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Sydneysiders will have the opportunity to celebrate all of the harness racing action and excitement of Tiger Tara's unforgettable win in the $500,000 Group 1 Interdominion Grand Final Pacing Championship at his home track, Sydney's Bankstown Paceway, this coming Friday, December 21st, 2018.   "All of Sydney is keen to salute this amazing win by our locally trained eight-year-old, by Bettors Delight USA out of Tara Gold NZ, who is trained right here at Bankstown Paceway by Kevin Pizzuto, and whose ID effort will now forever be enshired in the annals of history," Bankstown Paceway vice president David Rosen told Harnesslink from Melbourne's Melton Park.   "Owned by the Hawli and Pizzuto families, and driven to his easy and unforgettable Melton win by Todd McCarthy, the winner of Bankstown's 2017 Schweppes Sydney Cup now boasts an impressive $1.9 million in career prizemoney," Mr Rosen said.   "So, back home in Sydney, locals can celebrate Tiger's incredable win at Bankstown Paceway's Family Christmas Race Night this coming Friday, December 21st, 2018 - with Bankstown's Food Night Markets open from 5 pm and the first race scheduled to commence at 7:03 pm," he said. "Friday's big Bankstown race night will also feature free children's activities, face painting and a jumping castle among the many food stalls - and, best of all, entry is free," Mr Rosen added. Megan J. Lavender

CLASSY Kiwi pacer Locharburn is heading to NSW to continue his career. The son of Christian Cullen will be flown to Sydney to join Shane and Lauren Tritton’s stable and be aimed at the Miracle Mile. Owner-trainer Kevin Chapman said it would be an emotional time when Locharburn left the barn for Sydney on Friday. “He’s part of the family, but it’s the right thing to do for him. So much work has gone into getting him back from a tendon and a suspensory. He’s really well now, but he can only run in the best races here,” he said. “He’s also not suited to how the races are run here, just sit-up and sprint home. He can run back-to-back 57sec halves, but not a 59sec and a 54sec. “He also hates Auckland. I know he’s run some good races there as a younger horse, but he just doesn’t go anywhere near as well the opposite way.” Chapman said he chose Tritton because of his record rejuvenating older horses the “drop-back” handicapping system at Menangle. “Shane says they can earn $60,000 a year at Menangle without having to beat the best ones,” Chapman said. “It would be great to see the horse drop back in class and find winning form again. Tritton can’t wait for Locharburn to join the barn. “He’s a really serious horse at his top and I reckon he’ll love the Menangle mile racing,” he said. “It’s a real buzz for us that Kevin’s decided to send him across and give us a go with him. “He’s a bit like Franco Nelson when he came to us. He’s had his issues, but our system here seems to get the best out of these older horses. “We’re really looking forward to getting him across and into our system.” Locharburn’s 39 starts have netted 14 wins, eight seconds a third. He was a superstar at three, winning the NZ Derby and finishing second to Tiger Tara in the Northern Derby and second to Isaiah in the NZ Sales Series’ final. As an older horse, Locharburn’s best win came in the 2016 Eastern Cup at Group 1 level, beating Smolda.   Adam Hamilton

LEADING reinsman Chris Geary became the youngest driver in New South Wales to reach 500 winners. The 20-year-old has piloted 508 winners overall and achieved the 500-milestone last month. He is the second youngest driver to achieve the feat in Australia with Queensland’s Pete McMullen claiming the top honour at the age of 20 and three months while Geary was 20 years and 10 months old. “It’s something pretty special for me, more so that I’ve never really been the number one driver for a large stable,” said Geary. “In saying that, I’ve had great support from many stables and hope it continues into the future.” Geary has driven Group winners and won some of Australasia’s biggest races since he began driving in November 2013, including the Gold Tiara and the Len Smith Mile. It took him five drives to land his first winner and that was Western Gailes at Bankstown on December 7, 2013. “I’ve been fortunate to have been associated with some nice horses like My Sweetchilliphilly, Cruz Bromac, The Black Prince, Miss Streisand and many others,” said Geary. “But I’ve always really enjoyed the driving trips that I have been lucky enough to go on, meeting new people and travelling around Australia.” Geary will represent NSW in the upcoming Australasian Young Drivers Series that takes place in Queensland from November 22. As for NSW records, Lauren Tritton is the youngest female driver to reach 500 winners. Others such as Luke McCarthy, Amanda Turnbull, Robert Morris and Blake Fitzpatrick also sit amongst the top 10 youngest drivers in Australia when they reached the 500-win milestone.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  HRNSW

