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On Melbourne radio station RSN a few weeks back, a discussion was raised around the possibility, that unbeaten juvenile thoroughbred Royal Symphony, might tackle this October’s Cox Plate.  That’s right, expert commentators openly toyed with the idea of an untried, untested baby racing against Winx, and perhaps even winning the Southern Hemisphere’s most revered WFA affair.  We don’t hear those conversations in Harness Racing. In fact, if a horse is anointed before their rightful time, both scribe and horse are in dire danger of being pilloried to within an inch of their lives.  That is why the San Carlo case confounds as much as it excites. Granted, San Carlo is no greenhorn; indeed he’s a somewhat seasoned, if incredibly lightly raced six-year-old, with the extraordinary record of 15 wins from just 17 race starts. But the fact media impresarios, and the general harness public are on the same page, in thinking this metropolitan maiden will inevitably stamp his imprimatur on Grand Circuit racing is unusual indeed.  Steve O’Donoghue and Beck Bartley’s gifted son, of the late Mach Three made his latest statement to those he means to face in coming months, easily winning on Saturday night at Shepparton.  Now it would seem he’ll finally look to bust his metro maiden status, via the Vicbred Championship series at Tabcorp Park both this week and next.  A crack at the Breeders Crown Graduate FFA potentially tackling Grand Circuit winner Hectorjayjay, then beckons before the new-look Vic Cup also looms large on the horizon.  So after an eternity of waiting we may know as soon as mid-October whether San Carlo, the horse that has united an industry of cynics, can actually match motors with the best Australia-wide.  For the second consecutive weekend Melton hosted a slew of semi-features on Friday night, one of those being the Group Three Melton Cup Final won by Ameretto.  Always a gifted commodity for owner and original trainer Ashley Grives, Ameretto was a three-time Group One placegetter in her formative years but has gone to a whole new level on Victorian soil.  Superbly trained and steered by the world’s most decorated horsewoman, Kerryn Manning, the headstrong mare led as expected from her polemarking draw and only got weary once the race was won. “She (Ameretto) has been in terrific form but there were plenty that wanted to come around and have a look at her mid-race, which led to the quick mid-race sectionals,” Manning said.  “I was really proud of her effort to hold on, given she was running up the track slightly and was rightfully getting a bit tired late.  “While she’s going well there are races for her here, and she will probably stay down here a little bit longer.  “I know she’s one of Ash’s favourite horses and she’s always calling after her, so it’s nice that she’s really racing well down here right now.  With most of Australia’s major mares’ races done for 2017, Manning refused to rule out a trip to Perth for their female features over the Inter-Dominion carnival.  Though Manning and her father Peter have had enormous success on Victoria’s Country Cup circuit, and there’s little reason to believe Ameretto, if she settles a little better, wouldn’t be suited to those kinds of races as well.    