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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

Millers Forest harness racing trainer Chris Bourke will chase a first group race success when Que Sera competes in the Go Girlfriend Series Final at Menangle Park on Saturday night. Que Sera has won three of 22 starts for Bourke since coming to his stable last December. The four-year-old will start from gate nine of 10 in the $30,000 group 3 mares race on Saturday night after securing a place with second to Love My Sister in a heat at Newcastle on May 31. Que Sera (Auckland Reactor), with Blake Fitzpatrick to drive, was $41 with TAB on Friday and Bourke was not discounting her chances. "It's good to make the final in any group race," Bourke said. "They are all an even bunch and lightly assessed. "There's a couple of good ones, of courses. [Luke] McCarthy's got one out of the good mare Fleur De Lil, Love My Sister, that won the Newcastle heat ours came second in. She's a handy type. "Ours has pulled up good, and it just all depends how the race is run. "She's drawn bad but she's got no gate speed anyway.  "All the better ones are in the same boat except the good one from Queensland, [Rocknroll Pearl], it's got a bit of gate speed." Morisset trainer Mark Callaghan and his son Jack have a busy night across the Menangle and Newcastle meetings on Saturday night. The stable has genuine chances with Vega Star in the first and Downunder Stride in the fifth at Menangle. Jack will drive strong hopes Repartee in race eight and Glenn Ford in the fourth at Newcastle for his dad. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of the Newcastle Herald

