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Bathurst four year old, Lethal Promise will start a short priced favourite in this Sunday afternoon’s $10,000 Ex Services & Citizens Club Series Final (1800m) at the Peak Hill Harness Racing Club's Carnival of Cups TAB meeting. Trained by one of the best in the business namely Bernie Hewitt, Lethal Promise could not have been more impressive when recording a comfortable win in his qualifying heat which was conducted under picture perfect skies last weekend. On that occasion he was driven by Mat Rue who had the gelding poised to pounce just off the pace before unleashing a powerful finish to score by four and a half metres in a very slick 1.57.2. The horse that ran third to him, Tulhurst Santanna (Nathan Hurst) made all the running in front and was gallant in defeat, beaten by just over six metres and again he will be the one that Lethal Promise has to get over the top of in the final. Mat Rue landed a winning treble on the afternoon with one of his wins being aboard the Kevin Medlyn trained Blake On Fire in the second heat of the Series. Although his winning mile rate was some two and a half seconds slower than that recorded in the first heat, the Parkes pacer looked to have something in reserve as he strode clear for a resounding win over Shazam Shannon and Master Benny with the latter being responsible for a huge effort after being posted off the track for the last 1200 metres of the race. Sunday’s meeting which kicks off at 12.09pm promises to be a beauty with a plethora of great racing and entertainment for patrons. Another feature on the program is the $10,000 Kriden Park Lady Drivers Invitational. Drivers of the fairer sex who have confirmed that they will be competing in the race include inform Bathurst drivers Ashlee Grives, McKayler Barnes, Emma Turnbull, Amy Rees and Angela Hedges.  Parkes will be represented by the very talented Kasey Hocking while popular Dubbo girl, Jacqui Ingham will also be competing. Two $10,000 heats of the Tabcorp Park Menangle Series are programmed on a card that is offering almost $70,000 in prize money and trophies for the nine race program. Craig Dumnesy Reprinted with permission of The Parkes Champion Post

Fouroeight, the horse named in memory of champion cricketer Phil Hughes, added more runs to the board with a harness racing career-best performance in a C3/C4 Menangle Country Series heat at Group One Feeds Paceway on Wednesday. The Mat Rue-trained and driven four-year-old took full advantage of a favourable barrier three to lead throughout, keeping the tempo brisk with a 59-seconds first half then quickening markedly over the last half in 55.9 seconds, for a 1:54.4 mile rate. His third quarter of 27.7 seconds, reminiscent of a Hughes quick single, kept the chasing pack at bay as they turned for home but he was made to earn the win as Swaggie Shannon came off his back late to flash home for the closest of seconds. "That's the fastest he's ever gone in winning, which is quite surprising because he 's really not a leader, he is actually much better with a trail," commented Rue after the win. And is he capable of picking up one of those lucrative Menangle finals? "Absolutely, if he gets a decent draw and races close enough to the lead, he's capable of winning, and in very quick time as well," his trainer added. The earlier C1-class Club Menangle Where Horses Fly heat also resulted in an all-the-way win, for the Amanda Turnbull-trained My Bettor Bella NZ, the mare stopping the clock at 1:55.1 after maintaining a strong speed throughout. This was the first leg of a driving double for Turnbull, who backed up with Written In Style in a C5- backed conditioned event, using the sprint lane to reel in leader Haka Shannon, who had to be content with the runner-up possie for the third time running. Amanda Turnbull admits it's taken her a while to warm to the Bathurst sprint lane. She says she was impatient previously, bustling her horses as soon as she got into it, but now she makes sure they're balanced up before she really goes for them. Her success rate via the lane this season indicates she's learned that lesson well. Mitchell Turnbull and Robbie Morris also collected driving doubles at Wednesday 's meeting. Cherry Mahoney, all the way in a C1 conditioned sprint with a last half in 56.7 seconds, and Hidden Courage, which finished strongly from mid-field in a 3YO sprint, supplied Mitchell with his wins. Together with Amanda's victory on Written In Style, they gave Steve Turnbull a treble to further increase his runaway lead in the Bathurst trainers premiership. The Robbie Morris double, both trained by his partner Kerryann Turner, was achieved with Smokey Quartz in the fast-class, coming hard along the sprint lane to grab leader Karloo Kix, with a scintillating final quarter in 27.2 seconds, and with debutant Ritchie Bee, which raced behind the leader in the 2YO final event, and finished well to hold off another first starter in Peat Green. This was also a double for the owner, Dorro Nominees, and Robbie Morris was keen to acknowledge the strong support given to the stable by John Dorrington. Machgower was the other winner at the meeting, the Dennis Picker-trained and driven three-year-old finishing a little too strongly for leader Star Play in C0 class, giving him three wins for the term and making up for two recent seconds at the track. Runners in the second race, the conditioned class taken out by Cherry Mahoney, wore black armbands to mark the passing earlier in the week of popular Bathurst horseman Ian Mutton, whose life will be celebrated at Group One Feeds Paceway next Tuesday. Ian trained and drove many good horses in a long and successful career but will be remembered most of all as a smiling, engaging character who always had a joke,or three, to share with everyone. He will be missed by everyone, especially racetrack interviewers who could always depend on him for interesting and forthright commentary. by Terry Neil

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 : contact@goldcrown.com.au  W : www.goldcrown.com.au P : 02 6333 5000 F : 02 6331 4397