It's probably fair to say, the last 72 hours haven’t boosted New Zealand’s chances of winning Sunday afternoon’s Victoria Trotters Derby, during Redwood Day at Maryborough. As we all now know, NZ’s best 3YO squaregaiter Enghien officially folded his cards for the Derby on Sunday, but the rot set in for the Kiwis two days earlier at Melton. That, of course was when President Roydon, the former All-Star alumni recently transferred to Kerryn Manning was beaten at red-figure odds in a key Derby lead-up event. Having finished second to Enghien at four of his previous five outings, President Roydon was expected to dominate a gifted if not quite elite group of adversaries at Vic Harness HQ. Despite comfortably leading that wasn’t to be however as underrated Vicbred Super Series runner-up, Garshaway easily out-sprinted him in the closing stages. The news was slightly better but still somewhat surprising from the juvenile brigade, with ex-Kiwi More Shades Of Gold outgunning Jewels runner-up, One Muscle Hill in Melton’s final event. Unfortunately if gun reinsman Nathan Jack is right, that won’t help the Kiwi or ex-Kiwi brigade from making their mark, on the Redwood Classis as More Shades Than Gold is unlikely to go there. “He’s obviously come over with some pretty good wraps, and his best New Zealand form was right around some of their better two-year-old trotters,” Jack said. “This just didn’t suit him first-up; he was behind the leader at Stawell and they went pretty slowly, but tonight everything just worked out well for him. “He probably won’t go to the Redwood Classic, because I don’t think he gets away too well from the stand, so his main goal will likely be the Breeders Crown which is obviously coming up pretty quickly.”   While there were plenty of equine heroes at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, the best story of the night was a human one. Roughly three years ago, a Swedish Monte rider of Middle Eastern heritage named, Kima Frenning moved to Australia, soon after joining Team Aiken in the hope of furthering her experience with horses.  At the time ridden-trots were gaining a foothold in Victoria and predictably Frenning has been the pre-eminent exponent of Monte riding in this part of the world.  Despite that success, the young horsewoman, who has also been in a long-term relationship with young gun Josh Aiken, decided she wanted to drive and not just ride her standardbred friends.  After an understandably slow start to her career in the cart, Frenning has improved out of sight in recent months and on Friday night she drove her first metropolitan winner.  Without any additional details that would be an incredible achievement, but the fact she recorded the milestone success on a catch drive for Emma Stewart made it even sweeter again.  Another former All Star pacer, Motu Premier further confirmed what a wonderful job he’ll do on Western Australian soil by winning the Chandon Final on Friday night at Gloucester Park.  Now with Ross Olivieri, the Merv Butterworth-trained four-year-old parked out and outclassed his adversaries at WA headquarters to bring his record to seven successes from nine starts on Aussie soil.  While he’s fast headed into some high quality company the way Motu Premier saluted on the weekend would suggest there’s still serious scope for improvement into the future.      As has been become standard transmission in recent years, Emma Stewart made the Southern Cross Finals at Globe Derby her own on Saturday night winning two of the four Group Two deciders.  Teaming with long-time stable owner Bruce Cameron who has made a committed effort to target South Australia’s richest futurity series, Stewart claimed wins with That’s Perfect and Perfect Look in the 2YO boys and 3YO girls’ finals respectively. Victoria pillaged even more folding from the SA coffers when the Nicole Molander-trained Saphirique won the freshman fillies final courtesy of a superb Gavin Lang drive. The locals were not left completely bereft however, as the Megan Gee owned-and driven Somebeachgift went spectacularly well to win the 3YO colts and geldings decider. The night was also notable for Belgian reinsman Sidney Van Den Brande collecting his biggest win on Aussie soil partnering the aforementioned Perfect Look for bosses Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Adam Hamilton