GRAND Circuit winner Tiger Tara was crowned New South Wales Horse of the Year at tonight’s Arthur J. Gallagher Harness Racing NSW Awards Night at the Sofitel Sydney. Having received 66 per cent of the votes to be given this honour, Tiger Tara had a stellar 2017/18 season competing in Australasia’s most prestigious races. Harness Racing NSW would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of tonight’s award winners. Listed below are all of tonight’s award winners which were presented in front of a large crowd, hosted by Greg Hayes. HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARDS Arthur J. Gallagher NSW Horse of the Year: Tiger Tara Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old of the Year: Miss Halfpenny Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Muscle Factory Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year: Miss Halfpenny Stablecraft NSW Two-Year-Old Trotter of the Year: Caligula KS Black & Co NSW Three-Year-Old of the Year: Ignatius KS Black & Co NSW Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Ignatius KS Black & Co NSW Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year: Art Series IntelliTek NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year: Drop The Hammer Club Menangle NSW Aged Horse of the Year: Tiger Tara  Club Menangle NSW Aged Entire/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Tiger Tara Club Menangle NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year: My Rona Gold Bulli HRC NSW Aged Trotter of the Year: War Dan Destroyer Ladex Construction NSW Broodmare of the Year: Miss Brazillian Ladex Construction NSW Sire of the Year: For A Reason PARTICIPANT AWARDS TAB Kevin Newman Award For Driving Excellence: Anthony Winnell Daily Form Service Junior Trainer Encouragement Award: Melanie Elder Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award: Madi Young KARI Foundation Indigenous Participant of the Year: Royce Gregory-Jack Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Hobbyist Driver: Anthony Adams Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Hobbyist Trainer: Brett Woodhouse Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Trotting Trainer and Driver: Blake Fitzpatrick Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Junior Driver: Chris Geary Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Driver: Todd McCarthy Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Trainer: KerryAnn Turner Harness Breeders NSW – NSW Breeder of the Year: Colin and Cheryl McDowell Outstanding contribution to the Breeding Industry: Andrew Daniels NSW Owners Association NSW Owner of the Year: Brett Woodhouse, Sally Woodhouse, Shane Felke Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle First Lady Award: Emma Stewart Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle Metropolitan Driver: Todd McCarthy Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle Metropolitan Trainer: Shane and Lauren Tritton DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS HRNSW Don Clough Award: Ray Mawhood and John Brien HRNSW Industry Contribution Award: Jim Bell HRNSW Club Volunteer Awards: Arthur Yates (Tamworth HRC), Gary Punch (Leeton HRC), Pauline Read (Bankstown HRC), Peter Dennis (Coolamon HRC), Peter Muller (Bathurst HRC), Wendy Dennis (Coolamon HRC). TABCORP CLUB AWARDS Best Community Engagement Club: Broken Hill HRC Best Fraternity Engagement Club: Coolamon HRC Best New Innovation Club (Promotion/Marketing): Tamworth HRC Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of $50,000: Eugowra HRC Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of $25,000: Albury HRC Best Club with a feature to race to a maximum of $14,000: Leeton HRC Best Club with a feature to a maximum of $12,000: Cowra HRC   AMANDA RANDO HRNSW MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