Good results at Bathurst tonight will top off a remarkable week for Western Districts-based harness racing horseman Mat Rue. The 27-year-old added another highlight to his resume when winning the Group 2 Miracle Mile Drivers Invitational with Queensland pacer Leos Best at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Rue was invited by Club Menangle to take part in the race after winning the 2013 Miracle Mile with Baby Bling. And driving in front of a large crowd at that very same track last weekend brought back some good memories for Rue. “It was great driving in front of a crowd like that again . . . the crowd was huge,” Rue said. “In the warm up I looked across at the crowd and reflected on how it all came about when I won the Miracle Mile with Baby Bling. “It was also nice to lob up on the night and drive in a race on a nice horse.” Rue will have a bit more work involved than just turning up and driving at Bathurst tonight. He has six drives and trains three of those horses himself. Originally having a two-pronged attack in the opening race, Rue has been reduced to just one runner, Bettor Ranger, with his other pacer Big In America being scratched. “I’m expecting a better run from Bettor Ranger even though he is drawn a bit wide,” Rue said. “He won two races as a two-year-old and this time in made a mistake first up and faced a hard race the following start at Penrith.” Rue’s next three drives are for other stables including the Barry Lew-trained Karloo Damajor. He is very familiar with this gelding having driven the son of art Major in all of his 15 starts which includes six wins. “He has started this campaign well with a win at Dubbo last week,” Rue said. “He faces an awkward draw but we will go back and hope there is a bit of speed on that we can tag onto.” Rue is then looking forward to racing his debutant Billy Braveheart later in the night following that pacer’s trial win at Bathurst on Monday. “He’s produced a couple of nice trials and should run a good race first up even though it is a pretty handy race,” Rue said. And rue is just as pleased with his filly Callmequeenbe in the last. “She goes quite well,” Rue said. “She got a long way back in her first start but ran home some good sectionals and has really tightened up after the run . . . I’m really happy with her.” AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando Fields for Bathurst, Friday 03 March 2017 Form guide for Bathurst, Friday 03 March 2017

Born and bred into the harness racing sport, Tom Pay is the oldest of four children and explains his upbringing as privileged.   Spending his school holidays at Steve and Jenny Turnbull’s since the age of 14 has advanced Tom in his driving career and he looks up to Steve for the opportunities he has given him. The Year 11 student admits that it is a struggle to combine both school and his passion for harness racing.   He tries to put his horses first but his Mum, Brigette would like him to focus on his schooling at St John’s College first.   Tom has ambitions of one day becoming a farrier but for the meantime is happy to take everything as it comes.  He wishes to have a small team in work on the side after losing his claim as well as the career of his choice. Tom’s greatest racing accomplishments to date are scoring his first double at Dubbo behind Zodiac Dream and Sanity Clause in December 2015, which was nearly a treble but was beaten a short-half-head with Karloo Quade.   He also drove his first winner at Tabcorp Park Menangle with Lap Dancer on December 11, 2015.   Tom enjoyed success when he won the Tabcorp Park Menangle Country Series Heat with Fantasy Level back in April this year. Tom’s greatest inspiration is Mat Rue and hopes to one day win dual Group 1’s in a day like him.   In April 2013 Mat won the Miracle Mile as well as the Two-Year-Old Australian Pacing Gold Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle.   Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry? – Katy Perry Favourite food – Jenny Turnbull’s roast Steak or chicken? – Steak, medium. Briefs or boxes? – Knickers Favourite saying – You only go back if you drop your wallet   Ashlea Brennan

There might have been a smaller crowd, cooler conditions, and mostly "bread and butter" races compared to the recent Gold Crown carnival, but Friday's  harness racing fixture at Group 1 Feeds Bathurst Paceway certainly didn't lack for excitement, with a number of desperately close finishes. This was especially so in the feature Western Districts Oaks, where favourites Pixies Parlour and Rainbow Flash staged a good old-fashioned stoush the length of the home straight, necessitating a long delay before the judges found the narrowest of margins for Rainbow Flash ($2.70, Robbie Morris for Kerryann Turner) The battle continued into the stewards' room, Amanda Turnbull lodging a protest alleging that Rainbow Flash (which had sat outside her from the mile ) had forced Pixies Parlour down inside the marker pegs on the point of the home turn. After a lengthy delay, stewards dismissed the protest, allowing the Santanna Blue Chip daughter to maintain her unbeaten record in three runs at Bathurst.Mile rate for the 2260 metres event was a very pedestrian 2:00.6, after a very slow lead time and first quarter, but things got very urgent soon after, with a sharp 27.6 third quarter and then 29.2 for that stirring final section of the race. Positions were somewhat reversed in the following fast-class event, when Morris attempted to lead throughout on favourite Franco Tiago NZ, chasing four straight wins, and fought off Turnbull's runner Heza Thrill NZ, which had moved to the death mid-race. Mat Rue aboard Kenny Dee Dee ($4.90, for Bernie Hewitt ) took the opportunity for a cart into the race on the back of Heza Thrill, and ranged up in the shadows of the post to just get over the top of the other two. With the final three quarters all dispatched in sub 29s, the mile rate was a quick 1:57.3 for the 2260 metres. It was win number 15 for the Speed King five-year-old, bringing up a total of 56 wins for the progeny of his dam Beat The Clock, which connections purchased cheaply some years ago from Queensland breeder Stan Fyfe. The mare was humanely put down recently, but has been a wonderful producer for her proud owners Bob Boyd and Deirdre Masters. Both Robbie Morris and Amanda Turnbull scored driving doubles at the meeting, as did concession reinsman Chris Geary. Turnbull's earlier winner was Star Writer ($3.10, for father Steve ) which tracked three-wide over the final quick half of a C2-C4 class, for a very gutsy win in 1:58.8, and Morris picked up his second win in the 2YO final event, with Brobenah Boy ($6.20, for Bernie Hewitt ) leading throughout and dashing home in 27.8 for his first win at start number four. Geary's double came in the opening races, both for Belinda McCarthy. Somepartysomewhere ($3.80 ) took advantage of an early scrimmage in the 3YO event to find the front before dashing home in 57.2 seconds for his second win in succession, to remain unbeaten this season. Imnoracinggal NZ ($2.60 ) belied her name with the night's easiest win, by a mere 22.5 metres, in C1 company, Geary making a well-judged move after the bell to wrest the lead from runners feeling the pinch after a lead time of 45.3 seconds, the fastest so far at the track. Overall mile rate was 1:56.6, seldom bettered for the testing 2260 metres run at Bathurst. Geary currently sits in third place in the NSW driving ranks, behind Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris, with more than 70 winners, but is reluctant to talk about his chances of cracking a century. In his current form, and getting drives from strong stables, he must be a good chance. Castlereagh trainer Anthony Simiana missed his double when Franco Tiago got nabbed in that fast-class race later in the night, but was delighted earlier on when Walkabout Creek ($5.40, Wes Komorowski ) made it a hat-trick of wins since his recent purchase, in a conditioned class heat of the Dubbo Golden Gig. With the speed on throughout, he came three-wide from the half for a tough win, in 1:55.6 for the sprint trip. A beautifully-bred son of Somebeachsomewhere from fine racemare Trudee, he still displays some poor manners but has improved under Simiana's care and by working with other horses. There was no tougher win on Friday than that of the Steve Turnbull-trained and driven Sabrage NZ ($1.70 ), on debut in Oz and posted three-wide for a long way in C0 class, before eventually finding the death seat. Steve Turnbull  didn't think he'd got up in the photo from Summer Money, but his relief was tempered with some anxiety about his youngster having a gut-buster first-up. Everyone at Bathurst is well used to the sight of female drivers weighing in first, but it was refreshing to see a female steward, Annie Carruthers, checking the runners and signalling the all-clear after one of the races on Friday. Her seniors on the stewards panel tell me the young cadet is showing a lot of promise, and is only a couple of months off being ready to take charge of a race meeting. Great to see, and with a surname the same as Australia's first world boxing champ, she's sure to handle whatever comes her way! Terry Neil

