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Very rarely in movie trilogies is the third movie the best.  Plenty of Hollywood directors have tried and failed, but when local trainer Trevor White prepared Hollywood Sign to win Sunday’s Junee Cup, the gelding’s third victory in a row, part owner Matthew Peden declared it as clearly the best of the three. “Up until Sunday night the biggest thrill I had with Hollywood Sign was when he won first up at Leeton and then backed it up at Temora and made it two in a row, but to make it three straight and win a race like the Junee Cup means a lot to all of us,” Peden said. “He was passed in at the sales as a yearling and Trevor, David White and I each took a third share and leased him and have raced him ever since, it has been a great ride.”   Peden was happy to see his good friend David White fly in from New Zealand, where he is working for kiwi trainers Graham and Paul Court, to witness the win. “Dave has played a big role with Hollywood Sign, obviously Trevor (David’s uncle) trains him, but when Dave was working for Blake Fitzpatrick, Hollywood Sign spent four months in Sydney with Blake and Dave and that has strengthened him up so much,” Peden said. “We kept it quiet to try and make it a bit of a surprise that Dave was flying in for the Junee Cup and I think his parents got a bit of a shock when he walked onto the track. “It was actually quite funny, as Dave and I drove down to Junee on Sunday we stopped in at Marulan for petrol and bumped into Graham Court, who is in Australia with Terror To Love, and he didn’t even realise that Dave had flown back to Australia.” Hollywood Sign will be looking to make it four in a row when he steps out next time and Peden has his fingers crossed. “I’m not too sure what Trevor has in mind, but he has now won three Carnival Of Cups races, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continue to target that series and try and pick up the Carnival Of Cups horse of the year,” Peden said. - GREG HAYES

Although rising star reinswoman Ellen Bartley has only been driving since the start of the harness racing season, she has already worked her way into fifth position on the NSW Female Drivers’ Premiership. Thanks to her recent double at Leeton, Bartley shares the position on the table with Ashlee Siejka and Grace Grant. From 20 drives Bartley has registered six wins and two seconds, with four of her victories coming with Good Girl Shirl. “I’ve only been driving since the end of September, it has been a really good start to my career, with the six winners and it was a great way to start 2015 with the double at Leeton,” Bartley said. “Good Girl Shirl has been great to me. I do a lot of work with her at home and I think she likes the female drivers a little bit more because she does seem to go better for the girls.” Bartley grew up in Shepparton around horses and loved competing in the mini-trots, but made the move to New South Wales and now works for Matthew Painting. “I drove the mini trots for about six or seven years and really enjoyed that,” Bartley said. “My sister Rebecca is a driver too and my parents always had horses when I was growing up. “I’m enjoying my involvement in the sport at the moment, but at some time in the future, I would love to start training a few of my own.” Bartley’s biggest thrill in the sport came last November when she drove Rustys Reject to victory in the Griffith Cup. “Yes that was definitely my best moment so far,” Bartley said. “It was a great race to win and it was only my second drive on him. Hhe finished second when I drove him the first time, so it was nice to win the Cup on him. “My next race drive is at Shepparton on Thursday, I’m driving a horse called Electrastar hopefully my luck continues.” GREG HAYES

Talented harness racing trainer James Rattray will settle in New South Wales after purchasing a property in Exeter. Situated in the Southern Highlands, Rattray’s training complex is about an hour from Australia’s premier track – Tabcorp Park Menangle. Campaigning in Victoria during the next few weeks, the Inter Dominion winning mentor will move into his property in mid February. “It is a property we had been looking at for a while, there were a few different ones we were considering, but this is the one that is the most suitable for us,” Rattray said. “Importantly, there is plenty of room for the horses, and more importantly, there is plenty of water. “The property isn’t far off the Hume Highway, it is about an hour to get to Menangle, but it would great to see a ramp built off the highway into Menangle because it would take about fifteen minutes off the trip.” Rattray explained a new track will need to be built on the property. “All of that still has to happen, so there is a lot of work to be done,” Rattray declared. “The property has been running sheep and cattle recently, but it won’t be long until we have it set up the way we want it. “It won’t be far to Goulburn either, they have a nice track there and run trials, so it will mean not having to take the horses all the way to Menangle to have a hit out.” Stable star Beautide is set to trial at Geelong tonight before heading to the Bendigo Cup on January 17. “I’m pretty sure Beautide will have to qualify for the Inter Dominion through the Sydney heats, so we will be back for that,” Rattray said. “The Victoria Cup will be run between Bendigo and the Inter heats, so there are plenty of options for him in the next month. “By the time we get set up at the new place we should have about 10 in work, so that will be keeping us well and truly busy.” GREG HAYES

