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“Here’s Don’t Think Twice in hot dispute, going back to the inside Celebrity Look and to the outside Fastestgirlintown, the leader is Don’t Think Twice inch-by-inch cutting back the margin, Fastestgirlintown, but Don’t Think Twice is in front - wins the Tiara! Don’t Think Twice goes home to score . . . what a moment for young Jason Grimson – Group 1 Glory!” – Fred Hastings. This was the call that made dreams come true for 22-year-old Jason Grimson as he trained and drove his first Group 1 race at only his sixth start as a trainer. In March 2015 a local group of well-known breeders imbedded their trust into Jason when they gave him their yearling to break in.  A year later he proved himself when his two-year-old broke the fillies track record at Bathurst in the Group 1 Gold Tiara Final. Having spent time riding track work for galloping trainer John McGregor, Jason made the transition from saddle to sulky following in his dad’s footsteps.   Jason’s dad, Colin Grimson, had over 280 winners during his career and tasted success with horses like Double Identity.    This success runs through the family as not only has Jason taken on harness racing full-time with immediate success, he also made an impression with local representative teams in rugby league. With all of his accomplishments thus far, Jason has ambitions to move from the Riverina to the Metropolitan area in the future.   Currently working for one of his biggest influences in the industry, trainer Josh Powderly, Jason has plans to train a couple of horses at a time. Don’t Think Twice has drawn seven and is one of the early fancies in this Sunday’s Group 1 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Fillies feature.      Age: 22 Birthday: 16/07/1993 Birthplace: Bowral Football team: Newcastle Knights Best horse driven: Don’t Think Twice Biggest pet hate: Driving in the rain Jennifer Hawkins or Miranda Kerr: Jennifer Hawkins In a fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? – Phone / iPad   Ashlea Brennan

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence once said "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it". From the outside some could look upon Harness racing horseman Jason Grimson as lucky but as Jefferson suggested luck goes hand in hand with hard work. In his first season of training Grimson has had 15 starters and has already won seven races including the Group 1 Bathurst Gold Tiara with Dont Think Twice. A number of trainers go their entire career without a Group 1 starter let alone a winner. Even Grimson's father Colin, who trained for more than three decades, never won a race at the highest level. Grimson is hoping Dont Think Twice can provide him with his second Group 1 victory this Sunday afternoon when she competes in the Alabar Breeders Challenge for two year old fillies. With the $127,500 event less than a week away, Grimson could be excused for not letting the filly out of his sight but with most of her preparation now completed, the 22-year old will take part in this week's NSW Rising Stars series. The competition sees ten junior drivers race at different tracks around the state with the series concluding at Menangle on Sunday afternoon. With such an important race in regards to his career coming up, Grimson could have been excused for turning his back on the series and putting the finishing touches on Dont Think Twice. "I was never going to turn down the opportunity to contest the Rising Stars, it was always going to mean that I would be away from Dont Think Twice for the last five days before the Breeders Challenge," Grimson said. "The series is a great chance to compete against other young drivers in NSW and drive some new horses for trainers that I haven't driven for previously. I want to move to Sydney to work in the industry on a fulltime basis and hopefully the Rising Stars Series will help me with that." Grimson currently works for trainer Josh Powderly and it will be Powderly who will give the filly her last two hit outs before Sunday. "Dont Think Twice will work on Tuesday and Thursday and then will just jog in the two days leading up to Sunday, I think you need to treat all of the horses the same, if you start giving the good ones special treatment then that's when things go wrong. "She's a pretty cruisy filly, nothing worries her too much and I think her semi final win would have tightened her right up because she needed the run." The day after Dont Think Twice won the Bathurst Gold Tiara, the filly was giving children pony rides in her paddock. "She's very relaxed and nothing stresses her out too much. She does like some company when she is standing at the tie-up rail but apart from that you don't hear from her. "Josh knows her very well, we work together in the mornings before he goes off to run his business and I finish up around the stable. She shouldn't notice anything different with me away." Dont Think Twice won her semi final impressively and Grimson was happy with the barrier draw after she drew gate seven. "I think the gate has worked out well because if she had drawn closer in I may have had to bustle her in the early stages and from out there I can make my mind up whether she charges out or I let her work forward. "I think Decapria is the biggest danger in the race. Her semi final win was very good and she proved in a Menangle heat that she can sprint when she is saved up for one run. Might And Main is another one that I have a lot of respect for and she has drawn well." Grimson confirmed Dont Think Twice will go to the paddock after Sunday's event and he won't be suffering. "I don't get too nervous before a race and there is plenty of adrenalin once you jump into the sulky, I'm looking forward to it. "She isn't paid up for anything else and she has done a really good job this season so she can go out for a spell." Greg Hayes

