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Mat Rue was more that happy with his double at Wednesday’s Group 1 Feeds Paceway (Bathurst) fixture but his mind was fixed on a more important  harness racing engagement later in the week. Mister Haywood produced a sharp sprint from the one-one to run away with the C2-C5 opener, for the Blayney Trainer Phil Bourke, and two races later Karloo Kix showed real bottom in working three-wide over the final stages for a gutsy win in the fast class, for Dubbo trainer, Barry Lew. Rue took his season’s tally to 50 with the first leg of his double, and has now taken the first step towards converting that to a full century - a feat Amanda Turnbull accomplished in the final race, with two-year-old filly Art Series. "I haven’t has as many outside drives this season as I’ve built my own team, so the winners have been fewer than in the past, but if I can finish this season with 75 or 80, I’ll be more than happy,” was his personal report card. His team this season includes the very promising Callmequeenbee, a finalist in the hometown Gold Tiara, and subsequently a heat winner, semi-final placegetter and now finalist in Saturday’s night Australian Pacing Gold Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. “We had to draw one or eight to have a place chance, realistically, in the race. We’ve drawn eight, so we’ll see how she goes," Rue said. “She’s been at John Caldow’s since the semi-final, and the Syndicate that races her will be heading down for the race – three of them made it down last week for the semi – and they’re all really excited to be in the race.” Rue, whose career highlights include a Miracle Mile win with Baby Bling when he was part of the Luke McCarthy’s stable, has more recently become equally known as an accomplished trainer, and is offered horses by some high profile owners. Callmequeenbee, though, is very much a Bathurst girl, purchased by a local syndicate from the Sydney APG Sale who are having the time of their lives. If they win or place on Saturday Night, the cheers at Melton will be heard all the way back to Bathurst. For more information:   Marianne Donnelly  Sponsorship & Marketing  E :  W : P : 02 6333 5000 F : 02 6331 4397

"Hold your horses" might well have been the catch-cry last Friday at Group One Feeds Paceway, the lead-up harness racing meeting to the 2017 Gold Crown Carnival which gets underway this Wednesday night. Fields for Wednesday's Tiara heats were held back for five hours, to enable Jive Dancing and Anythings Possible to make their race debuts in race seven, and thus fulfil the requirement of having a race start prior to competing in the Tiara series. Both made it around safely, Jive Dancing placing third after leading from the pole, and Anythings Possible finishing mid-field after trailing her fellow debutant. Connections of both fillies would have been very appreciative of the HRNSW decision to delay the fields and give them the opportunity to take their place in the time-honoured series. Jive Dancing goes round from gate six in heat two, where Now Eye See and Shes Sporty boast last-start wins, as does Major Occasion, which led throughout in the other 2YO event at Friday's meeting. Anythings Possible comes out of gate five in heat three, where Riverina visitors Miss Elly May and Rockinfeellgood will be strongly fancied. The earlier example of "hold your horses" last Friday came in the fourth , the colts/geldings division of the 3YO, where starter David Micallef was finally able to activate the "Go" light on take 4, after three false starts! Always Rockin, which caused two false starts, was an automatic late scratching, while pole-marker Espyrante threw in another one for good measure. Winner of the race Our Wall Street Wolf, the first leg of a winning double for Chris and Anthony Frisby, worked around the field to the death, then assumed the lead a lap out before holding his rivals at bay in the straight. He's drawn outside gates in both his successful Aussie starts, and will have to contend with barrier eight again, in Wednesday's co-feature Rowleyalla Sprint. Those three warm-up starts on Friday won't have done his fitness any harm, for his attempt at a winning hat-trick. Steve and Amanda Turnbull had a good night at the office, with four training and three driving wins respectively. Mitch Turnbull scored with unhoppled mare Sportygal in a fast-run C0/C1 first, then Amanda took the next two,  with Cherry Mahoney in C2/C3 grade and Zaras Choice in the 3YO fillies, both over the longer trip, and she rounded out her hat-trick with debutant Royal Aurora in the seventh, the 2YO race which included those fillies mentioned earlier. Royal Aurora will line up again in Saturday's Gold Crown heats. Cherry Mahoney utilised her new-found gate speed to lead throughout, but her driver admitted to concern when the death-seating Alpha Styx began to drop off about 400 metres out, " because that meant I'd have to do a whole lot more myself. She's pretty lazy, and likes having a horse outside her to keep her mind on the job." With plenty of Amanda vigour and encouragement, the four-year-old daughter of Breeders Challenge winner Bonnie Mahoney found plenty when challenged, scoring her eighth win and cracking $50K in stake-earnings. Other winners on Friday were: Im Cool Harry ( Pat McCarthy/ Angela Hedges) , all-the-way in fast-class, with speed on throughout and just a few metres separating the entire field, in the most competitive race of the meeting; Volaticus (Ed Collins/ Trent Rue) , a relative long shot at $12.70 in C0 grade, and the beneficiary of a pearler of a drive from Rue, who found the fence from gate 10, then found his way off it around the turn for a barnstorming finish. And now to the Crown, and the best 10 days in harness racing. Best wishes to the Bathurst club, and all the participants.   Marianne Donnelly  Sponsorship & Marketing  E :  W : P : 02 6333 5000 F : 02 6331 4397 Fields for Bathurst, Wednesday 15 March 2017 Form guide for Bathurst, Wednesday 15 March 2017

Bernie Hewitt has had a relatively modest season by his own high standards, but the last month has been highly successful for the Georges Plains harness racing trainer-driver with a feature win in the Breeders Blue Final by promising filly Read About Lexy and multiple successes at a number of other harness racing meetings. That strong finish was maintained with a treble at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Joannie Pony ($4.50) was reined by his nephew, the in-formScotty Hewitt, who brought the mare with a well-timed run in the C1 sprint, right over the top of favourite Polished Rocks, who tried very hard, and Queen Khawaja. The last half was covered in 59.8 but the overall mile rate of 1:59.9, good under winter conditions,was the result of unrelenting pace in the first part of the event. Hewitt completed his good night’s work by driving the winners of two of the final three races. Famous Fella ($3.60) came from well back in a 3C0 sprint to overhaul death-seating Kyalla Tee Jay and Monica’s Magic, which had enjoyed the one-one trail. The last half was run in a minute flat. The winner was a smart two-year-old last season, placing fifth in the Crown final won by All Black Stride NZ, but his only success this term had been in Restricted company. He will try to pick up that hardest win – the second 3YO – before heading for a break. Bernie’s wife Cathy shares in the ownership of Famous Fella, but she would have been even more impressed by the result of the following race. Pass The Magic ($4.00) was an easy all the way winner of a 2C0-2C2 Fillies sprint and better still hers is the only name on the ownership papers. A Menangle winner earlier in the season, she’d been unlucky in some of her recent starts, but a smart 59.5 last half gave an indication of the ability of the daughter of Passmaster Hanover. Asked to comment on his wife’s ownership double,Bernie ‘s thoughts turned to a possible roast dinner. Hopefully so, with a cuddle thrown in for good measure! Ashlee Siejka is another trainer putting in the big strides in the latter part of the season, and she was rewarded with a double at the meeting. Red Vee Hanover, $2.70 favourite in a very strong C 2 over 2130 metres, justified the support by sitting outside the lead and opening up a clear break on the turn before holding on narrowly from his stablemate Packnplenty, which got an inside run close to the line. Smack Dab Shannon held on for third. With the first half run in a pedestrian 64 seconds, the speed came on over the final lap, which took just 58.4 seconds, adding merit to the win, the first this season for the five-year-old. “He didn’t go as well as we’d hoped early in the season, with illnesses and a few injuries, but now that he’s struck some form, we hope he can keep it going,” was the trainer driver’s assessment after the race. Our Miss Kathryn NZ ($3.30 ) brought up the Siejka double in the following race, a 2130 metres C3 – C6, and like the earlier win, it was achieved sitting outside the lead, throwing in a very quick third quarter – 28.3 in this case – and out staying her rivals down the running. The overall mile rate was 2:02.4 . The winner races for Siejka’s partner Ryan Grives, who’s had a dream introduction to harness racing, with wins by this mare and by promising juvenile Ameretto. Time for Ryan to check out that baked dinner recipe? Amanda Turnbull was yet another to grab a driving double in successive races, hers coming in the middle of the meeting, sandwiched between the Siejka and Hewitt efforts. Padabing Stride ($2.30 favourite, for father Steve) deserved his win in a C 0 sprint sponsored by his owners the Rosati family. After working round the field to the death, he controlled the race, for a clear win from leader Kapow Shannon and trailer Lawsons Way. Lacking high speed, the Village Jasper four-year-old is usually required to race from the death, and had been runner-up at his previous three starts when driven in that fashion. His driver reckons “he’s like a big, gangly kid, still growing up, and working it all out. Long Hot Summer ($2.90 ) recently joined Josh Turnbull’s team from the Dean Cernovskis stable, and grabbed his second win for the season in a 3CO sprint, prevailing in a slogging finish from death-seat runner Noahs Ark ( a half to earlier winner Red Vee Hanover) and Puffnstuff. Like his sire Metropolitan, the winner is a big strong type, and he is yet to grow into himself. When the starter released the field in the opening C0 – C1 sprint, eventually taken out by The Rag Doll ($3.90, Jarrod Alchin / Colin McDowell ) an electrical malfunction prevented the on-course broadcast and the crowd had the strange, almost surreal, experience of watching the race in total silence. This lasted till the final turn, when things changed suddenly- the din of drivers all yelling at their horses was a novel, and dramatic experience normally hidden by the commentary. No-one would willingly do without Kevin Thompson’s fine race calls, but this enforced silence gave everyone at the track some insight into just what goes on at the business end of a race. Amy Day kept up her Bathurst strike-rate with a deserved win by Audrey Maree in the final race, an R 0 sprint. The four-year-old mare has been a model of consistency this season, with 8 places from 12 starts prior to this maiden win. Coopers Beach Boy and Tim McGee filled the minor placings. Bathurst HRC has announced two important dates for the diary –September 21 for the final meeting at the Bathurst Showgrounds track, and October 19 for the opening at the new Mt Panorama complex. They’ll both be huge milestones - for the club, for Bathurst and the Western Districts, and for harness racing in New South Wales. More about these special days, in coming weeks. By Terry Neil    

