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Talented harness racing driver David Moran enjoyed his most successful night in the sulky when he won five of the eight races at Albury’s Carnival Of Cups meeting last Saturday.  Moran had driven four winners at a meeting previously, and while proud of his achievement, thought it could have been even better. “I have driven four winners at a meeting three times before,” Moran said. “I did it at Wagga not that long ago and I’ve also had four at Leeton and Shepparton, but to get five on the one card was my best. “I went to the meeting at Albury and I thought I could get four and with a bit of luck maybe one or two more. “I thought Grand Anse was one of my better drives on the night in the String Of Pearls and she just didn’t handle the track but it was still a great night.” Two of Moran’s winners were for leading horsewoman Amanda Turnbull, with both Chumlee and Hes Okey Dokey were very impressive. “It was good to get a couple of drives for Amandaand Nathan (Jack), they were in Sydney at the APG sales on Saturday and then had the races at Menangle on Sunday,” Moran explained. “I was just helping out and they will be back doing the driving, but getting a couple of winners for them means that next time they are away I might get the chance to drive a few more.” Another feature meeting will be run this Saturday night at Wagga and Moran expects to be driving at the meeting. “Yeah I’m based near Shepparton and have been doing a lot of travelling lately,” Moran said. “Probably a little too much, but you have to do what you have to do. “With the Wagga Cup meeting this Saturday night I will be back over the border by the looks of it.” I’m working a team of around 10 horses, it is enough to keep us busy.” HRNSW Media

The Carnival of Cups rolls into Albury on Saturday night and Junee harness racing trainer Trevor White is hoping Hollywood Sign can continue on his winning way in the feature event – the Albury Cup.  Hollywood Sign has been in career best form since resuming, but White admits the gelding will have to keep on improving given the depth of the race. “I’ve been really happy with the way he has been going, but this is going to be his biggest test because it is open class and is over the 2570 metres,” White said. “I’ve won a couple of Wagga Cups, a Temora Cup and a Leeton Cup, but the Albury Cup is a race I haven’t been able to win. “I have gone close a couple of times, so hopefully that changes on Saturday night.” The son of Life Sign has won at Leeton, Temora, Junee and Canberra this preparation and White believes his last spell has been the key to his improvement. “Hollywood Sign has always had his fair share of ability, but he did have a good spell last time and I think that really strengthened him up,” White said. “If he races well on Saturday night then I will target the Wagga Cup and then he will have to travel back to Sydney and have a crack at the metropolitan races. “He has run a couple of good races at Menangle before, but he has just been pipped a couple of times down that long straight.” White will take several team members to the provincial meeting, including three-year-old filly Official Jasper. “Yeah she will go around in the String Of Pearls,” White said. “She is a nice filly, but I thought she may have finished her race off a bit better last week in a heat of the New South Wales Oaks.” “In saying that, it was her first go at Menangle and also her first go at the 2400 metres, so I’m expecting a better run on Saturday night despite the tough draw.” HRNSW Media

The annual Two-Year-Old Trialling Sale held at Tabcorp Park Menangle will be conducted this year after a strong show of support from within the harness racing industry.  Initially shelved by the promoter after the 2014 edition, a decision has been made to revive the concept and ensure its survival and sustainability into the future. “After considerable consultation with the industry’s kindred bodies and stakeholders, Harness Racing New South Wales has made a commitment to assist with conducting the trialling sale in 2015,” HRNSW Chief Executive Officer John Dumesny said. “The sale plays an important role within the industry and a number of horses sold at the trialling sale have gone onto compete and perform at the highest level, the tentative date for this year’s sale is Sunday, December 6.” The announcement is timely with the popular Australian Pacing Gold sale being conducted in Sydney on Saturday.  It provides yearling buyers with the opportunity to prepare the youngsters for the Trialling Sale later in the year. First conducted in 2011 with 35 entries, the numbers grew with 50 lots catalogued in 2014 including several trotters. Some of the successful graduates include: Iam Mr Brightside- trained by Kerryann Turner.  The son of Julius Caesar has paced a mile in 1:51.2 and won more than $135,000.  He won the Simpson Memorial as a three-year-old and will compete in this Sunday’s Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  Chevals Charlie- trained by Colin McDowell.  Placed in a Group One as a two-year-old and the winner of more than $65,000, with seven victories and a best time of 1:56. Morior Invictus- trained by Michael Stanley.  The son of Shadow Play has won more than $40,000 and was the winner of the Group Three C.J Garrard Classic. Perfectly Written – trained by Shane Tritton.  The daughter of Sportswriter has won two of her three starts and paced 1:55.6 on debut.   HRNSW Media