It was the night we had been waiting for. Emerging trainer Anton Golino and the leviathan team that is Yabby Dams has been threatening to dominate a major meeting. And it happened when they snared two Group 1s and Group 3 at Melton’s huge Vicbred “trotting finals” night last night (Friday). It started when three-year-old Muscle Mass filly Nieta posted her seventh win from just 14 starts when she sat behind main danger, Kyvalley Kyrie, and out-zipped her to win the Group 3 Vicbred Silver Trot. “If they were ever going to beat her tonight was the night when they walked and dashed up the straight, but I think they underestimated her speed tonight,” driver Nathan Jack told harness.org.au. Like so many of the stars of the Vicbred meeting, Nieta’s next main target is the Breeders Crown. Nieta is bred to keep improving being out of La Biscuit, a daughter of former champion trotting mare La Coocaracha. Golino’s enormous depth in three-year-old trotting filly ranks was underlined when another one of his, Kinvara Sue, used the pole to lead and thrash her rivals with Jason Lee aboard in the Group 1 3YO Fillies’ Vicbred final.   Lee broke her his rivals with a 28.6sec split down the back and won by 11.1m in a 2min0.4sec mile rate for 2240m, but the effort of runner-up Margaret Ruth to carry a flat tyre most of the trip was outstanding. “It’s been a tremendous effort by the team to get her to relax and to do that tonight and have the horse outside her there racing very fierce, and for to relax and rip home like that was terrific,” Lee said about Kinvara Sue. “Any win is awesome but when they’ve got Group 1 written behind them that was pretty special. To win my first Group 1 trotters race for Anton and Pat is just awesome. Really enjoy sitting behind a trotter now.” Pat is of course Pat Driscoll, the man, the brains and the money behind Yabby Dams. Driscoll and Golino’s treble came up when Aldebaran Eve, driven by Gavin Lang, led throughout and just held-off favourite Into The Unknown in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO Mares’ final. “Credit to Anton and the team. She’s probably not the most gifted horse they’ve got but great manners, great attitude and a little bit ability which always helps.” Lang said. Golino praised the his team at Yabby Dams, most notably former All Stars’ travelling foreman Shaun McNaulty “We are starting to get a good team of horses and people,” Golino said. “Young Shaun helps with me with the horses and does a great job.” YOUNG trotting star Wobelee stirs plenty of memories for driver and co-trainer Chris Alford. His fantastic juvenile season of six wins a second and a third from just eight starts has rekindled memories more than 20 years old for Alford. It was 1995 when Alford’s father unearthed the great juvenile trotter Noopy Kiosk, who ranks up with the best baby trotters Australia has seen. Wobelee’s fantastic record, slick times and big winners margins have drawn inevitable comparisons. Throw in the fact Wobelee is trained by Alford’s wife, Alison, and it’s been a pretty special ride this season. Wobelee made it six wins on end and snared his second Group 1 when he won the Vicbred 2YO final at Melton last night by 18.2m. Previously he’d won the Group 1 Vicbred Platinum final by 16.3m on June 3 and the Group 2 Tatlow final before that. “He just likes to race. He doesn’t do a real lot at home. We didn’t have much idea other than that he trotted and he’d make the races until he qualified. He just got better and better each time he goes out. He just wants to get out there and go. He knocked off when he got a long way in front tonight. “I don’t have to ask him (early) he just wants to go. “He’s got his dad’s speed and good for him he’s got better manners.” Wobelee’s “dad” is brilliant but sometimes erratic trotter Down Under Muscles, who won 17 of 41 starts and $216,925 in stakes. ANTHONY Butt’s daring and aggressive driving has won him countless feature races. It proved the difference again last night when Butt surprised a few by leading and holding the front on Enrolled in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final (2240m). Many thought Butt might take the “safe” option and take a trail behind hot favourite Maori Law, however Butt had different ideas. Maori Law didn’t enjoy having to do the grunt work, broke under pressure and Enrolled powered to a 7.4m win for Butt and trainer Brent Lilley. Butt capped a double and caused the upset of the night aboard $32.10 outsider Crow Power in the Group 3 Vicbred Silver final. Other drivers to land doubles on the big night were Nathan Jack – Nieta and two-year-old filly Moonshine Linda – and Gavin Lang, who won on Aldebaran Eve and Deltasun in the Group 1 3YO colts and geldings final.   Michael Guerin