Popular harness racing identity Tiarn McElhinney was battered and bruised after a nasty fall at the Riverstone trials last Sunday, but it could have been much worse.  McElhinney was driving unraced pacer The Next Star, and just before the trial was about to begin, she was thrown from her sulky. “It all happened so quickly and I’m not sure how it all happened, but the horse inside me came out and hooked under my gig and flipped me out, but somehow I rolled back under my sulky,” McElhinney said. “Dad (Glenn) was driving the horse to my outside and he told me afterwards he was just doing his best to avoid me when I fell, and did, but I still sustained some injuries.” McElhinney stated her initial reaction was to jump to her feet, but it was not the right thing to do. “I stood up but people were rushing from everywhere and I had sustained a bad knock to my head, the next thing I knew two ambulances were on their way and a helicopter arrived as well,” McElhinney said. “I was flown to Westmead because that is where the Trauma Centre is because of the head knock, and once there it was confirmed I had no serious neck or spinal injuries, and I was allowed to go home.” It will be at least two weeks before McElhinney is given medical clearance to drive again. “Yeah I think it is two weeks before I go back to my GP, but I have an epic black eye, a haematoma under my arm and plenty of grazes. but it could have been much worse so I am just happy to be on the mend,” McElhinney said. “I have received so many calls and texts since the fall from people concerned for me and it makes you feel very good to think there are so many people out there that worry about you.” McElhinney drove her first winner earlier this year when The Watch Dog won at Penrith. GREG HAYES

A huge crowd turned out at Broken Hill's first harness racing meeting of the season and there was not a dry eye on course when young reinswoman Ashleigh Camilleri drove Cityscape to victory in the Leesa Jane McInnes Memorial. The reasoning for the emotional outburst was simple, the feature is raced in honour of Ashleigh’s mother, who passed away last August. “It was a huge honour for me to win my Mum’s race,” Camilleri declared. “I wouldn’t care if I don’t win another race all season. It meant so much to me and when Cityscape kicked in the straight and pulled out enough it was a very special feeling. “I said to Dad that Mum would have told me ‘it was just another bloody race’, but I’m sure she was watching and cheering me home and it was definitely the biggest win of my career.” It was also the first time Camilleri had driven in a race since breaking her ankle in a fall. “It was my first night back and I had been out for a fair while, but I set a target to be back for the first meeting this season,” Camilleri said. “I only had two drives, the first one drew poorly and finished last, but Cityscape did the right thing by everyone. “The fields were big and for the local drivers we normally drive in fields of five or six, but there were a couple of fields that had nine runners in them and on our small track at Broken Hill it doesn't leave too much room.” Camilleri admitted she got a ‘rush’ when turning for home and the crowd started to cheer, which began the emotional stint along the home straight. By the time the astute young reinswoman crossed the finish, tears began to flow. “When I turned into the straight I could hear them, there was a big crowd there, all of mum's workmates, friends and families turned up and were roaring,” Camilleri said. “Mum was the co-ordinator of a 'Meals On Wheels' type service that provided meals to the elderly and she had lots of friends too.” GREG HAYES

Harness Racing New South Wales has announced an injection of $400,000 into prizemoney distribution for the remainder of the financial year. Following encouraging results from the newly-introduced handicapping system in the key areas of increased field sizes, reduction of odds-on favourites and increased wagering revenue, the Board confirmed the recommendations of management to increase stakes from January 1, 2015. After consulting with interested industry stakeholders during the past two months, suitable changes to the handicapping system and prizemoney offered at respective race meetings will also be implemented from January. HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny complimented the Board for their response to the concerns of participants in the industry. “After wide consultation with participants, both individually and at industry meetings, and armed with the knowledge the handicapping system was delivering in key areas, the Board has responded in the best possible way, through enhancements to the new system and additional financial rewards for owners,” Dumesny declared. “It is particularly pleasing to note that meaningful interaction between administrators and participants can achieve the best possible outcomes if we all work together. “HRNSW went to the industry mid-year with a proposal for improving elements of the racing product which were taken on board by participants as a possible way forward in returning increased sustainability.” As of January 1 the prizemoney on offer for all races on a Primary meeting will be a minimum $6000, while Secondary meetings will carry a minimum of $5000 across all races. Principal Club races conducted midweek at Tabcorp Park Menangle will revert to $7000. Following a number of requests from industry participants a limited number of Restricted meetings, which offer $3000 prizemoney per race, will be re-introduced to the schedule. At each of these meetings a $5000 feature race restricted to mares will be included on the program. The Divided Stakes has also had the threshold extended to commence from C2 and M2. HRNSW Media