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) conducted an inquiry on Monday 23 February 2015 into results received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Ipratropium was detected in the urine sample taken from Oneminutetodream following its win in race 5, the Mimosa Banks Stud Encouragement Stakes (2100 metres) conducted at Young on Tuesday 2 December 2014. The “B” sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. Mr Wilmot appeared at the inquiry. Evidence was tendered from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) and Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL). Evidence was also presented by Mr Wilmot, the trainer of Oneminutetodream and HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Wainscott. Mr Wilmot pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting his horse to race not free of a prohibited substance. Mr Wilmot was disqualified for a period of 6 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty, Stewards were mindful of the nature of the substance (Class 3), the guilty plea entered and personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, Oneminutetodream was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Harness Racing New South Wales  

Seven heats of the harness racing World Driving Championship were run in the city of Wagga Wagga, situated 455 kilometres south of Sydney.  Wagga Wagga is the state’s largest inland city and is an important agricultural, military and transport hub of Australia.  The Wagga Wagga harness racing track is 823 metres in circumference. Tonight the track was the venue of the Dexter Dunn show, as the leading New Zealand reinsman roared back into Championship contention with a dominant display winning the first three heats. Dexter Dunn’s patience was rewarded in heat six as he sat midfield and watched his rivals tire in the late stages.  Dexter Dunn made his move on Miss Ponder a 50/1 chance in the final lap and she was able to hold off a late challenge from France’s Pierre Vercruysse driving Rob The Bank and  Knud Monster behind G K Galleon.  Mika Forss continued his point accumulation with a fourth driving Chloes Venture. The seventh heat saw Dexter Dunn victorious driving The Baggy Green, in what many New Zealanders would see as an ironic win.  New Zealand and Australia are fierce enemies on the cricket field and ‘The Baggy Green’ is the name given to the hat worn by Australian cricketers.  Frenchman Pierre Vercruysse secured another second placing when he brought Holy Camp Girl with a late run.  Knud Monster completed the same driver trifecta as the first heat when Itsallaboutex ran third.  Norway’s Vidar Hop finished fourth on Sokys Bigbullet. It was three in a row when Dexter Dunn shot Shes A Jackson straight to the front from barrier one in the eighth heat of the Championship.  USA driver Tim Tetrick attempted to put some midrace pressure on the leader but it was to no avail as Dexter Dunn raced away for another win.  The good night continued for France with Tony Le Beller finishing second on Hezbuyindiamonds.  Australia’s Chris Alford saved plenty of ground on Ruato Bay and grabbed third while Denmark’s Knud Monster was fourth. The ninth heat was somewhat of an upset with Canadian Jody Jamieson lifting 20/1 Justasdangerous over the line after being clearly headed on the turn.  Jody Jamieson took up the early lead but was passed in the back straight by Chris Alford and Billy Branach with more than 400 metres to go.  To his credit Jody Jamieson refused to panic and urged his horse late to hold off Classiemahon driven by Finland’s Mika Forss.  Tony Le Beller finished third behind Samuel Thomas while Chris Alford and Billy Branach held onto fourth. The tenth heat saw ‘The Bionic Man’ Tim Tetrick at his best with the American driving Weliveinhope straight to the front.  Tim Tetrick dictated the speed through the middle stages and was able to kick away turning for home and won as he liked.  Dexter Dunn brought Mcqueen Regal with a well timed run for second boosting him further up the leaderboard while Mika Forss finished third on Claire Elizabeth after racing behind the leader.  Fourth in the race was Vidar Hop driving Lettucesomewhere. Tim Tetrick made it two in a row when he brought Glenburn Addy with a well timed run to win the eleventh heat.  Dexter Dunn continued to bank points when he finished second on Expensive Greeting.  It was a patient drive and he only got clear late but was never a winning threat.  Knud Monster finished third behind Holy Camp Wendy with Tony Le Beller fourth, driving Itsallaboutlu. Tony Le Beller brought up his second win of the Championship in the final heat of the night.  Tony Le Beller took Harlequin Bromac straight to the front and despite being challenged late by Dexter Dunn and Fake Art, he was able to hold on.  Dexter Dunn’s effort to finish second saw the New Zealander move to the top of the Championship after starting the evening in ninth position.  Vidar Hop finished third driving Lettuceplayginger while Pierre Vercryusse ensured the French finished on a good note running fourth with Annies Desire.   Name Point Score After 12 Heats Dexter Dunn 111 Tim Tetrick 97 Tony Le Beller 91 Mika Forss 89 Chris Alford 85 Knud Monster 69 Jody Jamieson 64 Vidar Hop 64 Pierre Vercryusse 63 Guillermo Adrover 59 Peter McMullen Australia (travelling Reserve) For all of the latest news and replays log onto Tim Tetrick and travelling reserve Peter McMullen both picked up catch drives in the non Championship races finished third. The drivers will spend tonight in Wagga Wagga before travelling to Bathurst tomorrow for another four heats.  Bathurst is 200 kilometres west of Sydney. Greg Hayes | Media Coordinator | Harness Racing New South Wales |    