With respect to the criminal investigation conducted by Victoria Police, which resulted on 11 January, 2017 in criminal charges being served on harness racing participants Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update: These criminal charges have been adjourned to Shepparton Magistrates Court for a contested mention hearing on 11 April, 2017. HRV is unable to make any further comment in relation to the Victoria Police investigation. VIC – Update – Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Media Statement/Police Investigation

Result of the appeals held before the Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on 8 February 2017.  Nathan Jack Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Mr Jack.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Mr Jack.  HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis  Appellant Representative: Damian Sheales HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    Brocq Robertson Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Mr Robertson.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Mr Robertson.  HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Damian Sheales HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota   Amanda Turnbull Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Ms Turnbull.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Ms Turnbull. HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Sam Tovey HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    Lisa Bartley Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Ms Bartley.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Ms Bartley. HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Sam Tovey  HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    Mark Pitt Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Mr Pitt.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Mr Pitt.  HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Sam Tovey  HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS RACING AND DISCIPLINARY BOARD ANTHONY BURNS, Chairman BRIAN COLLIS, Member   EXTRACT OF PROCEEDINGS    NATHAN JACK BROCQ ROBERTSON AMANDA TURNBULL LISA BARTLEY MARK PITT   DECISION   WEDNESDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2017 MR P CZARNOTA appeared on behalf of the HRV Stewards MR D SHEALES appeared on behalf of MR JACK AND Mr ROBERTSON MR S TOVEY appeared on behalf of MS TURNBULL MR H COCKBURN appeared on behalf of MS BARTLEY AND MR PITT  .......................................................................................................................................... This investigation commenced over 18 months ago and an earlier suspension and stay application was dealt with by this Board on 14 September 2016.  Four of the five applicants were recently charged with criminal offences pursuant to the betting outcome provisions of the Crimes Act. These are to be dealt with in the indictable stream and assuming a contest will be through to a committal then trial in the County Court. It is reasonable to presume that the matters will not resolve at least until late in 2018 and possibly even well into 2019.  The Stewards take the suspension action that they have taken in support of the integrity of the industry and its reputation in the eyes of the public.  The integrity of the industry is however a two way street. To have integrity the system must honour the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice towards its participants.  Criminal charges are now filed but must be weighed against the presumption of innocence.  As said in September 2016, by this Board, the fact that charges of themselves carries little weight, it is the evidence underlying those charges which is relevant.   The applicants have not been charged by the Stewards under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing. As to the evidence that has been provided the authorities are clear that cogent and compelling reasons would need to be present to justify any suspension from an industry that provides the livelihood for these applicants. This Board is not privy to the evidence in the police brief. The evidence provided is suggestive of a circumstantial case but one that is denied by the applicants.  There are no certificates creating conclusive proofs here as there were in Demmler before VCAT, a citation of which is 2015 VCAT 648. That was a case against the Tribunal even in the face of conclusive proofs allowed a stay.  Any suspension here approved will effectively ruin the livelihoods of the applicants.  The need to ensure the integrity and reputation of harness racing is indeed a most important consideration.  The public is sophisticated enough however to understand the difference between where charges are laid with the concomitant presumption of innocence and where charges are proven.  Given the suspension here it may create unrecoverable consequences for the applicants. We are not satisfied that the need to protect the integrity of the industry outweighs the damage to the reputation and livelihood of these applicants. Indeed nor are we satisfied that the integrity of the industry will be harmed by the continued involvement of these applicants in the sport pending the outcome of charges.  Accordingly, the decision of the Stewards to suspend all the applicants is stayed.   

24 January 2017 - With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police on January 11, 2017, where criminal charges were served on harness racing participants, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update: The HRV Integrity Department advises that it is in the process of reviewing submissions made by the legal representatives of licenced participants Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Amanda Turnbull, Ms Lisa Bartley and Mr Mark Pitt addressing why action should not be taken under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against their respective licences to participate in the industry. It is not anticipated a decision will be made today and HRV will update on this matter in due course. HRV is unable to make any further comment.  Harness Racing Victoria

19 January 2017 - With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police on 11 January, 2017 where criminal charges were served on harness racing Participants, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update; HRV advises that in response to requests from some of the legal representatives of the relevant individuals, the HRV Stewards have granted an extension of time to Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Amanda Turnbull, Ms Lisa Bartley and Mr Mark Pitt regarding the timeframe by which they are required to provide any submissions addressing why action should not be taken under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against the respective licences of the individuals to participate in the industry. Any such submissions are now to be provided by 5.00pm on Monday 23 January 2017 and will be given due consideration thereafter prior to any decision being made. With respect to the Victoria Police investigation, HRV is unable to make any further comment. Harness Racing Victoria

