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Harness Racing New South Wales will program 'Claiming Races' at a number of tracks across the state in coming months. The reintroduction will aim to cater for a wide range of horses and in the short term, the races will be run with a minimum of six horses. Every meeting at Penrith, Bathurst, Wagga, Newcastle and Tabcorp Park Menangle will have a claiming race programmed. Maximum Claiming Price of $5,000  Penrith  Bathurst  Wagga  Newcastle Maximum Claiming Price of $10,000 Tabcorp Park Menangle (midweek) Maximum Claiming Price of $25,000 Tabcorp Park Menangle (Saturday night) In July and August the Claiming Races will be conducted with a minimum of six horses. From September 1, a minimum of eight runners will be required however HRNSW has the discretion to run the races with less should it deem necessary. Prize money percentage splits will remain in accordance with all other races and HRNSW will continue to have eligibility clauses in other races. For example: C1 Only also eligible claimers eligible under claiming rules with a maximum claiming price of $3000. The claiming value for horses in Divided Stakes events will be at the HRNSW Handicapper's discretion. Greg Hayes

After applications from Clubs across NSW, a new withdrawal fee has been introduced by Harness Racing New South Wales which will be effective immediately. The $44 fee will apply if a horse is withdrawn from a race after the fields have been made available for viewing. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny acknowledged there was one exception to the Policy and that was for the Divided Stakes. "In relation to the Divided Stakes fields, HRNSW understands connections may feel the need to withdraw a horse from a race and therefore each trainer will be allowed to withdraw one horse per meeting without the imposition of the fee," Dumesny said. "HRNSW has implemented the rule from July 1 however due to the significant change affecting the entire industry and so trainers can become accustomed to the new process there will be a fee moratorium until August 1." The new initiative will give the Clubs a clearer indication on how many horses will compete at meetings. "A number of Clubs were experiencing difficulties with knowing what horses would remain in the nominations and therefore constitute races." "The option of closing the viewing of nominations was not palatable to participants as previously experimented." Greg Hayes

The Eugowra Harness Racing Club has announced that the 2015 Lexus Of Parramatta Canola Cup final will be worth $30,000. Club president Lex Crosby announced that the race will move to a new level this year and once again become the richest C0 race in Australia. The race had been worth $20,000 over the past few years and previously had been the richest C0 but increases in other events had seen it lose 'top billing'. It is the intention of the club to keep the Canola Cup to the forefront as the richest race for C0 horses in Australia. The $3,000 heats will be run on Sunday September 27th and the final on Monday October 5th. Mr. Crosby thanked all the clubs' sponsors, both large and small for their continued support in making this race day successful. The Eugowra Club is proud of local school teacher Cath Adams who sings the National Anthem at the Canola Cup. Cath has progressed to the second round of Channel Nine's 'The Voice' and the Club is hoping harness racing fans will give her their support as the competition progresses. Greg Hayes