Anne Hancock agreed with the suggestion that “training horses must be like riding a bike – you never forget,“ but qualified it by adding, “it’s been 11 years since I’ve trained one!” The comment was offered after her “new” horse made it back-to- back wins, in the space of five days, at last Wednesday’s Bathurst fixture. King Caractacus NZ ($1.30 favourite) worked forward from his wide draw in the 2130 metres C0/C1 sixth event to find the front after a lap, before running his last half in a touch over a minute to hold off pegs runners Silky Rose and Im No Lady. The mile rate was a comfortable 2:03.2. Hancock explained that when she moved back to The Lagoon earlier this year, and began working for her brother Steve, she decided to get one to train for herself. After setting Amanda a budget for the purchase, she waited patiently for a couple of months till her niece, who’s a bit of an expert in sourcing horses from the net, came up with this Cullen four-year-old gelding. She was pleased to be associated with Amanda’s double century win, with her horse, at Young last week. Interestingly, win number 199 had been for her uncle Craig at Cobram the day before that. Harness racing, as the Turnbulls and many others clearly demonstrate, is a real family affair. Nathan Hurst became a century-maker for the first time since his schoolboy cricket exploits when he reined The Matrix NZ ($14.60, the night’s longest-priced winner) to an all-the-way win in the R0- R1 final event. The sharp 58.9 last half proved too big a stretch for placegetters ImThe Intimidator NZ and Vienna Eyre NZ. This was a well-deserved reward for a very hard-working and capable horseman, and his team. Nathan is a very aggressive driver who tries to control races from the front, so it was appropriate his century was achieved in that fashion – a front-footdrive, in cricketing terms. Amy Day scored a driving double, one of several at Bathurst this season, with one from her own team and the other a “problem child” from Josh Turnbull’s barn. Modern Admirer ($7.00) ran out an easy winner for the Goulburn trainer-driver in a 2130 metres 3YO Fillies event, leading throughout with a last half of 59.1 to leave death-seating Artista Lombo and pegs runner Mayihaveabiscuit well astern. Day explained that the filly had been given too soft a time after returning from Melbourne in June, but had been tightened up for this race, which was reflected in her improved performance. Josh Turnbull and Day combined for a second successive win with Lets Go Diego NZ ($1.60 favourite) in a 2130 metres C 0, the winner just getting over the top of Padabing Stride, which sat outside the lead, and Lawsons Way. Those have been the only Aussie runs for the Courage four-year- old, who arrived as a two-time winner from N.Z. this time last year but proved to be more than a handful for his Sydney-based connections. “He’d get to the track, then turn round and head back home, and when in desperation, he was sent to a riding instructor to re- educate him, he’d spin and drop the rider,” was the history his exasperated owners told Turnbull, a noted breaker and educator of young horses. After a few months re-education, Turnbull returned him to the owners and original trainer in May, but shortly after, the horse returned to his care, and so far, the results have been encouraging. “He’s getting better,” is his trainer’s optimistic view. SnapTo It (Mick Muscat for his father Bill) justified his $1.50 quote with a highly impressive win from the death seat in the opening event, a C1 sprint. The overall mile rate was 1:59.7 but the last half in 57.6 was the highlight. Star Singer, which led, and trailer Getaloadaher did well to stay in touch with the winner, who’ll travel with the stable to Melbourne for suitable races during the Breeders Crown period. Is That So ($5.70) showed improvement from recent placings with a good win in a 3R 0 sprint, for trainer-driver Robbie Clifford and co-owners Bill Klower and Ken Plunkett, who secured the American Ideal youngster at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale. In a desperately close three-way finish, he enjoyed the one-one trail throughout, to just get the nod from death-seating Puffnstuff and leader Flightee Deedee. Scott Hewitt has cut back on his driving commitments a little since he took on the shoeing role for Steve and Josh Turnbull (following Nathan Turnbull’s accident ), but his win with Crackerjack Jo($4.70) for Peter Trevor-Jones in a 2130 metres C2-C3 showed he retains his skill with the reins. In a race set up by frantic early sectionals, he was content to bide his time four back on the markers, and followed Usher NZ through into the clear turning for home to grab that horse right on the line, with leader Red Vee Hanover holding on for third. Crackerjack Jo responds to just this sort of trip, and his driver judged it perfectly. Amanda Turnbull completed her driving double at the meeting with her father’s runner Gentleman Red ($1.50 favourite) leading throughout a 2C0-2C1 sprint, from late-closing Miss Rodriguez and Regal Courage, in a 2:01.3 rate. Spare a thought for Michael Lew, who travelled from Dubbo for the race with his last-start winner Mister Jogalong ( a half-brother to Karloo Mick), only to have him disqualified from the event after causing two false starts. It would have been a long drive home. Congratulations from everyone at Bathurst to century and double-century makers, Steve and Amanda Turnbull, and Nathan Hurst. A remarkable achievement for the district.