In September 2016, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) commenced an investigation into communications between registered owner Mr Harvey Kaplan and licensed trainer/driver Mr Nathan Jack in the period leading up to the Goulburn meeting on 26 January 2015. During this investigation HRNSW has undertaken various investigations including interviews with relevant parties, analysis of the betting relating to the race, certain forensic imaging of mobile telephones and computers. HRNSW has been assisted by Harness Racing Victoria in this matter. On 8 November 2016,Mr Nathan Jack was issued with the following charges: Charge 1: Pursuant to Rule 240 – Improper Conduct relating to a text message received from Mr Harvey Kaplan and his reply. Charge 2: Pursuant to Rule 246 – In that he has failed to report behaviour that could have cause or is likely to cause a breach of the Rules. This charge is in the alternative to Charge 1. Mr Jack pleaded not guilty to charge 1 and guilty to charge 2. Subsequently HRNSW withdrew the charge pursuant to Rule 240. Mr Jack was fined $10,000 payable by 24 December 2016. Should the fine not be rendered by that date, Stewards ordered that Mr Jack’s license to drive in races be suspended for a period of 4 months effective immediately. REID SANDERS | CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 •  rsanders@hrnsw.com.au

In September 2016, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) commenced an investigation into communications between registered owner Mr Harvey Kaplan and licensed trainer/driver Mr Nathan Jack in the period leading up to the Goulburn meeting on 26 January 2015. During this investigation HRNSW has undertaken various investigations including interviews with relevant parties, analysis of the betting relating to the race, certain forensic imaging of mobile telephones and computers. HRNSW has been assisted by Harness Racing Victoria in this matter. Mr Harvey Kaplan was issued with the following charges: Charge 1: Pursuant to Rule 187 (2) Charge 2: Pursuant to Rule 187 (3) Charge 3: Pursuant to Rule 187 (6) These charges related to a direction issued to Mr Kaplan regarding his failure to produce a computer to HRNSW. Mr Kaplan subsequently produced that computer.  Charge 4: Pursuant to Rule 240- Improper Conduct relating to a text message sent to Mr Nathan Jack on 25 January 2015. The charges have been resolved as follows: HRNSW resolved to permanently stay Charges 1-3, on the basis that Mr Kaplan ultimately complied with his obligation to produce the computer, albeit later than directed. HRNSW has satisfied itself that this lateness caused no prejudice to its investigation. Mr Kaplan has pleaded guilty to a breach of Rule 240, in that his text message to Mr Nathan Jack on 25 January 2015 was improper. In determining penalty, the Stewards were mindful of the following factors: Mr Kaplan’s contribution to the industry through various volunteer roles; Mr Kaplan’s record as a considerable owner and breeder within the harness industry; Mr Kaplan’s remorse for the conduct; The nature of the offence, including the effect such conduct has upon the industry.       Stewards ordered the following penalty upon Mr Kaplan for his breach under Rule 240: A fine of $20,000 to be rendered within 21 days That Mr Kaplan shall not participate as an owner of any registered standardbred in races for a period of 12 months effective 7 November 2016. Mr Kaplan’s ownership rights were withdrawn by HRNSW on 7 November 2016 pursuant to Rule 183. Mr Nathan Jack has been issued with the following charges: Charge 1: Pursuant to Rule 240 – Improper Conduct relating to a text message received from Mr Harvey Kaplan and his reply. Charge 2: Pursuant to Rule 246 – In that he has failed to report behaviour that could have cause or is likely to cause a breach of the Rules. This charge is in the alternative to Charge 1. Mr Jack has been issued with a Notice to Show Cause as to why HRNSW should not invoke Rule 183 pending the outcome of the investigation. Mr Jack has until close of business Friday 11 November 2016 to reply. Mr Jack has not been found guilty of any offence and will have an opportunity to reply to and / or defend the charges issued. HRNSW will continue its investigation into this matter. Reid Sanders    

