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Racing reverted to a more acceptable weather pattern with the Young Harness Racing Club conducting a rare afternoon meeting at the Young Paceway last Friday. With school holidays also on the calendar, the better than expected attendance added to the overall spectacle to another top day of racing. Race one Unfortunately, the day started off with an incident in the opening race with two horses suffering interference and their drivers becoming dislodged as the field approached the winning post as the bell lap commenced. Drivers Rodney Blythe and Emma Turnbull both required medical attention and the race was abandoned due to their misfortune and the presence of the attending medical paramedics. Race two John O’Shea continued his good winning form following his Bathurst success with a polished exhibition of driving in race two behind the Lester Hewitt trained Our Braxton ($1.30) who defeated Smack Dab Shannon ($9.80) and the Canberra pacer Poco Aces ($9.40 ).  Race three There was certainly a good old fashioned feeling of satisfaction in race three when the Goulburn trained colt Whostolemypigeon ($7.90) came from fourth at the bell to defeat the more favoured Lucky Lyla ($1.80) and Siotada ($42.50). Driven by Amy Day, the Gotta Go Cullect three year old finished strongly in the straight to record a 1½ metre win and a mile rating of 2:01.9.  Race four Nathan Turnbull came out in race four and drove the favourite Mister Satchmo ($3.90) to victory over an improving Barway Bill ($4.10) and the Grenfell trained Bally Barfly ($12.20) for Mark Hewitt and trained Ashley Hazell. Race five Eglington trainer Nathan Hurst elected to take the drive behind Jiggy Rhythm ($6.70) in race five, leaving his other stable representative, Tulhurst Cash ($3.10) in the capable hands of Angela Hedges who finished third after being eighth at the bell. Splitting the pair was the Steven Harris trained Sunrising ($8.70) with an impressive 1:58.1 mile rating and a winning margin of 5¼ metres in favour of the winner who posted a slick 28.5 first quarter. Race six Canberra trainer Michael Hawke was rewarded for his consistency and continued support of the Young club with a long overdue win with Huge Attitude ($1.80) in the final race of the afternoon. Having not won a race in his previous eleven starts, the Grinfromeartoear seven-year-old gelding has now put together a total of sixteen wins for his dedicated owners.  Young will have another afternoon meeting this Friday July 21.   Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness  

Former Newcastle International Paceway curator Bill Tomlin only has two horses in work and Superstar Glowie is arguably the less likely, but on Saturday night they will share a special moment.   The 78-year-old Lochinvar-based trainer and six-year-old bay mare will combine for a “locals only” series named in honour of Tomlin’s late son Glenn. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Glenn’s death from a training accident and while his father has contested heats of the memorial race before a final appearance has alluded the family.  Tomlin and wife Pam, once a long-serving secretary of Newcastle Harness Racing Club, are hoping Superstar Glowie can finish top four and qualify for next weekend’s $8000 decider. “She seems to be going alright, so hopefully we can get through,” Tomlin said. “And we’ve got the best driver in Newcastle on her.” Morisset’s Mark Callaghan, who won the same event on board Gotta Go Lucky in 2013, will start the 2030 metre journey from barrier two. The first of three heats is set for 5.59pm. Newcastle will also race on Monday. Meanwhile, Ellalong trainer-driver Michael Formosa will use Saturday’s group 3 event over the mile at Menangle as a warm-up to next weekend’s group 1 Blacks A Fake in Brisbane.  “He came back from a spell a couple of weeks ago in the [group 1] Len Smith Mile and was a bit unlucky,” Formosa said. “It’s another hard field tomorrow but hopefully he goes okay we’ll take him to Queensland.” By Josh Callinan Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

The Berejiklian government has flagged a major overhaul of the Broadmeadow sport and entertainment precinct, unveiling plans to open up the site for private development and redevelop the city’s outdated entertainment centre. On Wednesday Sports Minister Stuart Ayres released the long-awaited draft concept plan for the 63-hectare site at Broadmeadow. While it includes no funding commitments, the government has confirmed it plans to relocate the Newcastle harness racing track – tipped to make way for a $20 million rugby league centre of excellence – as well as opening the door for the construction of a new hotel, entertainment centre and “consolidated sports facility” that could include a new aquatic centre or multi-level car park on the site.  The document, which Mr Ayres said would kick-start a three-month community consultation period, comes amid speculation that the state government has agreed to help jointly fund a $20 million rugby league centre of excellence at the site of the Newcastle International Paceway. Mr Ayres wouldn’t confirm that on Wednesday, but said the proposal was “being considered by the government as we speak”. The new concept plan lays out a number of potential development options which Mr Ayres said were “the start of the conversation” about the precinct’s future. “We’ve got a canvas that has part of the painting on it but it’s by no means finished,” he said. Part of that painting is a clear invitation for private developers to be involved in the redevelopment of the site, which is made up of state-owned land. The 15-page plan includes a section on “commercial opportunities”, and suggests the possibility of a “small commercial development” on the corner of Lamton and Bavin Roads, “medium-rise residential” development on land at the edge of the precinct and “a tourist and business hotel” likely on the corner of Griffiths and Turton Road. Mr Ayres also hinted that any redevelopment of the entertainment centre could be led by the private sector, and said developers needed “clear rules of play” about where they could invest.  “We don’t want to preempt or force one hand on top of the other, we don’t want to say that this has to be public and this has to be private, so it’s very important we have a transparent conversation now and work through a fairly diligent budget process,” he said. None of the possible developments in the concept plan are costed, because, Mr Ayres said, it would “preempt” the views of the community. He said developing an over-arching plan for what the community wanted would allow the government to “establish a business case for each public sector investment required [and] secondly it allows us to talk to people who might want to bring private sector development into the site”. He also said the government wanted to hear the community’s view on the possibility of residential development on parts of the site. “If residential [development] is part of that solution that the public and council is keen to pursue then that’s what we want to hear,” he said. Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said he was pleased the government had released a “co-ordinated plan”. “With [the] government spending billions on stadiums in Sydney, it is critical that Newcastle does not miss out,” he said. Less clear is what the government intends to do with the Newcastle Showgrounds. The concept plan states that the Showgrounds are “underutilised”, and says the Show could be incorporated into the redeveloped precinct “just as Sydney Olympic Park was designed to be transformed into the destination of the Royal Easter Show every year”. It states that the Newcastle Farmers Market could also be relocated “around the proposed event plaza just north of McDonald Jones Stadium.  The government has identified Broadmeadow as one of the region’s “strategic centres”, and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the plan would “transform the area into a vibrant sporting and entertainment hub for Newcastle” “These upgrades will also expand Newcastle’s growing events market, helping to boost national and international visitor numbers, creating new jobs and economic opportunities in the process,” he said.  By Michael McGowan with permission of The Newcastle Herald