Harness Racing New South Wales conducted an inquiry yesterday into a report received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that Cobalt above the threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from Artsu following its win at Tamworth on 1 September 2014. The “B” sample and associated control sample were confirmed by the ChemCentre in Western Australia. Dean Chapple appeared at the inquiry. Evidence, including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from Harness Racing NSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Wainscott were presented. Evidence was also taken from Chapple regarding the training of Artsu, his husbandry practices and compliance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules. The inquiry also heard evidence (via telephone) from Ricky Thurlow regarding his husbandry practices and training of Artsu. Chapple pleaded guilty plea to a charge under Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting his horse to race not free of a prohibited substance. Chapple was disqualified for a period of two-and-a-half years to commence from 22 October 2014, the date upon which he was stood down. In considering penalty, Stewards were mindful of the nature of the substance and the level detected (250ug/L), the circumstances leading up to the race, the guilty plea entered and personal subjective facts including personal and financial hardship. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, Artsu was disqualified from the abovementioned race. HRNSW Media

Fairfield Harness Racing Club will celebrate its 50th Anniversary meeting with a twilight program on Sunday. Throughout the years numerous changes have occurred at the venue, with non bigger than lights being installed during the 1970s. Not long after several key races were introduced, including The Carousel, Golden Easter Egg and the J D Watts Memorial, which stills remain the club’s feature event after nearly four decades. A small of group of dedicated volunteers have kept Fairfield afloat, such as Colin Watts, who has been at Fairfield for 50 years, and President Simon Boulous, who has been there since the 1980s. These days Michelle Buckley and Toni Radburn help ‘carry the load’, while the friends of Fairfield pitch in such as Allan Brennan, Glen Pearce, Jeff Towers and Steven Collins. And, of course, club Secretary Ross Scherf who controls the operation. Seven races will be conducted on Sunday, with the first event scheduled for 5:15pm. HRNSW Media

Harness Racing New South Wales have concluded its inquiry into reports received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that cobalt above the threshold was detected in post race urine samples taken from the following horses trained by Rodney Pike: Pike was issued with the following charges in writing pursuant to Rule 190 (1),(2) & (4); Charge 1: That he presented SNAP TO IT in race 2, the Pace (2030 metres) conducted at Newcastle on 22 February 2014 when a post race sample taken following its win, upon analysis has been found to contain a prohibited substance. Charge 2: That he presented SNAP TO IT in race 4, the TAB Rewards Charlestown Bowling Club Pace (2609 metres) conducted at Newcastle on 6 March 2014 when a post race sample taken following its win, upon analysis has been found to contain a prohibited substance. Charge 3: That he presented IM A PLAYER in race 3, the TAB APP Pace (1609 metres) conducted at Newcastle on 7 March 2014 when a post race sample taken following its win, upon analysis has been found to contain a prohibited substance. Charge 4: That he presented SNAP TO IT in race 2, the Newcastle Transport Specialists Pace (2030 metres) conducted at Newcastle on 14 March 2014 when a post race sample taken following its win, upon analysis has been found to contain a prohibited substance. Charge 5: That he presented MASTER FIREHAWKE in race 2, the Armed Services Personnel Get Free Entry Tonight Pace (2030 metres) conducted at Newcastle on 25 April 2014 when a post race sample taken following its win, upon analysis has been found to contain a prohibited substance. The “B” samples and associated control samples were confirmed by the ChemCentre in Western Australia. Pike pleaded guilty to the five charges issued and made written submissions regarding the matter of penalty via his legal representation Mr Wrench. In respect of charges 1, 2 & 4, Mr Pike was disqualified for a period of 8 years to commence from 30 April 2014, the date upon which he was stood down. In respect of charges 3 & 5, Mr Pike was disqualified for a period of 7 years to commence from 30 April 2014. Stewards ordered that these disqualifications be served concurrently. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; Pike’s previous offence for a Rule 190 breach, that Cobalt is deemed a Class 1 substance under the HRNSW Penalty Guidelines, the levels recorded being 360ug/L, 530ug/L, 1200ug/L, 1440ug/L & 2360ug/L Pike’s licence history and other personal subjective facts Pike also pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 259(1)(g) in that, on Wednesday 27 August 2014, he as a person recorded on the Harness Racing New South Wales Unpaid Forfeits List and subject to the same restrictions and penalties as a disqualified person, did enter harness racing stables at Cessnock Showground, premises used for the purpose of the harness racing industry. In relation to the charge under Rule 259(1)(g), Stewards made no order with regards to penalty. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, the abovementioned horses were disqualified from their respective races. HRNSW Media

