to his best at Geraldine on Saturday where he easily accounted for his 14 rivals after looping the field to sit parked. “Brent (White) has had a few minor issues with him, but he seems right back on top of his game now,” said driver Stephen McNally. “At his best he is definitely capable of matching it with the best of them,” warned McNally. “He proved that last season and I always thought he would be better at three,” he added. Trainer Brent White was quick to agree. “He is a lovely horse, who has derby type written all over him,” said White. “He generally has good manners too, which could be a big assist in a race like the Hambletonian.” Others who will more than likely compete in Saturday’s trotting feature include Thebestlove and Majestic Time, who were both super impressive when winning at Rangiora last Tuesday. In fact, Thebestlove set a new 2000 metre New Zealand record for three-year-trotters when downing Lothario, who will also stake a claim on Saturday. “And of course One Over Da Moon will be there, and we all saw how good he was last season,” added White. Meanwhile, Thorn In My Side, who was the winner of the ninth race on the Geraldine card has been retired on a winning note in foal to super sire Bettor’s Delight. “She is actually a really nice mare, but she has been plagued with soreness issues and bad luck her whole career,” said trainer Peter Robertson. “She is by Falcon Seelster from a sister to multiple Group One winner Lanercost, so she should make a lovely broodmare,” he added. In other news from Geraldine, junior driver Nathan Purdon continued his good association with Uncle Grant Payne when guiding Little Miss Sunshine to victory at odds of $27.90. Purdon has now driven for Payne on six occasions, resulting in three wins and a placing. Little Miss Sunshine was having just her second start for Payne after being transferred from the barn of Robbie Holmes. “She was in need of the run her first start for Grant and she ended up having a tough trip, so we were actually quietly confident of a bold run today.” By Mitchell Robertson

In our prominent harness racing stallion series we have reviewed American Ideal,  Art Major, Bettors Delight  and Christian Cullen so far and today we have produced an in depth review for Courage Under Fire. Enjoy the read. BREEDING - Another son of the Southern Hemisphere super sire In The Pocket  (As a stallion In The Pocket has been nothing short of sensational in New Zealand and is responsible for changing the breed in Australia and New Zealand. – becoming NZ’s Champion Sire in both 1998/99 and 2003/04 as well as being the Leading 2YO Sire five times and twice 3YO Sire of the Year. He is the sire of 3 NZ based millionaires and multiple Harness Horses of the Year). Courage Under Fire is from the Vance Hanover mare Advance Debra. She won the NZ Sires Stakes Final but was the only winner of any note in her family. The old saying about champions can come from anywhere certainly applies in this case. RACE RECORD - Arguably the best juvenile pacer to ever race in the Southern Hemisphere. He won his first 24 races and included in those were six derbies on both sides of the Tasman, a record which is unlikely to be ever broken. Small in stature, he was known as the "Pocket Rocket" and thrilled crowds with his displays of speed and stamina. Not as dominant as an older horse but he still wound up his racing career with the outstanding record of 41 wins and 4 placings from 56 starts, taking a time of 1:54.2 on his way to earning $1,551,000. AMERICAN STUD RECORD - Only has the very small number of just 17 horses that have been exported to America but they have done a stellar job so far. Headed by such smart types as the mare Itz Cherry Ripe ($526,727), Flem N Em 1:49.3 ($461,175) and Artic Fire ($341,008), his stock have garnered $3,735,535 to date. With such small numbers it is hard to draw any conclusions either way on his record in the USA.  Eligible to race - 17 Winners - 17 $100,000 plus - 13 $1,000,000 plus - 0 Sub 1:50 - 1 Average earnings - $219,737 Total earnings to date - $3,735,535 AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD - Bred small numbers initially (foals; 15, 19, 29, 44, 15, 21, 64) as he was based in NZ  and there were issues with the transportation of his semen. Now based in Australia under the care of Alabar, he has served large books in the last three years (foals; 134, 100, 144). This is due in no small part to the record of NZ imports with 38 of them having won over $100,000 in Australia. The record of his Australian born stock is a lot less successful with Smolda ($512,888) standing head and shoulders over the other 341 sons and daughters he has in Australia. His next best performer after Smolda is Runnaway Fire ($228,061). What is really concerning is his percentages of winners to foals which are well off the pace of his major competitors. That may change now that he is under the influence of Alabar but it needs to and soon. Foals 3yr old and older - 341 Winners - 118 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 35% $100,000 plus - 13 $1,000,000 