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Broken Hill Harness Racing Club is still pinching itself it's been included in the whopping $1.5 million Statewide harness racing series in New South Wales next year. The series will kick off at Broken Hill and finish with a $1 million final at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the richest purse ever offered on an event restricted to Australian-bred pacers. "We are just rapt to be included - the town's absolutely abuzz," said Broken Hill Club President Tracey Robinson. "There's already been heaps of interest even from people who aren't in horses, wanting to know more about the series. They are just wanting to get on board," Tracey said. "It's just so exciting. There's undoubtedly going to be lots of positives come out of it, not just for the club, but the town as well." Broken Hill is about as far from the bright lights of Menangle as is possible in NSW and it's known as the "The Silver City" because a city was forged out of a hill that was almost pure silver, lead and zinc. But despite its remoteness, 1200 kilometres from Sydney, Broken Hill has a trotting fraternity that boasts energy and enthusiasm second to none. Its racing is unique in the modern era - possibly the smallest track in the country, being 620 metres in circumference (less than half the size of Menangle). "The news is probably still sinking in. Harness Racing NSW has been fantastic to us with their support in recent years. They appreciate we are sometimes doing it a bit hard, but they are always right behind us," Tracey said. "We will run Preliminary heats of $5000 on May 3 and qualifiers will go into a further round of heats of $10,000 at Dubbo on May 10. Quarter finals of $15,000 will be run at four tracks and then the $1million Pace Final and consolations at Menangle on May 31." The series will involve 14 various NSW tracks and consist of 25 races. "It would be a dream come true to see a Broken Hill horse go onto the Dubbo heats and then make it through to a quarter final. We'd all love to see that," Tracey said. Overall the series - the latest innovation by HRNSW - will be worth nearly $1.5million, funded through a tri-code deal struct with wagering giant Tabcorp. The series is restricted to Australian-bred, NSW-trained pacers, four years old or older with national rating points of up to 70. "The eligibility of the series hurts us a little because Victorian-trained horses in Mildura play a big part in us able to conduct our 10 meetings each season," Tracey said. "In a perfect world it would have been great to have them involved, but it's been designed for NSW trainers and their owners," she said. In announcing the details of the series, HRNSW Chief John Dumesny made no secret it was very much NSW orientated. "As the funding is created in NSW, the Board decision was to give our trainers the exclusive opportunity to compete for the massive prize money to be offered," Dumesny said. Broken Hill celebrated its 62nd year of "official" racing this season, but history shows that the sport began in the mining town back in the 1890s. Regular "unregistered" race meetings were conducted, featuring ridden trotters. It's said that businessmen would compete to buy the rights to run "the booth" and collect front gate sales from the meetings, with "settling up" payments made later in one of the many Silver City pubs. And for those historians...the city's official name dates from 1844 when the first Europeans, explorer Charles Sturt and his party, passed through the area. Sturt noted the unique shape of the hill and referred to it as a "broken hill" in his diary. The desert city will take centre stage when the preliminary heats roll around, but you can bet "London to a brick" (a phrase used frequently by legendary racecaller Ken Howard) that the tiny club will handle the spotlight in true unflappable, bush style, and the meeting will be a roaring success.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

With not many drives coming his way of late, harness racing driver James Sutton is eager to make the most of any chance he gets at the moment. He did exactly that on Sunday at Dubbo Paceway, and his win with Yarraman Bella was even more special than most. The two-year-old filly is one the Dubbo trainer-driver bought himself at the Bathurst yearling sales last year and is the first horse he's done all the work with himself in order to get to the track. She showed promise without placing when building her fitness in the first two starts of her career, but led from start to finish on Sunday when winning the Harness Racing NSW Guaranteed Two Year Old Pace (2120m). "She's the first yearling I've bought. I went there (to Bathurst) to buy one but ended up buying two," Sutton said, "It's the first horse I've done everything with from scratch and it makes it much more enjoyable to win. "Young horses can be tricky to work with but what I'm doing must be working." The win may have come in Yarraman Bella's third career start, but it had been some time in the making. Sutton first tested the filly in a trial at his home track in January, and while she finished first when racing many older horses that day she didn't come through unscathed. A muscle issue in one of her shoulders saw her sent to the paddock for four months and Sutton was eager to praise the work done by the Tophut Equine Centre as Yarraman Bella built strength in the water walker facility there. It showed on Sunday, in a longer event than many other two-year-old races, as Yarraman Bella got to the lead quickly from barrier one and controlled proceedings throughout. Backed from $13 into $4.40 pre-race, Sutton's hope used the inside to her advantage as she took the lead early ahead of $2.90 favourite Mammals Prince.  