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Cobbity harness racing trainer John McCarthy made the Treuer Memorial his own with talented pacer Washakie when he won the event on five successive occasions.  History also shows McCarthy has a dominant record in Penrith’s flagship race, the Renshaw Cup.  The Miracle Mile winning trainer has won three of the past four Renshaw Cups and could add another to his collection this Thursday night. The McCarthy stable will be represented by giant-killer Blazin N Cullen in this week’s $50,000 Group Two event.  The gelding became the first pacer to defeat Beautide over 2300 metres at Menangle last Saturday night handing the dual Inter Dominion winner just his second loss in races further than a mile at the track. Blazin N Cullen won the 2014 Renshaw Cup for McCarthy and was a fast finishing third behind New Zealand star Smolda in last year’s event.  Washakie won the race in 2013 while Terrorway won it in 2012.  The son of Christian Cullen is well bred.  His mother Rye Hanover is a full sister to stallions Red River Hanover, Rustler Hanover and Righteous Hanover while her half brother was $3 million winner Rocknroll Hanover. Punters should not be concerned about the recent workload for Blazin N Cullen as it will be his third run in the space of twelve days.  He came through an arduous Inter Dominion campaign late last year and raced four times in the space of seventeen days.  The final run of his Inter Dominion campaign saw him finish fourth in the Inter Dominion Consolation. Yayas Hot Spot looks the hardest to beat for Blazin N Cullen after the five-year-old gelding drew the front row.  The son of Jeremes Jet has the speed to cross to the front should Lauren Panella choose to fire him out of the gate.  He led for most of last year’s Renshaw Cup before being collared in the shadows of the post by Smolda.  Spare Me Days will start from barrier one if the emergencies are withdrawn.  The Brad Hewitt trained four year old defeated Frith in the Young Cup two starts ago and looks to be another of the winning chances in Thursday’s event. TAB has Blazin N Cullen equal favourite for Thursday’s race with last year’s runner up Yayas Hot Spot at $3.50.  Spare Me Days is next in the market at $4.60 while My General Lee is priced at $5.00. Greg Hayes  

It's shaping as a match-race between two of the quickest harness racing pacers to race in Australasia. And two of the best reinswomen ever to grace the Tabcorp Park Menangle circuit will be in the ˜hotseats". The $200,000 Form 700 Chariots Of Fire should ensure a big crowd at Menangle on Saturday night as Miracle Mile invitations go on the line. Star New Zealand-based driver Natalie Rasmussen is here to partner one of Mark Purdon's stable stars in Have Faith In Me, who has drawn gate 11 and should come into 10 when the first emergency, Admiral Bronski is withdrawn. And the Kiwi colt may have to break 1:50, or go very close to that mark if he is to come from the wide draw and account for flying four-year-old former Kiwi mare Arms Of An Angel. Arms Of An Angel will be partnered by premier reinswoman Lauren Panella. This daughter of former Inter Dominion champion Elsu is unbeaten since crossing the Tasman to join the Shane Tritton barn, winning seven in succession with ridiculous ease. Indeed Arms Of An Angel is already a triple record holder at Menangle, with two incredible times of 1:50.7 and 1:50.3 among her string of wins. And her winning margins in Australia add up to an even-more-impressive 114.6m. Panella will be looking for a quick getaway when she comes out of the eight barrier on Saturday night and is expected to cross and find the lead. From there it might be catch-me-if-you can – and break 1:50 if you have to – if you want to beat this dynamic duo. While it shapes as a match race, the presence of Tact Tate, Ameretto, Cruz Bromac and several other smart performers ensures it will be a race to remember . . . with an invitation to the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile awaiting the winner. There are at least four other invitations up for grabs on the night with the first two home in the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint as well as the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint guaranteed spots in the Miracle Mile on February 28. For further information telephone NSWHRC Racing Manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200.

