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Astute Adelaide-based harness racing trainer Greg Norman decided two months ago to target a country cup 500 kilometres away in outback New South Wales – and now he’s already planning to go back again next year.   Norman, based at Two Wells and private trainer for A.B and T. Cormack Racing Pty Ltd, believed his four-year-old gelding The Deal (American Ideal-Tamara Hall (Real Desire) would be perfect for the rich Rocky Baker Memorial Cup at Broken Hill’s Carnival of Cups meeting last Friday night.   “I was aware the track was pretty tight at 605 metres, but despite The Deal being a big horse, I was very confident he would have no problems handling it at all,” Norman said.   And that proved to be the case – although stable followers may have had their hearts in their mouths briefly when The Deal shied at the finish line with one lap to go.   The Deal shifted up the track and a cheer went up from the big crowd because it allowed their home-town pin-up horse (and $1.90 favorite) Bettatobelucky to kick up on the inside.   Bettatobelucky became a joint leader, setting up the prospect of a sentimental win for trainer, local legend Don Pimm, who hasn’t been well of late.   However, The Deal, under hard driving by Jamie Williams, kicked back in the final lap, getting the upper hand to score impressively from Bettatobelucky in a new track record of 2.02-8 for 2500m trip.   “The horse has been going great this year. He scored at Cobram in January and then back home at Globe Derby Park last month and he’s been placed in five of his six other starts,” Norman said.   “We decided to set him for the Broken Hill Cup race because the $14,000 on offer for a C1-C3 class was unreal,” he said.   “We’ve already pencilled in the event for next year, but we’ll just have to see what suitable horses we have at the time.”   Reinsman Jamie Williams made the trip to Broken Hill with one of the part owners Adam Cormack and a friend, but Norman himself missed the meeting due to campaigning a team of three in Victoria.   “But I’ll be making sure I get a seat next trip – they celebrated fairly long into the night and from all accounts they enjoyed themselves the following day at the big St Pat’s Gallops meeting. I was reasonably envious I can tell you!”   Norman has so far had two runners during this Victorian campaign with Belladonna Girl being 5th at Melton and Edwin Bromac finishing 4th at Boort. Three-year-old Cee Cee In America will compete in the opening race at Kilmore on Wednesday night.   “We are chasing Vicbred bonuses with the three of them and how long we stay will obviously depend on their performances,” he said.   Despite missing the Broken Hill trip, Norman had fond memories of a successful hit-and-run mission “about 30 years ago”.   “A friend of mine in Geoff Lehmann lived up there at the time and invited me to drive one of his horses. Geoff worked at the mines and was just a hobby trainer, but I was able to land the money for him with Amber Alto,” he said.   “I do recall the track being small and it’s quite unique nowadays, I guess. But there’s plenty of people who have similar sized circuits that they train on at home.”   Norman said while The Deal found no problems with the Broken Hill track, his half-sister in Cowgirlsnlace didn’t handle it so well.   “She did finish second, but she got on one rein for most of the trip and Jamie told me he had problems steering her. The horse is a midget compared to The Deal, but it just goes to show that size plays no part in how they run on a tight track,” he said.   “I was thrilled to see Jamie land the cup. He’s a great worker at the stables for me.”   Williams was a highly sought-after driver many years ago when John and Lisa Justice had a powerful team going in Adelaide.   “He was their third-string driver,” Norman said.   “When they left to relocate to Victoria, Jamie went out of the game for a while. He recently got his first winner for six years so now with the Broken Hill success we could say he’s on a roll!”   The Broken Hill Cup is presented (L-R) by Jensen Baker (Rocky Baker's son and owner of Carbine Chemicals) to Adam Cormack, owner of The Deal, driver Jamie Williams and stable supporter Brendan Martin    -photo Coffee Photography and Framing, Dubbo   Norman has 14 in work and is enjoying his association with Terry Cormack and his sons Adam and Ben.   Broken Hill president Tracey Robinson said official estimates put the huge cup-night crowd at around 2000.   “But that’s only people through the gates – not children, who get in free, and there were a lot – and not pass-holders and sponsors, so it was a fantastic result,” she said.   “The betting turnovers won’t be known for a couple of weeks, but the betting ring certainly seemed busy.   “It was fantastic to have Harness Racing NSW CEO John Dumesny on course again, as were chairman Rodney Smith and Director Ken Brown.   “We were excited to be able to show them, not just tell them, how vibrant the sport of harness racing is in Broken Hill, how much community support and energy there is around it, and in particular what a fantastic event the cup is.”   Broken Hill Demo Club Pace trophy presentation with (L-R) Amelia Butler (representing sponsor the Broken Hill Democratic Club), HRNSW CEO John Dumesny, Heseversoclever stable representative Christie Rogers and Coral Ford ( Demo Club)      -photo Coffee Photography and Framing, Dubbo   The opening two events at Broken Hill saw female drivers in the limelight with local Cassie Robinson successful on Rapacious (who equalled the track record) for Don Pimm and visiting SA reinswoman Kaela Hryhorec scoring an impressive win on Serene Change, prepared locally by popular Broken Hill trainer Darren McInnes.   American Beau gave Ray “Raz” Slater success in the last race of the night. Frequent Broken Hill visitor, David Vozlic, from Mildura, was successful with Magic In Her Moves. Another Sunraysia trainer in Boris Devcic, made a rare trip to “the Hill” to score an all-the-way win in the $7500 Demo Club Pace with six-year-old gelding Heseversoclever, who scooted over the 1900m trip in a fast 2.00-1.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Last year Bernie and Cath Hewitt were delighted to lay their hands on their maiden Gold Crown trophy, but now they have another career first to celebrate. The Bathurst Harness Racing Club has announced the Georges Plains couple as the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival honourees. The Hewitts are synonymous with the harness racing industry and undoubtedly had their greatest season last year with Group 1 success with College Chapel in the Gold Crown and Royal Story in the Breeders Challenge Finals. “My board’s selection of Bernie and Cath as the Gold Crown honourees for this year is a reward for their many years of service and dedication to the harness racing industry,” club president Wayne Barker said. “Any success in sport only comes about through sheer hard work and dedication to the cause and Bernie and Cath epitomise this, so it was a very easy decision for the board to select them this year as our honourees." Bernie Hewitt has trained and driven 1,400 winners since 1983 and rates Nikalong Shadow, Super Nik, Pretty Sassy and Read About Lexy as some of the best horses he has trained and driven. “I’ve been very fortunate to drive some great horses throughout my career. Nikalong Shadow was one of the best, he was trained by Dad, won 45 races and also contested the 1989 Inter Dominion in Perth. I have very fond memories of that year,” Hewitt said. “It seems such a long time ago now since I drove my very first winner, Smokey Comedy