On 25 June 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) concluded an inquiry that commenced on 11 February 2015 in relation to licensed trainer, Mr Michael Day (Snr) fraudulently obtaining payments from an owner for the training of a standardbred horse that never existed. Mr Day (Snr) was interviewed by HRNSW Stewards on 5 May 2015 and provided false information during that phase of the investigation. On 15 May 2015, Mr Day (Snr) was again interviewed and made admissions in relation to his fraudulent conduct. Mr Day (Snr) was issued with three (3) charges pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) as follows: CHARGE 1- Pursuant to AHRR 241: 241.  A person shall not in connection with any part of the harness racing industry do anything which is fraudulent or corrupt. The particulars of this charge were that Mr Day (Snr) between 2009 and 5 May 2015, by way of dishonesty and deception, received money for training fees and other expenses from an owner for a horse referred to as ‘Miriyan’, a horse that did not and does not exist. CHARGE 2- Pursuant to AHRR 243: 243.  A person employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry shall not behave in a way which is prejudicial or detrimental to the industry. The particulars of this charge were that Mr Day (Snr) between 2009 and 5 May 2015, by way of dishonesty and deception, received money for training fees and other expenses for a horse referred to as ‘Miriyan’, a horse that did not and does not exist. These actions, involving dishonesty and deceit are detrimental to the Harness Racing industry. CHARGE 3- Pursuant to AHRR 187(2) & (7) as follows: 187.    (2)  A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. (7)  A person who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence. The particulars of this charge were that Mr Day (Snr), in an interview with HRNSW Stewards on Tuesday 5 May 2015, gave false and/or misleading information in relation to an investigation being conducted by HRNSW Stewards into this matter. Mr. Day (Snr) pleaded guilty to all charges by way of written submissions. In respect of the charge proven pursuant to AHRR 241, Mr Day (Snr) was disqualified for a period of 10 years. In respect of the charge proven pursuant to AHRR 243, Mr Day (Snr) was disqualified for a period of 5 years. In respect of the charge proven pursuant to AHRR 187 (2) & (7), Mr Day (Snr) was disqualified for a period of 2 years. All disqualification periods were ordered to be served concurrently. Effectively, Mr Day (Snr) is disqualified for a period of 10 years to expire at midnight on 24 June 2025. In determining penalty, Stewards considered the conduct of Mr Day (Snr) to be dishonest, deceitful and calculated at the highest level due to the length of time over which the offence took place, the measures undertaken by Mr Day (Snr) and the continuation of the conduct. In addition, Stewards were mindful of Mr Day’s (Snr) guilty plea, his conduct in recanting the initial false and misleading evidence and the effect such conduct had on the investigation. Stewards were also mindful of the effects of his conduct on the image, reputation and integrity of the harness racing industry. Reid Sanders - Harness Racing New South Wales  

One harness racing barn that has been having a great run in New South Wales this season is the stable of Kevin Pizzuto. While most of the bigger barns in the state have 60-70 horses in work Kevin only works a team of 24 at any one time. The smallish size of the team hasn't stopped Kevin chalking up 71 winners to date this season and he currently sits fifth on the New South Wales premiership. Kevin buys most of his stock in from New Zealand. " I have a lot of contacts in New Zealand who recommend horses to me and I watch them race and if I think they would suit the style of racing here I have a go at buying them." " When I think they are on their mark here I on sell them to North America or interstate and it is a system that has served me well," Kevin told Harnesslink this week. Two New Zealand horses that are doing a fine job from the Pizzuto stable are Freyberg and Alta Jerome. " Freyberg wasn't very expensive but he has done a great job since joining the stable a couple of years ago. " He has a best time of 1:51.7 and has banked $220,000 for me so I have a bit of time for him". "Alta Jerome has only been here eight months but has already won over $100,000 and looks a horse with a bit of a future." "He ran an unlucky fourth to Sky Major in the Chariots Of Fire and has kicked on since then so he could have a big season coming up,"Kevin said. Not only is Kevin importing New Zealand horses but he has now taken to importing his staff from New Zealand as well. Former New Zealand junior driver Jack Trainor landed at Kevin's barn and has not looked back since. As of today Jack sits eighth on the New South Wales driving premiership with 65 wins for the season and just recently won the Rising Stars driving title in New South Wales. Kevin is now looking for another young Kiwi driver to boost the staffing ranks. " There is room for another young driver in the barn." "We have to use outside drivers a lot for a few of the team which I rather wouldn't do and there is a great opportunity here for a young driver to get established in the industry." "As long as they have a good work ethic, they will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves here, " Kevin said. With the success that Jack Trainor has had from the Pizzuto barn, there will a few New Zealand junior drivers tempted by the opportunity. Harnesslink Media

Harness Racing New South Wales extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Charlie Mercieca after his sudden passing on Thursday June 25. Aged 70, Charlie Mercieca was an accomplished horseman and enjoyed success in and around Sydney. Some of the horses Charlie trained included Identity, Nathan Image, Sheerama and more recently Little Gozzo and Perfect Shot. His last runner was on Friday June 12 when Jodan finished third at Newcastle. Charlie will be missed by his entire family. Charlie's funeral will be on Friday July 3rd at 1pm Our Lady Queen of Peace, Greystanes. The burial will take place at Pine Grove Cemetery at 2:30pm.  Greg Hayes

