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Harness Racing New South Wales officials will welcome all interested parties to the Menangle Training Centre this Sunday between 11am and 1pm for a tour of the new facility. When completed the new centre will be world class and HRNSW CEO John Dumesny is encouraging anyone interested in having horses stabled at Menangle in the future to come out and have a look at the recent developments. "Sunday will give trainers and owners an early indication of what is out there because once it is finished it will be absolutely brilliant," Mr Dumesny said. "I invite everyone along, there will be a barbeque put on and people only have to stay for half an hour or so to have a look around." HRNSW Board Members will be attendance as will members of the controlling body's Executive. "Reid Sanders, Adam Fairley and I will be on hand to show everyone around the entire setup which will give people a chance to have a look at the new exercise track and one of the barns that has been completed. "Trainers will be able to take the agreement away that with them and see the conditions, HRNSW has worked with the Principal Club to ensure trainers will be able to use the three tracks on the property - the racetrack, the sand track and the new 1000 metres exercise track that has been established." The Construction of a water walker is to commence in December while HRNSW will be calling for Expressions of Interest for the establishment of a produce store, veterinary practice and farrier shop early next year. Greg Hayes

Plans to take Tasmanian-owned pacer Modern Ruler to Queensland for two major races remain unchanged despite the gelding’s shock loss at the harness racing meeting at Menangle last Saturday night. Modern Ruler was attempting to win his fourth Group 3 event in succession on Saturday night but in a small field he was unable to achieve the feat and had to settle for third behind Iam Mr Brightside and Shannonsablast in the Zilco Free For All over 2300 metres. Modern Ruler is trained in NSW by Tasmanian James Rattray and raced on lease by Tasmanians Steve and Marnie Davis who will head to Sydney next week to collect the horse and some travelling companions for the trip to Queensland “We are having Modern Ruler’s bloods done as a precautionary measure but both James and I are confident the race was not run to suit and that is what brought about his downfall on Saturday night, “ Davis said. “We have made plans to take the whole family, kids and all, to Queensland for two weeks so we will fly out next Tuesday and go to James’ stables and float the horse and a couple of stablemates to Queensland.” “We plan to do it in stages so it won’t be too taxing on the horses,” he said. Modern Ruler was sent to Rattray earlier this year after he won a race at Melton in Victoria and after a trial at Goulburn the seven-year-old lined up at Menangle and won by 20 metres which convinced Rattray he had a future. Modern Ruler has won six times from nine starts fo4r Rattray and leading up to last Saturday night’s minor placing he had won four in succession of which three carried Group 3 status. The gelded son of Modern Art will be aimed at the Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park on October 17 and then on to the Group 1 Queensland Pacing Championship a week later. Peter Staples

Well known harness racing trainer Wayne Honan is pressing ahead with plans to try his former star pacer Flightpath again and at this stage everything is on track. It is over 75 months since the son of Artsplace set foot on a racetrack but the eleven year old has had a lot of solid groundwork in his preparation for a return to racing. "It has been in the back of my mind to try him again for quite a while but with him being at stud I have never taken it any further." However when it looked like I had sold the farm earlier this year and he wasn't going to stand this year, I thought then it would be a good time to see if still had what it takes to be competitive." Wayne said. Flightpath was a star two year old, taking out the $314,000 Australasian Breeders Crown Final at Ballarat and after a run of issues over the next two years following that great win, he was retired to stud the winner of twelve lifetime for stakes totaling $290,694.  Flightpath was well received in his initial two years at stud and although the mares weren't top class they were nice middle of the road mares. He left 23 winners from his first crop including such good types as Alphitania 1:57.3 ($71,645) Tulhurst Sarsha 1:55.8 ($58,545) and Flytomo 1:58.3 ($ 53,783)  and seemed off to a good start. The talented Quagmire 1:56.1 ($53,165) quickly followed in year two but then a decision to move the stallion away from Golden Gait Stud did the horse more damage than good with the quality of the mares dropping while the number of mares served dropped bigtime as well. Still there are plenty of Flightpath progeny doing a good job with the latest being Lucy Lamb who is unbeaten in four todate and goes around in the $30,600 Eugowra Cup later today. Wayne has being varying Flightpath's training as he gets closer to a resumption with a view to keeping his mind on the job. " I have started swimming him again which he loves and I have been driving him around the farm in his work as well. " In the next couple of weeks I will head down to Sydney and look for a trial for him." " If he handles that okay I will start looking for a suitable race to kick off this campaign," Wayne said. It should be an interesting few weeks as we watch to see if the talented Flightpath still has what it takes to be competitive on the track. Harnesslink Media