at Canberra back in the late 70s. "I would have only been out of school 12 months then, but that first win is something I’ll never forget. “This is a tough sport and a lot of long hours involved in the training and racing, however Cath and I love what we do and I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the love and support that Cath has given to me. Cath deserves the recognition as much as me.” The Hewitt family relocated to Bathurst in 2001 and had instant success, winning two Bathurst training and driving premierships. They eventually set up their home at Georges Plains, which now encompasses a magnificent establishment that can cater for up to 45 horses. “I have everything I need here at home. I can walk out the back door and basically start work straight away,” Hewitt said. “It is fantastic to see Jase, Doug and Gem all involved with harness racing. All three have been very successful in the training and driving ranks as well. I couldn’t be any more proud of them. “It’s was a shock to us both when we were informed of about the selection, and to be included in the list of Gold Crown Honourees, the who’s who of harness racing, it doesn’t get any better than that." By Danny Dwyer Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

Country New South Wales harness racing trainer-driver Danny Gibson has always had a bit of a fascination with the famous Silver City mining town of Broken Hill. “It’s probably because we live at a small town called Elrington, near Cessnock (2 hrs north of Sydney) and there’s mining history there,” Gibson said. “It’s a little different to Broken Hill because it’s known for coal, but the similarities are there. At Elrington, though, there’s been a shift over the years because a decline in mining has seen a huge growth in the wine industry.” The other attraction to the ‘Hill was Gibson’s inquisitiveness regarding the town’s tight 602 metre harness racing track, regarded as the smallest in the country. “I’ll have to be honest and say that racing some of our horses at Broken Hill and meeting the local people ended up being on my ‘bucket list’ of things to do,” Gibson laughed. So, when he got two weeks’ holidays from his employment with a hydrocarbon company coinciding with the Broken Hill Carnival of Cups, it was obvious where Gibson and his wife Janelle were headed. Danny and Janelle Gibson They couldn’t have scripted it any better, scoring an all-the-way win with seven-year-old mare Evils Afoot (Live or Die-Smooth Idol (Smooth Fella USA) in the $3000 Seymour Ladyship Pace, one of the features at last Saturday night’s lead-up meeting to the cup. “It was a big surprise because she put on her nervous pre-race performance and that’s never a good sign,” Gibson said. “I was in two minds whether to go forward from the two alley because she had nearly run her race beforehand with all her antics, but I thought ‘what the heck’ and sent her to the lead. “We just lasted, but that’s all you have to do. “It was her first win in 33 starts and she took to the tight circuit like a duck to water!” Gibson said winning the event brought a welcome bonus, in the form of a free stallion service donated by generous supporters Kevin and Kay Seymour. “The main part of the trip, which took 13 hours all up, was to take a break and have a holiday.  We’ve done that and thoroughly enjoyed every minute,” he said. “We’ve found the trots people to be fantastic, but that also goes right across the board. Everywhere we’ve gone around the town we’ve found everyone to be great.” Local horseman Alan Rennie is playing host to the visiting horses, who are “right at home” being trained out of paddocks. Gibson said he was accustomed to driving on small tracks. “I’ve been in the game all my life.  My father Brian raced horses and when I started driving in the 70s, some of the clubs like Tamworth, Maitland and even Newcastle had little tracks,” he said. “Tamworth was special because that’s where I got my first winner during the 1975 Easter Carnival.” But without doubt a huge highlight of Gibson’s career was winning the final of an Indigenous Drivers’ series, transferring his small-track specialist skills to the wide expanses of the 1400-metre Menagle circuit. “I think it was around 2009 when I had my first drive at that track, and it was amazing,” Gibson said. “The horses don’t feel like they are going around corners and they also don’t feel they are going as quick as they are. “I’ll never forget that particular race because it provided me with a win in 1.54-7 - the first time I’d ever run a sub-1.55. That was certainly a huge thrill,” Gibson said. The Gibson team will be at Broken Hill’s only TAB meeting for the season on Friday night (featuring Sky Channel coverage) with last start winner Evils Afoot and traveling companion Kenny Rees (Major In Art-Straight Left). But win, lose or draw, you can bet Danny and Janelle are sure to be talking about their trip to the Silver City for many years to come. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A PICTURE perfect day greeted nearly 3,000 racegoers in Wagga Wagga as the Riverina Paceway was officially opened last Sunday. The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a great day of harness racing with some excellent performances on track highlighted by Tuapeka Glory setting a new track record in the best finish of the day.  The seven-year-old made use of the new sprint lane to defeat Pocket Of Terror by a short half -head, with the first four placegetters separated by less than one and a half metres. In the first race of the day Anthony Frisby drove Mistery Road to victory claiming a historic double. Frisby took out the first race at the grand opening of the new Bathurst track in October 2014 aboard Uncle Paul. Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny was delighted with the new track and the crowd that had come to enjoy the day. “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m thrilled that the Riverina now has this wonderful facility where trainers and drivers can really demonstrate how talented their horses are,” Dumesny said. “It really is exciting to see such a great crowd here and we’ve been blessed with perfect weather. It’s a wonderful day for people to experience harness racing for the first time, or even reconnect with the sport after many years.” The opening ceremony included Rod Smith (Chairman of HRNSW), Michael McCormack MP (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Riverina) and Paul Toole MP (NSW Minister for Racing) who all spoke about the importance of this facility for the Riverina and for harness racing in NSW. McCormack was thoroughly impressed with the facility. “This facility will be the jewel in the crown for harness racing track across all of country Australia,” he said. Meanwhile, Toole commended HRNSW on its foresight and perseverance. “There have been a number of people involved over this journey that is about making sure that this industry is going to go from strength to strength.” Leading reinsman Luke McCarthy doesn’t make too many trips to Wagga but was impressed by what he saw. “I don’t often come to Wagga but with a track and facility like this I can certainly see it attracting trainers from Sydney more often, especially for the club’s feature races which they wouldn’t have travelled to in the past,” McCarthy commented. The next feature meeting at Riverina Paceway will be Wagga’s Carnival of Cups event on Sunday 21 April (Easter Sunday) which includes the Wagga Cup.   Kyle Maher