The community of Parkes recently lost one of its true gems when highly regarded Parkes Harness Racing Club Life Member Wal Norman passed away after a short illness at Parkes District Hospital surrounded by his loving family on Tuesday, June 20. Wal, aged 90, would not be a name the wider Harness Racing community would readily remember but through his contribution to the sport, many participants have benefitted. Wal joined the then Parkes Trotting Club in 1970 and over a period of 45 years, season in and season out, he would be a regular at the many working bees held to prepare for race meetings or to contribute to the many track, ground and building redevelopments that were undertaken at the Parkes Showground Paceway. On race day Wal could be found in the Judges' Tower, assisting with both the judging and timekeeping, positions he held right up to his late 80's when he decided it was time to retire and take things a little easier. Many thought Wal would be keen to take a "redundancy" with the introduction of the more modern finish links and timing mechanisms but no, Wal was a man who rarely let things get the better of him and he embraced the changes and operated the remote controlled semaphore board better than most. Wal, along with his family members raced a few pacers over the years. Like the Trotting Club, the Parkes Golf Club recognised Wal's wonderful efforts by honouring him with a Life Membership and in 2014, as part of the Australia Day Awards, Wally received a Long Service and Dedication Award for his contribution to sport in Parkes for which he was justifiably proud. Harness Racing New South Wales, on behalf of all participants in the industry, sends its deepest sympathy to Wal's widow Joyce and all her family on the passing of a great man. Our sport has been enriched by the contribution of volunteers like Wally Norman. AMANDA RANDO

Prominent Hunter trainers Michael Formosa and Clayton Harmey are disappointed with the lack of transparency about the potential loss of Newcastle International Paceway but believe a move to an industry-owned training centre and harness racing track would be a winner. The Herald reported on Friday that Wests Group had guaranteed to contribute at least $10 million towards a potential $20 million rugby league centre of excellence to be built next to McDonald Jones Stadium at the Broadmeadow paceway site. The multi-million dollar paceway, which opened in 1989, is built on crown land Newcastle Harness Racing Club has a lease on until 2027. However, the centre of excellence bid, and plans to transform Broadmeadow’s sporting precinct, could lead to the state government funding a new home for Hunter harness racing to free up the existing site. East Maitland thoroughbred training track Fairhall Park is believed to be among locations pacing authorities are exploring. Hunter harness racing also has land at Black Hill, given to the sport in the 1970s, but the parcel cannot be built on because it is part of a zoned green corridor. While any changes appear years away, Formosa and Harmey were frustrated with the lack of information coming from pacing authorities.  “The disappointing thing is that we’re reading all these different things in the paper and no one’s even told us,” Formosa said.  However, both were encouraged by the potential for an industry-owned training and track centre. “At the end of the day, harness racing needs to buy its own place, build its own facilities and bring people in,” Harmey said. “There’s nowhere around here where you can encourage people to get into the game, because you can’t get stables anywhere. They need to have a training centre and encourage people to stable horses on track. If they built something the same as Menangle, it’ll be full straight away.” Formosa was confident Harness Racing NSW “will take control of the situation and do what has to be done”. “But you can’t be spending money on property you don’t own,” he said. “I think we are probably better off in the long run if something is owned by Harness Racing NSW and run by them too. To be honest, I don’t know why they’ve spent so much money on something [at Newcastle] they’ve had leased for so little time. I thought they would have at least a 50-year lease when it started.” Newcastle will hold a nine-race program on Friday from 5.02pm highlighted by two heats of the NSW Rising Stars series featuring Maitland reinsman Brad Elder and Daniel Morgan. Formosa trialed stable star Ultimate Art at Newcastle on Wednesday night ahead of his run from gate one in the group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle Park on Sunday. Harmey, meanwhile, believed Cessnock provided sites worthy of consideration in the search for a potential new Hunter headquarters. Harmey, who lives at Nulkaba and stables his horses at Cessnock Showground, was encouraged by early proposals from his local council, who have expressed their interest in providing land for a potential harness racing centre. He said the former Kurri Kurri hydro-aluminium site would be an ideal location. “There’s power and water there and it’s central for everyone who trains around here and it’s right on the freeway,” he said. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