Accomplished NSW Central Tablelands harness racing trainer-driver Bernie Hewitt has been riding high of more ways than one! Hewitt, who is based at Georges Plains, a small town just 15kms south of Bathurst, is enjoying his most successful season ever. "We recently chalked up our 107th winner. We've been getting a few doubles here and there so everything is going along nicely," he said. "There's still a few months of the season remaining so hopefully we can keep adding to the tally. Our previous best was last season, when we had 101 winners." Hewitt, who has been driving for 40 years, showed his horsemanship talents recently at a Young meeting. "Yes I reckon I got lucky," he said laughing. "I did end up with a nice burn mark and bruise on my lower back. But it certainly could have been a lot worse." Hewitt was driving five-year-old mare Ima Black Beauty (Always A Virgin-Jungle Talk (Die Laughing) in the Telstra Shop Young Pace. After moving three wide early and racing in the death seat, Hewitt launched an attack at race leader About The Attitude (Melissa Hawke) with 500 metres to go. The pair raced stride-for-stride until Ima Black Beauty got a half to three-quarters length clear into the home corner. Hewitt said his horse hung in a bit onto the leader. "As a result, I got shot out of my sulky seat and landed on the edge of the shaft with one leg out the side," he said. "I was probably lucky that the newer gigs are a bit more balanced because otherwise I don't think I I would've been able to scramble back in. "I've certainly had my share of spills over the years, and I did think for a moment 'here we go again!'" But Hewitt's experience showed through. After losing the lead in the scramble, he regained his composure and rallied to get up and win by the barest of margins, a short half head. View the video replay! CLICK HERE! One of Bernie's sons, his stable foreman Douglas, also landed a winner at the meeting, but without any acrobatics. He was successful on Theagenes (Art Major-Willing Greek (Golden Greek) in the 2yo Pace. And there's never going to be a shortage of drivers at the Hewitt stable, which is working 35 horses at the moment, with Douglas' brother Jason back home after spending time away through work commitments. Jason, who was heavily involved years ago, has been refreshing his skills at the trials and is happy to be third string driver. It's a real family affair with Bernie's wife, Cathy also hands-on around the stables, while their daughter Gemma, married to Mat Rue, prepare a big team just down the road.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Former champion Kiwi harness racing driver Anthony Butt, now based in Sydney, was bubbling with confidence earlier this week when he got off to a flyer at Tuesday's Menangle meeting, with a Group Two victory. It was the perfect start and Butt went on to snare three winners - but his day could have been one better. "If I hadn't pulled the wrong rein later, I could have finished with four winners, but that's the way it goes - I had the choice of drives and went the wrong way," a philosophical Butt said. The Group Two win was for the Danny and Leroy O'Brien training combination, hailing from a small town near Ararat. The father and son combination got the chocoloates in the $30,000 NSW Trot 2YO Final with Mollys Purse (Eileen Donon USA-Golly Kosmos (Sierra Kosmos USA) for owner-breeder, Michelle Wonson. The win was courtesy of Anthony Butt's familiar, well-judged, front-running style driving. "The first quarter of a tick over 30 secs was okay, and then I was able to back right off with 33.2 and 32.3 splits which set it up nicely for us. She stretched out in 29.3 to the finish line and was quite comfortable," he said. "We were out there to get the Group win on the board, not to break records, and we achieved that without too many worries." Starting on the third level of betting at 7/1 behind the more fancied Artzen ($1.95 fav) and Sunny Gee ($2.15), Butt was able to rate Mollys Purse to his liking. "That was the first time I've driven for them, so it was a bit special and she's a nice little filly who did the job pretty easy," he said. "They are going to have a lot of fun because she was a little green and she has some growing to do. "I don't know what the plans are, but perhaps after a few runs, and then a break, she will certainly come back bigger and better." Anthony Butt's brother, highly respected trainer, Tim, also showed a Midas touch on the day with a treble, preparing the winners of races two, three and six. Anthony was the driver on two of the Butt stable winners but jumped the wrong way with the third. The Golden Lion (Peak DNK-Young Monkey), despite not displaying his best manners in the score up, got his act together for James Rattray and won by 11 metres over stablemate Running Free. Mile rate for the 3yo and older trotters' event was 2.01-4. "It's not much use complaining because I could have driven either, but James is a good friend and as the second stringer, he got the winning drive, so that was nice." The Butt boys combined in the T2 to T4 Trotters mobile to score on $1.45 fav. Majestic Courtney (Majestic Son-Courtneyrae (Armbro Invasion). "They are all capable square gaiters and should continue racing well for a while," trainer Tim said. "I like them a lot so hopefully they keep getting the job done." Four-year-old mare Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Changeover-Back In The USSR (Presidential Ball) was one of the outsiders at 14/1 in the Christmas In July at Club Menangle Pace, but looked impressive. Well handled by Anthony for brother Tim, she downed the $2.30 favorite by three metres in 1.56. The brothers are both based at the Menangle Training Centre with Tim, being a more familiar face having been there over 18 months. "I've cut back to 25 after getting rid of a few off the bottom rung and recently moved into a new barn," Tim said. "We had another treble a few weeks ago and I've now trained over fifty for the season so it's shaping up well." Anthony, who trains with partner Sonya Smith, prepares a relatively smaller team of six or seven to allow him time to take outside driving commitments. The Inter Dominion Hall of Famer moved to Menangle in October and describes the Menangle track as "very fair". "By this I mean every horse gets its chance," he said. "And there's plenty of racing here. There's racing at Menangle twice a week and other country meetings like Penrith if you want to go there. "We've got a few going around at present, one of the best is Reign On Me, who's a winner of three of his last five." Anthony has won nearly every major race across Australasia in almost four decades in the sport and first crossed the Tasman in 2014 for a four-year stint in Victoria. But there's every appearance he's most content these days as a Sydneysider! "We are finding it far less hectic than Victoria where we were always on the go," he said. "There was a fair bit of travelling back and forwards and we decided to stay in Sydney because of the racing and lifestyle. "It's a lot quieter and while you are competing in less races, the stakemoney is just so good." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Ace Brisbane harness racing driver John Cremin usually tends to keep it all low key...but at the moment he's, understandably, quite upbeat. Cremin, a former Albion Park metropolitan premiership-winning reinsman, has formed an awesome partnership with boom two-year-old filly Pelosi (American Ideal USA-For Dear Life (Life Sign USA). Pelosi continued on her winning way at Newcastle on Saturday night with a sparkling victory in the Rock N Roll Heaven Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2yo fillies heat. Starting a short priced $1.04 favorite, the Wayne Honan-bred and owned youngster, took control soon after the start and made it five wins (the last four in a row) from six starts. Cruising through the first few quarters in 29.4 and 31 seconds, Cremin slipped the pacer into another gear over the final half, which was run in a brisk 56.1. "She was entitled to dash home in good time as she did the first part of the event well within herself," Cremin said. "I only let her quicken up at the 400-metre mark but didn't fully extend her and she just felt super. Credit must go to the runner up Shezlikeroyalty who popped off my back and was brave, although she was eight metres back." Race Replay Cremin was full of praise for trainer Anna Woodmansey, who is enjoying the ride of her life in the sport. "Anna is doing a terrific job and the filly has been in peak condition ever since I first sat behind her in a few trials back in February," he said. "I've been friends with her for a long time - probably since our teenage years. "Over the years I've driven for Anna on and off, although I was pretty much her number one driver for about 12 months at one stage." Pelosi will now head to the $25,000 semi-finals at Menangle next month with the big $125,000 final at that track on June 30. Cremin, who flew down from Brisbane with his wife Tanya to drive at the Newcastle meeting, had two reasons to celebrate. Their pacer Psychedelic (Rock N Roll Heaven-Pretty Inpink (Statute) won the Qualifying Pace at Albion Park - the 18th win of the six-year-old's career. "We pulled over and watched it on our phone. The horse is owned by Tanya, so she was pretty excited. He's now won nearly $140,000," Cremin said. The win saw what could perhaps be described as "musical chairs" between Cremin and well-known trainer, albeit sometimes-driver, Graham Dwyer. Cremin is number one driver for Dwyer who prepares a big team. "Graham decided to concentrate mainly on the training side of things and sort of only drives when he has to," Cremin said. "When we were heading to Newcastle and looking for a driver for Psychedelic he got the first call, and jumped at it. "I told him after the race that the drive didn't rate all that highly! But it was actually very good - we do have that sort of working-friendship relationship." Cremin, who has been the senior farrier at the strong Grant Dixon stable for the past 15 years, said his success was due to help he was getting around him. "My wife Tanya has been the mainstay for a long time, and just recently we had some Victorian friends in Nigel and Kim Ingram lending a hand. You always need that help going on in the background and it appreciatively lightens the load," he said. After flying back home from Sydney on Sunday, Cremin managed to put his "backside on a chair for an hour or two" before heading off to a Redcliffe meeting where he had a big book of drives - including snagging a winner in the first in Gotta Moment (Gotta Go Cullect NZ-Fleeting Moment(Falcon Seelster) for, you guessed it, his mate Graham Dwyer   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

