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Team McCarthy is heading back to Brisbane for next week’s $75,000 Seymour Nursery Pace series. Heats are scheduled for next Tuesday, with the Finals will be staged on May 16. Locally-owned pacers Smooth Showgirl and Birdy Mach will represent the power stable in their respective divisions and both will command strong respect. Smooth Showgirl is the defending champ following her dominant performance in last year’s Final when she defeated Feel The Faith and stablemate Bamako Mali, while Birdy Mach is very highly regarded within the Belinda and Luke McCarthy stable. “We’re looking forward to heading back to Brisbane next week for the Nursery Pace,” Luke said. “It’s a series that has been very good to me over the years and we believe we have the right horses to give it a good shake. “There’s nothing better than a Brisbane autumn/winter campaign.” Smooth Showgirl has raced in strong form this season, winning four of her 10 starts and setting a personal best time of 1:53.2 when successful at Menangle last month. The daughter of Art Major was unplaced as favourite last week at Menangle behind Image Of Courage after racing without cover in a time of 1:53.4. Birdy Mach has raced just once this term when unplaced at Menangle on December 30. Following a freshen-up, the son of Mach Three has undertaken an extensive trial campaign in preparation for his Brisbane trip, with his trial yesterday resulting in a comfortable victory in 1:56.4 when leading throughout. He paced the mile in sectionals of 29.6, 30.4, 28.5 and 27.9 seconds. “Both horses are fit and well and we’ve deliberately set both horses for this series,” Luke said. “It’s been one of their major targets all season. “The local talent looks pretty handy so it won’t be easy, but we’re confident both will perform at the required level. “Smooth Showgirl has been solid this season. She got left parked last week in fast time and she only just missed a placing in the end, so I was more than happy with her effort. “She can sustain her speed and she’s quite tough, so the style of Brisbane racing will suit her down to the ground. “We discovered a few little issues with Birdy Mach following his first-up effort and worked on those during his down time. It wasn’t anything major and time has helped him. “His trials have been good and he felt sharp yesterday, he pulled up in good order and I’m keen to test him during this series.” Both horses will be based at the property of co-owner Ian Gurney during their Brisbane campaign. McCarthy is no stranger to success in the Nursery Pace with victory behind Smooth Showgirl and Waves Of Fire (2014), Bling It On (2013), Aussie Made Lombo (2010), Fleur De Lil (2006), Tip Your Hat (2005) and Slipnslide (2003). He also won the three-year-old colts’ and geldings’ Final last year with Bling It On. HRQ Media

At this time of the year in most harness racing seasons in New Zealand, the quality of the fields at both the races and trials starts to fall away a bit as winter approaches but anyone at todays harness racing trials at Ashburton would have gone home having witnessed any number of smart performances throughout the programme. We thought we would highlight the horses that stood out for us in the clear but chilly conditions. Franco Nattai  -  This injury prone pacer has only raced twice in the last 16 months but reminded everyone today what a talented horse he is. He paced the 2400 metres in 3:00.9, a mile rate of 2:01.2 with very quick closing sectionals of 55.3 and 26.4 and he looked to still have a bit in reserve. If the leg holds up he will win a couple quickly. I Will Rock You  -  This two year old son of Rock N Roll Heaven was very impressive in the hands of stable reinsman, Dexter Dunn. He trailed the leader to the corner before working clear and holding out a late charge from Ears Burning. He paced the mile in a sharp 1:58.8 but was very impressive over the last 800 metres in 56.1 and 400 metres in a flying 26.1. The half brother to the former smart mare Artishake 1:56.2 ($92,785) and one of last season's better two year olds in Say My Name 1:57.9 ($90,098) looks very promising and won't be long adding to the family record. Ears Burning  -  Although beaten into second by I Will Rock You, Ears Burning was more impressive than the winner making solid ground late on a 26.1 quarter. A great looking individual, Ears Burning is just the type to win a couple before the end of the season.The son of Grinfromeartoear is a half brother to handy sorts like Burning 1:55.8 ($54,492), Fuoco 1:59.3 ($68,279) and El Fuego 1:57.8 ($42,265) but looks a better horse than his siblings in our opinion. Anna Kareem  -  Don't let the name fool you as this is a three year old gelding and he looked ready to make up for lost time today. Unraced todate, the son of Art Major from the Ken Barron barn looked an early winner when he came from off the pace to wear down Scotlynn Jack in a slick 3:03.4 for 2400 metres for the maiden pacers. Closing sectionals of 56.8 and 26.6 highlighted his potential. A son of the former smart racemare Anna Livia (9 wins) ($62,831), he looks ready to rumble. My Cash  -  Very big two year old filly by Mach Three that showed a real turn of foot in the two year old fillies heat. Settled off the pace by driver Blair Orange,My Cash swept to the lead half way up the straight and went to the line an easy winner. The overall time of 2:01.6 for the mile wasn't anything special but the manner in which she finished off the heat over the last 400 metres which was cut out off the front in 26.6 impressed us. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing pundits in Western Australia thought last nights Champagne Classic for two year olds at Gloucester Park was a one horse affair with the unbeaten Ideal Tyson a very warm favourite. And why wouldn't he be with six wins in a row and a best time of 1:55.5. The Gary Elson trained son of American Ideal was given time by driver Chris Voak to find his feet early from barrier five before before pressing on to the front with just over a mile to go. Another Gary Elson trained runner in Sprinter with Nathan Turvey in the bike was also well supported but he dropped out to the rear from the outside of the front line as soon as the gate went. Chris Voak kept Ideal Tyson bowling along in front and passing the 600 metres mark he looked to still have plenty left in the tank until Rich Yankee attacked the leader and Ideal Tyson was immediately under pressure. Rich Yankee turned for home in front with first starter Lightning Jolt in hot pursuit but both were bloused late by a flying Sprinter , who came from last at the 400 metres for an emphatic victory. Sprinter paced the 2130 metres in 2:36.7, a mile rate of 1:58.4 with closing sectionals of 58.9 and 29.6. Gary Elson, who had three runners in last nights race may have come up empty with the hot favourite Ideal Tyson but still scooped the major share of the $50,000 race with one of his other his other runners, Sprinter. A $34,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic yearling sale at Auckland by Gary, the son of Mach Three had won three of five before last night and looked like a horse on the up. Last night was the first time that a lot of those two year olds had gone much further than a mile and Sprinter looked to really appreciate the extra distance of the Champagne Classic. Harnesslink Media 

Team McCarthy’s Australian Pacing Gold Fillies' Final contender Three Squared needs to improve on her semi-final to win on Saturday night - but the word out of the harness racing camp is she can. “I’ve got a pretty high opinion of her,” said Luke McCarthy, who will steer the daughter of Mach Three at Tabcorp Park Melton. “She just hasn’t quite been as sharp since Bathurst. "Her work during the week has been really good and she should improve a lot.” McCarthy is pointing to Three Squared’s recent Bathurst carnival where she ran fourth in the Gold Tiara Final after being the fastest of the heat winners. In the heat she dashed home by almost 12 metres in a rate of 1:56.5. Nine days later she was five metres behind winner Pixies Parlour in the decider after working hard early before getting one-one cover and still finishing off quite well. Since the Gold Tiara Three Squared has had two starts for a second at Menangle behind Lettuce Go Pippa, when she led from gate seven over the mile and was beaten by a metre-and-a-half in 1:58.3, and a last-start fifth in the APG semi last weekend at Melton when she sat in the 'death seat'. McCarthy acknowledged he and trainer-wife Belinda, had “backed off her” after Bathurst to have her fresh and ready for the APG series. From barrier three McCarthy stated he will be looking to go forward with Three Squared, but predicted polemarker Hazels Girl would probably lead. “I think Hazels Girl will probably begin quicker this week given she’s had that run at Melton,” McCarthy said. "I’ll be looking to go forward and race handy.” Meanwhile, Hazels Girl has been backed in the TAB fixed odds markets from $4.60 into $4. The Daniel Neagoe-trained daughter of Art Major and former APG winner Miss Hazel looks the likely leader for reinsman David Morris. The $3.50 favourite, Zaras Delight, is rock solid at her price from gate five and is considered the filly most likely to challenge Hazels Girl for the front. Equal third picks are Jilliby Jitterbug from gate eight and Mark Purdon-trained My Mackenzie from gate four, both at $5. Jilliby Jitterbug won her heat by using the sprint lane to upstage Zaras Delight. She’s drawn for a similar run this time around. Hot Shot Woman, a stablemate of Hazels Girl, is right in the market at $7, backed in from $7.50. She caught the eye in the semi-final, but can race forward if needed, as she did behind Three Squared from a wide draw at Menangle recently. Trainer Gary Quinlan has a solid APG record, winning two of the previous three editions – Musical Delight was victorious in 2012, with Queen Of Pop scoring last year. This year he has Magical Delight, which is sitting on $7.50 with the TAB. - HRV Media Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 02 May 2015 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 02 May 2015  

