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The format of the upcoming harness racing Garrards Horse and Hound Ready2Run Sale in Sydney is reverting back to how it has always been run. Official time-trials will be held at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday November 27, 2016, and shortly after the auction will take place. Directors of the New South Wales Standardbred Sales had announced they were changing the format by conducting the time-trials two weeks prior to the Sale but this has been changed according to Chairman Peter Green. "We have made the decision to revert back to how the trial was previously run and have the Sale component on the same day," Green said. "We will accept late entries and if any vendor or preparer that would like to put a video up of heir horse or horses they need to contact Karen Kemp." Karen can be contacted at   AMANDA RANDO

Legendary harness racing horseman Vic Frost is heading to Tabcorp Park Menangle this weekend with a dual purpose. The highly decorated harness racing figure will present winning connections a trophy following the running of the race named in his honour, the Gr.3 $31,800 Lyn Kemp Conveyancing Vic Frost Cup for the open class performers. But before participating in official duties, Frost, 75, will send out his own runner in Back Page News in the Listed $26,000 AGL Energy Tabcorp Park Menangle Country Series Final. Following the invitation, Frost decided to look through the programs to make the trip worthwhile and found this series for his consistent intermediate grade pacer. Back Page News qualified after running a brave second behind Im Saint Anthony in the qualifying heat at Newcastle last weekend. “It’s a great privilege to be recognized by Harness Racing New South Wales and the Menangle Club and I’m really looking forward to the night. The race named in my honour looks a really good line-up while I’m happy to have a starter myself on the night.” Frost said. Back Page News will again be handled by Brad Cowen, a young reinsman well known to Frost and his partner Gail Geeson through his time spent in the sunshine state where they combined at times for success. The famous livery of white jacket with black stars will be on display when Back Page News and Cowen line-up in the fourth event. “I thought the horse went terrific at Newcastle last week and with some luck in running. I think he can feature again. I’m certain the big track will benefit him greatly, it’s a beautiful big track and very safe for both horse and driver. “While all my success was carried out at the inner-city track at Harold Park which was smaller and tighter, I think the bigger the track the better and Menangle has proven itself to be the number one track in the country. “Things are a lot different now compared to when I was back driving but I’m convinced it’s much safer and I think that’s paramount nowadays. I enjoy watching the races from Menangle through SKY channel but this trip away should be good fun.” Frost plans on leaving his Mooball base, near Tweed Heads, on Friday morning. And still roaming the property is former champion pacer Westburn Grant at the spritely age of 31. The Inter Dominion and dual Miracle Mile winner is thriving in his retirement. by Chris Barsby

Today, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards, acting under the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule 183, suspended the Trainer’s Licence of Mrs Belinda McCarthy after receiving advice from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that the substances boldenone, nandrolone and 5alpha-estran-3beta,17alpha-diol were detected in a post race urine sample collected from VINNY CHASE subsequent to that horse winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday, 14 June 2016. Mrs McCarthy was provided with an opportunity to make submissions to HRNSW as to why the provisions of AHRR 183 and AHRR 183A should not be imposed by 9am on Friday, 19 August 2016. Submissions were received. Acting under the provisions of Rule 183A, it was also determined that VINNY CHASE, the horse subject of the certificate, shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the outcome of an inquiry or investigation. In making these decisions, HRNSW took into account that AHRR 191 (1) provides that a single certificate of analysis by an approved laboratory shall constitute prima facie evidence of the presence of a prohibited substance. Stewards took into account the nature of the substances and that these substances are also prohibited at all times in the registered standardbred. HRNSW considered that in the interests of the industry it impose the suspension pending the outcome of the investigation and further analytical testing by HRNSW. Mrs McCarthy has not been charged with any breach of the Rules and has been advised of her rights of appeal against the imposition of Rule 183. HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation into this sample result, including further analytical samples collected from VINNY CHASE and an Inquiry will be scheduled in due course. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders

At just the age of 23 harness racing reinsman Todd McCarthy is undoubtedly having his best season to date. He achieved the feat of driving 500 winners last night at Penrith (August 18) and this milestone was reached when the two-year-old Western Stride broke through for his first victory. This season alone Todd has driven 186 winners, which includes his first Group One winner, and looks set to take out the New South Wales Drivers Premiership. The talented reinsman is also the leading concession driver in the state and is in front in the Metropolitan Drivers Premiership too, just two wins ahead of his older brother Luke. Here are some more Todd McCarthy stats: ·         First started driving in 2010 ·         His first race drive was at Albion Park on March 2, 2010, on Count The Cards – they finished second ·         It took Todd 13 drives to land his first winner ·         His first winner was Count The Cards at the Gold Coast on April 23, 2010 ·         Todd’s first double was at Albion Park on October 26, 2010, with Beef City Beau and Braveheart Stride ·         At the age of 21 Todd drove five winners in one program which was at Newcastle on May 3, 2014. The wins came courtesy of Fellas R Trouble, Howdy        Dazz, Marble Halls, Emerging Art and Bettorbeastar ·         Todd’s drives has collected over $4.6million in prizemoney ·         His first Group One win was with Frith in the 2016 Ladyship Mile ·         The fastest win Todd has had was when Frith rated 1:50.1 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 16, 2016 ·         He has trained 17 winners  - more than half of them were thanks to the pacer Seel N Print ·         Todd also finished second in the 2014 Inter Dominion Grand Final with Seel N Print AMANDA RANDO

Stening produced one of the best performances of his harness racing career and raced into calculations for the $25,000 Menangle Country Series Final with his heat victory at Wagga on Tuesday night. The well-performed pacer had to earn his 11th win the hard way racing outside the leader before holding off the favourite Lombo Newsy Scoop, who along with the third-placed Mammals Flash, won through to the decider on August 27. Stening's win in the $10,000 heat took his earnings past $60,000 and provided trainer-driver Bruce Harpley with a first-up win under his care. The winner was trained until recently by Bernie Kelly and has been driven in most of his starts by Harpley. "I think just the change of environment can sometimes help some horses," Harpley said. "That was a very good win against some nice horses. "When I saw he drew barrier six on the outside of the front row I thought that was the end of our chances." Stening falls well short of the best pacers raced by Kelly and his wife Dianne, but he has been highly consistent with 11 wins and nine placings from 31 starts. Lombo Newsy Scoop was given every chance, but couldn't haul in Stening when he kicked clear while Mammals Flash ran on well for third in a fast mile rate of 1.57.5 seconds. Comeback pacer The Real Eagle continued his charge qualifying for another final at Menangle with a win over Chickies Boy. It was a carbon copy of their last encounter when The Real Eagle kept Chickies Boy into second placing on July 19. On that occasion, The Real Eagle was having his first start for almost four years. Trainer Brad Hillyer only has The Real Eagle in training and has a real talent on his hands. Leg injuries have restricted The Real Eagle's career to just 15 starts for seven wins. "The big track at Menangle will suit him and that run will top him off," Hillyer said. "I haven't had any leg problems with him this time in so hopefully he can stay in one piece." Reinsman David Moran drove the short-priced favourite to perfection following Chickies Boy throughout before emerging late. Meanwhile, Northern Velocity won her second race at Wagga in the space of four days with a dominant display. The well-bred filly has earnings of more than $160,000 and since racing in Australia has produced four wins and two seconds from six starts. Owner Scott Robertson said Northern Velocity was purchased because of her breeding and was doing the job asked of her during her racing career. "She had a good record in New Zealand where she won most of her prize money," he said. Northern Velocity has been transferred to the care of trainer Steve Maguire after doing her recent racing with Belinda McCarthy - one of the state's leading trainers. "We will see where she is at whether or not she has another start," Robertson said. Northern Velocity also won at Wagga on Friday night. The filly is a daughter of leading sire Mach Three from Northern Franco making her a half-sister to $900,000 earner Pembrook Benny. Amanda Rando

Harness racing "Group One" winning reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick notched up 100 winners for the season at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday. The century of wins came about on Dieu De Lamour, which ironically pushed his earnings past $100,000 with the win too. Trained by Martin Herbert, it was Fitzpatrick's second win with the trotter. "Blake drove him extremely well," Herbert said. "The horse wore them down on the line and has been racing extremely well with not a lot of luck so it was nice to see him win. "I know Blake was excited . . . he has driven a lot of winners for me over the years." Unlike Fitzpatrick, Herbert has only trained one other trotter previously and that was 2011 NSW Oaks winner Our Dolly Would. Fitzpatrick, however, has been involved with many trotters and has experienced a lot of success with them particularly in recent years. He drove Keystone Del to many Group victories and has also trained many trot winners including Seven Secrets, Glenferrie Burn and Empire Bay in recent weeks. And it was the pacing bred Seven Secrets that opened the winning account for Fitzpatrick on Tuesday. At the time of writing, the Cawdor horseman had driven a treble at the meeting also winning with Lombo Yanky Invada, which is by Lombo Mandingo another horse Fitzpatrick had success with. It is the eighth time Fitzpatrick has driven a century of winners in a season. Amanda Rando