It’s a big week for leading harness racing owner Alf La Spina. But it’s off to a good start. The Brisbane based owner/breeder is no stranger to success when it comes to juvenile racing following the deeds of Armida, Il Tenore, The Archduchess and Caesar Augustus among others. And with the juvenile features just around the corner, La Spina is hoping to play a significant role with a number of well-bred youngsters that he has bred or purchased at the sales. On Saturday night, La Spina will switch his focus to Sydney with exciting prospect San Domino taking his place in the Gr.2 $51,500 Rod Fitzpatrick Memorial at Tabcorp Park, Menangle. A graduate of the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales, La Spina spent $50,000 to secure the colt from Brooklyn Lodge at the Sydney Sale last year before entrusting the youngster with Bathurst horseman Ben Settree. The Somebeachsomewhere – Reggae Miss colt looked ultra-impressive at his debut performance last week at Bathurst when scoring comfortably in a time of 1:57.5 while running his final half in 56.7 seconds. Miracle Mile winning reinsman Mat Rue will again handle San Domino and will start from gate 7 in Saturday’s feature. And La Spina will have a spring in his step heading into the weekend following the performance of Maestro Bellini at the Albion Park trial session yesterday (Tuesday). A homebred colt by champion sire Bettor's Delight from the richly talented mare Santuzza, Maestro Bellini scorched around the Brisbane oval in a time of 1:56.3 defeating older rivals. Sectionals were covered in 28.3, 30.4, 29.3 and 28.4 seconds. Maestro Bellini is prepared by Chris Petroff. “He’s a nice little colt with good speed and great manners, he’s been a natural from the start and hopefully he keeps improving with time.” Petroff said. “We all know how good his pedigree is and hopefully he can do the same job as his relations, if not better.” He added. The Gr.3 $30,000 Wayne Wilson Memorial Paleface Adios Classic at Albion Park on March 5 is an obvious target for the colt while he’s staked for several interstate features including the Bathurst Gold Crown series. by Chris Barsby

Miracle Mile winning reinsman Mat Rue achieved a career milestone at Parkes last week when the harness racing 26-year-old drove his 500th career winner.  While the victory by Tulhurst Ace may have gone unnoticed by many, winning on the Nathan Hurst trained four-year-old meant a great deal to Rue as the Hurst stable was one of his biggest supporters in the early days. On leaving school, Rue got a job working for Golden Gait Stud’s Wayne Lamb before securing a job at the Cowra Abattoir.  Despite being busy at work, Rue still found time to travel around the central west of New South Wales to drive at country meetings. “I’d finish at the meatworks by 12:30 and I’d head off to wherever I could get a drive in the early days, there were plenty of people who were willing to give me a go and that helped my development,” Rue said. “Dad (Ken Rue) helped me a lot too, he had two horses – Miracle In Time and Lace and Whiskey – and I was able to win quite a few which got my career going in the early days.” When Rue started to establish himself as a junior reinsman he moved to Bathurst and began working for local trainer Bernie Hewitt and it was during this time that he got his biggest break through unfortunate circumstances. “I was doing a bit of driving for Kevin and Nathan Hurst in those days and Nathan got hurt and had to have about eighteen months off so I started picking up about 70% of the drives for the stable and they had about 25 horses in work at the time. “Back in those days, trainers like Peter Trevor-Jones was a great support and he still is today, but once I started to get a few winners I started to get more opportunities.” It was during this period that Rue caught the attention of Luke McCarthy and Rue soon moved to Sydney to become the junior reinsman for the state’s leading stable.  Rue enjoyed his most successful season while living in Sydney and recorded 110 winners in 2011/12. However it wasn’t until April 2013 that Rue enjoyed the best day of his career when he drove a group one double at Tabcorp Park Menangle including the Miracle Mile on the McCarthy trained Baby Bling. “It was a day everyone dreams about and it is something that will probably never happen again but to win the Miracle Mile and the Australian Pacing Gold for two year olds on Lettucerockthem was so special. “I had dreamed about winning the Miracle Mile since I was young and to achieve it was something I will never forget.” Rue moved to North America for more experience and while learning a lot he was unable to drive a winner. “I think I had about 30 drives over there, I got six placings which was good but I was ready to come home and have a crack at it. “I moved back to Bathurst with Bernie and have been working for him since, nothing beats the thrill of driving winners but I’m really enjoying training the young horses and I have a small team of five in work.” At Bathurst tonight, Rue has a number of drives however he also trains lightly raced three-year-old Fouroeight in race six. “He is owned by Tony Pace and when I first picked him up it was only a couple of days after Australian cricketer Phil Hughes had died after he was hit in the head while playing for South Australia. “I named the horse Phil straight away because I am a pretty big cricket fan and when it came time to name him I asked Tony if I could put a name in for him and I decided to use Phil Hughes’ Australian test number and that’s how I came up with Fouroeight.” Fouroeight was Rue’s 499th winner as a driver and he brought up his 500th the following night at Parkes. “I’d love to keep doing what I’m doing, everything is going really well for me at the moment, my fiancé Gemma (Hewitt) and I are due to get married and hopefully the winners keep coming.” Greg Hayes

