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Former top Hunter Valley harness racing trainer-driver Keith McDeed will be after his first winner in more than 15 years when he steers Dennington Heights in race one at Newcastle Paceway on Saturday night. The 64-year-old from East Maitland, well known for his achievements with 1993 Newcastle Mile champion Medowie Prince, returned to race driving last month with a fourth on Aaron Goadsby-trained A Gift From Heaven at the Broadmeadow track. Although a regular racegoer, McDeed had not trained or driven a pacer in a race since 2004. The comeback came after he started helping Goadsby work horses of a morning at his Singleton stables about 18 months ago. "I had a lot injuries before and I just needed a break, I suppose, at the time as well and I thought I was finished," McDeed said of his time away. "But when you start driving them again, it's always in the blood a bit. "[Goadsby] asked if I could go give him a hand, and I was doing it a little bit tough at the time with a couple of personal issues, and it helped me along at the time. "I had to get a stablehand licence anyway so I said I may as well get my driving licence too, just in case [stable driver] Guy [Chapple] gets suspended or he's away, and I can drive if I have to. "It's not about driving every day or week, just when I'm needed." McDeed said about 10 broken bones from falls across 40 years of driving pacers had taken its toll before his spell away but he was enjoying his time back in the sport. He said part of the reason for his return was for his harness racing-mad son, Cameron, 13, who "had never seen me even work a horse". Dennington Heights looks capable of delivering McDeed a first victory back when he starts from gate four in the opener of a 10-race program on Saturday night. The five-year-old gelding was third at Newcastle on debut for Goadsby then a dead-heat winner at the track last week. "It's no star but he's an honest horse," McDeed said. "He's up in grade a bit tomorrow but he should go all right. But I don't know if he's entitled to be favourite. "When he came to Aaron, he had a few problems, so he changed a bit of gear on him and worked him a bit different, and he seems to be a lot more settled in his races, so that's a plus." McDeed takes the drive on Dennington Heights with Chapple away at Bathurst. Chapple steered two-year-old filly La Cabeza Gem, trained by his son, Mitch, into next Saturday night's group 1 $100,000 Gold Tiara (1730m) final with an 18-metre heat win on Wednesday night. The colts and geldings series, the Gold Crown, started with heats on Friday night. Singleton trainer Dean Ingold's Samuel John, Ellalong trainer-driver Michael Formosa's Sneaky Peak, Maitland-trained Jackomondo (Peter Hedges) and Sunshine Pepper (Rod Atkins) were unplaced in their heats as favourites Rocknroll Runa, Tasty Delight and Lochinvar Chief won through to the final. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald        

With the current situation as it is, the patronage of the ten race harness racing program held last Tuesday night at The Young Raceway was virtually a none even as far as spectators were concerned but the harness racing was again of the highest standard. The opening race was taken out by Scaramucci for Greg Rue who came from sixth at the bell to run down Studleigh Paul. With an intermittent blackout, the second race did become a little bland to say the least but the race continued with the well supported Renee Dale for Mat Rue taking advantage of the one back trail to finish strongly. The Bathurst flag continued to fly in race three when Gold Onyx driven by Emma Turnbull out drove her male counterparts by securing a clear run in the straight to overhaul the more fancied Bid For Red. Bigga trainer Dennis Picker produced a handy type with the Sportwriter gelding Showem Simon in race four. Having the advantage of the pole position, the $2 favourite went straight to the lead and was never headed. Local driver John Vautin was entrusted with the Steve Jones (Bathurst) trained Why Not Surf in the following race and he did not disappoint his owners with a strong win over outsider Hard To Love and the Temora trained Temora Reactor. Probably the most gratifying result of the night was in race six when Corporal Jujon, driven by Peter McRae returned to the winners circle with a welcome return to form for the Glen Schiller trained veteran pacer. Not having won in fifteen previous starts, the seven-year-old gelding produced his best form to arrive just in time to defeat Limbo Larry and Presidentialattack by 11/4 metres in a very exciting finish. It was the turn of the Goulburn trainers to show their form and Amy Day did just that with the well supported Neptunes Warrior who sat six mid race before coming home in 30.8 to overcome Light Up Lilly and early pacemaker Cruzin Scott, once again the judge kept on his toes with margins of head by short 1/2 head going into the record books. The baton was then again passed to the Bathurst contingent and trainer Graham Betts breasted the tape first with Negative Nancy who, like Corporal Jujon and others, had not collected a winners cheque for some time and the reward was more than welcoming. By Stuart Maxwell Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness  