DRIVER Mat Rue said “Joes Joy has a lot to learn but the filly is heading in the right direction” following her win in the RockNRoll Heaven Alabar Breeders Challenge Heat (1730m) at the Gold Crown Paceway last week. The Roll With Joe two-year-old filly found the front to secure a narrow win over the fast-finishing Olivia Shannon who also qualified for the Semi-Final at Menangle. ‘’She has plenty to learn and even though she’s had five starts, I’ll take her to Menangle for another hit out before the Semi-Final,’’said Rue. Gemma Rue trains the talented filly and it was family celebration of her 100th win as a trainer. Brad ‘’Hollywood’’ Hewitt says he can go close in the Semi-Final of the Alabar Breeders Challenge after a smart win in the first fillies heat. Aboard Dancelikeanangel ($9.50) Hewitt sat patiently behind the leader and she powered home impressively to win. ‘’She’s got a bit to lean but once running tonight, she was too good. I think she can run a top race in the Semi-Final,’’ he said. Rockin With Elvis ($2) also with Brad Hewitt is through to the Semi’s of the Alabar Challenge "He will be competitive in the Sem-Final." Rock Fisherman ($21) for Doug Hewitt also won a heat after an upset win in the first colts and gelding heat ‘’No surprise to see him win really …we thought he was improving the right way and he came home well." Rock Fisherman shot home off a strong pace by hot favourite Kalypso King who also qualifies despite being run down close to the line. Myra Dawn for Amanda Turnbull was very impressive in the Bedwells Feed Barn Pace. Off a brilliant Wagga Oaks win the mare took off round them and was far too good in the end.   Farren Hotham