ALL of the action took place inside the Clubhouse when the awards for last season were presented at a highly enjoyable Gold Crown Paceway function last Friday. Guests included Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rod Smith, Board Member Peter Nugent, Bathurst Regional Council Mayor Cr Graeme Hangar and NSW Owners Association representatives Peter and Marie Neil, the current Gold Crown Honourees. The Chairman, in a brief address, touched on several current topics:  the $200,000 funding increase for the Gold Crown (which will provide four Group 1 finals in 2019, for the first time);  the decision to stage a  Group 1 series for both four and five-year-olds at Wagga next season (eligibilty for horses which were paid up as juveniles for the Bathurst Gold Crown) ; and the extension of the current drought assistance to participants. He then made the presentation for Trainer of the Year to Steve Turnbull, who trained 63 winners, including five trebles, 15 doubles and Group wins with Art Series in the Gold Bracelet and NSW Regional Final. Steve’s children Amanda and Mitchell completed a family trifecta of major premierships, by taking out the Senior and Junior Driver of the Year Awards respectively, to the evident pride and delight of their grandfather 'A.D.' Tony Turnbull, the legend himself. Amanda’s 49 winners included five winners at one meeting, back in October 2017, the Soldiers Saddle Final, Oberon Cup, Sales Graduate Final and both feature wins by Art Series. In making the presentation to Amanda, Mayor Hangar recalled his days as a teacher at Kelso High School, reminding Amanda that she still owed him a history assignment from back in Year Nine! Amanda’s focus then was clearly on the future, and not writing about the past, and nothing’s changed since. Mitchell was dux of a very strong class of Bathurst junior drivers  - the likes of McKayler Barnes, Justin Reynolds, Doug Hewitt and Jake Davis - with 17 wins for the season, which included a treble and several doubles. Three of his wins came courtesy of the Bathurst sprint lane. HRNSW Board Member Peter Nugent made presentations for Horse and Juvenile Horse of the Year and UDR Trainer and Driver of the Year. Bathurst couple Lester and Linda Hewitt accepted the trophy and rug for Horse of the Year. What A Jolt, a four-year-old Village Jolt gelding, registered seven wins during the season, including three consecutively at one point. Hewitt paid tribute to driver John O’Shea, who formed a strong connection with the horse, using his brilliant gate speed to advantage many times. Jenny Turnbull, mother of Amanda, received the award for Juvenile Horse of the Year Shoobee Doo. The two-year-old Shoobees Place colt lined up at Bathurst seven times for four wins, which included heat and final of the Graeme Board Sales Graduate series, and a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge. Bathurst was a regular destination for a number of metropolitan stables last season, including KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris from Menangle, and the UDR Trainer and Driver winners, Cobbity-based Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy. Luke drove a winner every 2.9 starts, including a number for other stables, while Craig was successful every 3.6 starts, with winners such as Majestic American, Blackened, Rocknroll Dude, Zahven Banner and Darkershadeofpale. With Craig and Luke lining up with  Mach Doro in the following night’s Victoria Cup, the awards were collected on their behalf by Matt McCarthy, a Bathurst HRC director and the uncle of Luke. Jake Davis, likewise, represented his grandparents Ray and Pat Davis in accepting their Owner of the Year award from NSWSOA representative Marie Neil. The Davis family milk 650 cows twice a day at their Browns Creek dairy near Blayney, yet still find time to race a nice team of horses, mainly at Bathurst, the likes of Browns Creek Boy, Studleigh Kristen and two-year-old winners Nifty Studleigh and Rainbow Comet. Jake, who expresses a hope of making a full-time career in harness racing, does most of the stable driving, alongside father Leigh and uncle Brett. Art Major was acknowledged as the leading sire of winners at Bathurst, with 28 individual winners during the season. Bernie Hewitt, runner-up in the Trainer and Senior Driver premierships, was acknowledged for his achievement in winning his first Bathurst Gold Crown, with College Chapel, and spoke about the outstanding season for the youngster, finishing with his hopes for the coming season. Which was possibly the thought uppermost in most minds as folk headed home after this year’s awards.   Terry Neil

SYDNEY — Thousands of angry demonstrators gathered outside the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday night to protest the use of its iconic roof to promote a horse race. Racing authorities projected 20 minutes of images of the draw for the starting positions for Saturday’s The Everest horse race at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse. Protesters yelled “Shame” and used lights to attempt to obscure the projected images. The New South Wales state government triggered a public backlash last week when it overturned a decision by the Opera House’s chief executive, Louise Herron, not to allow the World Heritage-listed building to be used to promote such a commercial event. Since last Friday, more than 250,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Herron’s decision to be upheld. Anti-gambling advocates say the controversy is evidence of the political sway of the horse racing industry. Racing NSW, the race organizer, had planned to project the draw live onto the Opera House. But it opted to conduct the draw hours earlier in case the protest disrupted the Opera House promotion. Betting was suspended between the time of the draw and when the result was projected. Demonstrators protest against the decision to project race results on the Sydney Opera House.AP Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres called on Sydney to end the bitter division over the Opera House’s use. “I think it’s been a little bit hysterical to be honest with you,” Ayres told reporters. “This is a good opportunity for New South Wales and Sydney to come together.” The NSW Heritage Council, an adviser to the government on heritage issues, said it was disappointed with the government’s decision to turn the “international architectural masterpiece” into a billboard. “The use of the Opera House for the commercial advertising of this event is completely unsatisfactory and is an inappropriate use of this significant heritage place,” council chair Stephen Davies wrote in a letter to state Premier Gladys Berejiklian delivered on Tuesday. The Everest has 13 million Australian dollars ($9 million) in prize money and is billed as the world’s richest turf race. By Associated Press  