All runners in Sunday’s TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion, including the two emergencies, will be stabled in the harness racing Retention Barn at Tabcorp Park Menangle from 11am on Friday. Combined the 16 horses have won nearly $11million and will remain in the complex until Sunday. A year ago all runners were required to be in the facility by Thursday, but Harness Racing New South Wales CEO John Dumesny explained why there had been a change this year. “HRNSW is always reviewing our policies and our current intelligence suggests having the horses arrive on Friday is the best practice on this occasion for both integrity and animal welfare purposes,” Dumesny said. “There are 48 surveillance cameras in the barn as well as security guards present at all times, so connections of each horse can be assured that all horses will be closely monitored throughout the period.” It is within the rules that any horse can be required to enter the barn and it provides the industry with confidence in relation to the sport’s integrity. “HRNSW has been the industry leader in this regard and will continue to provide that assurance to its participants and punters alike,” Dumesny said. HRNSW Media

Victorian harness racing trainer Brent Lilley will have one of the busiest days of his career this Sunday as he prepares seven runners for Group One events at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  While Lilley does not have a runner in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion he will be represented in five of the remaining six Group Ones “In the past I have had two or three runners in Group One races on one day, but to get seven horses through to Group Ones is an achievement I am very proud of,” Lilley said. “There are no strong favourites in my seven, but there are a few that might surprise if they get the right run, so I’m just hoping for a little bit of luck on Sunday.” Four-year-old Messini qualified for the Chariots Of Fire after finishing second to Bling It On in the Hondo Grattan Stakes when only a neck behind the winner. “Messini has drawn out wide, but he is flying,” Lilley declared. “The big thing with him will be luck in transit, and while he has got it all ahead of him from the draw, he is right in the zone at the moment. “He has a very good turn of foot and Chris (Alford, driver) will have plenty of options.” Three-year-old filly Rebel Diamond will take her position in the NSW Oaks after finishing second in her heat last Saturday night. “Rebel Diamond is a funny horse,” Lilley said. “She is one of those horses that gets beaten in races where you think she can’t get beaten and then pulls out a strong performance in a race where there is a lot of depth. “She did a good job on Saturday night and has drawn very well on Sunday, so she should get the right trip throughout the race.” Courageousnquick will compete in the Ladyship Mile and Lilley believes his mare has the early speed to cross her rivals. “She’s only had two runs back after a six-month break and she has been great in both of those runs,” Lilley said. “Courageousnquick is electric off the gate and in the past has come off the arm like she was clipped to it. “If she comes out hard I think she can cross Frith and the inside will be the place to be with Adore Me in the race.” Sluggem qualified for the NSW Derby by charging home for fourth in the heat won by Hug The Wind. “His effort was really good because he got checked,” Lilley said “He is still pretty green, but has a good motor and I think he will be a better horse in six or 12 months.” Lilley has three runners in the Trotters Standing Start – Zedalite, Kvintet Avenger and Kyvalley Blur. “Zedalite is the best stayer of my three and he will be suited by the stand and the long trip,” Lilley said. “He’s had a few niggling issues but he is better now.” HRNSW Media