Memories of the late cricketer Phillip Hughes were recalled when Fouroeight scored his first win at the Group One Feeds  restricted-class harness racing meeting at Bathurst last Tuesday. The three-year-old gets his name from the official test number allocated when Hughes was first selected - he became the four hundred and eighth player to represent Australia since test cricket was first played - which Hughes proudly sported on his shirt, under the coat-of -arms. Since Hughes' tragic death, that number has become iconic in Australian cricket, and even among the wider community. Many cricketers, at all levels, now sport the number on their clothing, footwear or equipment. The Rock N Roll Heaven two-year-old had entered Rue's stable round about the time of the tragedy, in late November 2014, and Rue, very deeply touched by the death, was quick to ask owner Tony Pace if he could add a name to the list about to be submitted. "Tony was happy for me to do that - he's a terrific owner, who never bothers me about anything, and goes along with whatever I decide for his horses - and even though it went down as sixth out of a possible six names, that was the one we got. I think it was just meant to be," he recalls. Tuesday's win might have been the gelding's first, but his $1.20 starting price was no surprise. He'd placed at all five previous runs, three last season including a Gold Crown Consolation, and twice recently, including the McCarthy Memorial race on Boxing Night. After holding the lead from his inside gate, Rue was able to get away with a comfortable first half in 62.7 seconds, before upping the ante over the final half in 55.4 seconds, for an overall mile rate of 1:57.5, seemingly with plenty in reserve. His winning margin, over first starter Whiskey Blaze and So Kool Master, was 24 metres, just a touch more than the length of a cricket pitch.  "Marvellous," Richie would have declared. The all-the-way win of Glee Bromac NZ ($6.00), the second leg of a Wendy Turnbull training double in the opening two events, also prompted some memories, much closer to home this time, when driver Jason Turnbull spoke about the December 15 birth of a daughter to himself and partner Donna Russell. Named Georgia Dale, she carries the same initials as Jason's late father Greg, and perpetuates the "Dale" middle name borne by his famous grandfather "A.D " , father Greg, and Jason himself. Each time Jason and older sister Emma warm up before a race, or return to scale after a placing, they pass in front of the infield semaphore, which is officially the "Greg Turnbull Memorial" at the track. G.D. is keeping a good eye on them. Emma, who's battling it out with Mat Rue for the driving premiership at Bathurst this season, took out the opening race, an RO sprint, with Yearn For You ($29.70 ) which produced a barnstorming finish to score his second lifetime win, and the first in 10 starts this season. Then in race three, following Jason's win, she backed up again, with Our Braxton NZ ($5.60, for Lester Hewitt), sitting in the death throughout the R1 sprint to score a tough win, home in 27.5 and 29.8, for win four in six lifetime starts. She almost made it a treble in race four, but had to settle for a close second, driving the Peter Bullock-trained Skirmish, behind Left Neglected ($7.70, Nathan Turnbull ) in the R2/R3 "fast class" of the night. Left Neglected set off three-wide from the half-mile, tracked up by Skirmish, and pulled out plenty in the run home, for an impressive win in the night's fastest time, a 1:54.8 rate. His trainer-driver was expecting a good run from the close relation to Blacks A Fake, after several strong trials, but was nonetheless pleased by the performance. Count Montecristo ($20.30, Tony Higgs ) ended a fourteen-month long losing sequence, when he came from mid-field with a strong finish to take out an R2-backed conditioned sprint, giving his trainer-driver just his second win at the new Bathurst track, the previous win for both of them coming on Melbourne Cup day in 2014. Even sectionals added up to a moderate 2:00.1 mile rate. Brian and Margaret Bradley, who stood stallions at their "Myola Park Stud" for a number of years, were represented by the winner of the 2260 metres R0 seventh race, Slice of Paradise ($4.30 favourite, Amy Day). The lightly-raced Mach Three son continued the improvement shown in a couple of recent placings, coming with a strong sprint from mid-field. Resounding cheers were heard down at the Coolamon farm. Cherry Mahoney ($1.60 favourite, Steve Turnbull ) commenced her sophomore year in winning fashion, leading early before handing up and then coming wide in the straight for an authoritative win in the final event, rating 1:58.1 over the sprint course. The daughter of Breeders Challenge champion Bonnie Mahoney, and a Tiara heat winner last season, she had improved her race manners after a number of trials leading into this race, but her driver wasn't prepared to chance the sprint lane with her, preferring to pull her out turning for home to give her plenty of room. Once she balanced up, she had the race in her keeping. Bathurst races again next Friday night, with the annual Oberon Community Cup Night certain to draw a very big crowd, for some high-class racing headed by the Cup, and plenty of novelty events and auctions to raise money for Ronald McDonald House. It's always one of the most enjoyable nights of the season. by Terry Neil