WINNING FEELING: James Sutton (left) feels Yarraman Bella is a horse with "plenty of upside".  COFFEE PHOTOGRAPHY   Mammals Prince, driven by Mat Rue, settled third on the outside early on after She Owns The Day ($3.30) pushed up along the pegs to trail the leader. The order barely changed before the final lap, where The Donny ($7) made a brief charge on the outside before dropping out of contention again. Sutton, in his only drive for the day, led into the turn for home and after taking a good look over his shoulder controlled the race still before motoring home late to secure the win in a mile-rate of 2:04:07. "Two-year-old's don't often race over that distance," Sutton said. "I knew they'd let me go pretty slow up-front and then I quickened it up and was able to hold the favourite on my back. "I didn't really let go until the final 20 (metres) so she had plenty in the tank." Yarraman Bella won by 3.6m from the Katie Jenner-trained She Owns The Day while Stilton ($8.50) finished strong down the outside to come home third for trainer-driver Malcolm Hutchings. Sutton said a trip to Victoria is on the cards for Yarraman Bella, with the bonuses on offer for two-year-olds south of the border. But he added the filly is still battling a minor sinus issue that will need to be treated before any trip. By Nick Guthrie Reprinted with permission of the Daily Liberal

He might have 'dawdled' early on, but when the harness racing four-year-old Hot Embers hit the top of the home straight at Dubbo on Sunday he was firing. The John O'Shea, Bathurst trained four-year-old zipped away from his rivals in the Harness Racing New South Wales Rewards Series Final (2,120 metres) to post a commanding all the way win. Hot Embers, with Amanda Turnbull in the gig, finished 10.7m clear of his nearest rival as he showed why he was the hot $1.45 favourite for the decider. A week earlier in his heat at Parkes, the Courage Under For x Our Super Party four-year-old sat in the death seat before forging to the lead mid-way down the home straight. This time his win was assured earlier. From barrier six Hot Embers punched on into the lead early in the decider, but once in front Turnbull eased off with the favourite. Hot Embers was able to pinch splits of 32.9 and 30.8 seconds for the first two quarters of the last mile, yet he still led by a length over stablemate Jo Jo Zip on the bell. Down the back straight for the final time Turnbull urged Hot Embers to up the tempo and he responded as the field strung out behind him. He then found another gear at the top of the straight, clocking a 29.4 final sectional as he notched up the fourth win of his career in a 2:03.5 mile rate. It was the 10th win of the season for O'Shea's stable and Turnbull's 138th winning drive in NSW for 2018-19. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Elly Chapple has achieved something she has quietly been working towards - her first harness racing career winning drive. At last week's Tamworth harness meeting, Chapple piloted Right On With It to establish that first winning drive. "I had no words to describe the feeling of winning the race after the finish - I couldn't stop shaking, it was crazy," stated the near 17-year-old who also picked up The Pub Group Drive of the Day. Coming up through the Mini Trot ranks via the Tamworth Club, Chapple progressed on to make her debut into the senior driving ranks back in April at the Narrabri Carnival of Cups meeting.  WINNING FEELING: Right On With It bests Onahi Delight (Leigh Sutton) and Ghost Gum (Stacey Weidemann).   It was only fitting that Elly should have her first winning drive in the Tamworth Regional Mini Trot Association Pace over 1609 metres last Thursday on her home track. "It was good being in the mini trots before as it helped a lot in getting a bit more confidence," stated the vibrant young lady who had been part of the mini trot scene for many years before graduating to the registered races. Chapple, a Year 11 student at Oxley High School, recounted her driving efforts and how she came to gain the success with Right On With It. "I drew the five barrier and landed up one-by-one behind Layby Lenny (Anthony Varga), which was a perfect spot," she said. "We were aiming to go forward to lead but the one-by-one presented itself and it was perfect." With the grey pacer Ghost Gum, piloted by Stacey Weidemann, leading the field, Chapple was playing the race out in her mind and holding back her run, before placing an impressive three-wide run around the field from the 400-metre mark. "He felt super