East Maitland thoroughbred training track Fairhall Park could be the future home of Hunter harness racing if Newcastle International Paceway is lost to the sport. The Herald understands Fairhall Park, on Raymond Terrace Rd, East Maitland, is a location harness racing authorities are looking at as a potential new headquarters for the code in the region.  The Herald reported on Friday that Wests Group had guaranteed to contribute at least $10 million towards a potential $20 million rugby league centre of excellence to be built on the Broadmeadow paceway site. The proposal has caused concern among pacing participants, who have enjoyed the top-class track and facilities at Broadmeadow since 1989. The multi-million dollar paceway is built on crown land, which Newcastle Harness Racing Club has a lease on until 2027.  Harness Racing NSW chief John Dumesny said on Monday that his organisation “will be doing everything we can to protect and grow harness racing in the area”. “Harness racing in the Hunter is an integral part of the whole network in NSW,” Dumesny said. He said the industry “wouldn’t be walking away from a property where we have a lengthy lease on” and the preferred area for the Hunter’s premier track was “right at the moment, it’s where it is, at Broadmeadow”. The Herald has reported the state government would build a new track for harness racing in or near Maitland if the Newcastle International Paceway was used for rugby league. The situation opens the door for HRNSW to add the Hunter to its list of industry-owned, redeveloped sites integrating training centres and racing tracks. “Harness racing’s focus in the Hunter is drawn quite easily from our strategies around NSW,” Dumesny said. The City of Maitland Society Of Aeromodellers set-up at Don Macindoe Memorial Flying Field in Fairhall Park. “We have a track and training centre at Menangle, we have a track and soon-to-be training centre at Bathurst. We’ve got land and are about to commence construction of a track and training centre at Wagga, and likewise in Tamworth, where we’ve purchased the showground, where a training centre can be quite easily be added.” Dumesny said there were no desire to move away from training centres at Cessnock and Maitland showgrounds. However, he said a redevelopment project similar to Tamworth at Maitland Showground was not feasible. “Maitland is a privately-owned property and very small, so we would not be building a new track on Maitland Showground,” he said. “The GBOTA have a lease of the track and we’re not in any mind to interfere with the greyhound industry at all. “Tamworth was a bigger property and we were able to buy it outright, it’s not flood affected and a totally different option altogether.” Cessnock City Council is also keen to provide a site for a potential new pacing headquarters. Councillors last week supported a motion to write to the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot Macdonald, and the Newcastle Harness Racing Club to set up a meeting to discuss plans. Dumesny would not comment on other potential sites, saying “we’re not at that place now”. “There’s no need to look at anything until we need to. We are nicely situated at Newcastle,” he said. Fairhall Park is a Maitland City Council-maintained crown land leased by the City of Maitland Society of Aeromodellers (COMSOA). Thoroughbred trainers, like Darryl Roberts, then sub-lease for use of the track. COMSOA secretary Jason Russ said his group had been on the 100-acre site for more than 20 years and had a five-year lease. Russ said the land was flood-prone and their clubhouse had been hit by water “five-feet” high in the past. Craig Kerry   Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

Colin Watts can remember November 23, 1964 like it was yesterday. It was the day the Fairfield Harness Racing Club held its first race meeting. “It was very exciting. There were 45 bookmakers betting on the trots and 15 on the away meetings,” he said. “I can remember the excitement. The came in droves – almost 10,000 people.” On Monday, June 12 the Trot Dome at Fairfield will see racing for the final time when the club hosts the time-honoured JD Watts Memorial meeting – a race named after Colin’s father Jack. Jack Watts drove Smoke Cloud to win the main race on that first meeting. It began a long association for the Watts family and Fairfield Harness. Jack (JD) Watts was one of harness racing’s true pioneers, training and driving several champion horses for more than half a century. Colin has taken over the reins and developed his own legacy as one of the sport’s best owners, trainers, drivers and administrator and in 2011 was awarded a Harness Racing NSW Living Legend award. He twice won one of Fairfield’s premier events the Golden Easter Egg as a driver. Mr Watts’ son Graeme still trains horses at the track daily. For 90-year-old Colin, who lives a stone’s throw away from the track, he described it as “very disappointing” to see the track close. The club, which stopped full-time racing on June 28, 2004, will make way for Fairfield Showground’s new sporting and cultural precinct. “We used to have 31 meetings a year, so when the authorities stopped racing here full time it was the first nail in the coffin and this is the final nail in the coffin,” said Watts, who has been on the Fairfield Harness committee for 60 years. “I understand why council have done it . It would have been nice to be more involved in the process. We have had a great relationship with council. “When we came here it was lot of bush and in conjunction with council we have seen a lot of facilities built like the grandstand and lights and we helped establish the markets. “The end of Fairfield is a sad loss to the industry.” Mr Watts is hopeful of a big crowd to farewell what he calls the “best half-mile track in NSW” on Monday, June 12. When asked how he will fill when the final horse crosses the line in the last race? “I will make sure I have a couple of extra hankies. It will be an emotional day,” he said. The first race on the eight-race card will start at 11.57am.   +3 Blast from the past - Fairfield Harness Pictures: Club Menangle Archives   Timeline of the Fairfield Harness Racing Club  1954: On November 11  the Fairfield Agricultural and Horticultural Society was formed at a meeting of 11 persons. A 800-metre track was laid out by the Council engineers under Bill Matherson, who was assisted by the NSW Trotting Club staff. Monthly gymkhanas were held. 1956: Running rails and horse stalls were secured from the old Victoria Park racecourse and erected by volunteers, including the late Bill Charlwood. Council then obtained and erected the Ledger Grandstand and exhibition and commercial halls from the old Moorefield racecourse. 1964: The first registered race meeting was run at Fairfield, with Sparkling Chief (Jack Blissett) winning the opening race.  1965: The first Golden Easter Egg for three-year-old fillies was run. 1970: Night racing began. 1976: The first JD Watts Memorial was run. 1982: New grandstand was opened.  2004: The club stops full-time racing. 2014: Club celebrates its 50th Anniversary race meeting. By Chris Boulous Reprinted with permission The Fairfield City Champion