Construction on the highly anticipated Menangle Park Harness Racing Training Centre commenced this week. Earth moving equipment from TRN Group arrived at the site, which joins to the south of the Tabcorp Park Menangle to start the construction of the training track and building pads. The Training Centre has received multiple expressions of interest from local, interstate and overseas trainers and will include stables, a 1000-metre training track, day yards, water walker and a swimming facility. “It is very pleasing that we have finally broken soil on this project which anyone can imagine has been a lengthy process gaining local council and service utilities approval,” said HRNSW CEO John Dumesny. “We have the expectation that construction of the barns will commence early in the new year with occupation expected shortly thereafter.” Dumesny stated the training centre will complete the world class facility at Menangle Park. “Included in this development is a new access intersection off Menangle road which will service the training centre and race track in future years,” Dumesny said. HRNSW Media

Already an industry leader, Harness Racing New South Wales has increased its focus on integrity. To further strengthen their already robust equine drug testing regime HRNSW will send all samples collected during the Carnival of Miracles to various overseas laboratories. HRNSW Integrity unit will be taking samples in and out of completion for testing engaged at tonight’s Newcastle Mile and Tabcorp Park Menangle meetings. The use of the HRNSW Retention Facility will also be activated for the Carnival. These measures are to ensure the protection of stakeholders and the public to ensure that horses are present to race free of prohibited substances. HRNSW Media

Nominations for the 61st Southern Central Engineering Leeton Breeders’ Plate close on Friday November 7. The carnival will run over three nights with the $5000 heats to be conducted on Boxing Day, December 26. The final, to be run in conjunction with the club’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting, is worth $25,000 - plus a horse float to the winning trainer. Day 2 of the Carnival, December 27, will include heats of a $10,000 4YO+ C0 event with the Final to be run five days later. The $200 nomination for the Breeders’ Plate can be submitted at any of the following contacts;   ph/ fax 02 69532982,   PO BOX 430 Leeton or email HRNSW Media

Harness Racing New South Wales concluded an inquiry into a report received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that cobalt above the threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from BIEN HOA NZ following its win at Newcastle on 29 May 2014. The “B” sample and associated control sample were confirmed by the ChemCentre in Western Australia. Glenn Hayward pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 (1), (2) and (4) in that he did present BEIN HOA NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance. Hayward further pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 187(2) in that he gave false and/or misleading evidence at the inquiry on 1 September 2014 regarding any contact and/or meeting he had previous with Shannon Wonson. Hayward was disqualified for a period of 10 years in respect of the charge under Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) to commence from 1 August 2014, the date upon which he was stood down. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Hayward’s third offence for Rule 190 breaches, that Cobalt is deemed a Class 1 substance under the HRNSW Penalty Guidelines,The level recorded being 570ug/LMr Hayward’s licence history and other personal subjective facts In relation to the charge under Rule 187(2), Hayward was disqualified for a period of 12 months, to be served concurrently with the period imposed for the Rule 190 breach. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, BEIN HOA NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. HRNSW Media