the whole way. I nursed him up around the bend and just waited for as long as I could and the horse couldn't have done a better job," added Chapple. "I probably had to go a little bit earlier than what I wanted to because Leigh Sutton came around with Onahi Delight. I had to go in the back straight a bit before I had planned to. But other than that it was perfect "I was so excited I just waited up for as long as I could and I just knew I had to go for it. "Dad said from the start that Right On With It would be my first winner. He was my first fast-work drive." Right On With It held on for a neck win over Onahi Delight, with Ghost Gum three metres away in third place. For Moonbi trainer-reinsman Dean Chapple, he enjoyed sitting on the sidelines along with his wife Julie, watching as his daughter succeed. "Elly's win was just out of this world - it was a 10 out of 10 effort," said Dean. "We have been working towards this win for a while. "That would be up there with any of my wins. I was sitting there going not now not now. I was driving the race for her from the sidelines." Dean, who is leading the drivers premiership at Tamworth, had success himself at the meeting - training a double with Right On With it and new stable acquisition Aucklander. Aucklander won the opening event of the day, the TAB.Com.Au Three-Year-Old Pace, which also placed Chapple into the winner's circle with the reins. "It was a good run by Aucklander - I got into the one-by-one and then I took off," Dean said. "He ended up getting cover for the last lap and I pulled out at the 400m and he was just too good." Aucklander had a four-metre win over Shez Got Bling (Madi Young) with A Paradigm Shift (Peter Hedges) another two metres away in third place. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Last week the Tamworth Harness Racing Club received the good news that their Golden Guitar feature race will be elevated to a Group 2 $50,000 race from January 2020. This week Harness Racing NSW chairman Rod Smith made another announcement: New South Wales will have a new $1 million race to go with the $1 million Miracle Mile. The race will be funded from negotiated arrangements between the racing industry and Tabcorp, and it will include a new bet type, odds and evens. The $1 million final will be the culmination of a series of races across NSW. The final concept for the series is slated to be endorsed by the HRNSW board this month. "We have injected funding into established feature races and carnivals, and now I am proud to say we are giving participants an opportunity to race for high stakes with horses which are not at the top level of our code of racing," Smith said. "This race provides for participants in the country, provincial and metropolitan areas, including as far away as Broken Hill, to compete in their own back yards. "All the owners and trainers really need is the horse good enough to win the $1 million race." **** THE HRNSW Rising Star Series has had a close finish, with Jake Hughes, who was representing the Hunter Valley and North West, finishing second to Metropolitan reinsman Joshua Gallagher. Hughes was leading the series heading into the final two races at Menangle last Sunday. Hughes had a winning drive at the Penrith meeting on Thursday evening, behind the Paul Fitzpatrick-trained Dee Double You. They raced to a 14-metre win. On his home track of Newcastle on Friday night, 18-year-old Hughes picked up another win when he drove Tralee Rocks for Tamworth owners Ernie and Anthony Mabbott. Gallagher finished on 82 points, just two points ahead of Hughes. Jake's younger brother Blake drove a winner at last week's Tamworth meeting, behind Chevron Reward, for his boss Clayton Harmey. Blake, at 16 years of age, has only had two drives at Tamworth. He finished last in his first start. *** AT LAST week's Tamworth meeting, siblings Tom and Emma Ison had a dead heat in the Pace. Tom drove the Dwayne Brown-trained What A Flight while Emma handled Bailees Girl, for her father Andy. "I thought he (Tom) had beat us," said Emma, whose previous winner was in January at Tamworth with Tepary. For Tom, there was a second glance when he noticed his younger sister had joined him at the finish line. "At that last second, I was surprised that it was Emma on the outside. But I thought she had beat me by a neck or so, as she was finishing that quick," he said. **** THE premierships are starting to take shape at Tamworth, with Dean Chapple leading the drivers premiership (25 points) - just five wins ahead of Lola Weidemann.  Chapple last won the drivers premiership in 2013/2014, with 35 wins. Weidemann leads the Hygain trainers premiership, with 27 wins. Narrabri trainer Jarred Hetherington is second with 16 wins. The horse of the year premiership s a close one, with Narrabri pacer Kid Montana, from the Shepherdson stables, locked on 22 points with Too Goo For You, from the Weideman stables. *** READY To Bloom, from the Mitch Faulkner stables, will have a start in the $20,000 Multiquip Club Menangle Country Series Final at Menangle on Saturday night after finishing second in a heat at Peak Hill. Harness racing will return to the Tamworth Paceway next Thursday. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