Bruce Harpley is no stranger to success at Bathurst, especially in recent times with star mare Frith. But even Bruce must have felt more than a touch of déjà vu at last Wednesday’s meeting, when he won Tabcorp Menangle Where Horses Fly Country Series heats in successive races. The wins were achieved in similar up-front fashion, with a look- alike pair of four-year-olds, and the race presentation photos demonstrate a remarkable similarity. If it weren’t for differentsaddlecloth numbers, you’d swear you were trapped in “Groundhog Day”. Justanotherslippa ($3.90) led throughout in race two, the C0 heat, slipping home in 60.4 for an overall rate of 2:02.1, from trailer Saint Dal Santo and Paddy Carmody, which came three-wide over the final lap in a tough display. It was the first win in twelve starts for the Modern Art gelding, after several promising placings earlier this term, and his trainer-driver is hoping he’s turned the corner. Sokys Bigbullet ($1.60 favourite) completed Harpley’s double in race three, the C1 heat, after coming from outside the front to race behind Prince Raymac. Once clear of the trail, he raced away for the night’s biggest margin of 17 metres, with a 58.4 last half. Prince Raymac and one-one runner Grouse Party House filled the places. The mile-rate was an impressive 1:59.9. The winner, also a Modern Art gelding, was one of the state’s better three-year-olds last season, but health issues have resulted in more moderate form this season, this being just his second win. His trainer will be hoping that he, too, has turned the corner. Following this presentation -that’s the one featuring the number seven runner-Harpley paid tribute to the Menangle Where Horses Fly series, for giving country connections the opportunity to race for $10,000 heats and a $25,000 final. He’ll be hoping to grab a bigshare of that when his horses line up in the finals on Saturday night. Harpley is a very popular figure at Bathurst, and likely to be even more so in the future, after his thanks to a club he rates as “the best run club anywhere in Australia.” Steve and Amanda Turnbull book-ended the meeting,nudging even closer to their season goal of 200 winners each. Written In Red ($2.20 favourite) sat outside leader Trikala in the opening race, a 2130 metres C1, overcoming that leader after a torrid 27.9 quarter up the back and then holding off runner-up Snap To It, which sustained a wide run over the last lap. The win took the Cullen three-year-old past $50,000 in stakes, which might well be increased after he lines up in Sunday’s Breeders Challenge Regional Final at Young. After that, he’ll be off for a spell, and when he returns to racing, it will be as a gelding,his owner Rob Davis agreeing to allow that unkindest cut which will hopefully produce a better attitude and racing manners. In the 2130 metres 3RO last race, Monicas Magic ($4.80) was also forced to race outside the lead, and the Western Edition filly raced by good Turnbull client Reg Walsh dictated terms from there, registering a slow 2:05.2 rate to hold on clearly from Our Castanea, which followed it throughout, and leader Flightee Deedee. That was win number 198 for Amanda, who achieved the double ton with wins at Cobram the following day and Young two dayslater (as part of a treble). Bathurst HRC is naturally disappointed that this achievement, and the even more special one thousand career wins, have been away from “home”, but warmly congratulates Amanda on a wonderful feat, which will be celebrated at the annual Awards Presentation later in the year. Platinum Roulette ($2.10 favourite, Ashlee Siejka) appreciated the solid pace set by the pulling Veracity Red in the 1730 metres C4- C6, to outsprint his rivals, with a last half in 58.9 and an overall rate a tick over two minutes. Crackerjack Jo and Veracity Red, which looked as if it would drop out at one stage, filled the minor places. In Runaway Bay ($1.90 favourite, Bill/Mick Muscat) worked his way to the lead in a C0 sprint, and a last half in 57.9 gave death- seater Padabing Stride, and trailer Embellished, the other fancied runners, no chance over the final stages. The winner, a son of a champion N.Z. filly in Pullover Brown,continued the excellent strike rate of the Muscat stable in recent months at Bathurst. Dubbo trainer Peter Gavin and Menangle driver Kerryann Turner partnered in another double at this meeting, such a special one that it’s worth keeping for last! Karloo Ten Seventy ($1.30 favourite) worked his way to the lead and ran away from his rivals by an ever-widening 14 metres in a 2130 metres 3C0-3C1, from pegs runner Puffnstuff and death- seating Kenny Cracker. Raced by Ronnie Lew, the winner is named for husband Barry Lew’s late father Peter, a sergeant in the NSW Police Service who passed away in 2012. “Sarge” carries Peter’s official police number 1070 (which the Lew family was granted by the Police Commisioner, a rare gesture) on the brow piece of his bridle. Everywhere the smart Art Major gelding goes in his races, Peter Lew leads the way! Two races later, Deanne Gavin’s two-year-old gelding scored hissecond win in just four starts, coming with a big sprint from the top of the straight to overpower leader Jethros An Eagle and hot favourite Itz Platinum Plus NZ, in the 2130 metres 2C0-2C1 event. The leaders quickened for a 58.6 last half, adding further merit to the win. Peter Gavin, a neighbor of the Lews, always looked after their farm when they travelled with Karloo Mick, and won a Dubbo race with Karloo Malibu, which they’d gifted him. He then bred her in 2010 to first-season sire Art Colony, getting a colt foal the following year.Karloo Malibu died without having another foal, while the sire Art Colony died after just his second year at stud. The progeny of that mating looks like he might be a very good horse, and like every good horse, he carries a good name, as The Only Child. By Terry Neil

Bathurst Harness Racing Club has attempted in recent times to extend its identity and appeal beyond that well-established Gold Crown brand, with feature meetings aimed at local parish groups, rugby league clubs and the like.  Last Wednesday’s fixture included a Harness Breeders NSW – sponsored “Go Girlfriend Series” heat, but when former Bathurst, and now N.Z. based, commentator Mark McNamara got up to a bit of mischief, by paying for naming rights for a fillies race on the card, the meeting then became, unofficially, Girlfriends Night at the Trots.   Toby Inwood Is Looking For A Girlfriend Three Year Old Fillies Pace, named as a stir against a likeable young driver who works for the family of McNamara’s good mate Jason Turnbull, remarkably finished in a dead-heat, with good sport Inwood more than happy to celebrate with a pair of four-legged fillies following the event.  Santastic Princess ($14.30, Mickael Muscat for father Bill) and Shes So Foxy (($2.00 favourite, John O’Shea for Lester Hewitt) provided a perfect result and perfect names for such an event, relegating Artista Lombo to third, ahead of other interesting monikers like Modern Admirer, Pretty ideal and Hells A Coming. The shared win was the second leg of a double for the Muscat stable. They took out the opening race, a C1 sprint, with recent stable arrival Just Read My Mind NZ ($5.80), sitting in the running line and enjoying the strong tempo which produced a 2:00 mile rate. Front-running pair Written In Red and Prince Raymac fought on well to fill the minors.  On the other side of the McNamara “gee-up” came the “official” girlfriend event, the HBNSW Go Girlfriend Series heat, for C1-C3 Mares.    Highview Aria NZ ($12.70) gave Steve Turnbull the first leg of a training double, when Amanda brought it with a well-timed run from the one-one, with a narrow margin back to Our Miss Kathryn NZ, which led the three-wide train over the final lap. Both qualify for the $20,000 Tabcorp Park Menangle final this Saturday.  Ben Settree, representing HBNSW at the presentation, spoke about the merit of a series such as this which provides increased opportunities for fillies and mares to compete against their own sex. So say all of us!  Other winners from the meeting were: Burra Sullivan ($2.60 favourite, Nathan Hurst) , leading all the way in a 2130 metres C3-C4, the fourth win this season for the Armbro Operative four-year-old. The 58.3 last half was the quickest on a very cold night, and the placegetters were Packnplenty and  Skewbridge Road.  Kenny Cracker ($3.20 favourite, Michael Day Jr), impressive in sitting outside the lead in a 3C0 sprint in its first run for the Kevin Powderly stable from Young. Leader Flightee Deedee and Tulhurst  Stacey, which trailed the winner, filled the minor placings. This race was named for the Bathurst HRC Stallion Tender. It remains open till August 29, and provides the opportunity to secure services to leading sires Art Major and Mach Three, and exciting newcomer A Rocknroll Dance, at well below the advertised service fee, if in fact services remain available.  Boundtobewild, the longshot of the night at $17.90 for Anthony Winnell and trainer Peter Reid, produced a very strong finish when clear of the markers to run out an easy winner of a 2C0-2C1  Fillies sprint, from fellow pegs-runners Asitshouldbe and Mah Koo Loo Queen.  Having just her fourth race start, the winner is still very green but clearly has lots of raw ability. With a name like hers, she might be just the ticket if Toby Inwood is still without a girlfriend this time next season!  Bevendale Boy ($2.20 favourite, Sam Hewitt for father David, and owner Daniel Hewitt) , most impressive in working to the death in a 2130 metres 2C0 event, from where the son of Art Official controlled the race and ran out a narrow but soft winner, from last-start winner The Only Child and Gentleman Red.  This was his first win at start eleven, but he’s been racing well against much stronger company, and is likely to tackle the Breeders Challenge regional series in coming weeks.    Polished Rocks ($2.20 favourite, Steve Turnbull), the second leg of his training double, when he sat outside leader and runner-up Sweet Ava NZ in C0 sprint, to record his third successive win.  Three nights later, he raced in the $50,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle, finishing just behind the placegetters over the testing 2400 metres , to further shake off his former reputation as just a speedy type.  Bathurst race each Wednesday throughout July.    By Terry Neil  T 61 2 6333 5000  F 61 2 6331 4397  E 