Interested in what Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman of Stewards Graham Loch thought of last Saturday’s meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle?  Catch up with all of the important information in the new Trots TV segment What the Stewards’ saw.  A full recap of the metropolitan meeting each week will be available and to watch this week’s segment please click here HRNSW CEO John Dumesny presents the CEO Blog every week on Trots TV and this week he discusses the Carnival of Cups Toyota Yaris promotion, the announcements from the state’s principal club NSWHRC regarding midweek prize money and breeding initiatives and also talks about the recent trip to the Riverina made by the Board of HRNSW to meet with different Clubs.  To watch the CEO’s Blog click here News Flash is a new segment introduced this week with HRNSW’s Greg Hayes and Amanda Rando chatting about different news items from around the state.  To watch News Flash click here On Trial is back as Greg Hayes attempts to highlight upcoming winners from the trials across the state.  Each week there are three horses nominated as ones to watch.  To watch On Trial click here     

Visiting harness racing reinsman Chris Geary took the driving honours at Bathurst on Wednesday night, with wins for Lester Hewitt and Steve Turnbull.  Geary has been very successful on previous visits to the track, and the contrasting manner of these wins demonstrated the poise and intuitive skill that sees him in demand from a number of leading stables, and not always for his junior claim. Shes The Real Deal  (for Hewitt) worked to the front in the opening C1 sprint, and final quarters of 28.7 and 27.9 gave her chasing rivals no chance, the margin back to Soeur De Lyse an ever-widening 11 metres. “I do get to sit behind lots of horses that I don’t know a real lot about, “acknowledged Geary in a post-race interview,” but she sprinted very well when I asked her to, and she strikes me as a very nice mare.” There mightn’t have been many punters who took the $1.10 quote on offer for the mare, but everyone agreed with his sentiments. Real Intentions NZ ($1.60), the Turnbull leg of the Geary double, in the C1-C2 Western Districts Origin series, sat back in the running line and came with a sharp sprint to hit the front half-way down the running, before holding off leader Mister Bigshot and death-seating Kapow Shannon in a head-bobbing photo,  the best finish of the meeting. It was noticeable that Geary held his mount together down the straight, even when things got uncomfortably close near the line, and his post-race comment – “my horse was trying her best, and I didn’t want to punish her “ – indicated not just driving skills, but mature horsemanship. Two horses having their last runs for their female trainers finished on a winning note.  Wake Up Quinn ($3.20, Ashlee Siejka) sprouted wings in the final 100 metres of the C1 second race to record an easy win, with Emma Turnbull (Ultimate Sheldon) and Monique Parsons (Somart) providing a female trifecta.  A winner also at Eugowra three days previously, Wake Up Quinn was in the race as a $3,000 claimer, and Siejka was expecting that her stable would be reduced by one when she loaded up to go home later that night. Promises Galore ($2.00 favourite, Ben Battle for Gemma Hewitt) brought her career to a close with win number 12, in a C3 conditioned  event that closed the meeting, leading early then taking the trail and the sprint lane, for an easy win.  Gemma Hewitt purchased the American Ideal daughter as a foundation broodmare earlier this year, had success with her during a Queensland winter campaign and has now picked up a ‘home” win at her final start.  She will now go in foal to Roll With Joe as a new career beckons.  The win was good news for long-time club supporter and form student Frank Buckley, with Promises Galore the final leg of his successful Pick Six entry, and the $1475 jackpot prize. Steve Turnbull substituting for an unwell Amy Day to score with Kytherian Flyer ($4.00 favourite, for Josh Turnbull) in a C0 sprint, was looking ahead to the weekend return of family members from their U.S. holiday –“this washing’s over-rated, I can tell you “and also to Monday’s Canola Cup, where he would start Oh I Am The One, one of the strong chances. Bernie Hewitt, successful with Ideal Gambler NZ ($1.60 favourite) in a C0 sprint, after blasting to the lead with a 27.7 third quarter, and then coasting down to the line from Limbo Larry and Carden Dawn, was also thinking ahead to Eugowra and his two runners in the final there, and a possible fourth win in the Cup. Kylie Armbro ($1.70 favourite, David Farrugia), runner-up in her three previous starts this term, took full advantage of a pole draw to lead throughout in a C0 sprint, with runner-up No Recompense running on strongly after spotting the leader a big break.  So, plenty of satisfaction for a Farrugia family win; a perfect two-from-two for a junior driver; warm-up wins for a couple of leading trainers headed to the Canola country; and perfect farewells for a pair from the girls’ stables.  Pleasant thoughts for the drive home from the office! by Terry Neil