Driver Mat Rue has tasted success at the highest level in harness racing. The talented reinsman won the 2013 Miracle Mile driving Baby Bling for trainer Belinda McCarthy but a victory in the 2015 Eugowra Canola Cup on his father Ken's horse, Lucy Lamb would be very memorable. Lucy Lamb won her heat by a big margin despite Rue sitting calmly in the sulky and the talented mare remains undefeated after four starts. "She did that all by herself in the heat, there was a driver behind me who was making a bit of noise and she just took off, I didn't ask her to quicken at all," Rue said. "Dad has always had a really nice opinion of her and I remember her first educational trial she competed in I thought she had a bit of a future." Lucy Lamb found her way to the stables of Ken Rue after a conversation between Ken and Golden Gait's Wayne Lamb. "Dad was working one horse and he always says if you are going to work one you might as well work two so he spoke to Wayne Lamb about leasing one and he said to head out to Golden Gait because he had a few there that he could have a look at. "When Dad drove in Lucy Lamb was at a tie up rail and he was hoping Wayne would offer him her and when Wayne said to Dad you can lease her, Dad said yes straight away." Mat Rue is no stranger to Canola Cup success having driven Bobbee Dee Dee to victory in 2011. "I'd love to win on Lucy Lamb for Dad, there is going to be a pretty big cheer squad for her at Eugowra next Monday and I know my brother has already organised to have the Tuesday off work so I think he might be planning on a big celebration if she wins. "Dad only lives 25 minutes away from Eugowra and it is his closest track so he does travel into the track and works her there a bit, I think it would be classed a local win if she can get the job done." Lucy Lamb has drawn barrier seven and will follow out the Steve Turnbull trained Oh I Am The One. "It probably isn't as bad as it looks because I think Steve's horse looks as though it will lead and that should mean I'm in behind the leader which will mean we get a pretty good trip into the race. "We might just need some luck swinging for home. Greg Hayes

Bathurst can get pretty cold in mid-winter, and the numbers at mid-week trots meetings are a long way short of those carnival crowds. When you add in the very wet and stormy conditions that lashed the track for the previous day and a half, and a certain footy game which kept people everywhere glued to their televisions at home, it was a pleasant surprise that Wednesday's meeting attracted anyone at all apart from the harness racing participants. Few in number but passionate about the trots, these "true blues" were rewarded for their attendance with some exciting finishes, well-supported runners collecting the cash in all eight races, and the enjoyment of settling back after the last to watch the Blues succeed in Origin. Soeur De Lyse ($4.10, Mat Rue/Ben Settree) worked to the front in the opening event, a C0-C1 sprint, and the Four Starzzz Shark mare held on strongly to defeat the late-closing Tulhurst Sarsha and favourite Allnight Kiss,for her second win this season. Rue acknowledged some Luke McCarthy advice from his time working in that stable: "If your horse is travelling well in the lead, resist the temptation to throw in a fast quarter up the back - the horses out wider are working harder than you anyway, so you don't need to." He followed Luke's advice to the letter. Temporary Use ($4.40, Scott Hewitt/David Hewitt) backed up successfully after her Canberra run two days previously, to score a meritorious win in the C1 sprint second race. The daughter of McArdle sustained a sharp run from mid-field to grab the lead before straightening, and held a narrow advantage at the wire from race favourite Midnight Prowler, which was forced to the outside rather than waiting for the sprint lane. Usher tracked the winner home, for a strong-finishing third. The mile rates of 1:58.0 and 1:57.2 in the opening races were a testament to the excellent wet-weather quality of the new Bathurst track, and the expertise of track curator Tony Hagney who was, arguably, the real star on the night. A very heavy storm accompanied race three, a 2260 metres C2-C3, but it posed no problems for the Ponder gelding Regal Point ($3.70 favourite, Bernie Hewitt), which enjoyed a nice trail mid-field and led in a Hewitt family quinella courtesy of Holm Three NZ (David Hewitt), with Oh So Sweet making a strong bid in the straight to grab third. Conditions improved for the 3C0-3C1 fourth, taken out by $2.30 favourite Gotta Glow NZ (Leigh Sutton/Colin McDowell). The Gotta Go Cullect daughter led throughout, scooting home in a sharp 28.1 to complete the 1730 metres in a very commendable 1:57.6 rate, with runner-up Grinear Girl not quite able to haul in the leader via the sprint lane. The Space Invader came from the one-one for a solid third. The sprint lane - so far the only one in NSW. - came into play again in the fifth, a 2260 metres C4-C7 class. The Dawn Ofa New Day gelding Uncle Lile ($2.90, Anthony/Chris Frisby), after sitting outside the lead for most of the race, shot clear at the top of the straight and fought out an exciting finish with the sprint-laner Kenny Dee Dee, the margin between them the bare short-half-head. They cleared away from their rivals, with a further sixteen metres back to third-placed Snoop Stride. Geronimo Beau ($3.20), successful in the 3C0-3C1 sixth, over the sprint trip, gave Mat Rue and Bernie Hewitt driving and training doubles respectively, leading throughout and holding off the sprint-lane runner Keilor Misty (another Bernie and David quinella) with Timmy May running on from the pegs for third. The winner, a Quick Approval gelding bred by Bernie Hewitt's sister Jenna and brother-in-law Grant Picker, is raced by their youngest son Ben, and was transferred to Bernie while regular trainer Dennis Picker campaigns a team at the Queensland winter carnival. All the Picker boys have played football at the top level, while maintaining their family involvement, as owners or trainer-driver, in trotting. The win, on an Origin night, couldn't have been timed any more appropriately. Black Poles ($7.10, Paul Jenkins/Paul Melham) had been out of the winner's circle since a Gold Tiara Consolation two years earlier, but her death-seating win in a C0 sprint class, from The Merchant Banker and Call Me Anytime, was no fluke. It was a tough effort for the mare by Modern Art, and there would have been plenty of cheering at a bar somewhere in Singapore, where trainer Paul Melham is enjoying a short holiday away from the Bathurst winter. Luke McCarthy's influence, from far away, was also felt in the final event, taken out by a former runner from his team in Miss Irish Rose ($2.10 favourite, Nathan Turnbull). The well-bred McArdle filly had just one start for McCarthy before being transferred to Turnbull, a mate he grew up with, in the hope that "you pick up a couple of wins with her." After leading throughout in the "GoThe Blues Two Year Old Fillies Pace", from Kissmybluesaway and Blackmagic Shannon, with a sharp last quarter in 28.5, a very pleased Turnbull commented "Well, that's one down, another to go." And as those die-hard followers left the track at the end of the football telecast, they would have been thinking exactly the same thing! Greg Hayes