You won’t see any cricket played at Bathurst during the winter months- except for the indoor variety – but as the racing season winds down, centuries and double centuries are occupying the thoughts of some followers and, particularly, leading participants. Amanda Turnbull looks odds-on to repeat last year’s “double ton” driving performance, while dad Steve is making a determined effort to achieve the same score in the training ranks. Nathan Hurst is just a handful of wins from a well-earned training century, and after a slow start, John O’Shea has worked his way into the mid-eighties in driving wins, and is some chance of achieving triple figures as well. What a remarkable achievement it will be for Bathurst harness racing should all reach those milestones. John O’Shea followed up his recent “five-for” with a double last Wednesday, with Queen Khawaja for Canowindra trainer Ken Rue in C0 company, and his own stable runner Vergels Girl in 2YO company. From the inside gate, O’Shea gave Queen Khawaja ($2.80 favourite) the run of the race behind leader Embellished, and the five-year-old mare finished too well for that horse, with death- seating Gatling Silver holding on for third. The winner is from a half-sister to another of Anne Lamb’s breed – a fella named Smooth Satin . Kennny Rue doesn’t have the same ambitions for this girl, but would have enjoyed this third win. Vergels Girl ($3.30) had been racing well in much stronger Breeders Challenge company than the field she was opposing here, and O”Shea drove her aggressively from outside the second line to take the lead in the early stages, skip clear on the turn then hold on from favourite Gentleman Red, which came again close to the line.  Flip Wilson NZ maintained its consistent form with a third from outside the lead. Steve and Amanda Turnbull didn’t crack it for a win until the final event, with Padabing Stride ($1.60 favourite) much too strong for his R0-R1 Competitive Stakes rivals, sitting in the death and drawing away for a soft win from leader Meredith Rose and trailer Carla Dream. It might have been a frustrating and disappointing night for the leading stable as they chased down their targets, but as reported elsewhere in this edition, things would soon improve markedly, with Steve training four at Wagga two days later, and Amanda driving her second Group One winner at Melton last Saturday. Other winners on the night were: Lifes Easy ($2.80 favourite) for Amy Day, in a C0 Tabcorp Menangle Where Horses Fly heat, where the Life Sign mare finished strongly from the running-line with a 59.0 last half. Amy will have a shorter and smoother trip up the highway for the rich final at the end of the month. Crackerjack Jo ($5.70) for Robbie Clifford and trainer Peter Trevor- Jones, in a C2-C3 sprint. The winner got clear late to get up right on the post, with a very impressive 57.7 final half. Robbie Clifford is having a deal of success as a catch-driver this season, and says he’s enjoying his opportunities. Giannis Bromac NZ ($2.30 favourite), a very “soft” winner for Emma Turnbull and trainer Wayne Watterson, in a C1 Tabcorp Park Menangle Where Horses Fly heat. She’d been working the track down at home, and her driver, who’s having a terrific run this season, was very impressed by the ease of the win. Truly Miss Terious NZ ($47.60) belied its price with the night’s biggest winning margin of 13 metres in a heat of the C1-C2 Penrith Mayors Cup, for Jason Turnbull. Trainer Wendy supplied the quinella in the race, through runner-up Likeallofus. The winner will not start at those inflated odds in tonight’s Cup final at Penrith. Hells A Coming ($3.40 favourite) for West Wyalong visitor Peter Birks and driver Scott Hewitt, made up for a close second at her last start at this track, with a good win from the one-one in 3C0- 3C1 Fillies class. It was the third win from just eight starts for the filly, and completed a good night for the western visitors who had an earlier placing with Coopers Beach Boy. News that the lighting towers have been positioned at the new Mt Panorama track was the talking point among locals and visitors at the meeting. The interest and excitement is building. Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club

John O'Shea stole the show at Bathurst on State of Origin night with five wins in the gig two of  which he also trains. John admitted to supporting Queensland but despite this he was able to  have the last laugh with his fantastic display. His first winner came in race one the Western  Advocate Three Year Old Fillies Pace when his bay filly Cuddle was able to whip around them  with a lap to travel and wrest the lead away from Abercrombie Lisa. O'Shea then rated her  home in 60.3 to defeat Abercrombie Lisa by 5 metres with Mayihaveabiscuit third a half head  away. Cuddle is building up an impressive record with four wins and four minors from only  fourteen starts.    The Shannon Springs Pace was Johns next when he was able to guide the Lester Hewitt  trained Casino Chimes to an all the way victory. The 5yo chestnut gelding has now won his  his last two at Bathurst by leading throughout. He rated 2.01 and best Stevie Wander and  Smack Dab Shannon by 9 1/2 metres. The Jack Butler trained Tutu Bene Lombo was next   and John was able to get the second row runner to the lead shortly after the start. The 3 yo  gelding set solid quarters and had the field chasing hard throughout but despite the final  quarter being the slowest of the race he was able to break their hearts early and record his  fourth win.    Steve Turnbull took advantage of gaining the services of John, with Amanda driving in  Melbourne on the night, and John didn't let him down with a superb drive on the 2yo filly  French Royalty. John elected to take a sit behind the leader Virgin Tooth and somehow  worked her into the clear to defeat Flip Wilson who raced one out and one back on the line by  a neck. The well supported Billy Muscat trained Itz Platinum Plus sat in the breeze after an  early move from the rear early and there were three or four hopes when they turned for home.  John book ended the program with the Kenneth Rue trained Queen Khawaja who came with  a well timed run to beat King Caractacus who tried to lead all the way.    Ashlee Siejka led all the way on Marquez and she has now trained the 3yo gelding to its sixth  win. Onajoyride tried hard racing in the death 7 1/2 metres away with Warner flashing home  for third. Kevin Rivett was confident about the chances of Blissed By Datmuch after some  nice lead up work, and his supporters were cheering when he came from near last to swamp  them on the line. Steve Turnbulls Artista Lombo got its first win since the Blayney carnival of  cups with an all the way result in The Railway Hotel Pace. The 3yo filly has been racing well  without winning of late and was impressive beating Penny Shannon and Charlottes Delight  who both raced along the pegs.    The pick six on course jackpot is creeping up to $1000 punters and all it costs to enter is the  price of a race book, so get along to Bathurst and test your tipping skills.    By Craig Easey   