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) concluded an inquiry yesterday into the Total plasma carbon dioxide (TCO2) levels returned from horses trained by Mrs. K Hillier since 1 January 2013. Mrs. Hillier and Mr Peter Hillyer appeared at the inquiry yesterday with their legal representative Mr Frank. Mrs Hillier was found guilty of the charges previously issued pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 239A, 190B and 240. The alternative charge issued pursuant to AHRR 193(1) was withdrawn. HRNSW Stewards issued the following penalties against Mrs Hillier:   Charge 1:        $1,000 fine Charge 2:        $500 fine Charge 3:   12 month disqualification to commence immediately and expire at midnight on 18 February 2016. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the serious nature of the offences, Mrs Hillier’s experience in the harness racing industry, her licence history and other personal subjective factors including personal and financial hardship. Mr Hillyer was also found guilty a charge previously issued pursuant to Rule 91(1) & (2). Consequently he was issued with a $500 fine. In considering that penalty Stewards were mindful of Mr Hillyer’s experience in the harness racing industry as a previously licensed trainer and experienced horseman. Read the full decision here Harness Racing New South Wales  

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards commenced an inquiry yesterday into the betting activities of licensed trainer and driver Mr David Moran This included a bet placed in Race 4 at the Leeton Harness Race on 30 January 2015, a race in which Mr Moran was engaged as a driver. Mr Moran appeared and gave evidence at the inquiry. Additional evidence including Mr Moran’s betting records and race results were also entered into evidence. The inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be fixed to allow further investigations to be conducted by HRNSW Stewards. Harness Racing New South Wales  

Young harness racing participant Katie McGill registered her maiden win when successful with The Sleepy Lion at Penrith last night. While McGill enjoyed the thrill of winning, it was business as usual today as she returned to her year 12 studies at Wyndham College. “It was a bit of a surprise that my first winner was The Sleepy Lion because we have had a lot of trouble with him galloping, it was a great relief to finally get that first win,” McGill said. “I was excited. It was a good feeling and I remember looking around after the race and seeing Glenn McElhinney with a big smile on his face and he gave me the thumbs up.” McGill made her driving debut last March, and after a few close finishes, she was questioning whether she would ever drive that elusive first winner. “I think Dad (David McGill, trainer of The Sleepy Lion) was the most relieved after Thursday night because he had noticed how frustrated I was getting,” McGill said. “Dad had been trying hard to find the right race with the right draw, so I think the win meant a lot to him as well.” While The Sleepy Lion is a horse Katie will never forget, she does have a soft spot for others in the stable. “Cantiscape was the first horse I drove in a race and he was the horse I drove when I ran a placing for the first time,” McGill  explained “He doesn’t race anymore, but he was pretty special and I also have a lot of time for Classic Croupier.” Following secondary school, McGill hopes to continue her education further. “I have always wanted to be a vet, so hopefully I can achieve that,” McGill said. “I enjoy working with the pacers, but it is not something that I am looking at doing full-time in the future.” HRNSW Media

The World Driving Championships are set to begin at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday and will continue for more than a week across New South Wales.  Some of the world’s best drivers from Europe, North America and Australasia will compete in a 20-race series concluding on TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand day on March 1. Tracks where the World Driving Championships will be conducted include Menangle, Newcastle, Goulburn, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst and Penrith. Owners and trainers should note all of the drivers, including the travelling reserve Peter McMullen, are available for drives in other races at the following meetings. Tabcorp Park Menangle February 21 Wagga February 24 Bathurst February 25 Penrith February 26 Tabcorp Park Menangle March 1 Due to travelling commitments drivers will be unable to take drives other than those in the WDC heats at Newcastle and Goulburn Please contact Adam Fairley 0418 785 367 to book any of the following drivers for races outside of the WDC.   Name Country Pierre Vercruysse France (Defending Champion) Jody Jamieson Canada Knud Mönster Denmark Tony le Beller France Mika Forss Finland Dexter Dunn New Zealand Vidar Hop Norway Guillermo Adrover Spain Tim Tetrick United States Chris Alford Australia Peter McMullen Australia (travelling Reserve) HRNSW Media