In a massive victory for the industry, the Supreme Court has dismissed the long-running action against Harness Racing New South Wales. Earlier today Justice Adamson handed down her decision relating to the case instigated by horsemen Neil Day and Dean McDowell opposing the governing body. (Court's decision here) While the situation has been viewed mainly as a cobalt issue, the broader ramifications could have disastrous for the industry had Day and McDowell been triumphant. In fact, success would have forced the sport to shut down according to HRNSW Manager of Integrity, Reid Sanders. As part of their argument against their bans in relation to presenting horses with levels of cobalt above the accepted threshold, Day and McDowell challenged several rules. The rules included HRNSW’s right to issue – or cancel – licences and enforce drug related regulations. Basically, a loss by HRNSW would have meant participants had no boundaries in relation to drugs or tactics…a literal free-for-all! “This is a big win for the industry in relation to regulation and control,” Sanders said. “It was a very broad attack on several rules and our right to enforce them. “If they were successful, harness racing may have ceased to exist as we would be unable to enforce any rules. “The case wasn’t just about cobalt, it was about drug rules as a whole and Harness Racing New South Wales’ right to licence people, which makes for no regulation at all.” Although the industry has been vindicated, the financial cost is still a burden the governing body will have to bare. “It has been a costly hearing as we put together a very strong legal team,” Sanders declared. “Although we have been awarded costs, you never get it all back, only a percentage.” Day and McDowell were initially stood down by HRNSW last April after representatives from their stables returned tests above the cobalt threshold. Day’s Benzi Marsh was swabbed after its success in the Final Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Championship at Goulburn on February 24, 2014. McDowell’s pair Chevals Charlie and Twilight Dancer were tested following victories at Bankstown on February 28, 2014. HRNSW will now continue with its inquiries into the matters involving Day and McDowell. In an unrelated matter, Harness Racing Australia has issued a statement relating to a national level for cobalt. At yesterday’s Annual General Meeting, members unanimously adopted the threshold for “cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine.” “Matters of integrity are of paramount importance for public confidence in our industry,” HRA chairman Geoff Want declared. “While it may only be a small number of people who try to cheat the system and participate in fraudulent practices, we will continue to do all we can to ensure the integrity system works and the playing field is level.” Industry rules relating to race day testing are dealt with in AHRR 188A(1) which sets out prohibited substances, while 188A(2) sets out exceptions to sub-rule 1.  The cobalt threshold is now defined as follows:   188A(2)(k) Cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine. PAUL COURTS

Goulburn harness racing trainer David Hewitt added his name to the Canola Cup honour roll by taking out Eugowra's feature with Holm Three.  Hewitt joins his brother Bernie and brother-in-law Neil Day on the list to continue a family tradition. “It was a great thrill to win the race with Holm Three,” Hewitt declared. “The Canola Cup was never a race I really considered aiming for when I was training at Crookwell because it was so early in the season and the heat and Final use to be on the same weekend. “Because of those factors in the past the horses had to be rock hard fit, but now with the heat and Final a week apart, it is a bit easier on the horses and when Holm Three arrived from New Zealand recently I thought it would be a good option for her.” Holm Three led throughout from her front row draw, with Hewitt confident the daughter of Mach Three will remain competitive as she races her way through the grades. “The logical plan for her looks to be a Menangle Country Series,” Hewitt said “I think she is going to be a good chance in one of those because she is just so fast early and can put herself in the right spot. “We took the option of handing up in the heat because she hadn’t been with us for very long and we were still learning with her, but with that run under her belt, I was happy to go for an all the way win on Monday." Hewitt’s son Brad drove Holm Three in the heat, but partnered Luksam in the decider. “The boys were pretty keen for me to drive her in the Final and I was happy with that, because while I am not driving as much as I used, to I like to keep my hand in,” Hewitt explained. “Brad trains Luksam, so he had to drive him in the Final and he did a good job to finish second.” GREG HAYES

Goulburn harness racing trainer Brad Hewitt drove two Canola Cup heat winners at Eugowra last weekend and believes one of the pair will prove very hard to beat in Monday’s $20,000 Final.  Hewitt is the trainer of Luksam, which he will drive him in the decider, while his father David will partner former kiwi trained mare Holm Three. “Luksam has drawn the back row and Holm Three will start off the front, so she is probably the better chance just because of the barriers,” Hewitt said. “Luksam was only having his second run back from a very long break. First-up he was a little bit disappointing after trialling well, but he travelled to Bathurst by himself and was really nervy when he arrived.” After disappointing Luksam was sent back to the trials, and after a strong performance at Menangle, Hewitt was expecting a better performance. “The Menangle trial was really good, but I still didn’t think he could beat Karloo Ten Seventy on Sunday,” Hewitt said. “When he got his chance in the straight he finished it off really nicely. “In the Final if they go too slow he’s got enough ability that I have the option of putting him into the race, but that will all depend on how everything unfolds.” Holm Three has only been in Australia a short time and really impressed with a strong performance. “We didn’t really know what to expect because she had only been in Australia for two and a half weeks, but she was forced to work very hard for the first part of the race and then relaxed, so I think she is going to win more races,” Hewitt said. “New Zealand race caller Mark McNamara told us about her when she was racing over there. “He sends us a few names every now and then and we liked her so a few owners stepped up and bought her.” GREG HAYES

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