THE New South Wales harness racing scene has attracted yet another top driver. With an influx of interstate and international trainers and drivers now calling the state home, young reinsman Leonard Cain is the latest to be added to this list. Born and raised in Queensland, the 19-year-old driver has established his driving career in the Sunshine State. In only three seasons of driving, Cain has thrust himself amongst the top 10 drivers in Queensland and is now looking for a new challenge. “I’ve had good success in Queensland but it’s now time to make the next move,” said Cain. Having already driven more than 150 winners in his succinct career, Cain is eager to make his name in NSW. “I will be in Sydney now and willing to drive for any and everyone and I’m more than happy to travel for race meetings,” he said. So much so, Cain had his first drive since relocating south at the new Riverina Paceway at Wagga Wagga yesterday. And today, Cain is traveling many kilometres to make his driving commitments at Newcastle this afternoon. Cain will drive the Melanie Elder-trained Days End in race eight and earned a couple of other catch drives as well. He has also locked in a drive with the Tim Butt-trained Denstown at Menangle tomorrow afternoon. Cain drove for the Miracle Mile-winning trainer at Wagga on Sunday when partnering with Italian Delight to finish third. Ironically, Cain’s main motive to make the move to Sydney was for Italian-born owner Emilio Rosati. Cain will drive for the big-spending owner and will also work on the farm Rosati is establishing in Sydney’s South West. Joining Cain for that mission is North American trainer Noel Daley, who will be a private trainer for Rosati. Daley has just returned from a 29-year stint training horses in the United States.  Also born in Queensland, Daley had success with 2570 winners while training in North America. Others that have relocated to NSW recently on a permanent basis include New Zealand brothers Tim and Anthony Butt as well as Queenslanders Lachie Manzelmann and Isobel Ross.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

THE Bathurst Harness Racing Club has announced Bernie and Cath Hewitt as the Bathurst Gold Crown Honourees for 2019. Bernie and Cath Hewitt are synonymous names in the harness racing industry, and undoubtedly, had their greatest season last year with Group 1 success with College Chapel in the Bathurst Gold Crown and Royal Story in the Breeders Challenge Finals. “My Board’s selection of Bernie and Cath as the Gold Crown Honourees for this year is a reward for their many years of service and dedication to the harness racing industry,” Club President Wayne Barker said. “Any success in sport only comes about through sheer hard work and dedication to the cause and Bernie and Cath epitomise this, so it was a very easy decision for the Board to select them this year as our Honouree’s." Bernie has trained and driven 1400 winners since 1983 and rates Nikalong Shadow, Super Nik, Pretty Sassy and Read About Lexy as some of the best horses he has trained and driven throughout his career. “I’ve been very fortunate to drive some great horses throughout my career. Nikalong Shadow was one of the best, he was trained by Dad, won 45 races and also contested the 1989 Inter Dominion in Perth. I have very fond memories of that year,” Hewitt said. “It seems such a long time ago now since I drove my very first winner, Smokey Comedy at Canberra back in the late 70s. I would have only been out of school 12 months then, but that first win is something I’ll never forget.” “This is a tough sport and a lot of long hours involved in the training and racing, however, Cath and I love what we do and I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the love and support that Cath has given to me. Cath deserves the recognition as much as me,” Hewitt suggested. The Hewitt family relocated to Bathurst in 2001 and had instant success winning two Bathurst training and driving premierships.  They eventually set up their home at Georges Plain which now encompasses a magnificent establishment that can cater for up to 45 horses in training. “I have everything I need here at home. I can walk out the back door and basically start work straightaway,” Hewitt said. “My business has always been a family affair and it is fantastic to see Jase, Doug and Gem all involved with harness racing. All three, have been very successful in the training and driving ranks as well. I couldn’t be any more proud of them then I already am. “It’s was a shock to us both when we were informed of about the selection, and to  be included in the list of Gold Crown Honourees, the who’s who of harness racing, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Hewitt concluded. Bernie and Cath Hewitt will be formally acknowledged as 2109 Gold Crown Honouress on Thursday 28 March at the Bathurst RSL Club. Danny Dwyer

Cessnock harness racing trainer Clayton Harmey is hoping to grab another front-running win with Always A Secret on Monday at Newcastle after he dominated in a career-best time on Saturday night. Always A Secret led throughout with Leigh Sutton aboard to win by four metres in 1.55.5 in race two at Newcastle and will back up at the track in the fifth on Monday. It was a fourth win in 18 starts for the four-year-old, a brother to the former Harmey-trained Secret Jack which now races in Queensland. "He loves the front but he's half the horse in the field," Harmey said. "Secret Jack was the same. I think he won about 10 races for me and nearly all of them were when he led. "I was pretty proud of Always A Secret, especially on a rain-affected track, it was very good run to clock that time. And he just kept going. He was never on the bridle the whole race." Harmey has a soft spot for Always A Secret, which has beat the odds from an early age to still be competing. "As a foal, one of his back legs was cut up really bad in a paddock accident and the vet said he would never race. He didn't think he would even survive. "But the owners kept going with him. His leg looks terrible but it doesn't worry him. He's amazing, he just keeps pushing on. "If the race tomorrow was harder, I probably wouldn't start him but I don't think it's overly hard." Harmey also has a high opinion of Straddie, which races in the third on Monday. Although drawn wide, Straddie was "a little hope at big odds", the trainer said. Also on Saturday, Sutton drove a winning double when he saluted on Courage Lips for Jinaya Niass. Michael Formosa (Si Si Senor and Eagle Falls) and Rickie Alchin (Regulus and Crunch Time) also drove two winners each. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

In an era of sizzling mile rates, speed sulkies and one-mile tracks, a night at the Broken Hill trots is a truly nostalgic experience for any harness racing fan.   It’s trots “like they used to be” – and, as Broken Hill, counts down to the biggest event of its ten-meeting summer season, it’s worth thinking about putting a road-trip (or flight) to this outback city in your diary!   Simply arriving at the trotting track in this outback mining town, 1200 kilometres from Sydney, is an eye-opener. With a circumference of just 602 metres (less than half the size of Menangle), the track is likely the smallest in the country. Set on the side of a hill and flanked by mine heaps, its crucible-like layout is unique in Australia, probably the world.   But it’s the Broken Hill “experience” that’s the most memorable aspect. The people are friendly, and the trotting folk are proud of their facility and their sport…and it shows.   Despite drought and oppressive heat this summer, there’s optimism, hope and energy around the club. The rival trainers and drivers are keen to lower your colors on the track, but if that’s not the result, they’ll be the first to congratulate you over a beer in the bar later. It’s the Broken Hill way.   