plus - 0 Average earnings per starter - $23,390 Average earnings per eligible horse - $14,129 Total earnings to date - $4,818,319 NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD - Right from the start he had huge support from breeders in NZ (foals; 151, 127, 186, 236) and that is reflected in the number of quality colts and fillies he has left in NZ. Colts of the class of Pembrook Benny ($787,745), Sleepy Tripp ($723,887), Lanercost ($506,324), Courage To Rule ($489,231), Choise Achiever ($502,095), Franco Jamar ($367,492) and Days Of Courage ($335,859) while his fillies included the likes of Lancome ($461,277) and Secret Potion ($285,312). His percentages in NZ are again a concern but at least he has some quality horses to showcase. Foals 3yr old and older - 950 Winners - 374 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 39& $100,000 plus - 16 (38 in Australia) $1,000,000,000 plus - 0 Average earnings per starter - $20,610 Average earnings per eligible horse - $10,413 Total earnings to date - $9,892,809 POSITIVES - Can leave top line two and three year olds who can go on to be competitive as older horses on the Grand Circuit. Leaves top class fillies as well as colts and they have a reputation for being very durable. NEGATIVES -  In both Australia and New Zealand his percentages are 15 to 20 points below what his major competitors are achieving in both countries. And he needs a few more quality individuals in Australia with Smolda his only real credit so far. OVERVIEW - This horse has all the credentials to be a leading sire but his record to date is one of under achievement. That may have more to do with his management in the recent past. He has changed ownership twice, countries and states and that makes it tougher for a stallion to excel. Now under the management of Alabar he will get the opportunity to turn those numbers around but it better happen in the next twelve months or so or he may find himself passed over for some of the new boys on the scene OVERALL RATING - 6/10 JC A Sire review - American Ideal A Sire review - Art Major A Stallion review - Bettors Delight A Stallion review - Christian Cullen Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we are running a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires. As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true. As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data. The above PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them.  (All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)  And here is "The forgotten sires series" This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink have already completed with a view to sheading some light on some of  the "forgotten"sires in Australasia. Elsu - Redemption awaits McArdle - The quiet achiever Santanna Blue Chip - On the up and up! Major In Art - Big and fast Mr Feelgood - Dual hemisphere champion Pay Me Christian - Blistering speed Monkey Bones - All class Tinted Cloud - Still going strong Real Desire - The real deal Washington VC - Continuing excellence Wetern Ideal - A superstar sire Bacardy Lindy - Blue blood Monarchy - Out of Sundons shadow Artiscape - Frozen semen blues? Dream Vacation - Frozen semen superstar Badlands Hanover - Great value Lis Mara - The quiet achiever Brylin Boyz - Potential fulfilled

During the past month, new faces have made a visit to the winner’s enclosure. On the same day at Redcliffe, rookie trainers Glenn Bridges and James Lewin both prepared their first winner while fresh-faced drivers Madi Dux and Isobel Ross also landed their maiden success during the same week. Well, another name can be added to that list. And it’s a case of ‘Girl Power’ again. Brittany Graham, 18, eldest daughter of highly respected trainer/driver Darrel and Linda landed her first winner at Redcliffe yesterday (Thursday) when successful aboard Palazzo Las Vegas. For Brittany, victory was extra sweet. Brittany trains and drives Palazzo Las Vegas in her own right and guided the well-backed favourite to an all the way victory in the opening race of the day which was run under standing-start conditions. “How good was that, I was so excited and it’s such a buzz to win my first race. I’m so thrilled that mum and dad were here with me today.” A super-excited Graham stated. A graduate of the West Moreton Anglican College, Graham was born into harness racing and has travelled far and wide alongside her father as he campaigned star pacers Lanercost, Rollon Bigred, Courageous Annie, Montana Marie and many others over the years. Only recently, Brittany was appointed as a ‘We Run As One’ ambassador by Racing Queensland as they re-launched the racing codes in the sunshine state under a new government. Brittany has featured in many commercials, both television and radio, during her role as an ambassador. “Brittany loves the sport; she’s grown up with horses her entire life and has always enjoyed being around the horses and stables. Now that her schooling is complete, she’s decided to get a little more hands on and she’s really enjoying herself. “Brittany was chuffed with her