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) RAD Board yesterday heard a matter relating to charges issued under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against licensed trainer/driver Mr Nathan Jack. Nathan Jack was charged with 37 breaches under the provisions of AHRR 230 and one breach each under the provisions of AHRR 245 and AHRR 246. All these charges emanated from communication with disqualified person Jackson Painting between January 2015 and October 2016.     Mr Jack pleaded guilty to all these charges and after taking into consideration his early plea of guilt, personal circumstances, offence record and specific and general deterrence, Mr Jack was fined $6000 of which $3000 is suspended for a period of 12 months. Mr Jack also received a further 3 months suspension, fully suspended for the next 12 months, a penalty to be activated if Mr Jack were to breach rules 230, 245 or 246 of the AHRR in the next 12 months. Mr Jack also pleaded guilty to one charge under AHRR 231 (2) and three charges under AHRR 247. All these charges emanated from a Bendigo Stewards inquiry on 11 August, 2016, after the late scratching of the horse Shared Interest which Mr Jack was engaged to drive. Mr Jack was charged for making inappropriate comments towards starter Graeme Morgan after the horse was a late scratching and in relation to behaving in an improper and intimidatory manner at the Stewards Inquiry that evening.              Mr Jack pleaded guilty to all 4 charges and he was fined $1000. Mr Jack also received a further 3 month suspension, fully suspended for the next 12 months, a penalty to be  activated if he were to breach any rules under 231 (2) and 247 of the AHRR in that time.       Harness Racing Victoria 

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued 39 charges under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against licensed trainer/driver Mr Nathan Jack. The first 37 charges were issued under the provisions of AHRR 230 which reads as follows: Except with the consent of the Controlling Body a person shall not associate for purposes relating to the harness racing industry with a disqualified person or a person whose name appears in the current list of disqualifications published or adopted by a recognised harness racing authority.  It is alleged that from 7 January 2015 until 23 October 2015 Mr Jack did associate with NSW disqualified person Jackson Painting for the purposes of harness racing, including allegations of communication about the chances of competing horses, race tactics, ownership decisions regarding horses and the purchase of veterinary substances.       One further charge was issued under the provisions of AHRR 245 which reads as follows: A person shall not direct, persuade, encourage or assist anyone to breach these rules or otherwise engage in an improper practice. One charge was issued under the provisions of AHRR 246 which reads as follows: A person who has reasonable grounds for believing that someone is behaving, may behave or has behaved in a way causing, likely to cause or which has caused a breach of these rules shall promptly bring the matter to the notice of the Controlling Body or the Stewards. Both of these further charges also relate to Mr Jack’s alleged communication with Mr Painting. Other information in relation to this matter has been referred to HRNSW Stewards.  These charges will be heard before the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria

Each week, Queensland Harness Racing commentator Chris Barsby does a ring around and gets the inside info on a big list of Australasian based runners. Queensland trainer/driver Darrell Graham heads back to a specialist on Monday, his broken leg is healing well. Champion Perth trainer Gary Hall headed for operation on his hand next Monday. Has constant swelling. He will be out of action for a couple of weeks Talented Sydney trotter Cyclone Lucky Seven headed to Menangle trials next week for trainer Alex Alchin. - Last start was mid march. Star pacers for Shane Tritton, Arms Of An Angel & Salty Robyn both back doing pace work. No set plans for either speed machine. Last start Group 1 runner Three Of The Best is back in Queensland, starts Friday week in Breeders crown heat, decisions to be made after that. In-form couple Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull arrive in Queensland next week with 3 runners. Fcee, Neon Sky & Eye See Diamonds. Reigning Australian Driver of the Year Shane Graham, already has over 200 winners this season and celebrates his 52nd birthday today. Millionaire mare Frith will have one more start before a well-deserved break. Starts Saturday week in the Adore Me mares event at Menangle. Top Goulburn horseman Brad Hewitt arrives in Brisbane today with his winter carnival team headed by Spare Me Days. Talented 3yo Stanley Ross Robyn has also made the trek north and will start in both the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby classics. Victorian trainer Andy Gath will make final decision on Three Ways & possible Queensland Derby trip after he starts next Tuesday at Bendigo. Birthday celebrations today for Gareth Hall – he's planning a big party in Brisbane next week when he cheers home Hectorjayjay. Good race tomorrow at Albion Park when Queensland Derby aspirants Kimani (Matt Craven) & Mattgregor (Chantal Turpin) clash. Smart pacer My Kiwi Mate is headed to the Winter Championship series next week at Melton. Good trial this week after NZ Campaign. Despite an impressive trial this week, former Kiwi 3yo He Can Fly will remain in Sydney. Connections were eyeing Queensland Derby Last start Group 2 Breeders Classic winner Maestro Bellini is bang on target for Qbred triad Final on July 16. Starts new week. North American speedster Hurrikane Kingcole is facing a battle to make a successful comeback down under. Team McCarthy working overtime. Plans remain intact for SA Derby winner Brallos Pass to head north for Queensland Derby on July 16. Faces poor draw in Group 1 Vicbred Final this week Chris Barsby