Maitland father-and-son harness racing team Guy and Mitch Chapple believe Roclea Star is the best pacer in his NSW Breeders Challenge heat at Newcastle on Saturday night. Roclea Star will start from the widest barrier in nine in the two-year-old colts and geldings heat. Two 2YO fillies heats of the group 1 series will also be held. My Ultimate Bondi, for visiting trainer-driver Jarrod Alchin, was the favourite for the male heat after winning easily on debut at Newcastle on May 11 and drawing gate one. Roclea Star has the edge in experience after seven races for one win and a last-start second in the Gold Crown Yearling Sale Graduate Final at Bathurst in April 17. Guy Chapple, who will drive Roclea Star for his son, Mitch, was confident of a top-two finish and a place in semi-finals at Menangle. "He's the one to beat but I think mine is a better horse," Guy said of My Ultimate Bondi. "Mine's raced the best at Bathurst and had to sit outside the leader, and he might have to do the same this week. "But he certainly hasn't gone backwards. He's definitely improved since the freshen-up." Roclea Star has had no recent luck in barrier draws but Chapple was hoping for a better start from out wide. "It probably suits him out there because he's got a ton of gate speed and from the inside you can't muster that quickly," he said. "We'll go forward and we'll press to try and get the lead." In the second fillies heat, Chapple will fill in for the injured Andrew Bourke in driving long-shot Illgiveuadaisyaday for Chris Bourke. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

BARRIER draws will force reinsman Robert Morris to utilise all the driving skills he has at Penrith tonight. Having sat behind more than 1200 winners in his career, Morris admits luck will play a big role in any results he does achieve however believes he has the horsepower to help him. “It’s going to be a difficult night and I’m going to have to think through each drive,” Morris said. The Menangle Park reinsman’s first drive is with Stormont Star in race two. Trained by Morris’ wife KerryAnn Morris, Stormont Star has drawn inside the second row. “Barrier seven doesn’t look great on paper but if the barrier one horse [Rockn Brushgrove] comes out well, we should end up in a good position,” Morris said. “He will run a good race either way on what his work has been like. “His form does look a bit patchy of late but his work at home has been great. “We’ve freshened him up and changed his work around.” In the following race, Morris will sit behind last start winner Prophesy. The mare will have to overcome barrier nine to make it back-to-back wins at that track. “We’ve certainly found our groove with her now and she is probably my best chance of the night,” Morris said. “Her last couple of runs have been super and even though she has some missed placings next to her name, they have still been good runs.” Morris’ final drive for his wife on the night is behind the pacer Squire in race five. The gelding has drawn outside the front row in barrier six. “Squire is a really nice horse but it is going to be tough where he is drawn,” Morris said. “Benicio has drawn underneath him so I will most likely have to go back at the start and hope they are running hard in front to bring me into the race. “He is good enough to be there at the end.” Morris will also be competing at Newcastle’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting tomorrow night before preparing for a number of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The 27-year-old has been driving across the state in recent weeks as well as interstate and is looking forward to having a rest this Sunday. “I’ve been travelling all over the place and even somehow ended up in Queensland last week for the Australian Pacing Gold and this Sunday will be my first day off in while so I’m looking forward to sleeping in,” Morris said. The hard work has paid off, however, with Morris already steering 62 winners this season, extending his overall total to 1245.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

IT WAS ‘crunch time’ in more ways than one at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. With heats of the rich Australian Pacing Gold series being conducted, only the winners are guaranteed a berth in the Group One Final. The $350,000 decider is scheduled to be conducted at Albion Park on May 11. To trainer Rickie Alchin’s delight his representative - Crunch Time – was triumphant in his qualifier. “He went well…I’m very happy with him,” Alchin said. “I’ve always had a bit of an opinion of him, but he just hasn’t been performing as he should. “He’s been working like nice horse, but at Bathurst he didn’t race to his work. “I gave him a couple weeks off and changed work a bit and he put the right foot forward yesterday.” Driven by Alchin, Crunch Tim began quickly to lead from barrier four before being eased to take a trail behind the previously unbeaten Star Hunter during the middle stages. Gaining an opening along the pegs at the top of the home straight, the son of Somebeachsomewhere reclaimed the front in the shadows of the post to score by a neck from Star Hunter. Smooth Bath was two-and-a-half metres away third. Causing a major upset at $51 to register his second win from six starts, Crunch Time covered the mile in 1:53.3 with his time almost five seconds quicker than Spy Major in the following qualifier. Trained by John McCarthy and driven by his son Todd, Spy Major also registered a narrow victory over Ilikemebettor and Fifteen Aces.   APG Media