appointment as an ambassador for the new campaign, and the horse that features in the promo’s with her is actually Palazzo Las Vegas so it’s turned out pretty good for both of them. “Linda and I are very proud parents and it’s great to get that first winner on the board, I’m sure it will prove to be a great boost for Brittany as she chases her next winner. She’s working hard and always trying to improve so you can’t ask for much more than that.” Proud father Darrel explained. Next-up, Brittany will venture to Kilcoy this Sunday for the massive dual-code race day which will be staged on the grass and the rookie driver will partner Kerry Orelly for her father in the Garrards Horse & Hound Pace. The day will comprise of 11 races, eight thoroughbred events and three harness events with full TAB and Sky Channel coverage. by Chris Barsby

The first feature night meeting of the season in the Riverina will be held at Wagga on Friday night as the countdown continues to the peak time of the racing year. Yirribee Stud race night has attracted seven races with $46,000 prizemoney and $20,000 in stallion bonuses on offer. The feature race is the Ian Walsh Memorial which honors the life of the former Wagga Harness Racing Club president who was also a former partner in Yirribee Stud. It's the biggest line-up of bonuses Yirribee has offered to five of its nine stallions. The winner of the Ian Walsh Memorial will not only receive the major share of $8000 prizemoney but a free service to former champion Mr Feelgood valued at close to $5000. Aqua Luvy is likely to start favorite for the Ian Walsh Memorial from barrier three representing in-form combination Jackson Painting and Blake Jones. Painting had four winners at the previous Wagga meeting and again has a strong hand. The field for the Million Dollar Cam Classic also has plenty of quality with last start Menangle winner Lucys Penny opposed to the talented Northern Line and in-form Scottish Glamour and Goforzoe. Yirribee has also put up services to former star pacers Lanercost ($2970) and Lombo Pocket Watch ($2200) and Little Brown Jug winner, Million Dollar Cam ($3300). Yirribee, which will stand a record nine stallions this season, has reported a strong response to its stallions particularly since the new bonuses for breeders was announced earlier this month. Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Montana Marie is a BIG filly. And the star Queenslander will need a gigantic performance to win Sunday’s Gr.1 $175,000 Australasian Breeders Crown 3yo Fillies Final at TABCORP Park, Melton. Star filly and series favourite Frith has drawn ideally in gate two (with the emergency scratched) while Montana Marie has drawn poorly off the second-line in twelve. Both fillies were ultra-impressive in their own ways last week at Ballarat when taking out the respective semi-finals but the barrier draw gives a clear advantage to the New South Wales trained filly. “The draw is a killer. And having Frith draw so well is going to make it very hard on a track like Melton where leaders have a great advantage.” Trainer/driver Darrel Graham said. Montana Marie recorded twelve straight victories this season including the Gr.2 $75,000 Nursery Pace Final at Albion Park where she overcame a similar second-line draw. The Art Major filly then raced with distinction in the Gold Coast Oaks when a game second to smart Kiwi filly Our Splendour before an early mistake cost her any chance in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks at Albion Park. “Del has done an amazing job this season; she’s such a tough and strong filly but her speed has really developed and that’s been the key to her success this term. We’re going to be calling on all of that speed and strength this weekend to get a piece of the prize but surely there will be some early pressure applied to Frith, I’m just hopeful they don’t hand Frith the race. Every time I look at the race it appears very difficult for us to work into the race without doing too much work. At least we’re there and I know that she is fit and well so now we’re playing for some luck.” At least future plans have been sorted for the younger half-sister to former Grand Circuit performer I Am Sam. Earlier this season, owner Dean Shannon outlined retirement plans for his filly at seasons end but those plans have now been shelved. “Del is coming back next season, Dean doesn’t like over racing his fillies but following the recent retirement of Lanercost we’ve decided to race again next season. After Sunday, Del will go for a big spell and then we’ll map out a program for next year with her but she’s eligible for schemes like Vicbred and obviously the Breeders Crown so we’ve got some good options already. Dean has Courageous Annie due to foal to Rocknroll Hanover later this year so another season of racing for this filly won’t hurt anybody before she joins Annie in the broodmare paddock.” But a Breeders Crown victory could easily have connections thinking bigger plans. by Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

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