Bathurst’s Star Trek series has been won by some very good restricted-class horses which have gone on to become familiar names, the likes of Caesar Blue Chip, Frosty Castle, Smooth Dixie and Cheri Cullen. Three heats of the 2013 series, sponsored by Empire Stallions, were keenly contested at last Wednesday’s meeting, and the winners look well up to the high standard seen over the years. Lochinver (Ash Siejka, $4.70) , a brilliant winner of the first of two C1 heats over 2130 metres, started at inflated odds, with Gabrielle Solis expected to dominate from its pole draw. But that mare dropped out mid-race after suffering from heart fibrillation, and Lochinver raced away for a convincing win despite sitting in the death, with a last half of 57.6 and an impressive 1:59.8 mile rate. Sassys A Kriden, in the one-one throughout, and Beetson, which pulled hard behind the leader, finished well astern of the winner but have qualified for the $12,000 final. Rod Smith’s Kriden Investments went one better in the second heat, for C2 class, when Sammys A Kriden (Jack Butler/Amanda Turnbull $1.80 fav.), first-up since the Gold Chalice heats in March, led throughout. The four-year-old sprinted up the back in 28.6 but slowed to a 30.7 final quarter, allowing the trailers Essayist and Scots Legacy to close within a couple of metres. The same trainer-driver combination was successful in the final heat, for C2 class, with the promising Sky Falcon NZ, which started at prohibitive odds of $1.04 on the strength of a good Canola Cup heat win. He finished down the track, after galloping, in that final when equal favourite with the eventual winner Holy Camp Clive.  Sky Falcon’s mile rate of 2:02.7 was slowest of the three heats, but he did it comfortably in the lead and his final half of 58.4 could easily have been bettered. El Mega ran on well from mid-field for second, with Blissed By Datmuch holding on behind the leader for third, and a spot in the final. Owners Bernie McMullen and Dan Richardson, newcomers to harness-racing ownership, are having a great run with the Falcon Seelster four-year-old, who scored his fourth win since arriving in Australia midway through last season. Amanda Turnbull’s decision on which of the heat winners to drive in the final will come down to the all-important barrier draw. Away from the heats, easily the most impressive winner at the meeting was Saloon Passage NZ ($1.40), having its first run on this side of the Tasman for Nathan Hurst in a 3C0 sprint event.  Once he found clear air from his inside second row draw, Hurst had no hesitation in searching for the lead, after which he set the cruise control for an ever-widening 17 metres margin. Mattjestic Star came three-wide over the final lap, and Luda Can Dance trailed the leader. The last half was a soft 58.0 seconds. The Elsu gelding, one of four to race successfully this year for Hurst, who’s become the go-to trainer for that breed, races for a syndicate formed by Ray and Margaret Mawhood following their purchase of the horse after an impressive New Zealand debut six weeks ago. They’re going to have lots of fun with him. A good night got even better for the Mawhood/Hurst team, when they took out the final race, an R 0 class over 2130 metres, with Caesars Hall ($6.40 ). The four-year-old scored his maiden win at start number five, leading throughout to defeat death-seating Phil The Tooth and the unlucky Famous Spirit, which lost a lot of ground after an early mistake. Ashlee Siejka took a training double, her second winner achieved with Platinum Roulette ( Amie Bateup, $2.80 fav.), which led from seven in an R1-R3 2130 metres event to defeat peg-runners Art Appreciation and Always Bad.. It was Amie’s first drive on the Bettors gelding, a close relation to Jack That’s Gold and Henrik Zetterburg, both $100,000 winners for the stable. Feel The Courage (Steve Turnbull, $5.20) lived up to his name somewhat, with a three-wide trip over the final lap in a 2130 metres C 0 class, to stick his head out right on the line for a win over stablemate Fire Eclipse and trailer William Peter. He may not be the easiest horse to drive, but being by Courage and with a grand-dam by Pure Steel, it’s no surprise that he’s tough. Another winner to exemplify her name was Makin Memories (Pat McCarthy/Jason Turnbull $1.80 ), successful on debut in an R 0 over the 2130 metres trip, from outside the lead. Coolamingal and Bundaburra, which raced behind the winner in the running line, filled the places. Pat and Ros McCarthy bred the Trump Casino mare with Pat’s mother Ollie, who died earlier this year. Ollie had been adamant that Pat should persevere with the mare, and this win was a perfect testament to a wise and much-loved lady. It would have meant a great deal to the entire McCarthy family. Bathurst race again next Friday night, the Tier One meeting highlighted by the Star-Trek Final. Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club  

A smoke-filled sky and a number of scratchings from fire-affected areas provided a sobering backdrop to a very good Tier One meeting at Bathurst last Friday. The meeting was sponsored by Golden Gait Stud, which has a long association with the Bathurst club. Their sponsorship sign, on the”Golden Gait” home turn, was the first of many which now proliferate at the track. Amanda Turnbull’s treble gave her the undoubted driving honours for the night, but it’s fair to say that horses were the real stars, with a number of highly-promising types scoring in very impressive fashion. McArdles Chance (Amanda Turnbull, for father Steve) led throughout in the opening C3-C4 2130 metres event, prevailing in a desperate finish from a courageous Reservation Road NZ, which sat outside it throughout, and trailer The Wifes Calling a sound third. The last half of 58.5 established the standard for the rest of the meeting. Hayes and Kydd , winner of the second race, a C2 sprint class, looks to be well above average. He showed a blistering turn of foot to assume the lead after 400 metres, settled in the middle stages then scooted home in a 59.1 final half, from placegetters were Navarda Ace and Essayist. It was win number 8 in 19 starts for the Armbro Operative four-year-old. His driver Murray Sullivan (for Jason Gaffney) indicated that the horse will most likely do his future racing at Menangle. A strong field lined up in the feature race, the C1-C2 mares Express Post Stakes, over 2130 metres. Favourite Gabrielle Solis NZ (Nathan Hurst) led throughout, quickening to a last half of 58.2 in scoring easily from stablemate Imitate Life, which trailed her from the pole, and Two Striking. With a record of 7 wins from just 11 starts, the four-year-old McArdle mare boasts fine breeding also, her dam being a Cullen grand-daughter of famous matron Sakuntala, making her a close relation of Iraklis and Monkey King, among others. It might have come a week after the car races, but Toptenshootout was an impressive winner of the fourth, a 2130 metres C1 class. Bernie Hewitt bided his time in the running line and unleashed a sharp sprint approaching the turn to quickly put the race beyond doubt. Sassys A Kriden got home well to take second place, with Giannis Bromac NZ holding on well for third. The mile rate was 2:01.5, with a last half of 59.2 . Bernie’s son Doug, a member of the Panthers Under-20s Grand-Final winning side, made a welcome return to the track where he drove mini-trotters and then his dad’s runners, before concentrating on his career in Rugby League. He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to race driving at some point in the future. Haka Shannon (Peter Bullock), last season’s Juvenile Horse-of-the-Year and Bathurst Gold Crown runner-up, justified his $1.20 quote by leading for most of the trip in a 2130 metres 3C0-3C1 event. Smack Dab Shannon made it a stable quinella, with pole runner Colonel Brook holding third spot throughout. The last half was a comfortable 58.9 . The Bettors half-brother to Mach Beauty stripped in fine order for his first-up run this season, and will be aimed at a number of the better-class races on offer. Denise and Jules (Amanda Turnbull, for Mark Butler) gave nothing else a chance in race six, a 3CO Fillies sprint event, dawdling through the first half in a pedestrian 66 seconds before zipping home in 58.7, with Princess Turf and Baked In The City taking the minor places, each for the first time. The Courage Under Fire daughter is named for her owners, Denise Brien and Julie Smith. They previously raced Cruisin Carl, which was recently sold to Queensland, where he is racing in good form. This filly is a more than worthy replacement. Amanda Turnbull completed her treble, and gave father Steve a training double, when Itdontmattertome ($1.40) led all the way in the 1730 metres C0 class seventh race. The last half of 57.2 was easily the fastest of the night. Marty Bee raced outside the lead throughout for second, with William Peter a distant third. Owner Doug Lee entrusted the son of Mach Three to Steve Turnbull when he and wife Jodie made the move to Queensland earlier this year, and a Canola Cup heat win, and this latest effort, vindicate Doug’s decision. Blissed By Datmuch (Keven Rivett) broke a sequence of four consecutive thirds with a stylish win in the final event, a C0 sprint class, from trailer Stylish Number, and debutant Sunny Guy which closed late. The winner sat midfield in the running line, and won with a lot in hand. It seems fitting that a race named after Smooth Satin should be won by the trainer-driver of Rowleyalla. Those two horses, along with the mighty Hondo Grattan, are generally regarded as the three greatest Bathurst horses in the night trotting era. Very fitting also, that the Bathurst Pick Six racebook tipping competition, which had jackpotted to a whopping $1200, should be won by a popular club stalwart in Jim O’Brien, who just happened to be celebrating his eighty-third birthday. Many happy returns, Jim! Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club