Harness Racing Fans called for a dead-heat but the judge gave Rockmemama the nod by the barest margin in today’s three-year-old fillies final of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge. Just when Eye See Diamonds (Nathan Jack) looked set to win, Rockmemama dived at her and scored a last-stride win, rating 1:52.4 with even-money favourite Heavens Trend a plucky third after racing without cover for most of the journey. In a day of upsets, it was a popular win for Newcastle reinsman Mark Callaghan as there was a sprinkling of money for the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven as she started at $7.90. It was the stringbean Callaghan’s first Group One success. Likewise for trainer Darryl Thomas, who is based at Sawyers Gully. “Yes that was quite a thrill,” said Callaghan. “Darryl seems to be able to get this horse to peak at just the right time. “That’s what he did for Bathurst and she won with authority and this was her fourth run in again today and she’s peaked again and she’s won again. “I thought we’d either be behind the leader or three back on the fence and I wasn’t too concerned either way  . . . as long as we were tracking the good horses - and we were, I knew I’d be right there. “So it all worked out well. “They ran a quick last half so she did a good job to get over the top of them.” Callaghan has three young boys who help out around the stables. All three were on hand to cheer and there were even a few tears on the pedestal as they savoured their father’s biggest win. Michael Court

The 2016 Racing Queensland UBET winter carnival is fast approaching and in the coming weeks, Queensland harness broadcaster Chris Barsby will profile a number of major players vying for the top prizes. With 18 Black Type races on the program for the 2016 Winter Carnival, the carnival’s pinnacle in 2016 is the G1 Blacks A Fake, which now boasts an impressive $200,000 in stakes. The carnival spans from May 28 to July 30. Here’s a profile featuring an up and coming three-year-old colt that is being aimed at the Queensland Derby next month. Name: Brallos Pass Stable Name: Frankie Age: 3yo colt Owner: Neil & Mal Lennie Trainer: Mark Watson Driver: Nathan Jack Prizemoney: $120,432 Biggest win: South Australia Derby Target: Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Derby (July 16) Trainer says: “He’s a high quality colt with great potential, from the very beginning of his career he displayed natural ability and he’s been a pleasure to train. His speed is his biggest asset, whether he’s in front or sitting with cover he can be lethal and he’s still improving in that respect. His form this season has been outstanding and with a bit more luck, things could be a little different. He’s proven he’s up with the best going around.” Barsby says: “An impressive performer with an impressive record, dominated in the SA Derby while performing at a very high level in both the Victoria and New South Wales Derby series, barrier draws haven’t been all that kind either. His stylish looks are matched by his brilliant turn of foot, can really rip a good quarter. Performing well in the Vicbred series and he’ll carry plenty of support in the Queensland Derby.”

Harness racing driver and co-trainer Mark Purdon, directed all the praise for today's win in the $100,000 Mitre 10 Mega Cambridge 2YO Ruby, to New Brighton Roddy Butt. The former trainer and major owner of Custodian, sold a large amount of the 2yo Muscle Mass gelding a few weeks back to a Syndicate set up by Sydney based trainers Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull. “Roddy deserves the praise here, he arrived in great condition and all we had to do was keep him fit” said Mark Purdon. The race was thrown into disarray early, with heavliy backed favourite Enghien galloped behind the gate and adding 50m onto his task. While he tacked on and still looked a massive chance with a lap to run, he jumped out of his gait again, when Ricky looked to put him into the race at the 800m mark. Meanwhile Mark Purdon has Custodian with great cover early, but was out and around to find the spot outside the leader inside the final lap, before wearing his opposition into the ground at the top of the straight. “I sold a large share in him recently to Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull, and they asked if I would be offended if they sent the horse to the All Stars barn. I said of course not, they are the leading trainers for a reason and off he went” said Roddy Butt. Winning Time & Margin: 1-59.67 MR, 57.5, 28.8, with a short head back to Heavyweight Hero (Todd Macfarlane) in 2nd and 1 ½ lengths back to Habibi Inta in 3rd. Andrew Fitzgerald  