Recent victories in Group 1 races across Australia have provided breeders with big cash bonuses thanks to the NSW Breeders Challenge. A 10% bonus of the advertised first place prize money of any Australian Group 1 race, excluding the Alabar Breeders Challenge events themselves, is payable to the foal nominator of a NSW Breeders Challenge eligible and sustained horse for wins as a 2yo, 3yo and 4yo. More than $120,000 has been paid out in the past three seasons with recent Western Australian Diamond Classic winner Lady Luca earning a $6,400 bonus for her nominator Glenferrie Farm while Solid Earth Pty Ltd won $5,950 when Frankie Rocks won the Qbred Triad Final at Albion Park in May. The foal nominators of Our Waikiki Beach headed by Greg Fusinato have banked $44,424 thanks to the performances of the gelding in Group 1 events across Australia in the past two seasons. HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny stated the figures prove to breeders it makes sense to breed horses in New South Wales. "The HRNSW Board has clearly indicated the importance of the NSW breeders through the continued support and strength of the Alabar Breeders Challenge," Mr Dumesny said. "A range of incentives have been introduced since the inception of the Breeders Challenge and with the recent victories of Lady Luca and Frankie Rocks in different parts of the country, NSW has provided the foal nominators with cash bonuses to celebrate the performances. I think it is fair to say that from east to west NSW is best." Other horses to have won their foal nominators a cash bonus this season include Bathurst Gold Tiara winner Dont Think Twice and Need For Speed winner Bacardi Hurricane. The Alabar Breeders Challenge finals day will be held this Sunday with rich finals being run for 2yo, 3yo and 4yos at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Greg Hayes

The barrier draw for the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge for harness racing three year old colts and geldings was conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night.  The colts and geldings qualified in semi finals earlier in the evening. The $153,000 Final is one of seven Group 1 events to be run on Sunday June 26 at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The barrier draw is 1 Thats Ideal Amy Day 2 Captain Rockey 1st Emergency David Grant 3 Shape Up Mike Michael Teuma 4 Arma The Gun Brad Hewitt 5 Effronte Belinda McCarthy 6 Rock Of America Michael Doltoff 7 Imthevillagestar Russell Reynolds 8 Uncle Peter Anthony Frisby 9 Sams The Master Nathan Turnbull 10 Si Nadore Kerry Ann Turner                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 SECOND ROW 11 Charlaval Kerry Ann Turner 12 Old Studley Road 2nd Emergency John Ogden 13 Fouroeight Mat Rue 14 Match In Heaven Paul Fitzpatrick     The fillies qualified in semi finals earlier in the evening. The $153,000 final is one of seven Group 1 events to be run on Sunday June 26 at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The barrier draw is 1 Rockmemama Darryl Thomas 2 Sportygal Steve Turnbull 3 Jilliby Jitterbug Margaret Lee 4 Heavens Trend Emma Stewart 5 Eye See Diamonds Nathan Jack 6 Mist You Brad Hewitt 7 My Mackenzie Mark Purdon 8 Sport Report 1st EMERGENCY Mark Hewitt 9 Art Mistress 2nd EMERGENCY Bernie Hewitt 10 Ima Mystery Girl Jarrod Alchin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 SECOND ROW 11 Rainbow Flash Kerry Ann Turner 12 Pixies Parlour Steve Turnbull 13 Merrywood Ruby Wayne Dimech 14 Cherry Mahoney Steve Turnbull     Greg Hayes