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Meadows Maturity, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Dexter Cup eliminations, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features the $529,000 final and the $100,000 consolation of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers, as well as the $261,000 final and $75,000 consolation in the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. All four races will take place on Saturday (April 25). The Meadows on Friday night (April 24) will hold the $51,100 Meadows Maturity for older trotting mares. A field of nine ladies, including 2014 Dan Patch Award winners Shake It Cerry and Classic Martine, will go to the post in the track's ninth race. Meadowlands Racetrack's first Grand Circuit event of the season will take place on Saturday night (April 25) with the $47,306 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers. Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon (April 25) will host $40,000 eliminations for the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters. The $130,000 (est.) Dexter Cup final will be held on Saturday (May 2). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway hosted the fifth and final round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and the George Morton Levy Series this past weekend. On Friday night (April 17), one $40,000 division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker attracted six ladies, with odds-on Camille (George Brennan, $3) barely holding sway over Krispy Apple (Tim Tetrick) in 1:53. Strings (Eric Carlson) wound up third as the 67-1 rank outsider. For Camille, a 7-year-old daughter of Camluck co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 Stable and Jack Piatt III, it was her third win in eight seasonal starts (two-for-four in the series). P H Supercam rallied late to win his Levy Series division in 1:52.3. No one knows if P H Supercam actually bowls, but he did complete a perfect game Saturday night (April 18). Last season's defending series champ was this season's only perfect preliminary-round participant in Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Thus, his score is 300, as in 50 points for each of his four series wins and 25 points for each of his four series appearances. As a result of his late-frame heroics in the second of round five's three divisions. P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett, $6.80) became harness racing's newest millionaire. P H Supercam went wide late and snapped a stubborn Lucan Hanover (Tim Tetrick) by a head in 1:52.3. Third went to a pocketed Clear Vision (George Brennan). For P H Supercam, an 8-year-old Million Dollar Cam gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was his sixth win in nine seasonal starts (career 45-for-163) with earnings of $1,012,291. Odds-on choice Take It Back Terry (George Brennan, $3.40) was both hard-used and solid in the final series prelim event. Seemingly disinterested in leaving until he saw Windsong Jack (Brian Sears) with the same idea, Take It Back Terry then whistled around Westchester in 1:51.4. Domethatgain (Dan Dube) was a second-choice second, beaten 1-3/4 lengths, with Texican N (Eric Carlson) third. Take It Back Terry, a 6-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, is now 5-for-13 this season (three-for-four in the series). The evening's opening series event was handily won by a first-up favorite Mach It So (Tim Tetrick, $5.20) in 1:52.4. The final margin was 1-1/4 lengths over Dancin Yankee (Brett Miller), with Polak A (Brian Sears) third. For Mach It So, a 5-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Jeff Bamond Jr. for owner Bamond Racing, it was his first win in five '15 tries. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 101; 2. Daniel Dube - 95; 3. George Brennan - 82; 4. Tim Tetrick - 57; 5. Yannick Gingras - 51. Trainers: 1. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 127; 2. Ron Burke - 118; 3. Rene Allard - 70; 4. Tony O'Sullivan - 32; 5. Andrew Harris - 26. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 114; 2t. Burke Racing - 27.65; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 27.65; 4. Allard Racing - 23.2; 5. Little Bapa - 23. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, The Meadows and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 2). Meadowlands Racetrack will host the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (May 1) and the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers on Saturday (May 2). The Meadows will feature the Meadows Maturity Trot for older horses on Saturday (May 2). Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting and pacing mares on Sunday (May 3). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 18, 2015 -- No one knows if P H Supercam actually bowls, but he did complete a perfect game Saturday night. Last season's defending series champ was this season's only perfect preliminary-round participant in Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Thus, his score is 300, as in 50 points for each of his four series wins and 25 points for each of his four series appearances. As a result of his late-frame heroics in the second of Round 5's three divisions. P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) become harness racing's newest millionaire. Starting from post position No. 5 after getting last week off, P H Supercam settled fourth, in front of longshot National Debt (Eric Carlson). He saw Lucan Hanover (Tim Tetrick), who was rebuffed by Clear Vision at the half a week ago, get stung by that one here. It was Clear Vision (George Brennan) forcing "Lucan" into a brisk, :26.4 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.3 intermission, 8-5 choice Beach Memories (Dan Dube) move from third, while "Supercam" was content