Harness racing is never short of a bit of controversy at the best of times, but the Inter Dominion always seems to raise the bar several notches. This year the decision by the selection committee to give Blazin N Cullen a wildcard over Franco Ledger for this year's Final at Menangle defies logic and reason. As you will see from the comparison we will do below, there is a wide gap in performance between the two horses in both their overall record and recent form. Blazin N Cullen - Lifetime record - Starts - 54 - Wins 15 - Seconds - 8 - Thirds - 7 - Stakes $196,672 This season Blazin N Cullen has had twelve starts before last night for for two wins and two placings and $62,240 in stakes. He has had two runs in Group One company for a fourth in the Queensland Pacing Championship and a seventh in the Cordina Sprint. He has had two runs in Group Two company for a second in the $75,000 Gold Coast Cup and a ninth in the Kevin Newman Cup. He has had four runs in Group Three company for a win in the $30,000 Vic Frost Cup, two fifths and a sixth. Last night in what was a very poor quality field with the favouite an out of form Terror To Love, Blazin N Cullen, ran home well for fourth after doing no work in the run. This season in his 13 runs he has only finished in front of two of the 13 horses he will face on Final Day and they are For A Reason and Ultimate Art. Blazin N Cullen's last six runs including last nights run read as follows: Fourth  -  Fifth  -  First  -  Fifth  -  Fifth  -  Fourth Franco Ledger - Lifetime record - Starts - 73 - Wins - 22 - Seconds - 11 - Thirds - 6 - Stakes $544,438 This season Franco Ledger has had 12 starts before last night in New Zealand/Australia for three wins and two placings and $160,079 in stakes. He has had five runs in Group One company for a eighth in the New Zealand Cup, a ninth in the New Zealand Free For All, a fifth in the South Australian Cup, an eleventh in the Victoria Cup and a second in the Hunter Cup. He has had four runs in Group Two company for an eleventh in the Canterbury Classic, an eighth in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, a second in the $50,000 Kaikoura Cup to Arden Rooney and a win in the $50,000 Shepparton Cup He has had two runs in Group Three company for a sixth in the Hannon Memorial and a win in the $35,000 Methven Cup over Jimmy Johnstone and Smolda. Last night Franco Ledger was last at the half mile and ran home three and four wide in 54.6 (TImed off Video) to finish fifth beaten five metres. In our opinion it was the run of the race to finish that close from where he was in the running. This season in his 13 runs he has finished in front of six of the horses who have made the Final in For A Reason, Lennytheshark, Terror To Love, Easy On The Eye, Flaming Flutter, and I'm Corzin Terror. Franco Ledger's last six runs including last nights run read as follows: First - Fifth - First - Eleventh - Second - Fifth Overview The one thing that is obvious from the statistics above is that Franco Ledger has been racing at the highest level in Australasia all season. Most of  his New Zealand runs were against the like of Christen Me, Adore Me, Terror To Love and For A Reason and he has faced the best in both the Hunter and Victoria Cups. The only horse that he has not beaten home of all the top group one performers in Australasia is Beautide. Every other top liner you could name Franco Ledger has beaten at some stage. Blazin N Cullen hasn't raced at anything like that level for most of his career as his form above shows and this season alone he has earned nearly $100,000 less than Franco Ledger. The bookmakers were quick to show what they thought on the matter with Blazin N Cullen who is in the field a $51 chance while Franco Ledger who is only the Emergency is a $21 chance. On what basis they included Blazin N Cullen in the Final as a wildcard only the selection panel knows, but it is a decision that is impossible to justify on their respective performances this season. JC

At the completion of Saturday night’s Inter Dominion heats Harness Racing NSW and the NSW Harness Racing Club will issue an Order of Entry for the Final. The Championship is scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 1. The Order of Entry is designed to allow connections the necessary time after the heats to assess the health of their horse and consider their options prior to the field being determined in accordance with the 2015 Inter Dominion Conditions. The Order of Entry will include 20 horses: Horses 1-12; Those horses that have qualified for the Final as per their finishing position in the heats and in accordance with the conditions. Horses 13-14; Those horses selected as “wildcards” for the Final as per the conditions. Horses 15-20; Those horses selected, in order of merit, as standby runners for the Final.  These horses must have competed in the heats and are an extension of the “wildcard” and emergency selection process. Connections of all 20 horses have until 10am Monday, February 16 to advise HRNSW of their decision to accept for the $750,000 Inter Dominion Final. The field for the Final, comprising 14 runners and at least two Emergencies, will be declared at noon on Monday, February 16 based on the Order of Entry after non-acceptors are taken into account. It is anticipated the Order of Entry will be announced as part of the Sky Racing 2 dedicated coverage of the heats and distributed as an official Inter Dominion Media Release at approximately 9:45pm on Saturday, 14 February 2015. GREG HAYES