Bathurst becomes an entirely different city in the week leading up to the famed Bathurst 1000 “Great Race”. Thousands of visitors, street parades,and a lot of celebrity-spotting, all make for a buzz that you can actually feel. Many of the visitors made it to last Wednesday’s harness meeting, to experience- or perhaps re-discover- horse power of that other kind. The meeting was part of the official program of community activities for Race Week, and free entry for those presenting car racing entry passes ensured a large crowd. With races named for the competing teams up on the mountain, and winners’ sashes presented by visitors selected from the crowd, the fixture had an appropriate motor racing theme. Cousins Emma and Amanda Turnbull scored driving doubles, in a demonstration of female capability that’s taken for granted in harness racing but quite foreign to motor racing. Emma Turnbull’s double, maintaining an excellent strike-rate this year, came in the final two races, both for R 0 class, with Premium Angus and Queen Leianne. Both winners are trained by her mother Wendy. Premium Angus ($8.90) was quite impressive, taking off three-wide coming to the bell and maintaining the run for the entire lap, including a sharp 28.4 third quarter. He was too strong for leader Sunnyside Magic and pegs runner Blazing Boris. It was just the fourth start for the four-year-old son of Patirra, a handy mare for this stable which won 13 races including several at Harold Park. Queen Leianne ($2.60 fav.) scored in contrasting style, setting a moderate tempo throughout, for an overall 2:04.4 rate, in defeating Tulhurst Daydreamer, three-wide from the bell, and Stylish Number. The winner, a $3000 purchase for Winton Sanders at the 2011 Gold Crown Sale, was having just her third lifetime start. She’s a close relative of multiple Oaks and classics winner Yada Yada Yada. Amanda Turnbull’s winners Pevensey and Mercy Mercy were provided by brother Josh and father Steve, respectively. Pevensey ($2.20 fav.) occupied the death in the 2130 metres C0-C1 King of the Mountain Pace until obtaining cover at the 1300 metres point. She pulled out too many guns in the straight to hold off Hand For Tilly, which sat in the running line, and leader Why So Serious. It was the third career win, but the first in six starts this term, for the half-sister to Dinki Di. Mercy Mercy ($1.70 fav.) justified the decision of her owner and former trainer Belinda McCarthy to place the filly in easier country racing, when successful in a 3C0 sprint event. She led throughout, defeating Beau Savant which sat outside her all the way in a gallant effort, and Colonel Brook, one of three placegetters on the night for Ian Mutton/Robert Clifford. Steve Turnbull completed a training double when he drove Hes Magic Red ($7.80 ) to a narrow and exciting win in the R4+ Erebus Motor Sport V8 Pace, over 2130 metres. Leader The Wifes Calling was fighting strongly and looking likely to hang on, when she broke stride at the fifty-metres point, enabling Hes Magic Red, which had enjoyed the one-one throughout, to grab the lead and hold on in the night’s best finish from stablemates Western Spirit and Veracity Red. Earlier in the meeting, On China Beach NZ ($4.10) made it two wins from three starts this season when she led throughout for trainer-driver Wayne Watterson in a C1-C2 mares class over 2130 metres. Jay Peez Knight and Miss Ellie Shannon, which formed the three-wide train, filled the placings. The speed was solid throughout, with a last half in 59.4 and the mile rate 2:01. The daughter of Courage Under Fire has good gate speed, and a similar front-row draw should see her strongly fancied in this Friday’s $8,000 final for the mares. Essayist ($11.30 , John O’Shea ) relished the blistering early pace of a 2130 metres R0-R3 Holden Racing Team Pace, coming off the pegs on the turn and running out a strong winner in a 2:00.6 mile rate. Runner-up Giannis Bromac NZ, having its first Australian start, held on well for second after withstanding a sustained challenge early from Stevie Wander, and Crackerjack Jo came three-wide from the bell for third, maintaining its recent form. Race week visitors from as far away as Geraldton, Perth, the Sunshine Coast, Buderim and Brisbane, got to present sashes to the winners, and then share some of their Bathurst history with an interested crowd. Some have made their pilgrimage to “The Mount” for many years, while a few were in Bathurst, finally, for the very first time. They’ve all declared they’ll be certain starters for the trots this time next year. Marianne Donnelly  

It might have been just a humble R 0 class event, but there were “right royal” celebrations following the Aussie debut win of Smokin Bopper NZ at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting.  It was the first race starter for a number of the owners, a dream result that explained the excited handshakes and backslaps for trainer-driver Nathan Hurst and syndicate manager Mark Johnston, the on-course bookmaker at the Bathurst meetings. Back at the Royal Hotel in nearby Orange, where the syndicate was formed, there was a similar reaction, from patrons  who’d strongly supported the horse into $1.50 favoritism  in anticipation of such a performance. Hurst settled the five-year-old midfield before taking the lead mid-race. A 59.0 seconds last half was enough to easily hold off trailer Call Me Anytime and stablemate Blacks A Buzzin. The 2:00.8 rate for the 1730 metres was impressive for this grade, and suggestive of further success. Mark Johnston indicated that the immediate goal for the new horse was the upcoming Canola Cup at Eugowra, Australia’s richest C 0 series. Along with his bookmaker father Alan and bagman Heath Cubbin, he won a consolation race at last year’s carnival with the Hurst-trained Ignite Ted, and would love to go one better this time around. Hurst’s earlier winner at the meeting, Reservation Road NZ ($4.30 ), was equally impressive.  Racing outside the lead in an R4 and better 2130 metres event, he showed stamina and determination to grit out a win from Karinya Hando, which had a three-wide trail from the bell, and leader Hes Magic Red.The 57.7 last half was the quickest at Bathurst in quite a while. The other double from the meeting went to driver Amanda Turnbull, with stable runner Whispering Lass and catch drive Aunty Olive. Whispering Lass ($2.40 favourite) appeared well graded but was the undoubted omen selection for the Alabar-sponsored C1-C2 mares In A Whisper Stakes, named after her illustrious dam, one of our best juvenile fillies in the modern era. The drive was so good it looked simple. From the inside of the second row, Turnbull obtained the trail on leader Express Jet and bided her time until straightening for home before coming out of the trail to record an easy win. Miss Ponder ran on well from the rear for second, and Express Jet held on strongly after pulling very hard in the lead. The overall mile rate for the 2130 metres was 2:00.6, with 30.7 the slowest quarter. Aunty Olive ($2.00 fav.) showed blistering gate speed to lead easily in an R0 sprint event, and the Mike Watson-trained four-year-old got away with comfortable sections to run out comfortably from peg runners Charlottes Delight and Imposing Molly, in a 2:04.9 mile rate. Turnbull was re-united with the mare for the first time in almost two years, but she recalled the juvenile filly’s gate speed, and put it to good use on this occasion. Aunty Olive, Reservation Road and Smokin Bopper provided an Elsu siring trifecta at the meeting, which would have been very pleasing for Alabar’s John Coffey, who will be in attendance on Friday, to conduct a breeding seminar on behalf of Harness racing New South Wales. Elsu will certainly rate a mention. Other winners at the meeting were: Laughing Game ($3.90), a tough effort outside the lead in R1-R2 class, for Amy Day and trainer Mark Rawsthorne. The win continued the exceptional strike rate for the driver in the first race at Bathurst. That’s putting the pressure on! Leigh’s Delight  ($3.70) , backing up after a win two weeks ago at the track for Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris, who brought the Bettors four-year-old three-wide from the bell. The Menangle couple have enjoyed good success with their Bathurst runners in recent months. Stevie Wander ($3.10), all the way in C0-C1 class for Jack Butler and driver John O’Shea.  The Mach Three gelding hasn’t had much luck with barrier draws recently, and was always going to hold the lead from his inside draw. Smack Dab Shannon ($4.50), for Michael Munro and trainer Peter Bullock in 3YO class, backing up after a win in the final 2YO race of last season. Not regarded by his stable as mentally strong, he fought back after being headed close to the post, so he might be starting to show some of the tenacity of his classy dam Veloce Cavallo. Bathurst race again this Friday night (Tier One meeting), followed by next Wednesday night, and the annual Awards Night function will be held on Friday September 27 at Rydges Mount Panorama. by Marianne Donnelly