to sit and watch. Lucan Hanover maintained the advantage in and out of the 1:24.2 three-quarters, but Beach Memories was continuing to invade. Meanwhile, P H Supercam, minding his business until now, decided to slip out. He went wide and snapped a stubborn Lucan Hanover late, winning by a head in 1:52.3. Third went to a pocketed Clear Vision, with National Debt fourth and Beach Memories fifth. For P H Supercam, an 8-year-old Million Dollar Cam gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was his sixth win in nine seasonal starts (career 45-for-163 with earnings of $1,012,291). The exacta paid $25, with the triple returning $102.50. "He's as good now as he's ever been," Bartlett said. "Tonight, I saw the leaders getting tired and I thought I had a shot to go in the passing lane. In the end, I figured it was safer just to move him outside. "Last season, he had to earn the respect. This season, he has it." Odds-on choice Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, $3.40) was both hard-used and solid in the final series prelim event. Seemingly disinterested in leaving until he saw Windsong Song (Brian Sears) with the same idea, "Terry" then whistled around Westchester :26.4, :55.3, 1:23.4, 1:51.4). Domethatgain (Dube) was a second-choice second, beaten 1¾ lengths, with Texican N (Carlson) third. For "Terry," a 6-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, he's now 5-for-13 this season (3-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $6.20, with the triple returning $72.50. The evening's opening series event was handily won by a first-up favorite Mach it So (Tetrick, $5.20) in 1:52.4. From post No. 4, Mach it So saw a retaking Heez Orl Black N (Shaun Vallee) lead through soft early intervals of :27.1 and :57.2. However, he couldn't stave off Mach it So, who, moving from fourth, was up, over and gone (1:24.2, 1:52.4). The final margin was a length-and-a-quarter over Dancin' Yankee (Brett Miller), with Polak A (Sears) third. For Mach it So, a 5-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Bamond Jr. for owner Bamond Racing, it was his first win in five '15 tries. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $113.50. Series standings, through all five preliminary rounds...1-P H Supercam (300 points), 2-Take it Back Terry (275), 3-Beach Memories (230), 4-Mach it So (229), 5-Fat Man's Alley (220), 6-Domethatagain (218), 7t-Lucan Hanover, Polak A and Windsong Jack (212). Note the three-way "dead-heat" for seventh, which has to be broken by lot. Also note that these are not necessarily the finalists. The determination of the field shall be made by the race office based upon series rules regarding multiple horses for owner and/or trainer (if applicable after review) Finals for the Blue Chip Matchmaker (purse $261,000) and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series ($529,000) are set for Saturday, Apr. 25--the two richest North American races of the season to date--and are to be drawn Tuesday morning (Apr. 21) Saturday night's $42,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by 2013 Yonkers Trot champ Dewycolorintheline (Jordan Stratton, $20.20) in 1:57. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (post time 7:10 PM), a French-centric Tuesday (1 PM, third round of YR/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting available around all nighttime programs, with afternoon simulcasting daily. Frank Drucker

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- No respect. That's about the best way to summarize Mach Stockn Barrel at Buffalo Raceway as for the fifth time in six starts, the 4-year-old gelding failed to go off as the post time favorite despite an impressive harness racing resume.   But for the fifth time in those six starts, Mach Stockn Barrel ($7.00) found his way to the winner's circle after registering a hard-charging length win in a career-best 1:55.2 in the featured $9,500 conditioned pace on Saturday night (April 18).   With eight victories now in 12 starts in 2015, Mach Stockn Barrel drew the seven post and watched Jokerman post some wicked fractions of 27.4, 56.1 and 1:25.4,. It proved to be a perfect set up.   Mach Stockn Barrel, sitting last at the half in the field of seven, started making steady headway up the backstretch. Now gobbling up real estate on the outside past the three-quarter pole, Mach Stockn Barrel was locked and loaded. He used a powerful drive to the wire and blew past the stalling Jokerman (Jack Flanigen). Lucky Nadotremblay (Shawn Gray) rallied and finished in second while Jokerman held on for third.   Owned by Leonard Segall and trained by James Clouser Jr., Mach Stockn Barrel (Mach Three-Timeless Classic) has now earned $36,856 in 2015.   The semi-finals of the Niatross Knockout Claiming 'B' Series, Dedalos ($6.30) and Secluded Island ($5.70) each posted wins.   Dedalos (Jim McNeight), who won the 'A' division back in March, had the fast time of the two divisions with a 1:57.1 clocking, nipping Jettison (Cummings Jr.) by a nose. Tymal Torch (Gray) finished in third and will advance to next week's $24,500 (estimated) final along with Full Circle Spirit (Drew Monti) who took fourth.   Secluded Island, in the meantime, had a little bit easier time after romping to a two length decision over Feets Of Magic (Monti). Also moving on to the finals are third place finisher Nighthawk Hall (Kevin Cummings) and K C Colt (Ron Beback Jr.) who rolled into fourth position.   A $10,000 consolation race will also be held next Saturday for those not making the championship event.   Racing will continue on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with a 12-race card scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