Leading into tonights harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the $50,000 Hondo Grattan Stakes was all the talk amongst the pundits with the Chariots Of Fire looming large on the horizon. It was a field chock full of some of the best four year old colts and geldings in Australia but in the end it was left to the brilliant mare Arms Of An Angel to give them a start and a beating in the group two feature Lauren Panella pushed the go button from barrier ten with Arms Of An Angel and they blazed to the front in a blistering 25.6 which is low flying at any stage of a race. Allowed a second quarter of 30 seconds, Panella let arms Of An Angel stride through the third quarter in 27.7 before unleashing another smart quarter in 27.4 to stop the clock in a brilliant 1:50.7. Amaretto held on for second to complete the domination by the mares while Aztec Bromac finished well late for third to be the first male home. Hot favourite Cruz Bromac flashed late for fifth but put in a few fancy steps near the 400 metres which cost him any winning chance. While Arms Of An Angel was the winner of just two from twenty three in New Zealand, the daughter of Elsu has been a revelation since crossing the Tasman and joining the Shane Tritton barn. The winner of her last five for Tritton, Arms Of An Angel has recorded three miles in 1:50 and change in those five wins and is without doubt the best mare racing in Australia at the moment. To blaze an opening quarter in 25.6 from barrier ten and still go on and win the race in 1:50.7 is an outstanding run and brings her right into contention for races such as the Chariots Of Fire  The big question now is can she take the step up in a race such as the Chariots Of Fire against the likes of Have Faith In Me? Have Faith In Me had an easy time of it later in the night in the FFA Pace in 1:52 but ran home in a very quick 54 and 26.2 and still looked to have something in reserve at the finish. Whatever happens, Arms Of An Angel has certainly proved a bargin purchase for her new owners in Australia. Harnesslink Media 

Premiership winning harness racing couple Shane Tritton and Lauren Panella will be relocating from Keinbah to Menangle early next month. Tritton and Panella have clocked up almost 1000 winners out of the property during the best part of the last decade but an offer to move to Sydney’s harness racing headquarters was tough to knock back despite family ties in the Hunter region. “It’s all happening in the first week of February,” Tritton said. “We’ve trained 921 winners out of here during the last seven or so years and the family would have trained another 1000 before that so there is a lot of history there. “But the travel has been tough and they are building whole new training facilities down at Menangle with stables, water walkers and paddock space. “They approached us to go down and although it was a tough decision to leave here we would be silly not to go.” Tritton has gradually expanded his operation since his days as a maths tutor training on the side. He had been based at Metford, Ashtonfield and Rutherford but always trained out of Keinbah. Clayton Harmey was there the five years prior to Tritton. Previously it was Tritton’s step-father Clarrie Sweeney, partner of Tritton’s mother Marlene, who operated the farm.  In more recent times Tritton has been running the show and it has been a successful period, including group 1 victories and runners in both Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile finals. He has notched up six consecutive trainer’s premierships at Newcastle, which included becoming the first to reach 100 winners in a single season. In 2013-2014 he was the first country trainer to win a NSW Metropolitan premiership. Three times he has finished runner-up in the state premiership race, which included a NSW trainer’s national record of 222 wins in 2014-2015. This prolific period has also coincided with Panella arriving on the scene and during the past three years she has been kicking goals as a driver. This has included two Newcastle premierships, a reigning state title and a historic NSW Metropolitan crown, becoming the first female to clinch the prize in 2013-2014. Together, the couple are currently working about 50 horses but that looks set to change in the near future. “I think we will cut down a fair bit from there,” Tritton said. “We will probably have a smaller team and aim for ­quality. “Hopefully we can kick on to get some better results with some better horses.” Tritton has both Katy Perry and Silver Back in the Golden Guitar final at Tamworth on Friday night and said one last triumph would be ideal. “A Golden Guitar would be a good way to go out,” Tritton said. “Katy Perry has a good chance, she is a good horse and will go onto bigger things from here.” Katy Perry, to be steered by Panella from barrier six in the $25,500 decider, will face tough opposition from the next gate in fastest qualifier and track record holder Cyclone Kate (barrier five). Silver Back will start the 1980 metre journey from the outside of the back row in barrier 10 with Joe Pace on board. One inside that will be Tiz A Smokey (barrier nine) for Kitchener trainer Michael Osborn and Morisset driver Mark Callaghan. Elsewhere and Arms Of An Angel will contest the Chariots Of Fire heats at Menangle on Saturday for Tritton and Panella while on the same night Newcastle International Paceway will host a nine-race meeting from 6.10pm.  By Josh Callinan Reprinted with permission of The Maitland Mercury news site  