"Sydney's Bankstown Paceway is calling for expressions of interest from individuals, companies, organisations and consortia to operate our new function, events and entertainment centre located at the south western suburbs-based harness racing racecourse from early 2018," Bankstown Paceway director Andrew Ho has said. "Scheduled to be constructed by January 2018 on the site of the former La Luna Lounge, this new state of the art facility will feature a 2,000 square metre grand ballroom with approved seating for up to 700 guests (and the potential for further expansion, subject to Council approval) along with the availability of both undercover and uncovered parking within the Paceway," Mr Ho told Harnesslink. "Interested parties are requested to submit proposals in written hard copy format by Wednesday, August 16th, 2017," he said. "For additional information or to organise a site inspection, please contact our Secretary Manager, Ann Wait, on 02 9708 4111 or via email at," Mr Ho added. Andrew Ho  

Despite the heavy and constant rainfall on Friday night Young Harness Racing was able to push through and run its 10-race program thanks to the all weather track at the paceway. With rain continuing to fall from early afternoon, an inspection by stewards and a decision to race was accepted by all involved, with the first race, of what was to be curtailed after race nine, went ahead with a small but enthusiastic crowd in attendance. Favourite runners throughout the night continued to flow with race one going to Greggs Legacy ($2.50) driven by John O’Shea for trainer Josh Turnbull. Leading at the bell and posting a 30.2 first quarter, the Modern Art three year old colt was never in danger of winning scoring by an impressive 15 m from Carl Slim Dada ($9.40) and the locally trained Forest Fury ($4.20) for trainer Jeff Brown and driver, young Nic Dewar. The track stood up beautifully with a creditable 2:01.4 mile rating to the winner being recorded and certainly setting the bar high for the remainder of the meeting. The second race again was run in rainy conditions with the first winning double of Josh Turnbull and John O’Shea combining with the roughie of the race Timmy May ($30.50) again leading at the bell to defeat Ima Kennedy Two ($5.30) and another outsider in Prince Kai ($21.30) claiming third money. The 2,100 m event recorded a mile rating of 1:59.9 reflecting the condition of the track and the winning margin of six metres the possible bright future for the five year old son of Dawn Of A New Day.  Steve and Amanda Turnbull combined in race three with the Sealed And Delivered gelding Intransit ($5.70) who came from fourth at the bell to circle the field at the top of the staright to defeat the odds-on-favourite Our Braxton ($1.80) and another Steve Turnbull trained pacer in the four-year-old gelding Dillon ($4.00).  The mile rating of 2:01.8 was again a reflection of the condition of the track and the prevailing weather conditions. Amanda Turnbull came out of the gates flying to lead at the bell in race four with Whosashadylady ($2.00) and quickly steadied the pace to ensure a sprint home. This was achieved when the leader quickly set a last two quarter run home of 29.7 and 29.9 in defeating Mach Sam ($6.10) and Ruth Shannon ($9.70) in winning her first race from eight starts for her delighted owners.  The wins kept coming for Amanda and the team when Moon Over Manhattan (1.10) leading at the bell and again setting a similar tempo with a ‘steady as you go’ tactic early, running home with a 28.6 last quarter in accounting for Lady Warhol ($17.10) and another locally trained pacer in Ma Koo Loo Queen ($61.80) claiming third money.  To say the rain had gotten a little heavier would be an understatement but it did not deter the likes of John O’Shea and trainer Gemma Hewitt sending out Lyka Version ($1.90) a short priced favourite in race six.  The Oberon pacer trained by Russell Reynolds Satelitte Village ($10.70) finished second in the race while the early pacemaker Somerosesomhere ($54.00) claimed third with a mile rating to the winner of 2:02.1 still a creditable performance under the conditions. At this stage it was more than noticeable that the majority of winners were winning from the front, this being the case, Forbes trainer, driver adopted the same tactics with Artful Lombo ($2.10) who was leading comfortably at the bell to run home in 29.8 in defeating Ticket Outa Here ($10.80) and Pretty Foxy ($12.60). Unfortunately heavy rain continued to fall with overnight measurements reaching as high as 55 mm in some local areas. In what was to be the penultimate race of the night, race eight, Amanda Turnbull again made sure she would be part of the action at the pointy end of the race when she drove another copybook race behind Bold Outlaw ($1.30) in defeating the Temora trained Our Red Jack ($24.00) for Ray Walker with the John Vautin trained Riverboat King mare Oceans In The Sky ($82.90) putting in a good performance finishing third. In what was to be the final race of the night, Perthville trainer Chris Frisby made sure his night was to be rewarded sending out Lockton Art ($1.30) another short priced favourite in defeating an improving Speed King mare in Diamond Thief ($10.80) with Peter Sykes picking up loose change with Ma Koo Loo Frankie ($23.80) in third place. An inspection of the track, combined with deteriorating weather and signal interruptions at this point forced the stewards to call a halt to proceedings and those involved retired to a much warmer and drier environment. Racing again on Thursday Young Harness Racing Club will be holding another race meeting on Thursday afternoon May 25 with a seven race program starting from 2.20 pm. The meeting includes the $15,000 Alabar Breeders Challenge heats for three-year-old fillies and the same for three-year-old colts and geldings. TAB 2YO Pace: 1 Ace in Your Pocket, 2 Mackeral, 3 Giant Jackson, 4 Our Uncle Alan, 5 Brads Luck, 6 Ashuring, 7 Pocket of Terror, 8 Roll With Life. Cordina Chicken Farms Pace: 1 The Kiss Principle, 2 Jiggy Rhythm, 3 Ma Koo Loo Hambo, 4 Just Milhouse, 5 Boundtobewild, 6 Fullofnonsense, 8 Oceans In The Sky. Donges Supa IGA Pace: 1 Ma Koo Loo Frankie, 2 Magic Sensation, 3 Lucky To Make It, 4 Barkway Bill, 5 Conrad Kenze, 6 To Alaska, 7 Carl Slim Dada, 8 Wamboyne Tommy, 9 Pinnacle Hope. Hilltops Equine Centre Ladyship Pace: 1 Concertina, 2 Abercrombie Lisa, 3 Smooth Mace, 4 Mah Koo Loo Queen, 5 Catch the Panda, 6 Confederate Girl, 7 Kirra Kid NZ, 8 Lockton Art, 9 Moon Ovr Manhattan. Turners Furniture One Pace: 1 Timmy May, 2 Forest Fury, 3 Thanku Thanku, 4 So Kool Master, 5 Smithstars Lexus, 6 Glencore, 7 Hijacked, 8 Tanyas Past. Betterthancheddar Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO Fillies Heat: 1 Rubies for Tash, 2 Zoemagic, 3 Destiny Belle, 4 Fastestgirlintown, 5 Its All Bliss, 6 Jovial Rock, 7 Rollnlombo, 8 Illinois Beauty, 9 Star Play, 10 Taylors Reason, 11 Lucky Lyla. Art Major Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO Colts and Geldings Heat: 1 Tiwanaku, 2 Always At Night, 3 Sunrising, 4 Blissfulday, 5 The Ides of March, 6 Gregs Legacy, 7 Killara Kaos, 8 Corbie Jolt, 9 Machgower, 10 Deekays Dollar, 11 Twentyeightblack.  Reprinred with permission of the Young Witness