The first of the harness racing features at Menangle for the two year olds this season was held last night with the running of the $40,800 Sapling Stakes. Queensland visitor Major Buddy was all the rage with punters after a series of outstanding trial runs but he was no match on the night for the locals who really turned it on for so early in the two year old calendar. As the gate left Gavin Fitzpatrick shot Salty Robyn to the front from barrier two but he was hotly challenged early in the piece by Bettermatch with Steve Maguire in the bike from barrier seven. These two eyeballed each other for the first 400 in a swift 26.6 before Steve took a hold of Bettormatch and they buttoned off the speed. Debutante runner Born To Rocknroll with John McCarthy in the bike settled into the one by one after 400 metres from barrier five as Salty Robyn kept up a solid tempo. A second quarter of  29.8 and a third quarter of 28.3 from Salty Robyn meant the back runners faced mission impossible as they turned for home. Salty Robyn went for home by two with Bettermatch and Born To Rocknroll coming at him the whole length of the straight and in the shadows of the finishing line Bettormatch stuck his head out for an outstanding win. A short half head away were both Salty Robyn and Born To Rocknroll who the judge couldn't separate for second. With the last quarter being run in 28.9, the mile was cut out in a very quick 1:53.6. For Bettermatch it was his fourth win on end and he remained unbeaten this season. Trainer Col Thomas had one word to describe the feeling straight after the race. " Awesome, really awesome, I am really very proud." " That is the biggest race winner I have ever trained." "He fired up a bit tonight which is not like him." "He is a colt but he is so quiet at home he never gets out of second gear," Col said Col was quick to heap praise on owner Robbie Wakeman who helps him out with his small team. " Robbie is at home every morning at 6:30 to help me work the team and back at 2:00 in the afternoon to help out again." "He does most of the work with Bettermatch and deserves a lot of the credit," Col said. A colt by the ill fated son of Bettor's Delight in Kenneth J, Bettermatch is from the racewinning New Zealand bred  Live Or Die mare in Matchme who is from a half sister to two former topliners in Bolton Byrd and Melton Monarch for noted New Zealand breeder Jim Dalgety. Bettermatch has two immediate goals in the next few weeks. " He can come back here in ten days for the Simpson Memorial and then we will head to Bathurst." "I would really love to win a Group One with him," Col said. The first three home last night all went super and if that is the standard of two year old racing this season, then we have some great racing to look forward to. Harnesslink Media  

The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) has advised Harness Racing NSW that Ipratropium has been detected in the urine sample taken from Oneminutetodream following its win in race 5, the Mimosa Banks Stud Encouragement Stakes (2100 metres) conducted at Young on Tuesday 2 December 2014. The “B” sample has been sent to the Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria for confirmation. The trainer of the horse at the time of the sample being obtained Mr G. Wilmot has been advised that HRNSW will continue its investigation into this sample irregularity and an inquiry will be conducted in due course. Harness Racing New South Wales