The Australian Driving Championships will be conducted at Launceston this Sunday evening with twelve of the nation's best harness racing drivers competing for the title. Each state will be represented by two drivers and NSW representatives Robbie Morris and Lauren Panella are both set to arrive in Tasmania on Sunday morning. Morris is awaiting the arrival of his first child with partner Kerryann Turner due to give birth last Friday but the pair is adamant the leading male driver in NSW last season will take his place in the Championship. "I've spoken with Kerryann about it and she said that opportunities to drive in a series like this don't come along very often in your career and she wants me to compete but I guess I'll just have to see what happens between now and Sunday," Morris said. "In an ideal world Kerryann would go into labour on Thursday and everything would fall into place but knowing my luck she will probably start having the baby as soon as I arrive in Tasmania on Sunday." In the heats Morris has drawn several strong chances including Paint The Wind in race three, The Bettormack in race four, Major Callum in race five and El Jays Minerva is race six. Those strong chances will make Morris one of the favourites to win the series. Lauren Panella will drive in Victoria on Friday evening before returning to Sydney to drive at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday and is also preparing for a trip across to Western Australia for the upcoming Inter Dominion later this month. Panella won the NSW Drivers Premiership last season despite missing the final ten weeks of the season with a broken wrist and will be representing NSW for the first time. In race two Panella will drive Kyleasha which has a strong winning chance and her drives in the following two races, Thatswhatshesaid and Our Percius have each way hopes. Last year's Australian Driving Championship was won by Queensland's Peter McMullen with NSW representatives Blake Fitzpatrick and Amanda Turnbull finishing 6th and 10th respectively. Greg Hayes

After 132 days on the sidelines due to a serious hand injury sustained in a race fall, harness racing driver Lauren Panella returned in winning form at Newcastle on Friday afternoon. The 22-year-old recorded two victories in her first two drives back with Arms Of An Angel and Salty Robyn winning impressively. Both horses are trained by her fiance Shane Tritton but the first winner, Arms Of An Angel, gave Panella a few heart flutters after it galloped with a lap to go. The former kiwi trained mare settled down quickly, with Panella steering the four-year-old back into the lead before going onto record an effortless win. Salty Robyn's win was nowhere near as dramatic with the NZ Jewels finalist leading throughout to record an easy victory. Panella had seven drives on her first day back at Newcastle and will head to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night for another six. Last season's NSW Drivers Premiership winner is hoping Mach Beauty can add to her winner's tally as she is 25 wins behind this season's leaders Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris. It was announced earlier this week Panella will be one of two NSW representatives at the Australian Drivers Championship in Tasmania next month. Greg Hayes