Fouroeight, the horse named in memory of champion cricketer Phil Hughes, added more runs to the board with a harness racing career-best performance in a C3/C4 Menangle Country Series heat at Group One Feeds Paceway on Wednesday. The Mat Rue-trained and driven four-year-old took full advantage of a favourable barrier three to lead throughout, keeping the tempo brisk with a 59-seconds first half then quickening markedly over the last half in 55.9 seconds, for a 1:54.4 mile rate. His third quarter of 27.7 seconds, reminiscent of a Hughes quick single, kept the chasing pack at bay as they turned for home but he was made to earn the win as Swaggie Shannon came off his back late to flash home for the closest of seconds. "That's the fastest he's ever gone in winning, which is quite surprising because he 's really not a leader, he is actually much better with a trail," commented Rue after the win. And is he capable of picking up one of those lucrative Menangle finals? "Absolutely, if he gets a decent draw and races close enough to the lead, he's capable of winning, and in very quick time as well," his trainer added. The earlier C1-class Club Menangle Where Horses Fly heat also resulted in an all-the-way win, for the Amanda Turnbull-trained My Bettor Bella NZ, the mare stopping the clock at 1:55.1 after maintaining a strong speed throughout. This was the first leg of a driving double for Turnbull, who backed up with Written In Style in a C5- backed conditioned event, using the sprint lane to reel in leader Haka Shannon, who had to be content with the runner-up possie for the third time running. Amanda Turnbull admits it's taken her a while to warm to the Bathurst sprint lane. She says she was impatient previously, bustling her horses as soon as she got into it, but now she makes sure they're balanced up before she really goes for them. Her success rate via the lane this season indicates she's learned that lesson well. Mitchell Turnbull and Robbie Morris also collected driving doubles at Wednesday 's meeting. Cherry Mahoney, all the way in a C1 conditioned sprint with a last half in 56.7 seconds, and Hidden Courage, which finished strongly from mid-field in a 3YO sprint, supplied Mitchell with his wins. Together with Amanda's victory on Written In Style, they gave Steve Turnbull a treble to further increase his runaway lead in the Bathurst trainers premiership. The Robbie Morris double, both trained by his partner Kerryann Turner, was achieved with Smokey Quartz in the fast-class, coming hard along the sprint lane to grab leader Karloo Kix, with a scintillating final quarter in 27.2 seconds, and with debutant Ritchie Bee, which raced behind the leader in the 2YO final event, and finished well to hold off another first starter in Peat Green. This was also a double for the owner, Dorro Nominees, and Robbie Morris was keen to acknowledge the strong support given to the stable by John Dorrington. Machgower was the other winner at the meeting, the Dennis Picker-trained and driven three-year-old finishing a little too strongly for leader Star Play in C0 class, giving him three wins for the term and making up for two recent seconds at the track. Runners in the second race, the conditioned class taken out by Cherry Mahoney, wore black armbands to mark the passing earlier in the week of popular Bathurst horseman Ian Mutton, whose life will be celebrated at Group One Feeds Paceway next Tuesday. Ian trained and drove many good horses in a long and successful career but will be remembered most of all as a smiling, engaging character who always had a joke,or three, to share with everyone. He will be missed by everyone, especially racetrack interviewers who could always depend on him for interesting and forthright commentary. by Terry Neil