Harness racing is a worldwide industry but the results of stallions can vary widely between countries let alone hemispheres. A lot of stallions perform to the same level in both hemispheres but some really struggle to reproduce in one hemisphere what they have already achieved in another. One stallion in this category in our opinion is the son of Western Ideal, Always A Virgin. Standing at stud for the first time in North America in 2009, the first foals by Always A Virgin hit the ground in Indiana in 2010. Now Indiana is not New York or Pennsylvania but it is still a strong harness racing state and right from the start Always A Virgin has produced the goods. His first crop hit the tracks in 2012 and he immediately made an impact finishing eighth on the two year old sires list in North America. And he did it from a state that does not have a Sires Stakes program of anywhere near the same value as New York or Pennsylvania. That crop has just turned five and the numbers are very impressive. It includes the outstanding mare Always About Katy 1:51.1 ($794,992) as well as such smart types as Right Touch 1:50.1 ($489,660)  Sweet Talkin Satin 1:49.1 ($349,600) and Crazy On You 1:50.2 ($238,734) Foals - 117     Winners - 83     $100,000 Winners - 14     Sub 1:50 - 2     Total Stakes - $5,737,563 His second crop hit the track in 2013 and if his first crop was good, his second was even better. Even though he again finished a highly creditable eighth on the two year old North American Sires List in 2013, Always A Virgin produced two horses in this crop who performed with distinction at the highest level of the sport. Always B Miki 1:47.4 ($930,891) won 12 races during the 2014 season  but his best run was his great effort for second in the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace where he ran second to He's Watching (who equaled the world record for a three-year-old of 1:46.4) in 1:47.1 after starting from barrier nine. Colors A Virgin 1:51 ($744,322) went one better winning 13 races during the 2014 season with her best run being her winning performance in the $178,000 Final of the Jugette at Delaware Other of note from this crop include Candy's A Virgin 1:51 ($268,871) and Not A Virgin 1:50 ($259,453) This crop has just turned four and the numbers are once again very good Foals - 111     Winners - 59     $100,000 Winners - 7     Sub 1:50 - 2     Total Stakes - $4,240,879   His third crop was significantly smaller as breeders sat back to see if the initial crops would perform and he had the new boy Rockin Image standing his first season in Indiana as well. Always a Virgin had 51 two year olds in North America in 2014 and while his overall numbers were down he still produced some lovely two year olds. His two best performers last season were Harfo Hanover 1:51.3 ($135,492) and Tonis Affection 1:51.4 ($112,400) Overall his percentages were on a par with his first two crops. Foals - 51     Winners - 20     $100,000 Winners - 2     Sub 1:53 - 3     Total Stakes - $485,232 His next crop which are two year olds in 2015 only numbered 42 foals but on the back of his first crop performing well he has 85 yearlings and has served 128 mares last year. Comment Has made his name the hard way by producing quality stock from good mares but not out and out "blue bloods " like some stallions serve. The fact he has done all of this while standing in Indiana just adds further kudos to what he has achieved. Always A Virgin has shown he can leave that elite level colt or filly that all breeders are looking for. Southern Hemisphere Always A Virgin stood his first season down under in the 2010/2011 breeding season. His first crop numbered 105 foals and they raced as two year olds in the 2013/2014 season. As of today they are nearing the halfway mark of their three year old season and the results so far look to have being disappointing. They finished tenth on the Australian two year old sires list in 2013/2014 and presently sit thirteenth on the 2014/2015 Australian three year old list. His best performers to date have been Lovelist 1:58 ($50,922) and Blackntan 1:58 ($40,115) but what is even more concerning is the overall percentages which are way off the pace of most of his competitors. As you can see from the chart below, it does not make good reading. Foals - 105   Winners - 17 $50,000 Winners - 1   % Winners / live foals - 16.19% Total Stakes $294,649    His second crop down under are two year olds in the current season and they number 54 foals. The two-year-old racing season is just getting under way now so it is way to early for any definitive comments. Always A Virgin has 88 yearlings on the ground and served another 145 mares in the 2014/2015 breeding season. Comment At this point of his first crop's three year old season, you would have to say they have been very disappointing to date. There were 27 starters in the heats of the Victorian Derby on Saturday night and Always A Virgin did not have a runner in any of the three heats. Always A Virgin needs to raise his numbers of winners and quickly and needs to find some Derby and Oaks runners as well if he is to achieve any real credibility as a sire in the Southern Hemisphere.. Overview At this stage the stock of Always A Virgin in the two hemispheres are like chalk and cheese. In North America they have over achieved for a stallion standing in Indiana and earned a reputation as talented and durable performers. In Australia they have under achieved to date and they will quickly lose their appeal to breeders and owners if this trend continues. If by the end of the current season in Australia Always A Virgin hasn't significantly improved his overall numbers and produced a couple of standout individuals, then there will be a big question mark about his future in the Southern Hemisphere. Harnesslink Media

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