Harness Racing New South Wales has confirmed drivers Lauren Panella and Robbie Morris will be the state's two representatives at the Australian Drivers Championship in Tasmania next month. The pair finished first and second on the NSW Drivers' Premiership last season and were rewarded for their overall consistency and performance. It won't be the first time Panella has represented NSW, having played soccer for the state nearly a decade ago but she was very proud when she received the call informing her of the opportunity. "Having not driven since June after I had the fall and got injured I wasn't expecting my phone to ring but I was very happy when it did, I'm really looking forward to it," Panella said. "It is going to be a pretty busy time for the stable in the middle of November, we have horses getting ready to go to Perth for the Inter Dominion but I won't be missing this opportunity, it is a chance to compete against the best drivers in Australia." Panella confirmed this year's World Drivers Championships held in NSW which saw reinsmen from ten different countries was a real eye opener for her. "After watching all of the different drivers in the World Drivers Championships I thought it would be great to be involved in something like that and to get the chance to represent NSW in a national series is a real privilege." Since commencing her career as a driver, Panella has driven 567 winners and before suffering the injury to her hand had been in great form. Panella has won six of her last ten drives and is set to return to race driving this Friday night. "I'm more excited than nervous, I think I'm going to have a full book this Friday night which will be a good work out for me." Robbie Morris confirmed he had to check the calendar when he was contacted by HRNSW and offered the chance to represent NSW next month. "Kerryann (Turner) and I are due to have a baby on November 6 and the Australian Drivers Championship is on November 15 so everything should fit in nicely," Morris said. "If the Championship had been conducted over a week it might have been a different story but Kerryann and I had a good chat about it and I'm really looking forward to being involved." Morris was the NSW representative in this year's Australasian Young Drivers. "The Young Drivers series was in New Zealand and I had never driven there before and this will be my first time in Tasmania as well. "I have grown up in harness racing and I've dreamed of competing in a series like this, it is an honour and hopefully Lauren or I can win it for NSW." HRNSW CEO John Dumesny wished Panella and Morris the best of luck and believes the duo deserved the opportunity to represent the state. "Lauren and Robbie were the leading drivers in NSW last season and naturally the Board considered they were the best two candidates," Dumesny said. "It is great we have both sexes represented and these two young drivers will be taking on the best drivers in Australia." The Championship will be conducted at Launceston over six races with six states selecting two representatives each. Greg Hayes

Despite missing the final ten weeks of the season due to injury, 22-year old Lauren Panella has won her first NSW Drivers' Premiership. Panella drove 167 winners in NSW during the 2014/15 season and was more than 30 victories in front of her nearest rival. After finishing second behind Amanda Turnbull on two previous occasions, Panella was relieved to have achieved a career goal at such a tender age. "After finishing second behind Amanda in the two previous years, I have been striving to be the leading driver in the state and considering I missed the best part of three months I am very proud of the achievement," Panella said. "I have had some great support from a number of owners and Shane (Tritton) provided me with a lot of those victories so a big thank you to everyone who has helped me." Panella is not expected to be back until October 23 and although she will be giving her main rivals a big start, the pint-sized reinswoman has not given up on defending her title. "I am going to be a long way behind when I finally do get back to the races and with a trip planned to Perth for the Inter Dominion it will mean I am out of NSW for even more time but I am confident that I can go close again this season." Other awards winners were; Cockburn & Co Solicitors Champion Driver - Lauren Panella Cockburn & Co Solicitors Champion Trainer - Steve Turnbull Hyland Sportswear Champion Junior Driver - Lauren Panella Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metro) - Sam Hewitt Daily Form Service Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Country) - Daniel Morgan Tabcorp Carnival of Cups Leading Driver - Amanda Turnbull Tabcorp Carnival of Cups Leading Trainer - Steve Turnbull Tabcorp Carnival of Cups Leading Trotting Trainer - Blake Fitzpatrick Tabcorp Carnival of Cups Leading Horse - Strathlachlan Andy Greg Hayes