Following the Government imposition of a limit of 100 persons for indoor gatherings, HRNSW has introduced the following protocols, effective immediately, to ensure compliance: All Harness Racing Clubs Race Meetings to be restricted to 8 races (exception to be Bathurst during Gold Crown Carnival); Trainers to be limited to ONE stablehand- Upon application to the HRNSW Stewards prior to 9.30am on the day of the relevant race meeting an exception may apply in the case of a trainer with three or more horses entered at a race meeting; Participants to leave the track immediately after fulfilling their obligations in accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules;  Licensees MUST report any symptoms to HRNSW Stewards to assist with NSW Health traceability. Clubs with covered race stables A single entry point to be designated into the covered race stables. Participants (trainers, drivers and stablehands) to be counted in and out at the designated entry point by a security guard or Club official; NO more than 100 persons to be in the covered race stables at any one time utilising the count in and out data to comply with the limit;  NO other persons (other than HRNSW approved) to enter the covered race stables during the course of the race meeting. Clerks of Course horses to be stabled outside of the covered race stable. Hygiene facilities to be available throughout the race track - soap and water.   HRNSW

JUST a week after winning the Miracle Mile, Luke McCarthy and Craig Cross were back dominating again at Menangle. They blitzed the middle of the card, winning five successive races with: Sociable, Better Enforce, Cash N Flow, Flingandwingit and Molly Kelly. McCarthy then made it a staggering six wins on the nine race card when he teamed with trainer Peter Russo to win the last race with No Apachemee. The major win of the night for McCarthy and Cross came with Cash N Flow in the appropriately-named Group 3 King Of Swing free-for-all. The former All Stars’ pacer enjoyed a drop back in grade from the Miracle Mile qualifiers and thrashed a handy field, running the mile in 1min49.8sec and powering away after finding the lead after 400m to win by 12m. “It looked a good race for him, even though he had the wide draw,” McCarthy said. “He’s just that bit below our best open-class horses, but when he’s in the right sort of race, he’s just too good for them.” Despite a 26.3sec opening quarter and slick 54.6sec first half, Cash N Flow still packed a 26.8sec closing quarter to win as he liked. Former classy Kiwi mare Sociable, having just her second run for the stable, looked good leading throughout to win in a 1min52.3sec mile. While Ladyship Mile runner-up Better Enforce did it easily to win the fourth race by 5.6m in a 1min51.2sec mile. Promising trotter Flingandwingit enjoyed a gun run before easily winning the Group 3 4YO Trotters Foundation final in a 1min59.9sec mile rate for 2300m. Former top juvenile filly Molly Kelly made it three wins from as many runs for Cross and McCarthy when she led throughout to win the seventh race in a 1min52.9sec mile. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ LOCAL pin-up pacer Ryley Major won Tasmania’s biggest race, the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmania Cup in Hobart last night. There’s no doubting he was the best horse in the race, but a 30m backmark in the 2579m feature saw him start an easing $3 favourite. Victorian raider Im Sir Blake beat Ryley Major in the qualifying heat two week’s earlier and was heavily-backed to do it again, but he ruined his hopes by galloping out of contention at the start. Ryley Major began well, settled just worse than midfield and Hillier launched with a big run around the field to eventually find the lead in the middle stages. He never really looked in danger and won from another Victorian, Its Back In The Day, who sat behind Ryley Major, and veteran Star Chamber, who won the Tasmania Cup way back in 2014, finishing well for third. Ryley Major’s won 28 of his 39 starts and will now surely get his chance in some better races on the mainland. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ CLASSY NSW stayer Atomic Red is just one of the many Aussies to make a lie of his poor Auckland Inter Dominion form since returning home. The six-year-old only knows one way and he was at his trademark best in front, bowling along for driver Amanda Turnbull and simply running his rivals ragged in the Group 3 Young Cup on Friday night. Atomic Red ran the 2480m trip in a 1min57.2sec mile rate and beat stablemate Conviction by 13.7m with favourite Our Uncle Sam tiring for third after doing the work outside the leader. Jimmy Rattray trained and drove Jimartee to an all-the-way Young Derby win, while the Oaks went to Chris Frisby’s exciting filly Jenden Strike. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE and Lauren Tritton “farewelled” Menangle when old-stager Maximan ran second in the final race at Menangle last night. The Trittons now head to North America to continue their careers. “We’ll be based with my Dad (Peter Tritton) and race horses at Yonkers and the Meadowlands,” Shane Tritton said. “We hope to have our first runners in late April or early May. “You certainly leave here with mixed emotions, but it’s time for us to try something different.” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ IT is a shame a minor setback derailed a Sydney raid for WA’s most exciting pacer Shockwave. Luckless through the big WA and Fremantle Cups in January, Ryan Bell’s four-year-old returned to racing with a soft win in the $50,000 Group 2 4&5YO Championship (2130m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night. There’s no doubt he would have been competitive in a Chariots Of Fire and/or Miracle Mile. Driver Aiden De Campo used gate one to lead and dictated terms in front before ripping home in 55.5 and 27.3sec. “His point to point speed is outstanding. He can sustain for a long way,” De Campo said. Bell is keen to tackle some big races, including the Sydney Inter Dominion later this year and De Campo wants to be part of it. “I’ll go anywhere to drive him, he’s so exciting,” he said. Another WA horse worthy of Inter Dominion consideration is Greg and Skye Bond’s Vampiro. The speedy gelding exploded from the outside draw to lead the 2536m free-for-all and never looked in danger. The Bonds contemplated a crack at the Miracle Mile qualifiers with Vampiro, but opted to keep him at home with a view to an easter states raid later this year. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE early signs say the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn is set for another big juvenile season. Although their babies have been a little later to hit the track this season, the impact has been immediate. Nicely-bred filly Treachery (Captaintreacherous-Lovelist) has looked fantastic winning both her runs in a heat and final of The Allwood series at Globe Derby. After winning her heat by 24.8 metres, Kima Frenning parrnered Treachery to a staggering 37.2m win in the final at Globe Derby last night. Making the win so good was the fact Treachery copped an early check, galloped, lost about 15-20m and recovered to whiz around and take the lead before powering clear over the last 400m.   Adam Hamilton

Warrawee Needy (1:46.8), the former world champion and Canadian 2YO Colt of the Year who is now standing stud in New South Wales, Australia, was represented by his first Australian winner when the two-year-old filly Rockindownunder emerged successful at Bathurst (NSW) on Monday afternoon (March 2).   Coming from second last and racing wide throughout, the filly clocked a 1:59.5 mile rate over 1730 metres.   Thirty minutes later Warrawee Needy produced his second winner in the two-year-old gelding The Grogfather, an end-to-end winner in a 1:58 mile rate.   A first foal, Rockindownunder was purchased for a modest $17,500 at last year’s Australian Pacing Gold yearling sale in Sydney.   She is out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Rockin Lu Lu, an unraced half-sister to eight winners including the NSW and USA winner Saint William 1:51.2 ($798,759) and the NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Final winner and former national juvenile mile record holder No Ah Saint 1:54.3 ($232,035).   A graduate of the 2019 Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale, The Grogfather is out of the six- win Rustler Hanover mare Satellite Star, the dam of earlier winners in Imthevillagestar 1:51.9 ($111,275), Star Play (1:55.2) and Sputnik (1:56.3).   The Grogfather winning at Bathurst   Warrawee Needy had 47 foals in his first crop and already five have raced for two winners and a placegetter.     Peter Wharton