Training and driving combination Kerry Ann Turner and Robbie Morris admit it has been a different week with their talented three year old Charlaval leading into Saturday's Alabar Breeders Challenge semi finals. With so much hype around Our Waikiki Beach and the expectation that he would win the Group 1 final on Sunday June 26, Charlaval was only expected to be a realistic place chance in the series. However with drama surrounding Our Waikiki Beach and his late nomination leading to the Mark Purdon trained gelding being named second emergency in both of the semi finals, Morris believes there are now nine possible winning hopes including Charlaval. Should Our Waikiki Beach squeeze into the series with two scratchings, the son of Somebeachsomewhere will regain his spot as the likely series winner and Morris is feeling for Purdon and the unbeaten gelding's owners. "Nominating late is something that happens to all stables and you never like seeing it," Morris said. "I feel for Mark and the team, Our Waikiki Beach is the best horse in the series, his record speaks for itself and there is still a chance he could get into the semi finals but we have to treat everything as we normally would, the show must go on." Charlaval won the Simpson Memorial in January when he ran 1:52.3 and since then has recorded four more victories including a heat of the Alabar Breeders Challenge at Newcastle. "He qualified for the semi finals as a two year old and unfortunately finished seventh in his semi final, hopefully this year he will progress through to the final because I think if Our Waikiki Beach doesn't get a start then the final will be wide open. "He's come on as a three year old and I think he really took the next step when he won the Simpson Memorial. His Breeders Challenge heat win at Newcastle was very good too because he has never been a genuine leader but still managed to get the job done. "Charlaval ran second behind Arma The Gun in a heat at Menangle but he drew the inside of the second row and Brad Hewitt drove a perfect race to win. My bloke was only going three quarter pace for the majority of the race and it was the perfect lead up to Saturday night." The son of Four Starzzz Shark is raced by Daniel Cordina and the Turner and Morris combination have qualified a horse raced by Cordina for a Breeders Challenge final in the past. "Blissfull Guy was a great horse for Daniel and Kerry Ann, I drove him in the two and three year old finals of the Breeders Challenge and he placed in both of them. "Daniel is a great supporter of both of us and it would great to see him get another runner in a Group 1 event." Morris will drive the gelding aggressively on Saturday night from the good draw. "With the emergencies out we will come out of gate four and he has got pretty good gate speed so I think I can get across at the start. "In previous years the three year old series has been over the longer trip of 2400 metres but this year the race is back to the mile. I like the longer races because the mile racing tends to be less forgiving. Over the short trip, gate speed and barriers are vital." Charlaval will compete in the first of the Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi Finals for three year old colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The race is scheduled to begin at 8:20pm. Greg Hayes

Unbeaten Kiwi pacer Our Waikiki Beach is in some trouble and is in the need of two scratching to gain a start in his Breeders Challenge Semi Final. Due to a nomination mix up, the Trevor Casey owned 3yo was made the second emergency for his heat this week, and if no scratching's come then he will miss the rich Final on June 26th. Andrew Fitzgerald Below is the HRNSW Media Release Unbeaten pacer Our Waikiki Beach has been named the second emergency in both semi finals of the Alabar Breeders Challenge for three year old colts and geldings after connections failed to nominate the gelding by 9:30am on Tuesday morning.  A late nomination was accepted however under HRNSW policy all horses nominated prior to the close of nominations are entitled to a start before Our Waikiki Beach. With 25 horses nominated for the semi finals prior to the 9:30am deadline, Our Waikiki Beach has been declared the second emergency for the semi finals. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny confirmed the decision had been made in line with the controlling body’s policy. “It may appear unfortunate one of the most marketable horses is the second emergency for the semi finals of the Alabar Breeders Challenge for three year old colts and geldings,” Mr Dumesny said. “HRNSW has a commitment and a responsibility to all participants that they be treated equally in all aspects of the industry including regulatory matters.” Greg Hayes