It is the biggest race on the Dubbo Harness Racing Club’s calendar, and now preparations are ramping up for the 2017 edition of the Red Ochre Mares Classic. Last Saturday night’s program was the last before heats are held on Sunday, May 21, for the Group 3 event, as well as other finals that will be held at the club’s Carnival of Cups program five days later. Red Ochre organiser Brett Wrigley pours a mountain of work into the race, which over the years has produced the likes of subsequent Ladyship Mile winner Our Sixpence. “Yirribee Stud are the naming rights sponsor this year. They were part of the stallion tender that we use to fund the prizemoney for the Red Ochre,” Wrigley said. “We had a very good response to the stallion tender this year, and we have to thank the studs that gave us services to auction off as part of it. “We took in a little more this year than we did last year, so that helps with being able to maintain the prizemoney at the level we have it. “This is the third year that the race will carry $30,000 in prizemoney and Group 3 status, and being able to offer that black type for these mares not only means the race is worth good money but they become valuable broodmares when they go to stud. With a month or so remaining until the heats, Wrigley is now on the hunt for prospective mares to compete in the series. He is hopeful of perhaps being able to attract the likes of the all-conquering Turnbull stable from Bathurst, and leading Hunter Valley trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton. “It’s hard to get the Sydney trainers now because they race for similar money down there and don’t have to make two trips out here to race,” Wrigley said. “A few years ago we had Luke McCarthy coming out and he had Our Sixpence win the Red Ochre, and Baby Bling also won one of the other races on the program before it went on to win a Miracle Mile. “But I’ll get on the phone and see who has some mares of a suitable grade and try to get them here. No mare goes backwards in value winning a Group 3 so that’s a bit of a selling point for the race. “I’m hoping Amanda Turnbull might bring What A Curtainraiser out. She’s won five on the trot and won here at her last start. “Shane Tritton has won the race a couple of times as well and usually has a couple of mares that are suitably graded.” The Carnival of Cups meeting will be held on the opening night of the Dubbo Show – Friday, May 26, with organisers hopeful of attracting a strong crowd. By Ben Walker Reprinted with permission of The Daily Liberal