IF you wanted a Cinderella story, it arrived in spades in tonight's $200,000 John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle. That's because the winner of this classic race for three-year-old fillies was Stylish Memphis, after a superb drive from champion New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon. This filly had run an incredible 18 second-placings in Group races without being able to break through, which must be some sort of world record. And one that was acknowledged by race sponsor Jackie Gibson while presenting the trophy to owner Wayne Higgs, who also bred the filly. It was a proud Higgs who took to the podium to acknowledge the effort of the daughter of Bettors Delight, who surrendered to an early challenge from Dr Susan, who took the front after a helter-skelter lead time of 53.5 seconds over the 2400m journey before the speed backed off with a 31.1 second split. As soon as that occurred Purdon took off on the Mark Jones-trained filly and quickly retook the lead before going on to score a stylish 2.4m win over Our Beaujolais (James Herbertson) with Maajida (Greg Sugars) another two metres away in third place, just ahead of the tiring Dr Susan. The winner rated 1.54 and went to the line in style to make up for a horrific week for Purdon, which saw him lose Chase Auckland and Self Assured from his Miracle Mile hopes following setbacks to both his star duo. "She was just travelling so well throughout the run, I was feeling pretty good turning for home," grinned Purdon.   Club Menangle

Friday sees the first step taken on the road to the 2020 Ainsworth Miracle Mile. The City of Newcastle will see the Newcastle Harness Racing Club host the Group 1, $100,000 Ave Technologies Newcastle Mile on Friday, 21 February 2020. The Newcastle Mile will set the scene for what promises to be an outstanding and action-packed Ainsworth Miracle Mile. The winner is off to the Ainsworth Miracle Mile, to be held at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday, 7 March 2020. Given the recent mile times recorded at Menangle, this may be another record headed for the Macarthur speedway. Hold on to your seatbelts as action a plenty may be the order of the night. Leading New South Wales trainer, Craig Cross has three of the ten starters in the Newcastle Mile with Bright Energy, Wrangler and Little Rascal all looking major players. Another Menangle local, Tim Butt will be on the hunt for a Group 1 victory with Let It Ride. Kevin Pizzuto has his star in Majordan lining up from Gate 8, in what promises to be a night to remember at the Newcastle Paceway. New Zealand will be represented by Paul Court and his star, Hail Christian at Gate 2. Also, in the hunt for the lucrative prizemoney and glory on offer will be Roy Roots (The Black Prince), Chantal Turpin (Mattgregor), James Rattray (Maraetai) and Paul Fitzpatrick (Pay Me Sam). Robert Marshall, Chairman of Club Menangle and his fellow Directors will be on hand to offer the winning connections the first invitation into the 2020 Ainsworth Miracle Mile. Club Menangle wishes the City of Newcastle and the Newcastle Harness Racing Club a successful and entertaining AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile. The Club has ordered a clear and fast night, given the rain of recent weeks. Club Menangle wishes all horses and drivers safe passage and good luck. On to the Ainsworth Miracle Mile!  Club Menangle

New South Wales central west based harness racing caller Michael Dumsney was right on the money at Wagga Wagga earlier this week. As the leading bunch in the Riverina Security Solutions Ladyship Pace hit the line, Dumsney declared "this is close - these three have hit the line completely locked together." From the naked eye it appeared a triple dead heat could have been on the cards in what was the closest finish seen at the track in the past 12 months. Dumsney further added: "This is an absolute rib tickler." After some deliberation, the judges were unable to separate long shots Majoress Jujon ($51) who flashed home down the outside, and Shes Courageous ($26) aided by a sprint lane passage. Those pair were just millimetres (the official margin being a nose) In front of third placegetter Seattle Trace ($26). And just a further neck away was $4 chance Florist in fourth spot. One of the favored runners in Dancing Chick (Neil Day) looked set to take the lead halfway down the straight and get the job done. But she galloped and put herself out of contention. Gerard Cooper, trainer-driver of Majoress Jujon, said he didn't think he was going to be in it until Dancing Chick blew her