The barrier draw for the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge for harness racing two year old fillies was conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The fillies qualified in semi finals earlier in the evening. The $127,500 is one of seven Group 1 events to be run on Sunday June 26 at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The fillies qualified in semi finals earlier in the evening. The barrier draw is 1 Rocknroll Emma Michael Formosa 2 Jovial Rock Wayne Sullivan 3 Cherish Art Paul Fitzpatrick 4 Might And Main Bernie Hewitt 5 Go Home Jo Shane Tritton 6 Im All Courage Peter Trevor-Jones 7 Dont Think Twice Jason Grimson 8 Celebrity Look 1st EMERG John Tapp 9 Miss Ami Sloy 2nd EMERG Michael Langdon 10 Shez Sugarsweet Blake Fitzpatrick                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 SECOND ROW   11 Im With Lexy Bernie Hewitt 12 Decapria Rickie Alchin 13 Shezallapples David Thorn 14 Elsie Gem ODM Paul Bourke   Greg Hayes  

The barrier draw for the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge for two year old colts and geldings was conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The colts and geldings qualified in semi finals earlier in the evening. The $127,500 is one of seven Group 1 events to be run on Sunday June 26 at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The barrier draw is 1 Three Of The Best Shannon Price 2 Brobenah Boy Bernie Hewitt 3 Jilliby Bandit 2nd EMERG Marg Lee 4 Rockin In Memphis Glenn Freeman 5 Atomic Red Steve Turnbull 6 Bullet Stride Belinda McCarthy 7 Awesome Stride Belinda McCarthy 8 Our Little Digger Bernie Hewitt 9 Conviction Steve Turnbull 10 San Domino Ben Settree SECOND ROW 11 Sackheim Geoff Harding 12 Redbank Blaze Kerry Ann Turner 13 Hez All Courage Bernie Hewitt 14 Heza Cracker 1st EMERG Kevin Pizzuto   Greg Hayes

Harness Racing Reinsman James Harding is hoping talented two year old pacer Sackheim can qualify for the Group 1 Alabar Breeders Challenge final for two year old colts and geldings on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The gelding broke through for his maiden victory at Tamworth last week and Harding believes it would be very special if Sackheim could qualify for the rich final. Harding spent time in the USA working for trainer Jimmy Takter and while there he lived with Hall Of Fame driver Ron Pierce. When it was time for the 21-year-old to return home Pierce wanted to help the young Australian and spoke to well known owner Carl Sackheim about becoming involved with the Harding stable. "Mr Pierce asked Mr Sackheim if he would like to buy a horse for us in Australia and it all started from there," Harding said. "I decided before I went to the sales I wanted to buy a Roll With Joe yearling because Mr Pierce drove him during his race career and I thought it would be a nice link. I had a look through the catalogue and I had him picked out." When Harding arrived to look at the Roll With Joe yearling he was a little bit worried by his size. "He was a little on the small side but he was very well put together so we purchased him and brought him home. "I sent through his breeding to Mr Pierce and he said he liked what he saw on the page and hoped he would do a job. Initially I wanted to name him after Ron but he told me that he already had a few horses named after him in North America and that I should name him after Mr Sackheim so that's what I did." Carl Sackheim is a prolific breeder and owner in New York who started up a court reporting business in 1980. He bought his first harness horse in the mid 70's and found his first stakes level performer in 1983. Sackheim's current pride and joy is three year old Another Daily Copy. The barrier draw in Saturday night's semi final has been kind with Sackheim set to follow out race favourite Conviction from barrier one. "The draw is perfect for us because we have drawn behind a good beginner that should be prominent. Sackheim has worked well during the week and we are expecting a good performance. "He has only won the one race but in that win he was only 0.1 seconds outside the track record and most of his other races have been in good races like heats of the Bathurst Gold Crown and the Australian Pacing Gold." The son of Roll With Joe had a short let up after the Australian Pacing Gold series and will continue to race on through the season. "We want to keep him in work after the Breeders Challenge, we'll see how he goes but we'd like to see him win a few more before the end of the season." Harding has been selected to compete in the Rising Stars Series at the end of the month and he is looking forward to the challenge. "Everything is going really well at the moment, I drove my first treble at Tamworth and I've got the Rising Star Series coming up and I'm looking forward to that. "At some stage I would love to head back to the USA and I'm sure I will get the opportunity again in the future but at the moment Dad (Geoff) has a good team of horses and I'm happy working them." Greg Hayes