Rising talent Jack Trainor and accomplished local Nathan Hurst took the honours when the NSW Rising Stars series came to last Wednesday’s meeting harness racing meeting at Group One Feeds Paceway Bathurst. Trainor, the eventual winner of the series, demonstrated why he is regarded as one of the best young drivers in the nation by completing a clean-sweep of the three Bathurst heats, while Hurst drove a double and supplied a further winner to complete a training treble. Trainor’s clean-sweep came via The Merchant Banker NZ, Keilor Kimberly and Missed By Red, for trainers Neal Wardle, David Hewitt and Steve Turnbull. The Merchant Banker NZ ($2.00 favourite) was taken straight to the front in the C2-backed sprint, heat three of the week-long series, and withstood sustained pressure from a number of mid-race challengers, before digging in at the finish to hold off Flight Express (Chris Geary), which used the sprint lane, and Tulhurst Candy (Kristy Sheehy). All quarters were sub-thirty seconds, so the overall mile rate of 1:55.9 came as no surprise.  In a post-race interview, Trainor commented that drivers invitation races, and particularly those for junior drivers, are usually run very quickly because most horses are put into the race at some stage. This was demonstrated perfectly in the following race, a 2260 metres C1 heat, when a near-suicidal 45.8 lead time, backed up by a first half of 60.2 seconds, set up the race for the run-on horses. Keilor Kimberly ($17.80) came with a wet sail to win easily, from Black Poles (Daniel Morgan) and Blissfull Dixie (Chris Geary), in a smart 1:57.4 for the testing trip. Chris Geary, who must have been feeling some frustration after being placed in all four heats of the series to that point, gained some consolation by taking out a support event, leading throughout a 2260 metres C2-C3 class with Regal Point ($6.80), one of three Bernie Hewitt-trained horses to line up. A smart 57.6 last half gave his rivals no chance of running him down. Missed By Red ($2.60 favourite) completed Trainor’s perfect performance, by running out a decisive winner in heat five, a C0 sprint. With the lead unavailable, because of a 27.9 opening quarter, the Somebeachsomewhere filly was given a lovely position mid-field, and strolled home in 28.9 for an easy win. Monterey Jack (Ellen Bartley) held on for second, with Golden Montana (Nathan Carroll) getting up for third. The three winning drives were achieved in contrasting style, but they all demonstrated a maturity beyond Trainor’s twenty-one years. Not surprising, perhaps, given his excellent grounding in the sport in his New Zealand homeland, where he worked for leading trainer Cran Dalgety, before heading to a new home in New South Wales and good opportunities driving for a number of leading stables.  He’s a very impressive young man. Nathan Hurst didn’t have the opportunity to compete in any junior drivers series when he started out, but he does have something in common with Jack Trainor, a good “apprenticeship” in New Zealand, when he took himself across the ditch to work for Barry Purdon, before returning to Bathurst to set up a professional stable. Tulhurst Sarsha ($3.80 favourite) got Hurst’s night off to the perfect start by coming out from behind leader Gentleman Red and grabbing that horse right on the line, with Boyzinblue taking the minor prize, in a C0-C1 sprint. The overall mile rate was 1:58.6, but the last quarter in 28.0 was pretty sharp. Saloon Passage had set tongues wagging with a 1:54 trial win at the track  nine days earlier, so it was no surprise to see him installed as $1.30 favourite for the C4+  fast-class  fifth, despite being first-up for several months, and over the longer 2260 metres distance. Hurst pinged him straight to the lead, where he gradually quickened the tempo, home in 28.7 and 27.8, for a creditable 1:57.3 rate, with runner-up My Dusky Sound NZ responsible for an enormous effort after a tough run outside the lead. Last-start winner Uncle Lile made late ground for third. Hurst was very pleased by the win, and also a little relieved, given it was over the longer trip and first-up. Present plans are to head back to Menangle, in search of the M0 win that has so far eluded this very talented and enigmatic pacer. When he does get that well-deserved success, he will pass $100,000 in stakes earnings. Blazing Brax ($4.40, Angela Hedges) completed an excellent night for the Hurst stable by taking out a 2C0-2C1 sprint, leading throughout and holding on, by a half-neck margin, from favourite Miss Irish Rose and Shot To Stardom. She held on to the win in the stewards room afterwards, surviving a protest from the runner-up after drifting out in the run home.  It was the third win this term for the Julius Caesar gelding, a $10,000 purchase at last year’s Gold Crown sale. Williewa Ace ($56.20, Jason Turnbull/Wayne Jeffree) gave the on-course bookmaker some relief by taking out the 1730 metres C0 final event. It was the maiden win for the lightly-raced four-year-old, but the latest in a successful partnership for the Lagoon reinsman and Portland trainer.  Placings went to Pia Pizaz and Paulie Walnuts. Bathurst will race on Fridays over the next couple of months, with this week’s meeting an afternoon fixture, followed by a “Christmas in July” celebration in the club in the evening. Terry Neil