The $113,406 Woodlands Stud/ Caduceus Club two year old Fillies Classic at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park tonight was meant to be a walk in the park for the daughter of Mach Three in Northern Velocity after her high class stablemate Dream About Me was scratched due to a hoof infection. No one told one of the other stablemates of Northern Velocity in Arden's Choice who even though she had beaten Northern Velocity at her last start was only the second elect on the tote. Luisanabelle Midfrew and Matthew Williamson led early from barrier five as Northern Velocity and Natalie Rasmussen settled into a lovely trail on her back. Arden's Choice with Mark Purdon in the bike settled well back early before ending up in the one by one with 1200 metres to go. With no mid race moves Luisanabelle Midfrew was not pressured in front and upped the pressure from the 800 metres with a quarter down the back in 29. As they turned for home Mark Purdon looped them with Arden's Choice and shot clear and put the race to bed quickly, racing away for a 4 1/4 length victory with Mark Purdon sitting quietly in the bike. Northern Velocity was held up by a tiring Luisanabelle Midfrew and by the time she got clear the bird had flown but she ran on well for second with Bettor Love Me a further 2 1/2 lengths away in third. Arden's Choice paced the 2200 metres in 2:44.4, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals of 56.6 and 27.6 Mark Purdon was happy with the continued improvement shown by the daughter of Panspacificflight. " She is getting better with every start and she never looked like doing anything wrong tonight." " She feels like a filly with a lot of bottom to her and I think the further she goes the better she will perform." " The Stiven family bred this one and I am sure Noreen was looking down from above, cheering us on, Mark said. The win by Arden's Choice continued a really good run for the stock of Panspacificflight lately who have been winning races on both sides of the Tasman with great regularity. Harnesslink Media       

With the new harness racing season well and truly under way now, we thought it was an appropriate time to have a look at any trends on the pacing siring charts in North America. Up to this point of the season it is clear from how he is preforming on both the overall sires list and the three year old list that the premature death of Rocknroll Hanover was a huge blow to the industry. His sons and daughters have started 2015 in great fashion with Rocknroll Hanover being a close second to Bettor's Delight on the overall list and currently running first on the three year old list. Mach Three is another sire to have made a good start to 2015 running a close third at present with a $850,000 gap back to Western Terror in fourth and Art Major rounding out the top five a further $240,000 back. Mach Three's son Somebeachsomewhere is currently a close sixth on the list and with his bigger crops coming on stream from this year on it would appear only a matter of time before he tops the overall sires chart. Leading Money Winning Sires - All ages Pace (2015) - Top 5 Sires                             Sire                                                  Starters                                                 Money ====                                                ========                                             ===== BETTORS DELIGHT                          317                                                 $3,012,646   ROCKNROLL HANOVER                   268                                                 $2,964,641   MACH THREE                                   259                                                 $2,798,345   WESTERN TERROR                          231                                                 $1,951,740   ART MAJOR                                     196                                                 $1,712,369   The three year old list is headed by Rocknroll Hanover with Western Terror again in a prominent position on this chart in second place this time.   Jeremes Jet lies in third place just in front of Bettors Delight and last seasons leading two year old sire Sportswriter who have both been making rapid progress up the chart just lately.   The interesting sire close up to the established stars on the three year old list is the son of Art Major in Riggins 1:48.4 ($931,587) who currently sits seventh.   A son of the former outstanding racemare Towners Image 1:51.2 ($714,300), Riggins has just 22 three year old so there is real merit in his performance to date.   Leading Money Winning Sires - 3 Year Old Pace (2015) - Top 5 Sires                                                                                       Sire                                                        Starters                                           Money ====                                                     ========                                        ===== ROCKNROLL HANOVER                        41                                            $321,882   WESTERN TERROR                               34                                            $273,165   JEREMES JET                                       33                                            $230,074   BETTORS DELIGHT                               39                                            $223,990   SPORTSWRITER                                   32                                            $196,389   Harnesslink Media