Last season's leading harness racing driver in NSW, Lauren Panella will make her long awaited comeback from injury on October 23. The 22-year old met with her doctors today and has been told she can return to the sport she loves in six weeks time. Panella suffered serious injuries to her hand after falling from her sulky on June 13 and is already counting the days to her first drive back. "I'll be working as hard as I can physically and mentally to ensure I'm ready to go on October 23, the doctors are confident that I will be fully recovered to resume," Panella said. "Coincidently it is Shane's (Tritton) birthday on October 24 so it might be the best birthday present I can give him, I've really missed the sport for the past couple of months and it has been very hard watching all of the racing from the sidelines." Despite missing the last two and a half months of the season Panella still won the NSW Drivers' Premiership by 34 wins and although she will have missed the first two months of the new season is still a chance to defend her title. The biggest hurdle for Panella to overcome in chasing the early leaders down will be the decision by her fiance Shane Tritton to reduce the size of his team. After training a team of up to 80 horses during last season, Tritton has confirmed he will be aiming to reduce his stable to 40 horses and will look to concentrate on targeting the better races in Australasia. Panella is set to return to drive a stable that is full of talent including Mach Beauty, Suave Stuey Lombo, Salty Robyn, Lombo Kotakinabalu, Katy Perry, Easy On The Eye, Mychachingchaching and Yayas Hot Spot. Panella has raced to 567 victories and a further 520 placings in her career from just 2020 drives. Greg Hayes

Hunter Valley harness racing trainer Shane Tritton admits he took the wrong horse to the New Zealand Cup in 2013. Suave Stuey Lombo struggled with the standing start conditions however stablemate Mach Beauty is much better suited behind 'the strands' as he proved in a trial on Wednesday night at Newcastle. The son of Mach Three rated 2:00.1 for the 2030 metres after stepping away safely and in the process broke the Newcastle standing start track record. Mach Beauty has not raced for a year but is just about ready to return to racing after two solid trials with Guy Chapple in the sulky. "With Lauren (Panella) still on the sidelines, Guy has been driving him and he'll get the chance to drive him in the first part of his preparation too," Tritton said. "I'm really keen for him to have a shot at the New Zealand Cup, I loved the experience with Suave Stuey Lombo and I learned a lot on that trip." It is expected Mach Beauty will have at least one more trial before he resumes. "There is definitely no rush at the moment, he has had a slow build up to his racetrack return and I think it will pay dividends in the long run. "I'm aiming to have him ready to race in the middle of September which will give him two months of solid racing before the NZ Cup." Tritton is considering taking Suave Stuey Lombo to New Zealand as well but will concentrate on the NZ Free-For-All. "At this stage I'm thinking of taking Mach Beauty over and he would compete in the Cup and the FFA while Suave Stuey Lombo might just go over and target the FFA, we now understand that he is best suited over the short trips and that is what we are going to concentrate on. "If everything goes right with Mach Beauty and he copes well then I will take him across to Perth for the Inter Dominion as well but there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and then." After making the decision to campaign a large team of horses in Queensland during the Winter Carnival, Tritton threw away his chances of winning the NSW Trainers Premiership. "I had to do the right thing by my owners and that was to chase the big money in Queensland, we won plenty of races up there and if I stayed at home I think it would have been very close between Steve (Turnbull) and I but you have to do what is right by the people behind your stable. "Actually I have forgotten what my home looks like, I spent a long time in Queensland and now I am in Victoria for the Breeders Crown and I still won't be back in New South Wales for a while." Katy Perry won a repechage of the Breeders Crown on Wednesday night at Kilmore and Tritton is happy with her. "We were a little bit behind when she arrived in Australia because she had been in the paddock but I was really happy with her performances in Queensland and her win on Wednesday night was good. "I had to replace Robbie Morris because he had an issue with his car on the way down to Kilmore but Amanda Turnbull did everything she was asked to and did a great job." With Panella not expected to return until at least October, Tritton will continue to use the best driver available. "It is not easy because most of the top drivers are committed to other stables already and they understand that when Lauren is back she will be doing the driving on my horses but I think we have been able to make the best of a bad situation. "I'm still aiming to train 200 NSW winners this season and I know time is running out but that's the goal I'm targeting by the end of the month." Tritton has trained 191 NSW winners in 2014/15. Greg Hayes