And while clubs such as Wentworth, just a stone’s throw from MIldura; and Tweed Heads, on the NSW-Qld border (on the famous Gold Coast), are two of many small clubs who’ve fallen by the wayside, the ‘Hill races on.   Club President, Tracey Robinson said the enthusiasm and vibe around the club was something special.   “We’ve really been up against it this season, because the extreme heat has made it tough to get people to the meetings and Victorian trainers have been understandably reluctant to make the trip up here,” Tracey said.   “But the racing’s still incredibly competitive and we haven’t had to cancel any meetings due to a shortage of horses.   “We’re hoping that now the cooler weather is here, our final two meetings (on Saturday March 9 and Friday March 15) will attract big crowds.”   The highlight on March 9 will be the $3000 Maltese Cup as well as a special mare’s event, supported by Kevin and Kay Seymour who have provided a free service worth $2000 to one of their well credentialed stallions.   But Broken Hill’s biggest annual fixture, the Carnival of Cups on March 15, draws the club’s biggest crowds. It’s run on the eve of Broken Hill’s notable St Patricks Day gallops fixture (on March 16) and is the only Broken Hill trots meeting broadcast on Sky Channel. The card has a host of features including the $14,000 Rocky Baker Memorial Pacing Cup and support events for C1-C3 horses and CO class horses, both of $8750.   Tracey said the club was thrilled to have a new major sponsor this season – Sydney law firm Redenbach Lee, which has a regional office in Broken Hill.   But she paid tribute to all of the club’s loyal sponsors.   “Many of the local businesses are doing it hard because the drought is having a domino effect, but they have all given us amazing support,” she said.   The Broken Hill Committee, led by the Robinson family, is central to the club’s ongoing success.   Tracey is enthusiastically at the fore, but husband David is never far away, including tending to track duties. Daughters Cassie (junior Vice President and a leading driver), Stevie and Nikki also have busy roles at the club and on race nights, and Tracey’s sister Nat runs the bar.   “It does get busy, and a bit crazy at times, but the bottom line is that we all absolutely love it,” Tracey said.   “The club has some amazing supporters, like Des Leo, who travels a round trip of 600kms from Mildura to drive the mobile barrier. Des is a former Broken Hill resident and just wants to see the club prosper – people like him are like gold.”   The late Rocky Baker, of Carbine Chemicals fame, was a Broken Hill much so that the harness racing centre is now the Rocky Baker Memorial Oval Paceway.   His son Jensen, despite living in Melbourne, continues the family’s commitment to Broken Hill trots, providing products for every runner competing through the season, and, as an added incentive, if the track record is broken, connections will get a $1000 Carbine Chemicals voucher. He’s also donating 24 bicycles to give away on Cup night, in an effort to attract more families to the meeting.   Broken Hill is a town that’s always done things its own way. Aside from its famed mining base, it came to note in the 1970s as the Outback retreat of the Brushmen of the Bush – Jack Absalom, Pro Hart, Hugh Schulz, John Pickup and Eric Minchin. Broken Hill also shot to popular note in the 1990s, courtesy of the film “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and its Broken Heel Festival each September is now a flamboyant three-day celebration of the “drag” scene.   This is a resourceful, self-reliant and generous community – and the history of harness racing in the town captures those best elements of Aussie spirit.   Through some difficult times, locals have been tireless in volunteering their time, recruiting supporters, calling in favors and securing sponsorship. Along with the support of Broken Hill Council, and against the odds, they’ve kept this remarkable little paceway going.   The club is now celebrating its 62nd year of “official” racing, but history shows that the sport began in the mining town back in the 1890s.   Regular “unregistered” race meetings were held, featuring ridden trotters. Businessmen would compete to buy the rights to run “the booth” and collect front gate sales from the meetings, held in the early days at the racecourse, with “settling up” payments made later in one of the many Silver City pubs.   Bob Napier and Charlie Weston.  Note the whip in mouth. - Photo Kate Attard and Broken Hill Harness Racing Club   The informal early trotting meetings were sometime conducted under the watchful eye of stewards, but the inevitable disagreements and shenanigans occurred between trainer, rider and, often, the general public.   After the First World War, Broken Hill Trotting Association took the lead in coming up with fresh ideas to re-ignite the interest of the public in competitive racing. They did it by running milk or bread cart races between rival companies with the horses permitted to gallop.   Held on Sunday afternoons, the “Milko Derbies” as they were known, were conducted on dirt tracks in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Huge crowds would turn up to watch the carts race around tracks bordered by 44-gallon drums.   The carts, featuring brightly-colored signs from the many dairies and bakeries in the area, boasted rubber wheels and, obviously, drivers with nerves of steel!   Broken Hill trotting action - Helmets optional   - Photo Kate Attard and Broken Hill Harness Racing Club   When the city’s galloping meetings moved to the current Broken Hill Racecourse, the trotters went as well – but it was short-lived. The racetrack was too sandy, so, in about 1945, the trotters moved to what was then known as Western Oval, later named Memorial Oval and now known as Rocky Baker Memorial Oval Paceway.   Barry Hodge remembers his father Les racing the first pacer seen in the region.   Les Hodge and his milk cart      - Photo Kate Attard and Broken Hill Harness Racing Club   “Adelaide blacksmith Stan Robinson, my mother’s uncle, arranged to buy a pacer for my dad. He, along with everyone else in Broken Hill, had never seen a pacing horse,” Barry said.   “The horse was named Starlight, as he was trained in the night by dad, and won his first race at the South Racecourse. He then won many more over the next few years.   Starlight       - Photo Kate Attard and Broken Hill Harness Racing Club   “I believe that Stan Robinson, my father Les and Starlight were at the forefront of harness racing in Broken Hill.”   Barry said the original track was very small.   “It had a banked cycle track around the football oval – the horses raced outside the goal posts and inside the bike track.”   He said the running rail was either 44-gallon drums or trestles on the corners with a steward on each bend to ensure they had a good view of proceedings.   The Broken Hill Memorial Trotting Club was formed in 1956 and raced for several years before the shape of the track was rearranged, new stalls constructed, and lighting added.   The first night meeting to be conducted under lights was held in October, 1959 Then followed a photo-finish post and a new grandstand.   The club became the first NSW country club to use a mobile barrier, constructed by locals George Williams and Bill Gobell from original plans obtained from SA.   Broken Hill has produced some marvellous horses over the years such as Ultra Gold, Mighty Penny, Noble Clan, Night Reveller, Golden Jug, Field Commotion, Mighty Hall, Young Cazz, Apache Court and Surstromming.   Pat Attard and Sheffield Court     - Photo Kate Attard and Broken Hill Harness Racing Club   Trainer and club stalwart Don Pimm, 77, this year chalks up over 60 years involvement in the sport.   “I got interested in racing because I had a milk cart and then it was all too easy to just go over to trotting,” Pimm said.   “I was just 16 years old when I drove my first winner. It was a horse named Deputy Lad, trained by my brother Bill. I wouldn’t be sure how many winners I’ve had, but one night I took six to the races and won with four of them.”   Don Pimm - Courtesy Shutterbug photography and print.   But it’s probably mobile barrier driver Des Leo who should have the last say.   In the club’s commemorative book, written by Kate Attard (now a trainer-driver in Mildura) he summed up the role of small, regional clubs in the sport: “I feel that every owner, trainer and driver who started their career at Broken Hill Trotting is a legend in their own right...most times it’s the little Aussie battler who keeps the big players going.”     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