CONNECTIONS of Australian Pacing Gold purchase Black Silhouette are thrilled she decided to break her Group One pattern at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. Racing against the best of her crop since her debut season, Black Silhouette had contested three top shelf events leading up to the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge Final. On each of those occasions the Sam Dimarco-trained pacer finished seventh! Black Silhouette was also seventh in last term’s Group Two Bathurst Gold Bracelet. Thanks to performance in the $100,000 decider, the daughter of Shadow Play has “finally” become a ‘black type’ mare. “She finally broke through for us,” Dimarco said. “She has been very consistent all her career and made her way into a few Finals but hasn’t had much luck once there. “This time she got a good trip off the speed and stuck her head out at the right time. “She was only grabbed on the line in her semi and now this time she’s grabbed the win on the line.” Driven masterfully by Todd McCarthy, Black Silhouette was pushed forward to find the lead from barrier eight before being eased to take a trail behind the favourite, Goodtime Heaven. Gaining an opening halfway along the home straight, the four-year-old reclaimed the front in the last stride to score by a half-neck from Goodtime Heaven. Rocknroll Pearl completed an APG trifecta when four metres away third in 1:51. “She had been very bright within herself since her last run two weeks ago and I knew she was ready to run a good race,” Dimarco said. “I expected her to be in the finish with the right run and that’s just what she got. “This morning she is running around with tail in the air, has been eating, and seems pretty good within herself. “I will see how she is over the next few days before making a decision, but if she comes through the run well enough I will keep her going and give her a few runs at Menangle before she has a break.” Cranky around the stable can bite you and has an attitude – upsets everyone around the stable – when race as good as her you don’t care Ricki bought her and was getting her going and we liked her so bought him from her as Marissa likes the Shadow Plays   APG Media

Tamworth's Ison family have once again placed their names into the chronicles of harness racing history in the north west. For siblings Sam, Tom and Emma it was an Armidale harness meeting back in 2018 when the trio first came to prominence after driving a winner each on the program. Thursday's Tamworth harness meeting saw the Ison name being registered in yet another significant flair when Tom and Emma Ison had a dead heat for the win in the Ladyship Pace. Tom Ison accepted the drive behind the Dwayne Brown trained What A Flight and from the one barrier it appeared as if the 10-year-old mare was going to have an all the way win. That was until younger sister Emma placed in her bid for supremacy for the race title with a three wide run and a dash down the home straight with Bailee's Girl. "The win was brilliant and it is so good to share it with Tommy too" stated Emma. Emma Ison was engaged by her father Andy Ison to take the reins behind Bailee's Girl - a five-year-old mare that he both owns and trains - which certainly made the race a family affair. What A Flight was setting the race tempo while Miss Catalina (Lola Weidemann) raced out in the breeze. "We copped a bit of pressure in the race but she got home" added Ison of What A Flight who is raced by Tanya Welsh with the mares last win recorded at Newcastle back in October last year. Older brother Sam Ison elected to sit his pacer Roll With Tricky in on the leaders back in the running of the 1980 metre race while Emma Ison was in turn posted three back on the inside running line with Bailees Girl. The final turn into the home straight saw Emma Ison masterly bring Bailees Girl out of the inside running line to race three wide and sprint down the home straight. "She (Bailees Girl) sprints really well - she is a good sit and sprint horse but I didn't think I would catch him (Tom) by the time we hit the line" added Emma "I was sitting on the back of Sam (Roll With Tricky) and travelling really well. I knew if we got a crack we would get somewhere" "I thought he (Tom) had beat us" added Emma who welcomed the win with her last winning drive being at Tamworth back in January behind Tepary. For Tom Ison who governed the field from the outset with What A Flight there was a second glance when he noticed his younger sister Emma had joined him at the finish line. "At that last second I was surprised that it was Emma on the outside but I thought she had beat me by a neck or so as she was finishing that quick" added Tom Ison. "It was a special moment - absolutely" added Tom "there is no one better to have a dead heat with than your little sister" Elder brother Sam Ison finished fourth with Roll With Tricky in the race - just missing out on making it a family trifecta before he himself presented in the winner's circle later in the meeting. Sam Ison drove the Greg Coney trained Lettucefirestar to an all the way win in the Garrard's Horse and Hound Pace. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Passionate and successful harness racing owner Kevin Gordon is enjoying the ride of his life at the moment - a journey that started many years ago with a $200 outlay! Gordon, of Warners Bay, a suburb of Newcastle, will be chasing Group One honors on Sunday at Menangle with his talented youngster Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA) in the $150,000 Vincent Alabar NSW Breeders Championship Final for colts and geldings. "He's a nice little horse, with a touch of class. And he doesn't have any vices which is a good thing," Gordon said. "We've drawn the number one alley for the first time in his career, so we'll be prominent. But it will be exciting because there are some outstanding horses in the event." At a purchase price of $29,000 at the yearling sales, Lochinvar Art is proving to be a dream buy. His incredible record now stands at 22 starts for 12 wins and 10 minor placings for a staggering $253,580 in stakemoney. Prepared at Kialla, near Shepparton by up-and-coming young trainers Laura Crossland and her partner David Moran, the three-year-old colt has never been unplaced in his two seasons of racing. "I'm enjoying every minute of having horses with them. They are hard workers and do a really good job. We buy a yearling every year from the sales and I just leave it to David to make the call on which one," Gordon said. "We have a two-year-old in Lochinvar Fire that looks a likely type with two starts for one placing and a Captaintreacherous yearling we have high hopes for." Prior to his Breeders Championship campaign, Lochinvar Art put together four consecutive wins, including a heat and final of the $104,000 Bathurst Gold Chalice, giving the popular owner his first Group One success in the sport. Lochinvar Art finished runner-up in his Breeders semi last Saturday - but was so brave he lost no admirers. After pressing forward from barrier seven, Moran angled into the one-out and two-back slot, albeit third last. At the halfway mark he made a three-wide move to put his charge into the race, whizzing around to be outside the leader, Hardhitter (Luke McCarthy), the eventual winner. The mile rate was a brisk 1.51-4 with a scorching 26.6 up the home straight. Gordon owns Multicam Routing Systems, a national business he founded 32 years ago and still laughs about how he got into harness racing in the late 1970s. "My wife-to-be Leonie was at a boarding school at Lochinvar, about half an hour out of Newcastle," he said. "A foal was born across the road from the school and later on, the two of us decided to buy it. We paid $200! "It was our first-ever pacer and raced as Lochinvar Girl. She went on to be a top mare and won 15 races at Harold Park including the Australia Day Cup. And that was the start of the Lochinvar prefix in our horses and greyhounds." Over the years, apart from Lochinvar Art, Gordon has also raced Lochinvar Fille (10 wins, 15 places), Lochinvar Delight (8 wins, 8 places), Lochinvar Hugo (now racing in SA: 15 wins, 6 places) and Lochinvar Sun (2 wins, 3 places). Gordon said he had received some decent offers to buy Lochinvar Art. "I had to knock them back because I'm at the stage of my life now where we get the most excitement out of seeing him race. "We'd rather have him because our four daughters in Emma, Heather, Clare and Karla and their extended families are big supporters of harness racing, so it's a lot of fun. "I bought them a filly for Christmas. She's named Gordon Girl and has had one win and three placings. She ran fourth last start and is also prepared by Laura." Gordon said his association with the Crossland-Moran team kicked off a few years ago after he was advised to send former Kiwi pacer Smo to them. "We had the horse with Sydney trainer John Binskin and won a couple of races with him. But he developed a few problems and John suggested he may recapture his form on country Victorian tracks. "I was quite impressed with Laura and David, and I think they won six races with Smo before we moved him over to the west. I know Smo became Laura's favorite horse at the time." On the greyhound scene, among the standouts have been Lochinvar Marlow, who provided Gordon with a Group One Paws of Thunder triumph. The dog finished with three Group wins, $300,000 in stakes and later proved a sensation at stud. "We probably breed between 50 and 60 greyhounds each year," he said. Gordon is also well-known through high-profile roles in greyhound racing. His contributions have included in 2016 being a vocal and pro-active representative on a steering committee that fought successfully to overturn a decision by then-Premier Mike Baird to ban the sport. But Gordon's attention this weekend will be squarely on Menangle, for the Breeders Championship Final. "We'll all be there, the girls and all of the extended family - we wouldn't miss it. Lochinvar Art's given us some fantastic memories already, and we're excited to be there and see what he can do," he said. "After that, if he's still going as well as he is now, we'll probably be looking at the Queensland Derby."