Sportswriter mare Niki No No will compete in the Alabar Breeders Challenge this season for the first time. Connections of the Group 1 winner have decided to target the Breeders Challenge series rather than Harness Racing Victorian features with the conditions of the NSW series more suitable to the four year old mare. Part owner Rob Auber confirmed there had been some discussion between connections on whether they would aim at the Breeders Challenge. "She won the Vicbred as a two year old and finished second in it last year at three but the mile racing is ideal for her so the Breeders Challenge was the way we decided to go this season and we're looking forward to seeing her compete at Menangle," Auber said. "Her recent form has been against very good opposition and sometimes racing mares out of their grade helps them take that next step in their development. Importantly she is very fit going into the series and Kari and Paul Males are experts at having horses peak for a particular series." Niki No No will compete in the first of Saturday night's Alabar Breeders Challenge semi finals for the four year old mares and has been installed second favourite for the race behind the Belinda McCarthy trained Makes Every Scents. According to Auber, Niki No No's gate speed should negate the effects of the wide barrier draw. "Her versatility is a huge bonus, she has got the acceleration at the start so she can come out of the gate and she can also come with a run but because she is so fit on Saturday night she will go forward early on. "Makes Every Scents is a very good mare and Dolly Braveheart has been racing well too, I have a lot of respect for the opposition but she has had the perfect lead up to the series and there will be no excuses." Niki No No had nine starts as a two year old, ten at three and is lining up on Saturday for her tenth at four. "She won't have many more starts this season. Hopefully the final of the Breeders Challenge and maybe one more and she will deserve a good long break. "The Mares Classic in Perth at the end of the year might be twelve months too soon but I won't rule it out totally because one of her owners is WA trainer Gary Elson. If she measures up, the Ladyship Mile next year could be the agenda for her." Auber also owns a share in stablemate Bella Sainz and she will compete in the second of the semi finals. "Bella Sainz has all the ability in the world but she is a stress head and her worst enemy in the world is herself. She hasn't had a lot of racing because she has never been mature enough mentally. "I'm quietly confident she can qualify for the final by running well on Saturday night. She is a fast beginner and her two victories she has led from start to finish." The mares will travel up from Victoria on Saturday morning and Auber is hoping the trip away helps Bella Sainz take the next step. "They will head up on Saturday morning, stay at Menangle on Saturday night and head home on Sunday morning. I'm hoping the trip away from home might just make her grow up. "If you go back through her career you will see that she only has about four runs each campaign because of her immaturity. Stepping up to race mares the calibre of Ameretto might just help with her development." Auber has an affinity with mares having also raced Group 1 winner Bellas Delight. The daughter of Bettors Delight was retired in November last year and is enjoying winding down from a career that saw her earn more than $442,000. "Bellas Delight is at Benstud, she is enjoying her retirement and will be put in foal this breeding season. At this stage we will be going to Somebeachsomewhere." Greg Hayes