DRIVERS Mitchell Turnbull and Trent Rue played the leading roles in the three-act drama - otherwise known as the Bathurst Shootout Final - that played out before an appreciative and vocal crowd right into horsepower, at Gold Crown Paceway on Friday night. The $12,000 final was the much-anticipated highlight of the mini-carnival held in conjunction with the famous Bathurst 1000 Race Week conducted at Mount Panorama, close by the Paceway’s home turn. Act One of the drama consisted of the two preceding races, a fast-class and a C1 sprint, both events taken out in accomplished fashion by Mitchell Turnbull with Smithstars Lexus and Grosestar, respectively. Smithstars Lexus enjoyed a lovely trail behind favourite Royal Story, Mitchell biding his time before angling into the sprint lane and reaching the lead in the shadows of the post for a copybook win. It continued his strong association in recent months with a horse he nominates as his favourite, not just for their six wins in that time but also because “ he’s such a perfect, easy horse to drive.” Grosestar crossed favourite Lets Pop The Bubbles NZ at the start, poured the pressure on through a 56.6s final half, and found plenty when needed to hold that horse close to the line, with Mitchell’s salute indicating his delight at getting the win against big sister Amanda. Act One finished on a light-hearted note, with Mitch speculating that John Starr, prominent real-estate figure and the owner of both horses, might like to give him the keys to a house rather than a Christmas card this year. That mood suddenly darkened at the start of the Shootout Final. The mobile had delivered the field at a very quick clip to the top of the home straight for the 1200 metres dash, with most -but not all - of them looking for a flying start. Just after release, Switowski, drawn out in six, leapt very extravagantly out of his gear and hit the deck, throwing Mitchell Turnbull out of the bike and into a somersault with pike that would do a gymnast proud. Back to earth with a thud, quite literally, for Mitchell. With his horse back on its feet and beginning to take off up the straight, Mitch sprinted to intercept him, blocking his escape, and when the horse wheeled and headed the other way, he was able to grab him finally, keeping control of one very panicky horse until he was joined by one of the clerks.  Stewards activated the no-race siren, and the field was assisted to a stop by the other clerk over at the home turn. The young reinsman’s outstanding horsemanship - along with his quick thinking and concern for the rest of the field -  was praised by everyone who watched the drama unfold, particularly fellow trainers and drivers who appreciated just how badly it all could have turned out. Switowski failed to pass a vet’s examination and was withdrawn from the subsequent re-run, but in a nice touch, Mitch Turnbull’s horsemanship earned him the Drive-of-the-Night award from racecaller Craig Easey. After all that excitement, and a 20-minute delay, Act Three might easily have fizzled out to be a real anti-climax. It proved to be far from that. Trent Rue, drawn the outside with Wrangler Duke, had been able to see what happened to Switowski, managed to get past him safely, and then didn’t push his horse at all, believing that the race might indeed be called off. That, in fact, had been his intention all along, and explained why he’d deliberately run a slow time-trial two nights earlier, knowing that with only eight triallists he was guaranteed a start, and from the outside, he could drop his horse out of the early speed and save him. He adopted exactly the same tactics in the re-run, dropping out and sitting at the tail of the field as Our Chittybangbang NZ flew the arm to cross Izzy Watt before the corner, with Sabrage NZ gaining the one-one trail when Bradness Eldefuego worked forward to the death. Quarters of 26.8s and 28.6s , and this for the second time in 20 minutes, left the leaders vulnerable, and they appeared to be out on their feet as they straightened, which is when Wrangler Duke and Kapow Shannon ( Amy Rees, drawn in six), the fresh horses on the scene, made their runs down the centre of the track.  Wrangler Duke won, seemingly with something in reserve, and Sabrage fought on doggedly to retain third place. The final quarter of 30.0s - for an overall time of 1:25.4 and a mile rate of 1:54.7- was the slowest, and indicated just what a slogging finish it was. Full marks to Trent Rue, who conceived a plan for the race and executed it perfectly, notwithstanding that circumstances might have played right into his hands. He trains the horse for himself, wife Amy, and Amy’s  parents Tony and Colleen Hagney. It was a delighted group, complete with the grandkids, which celebrated their biggest win with Gary and Barry Rogers, whose Gary Rogers  Racing Team was represented in the Top Ten Shootout over on the mountain the following day. Tony Hagney is track curator at Gold Crown Paceway and, along with his brother Michael, also serves as a clerk-of-the-course. He wouldn’t have had any time during that incident-charged first run to observe his horse, but the wide grin on his face at the presentation suggested that things panned out perfectly the second time around. As a famous playwright might have put it, All’s Well That Ends Well. TERRY NEIL