New South Wales harness racing trainers Alex Alchin and Jarrod Alchin have been suspended for six months after pleading guilty to a charge relating to animal welfare.  On Friday 5 August 2016, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an Inquiry in relation to the treatment of the registered standardbred STORM BURST at the registered training establishment of both Mr Jarrod Alchin and Mr Alex Alchin on Thursday 7 July 2016 prior to that horse being presented to race at Penrith later that evening. Stewards ordered the withdrawal of STORM BURST from its engagement on 7 July 2016. The Inquiry commenced on Wednesday 27 July 2016 at which time evidence was presented by Mr Alex Alchin and Mr Jarrod Alchin in relation to the training of STORM BURST and their husbandry practices observed by HRSW Senior Steward/Investigator Mr Chris Paul and HRNSW Investigator Ms Natasha Ackland. Evidence was presented to the Inquiry by HRNSW Investigator/Steward Mr Chris Paul and HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio. At the resumption of the Inquiry on 5 August 2016, Mr Alex Alchin and Mr Jarrod Alchin provided further evidence. In addition, Mrs Stephanie Alchin, licensed stablehand and part-owner of STORM BURST was required to attend and provided evidence regarding STORM BURST and the treatment of that horse on 7 July 2016. It was established that Mr Jarrod Alchin was observed activating deafeners and applying a driving whip to STORM BURST whilst the horse was wearing a heavy rug and tethered in a wash bay.   No evidence was provided to the effect that STORM BURST had been physically injured. Mr Alex Alchin, the licensed trainer and part owner of STORM BURST and Mr Jarrod Alchin both pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR)  213(a) as follows: AHRR 213      A person shall not:- by use of harness, gear, equipment, device, substance or any other thing inflict suffering on a horse; Mr Alex Alchin was issued with a $3500 fine and a 6 month suspension of his Trainer’s Licence (suspended for a period of 12 months). Mr Alex Alchin was informed of his right to appeal this decision. Mr Jarrod Alchin was issued with a $5000 fine and a 6 month suspension of his Trainer’s Licence (suspended for a period of 12 months). Mr Jarrod Alchin was informed of his right to appeal this decision. Mrs Stephanie Alchin pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 218 as follows: AHRR 218.     A person having responsibility for the welfare of a horse shall not fail to care for it properly. Mrs Alchin was issued with a $1500 fine of which $750 was suspended for a period of 12 months. Mrs Alchin was informed of her right to appeal this decision. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders

Every harness racing driver of a horse wearing the number seven saddlecloth at Penrith this Thursday night will be donning special silks of black with gold sleeves and white stars. And the reason is to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease. Popular horseman Danny Bergan lost his short battle with MND in 2007 and this week marks the seventh year of the Danny Bergan Memorial at the Paceway hence why seven is the 'lucky' number. Ironically the last winner the late Danny Bergan trained, Nukemjake, won from barrier seven at Penrith. Danny's son Daniel and his best mate Stuart Jamieson, who also part-owned Nukemjake, have been behind this awareness campaign from the very beginning following one heartfelt promise. "My best mate's father passed away quickly from Motor Neurone Disease and he made a promise to his father that he would help find a cure for MND," Stuart said. "With Daniel's banking background and my hospitality background we put our skills together and created the Danny Bergan Memorial Foundation. "This is the seventh running of the Danny Bergan Memorial at Penrith so we thought we would do something different with the race silks, to draw attention, awareness and raise money. "Danny had an affiliation with Penrith and raced a lot of his horses there hence why we have his race and race night at this track." Through this passionate drive of two best mates, Daniel and Stuart have teamed up with the MonSTar Foundation and contributed in excess of $380,000. And with the Danny Bergan Memorial Trot Night function on Thursday, the pair is donating all of the proceeds towards the cause. "We first started the fundraising to help support Carol, Danny's wife, after his passing," Stuart said. "A couple of years later we held a race in Danny's honour and it has grown momentum from there." Danny lived in the nearby suburb of Riverstone and trained and drove many winners at Penrith including the abovementioned Nukemjake and Gold Dignity. For more information on the Danny Bergan Memorial Foundation click here. Keep an eye out for the black colours with gold sleeves and white stars! AMANDA RANDO