Hunter Valley harness racing trainer Shane Tritton has joined a small group of trainers to have prepared 200 Australian winners in a single season. Victorian trainer Andy Gath was the first to achieve the feat in 2002/03 and since then only seven other trainers have reached the milestone. Mickey McRooney was the stable's 200th winner for the season when he won at Newcastle on Saturday night. Tritton became the fourth NSW trainer to enter the '200 club' joining Paul Fitzpatrick, Luke McCarthy and Steve Turnbull. "I was very happy, it was a great result for the entire stable - the owners, the staff, Lauren (Panella regular driver) and Mum, we work very hard but after reaching 200 winners it makes all of the hard work worthwhile," Tritton said. "For the next week I will remain in Queensland with the 30 or so horses that I have up here and I will look to come home after the meeting at Albion Park this Saturday night, there are still a few races that I would like to target in Queensland and some horses may stay up here but the majority will go home." Tritton is already eyeing off 200 NSW winners for the season and is confident that he will be able get the thirteen winners he needs in his home state. "I've got 187 winners in NSW with the other fourteen coming in Queensland but I think I should be able to get 200 back home with over a month of the season still remaining. "I've had a few owners who have contacted me and told me to spell their horses until the new season which will coincide with Lauren hopefully returning from injury but I'll just wait and see what happens when I get home." Talented four year old Yayas Hot Spot is expected to race on Saturday night in the Four Year Old Championships after finishing last in the Sunshine Sprint. "Saturday night should be easier than his last start and I think I have him back on track so I'm expecting him to perform a lot better. "I'm planning on starting Fearless Leader this weekend and a couple of my mares also." Three year old filly Katy Perry had little luck in Saturday night's Gr. 1 Queensland Oaks and can head to Victoria for the Breeders Crown. "I'll weigh up where to go with Katy Perry, she was unlucky on Saturday night and is a very classy filly, I'm very happy with her but I think it proves how important good barriers are especially in feature races. Tritton confirmed Lauren Panella will meet with her specialist again this week as she continues her recovery after breaking eight bones in her left wrist and hand. "She will be going back every week to see the specialist, the scenario we are working towards is for her to make a comeback in the new season but that will all be decided by the doctors, it is out of our hands." Greg Hayes

It has been nearly two weeks since harness racing driver Lauren Panella was badly injured as a result of a race fall at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The severe swelling in her left hand has meant specialists have been unable to confirm the severity of the injury however with a reduction in the bruising recently doctors have confirmed a total of eight broken bones. Panella has broken her wrist, fractured three fingers, three knuckles and broken a bone in her hand and has been given no indication by medical staff on how long it will take to make a full recovery. "The specialist refuses to give me a date on when I can make a comeback because he has known me for a while and believes I will want to return on the date he gives me whether I am ready to or not," Panella said. "All I am being told is that it will be a long recovery and I am going to need a lot of physio but there is some good news because I won't need any surgery." Doctors are concerned with Panella's fingers and how they will heal. "My fingers are bent over and I will need a special splint at some stage because my fingers need help to straighten but I still have very little feeling in my index finger. "My wrist and hand will heal themselves but there is some concern with my fingers and I can't even make a fist yet but the physio will definitely help the healing process." Western Australia's Inter Dominion will begin in November and Panella is hoping to be a part of the series. "Without a date it is hard to know whether I will be ready but I hope so, there are some very nice horses in the (Shane Tritton) stable and a number have been earmarked for a trip across to Gloucester Park. "I want to be working with the best physiotherapist I can, hopefully I can complete my physio on the Gold Coast while Shane is racing a team in Queensland but if I have to remain in Sydney then I will do that." Panella confirmed she is struggling to keep herself busy. "When I go out to the stables I just want to get in and do some work but that's not what I should be doing." Greg Hayes  