Popular harness racing horseman Chris Robinson made a surprise return to the sulky at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday afternoon when he drove the Rickie Alchin trained Decapria to victory in a heat of the Alabar Breeders Challenge. Prior to last Tuesday, Robinson's last drive in a race was on January 11, 2014 when Major Post finished seventh behind Lettucefib. It was 1165 days between race wins for Robinson with Major Post's win at Menangle on March 23, 2013 his last. "I was pumped, it was great to be back driving in a race and it was great for Decapria to win as well," Robinson said. "I have known her owner Jamie (Durnberger-Smith) for years, he actually travelled up with us when White Thunder won the Australian Pacing Gold in 2004 and he rang me on Saturday night to see if I was interested in taking the drive on Decapria." The two year old filly needed a driver with trainer and regular driver Rickie Alchin suspended. "I told Jamie I would have a think about it and get back to him. I went to the gallops the next day at Moruya and had a chat to my brother and sister and asked them what they thought. "My first inclination was to tell Jamie to use one of the regular drivers who compete at Menangle every week but after I had a chat to the family, I thought why not have a drive." While Robinson has kept his training and driving licences in recent years, he has been enjoying life away from fulltime involvement in the sport. "I like to pre-train one or two so I have always kept my licence but in terms of being fulltime in the industry I have 'been there done that'. I work for a plumbing business and I know there will be a wage for me at the end of every week and I have been enjoying more time with the family. "It has also given me time to go to the football or have a holiday without the pressure of knowing the horses are at home and need to be worked." Robinson admitted he still has a passion for the sport and still bought his National Trotguide every week. "I still follow the sport, I like to keep a close eye on what is making news and I get the Trotguide each weekend to catch up with stories from across the country. "Being a fulltime trainer is a grinding job, stables and trainers that can stay at the top for years do a great job. I don't think people realise how hard trainers like Steve Turnbull work. It is a 24 hour, seven day a week job every month of the year." After Tuesday's victory Robinson was buoyed by the number of mates who had contacted him to congratulate him on the win. "Even before the race when people saw I was having a drive I heard from people like Dennis Wilson, Darren Binskin, David Aiken, even Blake Fitzpatrick texted me." Alchin has announced Robinson will retain the drive in the semi finals of the Alabar Breeders Challenge and will also be given the option of driving her in the final should she qualify. "At this stage the plan is for Chris to take the drive in the semi final on Saturday week and if he does qualify Decapria for the final it would be very hard to take him off for the Group 1, so yes at this stage Chris will drive her," Alchin said. "I'll see how she gets through the series but I'm considering having a shot at the Breeders Crown as well but I'll just let her tell me if she is ready for that." Greg Hayes

Eight heats of the Alabar Breeders Challenge for two year olds have been conducted across New South Wales.  The four winners of the colts and gelding heats were:         Bullet Stride - (Major In Art x Exotic Stride) Trainer Belinda McCarthy, Driver Todd McCarthy         Awesome Stride – (Art Major x Labretta Franco) Trainer Belinda McCarthy, Driver Todd McCarthy         Paternity Suit – (Rock N Roll Heaven x Rekindled Flame) Trainer/Driver Steve Maguire         Maxentius – (Mach Three x Eutropia) Trainer/Driver Blake Fitzpatrick The four winners of the heats for the fillies were:         Im With Lexy (Roll With Joe x Lexys Laughing) Trainer Bernie Hewitt, Driver Robbie Morris         Shez Sugarsweet (Somebeachsomewhere x River Valley Romance) Trainer/Driver Blake       Fitzpatrick         Dont Think Twice (Armbro Operative x Nikalong Boulevard) Trainer/Driver Jason Grimson         Rocknroll Emma (Rocknroll Hanover x Maristella) Trainer/Driver Michael Formosa Another round of heats will be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday May 31 with the two year olds attempting to qualify for the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Semi Finals.  In an attempt to clarify the situation, HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny has again stated there will be twelve runners in the semi finals and final. “There has been some confusion however it is important for all stakeholders to understand there will be twelve runners and a further two emergencies drawn in the Alabar Breeders Challenge heats (if applicable), semi finals and final for two year olds,” Mr Dumesny said. “A new two year old policy has been adopted and from the start of January a maximum of ten runners (and reserves) will be drawn in two year old races across New South Wales.  As it stands there will be twelve two year olds drawn in fields where applicable for the remainder of this season” The three year old Breeders Challenge heats begin this week and Mr Dumesny is excited by the upcoming racing. “The Alabar Breeders Challenge Final Day will be a great afternoon of racing on Sunday June 26 and I’m hoping the weather is as good this year as it was last year. “There is a lot of talent spread amongst the different age groups and divisions so the next month of racing will see the best NSW has to offer, compete for some great prize money.” Greg Hayes