The New South Wales Harness Racing Club has welcomed the announcement by Harness Racing Victoria that they will hold the 2016 editions of the Victoria and Hunter Cups on the same weekends the features were held this year. This avoids the clash which was created in February this year when HRV announced they were moving their 2016 carnival forward a week to coincide with the opening week of the Miracle Mile Carnival. This decision is in the best interests of both states and the entire industry according to NSWHRC Chief Executive Officer Bruce Christison. "This will ensure that the best horses have the opportunity to contest all Grand Circuit events," Christison said. "Both states can now get on with organising their carnivals and just as importantly the connections of these elite horses can start to plan their campaigns." NSWHRC Chairman Ray Sharman said that the Club has offered a Miracle Mile invitation to the winner of the Victorian Cup to assist in resolving the clash. This offer was accepted by HRV who have amended their Summer of Glory calendar. "It is a relief to all concerned that a Group One clash has been avoided," Sharman said. The Sky Carnival of Miracles will commence on February 13 with the Miracle Mile qualifying races and culminates on Sunday February 28 with the SEW-Eurodrive Miracle Mile headlining Group One Day. The prizemoney for the Carnival exceeds $2.5million. For further information please contact NSWHRC CEO Bruce Christison on (02) 4645 2200.

Harness racings big day at Menangle yesterday was full of firsts for a lot of drivers and trainers involved. Kerry Ann Turner claimed her first Group 1 when Lettucerockthem was way too good in the four year old colts and geldings division of the $100,000 Breeders Challenge Finals after a great drive in front by her partner Robbie Morris. Not long after that was the sight of Luda getting home in the $100,000 four year old mares final for her young trainer Daniel Neagoe and her equally young driver David Morris. It was the first Group 1 victory for both the trainer and driver and showed both have the talent to make it at the highest level. Mark Purdon stamped his mark on the days proceedings by winning three of the six Group 1 features on offer and continued the great run the stable is having in both Sydney and Brisbane during their winter campaign. As usual Greg Hayes got around to interview a lot of the drivers and trainers and owners and we include those videos here. Harnesslink Media  

IT doesn't get any better than winning your first Group One on a big day's harness racing. So it was a day to savour for both leading trainer Kerry Ann Turner and young reinsman David Morris at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Turner won the NSW Breeders Challenge four-year-old entires and geldings final with Lettucerockthem while a little over half an hour later Morris saluted when he led all the way to win with Luda, in the four-year-old mares' final, also giving rookie trainer Daniel Neagoe his first Group One. Turner arrived at Tabcorp Park Menangle today "expecting" and she left over the moon with her first Group One winner safely in the bank. Lettucerockthem became the first horse to win three Breeders Challenges in successive years when he cruised home with the $100,000 Four-Year-Old colts and geldings final. It has been a long-time coming because Turner lost a Group One at this very meeting three years ago when Blissful Guy (with Robbie Morris in the sulky) was first past the post but lost the race on protest to No Ah Saint. Turner, who will have her first child in a few months, was ecstatic when Lettucerockthem was sold recently and the new owners sent the son of Art Major to her Menangle stables to train. Her partner, Robert Morris did the rest, finding the front out of the gate from nine and cruising through the first half of his last mile in 60.3 seconds. That made it mathematically impossible for short-priced favourite My General Lee, who sat back in last place and had little chance of running them down. Turning for home Morris held all the aces and clicked up with a final split in 26.6s and a last half of 53.9 to win as he liked, beating Theartofconfusion (Todd McCarthy) by 16m and the fast-finishing My General Lee (David Morris) 23m away from the winner in third place. Luda (Christian Cullen) was just as impressive in the mares' final, holding off a wall of challengers in the straight to score in 1:58.5 mile rate. David Morris obviously learned from his defeat in the previous race as he quickly found the front from the widest gate, stacked up his rivals then held them all off in the run to the line. By Michael Court, Editor-In-Chief, National Trotguide