THE name Yaya's Hot Spot will live in local harness racing folklore for many years to come, after the four-year-old smashed the clock in winning the TAB Karloo Mick Gratuity (1720m) on Sunday's Carnival of Cups meeting at Dubbo Paceway. Prepared by leading trainer Shane Tritton and driven by Lauren Panella, the Jereme's Jet (USA) x Star Of Heaven (NZ) gelding started a prohibitive $1.10 favourite and gave nothing else a chance as he beat My Dusky Sound ($19.60, Amanda Turnbull) by more than 25 metres, with Mister Chow ($7.60, Ashlee Siejka) a further four metres away in third place. But as impressive as the winning margin was, it was nothing compared to the times shown on the semaphore board. Yaya's Hot Spot ran an even lead time of 8.0s to find the lead and strolled through the first quarter of the last mile in a leisurely 30.1s.  Panella asked the gelding to gradually pick up the pace from that point, with the middle splits run in 29.6s and 28.7s respectively.  It was at this stage when race caller Craig Easey sensed something special was on the cards and all focus turned to the clock. With the race result beyond doubt as Yaya's Hot Spot put a gap in his rivals, the biggest interest was in the time, and despite not being fully tested by Panella down the straight the gelding still recorded a split of 27.1s for his final 400m. It all added up to an overall time of 2:03.5, which equated to a mile rate of 1:55.5, slashing almost two seconds off Slick Bromac's previous mark of 1:57.4 recorded in December 2011.  It was fitting that the time was registered in a race named after Karloo Mick, arguably the greatest racing animal Dubbo has ever produced. "That felt pretty good," Panella said after the race. "I knew we were running pretty good time out there. We didn't go that hard early but he's such a fast horse that once we started rolling I knew he was going to run some pretty slick sectionals. "He loves these smaller 800m tracks too. He seems to really slingshot off the corners so he really got conditions to suit today. "In the truck on the way here we thought we might be able to give the track record a shake but to beat it by that much shows just how good this horse is going at the moment." For Tritton, the win was exactly what he wanted to see as he plots a course to this year's Inter Dominion series in Perth, where the 800m Gloucester Park circuit is expected to suit the four-year-old.  But first he will make the trek to Melbourne this week for the $50,000 University Foods 4/5yo Championship (2240m) at Melton. "We've been waiting to get him over a mile on one of these smaller tracks," Tritton said. "A couple of runs back it took a champion like Smolda to beat him in the Renshaw Cup at Penrith and now he has come out and run that sort of time here it just fills me with confidence that we can take him to Perth and he will acquit himself well. "I've had him since he was a two-year-old and he's always been a really nice horse but I probably lost him a bit late in his three-year-old season. "But we've got him back to the level we know he is capable of. He's probably the most exciting horse in my stable and today the people of Dubbo saw why." by Ben Walker courtesy of Dubbo's Daily Liberal

Leading New South Wales harness racing trainer Shane Tritton enjoyed a perfect trip to Newcastle last night. Contesting four of the six races on the program, Tritton left the venue with a quartet, with each driven by his partner, Lauren Panella. Thrilled with the result, Tritton stated he was extremely confident of registering at least one victory. “I had faith in all of them, but I was willing to put the house on winning the first,” Tritton joked. Tritton’s playful remark stems from the fact each runner in the field is a member of his every-growing stable. Despite some viewing the event as a glorified training exercise, Glenlochar blitzed his stablemates as a prohibitive $1.10 favourite. Never seriously challenged, the son of Elsu cruised to a 44-metre win from Mister Hairy Maclary, with Mickey Mcrooney eight-and-a-half metres away third. Glenlochar covered the mile in 1:53.8. “He is a pretty nice horse,” Tritton said. “Obviously he didn’t have to run the time he did, but I still wanted him to have a decent hit out.” Tritton and Panella then annexed the next three races with Ohoka Royal, Nota Lada and Jackaroo Bromac. PAUL COURTS