BRING on Round Three! There is a horse that ain't too frightened of the mighty Tiger Tara . . . and his name is Thefixer. The New Zealand Cup winner darted up on the rails to beat Tiger Tara in November's New Zealand Cup and the Kiwi star, with star reinswoman Natalie Rasmussen aboard, was at it again at Menangle tonight winning the Allied Express Sprint, the first of two qualifying races for the Miracle Mile. Thefixer had to earn his stripes, coming from one-out and one-back to register another victory over Australia's best pacer, nabbing Tiger Tara right on the nine to score by a head in a 1:50.7 mile rate. While Tiger Tara will be revved up and ready for next week's return bout in the Ainsworth Miracle Mile, it was the way that Thefixer found the line which will have harness fans assured that next week's $1m Group One is anything but a one-horse race. Taken straight to the front by Todd McCarthy at the start from the inside barrier, it was expected to be a cakewalk for Tiger Tara, chasing his sixth win in succession. After a 28.1s first split of the mile, Todd was able to back off the speed with a 29.5 second split, suggesting the son of Bettors Delight would have too much pace in the run home. The speed went on with a 26.9 third split and as they dashed home in 26.2 Thefixer came with a dash and knuckled down over the last 100m to score by a head from 'The Tiger', with Cash N Flow (Luke McCarthy) one and three-quarter metres back in third place. The winner's stablemate Ashley Locaz was a close fourth. The second Sprint, the Canadian Club Sprint saw an upset right from the start when Kevin Pizzuto's other big hope Majordan bombed the start, losing almost 100m before finishing well out of the placings. The race went to New Zealand's No.1 stable, the All Stars, with Mark Purdon spearing Spankem straight to the front and leading all the way for an impressive victory. With little mid-race pressure, Purdon was able to back off the speed after a 26.1s first split with a 30.4 second quarter and a third split of just 29.4. That enabled the Bettors Delight four-year-old to dash home in 25.6s for a 1:51.5 mile rate in defeating outsider My Alpha Rock (Lauren Tritton) and the winner's stablemate Cruz Bromac (Natalie Rasmussen). That meant six of the eight spots in the Miracle Mile were decided with Club Menangle directors heading into conference to decide the rest of the field. Those already qualified were Newcastle Mile winner Yayas Hot Spot, Chariots Of Fire winner Poster Boy and the first two home in the two sprints, Thefixer and Tiger Tara, Spankem and My Alpha Rock.   FOR MORE INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE RACING MANAGER DAVID WONSON ON 0438-398-251.   Mandy Madern

Noel Daley, who left Australian shores nearly three decades ago and became one of North America’s most decorated harness racing trainers, is back home to stay.   And although his plans have been on the drawing board for some time, it took a short telephone chat to clear the way for him to come home to do what he does best – train winners.   “I’ve been saying I was coming back for probably the last five or six years; and now I’m pinching myself that it’s actually happened. I couldn’t be happier,” Daley said.   Daley said the path was cleared after talking with prominent owner and passionate industry participant Emilio Rosati and his wife Mary, of Sydney.   “I will be their private trainer and prepare a team at their new state-of-the-art facility at Luddenham – we decided that it would work well for all of us,” Daley said.   “I must be honest and say that at one stage I was thinking perhaps I might have to be an Uber driver when I got back to Australia. I wanted to return but didn’t quite know how I was going to do it.”   “It’s an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to get into it. I’ve had a bit of a break now and I’m as keen as ever, and ready for next challenge.   “I have my six-year-old son Max with me, and he’s settled into things really well, so it couldn’t have worked out any better.”   During his time in the US, Daley was mostly based at “Magical Acres Farm” at Bordentown, a city in Burlington County, New Jersey, a little over an hour from New York.   He prepared a remarkable 2570 winners with earnings of more than $61 million. Only a handful of others, headed by Ron Burke, have won more money.   Not bad for a former Airlines baggage handler at Brisbane Airport, who, in fairness, did however have a love for horses.   “On all my days off from work and spare time, I’d been mucking around with horses with anyone who would let me help them,” Daley sad.   “I was about 18 or 19 years old and had the ‘bug’ so in hindsight I was always going to end up in the harness racing industry.”   Daley spent time working with Queensland horseman and friend Ian McMahon, before making the decision to head to the USA.   “I had intended to stay six months in California and that was going to be it, but I got a huge lucky break in landing a job with New Zealand trainer, Brett Pelling,” he said.   “Brett’s a legend of the sport over there and with prolific success has set the bar so high with earnings, race records and a bunch of other leading statistics.   “When I started out with him in 1990, he was just on the rise and about to make a huge impact. I was a groom and then became stable foreman.”   It was a heady era. Pelling went on to dominate Meadowlands, winning the training title six times and in 1998 performing one of the most remarkable feats the sport had ever seen, winning not only the world-renowned Little Brown Jug and Jugette finals at Delaware, Ohio, but all the eliminations, too.   That same season, Daley branched out on his own, starting off with two pacers. But his career went ahead in leaps and bounds after meeting businessman Adam Victor, who wanted to become involved in the sport, but was unsure of the process.   “I think we may have had six or seven ticking along by then, but in probably two years the stable numbers increased dramatically to 125 with 100 of these belonging to Adam and his son, Adam Jnr,” Daley said.   “They were my most loyal supporters all the way along,” he said.   When Adam Victor senior bought a trotter named Mr Muscleman, it was Daley’s springboard to success.   “They took a shot with the horse because he’d only faced the starter on one occasion and got beat in a maiden at a low standard country meeting,” Daley said.   “We obviously thought Mr Muscleman had real improvement in him because he was being trained around a little track on a farm,” he said.   