THE Bathurst Shootout Time Trials highlighted Wednesday night’s fixture at Gold Crown Paceway, the first of two meetings conducted during the world-famous Race Week at neighbouring Mount Panorama. On the eve of the Bathurst 1000 “Great Race” the 10 fastest cars from practice individually complete a flying lap of The Mount to determine their grid positions in Sunday’s race. Harness racing’s equivalent this week saw eight nominated pacers, up to M0 grade,  time-trial over a flying 1200 metres, their times determining gate positions for Friday’s $12,000 final. Izzy Watt, one of three to compete without the assistance of a galloping pacemaker, showed blistering speed for Mat Rue, completing  quarters in 26.3, 27.6 and 27.2 seconds repectively for an equivalent mile-rate of 1:48.7, to earn the coveted pole for Friday’s feature race. In doing so, he relegated Steve Turnbull’s Sabrage, the fastest of the first five triallists with a 1:50.9 mile rate, to gate two in the “dash for cash” come Friday. Remaining runners in Friday’s final, in barrier order, are: 3. Bradness Eldefuego ( Steve Turnbull ) 1:51.4 4. Our Chittybangbang NZ ( Chris Frisby ) 1:51.4 5. Smack Dab Shannon ( McKayler Barnes ) 1:51.7 6. Switowski ( Mitch Turnbull ) 1:52.6 7. Kapow Shannon ( Amy Rees ) 1:53.7 8. Wrangler Duke ( Trent Rue ) 1:56.8 The large and enthusiastic crowd of car racing visitors who came down from the mountain to enjoy a different kind of horse power were totally familiar with the time-trial concept, and indicated that they’ll be returning to see the final act play out on Friday night. It should be a fair-dinkum shootout, with no hostages taken.   Harness Racing New South Wales

FINALLY . . . that was the only way to sum up the breakthrough victory by teenager Molly Turton at Wagga on Friday night. Driving her own horse that she races with her mother Monique, the 19-year-old drove the perfect race to crack it after 43 drives. A graduate of the mini trotting ranks, Molly gave Spooky Dreams every chance behind the leader from a favourable barrier one draw. With her father Glen, mother and sister Eliza cheering her on, Molly got the result she desired in a race where there was an additional $1000 from the NSW Standardbred Owners Association for eligible members. On top of the extra prizemoney of $4200 it was a nice pay day for the Turton’s who have been right by their daughter’s side from the time she started out. She has been nurtured by her parents and trainer Bruce Harpley who were delighted to see her win. As was Molly. “I have had more than 40 drives and this (win) is more than I could have hoped for,” the beaming Turton said. “It has taken a while, but I finally did it.” Spooky Dreams won at Wagga in April with Turton as the trainer and Harpley as the driver. This time it was all hers and you could hardly wipe the smile off her face. Spooky Dreams has won six of his 57 starts and earned over $33,000. Meanwhile, the bonus money continued when Me Mate Les won his second race in the space of a week for his new connections. Me Mate Les raced for the first time for his new owners winning at is first start for Ellen Bartley and Blake Jones and did it again with an additional $800 rolling over as the jackpot horse. Me Mate Les is the first horse his owner Brayden Scarr has raced. GRAEME WHITE


TEAM Teal fundraising will start early with the Trotters Association of New South Wales donating funds from their Awards Night on October 12 to the cause. Taking place at the Penrith Paceway Members Lounge, the TANSW have also secured ‘Mr Team Teal’ himself, Duncan McPherson OAM, for their ‘On The Couch’ interview of the night. McPherson, a trotting enthusiast, founded the Team Teal campaign and TANSW Vice President Troy Williams is looking forward to having such a guest. “Duncan is so passionate about trotting,” Williams said. “Our Awards Night is teal themed and we will have raffles on the night with 50 per cent pf the profits going to Team Teal.” Some of the raffle prizes include a set of colours by Hyland Sportswear, Garrards vouchers and more. The night will also celebrate the trotting achievements in NSW from the 2017/18 season with the NSW Two-Year-Old of the Year, Three-Year-Old of the Year, Trotting Mare of the Year, Open Class Trotter of the Year as well as the Trotting Trainer and Trotting Driver of the Year. For more information about the TANSW Awards Night please contact Flora Robson on 0412121275 or Troy Williams on 0409264602. Tickets are $90 which includes beverages, dinner and entertainment.   Amanda Rando HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT

RACECALLER Fred Hastings might not have used the precise term to summarise Amanda Turnbull’s 'Drive of the Night' at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway on Wednesday but the horse’s name - Aintnobettor - perfectly summed up her winning effort. In the opening race of a new Bathurst season, a C0 Club Menangle heat over the sprint trip, she faced an awkward draw on the inside of the second line, but eased back following the start, got onto the three-wide train in the early stages and was actually in front for most of the last lap, dashing home in a 28s final quarter to hold off the on-pace runners Walk On Kimmy and Grosestar. The win - number two in 16 starts -broke a sequence of five seconds for the Bettors Delight gelding, his trainer-driver admitting “ I was beginning to wonder lately if he knew how to win, but to his credit he toughed it out tonight and finished the race off well.” If the win was well-deserved for the horse, and certainly for an outstanding drive, credit was also due to the owners, Adelaide-based couple Terry and Ros Cluse who have been very good supporters of Amanda Turnbull. In the following race, a C2 Country Series heat, Amanda completed a double when leading throughout with the short-priced favourite Executive Dash NZ, the Well Said four-year-old notching up his fifth win from just 11 career starts. The naming theme established by Aintnobettor was carried through to the back half of the meeting, with three appropriately-named winners. The field for the  C1-C3 Guaranteed Ladyship Pace included a Kitty, a Carly, a Suzie, a Porsha and a Ruth, but they all played second fiddle to favourite Nova Time NZ, a recent addition to Brad Hewitt’s stable. The come-from-behind winner was named for a star, perhaps, but we’ll stick with the female theme and opt instead for Nova Perris as the inspiration. A large and happy group of “senior cits” came onto the track for the presentation of the R0 grade South West Community Transport Pace, won by leader Young Cambo, for Emma and Wendy Turnbull. The winner is a Million Dollar Cam full-brother to Old Jack Cambo, named by former HRNSW chairman Graeme Campbell for his father, and Graeme’s since acquired a sister who’s to be named for his mother, so the win wasn’t as ironic as it might have seemed. Our Uncle Jim, trained by Chris “The Man from Uncle” Frisby, and driven by his son Anthony, scored an authoritative win in the 3YO Evolution Series heat. The Western Terror gelding charged home over the top of his rivals, marking a return to the Frisby home track after a very successful Queensland campaign which concludes this week. Peter and Marie Neil were on hand for the Owners Association bonus races, and presented $1,000 bonus cheques to the connections of Karloothreeothree -successful via the sprint lane in the fast-class event for Mitch Turnbull - and Our Little Digger, which bounced back to form in coming off the speed in the C0-C1 NSWSOA sprint, for Bernie Hewitt. NSWSOA subscriptions for the current season are due at the present time, and for just $55, represent wonderful value. The Bathurst HRC presentation night will take place on Friday, October 12 , following the excitement of the Bathurst 1000 race week,  when the Gold Crown Paceway will host two meetings including its own Shootout time-trial series, which proved such a hit last year Terry Neil

PROP-forwards in football teams are expected to “do the hard yards” up front, and that’s exactly how 21-year-old Jed Betts performs for the Bathurst Panthers first grade league side week in and week out during the season. After snatching victory in the dying seconds of last weekend’s sudden-death semi-final, Jed’s team is now just two matches away from making it to their second successive grand-final in the western districts competition. In what might well be an omen for the coming weeks, Jed steered Limbo Larry to a smart win at last night’s (Wednesday) Gold Crown Paceway meeting. Despite being just the fourth career win for this five-year-old son of the family’s  resident stallion Abercrombie Dexter (by Panorama), it took his earnings past $60,000 in a remarkably consistent  career of 148 starts which have included 37 placings. Now that’s “doing the hard yards “ in anyone’s language, and explains why Jed has a real fondness for “ATM”, his only horse which he also trains and drives. He led early in the C1 2260 metres event before handing up to Barkway Arnold which maintained a consistent tempo, and rather than wait for the sprint lane, he came to the outside to draw level with the leader halfway down the running before asserting himself close to the finish. It was a cool, calm performance - much like his team-mate’s winning field-goal out on the paddock a few days previously - and earned the laid-back, popular figure racecaller Craig Easey’s Drive of the Night award. There was much anticipation leading in to the HRNSW Guaranteed Two-Year-Old Pace, one of three races for juveniles on this final meeting of the Bathurst racing season. Obi One NZ had created an enormous impression in winning over the longer 2260 metres trip a week earlier, but was drawn on the outside over the sprint trip this time, with very strong opposition expected from Izzy Dagg NZ, a recent Addington winner which was a fine second in brilliant time at his Menangle debut last Saturday. As expected, Izzy Dagg led out of the gate, while Obi One did some work early to get around to the death seat. Chris Geary threw in a blistering 27.5s third quarter which gave him a little clear air turning in, and although Amanda Turnbull’s youngster didn’t shirk his task at all, he couldn’t quite match strides and finished five metres astern of the leader, whose winning mile rate of 1:55.6 was close to track record time. The name of the winner will be very familiar to football followers everywhere. Israel Dagg made his debut as an All Black in 2010, was part of the winning Rugby World Cup team the following year, and played a near-record number of games as full-back for the Silver Ferns, before switching to the wing in the last couple of seasons. He is revered in NZ rugby, as one of the finest players in recent years. He was a part-owner of the two-year-old named after himself, but now that he has signed to continue his career in Japan, he’s relinquished his ownership in the A Rocknroll Dance son. Both youngsters will now spell, with the classic races early in the New Year the targets for their respective trainers Tim Butt -himself a fine Rugby player, who spent time in Australia playing for the Western Reds - and Amanda Turnbull. The other 2YO events gave maiden wins to Kyle Shannon (Peter Bullock/Mackayler Barnes) and Kelli Frost (Blake Fitzpatrick/ Jack Trainor). Mackayler’s win was special because the horse was named for her father who passed away last year following a lengthy battle with cancer; Jack came back to scale declaring it was so cold out on the track that he couldn’t feel his hands, before admitting “I’m a bit ashamed to say that, because I’m a Kiwi!” If sympathy was owing to anyone on Wednesday night, it should have gone to the race stewards and the club officials, who contended with two lengthy delays - a nasty fall in the second race, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder for Cowra reinsman Darryl Davis who was transported to hospital, and then a generator failure which necessitated a 20 minute cooling-down period before the track lights could be switched on again. Everyone pitched in, particularly the trainers who managed to have their horses readied with the shortened gaps between races, and it was a commendable team effort. Just another way of “doing the hard yards.”   TERRY NEIL