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness Racing New South Wales has today announced another prizemoney injection elevating Tamworth's Golden Guitar to Group 2 status. Prizemoney for the time-honoured feature has doubled and the 2020 edition will be worth $50,000 in stakes. Minister responsible for racing and Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said the announcement shows that regional racing keeps going from strength to strength. "We want our regional racing scene to continue to grow, which is why this investment in Tamworth's Golden Guitar Harness Race is so important," said Mr Anderson. "The Country Music Festival in Tamworth is such an iconic event and we can celebrate an iconic harness race as part of it." This announcement further strengthens HRNSW's stance on regional feature racing, making the Golden Guitar the most prestigious harness event in the state's north. A record quarter-of-a-million-dollars will be distributed throughout the upcoming Golden Guitar Carnival, held over three meetings. Meanwhile record prizemoney, in excess of $1.5 million, will be distributed by the Tamworth HRC in the next financial year as advised by HRNSW Chairman Mr Rod Smith. "Our commitment to regional harness racing and in this instance the north-west is well demonstrated," said Mr Smith. "Next year HRNSW will provide $1.5 million in prizemoney at Tamworth double what was available to participants a short five years ago. "In the last four years the number of race meetings at Paceway Tamworth has increased from 20 to 30 and I compliment the Club and the participants for demonstrating to my Board how strong our industry is in the region." Tamworth Club Chair Ms Julie Maughan was thrilled by the announcement. "Absolutely rapt," said Ms Maughan. "My Board and the participants work hard for the betterment of the north-west and to achieve our objective one of which was Group status for our flagship race is fantastic for all. "This has been achieved through the generosity of HRNSW and we thank Rod (Smith), his fellow Board members and John (Dumesny) for providing the funding." To assure the future of harness racing in Tamworth, HRNSW purchased the Showground in 2016. Since, HRNSW has injected $1.5 million into the property by virtue of a roof over the race stalls, a new Officials Pod and other works to make the property more presentable. Also horses stabled and trained at the track have increased from 15 to 60 and the Club now conducts 30 meetings a year (in 2014 it was only allocated 20 meetings). Next year's Golden Guitar, on Thursday January 23, will be the 41st running of the feature. First run by the Tamworth Harness Racing Club in 1979, some quality pacers have won the event including in recent times Mach Beauty who then went on to contest the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES  

Talented four-year-old Summit Special, who was bred, raised and sold by Yirribee Pacing Stud, hoisted the fastest time of the night - 1:50.7 - when he overwhelmed his harness racing rivals in a $25,000 semi-final of the NSW Breeders Challenge at Menangle on Saturday night (June 22). Starting from the No. 5 gate, the gelding was third last at the end of the opening 800 in 54.3. Following a 28.3 third stanza Summit Special was tipped three deep and closed with a 28.1 final fraction to down the highly fancied Ignatius by 3.7 metres. The win sent his stake earnings over the $50,000 mark. Summit Special will contest the Group 1 $100,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle on Sunday afternoon (June 30). Summit Special is the fifth foal and third winner of Classic Counsel NZ (by In The Pocket), who is also the dam of the prolific Menangle and Albion Park victor Floyd Mayweather 1:53 ($326,492). Since producing Summit Special in 2014, Classic Counsel has left the three-year-old Im Rock Solid (6 placings) and a weanling filly by Warrawee Needy and is carrying a positive test to him. Meanwhile, another Yirribee sired and bred, Untythehood (Robin Hood-Aunty Jean), saluted for the eighth time overall and fifth time this season at Wagga on Friday (June 21). The five-year-old gelding rated a career-best 1:58.9 over 2270 metres. Yirribee Pacing Stud will this season offer an imposing roster of stallions in the Kiwi superstar Lazarus, former world record holder Warrawee Needy, Tintin In America, sire of the America's No. ranked racemare Shartin NZ, and the North America Cup and Adios winner Fear The Dragon.   Peter Wharton