chances. "We wouldn't have won if that didn't happen - it's the first dead-heat I've been in and I actually thought I'd gone down," Cooper said later. Shes Courageous, who raced behind the leader before darting up the sprint lane, continued a successful run for Junee based connections winning her seventh race for owner Sarah White and her uncle, well-known trainer Trevor White. Driver Miranda McLaughlin has formed a great combination with Shes Courageous, with three recent wins and four placings from seven starts. Dumsney, who recently took over from longtime Riverina race calling legend Allan Hull, was kept on his toes with just a half neck separating the first two horses in both races two and five. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Steve Turnbull's eight-time Group 1 starter Atomic Red headlines this year's edition of the Banjo Patterson Cup (2260 metres), the feature race of the Orange Harness Racing Club's calendar. Turnbull has four starters in the race,including Atomic Red, while 12-year-old veteran pacer Beetson will line up for the 203rd start of his career at the meeting, which has been moved from Towac Park to the Bathurst Harness Racing Club following the drought's impact on the Towac Park racecourse. Fouroeight, named after the late Australian Test player Phillip Hughes (his cap number was 408), will also get a run, with trainer Mat Rue in the gig for the seven-year-old. Fouroeight is coming off a third at the Tamworth City Cup on January 23 and while the $2.70 favourite was held out by an $81 chance in Gottashopearly, Rue said he was pleased how the bay gelding ran. "I was pretty happy with how we went [at Tamworth]. The winner just ran me off my feet pretty much," he said. "I tried to put him into the race early but the driver of the lead horse got running and pretty much didn't allow my horse to get comfortable." Rue expects a difficult drive on Sunday, citing Turnbull's four chances as key threats. "It's probably looking like the hardest race he's been in for a long time, to be honest," he said. "The Turnbull runners are sensational. "Atomic Red's form doesn't look well numerically but I think he's the one to beat. Amanda [Turnbull] jumps on him this week and I think he'll lead and run pretty strong sectionals the whole race. He'll be hard to run down." Fouroeight has drawn barrier six and will start behind the mobile between Beetson (barrier five) and Courtsinsession (barrier seven). While Rue admitted it'll be difficult for Fouroeight to claim victory, he said he still excepts the gelding to run a "good race". "If the race is run at a genuine tempo, he'll be getting home well but, like I said, the Turnbull runners will be hard to beat," he said. "Courtsinsession and Conviction are going to be really tough to beat. My guy, he doesn't mind the journey if he doesn't do any work." Rue also expects the meeting to be well supported by the Orange community. "It's really disappointing that they couldn't run it over in Orange. The Bathurst drivers don't mind going over a couple of times a year," he said. "I'm sure there'll be a strong representation from Orange and it'll be good if of the Orange drivers and trainers can have a bit of success on the day." BANJO PATTERSON CUP FINAL:  1) Lets Katchmeifucan, 2) Bettor Than Best, 3) Atomic Red, 4) Maximus Red, 5) Beetson, 6) Fouroeight, 7) Courtsinsession, 8) Conviction By Bradley Jurd Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

After taking out last years running of the Garrard's Horse & Hound Tamworth City Cup seven-year-old harness racing gelding Gottashopearly showed he still had the stamina to take home a winner's cheque in the 2020 running of the feature race. Trained by Jake Mitchell it was a boost for the young Wyee trainer who was producing his second career winner as a trainer after engaging the services of Sydney reinsman Leigh Sutton. "We got rolling early and he is a great horse out in front - to the horse's credit he was too tough for them," Sutton said. "We will be happy that we got this one - the horse has been a grand old horse - he is just a machine." Gottshopearly went to the lead from the three barrier, setting a nice tempo with quarters in 30.7 seconds; 31.7 seconds; 28.9 seconds and 28.2 seconds. "Sometimes his form looks worse than it actually is," Sutton said. "If he can find the top around here it is nearly game set and match -he beat some nice horses then." Gottashopearly had a 6.3 metre victory over this year's The Pub Group Gold Nugget winner in Royal Gamble (Jack Callaghan) and Bathurst pacer Fouroeight from the Mat Rue stables. "I won a race on him (Gottashopearly) at Menangle over the long trip and he was in front then - he just does the job," Sutton said. "He has taken me on a journey this horse. We finished third in an Echuca Cup and it is a nice reward for the owners." Gottashopearly has had 18 career wins and 24 placings and was enjoying his first race start since racing at Bankstown in August last year. After winning last year's Tamworth City Cup with a mile rate of 2.01.1 for the 2360m, the Rocknroll Hanover-Saabette gelding clocked a mile rate of 2.00.5 for the same distance in the 2020 running. He has an with the Tamworth Paceway after being crowned the 2018/19 Horse of the Year at Tamworth. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