THE thoroughbred Amounis made his way into racing’s Hall of Fame after winning an incredible 33 races including the 1930 Caulfield Cup.  He won the Epsom twice, the Cox Plate and the All Aged Stakes in a glittering career that spanned eight years and raced Australia’s greatest horse Phar Lap. His harness namesake will make her Australian debut in the third race at Leeton after being purchased from New Zealand by a group of owners including form expert Matthew Peden.  As a harness racing owner, Peden has enjoyed success previously but acknowledges the only similarity between the galloper and pacer named Amounis, is their name. “The name Amounis rang a bell when we were looking at buying her from New Zealand, so I went back and did some research and found out just how talented the thoroughbred Amounis was,” Peden said. “The pacing version Amounis has some good form in New Zealand and has been beaten by some talented horses, but we are just hoping she can win her purchase price back.” Amounis is trained by Junee’s Trevor White and Peden has enjoyed success with the veteran horseman previously. “Trevor trained a horse I had a share in called Hollywood Sign and did a fantastic job with him because Hollywood Sign won last season’s Wagga Horse of the Year title. “We ended up selling him and he is now in the USA, but I think the horse is finding it a little more difficult to win races over there.” Peden confirmed Amounis was set to trial recently at Wagga but missed the vital hit-out because of a lack of trial nominations. “The plan was to give her a trial at Wagga, but I think they only got two horses for the trial so they didn’t end up running it. “That makes it a bit harder tonight, because we don’t really know where she is at and she hasn’t had a real strong workout, but she looked very tough in New Zealand so even if she is forced to sit outside the leader I think she will be right in the finish.” Peden has studied the race closely and nominates the Shane Gilligan trained Golden Scribe as the hardest to beat. “Golden Scribe on paper has the best form in the race and has drawn a lot better than Amounis so logically he will be the one that we need to beat. “Amounis was narrowly beaten by Woodlea DJ at Forbury in New Zealand a few months ago and Woodlea DJ will compete in a strong metropolitan race tonight at Addington in Christchurch so I think the form of Amounis is good enough to run a strong race first up.” Harness Racing New South Wales Related Links Fields for Leeton, Friday 02 October 2015 Form guide for Leeton, Friday 02 October 2015