Penrith Paceway’s autumn features got underway with the PFD Cup last week and this Thursday night the time-honoured Renshaw Cup has attracted a strong harness racing line-up. It is the second year the Schweppes Renshaw Cup will be run as part of the TAB.COM.AU Carnival of Cups and the Group 2 has attracted a strong field. Last week’s PFD Cup winner Tiger Tara is backing up again for this week’s $50,000 feature and is the favourite having won his last three starts, including two races last week. Defending champion Yayas Hot Spot is back to attempt to keep his title as well as 2014 Renshaw Cup winner Blazin N Cullen. Others that have added their name to the Renshaw Cup honour roll include Smolda, Michael Frost and Washakie to name a few. Schweppes Renshaw Cup night caters for everybody and there is even a chance to win a Toyota Yaris as well as many raffles and lucky racebook prizes that will be carried out over the night. Entertainment is a priority for Penrith Paceway and the children will have fun when the Easter Bunny arrives.  There will also be live music to kick-start the Easter weekend, Fashions on the Field and fashion stalls. This is supported by our high standard of good food and beverages and a must for the night is a visit to the 140cafe and 3P’s Pizza and Coffee Lounge that has already received plaudits of applause from all quarters.     RENSHAW CUP WINNERS @ PENRITH PACEWAY             YEAR STAKES HORSE DRIVER DISTANCE RATE 2016 50,000 YAYAS HOT SPOT NZ LAUREN PANELLA 2525M 1.58.1 2015 50,000 SMOLDA MARK PURDON 2525M 1.56.7 2014 50,000 BLAZIN N CULLEN NZ JOHN McCARTHY 2525M 1.57.8 2013 50,000 WASHAKIE NZ JOHN McCARTHY 2525M 1.59.1 2012 50,000 TERRORWAY NZ JOHN McCARTHY 2525M 2.00.1 2011 50,000 ROHAN HOME GAVIN FITZPATRICK 2525M 1.58.8 2010 50,000 WESTERN CAM NATALIE RASSMUSSEN 2525M 1.59.6 2009 50,000 JOHNNY EL GRINGO ANTHONY BUCCA 2525M 2.02.2 2008 50,000 BOLD CRUISER NZ DARYL DOUGLAS 2525M 2.01.8 2007 50,000 BLUE GUM FOREST EMMA TURNBULL 2525M 2.03.5 2006 50,000 FIERCE ALLEGIANCE STEVE TURNBULL 2525M 2.01.5 2005 50,000 THE SCORPION KING NORM ABOUD 2525M 2.04.1 2004 30,000 OUR FIRST LAD NZ DENNIS WILSON 2525M 2.02.4 2003 30,000 GIFTED ANGEL NZ DAVID BAXTER 2525M 2.04.7 2002 25,000 JUST SCOOTIN AD TURNBULL 2525M 2.03.2 2001 25,000 FRANCO CONQUEST NZ PETER TRITTON 2525M 2.00.0 2000 27,500 STEP OUTSIDE GRAHAM WATTS 2525M 2.03.5 1999 25,000 ZYUGANOV LEIS WAYNE INNES 2450M 2.03.0 1998 25,000 ALFABEAT DAVID BAXTER 2450M 2.04.4 1997 25,000 LATE BID NZ ROB BYRNES 2450M 2.03.8 1996 25,000 LATE BID NZ ROB BYRNES 2450M 2.02.1 1995 25,000 TYLER JAY TERRY ROBINSON 2450M 2.02.8                 MOBILE START                   1994 25,000 BIG WAL SM MAGUIRE 2420M 2.00.9 1993 25,000 COCO'S DREAM NZ THERESE M GLEESON 2420M 2.02.5 1992 25,000 CARTER RAINBOW DW WILSON 2420M 2.02.1 1991 22,000 OUR AYNSLEY DJ BINSKIN 2420M 2.01.2 1990 20,000 BONZATROSS DA ROYLE 2420M 2.03.8 1989 15,000 LOVE TO SPARE CJ GLEESON 2420M 2.02.3 1988 15,000 LOTS OF KINGS CJ GLEESON 2420M 2.03.4 1987 15,000 BEN'S IMAGE VW FROST 2420M 2.03.1                 STANDING START                   1986 15,000 HURRICANE FURY CJ GLEESON 2350M 1.17.5 1985 15,000 POWDER AND SHOT RW ADAMS 2450M 1.18.3 1984 15,000 DALMEGO J JANDZIO 2450M 1.18.4 1983 12,000 BUNDANOON BP HANCOCK 2450M 1.19.7 1982 12,000 OUT FOR GLORY BP HANCOCK 2420M 1.17.2 1981 10,000 MICHAEL FROST C CAFFYN 2450M 1.19.7 1980 8,500 GRAND THOR VW FROST 2450M 1.17.6 1979 7,500 ABLE AY J BINSKIN 2450M 1.18.5 1978 5,500 CHALLENGE PROOF VW FROST 2450M 1.17.7 1977 5,500 CHALLENGE PROOF W McCLELLAND 2450M 1.21.7 1976 2,400 KARAMEA MINNA DJ HEATH 2450M 1.19.0 1975 2,300 SHY CASTLE K NEWMAN 2450M 1.19.2 1974 3,000 ARMBRO JODIE K NEWMAN 2450M 1.19.3 1973 3,000 ROYAL TOPAZ S BOND 12f 40yds 2.09.6 1971 (Dec) 1,900 PRINCESS LIGHT A YOUNG 12f 40yds 2.08.0 1971 1,500 KIWI LAD VW FROST 12f 40yds 2.07.2 1970 1,500 DAWN PEAK C CASTLES 12f 40yds 2.06.6 1969 1,500 KIWI PETERSON K NEWMAN 12f 40yds 2.08.2 Fields for Penrith, Thursday 13 April 2017 Form guide for Penrith, Thursday 13 April 2017 PENRITH PACEWAY

Tom Pay will yet again combine with uncle Brett for a pair of harness racing drives at Parkes Harness Racing Club on Friday evening. The youngster has long teamed up with family members, having driven his first ever winner for his grandfather Greg back in 2015. At Parkes on Friday, Tom Pay will be in the gig of Brett Pay’s Remember Kaiser in the first race of the night, the Jenny Jones Memorial (2040m). The majority of races being run on the night are set to honour former members of the Parkes racing fraternity. Remember Kaiser will be first up from a spell at Parkes, having not raced since seventh-placed Finish at Tamworth in November of last year. He will line up from gate nine. It is then a long wait until the Pay duo combine again, with Suncreen also returning from a spell in the ninth and final race of the night, the Bill and Linda Taylor Pace (1660m). Racing starts at Parkes at 5.59pm on Friday. By Nick Guthrie Reprinted with permission of The Daily Liberal