All you needed was for Kylie Minogue to be in attendance at harness racing's Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 18 January to complete the picture. Oh, what a night! The race and sectional times recorded at Menangle simply beggared belief. If ever there was a more resounding endorsement of the Australasian standardbred and Tabcorp Park, Menangle as the premier Southern Hemisphere harness racing facility, Saturday night provided that! The results on the night were a ringing endorsement of the professionalism of trackside staff in preparing a blindingly fast service. The prevailing weather conditions were also superb. Race 1 was won by the Craig Cross trained “Pocket Of Terror NZ”, a gelded son of Western Terror in a time of 1.50.5. Watch this race here. Craig followed up in Race 2 with “Little Rascal NZ”, a gelded son of Panspacificflight, winning in a time of 1.50.3. To watch this race click here. Not to be outdone by those achievements, Craig followed up with “Bettor Enforce NZ”, a Bettors Delight mare, winning Race 3 in the spectacular time of 1.48.9!  To watch this race click here. The regular scheduling of guaranteed mare races by Club Menangle and HRNSW have shown their worth time and time again, but Saturday night was actual vindication. A closer evaluation of the race won by Bettor Enforce NZ provides an incredible read. The race times for the first six placegetters in the race were all under 1.50! This almost unbelievable result reads: 1.48.90 Bettor Enforce NZ 1.49.08 Art Series 1.49.09 Hows The Memory 1.49.45 Island Banner 1.49.55 Fame Assured 1.49.77 Redbank Addi The seventh placed horse “Tralee Bromac NZ” was timed in 1.50.11, and the seventh placed horse “Power Surge NZ” was timed at 1.50.60. The fun did not end there as the Craig Cross trained “Wrangler NZ” a gelded son of Bettor Delight, won race 7 in a time of 1.48.8. To watch this race click here. Three other races on the program were won in 1.51 for the mile. The results on Saturday provide a great lead-in to the forthcoming yearling sales on both sides of the ditch. Saturday night was proof positive of the capacity and capability of the Australasian standardbred. The results also point to the forthcoming Sky Carnival of Miracles at Tabcorp Park Menangle being one of the most exciting harness racing events in 2020. Bring it on! Congratulations to the trackside staff at Tabcorp Park, Menangle for providing a superb racing surface. On a night like this…….. Alex Smith Club Menangle  

KIWI raider Smooth Deal has another serious Aussie rival to contend with in the Victoria Derby. Queenslander Governor Jujon blitzed a strong field in the rescheduled $50,000 Group 2 Simpson Memorial at Menangle yesterday, pacing a 1min52.8sec mile and ripping home in 54.3 and 26.2sec. He won without being asked for any real effort by stand-in driver Robbie Morris, while Paul Court’s Kiwi pacer Mach Da Vinci flashed home from well back for a ripper second. Governor Jujon’s win was his seventh from just nine starts and he’s run second in the other two. He’s trained by Grant Dixon, making him a stablemate to 2018 Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One. The exciting son of Cammibest now heads straight to the Derby heats at Ballarat on Saturday week. Australia’s other top Derby contender, last season’s 2YO of the Year Be Happy Mach, only had his first public trial this campaign at Geelong last night. He looks certain to head into the Derby heats first-up, which is a daring move given the jump from 2240m to 2760m for this year’s Derby final at Melton on January 25. Smooth Deal is $2.60 Derby prepost favourite with the Aussie TAB from Be Happy Mach at $2.80 and Governor Jujon seemingly the value at $9. Governor Jujon winning at Menangle ___________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was great to see Let it Ride return with a Menangle win yesterday. Tim Butt’s gelding failed in two runs in early winter and was sent straight for a spell. The 2018 Group 1 Blacks A Fake winner was given a lovely trip in the one-one by Anthony Butt, grabbed the front turning for home and held-on by 3.9m over favourite Little Rascal in a 1min52.4sec mile, capped by closing splits of 55.3 and 27.3sec. The opposition will certainly get much harder in coming weeks, but at least there were signs of the old Let It Ride. The Butts combined for another impressive win at the rescheduled Menangle meeting when Ideal Star led throughout and bolted in by 12.9m in a career-best 1min51.3sec mile. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ TRAINER Shane Tritton is regrouping after losing his two best horses. Last year’s Victoria Derby winner Muscle Factory has re-injured a tendon, ruling out the Chariots Of Fire and casting doubts over whether he will race again. While recent Kiwi import Funatthebeach, who Tritton felt could be a Grand Circuit player, has been sent to the USA by connections. He raced just twice for Tritton after leaving the All Stars barn for a win and a third at Menangle.   Adam Hamilton

Accomplished Goulburn Valley reinsman Damian Wilson had a memorable New Year's Eve at the ever-popular Albury harness racing meeting. Wilson, based at Byrneside, 20 kms west of Shepparton, had a one hundred percent strike rate with five winners from five drives at the venue, which is proving to be a happy hunting ground. "I thought I really had one standout chance, while another two looked to be well in it with a bit of luck. But everything just kept falling into place and the end result was fantastic," Wilson said. "I've never landed five winners on the same program before-my previous best would be four. And that was a while ago at Albury as well," he said. "It's only a little over two hours to drive up there to compete. I really enjoy it because the people involved with the club are great and appreciate us supporting the meetings." Wilson said he didn't do much celebrating after posting the career-high five winners. "I had to get home because I had a few that needed to be worked the following morning and I was racing at Echuca that night," he said. Apart from training and driving two winners at Albury for himself, Wilson also landed a double for close friend and trainer David Farrar. His other victory was for another Sheppparton horseman, Darryl Hill. The Wilson-trained pair were Feeling The Love (Mr Feelgood-Summer Eyes (Ok Bye) and Winkn Nod (Grinfromeartoear-Mull Of Kintire (Chandon). Horses from the Farrar stable to win were Hayjoshandco (Grinfromeartoear-Our Pocket Princess (In The Pocket) and Nationaldraft (Modern Art-Laura Cloe (Iraklis), while Hill cheered home Our Summer Bay (Metropolitan-Bye The Deep South (Ok Bye). Feeling The Love Winkn Nod Hayjoshandco Nationaldraft Our Summer Bay There's no doubt that Wilson deserves any success that may come his way, with the ups and downs he's had over several decades in the sport. He suffered a broken tibia and fibula along with a severe laceration to his calf in a spectacular fall at the 2012 Kilmore Cup meeting in late October. Two others drivers in Scott Dyer and George Batsakis also suffered serious injuries. On the flip side, Wilson has a Kilmore Cup victory to his name after combining with Ohoka Nevada. He also dead-heated in a Cranbourne Cup and has claimed many feature events such as Sires Stakes Finals and other country cups in his career. Wilson said providing there were suitable races for his horses to compete at Albury, he would continue to compete there. "I'm actually off to Leeton next week which is about 200 kms on from Albury," he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Chairman of Club Menangle, Mr Robert Marshall has advised that the harness racing 2020 Miracle Mile Carnival will undergo some exciting changes for 2020. The revised program provides a calendar of events which will add a new level of excitement in the lead-up to Ainsworth Miracle Mile night on Saturday 7 March 2020. The Calendar commences on Friday 21 February with the running of the Group 1 Newcastle Mile. The winner of the Newcastle mile will receive an automatic invitation into the Miracle Mile. The opening night of the Carnival on 22 February at Tabcorp Park Menangle will see: The Group 1 Cordina Chicken Farms “Chariots of Fire”, with a purse of $200,000; The Group 2 Robin Dundee Stakes (mares), with a purse of $50,000; Heats of the NSW Oaks, with heats at $20,000; The Keystone Del Trotters FFA, with a purse of $20,000; and Three Divisions of the Divided Pace     As the Carnival moves to its second night on 29 February, the focus will move to “Ladies Night”. Club Menangle will host “Fashions on the Field” on this night. The key Miracle