Harness racing two year old gelding Our Waikiki Beach was all the rage in the $125,000 two year old colts and geldings division of the NSW Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. The winner of eight from eight going into the final, the son of Somebeachsomewhere has looked special from the first time he stepped on a track and hadn't really been put under any great pressure in his races.   That all changed today when the rival drivers threw down the gauntlet to Our Waikiki Beach.   Blake Fitzpatrick blazed out of the gate from barrier 10 with Match In Heaven, another son of Somebeachsomewhere and grabbed the early lead before handing up to Shadow Runner and Michael Formosa after 400 metres.   Mark Purdon worked Our Waikiki Beach forward to the wheel of Shadow Runner but applied no pressue with the first half going by in a leisurely 58.1.   The tempo was upped down the back by Formosa on Shadow Runner and he still lead as they turned for home.   Our Waikiki Beach mastered Shadow Runner soon after they turned for home but then had to withstand a big challenge on his inside from Match In Heaven.   For the first time in his career, Mark Purdon had to pull the ear plugs on Our Waikiki Beach and like the top colt he is he responded and held his challengers at bay.   Match In Heaven stuck on gamely for second just  in front of El Major and Shadow Runner.   Our Waikiki Beach paced the mile in 1:53.7 with closing sectionals of 55.6 and 27.1 and all from the parked position.   That made it win number nine for Our Waikiki Beach and took his stake earnings in his debut season over the $300,000 mark.   A $50,000 purchase at last years yearling sales, Our Waikiki Beach is the first foal of the former handy Bettor's Delight racemare, Cyclone Betty 1:59.3 ($68,186) Our Waikiki Beach will now head to the Breeders Crown at Melton and a chance to crack the $500,000 stakes mark as a two year old.     Harnesslink Media

Harness racing three year filly Supersonic Miss has a lot of positive attributes but size is definitely not one of them. The diminutive daughter of Mach Three might be small in statue but she has a huge motor.   When she fronted up today for the $125,000 final of the NSW Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle for three year old fillies, she might have been the smallest filly in the race but it mattered not in the finish as she strode away for an effortless victory.   Allowed to settle back from barrier four, Supersonic Miss worked onto the back of Sally Fletcher in the one by one but some way off the leaders.   Somelovesomewhere lead early before handing up to the well supported Makes Every Scents after 800 metres.   Mark Purdon got a lovely run up with Supersonic Miss to the leader on the back of Sally Fletcher and when he peeled her three wide at the top of the straight, Supersonic Miss quickly sprinted to the lead and put the race beyond doubt half way up the long Menangle straight.   The Ashlee Siejka trained and driver Ameretto provided a minor highlight of the race by storming home late for second after an early gallop had cost her 10-12 lengths.   For the daughter of Million Dollar Cam it was a case of what might have been but for the early gallop.   Supersonic Miss paced the 2400 metres in a swift 2:54.6, a mile rate of 1:57.1 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 27.1   It was the ninth lifetime win for the Mach Three filly and took her earnings to just shy of $300,000.     Harnesslink Media