WASHINGTON, PA, April 10, 2015 -- One Over Par rallied through the lane for what appeared to be a good second-place finish, only to be placed the winner through disqualification in Friday's opening leg of the Do Me Honor Pace at The Meadows. The series for 3-year-old fillies is named for Do Me Honor, a top performer in the Bill Bercury stable who raced later on Friday's card. The first leg was conducted as a single division. Although Dobre Povedane crossed the wire first after brushing through the Lightning Lane, she was placed back to second due to a late break. Meanwhile, One Over Par, upset winner of the recent Donna Dunn Memorial Pace championship, had extricated herself from a traffic jam and closed to within a nose of Dobre Povedane, where she was well positioned to benefit from the leader's error. PC's Vixen, rough gaited for much of the mile, finished third. The time over a "good" surface was 1:56.1 Aaron Merriman drove One Over Par, a daughter of Dragon Again-Susie Girl, for trainer Kelly O'Donnell and owners Mark Maynard, KO Racing Stables Inc. and Tangie Massey. It was one of five wins on the 13-race card for Merriman. The track condition was upgraded to "fast" before the $24,800 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, but the way Macharoundtheclock performed, the only track condition that would have stopped her was "closed." She blazed to the top from post 9 and collected her second straight victory in 1:53.4, holding off Sand Tilly Lace by a neck. Do Me Honor didn't win on the day "her" series began, but she was a strong third despite being parked the entire mile. Eric Ledford piloted Macharoundtheclock, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Mach Three-Summers Soul who now boasts $448,903 in career earnings, for conditioner Tim Twaddle and Birnam Wood Farms. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Royalty reigned supreme, and the harness racing punters rejoiced, in the $10,000 Maughan Thiem Ford Country Graduation Final (2230m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, April 4. Three Queens, the well backed $1.50 favourite, led throughout from gate one and her rivals were left to acknowledge the Queen. Flagbearer ($7.10) trailed the leader and had every chance but had to be content with a 5.7 metre second and Reil Quick ($20) was third, a further 13.2 metres back.  Driven by Jayson Finnis, son of trainer Barry, Three Queens rated 2:00:2 sprinting home her last quarter in 28.6 seconds. Part-owner-breeder Peter Medhurst, from Glencoe in South Australia’s South-East, said he had never been sure of victory, even though betting suggested the mare was, and his friends kept telling him she couldn’t be beaten. “I’ve been around long enough to know there is no such thing as a certainty,” Medhurst said. “But the race developed as we hoped it would. “We were a bit unsure about how much action there would be early but it was always our intention to try and lead throughout. “As the race developed Jayson was able to rate the mare as he wanted and I guess she had earned the respect of her rivals that no-one came to try and pressure us.” Medhurst bred Three Queens by Mach Three out of his star broodmare Surfing Queen, currently the state’s broodmare of the year. “She won a few races but is proving a star in the breeding barn,” he said. “Apart from those racing, Surfing Queen has a three-year-old and two-year-old nearly ready to race as well as a foal at foot.” Medhurst said Three Queens had been a late starter because she had a twisted leg as a young horse but with maturity the leg had corrected and she suffered no ill effects. The Maughan Thiem Ford final was Three Queen’s ninth win from just 14 starts. “We like to try and place our horses to use the handicapping system to pick up wins and the South Australian system enables up to do it better than in Victoria but we are going to have to head across the border soon. “Later this year we will look to have a look at the better mares races in Victoria to see if Three Queens can measure up.” by Graham Fischer