Just last year David Morris drove his first Group One winner and stamped his presence amongst the New South Wales harness racing driving ranks. Wind the clock forward and the 24-year-old is on the verge of another milestone. Morris drove his 399th winner last Thursday night and with a strong book at Tabcorp Park Menangle tomorrow (Tuesday), the father of one is hoping at least one of his seven drives will project him to his 400th winner. "It would be nice if one of these horses can put me over to the 400 mark," Morris said. "It has crept up on me . . . I was unaware that I was reaching this many winners so it is pretty exciting." After losing his concession claim midway through last season, Morris has maintained his status as one of the state's leading drivers, currently ranked eighth with 78 winners to his name this term. Morris had his first race drive in a heat of the Carousel at Penrith on March 27, 2008, onboard the pacer Seat Of Knowledge which at the time was trained by his father Noel Morris. It only took Morris 11 drives to snare his first winner thanks to the pacer Two Olives Only, also trained by his father, at Bankstown on June 23, 2008. He has since won Group races including the Group One Breeders Challenge Final with Luda last year. This season his group victories include last month's Group Two Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Final with Franco Storm and also the Group Two NSW Trotters Oaks with Pizza Queen. Morris has also driven in races such as the Miracle Mile and the Chariots Of Fire. AMANDA RANDO

Following the completion of the 2016 Alabar New South Wales Breeders Challenge Series a review into the rich harness racing futurity will take place. In stage one Harness Racing NSW is seeking written submissions from interested stakeholders concerning all aspects of the NSW Breeders Challenge race series and bonuses. It was during the Two-Year-Old Racing Review survey that respondents were asked to provide feedback concerning the NSW Breeding Schemes. Two broad questions were asked in the survey including if they thought there should be a review of the NSW Breeders Challenge Series where 57 per cent responded yes and 43 per cent responded no. The other question asked if there should be a review of the NSW Breeders Challenge Owners Bonus Certificates redemption conditions where 51 per cent responded yes and 49 per cent responded no. Subsequent to these responses HRNSW gave an undertaking that following the completion of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Regional Finals it would seek submissions. For further information head to the AMANDA RANDO

The Riverina’s new multi-million dollar harness racing complex is moving closer to a starting date with work expected to commence in September. Harness Racing New South Wales is finalising the tender process and have narrowed the number to six of which one will take control of building the $6.5 million project at Cartwrights Hill at Wagga  “We have been anxiously waiting for work to start. There has been some holds ups but it’s close now,” HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny said. Meanwhile, Harness Racing NSW were in Wagga on Monday and Tuesday meeting with clubs and trainers discussing a range of issues. The regional board meetings have been well received by all who have attended with HRNSW to consider feedback they received. “The trainers had some issues which we will work through with them,” Dumesny said. The trainers have concerns with the handicapping and not being able to place their horses in races they select. Money from tax parity will be distributed to a number of areas providing potential growth and stability for the industry. The savings from tax parity for clubs means they no longer pay for ambulance fees, photo finish equipment and starters’ fees. It’s a considerable saving for clubs who will be able to channel the savings into other areas of their operation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Young’s Jason Grimson’s win in the Rising Stars Series has provided his career with the boost it needed at just the right time. Grimson has taken up employment with trainer Jarrod Alchin at Menangle and with his concession claim he will no doubt be given his share of opportunities. What a year it has been so far for Grimson. He won the biggest race of his career when Don’t Think Twice took out the Bathurst Gold Tiara and was then named as one of the Riverina’s representatives in the Rising Stars before winning the series. Don’t Think Twice was recently announced as the Riverina’s juvenile pacer of the year. She will be acknowledged when her owners accept the award at the Wagga and Riverina awards and sponsors’ evening on Saturday night, September 3. Sporty Spook, the winner of the Junee and Leeton Cups last campaign, will be acknowledged as the Riverina pacer of the year. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Widely acclaimed Rodney Vincent will provide the entertainment at the region’s awards’ night with more than 120 guests expected to attend. The evening will be held at the newly renovated Rules Club in Wagga commencing at 7pm. More than 50 sponsors will be in contention for naming right to various feature races at Wagga during the 2016-17 season. The major prize is naming rights to the Wagga Pacers Cup to be held on Saturday night, March 4. The Riverina and Wagga trainer, driver and pacer of the year awards will also be presented. At this stage, Corey Bell leads on 42 wins ahead of Reece Maguire (33) in the Riverina drivers’ premiership. Bell hasn’t driven in the region since departing for Victoria in late May. The Riverina premiership is Shane Hillier’s for the keeping with 42 wins – two ahead of Shaun Snudden with Phil Maguire on (22). Snudden was well ahead before he made a career change to work as a handicapper with Harness Racing NSW. Hillier also leads the Wagga title while Reece Maguire leads the drivers’ premiership. The pacer of the year at Wagga is at an interesting stage with Redbank Harry and Shadesoff equal leaders ahead of Im Johnny Jet and Tactful Lady by two points. There are four meetings at Wagga in August which should ensure the award goes down to the last meeting. Two-year-old filly Simply Clever won her fourth race at Wagga at only her fifth start to help provide father and son Phil and Reece Maguire with a memorable quartet. The Leeton based duo started six horses for a personal best four wins and two seconds on July 19. They won with Drive The Dream, Im Johnny Jet, Simply Clever and Bettors Power and finished second with The Mighty Falcon and Chickies Boy. Previously, their best was a training and driving double before they passed that mark and then Bettors Power made it four. “We only have seven horses racing and they are ones that the owners have paid a bit of extra money for,” Phil Maguire said. “Reece is going to New Zealand for six weeks in October to further his driving so for him to get four winners so early in his career is good for him.” It wasn’t only the Maguire stable producing multiple winners in July, but also Shane Hillier. He teamed up with Victorian reinsman David Moran for four wins at Leeton on July 22. They won with Doctor Feld, Serene Major, Pental Survivor and Janices Cullen. Moran has never had a week like it before winning eight races including two at Wagga and one each at Melton and Swan Hill. Moran has previously driven five winners on a program at Albury while the Hillier stable has produced four winners a few times. “It’s a credit to David because he does a lot of miles and deserves every bit if success,” Hillier said. by Graeme White - Wagga HRC