Riverina harness racing identity Paul Kahlefeldt enjoys getting to the track to watch his horses compete. His horses carry the 'Lettuce' and 'Redbank' branding and he is a regular at the feature meetings cheering on his beloved horses. Kahlefeldt was excited when two of his horses, Lettuce Go Pippa and Lettuce Reign, qualified for the APG two year old fillies final at Melton on Saturday night but in a surprising twist he will be more than 1200 kilometres away in Port Macquarie. The Kahlefeldt name is well known in the sporting landscape in Australia. Paul's son Brad has represented Australia at the Olympics and has won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games competing in the triathlon. Another of Paul's sons Jared will be competing in Sunday's Ironman Australia at Port Macquarie and Kahlefeldt will be cheering him on throughout. "It is not too often that I don't go and watch my horses go around but I wouldn't miss Jared competing in the Ironman on the weekend, he has been training very hard and we are hoping for a good result," Kahlefeldt said. "The aim is for him to qualify for Hawaii, Jared has a 14 acre property across from mine and he is very interested in the breeding side of harness racing and once he is able to he will be back working with the horses again." Jared Kahlefeldt will swim 3.8 kilometres, ride 180 kilometres and run 42.2 kilometres on Sunday afternoon. "I'm very proud of all of my children and it will be a big achievement for Jared on Sunday but in the build up to Sunday I will be keeping an eye on Sky Racing on Saturday night to cheer on the two fillies in the APG final." "I don't know what the chances were of my two fillies drawing barriers ten and eleven but that's what has happened and now we are going to need some luck." Lettuce Go Pippa is trained by Kerryann Turner and has only had the four starts. "I bred Lettuce Go Pippa and she is very similar to her mother Queen Of Courage, she is a little bit one paced at this stage of her career but she is very tough and I think the speed will come as she gets older." "Kerryann (Turner) has done a good job with her, I've known Kerryann for a long time and she looks after her horses so well." Lettuce Reign is prepared by Mat Rue and was purchased by Kahlefeldt. "She is a totally different filly to Lettuce Go Pippa and has a little bit more dash but isn't as strong." "Mat Rue has done most of the work with her, he is a very good trainer and driver and I'm very happy with that association." Kahlefeldt was at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon and was pleased with the performance of his pacer Lettucerockthem. "He is just thriving on his work at home and is handling the travel so well, I still think he needs one more run before he hits peak fitness." "Everything with Lettucerockthem this season has been aimed at the Breeders Challenge, he won it as a two and three year old and to win it as a four year old would be one of the highlights of my time in the sport." Greg Hayes

Mat Rue almost brought off a driving treble in the final race at Bathurst last Friday, going down by just a half-head, but it was hard to detect any disappointment in his voice as he came back to scale with the undoubted “ call “ of the night. “Lexy’s had a big few minutes!” he announced. This was in reference to a wonderful double for Eugowra owner Lex Crosby, with Lexys On Fire scoring its maiden win in the Bathurst race, just minutes after its younger half-sister Read About Lexy had led all the way to take out a heat of the Victorian Oaks at Melton. Lexys On Fire, the Gold Bracelet winner during the recent Bathurst carnival, is a well-known and much-admired filly, trained by Rue’s boss Bernie Hewitt. With the Oaks heat at Melton set to go only ten minutes ahead of the Bathurst race, Rue just, somehow, managed to be late onto the track with Zirconia, and already knew the Melton result. Rue’s drive was impeccable, but it wasn’t good enough to overcome Lexys On Fire ($14.40, Ken Sharp/David Harris), which came from midfield in the running line to get the bob in on the line.  The Courage Under Fire daughter had been most consistent, without winning, in nine starts this season, and her timing in securing this first win, within minutes of her little sister’s biggest success to date, was perfect. For Eugowra trainer Ken Sharp, it was a maiden win on the new Bathurst track, while David Harris, who’s a relative stranger there, was unsure of the result until he checked with the more experienced Rue. Lex Crosby would have been delighted by the spontaneous applause which erupted in the Bathurst clubhouse when Read About Lexy got up at Melton.  No doubt he staged an early exit from the post-race celebrations there, to get to a television monitor for that “other” race back at home.   All of which might be summarized as one late, one early, two Lexys, and timing that worked out just right. Earlier in the night, the feature Western Districts Derby saw a dominant display by Dubbo gelding Mister Jogalong ($2.30 favourite, Mick/Kurt Lew), which dictated terms throughout, sprinting the last half in 55.4 seconds to run out  a very easy winner, from Jethros An Eagle and Lexus On The Beach. It was his first run in six weeks, but a smart trial win at Dubbo had him well prepped for the race. The winner now of six from ten, he will likely aim up at the Breeders Challenge, but is also eligible for the Victorian Sires series, run at about the same time. Other winners on a night of competitive racing which produced some very close finishes: Likeallofus ($4.70, Wendy/Emma Turnbull), too tough in a 2260 metres C1 class, after the slow early speed prompted Emma to change tactics and work to the death seat, where it confirmed the stable’s good opinion with its gritty effort; Allnight  Kiss ($4.30 favourite, Bernie Hewitt/Mat Rue), came three-wide from the bell in a 2260 metres 3C0-3C1, to give Mat Rue the first leg of a winning double (with  a further three seconds); Makin Memories ($85.50, Pat McCarthy), responded well to several changes by his trainer-driver, and on his best behavior throughout the second division of the C1 class, to defy his starting quote; A Mighty Storm ($6.20, Wayne Watterson), highly impressive in a C2-C4 sprint, sprinting sharply when extricated from the markers and stopping the clock in 1:55.1, for his  highly delighted breeder-owner-trainer-driver; Our Castanea ($10.70, Ken/Mat Rue), ground out a tough win in the C0 sprint, after coming three-wide without cover, and prompting a warm tribute from the driver for his modest and unassuming dad; Tailamade Billy ($6.40, Steve Turnbull), its first win at start five, in a 2C O sprint, after some good efforts during the recent carnival, and possibly to continue on to the Breeders Challenge series. The Bathurst HRC made a presentation between races to Steve Turnbull, in recognition of his having his twenty-thousandth starter at a recent meeting.  A staggering milestone, for a champion trainer-driver who’s an ornament to the sport. by Terry Neil