The  harness racing $125,000 NSW Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle bring the best of the best together and the first big final to go today was the race for the two year old filliesl. Heavens Trend was a dominating favourite after four wins in a row, the last of them in an Australian record time of 1:52.1. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven had drawn nicely at barrier three while the main opposition in Our Golden Goddess had drawn wider at barrier six. As the gates folded, Mark Purdon driving Our Golden Goddeess threw caution to the wind and charged out to try to grab an early lead. Gavin Lang in the bike behind Heaven's Trend was having none of it and the two favourites charged through ther first quarter in 26.1 with Heavens Trend holding the front. When the half was reached in just over 55, a few were struggling with the pace but it was clear a long way out that Heavens Trend was in cruise control. As they straightened for home Gavin Lang gave her a bit of rein and Heavens Trend strode clear for an emphatic victory with Gavin sitting quite as in the bike. Hot Shot Woman dashed home late for second to continue her string of second placings with Boundtobemad edging out a game Our Golden Goddess for third. Heavens Trend paced the mile in 1:52.9 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 28.9. Emma Stewart is the trainer. Heavens Trend is from the first Australian crop of Rock N Roll Heaven 1:47.6 ($2,774,478) and is a daughter of the former outstanding race filly Trend Setter 1:55.6 ($199,414). The second placegetter Hot Shot Woman is by Rocknroll Hanover and must be the biggest stake earning maiden in Australasia with todays placing taking her well over the $100,000 mark. The main aim now for Heavens Trend is the Breeders Crown at Melton at the end of August where she will meet the unbeaten New Zealand champion Dream About Me and that should be a race well worth going to see. Harnesslink Media

Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's feature racing in New Zealand may be over for the season but they are still hunting down harness racing Group I victories. The All Stars stable have runners in four of the New South Wales Breeders Challenge finals at Menangle on Sunday. It is hard to imagine the Rolleston based stable will not pick up at least two of the A$125,000 Group I finals. Prominent stable owners, Meg and Merv Butterworth could be in for a successful day with Our Golden Goddess and Supersonic Miss both strong winning chances. Smart Art Major filly Our Golden Goddess, who is undefeated in two starts since making her debut in Australia, will be heavily supported in the 1609m Breeders Challenge for two-year-old fillies. Golden Goddess originally drew barrier nine but has been aided by three scratchings inside her. But Purdon, who drives all four stable runners on Sunday, will still have to start outside likely favorite Heavens Trend. Our Waikiki Beach, unbeaten in eight starts, will be a short priced favourite in the Breeders Challenge for two-year-old colts and geldings over 1609m. Purdon should have everything on his own terms from barrier three and it is hard to see him not winning. Supersonic Miss has a handy barrier draw, starting from gate four in the Breeders Challenge for three-year-old fillies 2400m. After winning her last two starts, Supersonic Miss seems to be back to her best and will tough to beat. The fourth All Stars runner is Kept Under Wraps who will starts from barrier two in the Breeders Challenge for three-year-old colts and geldings over 2400m. Kept Under Wraps, by Bettor's Delight was disappointing in his last start when run down late but is the favorite with Australian bookies. Given the season the Purdon and Rasmussen team enjoyed in New Zealand in Group I races, a day of Kiwi domination at Menangle would not surprise. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the consent of the Christchurch Press