As we are into another breeding season in New Zealand, our breeders are yet again being left to fend for themselves in a market which is slowly killing off it participants. The number of live foals born each season continues to drop and the viability of the industry as we know it is in real doubt. Anyone reading the Harness Racing New Zealand board notes will know that this issue has been high on their agenda for a few years now but what action have they taken to date - Zero The time is well past for having another committee meeting about it and for action to be taken. One only has to look over the Tasman to see what can be done to help breeders and try to halt the annual reduction in mares bred. Harness Racing New South Wales have had the "Colonial Stallion" fee in place for a while now. Any breeder in New South Wales who breeds to a colonial bred sire receives a $500 rebate off the service fee paid for by Harness Racing New South Wales. This week the Harness Racing New South Wales Club (the equivalent of NZMTC) announced they would pay for the registration of all foals born in New South Wales from this years breeding season. And both HRNSW and the HRNSWC are working together to bring more initiatives to fruition to help the average breeder stay in the industry. As I have discussed previously there are so many alternative schemes to help breeders stay in the industry and these are prevalent all over the world. Just not in New Zealand. As we progress into the smaller crops that have been bred in the last few years, some clubs are going to struggle to attract enough horses to hold a race meeting. The time for action is well past but I don't hold out much hope for any positive moves on this matter going by the performance of HRNZ to date. JC

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) conducted an inquiry yesterday into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that Chlorpheniramine and Desmethyl Chlorpheniramine were detected in the urine sample taken from ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG following race 7, the BULLI HRC NSW TROTTERS DERBY (GROUP 1) (2400 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 30 May 2015. Ms Quinlan appeared at the inquiry and on submission Stewards permitted representation by Mr Hammond, a solicitor.  Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio were presented. Evidence was also taken from Ms Quinlan regarding the training of ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG, her husbandry practices and circumstances leading up to the race.  Mr Hammond provided evidence from veterinarian, Dr Andrew Clarke, on behalf of Ms Quinlan. Ms Quinlan pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG to race not free of a prohibited substance. Ms Quinlan was disqualified for a period of 3 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Ms Quinlan’s 1st offence for a Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s guilty plea;Class 3 Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s unblemished disciplinary record in twenty-five years as a licensed person and other personal subjective facts, including ambassadorial roles. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG was disqualified from the abovementioned race. The race in question Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government.

The NSW Harness Racing Club today announced an initiative to assist the NSW Breeding Industry. The NSWHRC will pay the foal registration fee of $185 for all foals registered in NSW that are Breeders Challenge eligible. This will apply to foals born and notified in the breeding season beginning September 1, 2016. The club has made this commitment for three years which, based on projections, will be worth about $700,000 over the period. The club already contributes $150,000 towards the finals of the Breeders Blue series and this announcement is further recognition of the importance of the breeding industry. According to NSWHRC chief executive Bruce Christison, the club decided to target this payment as it was agreed it would assist breeders at all levels. Many of the existing breeding incentives rely on the horse winning,Christison said. This payment will benefit every breeder that gives notification of the birth of a NSW Breeders Challenge eligible foal to Harness Racing NSW. Once there is more certainty in relation to future funding levels, the club looks forward to sitting down with the Breeders Association and HRNSW to discuss other ways in which the club can assist the breeding industry. The clubs move has the full support of HRNSW with its CEO John Dumesny complimenting the club on its commitment to the industry With this direct financial input into the breeding sector from its own reserves, the principal club now supports every facet of the harness racing industry, Dumesny said. HRNSW looks forward to sitting down with the club in the near future to explore other initiatives which will further promote the growth of harness racing in our premier state. For further information telephone NSWHRC Chief Executive Bruce Christison on (02) 4645-2200. Sean Vella