Mile qualifying races (the Group 1 Allied Express Sprint and the Group 1 Schweppes Sprint – both worth $100,000) will be held on Night Two, presenting an outstanding opportunity for the fillies and mares with: The Group 2 Pink Bonnet for two-year old fillies at $50,000;  The Group 1 NSW Oaks at $200,000; and  The time-honoured Ladyship Mile at $200,000 Night Two will also include the heats of the NSW Derby at $20,000. As the Carnival moves to its third night and climax on 7 March, some mouth-watering racing events head the program. The Group 1 $1m Miracle Mile; The Group 1 NSW Derby at $200,000; A Group 1 FFA at $100,000; The Group 2 Sapling Stakes at $50,000; A Group 1 Trotters Mile at $50,000; and The Tanya Harris, a new Group 3 race for four-year old mares at $30,000.  In the 2020 Miracle Mile Carnival, Club Menangle has programmed over a third of the Group races for fillies and mares. An added incentive to purchase fillies at the forthcoming sales. With ten Group 1 races, three Group 2 races and a Group 3 race programmed, we have a bonanza of racing with a baker’s dozen, plus one for good measure. Fourteen Group races over the 2020 Miracle Mile Carnival. All leading to the $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile. Then all eyes turn to the Sydney APG Sales to be held the next day on Sunday, 8 March. A mouth- watering month saluting the standardbred in New South Wales.  

NEXT year’s Inter Dominion will have a very different look to Auckland this year. The new rotation sees the sport’s marquee event go to NSW in 2020, but just two of the four nights of racing will be at Menangle’s Tabcorp Park. Although yet to be formalized, it is understood regional centres Newcastle and Bathurst will both host rounds of qualifying heats. It expected the series will open at Menangle with heats on Saturday, November 28. Newcastle is set to host the midweek heats on Wednesday, December 2, then it’s off to Bathurst for the final round of qualifiers on Saturday, December 5. The Inter Dominion pacing and trotting finals will be back at Menangle on Saturday, December 12. NSW has conducted regional heats the past two times it has hosted a traditional Inter Dominion format, both times at Newcastle in 2002 and 2010. The exceptions were the controversial three years NSW hosted the Inter Dominion between 2013-15 when heats were held at a variety of tracks across Australia and NZ.   By Adam Hamilton

Sydney's Bankstown Paceway harness racing club members joined a slew of film and television stars and celebrities from reality shows Love Island, Master Chef, Crazy Rich Asians and the Amazing Race, along with KPOP personalities and rappers, converging on Sydney Metro Airport, at Bankstown, this month, for the grand finale of the Miss Auto D'Elegance 2019 beauty pageant. They were joined by scores of Australian and international fashion models, designers and motoring enthusiasts for the cocktail-themed extravaganza held in the NavAir private jet hanger which featured a fashion show set amongst private jets and an armada of custom-built luxury sports cars. The 2019 Miss Auto D'Elegance beauty pageant is designed to promote automotive charity programmes across NSW, Victoria and Queensland - and the vision of the contest is to open opportunities for young women to extend their talents and dreams to work alongside various automotive charity programmes and to challenge themselves to be the best they can be, according to Bankstown Paceway acting president Megan Lavender. This monumental event showcases a beauty pageant inside a massive private jet hanger lined up with more than twenty million dollars' worth of exotic sports cars - on the doorstep of our local trotting track - it's an event where fashion, beauty and community come together as one, Ms Lavender told Harnesslink. "Holding the international Miss Auto D'Elegance 2019 beauty pageant right here at Condell Park - and on the doorstep of our local trotting track which celebrates 55 years of registered harness racing next year - is a considerable cultural coup for our local community which has been showcased on the world stage," she said. "We can now say that Bankstown's Sydney Metro Airport is not only internationally acclaimed for its model runways of tarmac but also for its runway models of high fashion," Ms Lavender added. The event culminated in the crowning of Mongolian-born Shurentsetseg "Sherry" Davaa as Miss Auto D'Elegance 2019 with Madison Croft named as first runner up, Tatiana Bocharova as second runner up, Sara Nhili crowned as third runner up and Maia Fuchs as fourth runner up.   Harnesslink Media

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