The unbeaten pacer Our Waikiki Beach will be out to extend his winning streak to 19 races at Penrith on Thursday night when he competes in a heat of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge.  Trained by leading New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon, the Australian bred son of Somebeachsomewhere has only started twice across the Tasman with the gelding having won a dozen of his races at Australia’s premier harness racing track, Tabcorp Park Menangle. Luke McCarthy will drive Our Waikiki Beach on Thursday night, it is the fourth time he has had the honour of driving the star.  Purdon has sat behind him on nine occasions, Natalie Rasmussen four times and John McCarthy and Brent Barclay have had one drive each. Our Waikiki Beach has won four Group 1 races.  As a two year old he won the Australian Pacing Gold, the NSW Breeders Challenge and the Australasian Breeders Crown.  This season he took out the rich New South Wales Derby.  The gelding has won $665,221 in his career and there has never been a faster three year old in the Southern Hemisphere.  Our Waikiki Beach equalled the time set by Border Control of 1:50.6 when he won a race at Menangle in February. Only six standardbreds have won more than 19 consecutive races in Australasia.  San Simeon holds the record with a winning streak of 29.  Lucky Creed, Maori’s Idol and Courage Under Fire won 24 races in a row while Aachen and Lyell Creek won 20.  With a victory on Thursday night Our Waikiki Beach will join Satinover, Hyperstat, Village Kid and Lombo Pocket Watch with 19. When asked to describe Our Waikiki Beach, trainer Mark Purdon is quick to look towards the gelding’s future. “He has all the qualities that suggest he is going to take the next step to compete against the very best horses,” Purdon said. “I wouldn’t say he was a standout as a young horse but we always thought he had plenty of ability. While he is a son of Somebeachsomewhere there is a lot of Bettors Delight in him from his mother and he has a very laid back and relaxed attitude.” Purdon expects to be in Sydney to drive Our Waikiki Beach in a semi final of the Breeders Challenge and will also take the reins in the final. “That’s the plan at this stage.  We’ll see how he gets through the Breeders Challenge, but we are planning on taking him to the Breeders Crown later in the season. “I don’t know whether he should be classed as an Australian or New Zealander because he has only had two starts in New Zealand, maybe the Aussies should claim him because he was born and bred there.” We’ll take him Mark!    Greg Hayes

A year ago Luke McCarthy thought Our Waikiki Beach has special qualities.  Now he is sure.  “He’s a freak. He’s got gears. He’s the best horse I’ve driven for sure,” McCarthy said.  “There was something special about him at two, but he’s gone to another level.  “It might not be until he comes up against Lazarus when we’ll see him beaten for the first time. Even then, Lazarus will have to be every bit as good as they say.”  Our Waikiki Beach made it 18 wins from as many starts at Menangle last Saturday night.  It might only have been a $12,720 C3-C5 race, but the win left McCarthy shaking his head in amazement.  “I got attacked in front through the middle stages and I reckon a lesser horse wouldn’t have been able to keep going,” he said.  “At the top of the straight a top mare like Cyclone Kate had enjoyed the cold sit on me, came off to challenge and came quickly.  “But this guy is a freak so he was able to change gears again and hold on really strongly.  “Look at his last three quarters … amazing.”  Our Waikiki Beach was attacked by rank outsider Happyever Laughter through the middle stages, which started with a 28.5sec second split of the last mile.  He then went 27.8sec from the 800-400m and still ripped home in 26.8sec to hold-off Cyclone Kate and win by 1.1m in a 1min57.4sec mile rate for 2300m.  McCarthy aid Courage Under Fire’s NZ record 24-race winning streak was definitely achievable.  Our Waikiki Beach should be untroubled to post his 19th win in a heat of a NSW Breeders Challenge on Thursday week.  He will also be long odds-on to win a semi-final and final of the NSW Breeders Challenge.  That would put him on 21 wins headed into the Breeders Crown, in which he will need to contest a heat, semi and final.  So, if he keeps winning, Our Waikiki Beach could be trying to equal Courage Under Fire’s record in the Breeders Crown final.  “Wouldn’t that be awesome for the game,” McCarthy said. “Shadow Sax has come back really well this season … imagine them locking horns in that final.”  In other news, McCarthy has ruled-out a hit-and-run Melbourne trip this week with Bling It On.  “We looked at the 4&5YO Championship, but he’s not quite fit enough just yet,” he said. “He’s better staying here for another race or two before the Golden Mile then the Len Smith Mile,” McCarthy said.  Bling It On had no racing room when a first-up eighth at Menangle last Saturday night.  “He’s come back a bit on the big side now he’s a five-year-old bull. He needs racing to reach his peak and we’ve got time before the big ones,” he said.  McCarthy said the Purdon/Rasmussen filly My Mackenzie remained right on target for the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO fillies’ series despite being beaten at Menangle last Saturday night.  “She did a good job. She had to come wide on the last bend and I don’t think the 2300m suited her as well as the mile the previous run,” he said.  “It was a hard-run race. They went a 1min55.3sec mile and she was against older horses.  “Dropping back to the mile and against her own age and sex she is going to be very hard to beat.” By Adam Hamilton