There is just over two months until the Ready2Run Sale on Sunday December 6 at Tabcorp Park Menangle and the catalogue is starting to take shape. Sales Co-ordinator John Coffey has confirmed 42 entries have been received and encouraged potential vendors to contact him within the next fortnight if they are interested in selling a horse at the sale. “A number of the big stallions are represented including Courage Under Fire, Rocknroll Hanover, Art Major, Mach Three, Sportswriter, Bettors Delight, Somebeachsomewhere and Roll With Joe,” Coffey said. “If there is anyone interested in having a horse included in the sale they would need to contact me in the next two weeks because the sale is just around the corner.” With a number of sale graduates performing exceptionally well on the racetrack, Coffey is encouraging buyers to get to Menangle on the first Sunday in December. “Perfectly Written won a group two race at Melton earlier this month and took her career earnings over $30,000 in the process while Iam Mr Brightside won at Menangle two weeks ago in 1:50.8 and has now won more than $175,000. “Other well performed horses include Zee Dana and Nathans Courage, both came out of last year’s sale and I think it shows that if owners are looking for horses that are ready to go to the races then this sale is the place to buy.” The sale has attracted strong sponsorship from Garrard’s Horse & Hound, Wollondilly Equine, Gow-Gates Insurance, IRT, Chips Lett Photography, Coromandel Agistment & Spelling, Alabar Farms and has received great support from HRNSW and the NSWHRC. The NSW Standardbred Owners Association is behind the Ready2Run sale and Treasurer Peter Green is looking forward to the event. “The Association is going to be busy before the end of the year, we’re expecting a big sale and looking at the breeding of some of the horses that have been nominated I know it is going to be successful,” Green said. “We also have our Annual General Meeting and Awards Night on Saturday October 10 and we are looking forward to a big turnout at Menangle that night.” The AGM will start at 5pm while the Awards Night will follow at 6pm. “Both will be held in the Directors’ Lounge at Menangle and the Awards Night is free for all members and their partners. “One lucky member will win a trip for two to Paris and the holiday includes return airfares and accommodation for seven nights.” There will also be an auction on the night with a service to Passmaster Hanover on offer, while a 50% share in a well bred, broken in two year old eligible for the Bathurst Gold Crown and Breeders Challenge, donated by Peter and Marie Neil will also be available. Greg Hayes

Driver Mat Rue has tasted success at the highest level in harness racing. The talented reinsman won the 2013 Miracle Mile driving Baby Bling for trainer Belinda McCarthy but a victory in the 2015 Eugowra Canola Cup on his father Ken's horse, Lucy Lamb would be very memorable. Lucy Lamb won her heat by a big margin despite Rue sitting calmly in the sulky and the talented mare remains undefeated after four starts. "She did that all by herself in the heat, there was a driver behind me who was making a bit of noise and she just took off, I didn't ask her to quicken at all," Rue said. "Dad has always had a really nice opinion of her and I remember her first educational trial she competed in I thought she had a bit of a future." Lucy Lamb found her way to the stables of Ken Rue after a conversation between Ken and Golden Gait's Wayne Lamb. "Dad was working one horse and he always says if you are going to work one you might as well work two so he spoke to Wayne Lamb about leasing one and he said to head out to Golden Gait because he had a few there that he could have a look at. "When Dad drove in Lucy Lamb was at a tie up rail and he was hoping Wayne would offer him her and when Wayne said to Dad you can lease her, Dad said yes straight away." Mat Rue is no stranger to Canola Cup success having driven Bobbee Dee Dee to victory in 2011. "I'd love to win on Lucy Lamb for Dad, there is going to be a pretty big cheer squad for her at Eugowra next Monday and I know my brother has already organised to have the Tuesday off work so I think he might be planning on a big celebration if she wins. "Dad only lives 25 minutes away from Eugowra and it is his closest track so he does travel into the track and works her there a bit, I think it would be classed a local win if she can get the job done." Lucy Lamb has drawn barrier seven and will follow out the Steve Turnbull trained Oh I Am The One. "It probably isn't as bad as it looks because I think Steve's horse looks as though it will lead and that should mean I'm in behind the leader which will mean we get a pretty good trip into the race. "We might just need some luck swinging for home. Greg Hayes

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) today conducted an inquiry into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that plasma Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) above the prescribed threshold was detected in a pre-race blood sample taken from PRECIOUS M NZ prior to race 6, the DUBBO HARNESS​ RACING CLUB AWARDS 25TH SEPT PACE (2120 metres) conducted at Dubbo on Sunday 13 September 2015. Mr Peter Reynolds appeared at the inquiry. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis was presented to the Inquiry. Evidence was also taken from Mr Reynolds regarding the training of PRECIOUS M NZ, his husbandry practices and circumstances preceding the race. Evidence was also presented to the Inquiry by veterinarian Dr Don Crosby on behalf of Mr Reynolds and the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory Science Manager, Dr Adam Cawley. Mr Reynolds was issued with a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting PRECIOUS M NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Stewards found the charge laid against Mr Reynolds to be proven. In determining the charge against Mr Reynolds, Stewards relied upon Australian Harness Racing Rules 191 (1) & (3) as the second certificate from Racing Analytical Services LTD reported a plasma Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) level of 36.6 mmol/L. Mr Reynolds was disqualified for a period of 15 months to commence from 18 September 2015 the date upon which he was stood down. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Mr Reynolds 1st offence for a Prohibited Substance; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; Mr Reynold’s licence history and other personal subjective facts. The fact that this charge was based upon prima facie evidence in relation to the first certificate issued by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory.            Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, PRECIOUS M NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Reid Sanders