Twelve months after taking out the George Croxford Tribute Final at Wangaratta, four-year-old gelding Wingara has continued his affinity with the venue – this time winning the North East Fasteners Wangaratta Pacing Cup. Trainer Peter Romero’s hotshot by Empire Stallions’ Dawn Ofa New Day (out of Million To One mare Bobydeane) led from barrier four on Sunday and was never overtaken to defeat Hall Of Famer by a head in a 1:59.3 mile rate over 2210m on the half-mile circuit. Nathan Jack drove Wingara, who is now on a three-rce winning streak with victories in the Albury Cup, Nixon’s Cup at Wagga and the Wangaratta feature. The win improved Wingara’s record to 11 wins from 16 starts for prizemoney of $96,975 Wingara raced clear of a death-seating Hall Of Famer at the 400m, while the second-favourite, Almost El Eagle, made his move three-wide from the back but was 20m off the lead. Despite the urgings of Rodney Petroff when $1.30 favourite Wingara snuck away off the back, Hall Of Famer fought on bravely in the breeze and in the stretch very nearly caused a boilover only to fall narrowly short. Almost El Eagle made ground to finish third beaten 6.7m, with Wes Lewinksy fourth ahead of Itcan Happen and Arber. Cody Winnell 

Manly rugby league hero Brett Stewart has never shirked making a tackle . . . and now the harness racing pacer he part-owns, Zee Dana is set to do the same. The gelding son of Tintin In America threw the gauntlet down to New Zealand's unbeaten superstar Our Waikiki Beach when he set a world-record time for three-year-old colts and geldings on the way to smashing his rivals in the first heat of the New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight Saturday the 20th of February. A masterly drive by Victoria Nathan Jack saw Zee Dana stop the clock in a stunning 1:54.7 for his final mile, breaking Major Secret's previous world record for three-year-olds over 2400m by a full second. Jack quickly showed his intentions when he was smartly away from gate five before taking a trail on Don't Hold Back in the opening Derby qualifier. But turning for home a split came when Power Of Red began to drop off after racing outside the leader and Zee Dana shot clear before romping away to score by almost 14 metres from Code Black (Todd McCarthy) with El Major (Mat Rue) a late-closing and impressive third. Zee Dana Jack barely had time to wipe the mud from his visor on a night hit by intermittent showers before he was back in the winners' circle in the second Derby heat, leading all-the-way with Brallos Pass to score by 2.9m from Sams The Master with another Victorian visitor Soho Tribeca (Chris Alford) flashing through to nab third. The son of Major In Art already has the SA Derby to his credit before a creditable fifth to Lazarus in the Victoria Derby. With the right draw he is now certain to make his presence felt in tomorrow week's $200,000 Coca-Cola Amatil NSW Derby. Brallos Pass The third and final Derby heat was just what the fans expected with the unbeaten Our Waikiki Beach (Natalie Rasmussen) doing just enough to make it 15 successive wins and maintain his unbeaten record. Rasmussen made her move with the gelding son of Somebeachsomewhere from last with 1000m to travel and settled outside the leader Shadow Runner before putting paid to his rivals in the straight to score in a 1:57.1 mile rate. Our Waikiki Beach The make-up for next week's 12-horse NSW Derby, with the barrier draw to be done tomorrow (Sunday) morning is: Zee Dana, Code Black, El Major, Frankie Rocks, Brallos Pass, Sams The Master, Soho Tribeca, Ascot Encounter, Our Waikiki Beach, Kingofthestars, Cant Refuse and Stanley Ross Robyn. by Michael Court                

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