OWNER Steve Hunt spends his working life doing the driving duties on interstate trains, heading north to Sydney or south to Melbourne from Junee Station, near his Cootamundra hometown. After the stunning Australian debut of his part-owned two-year-old Obi One NZ, at Gold Crown Paceway Bathurst on Wednesday night, he might soon be making those trips as a passenger, to tackle the Victoria and New South Wales Derby races. What a capital idea! In the Betterthancheddar 2YO Pace, the McArdle gelding came out of the gate like the Southern Aurora, before handing up to Roger That which maintained the speed to run a lead time of 46.2 seconds. That’s an exceptionally quick lead time at Bathurst for any horse over the 2260 metres race distance, but especially so for two-year-olds having their first try at the distance. A first half in 60.1s was followed by a slick 28.6s third quarter as Brad Hewitt kept the leader running, but then Amanda Turnbull switched Obi One to the outside, rather than waiting for the sprint lane, and he roared away down the straight to win by an ever-increasing margin of 23 metres. His final sectional of 28.2s produced a mile rate of 1:56.1, seldom bettered by open-class horses at the circuit, and it completely obliterated the 2YO record of 2:01.7 set by Heavenly Shades three years ago. “There’s your Derby favourite !” was the admiring comment from Mat Rue as he headed out to the parade ring for the following race. The youngster had placed at his only NZ start back in June, and his breeder has retained a half-share in the horse, joining a number of Turnbull stable regulars in the new ownership. It was only last Friday that the horse arrived at Amanda Turnbull’s Lagoon stables. On Monday he had an easy outing in an experience trial to check out the track and mobile, and on Wednesday - remarkably just five days after saying goodbye to his Kiwi stablemates- he was winning in Oz. Mat Rue’s appraisal of the budding star was based on performance, but he would be equally enthusiastic about the youngster’s breeding : his grand-dam Fleet Vance is a half to Alldatglittersisgold, the dam of millionaire Bling It On and a wonderful mare in Baby Bling which Rue drove to success in a Miracle Mile. Steve Jones- whose 25-strong horse portfolio includes rising star Ellmers Image and this week’s ABC aspirant Our Positano - and his fellow owners look to have something special in their latest acquisition. In other news from the meeting, Mackayler Barnes took her season’s tally to 22 after a driving double - her first at her home track - with Stitched Up and Jedda Shannon, earning racecaller Fred Hastings’ Drive of the Night award for the latter. Her smile was bigger than ever. TERRY NEIL