Thursday 9th April 2015 - Riverina harness racing trainer Paul Kahledfeldt had a decision to make with multiple Gr.1 winner Lettucerockthem in the lead up to this weekend. The likable horseman had nominated the son of Art Major for the Carousel heats at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night and the S & C Club West Wyalong Pacers Cup on Sunday afternoon. After weighing up both options Kahlefeldt made the decision to chase Carnival Of Cups success at the big West Wyalong meeting. "I had a couple of options with him at Menangle and I was very tempted to go that way but I just thought I might keep him a bit closer to home and race in the West Wyalong Cup," Kahlefeldt said. "I've won a few of the country cups but I don't think I have won the West Wyalong Cup so it would be nice to pick it up this weekend." Kahlefeldt is mindful the four year old has only had two runs back from a spell and wants Lettucerockthem to be peaking for the Pepper Tree Farms Breeders Challenge later in the season. "He's had the two runs back this season and I've travelled him up to Sydney both times, I'm building him towards peak fitness and this weekend is another important step towards the Breeders Challenge." "For the time being I will continue to train him, he has obviously been trained by Belinda McCarthy previously but he is racing well at the moment and he is running some fantastic times on my track at home." Reinsman Matt Rue will be reunited with Lettucerockthem for the first time since the NSW Derby heats last season. Rue drove Lettucerockthem to victory in the Australian Pacing Gold for two year olds in 2013. "Mat hasn't driven him a lot actually but he did win the APG on him and he is going to drive him for me this weekend." Kahlefeldt will have three other runners at the West Wyalong meeting this weekend. "Lettucedance (race 2) has promised the world and hasn't really delivered, she is a sister to Bamako Mail and Sheezallattitude and I think she's at her best when she is really keen in her races." "My other two horses are in the last, Refused Service is going to win a race soon and that will mean Matthew Harrington should get his first winner as a driver while Major Kiwi has had a few issues but did win a race a few starts ago at Leeton." While Kahlefeldt is busy with all of his business interests he will be forced to take a short break from training in the near future. "We had 21 in work at one stage but we are back to a dozen, I ran my tenth Melbourne marathon last October and I broke down badly in my hip and after some scans the doctors have confirmed I need a hip replacement." "All of the running I have done over the years has come back to bite me, they tell me I will only be out of action for a couple of months, hopefully I can fit in the operation sometime in the next six months but it is definitely going to slow me down for a while." Greg Hayes

Wednesday 25th March 2015 - Matt Rue admits he is going to need more than his fair share of luck to win either of the harness racing two year old features at Bathurst this Saturday night. Rue trains Lettuce Reign, the Paul Kahledfeldt owned filly that qualified for the Slingsby Holdings Gold Tiara while he will drive Karloo Damajor for trainer Peter Gavin and owners Barry and Ronda Lew in the Alabar Gold Crown. "Lettuce Reign needed a good draw to help her qualify for the Tiara and used the barrier perfectly to get through to the Gr. 1 final but drawing barrier eight in the final is going to make it very tough for her," Rue said. "It was a bit different with Karloo Damajor. He has drawn nine and will start from the inside of the second row, but at the barrier draw function he was one of the first horses to get a barrier and initially I was very disappointed. However, the way the rest of the draw panned out it isn't that bad." Lettuce Reign has taken a lot of coaxing and training to get her to the races and Rue is proud of the achievement. "She has basically been with me since I arrived home from the USA but it has taken a lot of persistence to get her to the races." "She wouldn't work left handed at first so I had to work her right handed for a couple of months and it got to the stage where I just had to try and get her to go left handed otherwise she wasn't going to be ready for the Tiara." Rue believes Lettuce Reign has plenty of improvement in her and will be an improved three year old. It could be the same story with Karloo Damajor with Rue confirming the son of Art Major is still learning what racing is all about. "Trainer Peter Gavin told me before his first start that he was pretty green and everything has happened pretty quickly with him." "Karloo Damajor got crossed in his heat down the back the final time by Charlaval but Kerry Ann Turner's horse moved very quickly and had a huge turn of foot so I was pretty proud of Karloo Damajor to come back and beat him in the straight." With Bettermatch drawn outside Machamillion on the front row there is a distinct possibility that Karloo Damajor could settle three back on the pegs. "If he ended up three back I think he has a knockout winning chance and a really strong place chance, hopefully we get a bit of luck when we need it." Rue also trains the first emergency Fouroeight in the Alabar Bathurst Gold Crown and if he fails to get a start in the Gr. 1 he does look a very strong chance in the consolation. "He has drawn two in the consolation as well. He is a big horse, he actually looks more like a three year old now than a two year old." "He went 1:56.5 running third in his heat behind Shadow Runner and I actually think that was a quicker time than any other heat winner so he's a nice horse and still has the Breeders Challenge to come after this." Greg Hayes | Media Coordinator | Harness Racing New South Wales |    