With this years harness racing season moving into its eighth month, we thought it a good time to look at any trends in the sires charts in Australia. A quick look told us the overall sires list is little changed from the last few seasons with the same four sires once again holding sway. The leader once again is the champion sire in Bettor's Delight who holds an $800,000 lead over his arch rival Art Major with over a $2,000,000 gap back to Christian Cullen in third and another $500,000 back to Mach Three in fourth.  These four sires have been the leading quartet for a few years now and nothing has materialized in the last few seasons to suggest that is going to change any time soon. When you go to the three year old sires list the roles are reversed with Art Major holding a $150,000 lead over Bettors Delight with Sportswriter another $200,000 back in third with Somebeachsomewhere making up the top four another $80,000 back. With the leading two three year old sires in Art Major and Bettor's Delight having plenty of classic runners to represent them in the latter part of the season, the battle for three year old supremacy looks likely to be decided between these two champion sires. When you go to the two year old sires list, Art Major is once again at the head of the class followed closely by Courage Under Fire and then Rock N Roll Heaven and Rocknroll Hanover. The first season sire Rock N Roll Heaven has started to replicate his North American siring performance with five of his seven winners being fillies and he should get a further boost on that front when the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained filly MacKenzie lines up in the APG heat at Menangle on Saturday night. Courage Under Fire has always had the ability to throw up that outstanding youngster and he looks to have another ready made star in Don't Hold Back whose effortless win in a stunning 1:53.7 at Melton was the star turn amongst the juveniles so far this season in our opinion. As has been noted several times before, three of the four leading overall sires on the Australian sires list are based in New Zealand. It is to be hoped that one or two of the newer sires available to breeders that are based in Australia can come through in the next couple of years to challenge the Kiwi domination. Harnesslink Media 

Victorian harness racing raider Rule Like A King made a one-act affair of the $40,000 Group Three Lees Orchards Easter Cup in Launceston last night. Rule Like A King was having only his second start since a 16-month injury enforced lay-off, but delivered one of the most emphatic wins in the modern day history of the feature. With ace Tasmanian reinsman Rohan Hillier in the sulky, the son of Mach Three stepped brilliantly to lead from the front line, lead and after setting consistent sectionals, he burst clear to score by almost 22 metres from local outsider The Majority ($34). Fellow interstate invader Outrageous El ($4.50) was two metres away third. Rule Like A King was listed as being trained by Hillier, but he took no credit for the gelding’s Cup preparation, preferring to relay that honour to his Victorian trainer, Dean Braun. “The horse came to me a couple of days before his Easter Cup heat last week, so I really can't take credit for training the horse,” Hillier said. “But I will celebrate it as my first winning drive in an Easter Cup. “It’s an honour to be given the responsibility of caring for a horse for such a prestigious race and we delivered the desired result. “I’ll be taking the Cup on a pub crawl tomorrow and probably end up drinking bubbly from it at the Devonport gallops tomorrow.” Rule Like A King was diagnosed with a bone chip in a coffin bone after finishing unplaced at Melton in September 2013. Braun gave the gelding plenty of time to recover and is confident he can win more feature races. “I thought the horse did a good job in his Easter Cup heat and tonight I think he showed that he is an above average horse,” Braun said. “We targeted the Easter Cup as a first-up assignment for him and he hasn't let us down.” Rule Like A King rated 2.01.3 for the 2698-metre trip, with the last half covered in 59 seconds. Braun is undecided about whether to return Rule Like A King to Victoria or leave him Tassie for some free-for-all racing to get him even more conditioned before an assault on a couple of feature races in his home state. PETER STAPLES

TORONTO, April 4 - The Woodbine Entertainment Group offered a mandatory payout on the harness racing Jackpot Hi-5 wager Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager requires a horseplayer to select the top five finishers in order. If there are multiple winning tickets, 50% of the evening's pool is paid out to the winning tickets, while the other half is carried over to the following card. The last single winner to take home the entire 'Jackpot' was on December 8, 2014. As a result, a record carryover of $847,458.26 had accumulated over the past several months and was offered in a mandatory payout on Saturday's card. Scheduled as the last race on the 11-race program, the Jackpot Hi-5 had $2,581,505 (before takeout) of new money wagered Saturday night, bringing the total pool size to $3,041,738. The result was a payout of $4,317.55 on a $1 wager ($863.51 on a $0.20 wager) after the son of Mach Three, Camaes Fellow and driver Jonathan Drury came away with the victory at odds of 4/5. Camaes Fellow The top five finishers are as follows: 1. #4 Camaes Fellow - 4/5 2. #2 Bilbo Hanover - 4/1 3. #8 Cougar Hall - 7/1 4. #12 Regal Son - 12/1 5. #6 The Rev - 11/1 The Jackpot Hi-5 wager, which was added to the WEG betting menu in October 2013, has a $0.20 minimum bet and a takeout rate of 15 per cent. The Jackpot Hi-5 will now start from scratch on Monday evening's card at Woodbine.McNair doubles up in Youthful. Mark McKelvie  