Their $165,000 outlay culminated in the horse winning over $3.5 million, collecting three prestigious Dan Patch awards and the 2005 Trotter of the Year title.   “And that certainly led to so much more,” Daley said.   “I owe Mr Muscleman for really putting us on the map.”   Other Daley success stories include My Little Dragon, Broad Bahn, Cedar Dove, All Laid Out, Caviart Ally, Explosive Matter, All Speed Hanover, and Impressive Kemp, but Mr Muscleman was undoubtedly his best, retiring to become a big attraction at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions.   Daley said competing in an Elitlopp in Sweden with Mr Muscleman and then in Milan in Italy with Explosive Matter were great trips.   “We tasted some success with both of them – it was a lot of fun,” he said.   The Daley-Rosati team will initially include a number of unraced two-year-olds, along with three performers from the US and a recently-acquired Kiwi pacer.   “It’s certainly going to be different competing at Menangle with the varying race distances and a few other things, but we’ll just play it by ear and hopefully it will all fall into place,” Daley said.   “I know I’m going to have to work hard as there’s a lot of good trainers up around here and even they are finding it tough at times,” he said.   “The Rosatis own nearly 30 broodmares so there’s going to be a constant stream of well-bred youngsters to work with.”   Emilio Rosati, who has been in harness racing for more than 40 years, said he was excited to have an experienced horseman in Daley preparing his team.   “I’ve loved the sport, right back from the early days when I lived probably 200 metres from the old Harold Park track,” he said.   “I remember going over to watch brilliant pacers such as Hondo Grattan, Welcome Advice, Paleface Adios, Mount Eden, Manoroa, to name just a few.”   Rosati said his very first horse, named Stride High, won 11 or 12 races for him.   “He was as game as they come. He had one very bad leg and between races his training regime was strictly swimming.   “A guy by the name of Neil Freeman was training him out of Joe Ilsley’s place and he did a fantastic job.”   Rosati’s horses carry the “Stride” prefix, in recognition of his first horse.   Emilio Rosati   The new property, on 130 acres, will feature a 1000-metre fastwork track, designed on the same turns and camber as Menangle, as well as a sand track. Other first-class facilities include a barn that allows horses access to their own turnout yard; a water walker and 40 fully fenced paddocks.   “Emilio has been doing all the planning and everything is coming together nicely. It’ll be great and hopefully I can get some results,” Daley said.   “We recently got three horses back from the States who have a bit going for them. Blue Moon Stride is a mare out of a half-sister to Bettors Delight; Mouska Stride looks a nice type, while Lily Stride is a 4yo trotter with a Breeders Crown win and stakes of $750,000 to her name,” he said.   Daley who, unbelievably, has never trained on his own in Australia, is raring to go.   “America was very good to me and I never thought for a moment I would have been there so long and able to have such success,” he said.   “Now it’s time for the next chapter and with a great setup and some well-bred horses, bring it on!”     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

A flashing finish from the tail of the field saw Victoria's next pacing superstar Poster Boy power past his harness racing rivals and win tonight's $200,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. While trainer Emma Stewart had suggested Poster Boy might be driven more aggressively and closer to the lead, champion reinsman Chris Alford simply never got the chance as the speed was on from the outset and from his wide draw Poster Boy was forced to settle near the tail of the field. Covering the mile in a stunning 1:49.1, Poster Boy edged out New Zealand visitor Ashley Locaz (Luke McCarthy) by two metres with despised outsider Hail Christian (Blake Fitzpatrick) a fabulous third 1.75m further away. That left Poster Boy's owners Bill and Anne Anderson with a massive decision to make as the win earned then an invitation into the $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile in two weeks' time. They have 48 hours to decide whether or not to accept the invitation but as Alford pointed out, Poster Boy was certainly up to the challenge and he felt co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin thought the same thing of their latest stable star. While they are tipped to accept the invitation, Alford suggested it would all come down to how the horse pulled up after such a mighty performance. The lightning speed took its toll on the favoured runners Chase Auckland ($3.10), Ignatius ($5.90) and early leader Picard ($6.80), who were all over-run in the straight after a 54.9s opening half took its toll. Ignatius was trapped wide from his wide barrier draw, although was able to work up outside the leader, he had nothing left in the run home. Poster Boy, on the other hand, sprouted wins in the final 100m (final splits of 28.4s and 26.8s) and is expected to join Yayas Hot Spot as the second horse in the first $1m Miracle Mile. 8 9:47pm CORDINA CHICKEN FARMS CHARIOTS OF FIRE (GROUP 1) 1609M $200,000 4YO. RBD. Mobile Final Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 POSTER BOY  $120,000   Fr7 8 Emma Stewart Chris Alford   $ 3.80   PRS SWAB   BAY HORSE 4 by SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE USA out of ASTON VILLA USA (ARTSPLACE (US))  Owner(s): Lauriston Bloodstock Pty Ltd  Breeder(s): Lauriston Bloodstock Pty Ltd 2 ASHLEY LOCAZ NZ  $ 30,000   Fr10 12 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Luke McCarthy 1.90 $ 12.00   RAS HUE SWAB 3 HAIL CHRISTIAN NZ  $ 20,000   Fr9 10 Paul Court Anthony Butt 3.60 $ 101.00   RAS SWAB 4 ALL U NEED IS FAITH NZ  $ 10,000   Fr3 4 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Mark Purdon 3.80 $ 18.00   PRWU 5 PICARD  $ 5,000   Fr2 2 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 5.10 $ 10.00   GS L 6 THE BLACK PRINCE NZ  $ 3,000   Fr4 5 Roy Roots Jnr Chris Geary 7.40 $ 71.00   VXBR 7 CHASE AUCKLAND NZ  $ 3,000   Fr1 1 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen 8.80 $ 2.90 fav  GS HU QDT VXAR INQADJ 8 BOYD WRITER  $ 3,000   Fr5 6 David Hewitt Brad Hewitt 9.70 $ 81.00   RAS 9 IGNATIUS  $ 3,000   Fr8 9 James Rattray James Rattray 15.30 $ 4.20   PRS 3WE 3WM WF 10 RACKEMUP TIGERPIE  $ 3,000   Fr6 7 Michael Stanley Michael Stanley 15.90 $ 19.00   VXBR 3WE WF Scratchings   ROYAL GAMBLE NZ 3 JACK FARTHING NZ 11 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:49:1 Mile Rate: 1:49:1 First Quarter: 26 Second Quarter: 27.9 Third Quarter: 28.4 Fourth Quarter: 26.8   Mandy Madern