EXCEPTIONALLY-BRED filly Keep Rockin is well placed to join her famous mum on a Group One honour roll next month. Thanks to her victory at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon Keep Rockin has earned a berth in the Australian Pacing Gold Final. The $350,000 decider is scheduled to be conducted at Albion Park on May 11. By Rock N Roll Heaven, Keep Rockin is from former outstanding filly Kept For Pleasure, which was retired with 19 wins and 10 seconds from 37 starts for earnings of $542,343. Kept For Pleasure, which has become a prolific producing broodmare, captured four Group Ones, including the 2007 APG Final at Albion Park. Keep Rockin is prepared by Michael Doltoff who trained Kept For Pleasure to secure the Final. “Her mum won the APG in Queensland so hopefully this filly can do it too,” Doltoff said. “She’s got her share of ability, but has a long way to go before she can be compared to her mother. “A win in the Final will certainly move her closer.” Driven by Michael Towers, Keep Rockin was eased away from barrier five to settle mid field as Michelle Lee Mac led and the five runners travelled in ‘Indian file’. Gaining the one-one trip along the back straight as Gee Gee Blinxs was taken to the ‘death seat’, Keep Rockin was angled three-wide at the top of the home straight before sprinting to a five-and-a-half metre win from the pacemaker. Gee Gee Blinxs fought on to be 18 metres away third. “She’s run second at her last three starts so has been building up to that,” Doltoff said. “After getting the kind of run she did she was always going to be hard to hold out.” Breaking her maiden at her sixth start, the two-year-old covered the mile in 1:56.4, with her time six-tenths of a second slower than Roscommon Rose in the following heat. Trained and driven by David Hewitt, the daughter of Art Major was two-back along the pegs from barrier four before gaining an opening halfway along the home straight. Unleashing a strong sprint Roscommon Rose grabbed the lead in the last stride to score by a head from Smooth Style, with Sheza Mamacita a half-neck away third. Unplaced upon debut, Roscommon Rose caused an upset as an $18 shot.   APG Media

THERE is a great tradition of racing in all three codes on Anzac Day. It is a day to remember and appreciate all those who gave their lives and in many cases their innocence and youth so that we can enjoy a life that we sometimes take for granted. There are many fantastic race meetings throughout the Australia and New Zealand and arguably the most significant race was the Forbes Diggers Cup won by the three-year-old Peter Bullock-trained and Amy Rees-driven Neville Shannon. The Forbes Diggers Trotting Club was formed on Monday July 6, 1953, by the Forbes sub branch of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airman’s Imperial League of Australia in a bid to help raise money for the building of the Forbes RSL club. Since then the Forbes RSL has been the major sponsor of the Club and the Forbes Diggers Cup, even if not the most valuable race on the Club’s program, is still by far the most significant. Prior to the running of the Diggers Cup a most moving Anzac ceremony was conducted on the track. Mounted horsemen and women carrying the flags from all three armed services accompanied by members of the Forbes Pony Club and a carriage paraded. The Ode was recited by Brian Jones from the Forbes RSL. The Last Post, surely the most moving music you will ever hear was played, before 12-year-old Forbes schoolgirl Sienna Carver sang the national anthem. The moment was certainly not lost on the good crowd on course. The spirit of the Anzacs was felt by all. The significance of the race was not lost by winning trainer Peter Bullock who said in his acceptance speech that the Forbes Diggers Cup is a race he has long wanted to win because of the history and aura around it. Club president Lex Crosby said it is the ambition of the Forbes Club to work hard to raise the profile and prizemoney of the Diggers Cup, eventually making it one of the most sought after races on the country calendar. We surely owe it to the Diggers.   Forbes HRC

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