Mark Purdon probably had at least two harness racing lessons well learned  in mind when he bought Northern Velocity at the 2014 Premier Sale for $72,500.   The first  was learning from past successes. The other was to never leave a sale early.   Northern Velocity was the second last lot at the end of a long sale at Addington but Mark found the time to buy her for Cheryl Rasmussen and Trevor Titcomb, a decision they can hardly be regretting at this stage of the filly's development.   She certainly showed Mark enough by the summer that he went back to this year's sale and bought her full sister Tachydar (it was late in the sale too) at what might turn out to be a bargain price of $60,000.   Although Auckland Reactor and Fly Like An Eagle have been standout runners for the stable in the past, Mark is rarely without a Mach Three filly.   They can be difficult as many fillies can and they have their off days but the records are littered with age group filly stars by Mach Three and all leading stables need to have at least one in the mix.   Apart from their individual appeal, usually the most important factor with Mark in his final analysis, the pedigree cross of Northern Velocity must have  jumped out saying "pick me" when Mark and Natalie were studying the catalogue.   The Mach Three-Falcon Seelster cross which the filly carries has already proven a winner for All Stars.   Fly Like An Eagle is an obvious standout but the ill-fated Fiery Falcon won a Harness Jewels  and Millwood Meg while not outstanding on the track here later landed a West Australian Oaks and was another filly bred on this cross trained by All Stars (among others).   There are several other well known successes with this cross the best known recently being Venus Serena, one of the best fillies seen out in a long time.   "I went largely on type with her but I was certainly aware of that that cross had done for us in the past and it was a factor in my thinking" Mark says of his purchase.   The success of this cross is not a real surprise.   In fact the success of Falcon Seelster  mares crossed with Direct Scooter line stallions in general is no real surprise (the cross with Christian Cullen has been notably  successful) because Falcon Seelster is what counts for an "outcross " stallion in modern times.   He has no direct crosses of the Meadow Skipper line of Hal Dale nor the modern lines of Volomite through Direct Scooter.   In fact Falcon Seelster's pedigree looks like something which would have been extremely fashionable about 1970 -which is no bad thing.   It is full of Adios/Tar Heel crosses, Hal Dale/Volomite and even the Scotland/Volomite cross which was the foundation for the magical U Scott/Light Brigade cross 60 years ago in this country.   It might be claimed that Mach Three  gives them that high  speed and Falcon Seelster adds some old fashioned toughness.   Like many successful juvenile horses these days it seems Northern Velocity traces to a trotting influence in Beverly's Song whose notable foals beside Enna Gee were the fine trotters Mighty Dollar and especially Logan Cheval bred respectively by the Clark brothers Leicester and Tom.   Enna Gee a tough staying mare trained by Robin Butt and co-owned by him left three particularly smart pacers in Panyan,a  big success in Australia where he was placed in a Hunter Cup, age group black type winner, Rare Charm and Pathfinder who won the Group Two DB Superstar Final as a four year old after a light career to that point.   He broke down in Australia after one start.   While this family goes back to Topsy and has had its share of success, a lot of it has been in recent times.   Best known is Pembrook Benny, a half brother to Northern Velocity and the winner of over $1m, Pembrook Caesar a talented mare which won the Group Three Ladyship Cup at Melton for Jodi Quinlan in 2013, and Holme Fire,winner of both a Sires Stakes and a Nevele R filly heat.   All are from Northern Franco an unraced (though qualified) mare whose dam Natural Appeal took a 1.59 mark when that meant more than it does now who left nine winners at stud from 10 to race.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable

Gallant harness racing gelding Motu Crusader is on target to win consecutive Easter Cups following his impressive heat win at Launceston last Sunday night. Motu Crusader over came off a 40-metre handicap to score in style, suggesting he has lost none of the power he showed to win last year’s Easter Cup. With Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, the eight-year-old stepped well and made up ground gradually before unleashing a powerful sprint to emerge triumphant over Riverboat Jasper and rising talent Ardlussa Express. Trainer Zeke Slater was thrilled with Motu Crusader’s effort. “If I had have been asked two weeks ago whether the horse was going as well as last year I would have said no, but in the past week he has come on really well and tonight he showed me he’s back to where he needs to be to win another Easter Cup,” Slater said. Motu Crusader dead-heated for second in his heat last year before going on to win the Final convincingly. The remaining Easter Cup heat was won by Victorian-owned gelding Rule Like A King, which is being prepared for the feature by Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. Driven by Hillier, Rule Like A King rolled to the front soon after the start, and when challenged along the home straight, he had no trouble fending off his rivals. The son of Mach Three scored comfortably from another Victorian, Outrageous El, with Tasmanian Cup winner Star Chamber third. PETER STAPLES

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