Bathurst Harness Racing Club held its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday night at the clubs new home of racing, Group 1 Feeds Paceway. After 8 years of leading the club, outgoing President Mark Collins has stood down and handed over the Presidency to current Vice President Wayne Barker. In his farewell speech, Collins said “It has been an honour for me to be the Club Chairman and being involved with this club is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life." "The track and facilities are first class and the number of positive comments I have received over the last 12 months is testimony to the great facility we have.” Collins added. “I can’t thank Harness Racing NSW and Bathurst Regional Council enough for allowing this to happen.” Collins said. “I would also like to thank my fellow Directors and Staff, particularly our CEO Danny Dwyer and recently retired Vice President Wayne Loader for their valued assistance.” Collins concluded. Popular Board member, Wayne Barker will now take the reins and is looking forward to continuing on the fantastic work that his predecessor has already undertaken. “I’ve got big shoes to fill." "To me, replacing Mark would be akin to taking over the Queensland Origin Captaincy from Cameron Smith. " "But I’m ready and looking forward to it as well.” Barker suggested. “This is a great club and there wasn’t a prouder person in the room last night, besides Mark, than me” Barker added. Laurie Clifford has assumed Barker’s previous position as Vice President. Greg Hayes

The NSW Harness Racing Club will increase midweek prizemoney a massive 14 per cent to $8000 a race from October 1. The principal club will increase midweek prizemoney from the current $7,000, which equates to more than $400,000 in additional prizemoney over the course of a year. At a consistent $8,000 prizemoney per race for meetings run each and every week the new level is the highest nationally for non metropolitan meetings. NSWHRC chief executive Bruce Christison explained that the club had made the decision to advance the proposed prizemoney increases which were expected to eventually flow from the wagering tax harmonisation announced by the State Government. While we have been told the tax reductions will be phased in over a five-year period, until the legislation is introduced to Parliament and HRNSW are in a position to make announcements, we cannot be certain of the timing, Christison said. The club has discussed this with HRNSW it could be up to three years until sufficient funding levels required to pay for the proposed increases across all races flow through. So the club decided it would fund this in the short term. If we are to sustain the payments over the longer period we will obviously be relying upon the benefits from tax relief.  Christison pointed out that his club was committed to growing prizemoney, at all levels. However, after consulting with industry participants, we have identified that midweek prizemoney levels are the No. 1 priority - in the short term, he said. Our aim is to eventually lift these races to $10,000. Christison pointed out that since the proceeds of the Harold Park sale began to flow four years ago the NSWHRC had contributed more than $20m of its own funds into prizemoney. This is over and above the prizemoney obligations the club has from TAB and Racefields Legislation funding, he said. The club has maintained these levels despite the fact that investment earnings over this period have been well below the forecasts made when the Harold Park sale was negotiated. The club also acknowledges that the industry requires more than just prizemoney injections. Stay tuned for more news in this regard over the coming weeks. Harness Racing New South Wales