The daughter of New South Wales harness racing trainers Andrew and Karen Crouch is missing in Nepal after last weekend's earthquake. Katie Crouch, 25, left Australia with her boyfriend a fortnight ago and was expecting to be away for a total of five months. Leading driver Lauren Panella is a good friend of Katie's and has asked the industry to do everything they can to help locate the young Australian. "Karen is struggling to deal with everything that has happened over the past couple of days and according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade there isn't a lot that can be done at this stage," Panella said. "What DFAT did say though was to keep trying to ring her phone and to spread the word that she is missing via social media to raise awareness of her situation after the devastating earthquake that has caused so much damage." Panella confirmed Katie had been in contact with her family on Saturday to tell her family she was enjoying her holiday. "Katie got in touch with Karen on Saturday to let her know that she was having a good time and that she would be heading off into the mountains on Sunday and unfortunately no one has heard anything since," Panella said. "I met Katie through Karen, she loves to travel, is a very smart girl and we all holidayed together on the Gold Coast not too long ago and had a great time." Katie Crouch is one of 549 Australians registered as travelling in Nepal and officials are working under challenging conditions to locate all those in the country. Disruptions to telecommunications, transport and tourist infrastructure is making it difficult for those that are in Nepal but Panella hopes that Katie will be found soon. "By spreading the word about Katie it might assist in the search for her and we are asking everyone to share this via social media to highlight the fact that she is missing," Panella said. UPDATE: KATIE CROUCH WAS LOCATED IN NEPAL ON THURSDAY MORNING (AUSTRALIAN TIME) AND IS SAFE.  THE FAMILY WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE FOR THEIR CONCERN AND HELP BY SHARING HER STORY. - HRNSW Media

Harness racing pundits saw it as a good old fashioned Trans Tasman battle tonight at Addington in the New Zealand Sires Stakes heat when the Aussie raider Salty Robyn took on one of the best Kiwi two year old pacers in Chase The Dream. Lauren Panella left the gate early from barrier three and slowly worked her way to the front with Salty Robyn with Three Ways and Dexter Dunn taking the trail. Chase The Dream with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike worked her way to the death seat after 400 metres and was content to sit there on Salty Robyn's wheel.  A three wide train came around but Natalie kicked up and kept them out there and held the death seat. Down the back straight Lauren upped the tempo with Salty Robyn but couldn't shake Chase The Dream and they turned for home together. The two favourites settled down to fight it out but Chase The Dream sprinted past Salty Robyn at the 100 metres mark and went to the line a length clear of Salty Robyn who was well clear of Three Ways in third. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Wannabet who came from near last at the 800 metres mark to run fourth. Chase The Dream paced the 1950 metres in cool chilly conditions in 2:23.3, a mile rate of 1:58.2 with closing sectionals of 56.9 and 28. Natalie was thrilled with the run of the colt by Bettors Delight. " He was actually a bit fresh tonight and that caused him to over race a bit early." " After that he settled well and really found when I asked him." " He has just got such a wonderful attitude and that run will really improve him. " Mark and I think a lot of him and think that he has a big future," Natalie said. Shane Tritton, the trainer of Salty Robyn was proud of the son of Art Official after the trip over didn't go to plan. " We faced delays on the trip from Sydney to New Zealand." " We left home at one o'clock on Monday afternoon and didn't get to Mark Jones' until eight o'clock on Tuesday morning. " He has been a bit quiet since his arrival and Lauren said he wasn't himself in the preliminary." " Now that he has qualified, we have time to get him spot on so they will know we are there come the final," Shane said. Shane has had another problem since his flight to New Zealand with his property near Newcastle in New South Wales badly hit by the storm there. " There is no power or water on at the property but all the horses and staff are safe so that is the important thing." "With a bit of luck we should be able to race the team this weekend," Shane said. Race patrons in New Zealand don't get to see Australian raiders very often and the presence of Salty Robyn tonight at Addington created a fair bit of interest for a low key Thursday night meeting.  Harnesslink Media  

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