Harness racing heats for West Wyalong’s award-winning Standing Start Final will be held next week in Dubbo and Wagga. Trainers and drivers are reminded of the need to qualify in a standing start trial prior to be eligible for the Bolt Sulky Innovations Standing Start Series valued at $16,000. Heats will be held at Dubbo on Wednesday April 5 and Wagga on Friday April 7, while the third heat is at West Wyalong on Easter Saturday, April 15, with the final at West Wyalong’s Carnival of Cups on Sunday April 23. As well as $7,420 prizemoney up for grabs, and $1000 cash for the winning driver, trainers will be vying for the latest $7,600 Insain Bolt sulky thanks to major sponsor Bolt Sulky Innovations who has joined West Wyalong Harness Racing Club (WWHRC) to make the event possible. Trainers and drivers are welcome to trial one of the innovative sulkies at the Dubbo and Wagga heats or at the Carnival of Cups meeting. The sulky can be used in a race, with several people trialling it recently at Penrith to try and confirm the claims that the Australian designed-and-built sulky has turned 50 to one long shots into winners. Company director Joe Watkins says it’s the pivoting shaft that gives horses the advantage: “particularly in the turns where direct tracking ability without fishtailing and zero torsional forces greatly assists with balance and speed," he said. WWHRC President Ray Moore welcomed the new sponsor, saying the Club was thrilled to be able to continue to offer the Standing Start Series, after last year’s inaugural event proved a major draw card for competitors. Moore said the final was expected to be a great spectacle for the crowd once again as horses being handicapped according to their grade, gives every entrant the opportunity to win, and usually means a close finish.   Bathurst trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull’s Oh Jonny B Good, overcame a 70m handicap to win last year’s edition by 1.7 metres just beating a CO contender. The favourite Sporty Spook, who won the Wagga and West Wyalong heats, had to start off a 60m but was forced to run an exhausting race three wide and finished last.   ”This exciting race almost saw the front marker Seenohearnospeakno get away with the chocolates, and this is what provides the spectacle where the favourite can run last, the pole marker almost gets home and the winner is forced to run four and five wide on the home turn to catch the leaders,” said Moore. The standing start series is already attracting plenty of interest with Amanda Turnbull mentioning at Young Carnival of Cups recently that she’s planning to return for a chance at another sulky and brother Mitch, who has been driving exceptionally well lately, says he’s also interested. The inaugural standing start event was introduced last year thanks to the assistance of Dubbo and Wagga Clubs who are on board again. “We put a lot of work into the event as a way of building up the program for our Carnival of Cups for both competitors and spectators,” said Moore. And the work paid off when the Club won the Harness Racing NSW Innovation Award for introducing the race to the program in an attempt to grow the race meeting. “It’s an exciting addition to our Carnival of Cups program that we hoped would prove a success,” said Moore. “West Wyalong only runs two race meetings a year but the track is in excellent condition and the racing is expected to be of high quality. “Small clubs like ours have to put in the extra yards to stay viable and keep our meetings on the annual racing calendar.” The nine race program is expected to attract a lot of interest after last year attracting 170 nominations. Races include the $12,240 S and C Clubs Pacers Cup (C4-C7) and two $10,000 Menangle heats. The lead up event on Easter Saturday April 15 is a restricted event, with heats for the standing start as well as C0- C1 four-year-old heats. By Melanie Sincock

An earthquake helped played part in Stuart McDonald’s harness racing career and now the 22-year-old is ready to take New South Wales by storm. The New Zealander has been in Australia for five years and is set to make his mark on the Sydney harness scene. Still currently one of the leading concession drivers in Western Australia having spent five years working in the west, McDonald only arrived in Sydney a couple of months ago but is hoping to make a name for himself here as a freelance driver. “I really want to be a freelance driver here in Sydney and New South Wales,” McDonald said. “I would like to stay here until I at least outdrive my concession claim.” McDonald has been driving for a number of stables since settling into Sydney and has already driven 16 winners since arriving in January. He has a drive at today’s Tabcorp Park Menangle meeting on board the Shane Sanderson Lucia Bromac – a stable he has been driving for of late. “I’m hoping she goes well,” he said. The mare is a former Kiwi, a bit like McDonald himself. “I don’t plan on going back to New Zealand . . . that’s not home for me anymore,” McDonald said. “I left there when I was 16 so for most of my adult life I have been in Australia. “I actually never drove in a race over in New Zealand. “There was an earthquake at my school and because of that we were transferred to another school. “That school would have their classes in the mornings and my school’s classes didn’t start until 1pm so that’s when I started working with horses with Wayne Higgs. “I would work the horses in the morning before I would go to school and it was through Wayne that I started working over in Western Australia with Greg Schofield. “I then worked for Ross Olivieri for three-and-a-half years before heading to Sydney.” After driving for Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto during the Perth Inter Dominion series last year, McDonald moved east and spent a stint working for Pizzuto’s stable. For the past two seasons McDonald has been the leading junior driver in Western Australia and ranked amongst the top 10 drivers in that state too. “I love the racing over there, it’s a lot tougher than what it is here with a lot of half mile tracks,” McDonald said. “That’s where I first started driving so it will always be special to me.” AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

There will be many people cheering on horses carrying the number four saddlecloth at Young's Carnival Of Cups harness racing meeting this Saturday night. And it is all for good causes. The Young Harness Racing Club is showing their support for Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Prostate Cancer Support Group by donating $500 to these charities when the number four horse finishes in the top three placings. Harness Racing NSW will also match this donation meaning $1000 per race could be donated to either charity if number four places first, second or third. "We have decided to go with the number four as that saddlecloth is the colour that the MND and Prostate Cancer Foundation use," said Young HRC Secretary Chloe Powderly. Alternating the respective charities with the races throughout the nine-race program, a total of $9000 could be donated. However, the donations do not stop there. With the Team Teal promotion for 2017 culminating on this night the Young HRC and HRNSW have agreed to donate a further $1000 collectively to the Women's Cancer Foundation if the driver of the number four horse is female. AMANDA RANDO

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