EVERGREEN pacer Mega Alexander is defying the odds and still winning races at the age of 12. Facing a claiming pace at Bankstown tonight with a $6,000 price tag, the gelding added his 32nd victory to his name at Penrith last start. A win tonight will see the son of Barnett Hanover extend his earnings over $300,000 in stakes. Driver Jim Douglass (pictured) believes Mega Alexander could do just that. “He’s been working well and the barrier draw looks good on paper, he will just need some luck,” Douglass said. “It was nice to see him finally get a bit of luck last week and win . . . it was his first win back since having a long spell and first win in two years.” Mega Alexander, a rising 13-year-old, has raced competitively since the age of two and has gathered these statistics without winning a Group race. “He’s happy, fit and healthy and is enjoying himself so we’ll keep going with him,” Douglass said. “The day he shows signs that he doesn’t want to be there, we will pull the pin on his racing career. “But for the moment, he’s a gelding so will only be a paddock horse and he’s fitter and healthier being in work.” Having been trained by eight different mentors along the way, Mega Alexander’s current conditioner is Ian Wilson. The Theresa Park mentor has enjoyed a fruitful season having trained close to 30 winners. A pacer that has added to that number this season is Flirtatious Heart. The mare has won five of her 18 starts this season and will be chasing another victory in tonight’s Bankstown Sunday Markets Pace (2140m). The pair have shared many victories together over the years and tonight will also combine with Informality in the Tuza HR-X Pace (1740m).   AMANDA RANDO HRNSW

A BITING westerly wind might have played its part in driving tactics but it didn’t diminish the bumper crowd in attendance following the highly successful Alabar Breeders Challenge Regional Finals at Bathurst on Sunday. And the outstanding race card, featuring six $30,000 Group 3 Finals provided a perfect opportunity for  the official re-naming of the complex -complete with an impressive new winning post - as “Gold Crown Paceway, Bathurst”. New South Wales Racing Minister Paul Toole was joined for that announcement by Harness Racing NSW Board members Rod Smith, Peter Nugent and Ken Brown,  Alan Galloway and Paul Robinson from series sponsor Alabar Bloodstock, HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny and Bathurst Club President Wayne Barker. No-one was sporting a wider smile at day’s end than HRNSW chairman Rod Smith. In large part from the outstanding success of the meetin, but made even more personally satisfying when Lexus With A View, which he co-owns with John Starr, took out the Auckland Reactor 3YO Colts and Geldings Final. Driver Sean Grayling and the Paul Fitzpatrick - trained gelding, followed Premier Joy across from a wide draw on the front line to initially occupy the 'death seat' outside that horse, and his tactics played out perfectly when Brads Luck, and subsequently  Squire, moved around to that position. He was content to remain in the trail for as long as possible, especially when the third quarter was dispatched in 27.5s - into that energy-sapping wind - before launching a strong run down the centre of the track to reel in Premier Joy and Squire close to the line. As with each of the finals, the race itself was extremely competitive and the winner boasted excellent bloodlines - by Somebeachsomewhere out of a NSW Broodmare of the Year in Panoramic Lady, whose eight winners, six in 1:55, include Derby winner Make Me Smile, Sires Stakes champion Cant Bluff Me and outstanding racemare Lady Lexus. Racing Minister Toole, in making the presentation, spoke of the absolute dedication shown by the Chairman who “turns up unannounced at race meetings big and small right around the state. His commitment to the harness racing industry is just outstanding.” Alabar principal Alan Galloway, on his first visit to the new Bathurst complex, was very impressed to learn about Smith’s Lexus-named horses, having driven against the likes of Craig Lowndes in motor-racing some years ago. Unsurprisingly, he did a lap of “The Mountain” and paid a visit to the Motor Racing Museum on this present visit. Finals winners were: Art Major 2YO Fillies - Taylors Mill ( Bernie Hewitt ), a very tough win, sitting in the death seat for most of the race, and a deserved one as well, placing fifth in the Group 1 final and fourth in the Blues final in her two previous starts. Betterthancheddar 2YO Colts and Geldings - Major Roll ( Stephen Maguire ), a lovely drive from the Mirrool ( near Narrandera ) reinsman, working into the race courtesy of a three-wide trail, to score his fifth win from eight lifetime starts. Shadow Play 3YO Fillies - Art Series (Amanda Turnbull for Steve ), another driver to obtain a three-wide trail in a race where the speed was on throughout, with the daughter of champion mare Sheezallattitude backing up to take the 2YO/3YO double for this series. Lincoln Royal 4YO Mares - Million Dollar Gem ( John O’Shea for Wagga trainer Brett Woodhouse ), a patient drive on the mare which took out the Honouree Stakes Final at this track back in March, and which brought up a double for Million Dollar Cam after the earlier win of Taylors Mill. Sunshine Beach  4YO Entires and Geldings - Geldof (Blake Jones for Ellen Bartley ), improved from an excellent third in the semi-final to lead throughout, in a 1:53 clip, easily the day’s quickest and outstanding in the conditions, for a most deserving Canberra owner-breeder Don Spedding. Congratulations to all the connections and breeders of the Regional champs, and to HRNSW and the Bathurst club whose staging of the event - down to gorgeous winners’ garlands and owners’wine packs with labels showing the horse’s victory - was first rate. Terry Neil

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