Bathurst HRC indicated its strong support of the Leigh Plunkett Foundation and its upcoming fundraiser at Penrith, by naming all races at last Wednesday’s meeting for the charity. On a night when all eight winners were trained and driven by locals, there was, nevertheless, an international flavour to proceedings. Local junior Cynthia Bourke was farewelled prior to her departure for a twelve-month contract in the Canterbury stables of leading New Zealand trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. On the arrivals side, a visiting English family with connections to Brooklyn Lodge enjoyed their first experience of harness racing, which included rides in the mobile barrier, visits to the broadcast box and, most importantly, backing a winner! Cynthia Bourke’s departure will be sorely felt by the close-knit team of trainer Peter Bullock, whose stable provided one of the night’s most impressive winners in Signory Shannon (Michael Munro), in the Leukaemia Foundation Pace over 2130 metres. The Bettors five-year-old, a favourite of everyone in the stable because of his wonderful attitude, appeared well graded in the C1 event, and justified his $2.00 starting quote by leading throughout at a 2:02.1 rate. Twenty Three Penny closed late, and Getaloadathis, racing outside the leader, held on well for third. Ben Settree made an enjoyable night for the English visitors even more memorable when he drove Birds Of A Feather ($3.90) to its first win at start fourteen, in a 3CO sprint class. After a slow first half, Settree quickened to a 30.0 third quarter, and got home in 31.4 for an overall rate of just 2:05.3. Sunnyside Magic raced wide for the last lap to hold on for second, ahead of favourite Charlottes Delight, which raced in the one-one trail. Doug Moore, Ben’s father-in-law, didn’t care at all about that slow time. Brooklyn Lodge had sold the Art Major daughter of high-class racemare Ruffle My Feathers as a yearling, and subsequently bought her back cheaply. With a winning time to her name now, Doug Moore was pleased to declare, “Now I’ve got a broodmare.” Those English visitors- Patrick and Jeanette Smith and their three children – hail from a little village near Headingly in Leeds, where the Poms had crushed Australia in a recent Ashes Test. At the precise moment they posed with the Brooklyn Lodge winner, the Aussies were walking out to open their account in the final match of the series at The Oval. Here’s hoping for revenge! Maheer Melody and Jay Peez Knight provided a double for trainer Steve Turnbull and driver Amanda, in their separate quests to attain 200 winners by season’s end. These wins took them to 195 and 196 wins respectively. Maheer Melody ($3.00 favourite) was forced to race outside the lead in a 3C0-3C1 sprint event, holding on for the narrowest of wins from William Peter, one-one trail throughout, and Wicked Delight, which trailed the leader from its second row draw. The mile rate of 2:02.4 was fair. Jay Peez Knight ($4.00) turned in a tough effort as well when taking out the Plunkett Fundraiser Pace, forced four wide when making a run at the bell, and still proving too strong despite a slick 28.7 third quarter and a wide trip for the final lap of the 1730 metres C 0 event. Hand For Tilly and Blissed By Datmuch filled the minor placings. Nathan Hurst’s training double was achieved with Lady Of The Dance NZ (Angela Hedges) in a 2130 metres R0-R1class, and two-year-old Tulhurst Jailbreak one race later, for Nathan himself. Lady Of The Dance NZ ($9.30) scored her first win since arriving in Australia last year, after enjoying a soft run behind stablemate Ace It Up Posum, which led and held on for second, ahead of favourite Why So Serious, which had been held back at the start to allow the horse drawn ahead of it, Crazzy Falcon, to catch the gate and take its place. While there was a degree of bad luck for Why So Serious, the final quarter in 34.0 (overall rate 2:05.5) was the slowest in memory, and demonstrated just how tired this field was by race end. Tulhurst Jailbreak ($7.00 ) showed a nice turn of foot to assume the lead at the 1200 metres mark in  a 2C0 sprint class and maintain an even tempo thereafter, to win clearly from favourite Our Lissome, which came off the pegs before the turn, and early leader Smack Dab Shannon.  This was the first win in nine starts for the Trump Casino youngster, but when he mends his manners to begin on terms with the field, he will win plenty. On China Beach ($2.80 ) also scored her first win, for keen owner Adam Tosic and trainer-driver Wayne Watterson, when she sat outside the lead in a second R0-R1 2130 metres class. Machs On Show and Happy Camper came from the running line to fill the minor places, and the even quarters produced an overall rate of 2:02.8, much quicker than the earlier event for this class. Studleigh Becky ($6.20 ) was given the run of the race by Emma Turnbull (for Brett Davis) in the C2-C3 sprint event,  trailing leader Zenitra Shannon and running it down close to home, with death-seating Rowan Royal holding on for third, in 2:01.9 , with a last half in 59.6 . The winner is another daughter of Art Major, a clear winner of the Sires premiership at Bathurst this season. Freezing conditions for most on course, but for Blayney-based Davis, Oberon –based Watterson, and those Headingly visitors, the night was probably quite balmy. Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club

Bathurst is home to the largest horse population in New South Wales, with at least six large professional stables, so harness racing holds up well during the cold, winter months when many clubs find it difficult to fill fields. Even so, the ten races on last Wednesday’s meeting came as something of a pleasant surprise. Most had full fields, which provided for very competitive and exciting racing.  Punters found the going hard,though, with only four favourites successful on the night. David Hewitt’s stable has enjoyed plenty of success at Bathurst this season, and that run continued at this meeting with an early double and several later placings. Western Burner, a $2.80 favourite on the strength of a last-start Bathurst victory, scored an outstanding win in a C0-C2 conditioned event over 2130 metres , driven by the trainer’s son Scott. With stablemate Kenneth Lloyd running them along at a frantic clip, Hewitt bided his time in the one-one before coming with a strong run from the 400 metres to grab the lead on the bend. El Mega (Ashlee Siejka), first up in six months, tracked him throughout and ranged up to win at the hundred metres. Western Burner almost broke stride at this point, was balanced up and then showed real grit and determination to draw clear for a narrow but well-deserved win. The speed was unrelenting, with the mile rate of 1:59 just 1.1 seconds off the track record set by Ultimate Art in this year’s Gold Chalice final. Shadow Son ($26.70) for David Hewitt himself, scored in the following race, a  C1-C2 sprint event.  In a race of changes, he enjoyed a good trail from his second-row draw to work clear in the straight, relegating leader Imitate Life and Dashing Deano to the minor places. The race was not only the second leg of Hewitt’s double, but also the second leg of the on-course Pick-Six promotion, which had jackpotted to a $1,000 prize. Those tipsters on good terms with themselves after Western Burner’s win in the first leg, were no doubt wishing they’d stuck with the stable in this race. Eternal optimists, they’ll fancy their chances at the next meeting, for the $1,025 on offer. Nathan Hurst scored a driving double, in successive races mid-way through the meeting. Major Armbro ($17.70) for trainer Mark Rawsthorne, trailed leader Lucky Art in a 3CO-3C1 class over 2130 metres, and came off the leader’s back at the top of the straight to record his  second lifetime win, after a number of recent placings. He’s beginning to race more truly with experience, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him pick up another win before season’s end. Hurst’s double came with his own runner Gabrielle Solis NZ, in a 3YO Fillies event also over the middle distance. Undefeated in three starts at two, and placed twice since resuming from a long lay-off, she again started long odds-on and gave backers no cause for concern. Hurst regards the McArdle daughter – a close relation to Iraklis and Monkey King- as possibly the fastest horse out of the gate that he’s driven. She showed why, leading easily from gate seven, and holding off Grin For Miss, which over-raced outside the lead, and the fast-finishing Aunty Olive, which came from a long way off the pace. The other double at the meeting was for father-daughter combination Steve and Amanda Turnbull. In race four, a C1-C2 Country Series heat, Ima Pleasure ($16.20 ) worked hard to find the lead and hold on narrowly from the one-one runner Temporary Use NZ (Scott Hewitt) and death-seating favourite Flying Jetfire NZ (Ashlee Siejka). Ima Pleasure will be retired for breeding in coming months, and this latest win will offset some of the stud fees for the Turnbull family’s recent purchase. Their second winner came in the final event, an R0-R1 sprint event, with $2.40 favourite Signum Vitae. After surrendering the lead and then being shuffled back mid-field, Turnbull had to bring the Life Sign gelding across the back of the pack on the corner before coming with a strong finish down the outside, to score from  Why So Serious (Sam Hewitt) and Phil The Tooth (Neville Donnelly). There was merit  in this win. The double kept them on track to reach the coveted 200 wins for this season, with Amanda needing six and Steve seven, for that milestone. Regardless of the eventual outcome, it’s been a wonderful season for them both. Amanda will place fifth in the Australian driving ranks, and Steve will be runner-up behind  Grant Dixon in the Australian training ranks. Other winners at the meeting were: Bradness Marie ($6.60 ) , John O’Shea for Jack Butler, a tough effort from the death seat in a C0-C2 conditioned event. Rowan Royal ( $3.80), all the way in R2-R3 class for Wayne Watterson, who obtained the quinella with Extreme Fire (John O’Shea ). Major Dancer ($1.90 ), a dominant winner of  a CO Country Series heat for Morisset  visitor Mark Callaghan, who recalled driving Surfing Safari to a track-record win in the Bathurst Gold Cup some sixteen years ago. That record still stands. Always Will ($12.90) Sam Hewitt for Bernie Hewitt, found room close to the line to get up narrowly in a 2YO Fillies event, at her racetrack debut. Bathurst will conduct its final meetings for the season on Wednesday 21st and 28th, with plenty of juveniles trying to grab those age-win bonuses. Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club  