David Hewitt doesn’t claim to have any preference for racing females, or to have any special knack with them, but a double with two five-year-old mares at last Wednesday’s Bathurst harness racing meeting might give him cause to reconsider. Village Jasper daughter Verdot ($10.30) used the increasingly-popular Bathurst sprint lane to edge out a very bunched field in the second race, a C4 sprint, and two races later, Keilor Kimberly ($2.60 favourite), by Browning Blue Chip, came from the one-one to narrowly take out  a C2 Tabcorp Park Country Series heat. Hewitt was pleased with the efforts of both mares, which have held their form very well over the winter, and was especially pleased to see Verdot bounce back from an unlucky run, when she locked wheels, at her previous start. Keilor Kimberly likes the speed on in her races, so a fast lead time and three sub-30 second quarters, as she peeled from her one-one sit, had her backers feeling rather smug as they turned for home. The mare ran to a clear lead early in the straight, and the result looked a formality, but someone forgot to tell Ashlee Siejka and the death-seating Hi Its Only Me NZ, which fought right to the wire, to go down by just a head, in a 1:56.5 rate. “She travelled so well in the run, I turned her loose as soon as we straightened, but I think I probably went a bit early on her – she’d had enough on the line,” said a relieved Hewitt after the result came down. The Goulburn-based trainer currently has about 20 horses in work and he’s a popular figure at Bathurst, where he and son Brad have a very good strike-rate. Emma Turnbull also drove a double at the meeting, to continue her excellent start to the new season. She drove 14 winners at her home track last season, and seems certain to exceed that figure very early this time around. Shes The Real Deal ($1.30 favourite, for Lester Hewitt) dominated from the lead in the opening race, a C1-C2 mares sprint, reeling off a slick 28.2 final quarter to gap her rivals by almost 10 metres, with seemingly plenty in hand. “I’m pleased to be able to take these drives for Lester, while J.T. (O’Shea) is away" "I’m having a very good run at the moment, and I guess I’m a good fill-in,” was Emma’s modest self-appraisal. Racecaller Kevin Thompson clearly agreed, by applying the winner’s name to the driver herself. After Dave Hewitt’s double, and winners to Ash Siejka (Our Leonardo), Mat Rue (Izzy Watt) and Chris Geary (Smiling Cullen), Emma completed her double with one of her mother’s team in the 2260 metres C0- class seventh race. Soldier Of Fortune NZ ($9.70) occupied the one-one position for most of the race, and held on in a desperately close finish from Lap Dancer, which raced inside it on the markers.  A dawdling pace accounted for the 2:03.5 mile rate, easily the slowest on a night of otherwise quick times. Steve Turnbull rounded out the meeting with an all-the-way win in 3YO class with Iownaturbo ($3.30), the third win in just eight starts for the filly, who improves with every run. After the earlier win of stable runner Smiling Cullen, his was the third double for the meeting. It attracted a good crowd, and with five favourites successful, they headed home pretty pleased with themselves. Terry Neil

Hunter Valley Mini Trotting administrator Daryll Jackson won the inaugural Industry Volunteer Appreciation award on Saturday night at the Harness Racing New South Wales Industry Awards in Sydney. Mr Jackson has been the Secretary of the Newcastle/Maitland Mini Trots for 33 years and on the NSW Mini Trots committee for the equivalent period of time. Mr Jackson organises the Mini Trotting State Championships at Gunning annually, with ponies and drivers coming from across New South Wales to compete in one of the 100 races run over the weekend. While Mr Jackson acknowledged he had been involved in the sport for a long time he was surprised when he was named the winner. "It was sensational to win but it was a big surprise and it came from nowhere," Mr Jackson said. "It has been a long stint but I've enjoyed every minute of it and I hope to continue in Mini Trotting for many years to come." Mr Jackson spends hours every week organising Mini Trotting events for his local Newcastle/Maitland Club and still works tirelessly for the state body. "I'm happy to do it, I got involved initially because my sons were involved in the sport and they have since moved on but I just get a big thrill out of watching all of the kids compete and become more confident around horses. "Daniel Morgan received the Junior Encouragement Award for the Country and I have seen him come through the ranks as a young driver so to see them develop like that is what keeps me going." While Mr Jackson was presented with a trophy on the night, he also received flights and an accommodation package to the Perth Inter Dominion later in the year. "Wendy (Strickleton) is a great support for me and if I didn't have her support I don't think I could get everything done, we will definitely enjoy the time in Perth." Greg Hayes

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