The All Stars harness racing juggernault continues to perform on both sides of the Tasman. David McCarthy from the All Stars team has done a wrap on the Australian team and how they are progressing and with their kind permission we reproduce that here. BRISBANE Don't believe all you see in the Brisbane fields this week. Both Hug The Wind and Fight For Glory are not going around in the Breeders Crown heats and only Linda Lovegrace will start this week. Natalie might also have to pull the pin on the Country Cup series she had her eye on for Gentle Western as he battles back to his best. "I put the others in the Breeders Crown assuming they were nominated and Queensland harness put them in but it turns out they are not paid up for the Breeders Crown series" Natalie said. "Queensland Harness have apologised for not being aware of it but as it turned out I wasn't either having taken it for granted they would be paid up as nearly all our horses are. " The problem for Hug The Wind is that he faces a big test next Saturday (July 4) in the  G1 Nursery Stakes of $A100,000 so missing a race this week is bad news. "He will trial on Friday to give him a hitout for next week now" Natalie said. She put down his gallop when winning at Redcliffe as partly her fault. "He is a bit funny sometimes going past horses." "He gets up to them and gets a narrow lead and then he doesn't want to go on." "I gave him a bit of a prod and he didn't like that ! But he is thriving and that is why he needs another hitout before next week" Smolda also has his first big run in Queensland on July 4 in the  $A100,000 Sunshine Sprint but he is well race seasoned. Fight For Glory has the A$100,000 Queensland Oaks on July 11 as her next major target so missing a race is not a problem at this stage. She has come thru her Gold Coast Oaks win in fine order and not being in the Breeder's Crown is a matter of regret after that performance. Linda Lovegrace continues to thrive. Gentle Western has given Natalie a few worries though and he is more likely than not to miss the Country Cup series the heats of which are next Friday. "He was just a bit off leading into the Premier's Cup which is one reason I copped a fine for going to slow in front with him." "I wanted to be as easy on him as I could." "And he wasn't really right for the final either but was just too good for them." "He is coming right but I don't want to go into a series like that unless he is 100 per cent." "At this stage the best target for him looks the Four Year Old Championship (July 18) which he was always going to be looking at." That is on Queensland Derby night, a major aim for Hug The Wind.   SYDNEY The Sydney campaign continues on a positive note and the horses are doing so well there that Mark is expecting to extend the horse's stay before heading to Melbourne  for the Breeder's Crown. "It's  warmer here and the horses are thriving so it makes sense to keep things going like that" Mark said. "The draws for most of the horses on Sunday is good and everything is looking good at this stage" However luck this week in Melbourne is not quite as good. Follow The Stars has drawn one on the second line and Chris Alford who has been driving him can't do so. "I asked the club to split his drives but they refused saying they now only do that for trainers not drivers." "I am sure Anthony Butt is available and he will be a good substitute but it means Chris misses out  on an opportunity." "They have put most of the form horses in the same heat which doesn't help us from the draw" Mark is pleased with how Follow the Stars is handling the travelling to and from Melbourne. He will be home again after Friday's race. "He has usually been a good traveller but he had a long trip last week and seemed to recover well. He is thriving over here too" Dream About Me and High Gait have arrived for the Breeder's Crown series but Mark is in no hurry with them. "We haven't got them nominated for anything and it is early days yet. They will tell us when they are ready to go' David McCarthy - All Stars Racing Stables    Check site here

Every day here at Harnesslink we have a look at the harness racing results from the previous day in Australia, and one relatively unheralded stallion's name has cropped up quite a bit in the last twelve months. We are referring to the son of Christian Cullen in Quick Approval who for a stallion with few progeny on the ground has done a more than a passable job. Brought back by his breeder Matthew Harris when he didn't make his $20,000 reserve at the yearling sales, Quick Approval spent most of his career in the Riverina district Good enough to win a heat of the Australian Pacing Gold at two, Quick Approval went on to be a handy performer in New South Wales with his best performance coming when he won the $30,000 Group 3 four and five year old Carnival Of Cups Classic at Dubbo where he broke the track record held by Smooth Satin. Retired with a record of 23 wins from 58 starts for stakes of $108,559 and a best time of 1:57.1, he was understandably not rushed when offered as a sire. " When he was racing I had a lot of people approach me to ask if I was thinking of standing him at stud when his racing days were over." He is such a great looking individual and performed so well on the country circuit in New South Wales that I thought he deserved his chance at stud." "However as you would expect he has never been rushed with mares," Matthew told Harnesslink this week. With his oldest crop just four years of age, Quick Approval has never had either numbers or quality in the mares he has served. His oldest crop of four year olds numbers just nine but it has already produced four winners which taking everything into account is a great result. Matthew has been a bit hamstrung in his ability to support his own stallion. "I am breeding from quite a few mares from Quick Approval's immediate family including his half sister Clever Tune 1:59.5 ($112,958) who is already the dam of the smart Reneging 1:55.1 ($117,617)." "So I can't breed any of those mares to Quick Approval which hasn't helped him at all," Matthew said. Probably the most impressive of Quick Approval's recent winners has been the two year old With Authority who blitzed a two year old field at Young on Tuesday night. It was With Authority's second win at just his fourth lifetime start.  In the previous race at Young on Tuesday night was another winner by Quick Approval the three-year-old Geronimo Beau. Everybody knows how hard it is to get established as a colonial sire these days but Quick Approval is putting some handy stats together in New South Wales which should see him serve a bigger book of mares in the coming breeding season. Harnesslink Media 

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