Wet, sloppy conditions kept the crowd small but didn’t prevent very competitive racing at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Ash Siejka’s training double, and an exceptional debut by Think It Through, were the highlights. On debut in a 2YO Fillies class but a very short-priced favourite on the strength of a 2:00 trial win at Young, Think It Through managed the potentially tricky inside draw then sped away in front to open up a gap of at least 50 metres  during the middle stages of the race. Halfway through the second lap, trainer-driver John Vautin started to shake her up as the huge gap narrowed somewhat, and many in the stand were beginning to wonder if this Vo Rogue-like performance would end in an upset. They needn’t have worried. Though getting very weary after highballing in front in very slushy conditions, she held on by a mere 19 metres to post the first of what will surely be numerous career victories.  Our Lissome NZ and Most Admired gave Steve Turnbull the minor placings. The sectional times make interesting reading. After a slow lead time as she found her footing out of the gate, she dashed through the middle 1200 metres in 1:30.0 flat, leaving all her rivals off the bit and gasping for oxygen, before a telling 33.6 final quarter, for a mile rate of 2:03.2 . A  strapping type very reminiscent of her sire Ponder, the half-sister to Ultimate Art was purchased by  Lester and Linda Hewitt from the Micallef draft  at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale for $8,000 , the day after that year’s Crown winner had easily defeated their runner in a Crown heat . To paraphrase a familiar expression, they reckoned “ if you can’t beat ‘em,  get one of ‘em. “ John Vautin hasn’t seen much of Bathurst this season, since basing himself at Cowra. Lester Hewitt is an accomplished trainer in his own right, a clear leader of the UDR Trainers Premiership at Bathurst this season, but he’s supported his former stable driver with this filly, the undoubted star of Toby Vautin’s small team. For all of them, there’s much to look forward to. In My Life NZ, the first leg of Ashlee Siejka’s training double, set the pattern for the evening by making a fast move mid-race to the death, and then outstaying favourite Two Striking and the sweet-seating Im No Lady. The last half took 60.4, with the mile rate of 2:04.8 for the 2130 metres  C O event. Recent Rising Stars placegetter Kylie Barnes handled the driving duties for Siejka’s second winner Nickys Passion NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint class, sitting outside the lead and proving too strong for Miners Lane, which had enjoyed the one-one trail, and  stablemate Stirling William, which had led. The mile rate of 2:02 was very good in the conditions, and the last half was run in a minute flat. Abercrombie Alice  (Graham Betts for Leon Bennetts) maintained her excellent recent form with another all-the-way win, in a 3CO-3C1 sprint event. Courtesy of a neat piece of driving, and some good fortune, she found the lead around the first bend after coming from barrier 9. Hallycould held on in the death seat for second, with the original occupant of that spot and then trailer, Master Macca, getting the minor placing. Twenty Three Penny’s winning effort , in a C1 sprint class, was more conventional, with John O’Shea spearing the short-priced favourite straight to the front and controlling the race throughout. She zipped up the back in 28.7 , the night’s fastest quarter, putting the result beyond doubt, and cruised home in 31.0 to defeat  Positive Thinking and Runs On Love, which had followed her on the pegs throughout. The mile rate was 2:04. It was the seventh lifetime win for the Blissfull Hall mare, which will join the nice broodmare band put together by keen Carcoar-based breeders Ray and Peter Connolly. Long Cool Woman brought up win 191 and 189 respectively for her driver and trainer, Amanda and Steve Turnbull, in a 3C O sprint event. She worked to the death seat mid-race and outstayed Aunty Olive,which raced wide for the last lap, and favourite Gabrielle Solis NZ, three-back in the running line . The mile rate was only 2:04.6, but the last half of 59.8 was good on the night. Franco Talon NZ (Amy Day for Garrett Newton) made up for the pair’s second in the opening race by taking out an R2-R3 middle-distance class. Last early before coming three-wide from the bell, the favourite  had a bit in hand to defeat the death-seater Rowan Royal and Ihitthegroundrunning NZ, from the one-one.The overall rate was just 2:05.8, with the last half in 60.1 . Western Burner found the by-now coveted spot outside the leader in the final race, an R0-R1 over 2130 metres, and naturally he won, for Scott Hewitt and trainer-father David. Happy Camper came three-wide from the bell for second, with Jerula’s Mate which had the one –one trail, holding on for third. The times were moderate but the winning margin of 17 metres suggests a repeat win can be expected.

Night racing in the middle of winter is for the hardiest of souls, and last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting tested the toughest, with the temperature hovering around the four degrees mark throughout, before dropping to zero as floats were loaded for home. It didn’t bother Nathan Hurst, however. Back in action on his home track after serving a suspension incurred at the end of a working holiday in sunny Queensland, Hurst celebrated with a driving double, to share the honours with Amanda Turnbull. We Own The Night provided the first leg of his double in race two, leading throughout in a 3CO-3C1 sprint event to score decisively from William Peter and Signum Vitae, which sat behind him. The overall rate was a tidy 2:00.8, with a last half in a minute. The Aces N Sevens gelding is owned and trained by Hurst’s girlfriend Angela Hedges, who helped keep his stable ticking over during his absence in Queensland. She’s currently on holidays, and he’s now returned the favour. Express Jet completed the double for Hurst in race five, a 2130 metres R2-R3 class. Drawn inside the second line, the Jet Laag four-year-old mare was driven quietly and finished strongly to score the narrowest of wins from leader Rebel Shannonn and trailer Son Of Lopez. The mile rate was 2:02.5, and the last half was 59.9. Like their trainer, owners Ray and Margaret Mawhood have recently spent some time away from the track- in their case, through illness – so the win was the best possible welcome back present. Being from Oberon, the weather did not present any problems for them! Amanda Turnbull began the meeting on 180 winners for the season, and her driving double keeps that “double ton” goal very much in sight with five weeks of the season remaining. Steve Turnbull’s season has been equally outstanding. His training tally stood at 182 to begin the meeting, so the prospect of both father and daughter achieving a remarkable milestone is highly likely. The race to get there first is played down by both, but is full of interest for the rest of us. Pevensey (for Josh Turnbull) led throughout in a 2130 metres CO class, to record her second win from four starts this season. Destiny Hope and Outlaw filled the minor places, and a slow lead time and even sectionals led to a modest mile rate of 2:04.2 . Ausswin sat outside the lead in race seven, for R0-R1 class, and proved too tough for Happy Camper, which had enjoyed a one-one trip, and Captain Barbossa, which made a wide run over the final lap. They were a very tired bunch at race end, with a final quarter of just 32.4 contributing to the overall mile rate of 2:04.8 Steve Turnbull being the trainer of Ausswin, the scoreboard then read this way: daughter 182 , dad 183 . The “Great Race” continues! Another double act from the Siejka sisters, with Amie (Bateup) successful in the C1 class opening race aboard Miners Lane, for trainer Bob Schweickle, and Ashlee scoring with Red Vee Hanover in the C2-C3 class two races later. They were contrasting wins. Miners Late led all the way, zipping up the back in a sharp 27.9 for an overall rate of 1:59.8, and defying his $36 quote. Red Vee Hanover started odds on, got a nice trail into the business end of the race, and just outstayed stablemate Stirling William which closed late. Graham Betts and Mark Hewitt have impressed all season, and again turned in excellent winning drives at this meeting. Betts, drawn the inside with favourite Abercrombie Alice (for trainer Leon Bennetts) in a 3YO Fillies sprint event, kept back a little from the early speed battle and then kicked through on the first corner to post his main rival and second favourite Crazzy Falcon in the death seat. He dictated the race from the lead, getting home in 60 seconds for a narrow win from the trailing Long Cool Woman. Hewitt’s runner in the 2YO Fillies final event, Pullabookaprincess, had to contend with the outside gate, and his move to take up the death seat might have seemed obvious enough, but it nevertheless confined Our Lissome behind race leader Rachelle Shannon during a slowly run affair, and enabled him to open up a break on the corner which he maintained to the line. Pullabookaprincess, by first-season sire Stonebridge Regal, is a very genuine trier, as her season’s record of 18 starts for 2 wins and 8 placings indicates. On these cold Bathurst nights, it’s mostly only regulars who attend. One unfamiliar face at this meeting belonged to an older man who identified himself as a traveller making his way from Sydney to Perth, in slow stages, sleeping in his swag along the way. He appeared to be enjoying himself, which is good because he might be thawed out just in time for the next meeting! Bathurst Harness Racing Club  

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