Tamworth's Sarah Rushbrook ticked all the boxes with the win of Gotta Rush at last week's Tamworth harness meeting when listed as owner, breeder, trainer and driver. Gotta Rush won the Psarakis Accounting Pace after overcoming some inference on the first turn of the 1980 metre event before Rushbrook elected to travel three wide around the field to take the lead. "I got checked on the first turn and ended up three wide. I decided to push forward and the lead was there so I took it," said Rushbrook after the win. "I drove her like she was a good horse" added Rushbrook who is more than proud of the efforts of the four-year-old mare, especially after a short period of health issues with Gotta Rush." Gotta Rush gained her first win back in April 2018 at Narrabri followed by three minor placings before spending 10 months in the paddock with an unknown alignment. "We took her away from the track as we could not pin point the illness- even sent her to Randwick Equine with no result - but she is back on track now - and I'm glad," added Rushbrook. Gotta Rush resumed her racing back in April this year and with four runs back produced the impressive win. "She switched off turning for home - she only does what she needs to until something comes at her - then she is like a cattle dog and fights," relayed Rushbrook. Newcastle on Saturday night will be the next start for Gotta Rush who will commence from the three barrier in the Firestorm Fire Protection Brisbane Stakes. "I have to give her an opportunity," added Rushbrook with Gotta Rush having only 26 career starts for two wins and four placings. Young guns Jack Callaghan and Jake Hughes have been selected to represent the Hunter/North West Regions at this week's 2019 New South Wales Rising Star competition. The event pits some of the best and brightest young drivers from around the state against each other and sees them battle it out for the top prize. Callaghan at just 17, has had 35 career wins and states his father Mark Callaghan along with John and Todd McCarthy as his biggest career influences and is looking to make harness racing his career and to drive Group 1 winners. Hughes (Hunter/North) also aged 17 has had 27 career winning drives including his last winning drive being last Monday at the Maitland meeting behind Royal Lefty from the John Radley stables. The first round of heats will take place at Tacborp Park, Menangle on Tuesday. Tamworth will host its next harness racing meeting on June 27. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

SOME of the state's top up-and-coming young harness racing drivers have been selected to partake in this year's New South Wales Rising Stars series. Defending champion Madi Young is back to try and keep her title and will do battle with some drivers she competed against last year as well as some new editions. The fellow drivers include: --Blake Micallef (Riverina) --Codi Rauchenberger (Riverina) --Jordan Seary (Riverina) --Jack Callaghan (Hunter/North) --Jake Hughes (Hunter/North) --Justin Reynolds (Western Districts) --McKayler Barnes (Western Districts) --Josh Gallagher (Metropolitan) --Sean Grayling (Metropolitan) The first round of heats will take place at Tacborp Park Menangle next Tuesday before moving to Bathurst the following night, Penrith Thursday and Newcastle Friday. The final heat will take place on Alabar Breeders Challenge Finals Day at Menangle on Sunday June 30. Please click here to see the profiles of the 2019 NSW Rising Stars: AMANDA RANDO HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

Roll With Tricky deserved her win in the Hazell's Farm & Fertilizer Ladyship Pace at Tamworth. Harness racing punters were in agreement - when they sent Roll With Tricky out as the $2.70 favourite. "It was a nice draw and I wasn't too convinced about the 1980 metres but she went good," was how trainer and reinsman Sam Ison summed up the win of the five-year-old Roll With Joe mare. The two barrier was certainly to Roll With Tricky's liking, with her heading straight to the lead. She was joined by Always A Lexus (Madi Young) from the five barrier, who took up running outside of Roll With Tricky. "Always A Lexus was eyeballing us all the way but my mare kept going and didn't care," Ison said. With Always A Lexus kicking just ahead of Roll With Tricky by half a length as the pair raced out of the back straight on the final occasion, Roll With Tricky was prepared to take the challenge to Always A Lexus. "I tried to stay there and she didn't give up - she kicked again," said Ison of Roll With Tricky, who dominated down the home straight to come away for a metre win over last-start winner Whoseashadylady (Stacey Weidemann). Maghera Maggie (Anthony Varga) was another two metres away in third place. Roll With Tricky has shown some steadfastness over the past month, with a second in a heat of the Club Dubbo Golden Gig series at Tamworth. She then headed to Dubbo for that final on May 24 - where she finished second, beaten by six metres by Rocknroll Dude. "If we could have got out earlier in that Dubbo race, it would have been good. But we got stuck in a pocket and had to chase to the line, but we were happy with her run," Ison said. Roll With Tricky is raced by Ison's partner Naomi Newman. "As an owner I think Naomi is pleased - she does a lot of work with the horse as well," Ison said. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Bolwarra harness racing trainer-driver Geoff Dorn hopes Jodie Podie can pick up where her half-brother Sergei left off after winning on debut at Maitland on Monday. Jodie Podie (Mr Feelgood) showed strength late to win the opener, a three-year-old maiden over 1644 metres, as a $34 chance. The filly, which had trialled three times without winning, led from gate three and controlled the tempo before the Clayton Harmey-trained Alimonie headed her on the home bend. She fought back down the straight to win by a metre. "You don't know first-up," Dorn said of his expectations. "I knew she had a little bit of gate speed and once she found the front, she was always going to be hard to beat." Jodie Podie is out of the same mare, Jane Of Eden, as Sergei, which won four of 10 starts for Dorn, including his past three. The most recent victory was a Country series heat at Newcastle last October. The most impressive winner on the program was the Chris Bourke-trained Que Sera (Auckland Reactor), which came three wide down the back straight and burst clear to win race eight (1646m) by 12 metres in 1:56:8. Robert and KerryAnn Morris had a winning double with Gotta Be Downtown and Bettor To Be Tricky. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

Could a shoeing alteration improve Jilliby Nitro again? The classy black colt is the shortest-priced favourite at Menangle this Saturday night at $1.05 with TAB Fixed Odds for his Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi-Final (1609m). He has already collected two Group 1 victories and a personal best winning mile rate of 1:52.6, how much more improvement can there be? After winning his Breeders Challenge heat at Menangle last Tuesday week, trainer Margret Lee investigated the fluency of his gait and made some changes. “He went around really well in his heat at Menangle but he went rough at a couple of stages so we made a few changes to his shoeing so hopefully this time he will pace a bit better,” said Lee. “He’s had this in all his races and talking to his breeder, he seems to think that when he is a three-year-old he won’t have this issue with his gait . . . it’s a bit of a maturity thing.” Despite this niggling issue, Jilliby Nitro won his qualifier by more than 12m. It was his fifth win in six starts. The son of Bettors Delight has stayed at the Menangle Park Training Centre since the victory. “He’s really good, he settles in wherever he goes and has eaten up well,” said Lee. “He fast worked on Wednesday and we’re really happy with him.” Drawn barrier two Saturday night there is only one plan for driver Glen Craven. “He’ll be going forward from that alley, he has the early speed to make the most of it,” said Lee. It will be a busy night for the Victorian stable with three starters in consecutive races. In race six Lee has Keayang Jackie in the Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Fillies Semi-Final drawn 10. “It certainly makes it a lot harder when you’re drawn wider,” said Lee. “I was super happy with her in her heat, I had a little bit of trouble with her tying up so I was really happy with how she did it. “Whether she goes forward or not I’m not sure but she has done well in all her races and ran a quick last quarter last start which was very pleasing.” Keayang Jackie finished second in her heat to Didn’t I when they clocked the last quarter in 26.3 seconds. Lee’s final starter for the night is Jilliby Bandit in the Group 3 Golden Mile. “He’s been a travelling buddy for Nitro and it’s really worked out well so far, he won at Bathurst and he won in Brisbane and he has certainly helped Nitro settle in,” said Lee. “He’s been a bonus and improved the last six weeks after changing his feed.”   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Locally owned and trained nine-year-old harness racing pacer Ned Pepper has continued to produce unbelievable form by taking out his third regional Country Cup by winning at Peak Hill, New South Wales on Sunday afternoon.  Owned by Terry Jenner and trained by wife Katie Jenner, Ned Pepper made it three wins in Country cup class by defeating a strong field that included placegetters Tuapeka Glory and Hidden Courage in a mile rating of 1:58.7.  Ned Pepper got away nicely from gate three and settled behind early leaders Dazzle Me and Royal Story. He moved outside Royal Story at the top of the bend and showed superior speed down the home straight to clinch victory over the 2250m journey. Angela Hedges was again in the gig as she was for Ned Pepper's win in the Dubbo Stayers Pacers Cup on May 24. Ned Pepper and connections after the win at Dubbo last month.   He'd previously taken out the Leeton Pacers Cup and the more recent Dubbo Stayers Pacers Cup to take his career winnings to more than $131,000. His record now includes 18 wins and 28 minors, a great effort for the veteran pacer.  With a best winning mile rate of 1:55.5 to his credit, and a winners cheque of $7,200 from his win at Peak Hill, many around the district are hoping the wins keep coming for the likeable couple who have invested many hours of hard work in their small but successful team. Young harness racing trainers Todd Day, Troy Fletcher and Mark Cullen entered pacers in Menangle Series heats raced at Goulburn on Monday afternoon. Fletcher's-trained seven-year-old mare Mah Koo Loo Queen was looking to capitalise on good recent form including a win at West Wyalong and three second placed finishes at Bathurst, Canberra and Wagga. By Stuart Maxwell Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness

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