Harness Racing New South Wales will reduce the costs of standing a stallion in the state from the start of the next breeding season. The Board will eliminate all HRNSW fees including the $750 registration fee, while the $110 paid to the controlling body by stallion owners for all Breeders Challenge eligible foals will be abolished for all progeny of NSW resident stallions. HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny believes the announcement will be a boost for the owners of stallions and local stud farms. "This initiative compliments the highly successful Colonial Stallion Scheme which demonstrates the HRNSW Board Members are thinking outside of the square when it comes to breeding in the premier state," Mr Dumesny said. Yirribee Stud boss Rod Woodhouse applauded the decision and hopes there will be further announcements in the future to boost breeding in New South Wales. "I think it is going to be a good help, especially abolishing the fee for the Breeders Challenge foals for resident stallions because the competition between states is so fierce for the best stallions," Mr Woodhouse said. "If a stallion is serving 150 mares the money soon adds up and when you are dealing with some of the stallions owners from America they want to know what the cost will be at the bottom line. With the removal of the fee it gets us closer to a level playing field with Victoria. "The announcement certainly won't do us any harm but I think a lot more can be done to attract stallions to New South Wales and importantly keep broodmares here as well." This comes on top of the news that the New South Wales Harness Racing Club will fully subsidise the breeder's payment of the $185 foaling fee for the next three years. Greg Hayes

Breeding giant Alabar will be the naming rights sponsor of the Harness Racing New South Wales Breeders Challenge for the next three years.  The Breeders Challenge has become Australia’s leading breeding scheme through the development of a lucrative race series which sees more than $840,000 distributed in prizemoney on the Finals day in June. Overall the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge delivers more than $3.5 million to the industry annually.  Through the partnership with Alabar, HRNSW will continue to support local breeders and Chief Executive John Dumesny praised the management of Alabar for its decision. “Pepper Tree Farm have been great supporters of the NSW Breeders Challenge in recent years and with announcement that Rob and Julie Vandyke would be entering into a commercial arrangement with Alabar, HRNSW is pleased to confirm Alabar has agreed to continue to sponsor the NSW Breeders Challenge for the next three years,” Mr Dumesny said. “The Alabar Breeders Challenge will continue to maintain its position as the nation’s leading breeding scheme and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Alan Galloway and his team for their support.” The first of the Alabar Breeders Challenge heats will be run on May 18 with all of the finals to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday June 26th. “The Breeders Challenge has continued to develop since its inception and for the first time the three-year-old-pacers finals will be worth $150,000 later this year. “The square gaiters have not been forgotten either with a four-and-five-year-old trotters final worth $30,000 to be conducted for the first time on the final Sunday in June.” Greg Hayes

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