The number “63” has taken on a special significance for many Australians in recent days. And last Wednesday it was instrumental in the timing of the Bathurst HRC tribute to the late Phillip Hughes, with a simple and respectful tribute conducted just prior to the fifth, race number 63 conducted at the new Bathurst facility. A one-minute silence, observed by all of the crowd in attendance, provided the formal recognition, while a simple grouping of bats and a baggy green cricket cap, as well as an on-screen portrait of Hughes displayed between races, provided continuing recognition during the course of the meeting. That fifth race, a 3C0 run over the 1730 metres sprint trip, was won by Mouse In The House, one of last season’s better juveniles, at his second run back this term. Steve Turnbull allowed the even-money favourite to find his feet from outside the second line, before coming three-wide in the middle stages to assume the lead, and he slipped home in a sharp 27.6, for a soft win over early leader Mod Conns and Gargzdai Girl, which raced mid-field. He was one of only two favourites to succeed at the meeting, and Turnbull’s sole winner , on a night where eight individual trainers took out the eight races, quite unusual anywhere and especially rare at Bathurst. John Thomas O’Shea – “J.T.” to most – took driving honours for the night, with his double to open and close the meeting. Keep On Moving ($3.70, for Josh Turnbull) led throughout in the 2260 metres C1 first, to hold on in a photo from Promises Galore and Regal Point, both of which raced in the running-line. A solid tempo throughout, with a last half in 57.9, resulted in a good mile rate of 1:59.9 to the winner. Jacks OnThe Beach ($9.40, for Jack Butler) overcame his ODM barrier in the 2260 metres C0 which concluded the meeting, working three-wide around the field to the death, then showing toughness to hold off Master Macca, which enjoyed a pegs trail, and Art Of Ear, which ran on from the second half of the field. J.T. was very impressed by the winner, which boasts impeccable breeding – by Somebeachsomewhere, he’s from a full-sister to the Chariots winner and now sire, Lanercost. He could well go a long way when he learns to race truly, and in the meantime, he and his trainer are set to do just that, to a new training set-up not too far from the Gold Coast. Hence the clever name. Signory Shannon ($7.10), winner of the 2260 metres C1 second event, had impressed with a tough run at his previous start, and ran right up to that by leading throughout, over trailer Jester Oh Jester and Count Montecristo, midfield in the running line. There were no really fast quarters, just a good strong speed throughout, for a 2:00 mile rate. Trainer Peter Bullock had warned driver Murray Sullivan:“You’ll be exhausted by the time you finish!” Sullivan readily agreed afterwards. Signory Shannon lets horses come to him, then settles down to the fight, and responds to hard driving. He requires a lot from his driver, but gives plenty back. On the other hand, Crackerjack Jo ($5.20, Peter Trevor-Jones  (Mat Rue) , winner of the 2260 metres C2-C4 third, loves nothing better than being buried away in the field, and saved for one big sprint. He enjoyed a one-one sit before Rue let him loose over the final 800 metres, run in 57.0 , and sprinted away from Cogeday and Trikala, which followed him throughout but were left in his wake by an ever-widening 12. metres margin. “He’s got wicked speed, this bloke, and I think he’s capable of winning in good company at Menangle,” was Rue’s encouraging assessment. Pat McCarthy hadn’t been seen in action for quite a long time, but thought he “might have a drive on the new track to see what it’s like” . He had good reason to be pleased with his decision, following the win of Makin Memories ($29.10) in race four, a conditioned class sprint. Buried away on the markers, McCarthy found room turning for home and finished over the top of Jerulas Mate and favourite Slick La Jazz, in a 1:58.1 mile rate. The four-year-old Trump Casino daughter is named for Pat’s deceased parents Ray and Olive, and races in Ray’s old colours of blue and green stripes, a colour scheme followed by all the McCarthy clan. Run of the night was Magic Bliss (Amy Day), the $2.20 favourite in a six-horse field contesting the 2260 metres fast class. The overall rate of 2:02.6 resulted from a very slow lead time and opening quarters, but with final quarters of 28.3 and 27.5, and the winner coming from last on the home turn to get up in a three-way photo from leader Smart Major and sprint-laner McArdles Chance, it was a superb run by Magic Bliss, his final half run in 55.0 or better. Poppy Cee ($5.60, Andrew Cassell) kicked through to hold the spot on the back of leader Dawn Magic, and overhauled that horse to take out the 2260 metres C0 class race seven. Zirconia followed through on the pegs when Cassell pulled out at the top of the straight, to claim the minor prize. Raced by WDHRA president Geoff Cole, he’s one of just a handful in the stable of the underrated Parkes district trainer, the final of the Soldiers Saddle series will headline the meeting next Friday, December 19, and then it’s just a week to the fantastic Carnival of Cups meeting on Boxing Night, featuring the Shirley Turnbull Memorial. By Terry Neil    Bathurst Harness Racing Club Ph: 02 6333 5000 Fax : 02 6331 4397 www.goldcrown.com.au        

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