Goulburn horsewoman Amy Day had more than one reason to celebrate when she piloted Atomic Bombshell (Auckland Reactor-Art Asset (Artsplace) to a harness racing victory at Orange. Day, 28, drove a well-judged race last Sunday afternoon to break Atomic Bombshell’s maiden status; and the filly did it while racing on a grass track for the very first time. And if that wasn’t enough for some sort of celebration, the talented trainer-driver posted her 300th winner as a driver. “I didn’t realize I was close to such a nice milestone until a friend told me,” Day said. “I’d been stuck on 299 wins there for a while, so it was fantastic to finally make it, and I was so proud of the horse because she’s a bit of a favorite of mine,” she said. “She has a turn of speed, but without doubt her greatest attribute is an unbelievable attitude, she’s willing to do anything.  And along the way I’ve found that to be so important in a horse.” It was also an outstanding day for exciting Alabar sire Auckland Reactor, who, in his racing days, had the nickname “The Reactor Factor” because of his utter dominance.  Auckland Reactor progeny landed the quinella at the Orange event, with Whata Reactor finishing runner up to Atomic Bombshell.  Auckland Reactor has now sired 39 winners in Australia.  In New Zealand he has 34 winners with superstar Chase Auckland leading the way for stakes of $405,329. Day shares a property and training facilities owned by her father Neil to prepare her team of about 13 and has predicted a bright future for Atomic Bombshell. “I raced outside the leader to win on the grass at Orange and the mile rate of a tick over 1.58 was pleasing,” she said. “Racing on the grass is a bit different but the track is the home of the Orange gallops and it was in good condition. “We thought Atomic Bombshell would give us a good sight, because her form as a two-year-old was okay and she has come back stronger after a three-month spell.” Day has been driving for 10 years but has been involved in the training caper for five years. “I’m enjoying it and there’s always some family help in close reach when needed. I work in well with dad and my mum Vickie is always ready to lend a hand.  My brother Justin takes care of the farrier side of things,” she said. Day said being in Goulburn was a great base for harness racing in NSW. “It’s so central to a stack of tracks.  The Riverina racing is perhaps two or three hours away; Canberra is an hour down the road, and Menangle is around a one-and-a-half-hour trip.” And as for a favorite win during her short career? “Any success is a good one because there’s such a lot of hard work involved,” Day said. But she did say she fondly remembers May 5, 2012 at Wagga when she took out the Cup with 40/1 shot Marooned (Hare Hare – Greek Jewel (Golden Greek), trained by Frank O’Sullivan, and then landed the Derby with Armalife (Life Sign – Arma The One (Badlands Hanover), prepared by her father Neil. “Yes, that was surreal, but we didn’t get involved in any crazy celebrations of course – we probably all had horses to train or trial the following day!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Following his Oberon Cup win James Dean, from KerryAnn Turner’s stable, was being prepared with Orange Harness Racing Club’s Carnival of Cups in mind and harness racing driver Robbie Morris confirmed the champion is still set to run. Morris, who called James Dean a “C5/M2 graded, honest, little horse who came out of New Zealand”, confirmed the Oberon Cup winner is primed to front in February 10’s Banjo Paterson feature race at Towac Park. That’s just one of the races set for February 10 with a number of other finals to be run, the heats are being hosted in this Sunday’s Family Day. “The owners contacted me......and they decided to bring him over here to me which is great because it’s not often horses like that land in your lap. Previously he has been a first emergency in the New Zealand Cup,” Morrish told Orange Harness Racing Club. “He is racing in the Goulburn Cup on Monday (February 4) then up to Orange for the Banjo.  “He has two straight wins under his belt heading into Monday’s race in Goulburn.” And Robbie’s thoughts on James Dean racing on the unique grass track at Towac Park? “It’s something different. James Dean has previously run on the grass in New Zealand recording a slick mile rate of 1.55,” Morrish said. “It's just people’s perception of the grass. It's actually quiet smooth and everyone has to run on the same surface on the day.” Sunday’s Family Day kicks off at 12pm at Orange’s Towac Park. By Matt Findlay Reprinted with permission of the Central Western Daily

A plan hatched over a month ago to target a rich New South Wales Riverina race saw one of the most spine-tingling harness racing performances seen at Leeton by a two-year-old, on Tuesday night. Young successful harness racing duo David Moran and Laura Crossland headed from their Shepparton base to travel nearly four hours up the highway to Leeton for the $30,000 Breeders Plate Group 3 this week with their unbeaten youngster The Tiger Army (Sportswriter-Scottish Glamour (Elsu). And the colt didn’t let them down with a phenomenal display of his ability. “My heart was racing when we got tangled up with a few of the other horses just after the start and lost valuable ground, but he’s such a lovely horse he just wanted to win,” driver Crossland said. Settling near the rear of the field after the skirmish and at least 50 metres off the lead, Crossland gradually made up her ground to move three wide approaching the bell. “I wasn’t really concerned because he still felt full of running,” she said. Crossland simply changed gears down the back straight and in the blink of an eye The Tiger Army launched wide and dashed to the front to score an unbelievable win. “We actually sat down with the owners after winning the first two-year-old event of the season at Maryborough on December 21 and it was tossed around that we might target the Breeders Plate,” she said. “Then when we won at Kilmore about a fortnight later it was unanimous that we head to Leeton for the series.” After a heat win of the rich series on January 11, it was a confident “army” of followers who travelled to watch the final. The Tiger Army (known as Frank the Tank) has a perfect record of four starts for four wins for over $29,000. And there’s an opportunity to purchase his Captaintreacherous half-brother at the Melbourne APG sale on Sunday (lot 115). Crossland, Moran and some stable owners ventured to last year’s sale after looking over the catalogue. “The ones we picked out were going for too much money,” Crossland said. “One of our owners, Peter Lawlor, and David were looking out the back where some were waiting to be paraded into the sale ring, and thankfully, spotted a Sportswriter colt (The Tiger Army) bred by Lauriston Bloodstock. “Then when he came out into the ring, he looked amazing, so we ended up with him for about $16,000.” Crossland said The Tiger Army was like a seasoned horse from day one and was broken in by experienced horseman Doc Wilson, of Ardmona. “He’s just perfect.  He doesn’t wear a headcheck, he’s in an open bridle and no knee boots,” she said. “In the early days he wanted to get up and go a bit too much, but when he settled down, we knew he would make an early two-year-old.” The rising star is now taking a well-earnt spell before his next campaign is mapped out. “It’s really exciting. He’s eligible for all the feature series and with some natural improvement, we are sure there’s fun times ahead,” Crossland said. His race name seemed reasonably obvious, but just to clarify... Sure enough, the majority of the owners are Richmond Football Club supporters in the Australian Football League competition. But in a strange twist, David and Peter - the two who picked out the pacer- barrack for Essendon (known as the Bombers). So surely, in recognition of their uncanny ability to select a good one, it could have carried the name of an Essendon star like Daniher, Fantasia, Saad or Heppell. “That was never going to happen. It just had to have something to do with the Tigers and a few of us are now wishing we had opted for ‘Dusty’ in honor of our superstar player Dusty Martin,” Crossland, a staunch Richmond fan, said. The Crossland-Moran team has 12 in work, with several more to come back in the next few weeks. Last season they prepared 61 winners, while this season is also ticking along okay with 17 wins, 15 placings from 40 starters. They use an 800metre track, nearby to the Shepparton Paceway, to prepare their team. Speedy three-year-old Lochinvar Art, who ran a brave third to Muscle Factory in the Victorian Derby Final at Melton last Saturday, is likely to contest the NSW Derby in February-March. *Hoofnote: 3yo filly Vena May (Art Major-Tara Royale (Live Or Die) and 5yo mare Share The Road (TinTin In America-High Tops Hanover (Western Hanover) gave Crossland a training double at Bendigo last night. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Queensland’s best pacer and the state’s current Horse-of-the-Year, Colt Thirty One, will leave Brisbane early next week in his bid to win the 2019  Chariots Of Fire Pace at Sydney’s Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Group One event, which will be run on February 16, is worth $200,000 and is one race that has eluded his trainer and driver, Grant Dixon. It will be a curtain-raiser to the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile on the same track on March 2. "The horse has come up well even though he has been beaten in his two runs this time in, he will still head south for the 'Chariots' and then he will come straight back to prepare for the Winter Carnival here," Dixon said. Australia’s leading trainer said Tennyson Bromac and Fame Assured could also make the trip south with Colt Thirty One, depending on how they perform in races four and 10 at Albion Park this Saturday night. "At this stage I'll just take Colt Thirty One and see how the others go. He's up to the 'Chariots' field, but I would liked to have him back winning again," Dixon said. "But in saying that I wouldn't be going all that way if I didn't think he was a winning show.” Colt Thirty One resumed from a month's spell with a 10-metre fourth behind Mach Alert at Albion Park on January 19 and then a week later he finished a close-up second behind Slice Of Heaven on the same track. "He's slowly gearing towards peak condition. I've campaigned horses in New South Wales before and he should be spot on come Chariots Of Fire day," said Dixon. The talented son of Mach Three and Charm Personified (by Perfect Art) has now won 23 of his 35 starts and placed in seven others for $453,345. He went 1:53.2 mile rate when winning the Kevin & Kay Seymour Rising Stars Championship C2/3 Final at Albion Park on April 28 last year. That was an appropriate victory considering their company - Solid Earth Pty Ltd, bred and owns Colt Thirty One. Colt Thirty One is seventh of nine foals of out of the 2000 maiden Vanston Hanover mare, Charm personified. His older sister, Charming Allie (by Mr Feelgood) recorded a 1:53.9 mile and won 18 races and $266,329. She also nailed four Group Two races and ran second in the Group One $75,000 Queensland Oaks in 2014. Colt Thirty One won his first Group One at Albion Park on July 15, 2017 when he was too smart in the $100,000 QBRED 2yo Triad Pace. He also won the QBRED 3yo Triad a year later under Group Two conditions. Colt Thirty One also cleaned up a quality Victoria Derby 3yo field at Melton's Tabcorp Park on on January 27 last year. That race was worth $200,000 pocketing his owners a cool $114,000 for that win. He also placed in the Breeders Crown 2 and 3yo Finals in 2017 and 2018. “I’d love to win my first Chariots Of Fire and I reckon I’ve got the horse to do it. He’s come up good,” said Dixon, who works a team of between 70 and 80. Dixon has won Queensland Horse-of-the-Year previously with 2009 Mach Three brown gelding, Majestic Mach (35 wins and $796,397), and 1990 Jeremy Laurence black colt, Jeremy Lee (22 wins and $216,971). "I was working for Dad (Bill) when he trained Speed Ace (1991 Speed King gelding). He was Queensland Horse-of-the-Year as well. He won 15 races ($130,274)," Dixon said. "I'm very proud of Colt Thirty One and we are all hoping he can go on with it on the national stage.”   By Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

It all came down to the perfect run in the $12,000 Garrard’s Horse & Hound Tamworth City Cup for the harness racing locally trained Gottashopearly to take the line honours. Trained at Tamworth by Richard Williams the win proved to be a popular one for the 2018 Tamworth Horse of the Year with Maitland’s Brad Elder handling the reins. He got a perfect run and when I pulled him out, he just let down super like he does,” Elder said. “Richie has done a terrific job with the horse and has really taken him to another level.” Gottashopearly was purchased by Jake Mitchell, Tracey Lee and Josh Lee back in May 2018 and has achieved five wins for his new owners, which included the Psarakis Accounting Marathon back in August 2018 over the 2730 metres. Gottashopearly (Rocknroll Hanover-Saabette) also made the cut off point for the 2018 Inter Dominion before connections elected to send the six-year-old gelding to the paddock for a “freshen up” before the commencement of the Tamworth HRC January racing carnival.  “For a $3000 claimer Richie has done a good job with the horse,” Elder added. For Williams, who set up his stables at Tamworth two years ago after moving from Queensland it was an achievement. “It is a race we have targeted for a while, it is not the richest race in the country but being the Horse of the Year for last season here at Tamworth he (Gottashopearly) deserved to win it so I am happy,” he said.  Gottashopearly's trainer Richard Williams and reinsman Brad Elder “Brad was always the first option on the horse and he has got a terrific strike rate - he just can’t pull the wrong rein.”  Elder has had three drives behind Gottashopearly for three wins! That would be a 100 percent strike rate. “Full credit to the horse and my partner Ashleigh who does a lot of work with the horse as well,” he said. He is frequently driving up the Highway from Maitland to compete at the Tamworth meetings and was last season’s leading reinsman at the club. “It was a pretty good achievement tonight,” he said. “I come up here all the time and it’s good to win a local race with a local horse.”  READ ALSO:  I’m Norma Jean makes most of good fortune to claim Golden Guitar ‘He’s got speed’: Yesnomaybeso fulfils potential in winning Starmaker “When I saw the fields come out and he drew the eight barrier I thought this is not real good as he might get buried but Hedges Avenue (Mitch Faulkner) did alright and kicked up a bit.” From the eight barrier Gottashopearly took the trail throughout the race behind Hedges Avenue from the Ernie Mabbott stables who commenced from the one barrier. With the field racing out of the final turn for home in the 2360m race Elder extricated Gottashopearly out of the inside running line, gaining the lead and coming away with a 3.9m win over Franco Tariq (Nathan Dawson) with Sam’s Cam (Nathan Xuereb) 5.3m away third. “We got out and he came home strong,” Elder said.  There was no luck for race favourite Blackbird Power (Jimmy Brown) from the Gavin Kelly stables who had travelled the long distance from Tapitalee near Nowra, sustaining a flat tyre and being forced to retire from the race a lap from home. “I thought the horse (Gottashopearly) could win but I thought if Blackbird Power got the chair, I thought he would stick like flies to honey and I would never get out but he got a flat tyre,” Elder said. It was a top night for both Williams and Elder. Williams saw his stable “pin up boy” Midnight Montana take out the Tamworth HRC Volunteers Appreciation Pace with Josh Gallagher taking the reins, while Elder also had a driving double, taking out the Tamworth Harness Racing Club Golden Guitar Consolation with Dawn Magic who is trained by his father Darren. By Julie Maughan   Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader    

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