A former horse trainer found guilty of race-fixing in relation to the 2013 Tamworth Cup has admitted to similar corrupt conduct in harness racing. Robert James Clement, 51, was due to face a sentence hearing on Thursday in Sydney's District Court after a Tamworth jury found him guilty of engaging in conduct to corrupt the betting outcome of the Cup. His co-accused, horse trainer, Cody Glenn Morgan, 30, was found guilty of the same charge and two other offences. The Crown argued the pair had an agreement to obtain a financial windfall and drenched the winner Prussian Secret just hours before the race. On Thursday, Acting Judge Colin Charteris was told Clement had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of illegally possessing a firearm. Before the judge, he then pleaded guilty to facilitating corrupt conduct in relation to a Tamworth harness race and asked the court to take into account two similar matters. His case was adjourned to September 13. Morgan is due to give evidence on Thursday afternoon in relation to his sentencing. Reprinted with permission of the site

Born and into the harness Racing industry in 1990, Finnbarr helped his father Sean McCaffrey, a well-known New Zealand trainer, at their stables in Cambridge doing boxes since the young age of five. Although he has been in the game for over 20 years, Finn has never driven in the gig and preferred to stick to the tractor. Sticking to the tractor paid off for Finnbarr, in 2016 he made the move from across the Tasman to Tabcorp Park Menangle to extend his knowledge in track management. He is now a well-respected employee at Harness Racing New South Wales working at the Menangle Park Training Centre as a Maintenance and Horticulture Worker. At the age of 24 Finnbarr had already started succeeding in his profession, becoming the Track Manager at the Cambridge Greyhound racetrack. At 25 he decided making the move to NSW would benefit him in the long run gaining experience and developing skills. He believes that the Australian Racing Industry has a greater prospect than back home and took the opportunity to work here as soon as the position arose. Finnbarr hopes to travel the world working throughout American and Europe at different racetracks, furthering his knowledge and hoping to direct everything he learns along the way into a Turf Management role. In 2015 Finnbarr lost his hero, his grandfather Jim Wilson. Finnbarr and Jim had a close relationship and admired that Jim taught him the ways of life, taking pride in the work ethic he has now, thanks to his father and grandfather. "There's always something to do and if in doubt grab a broom" - Finnbarr was often told as a child. Struck by tragedy in 2013, Finnbarr was building in Hamilton, New Zealand when he injured his back out, rupturing a disc. After having surgery, Finnbarr spent a long six months on the couch and shortly after commenced rehabilitation, essentially having to learn how to walk again. Finnbarr describes this time in his life as low, putting on 19 kilograms in the six months however he is better for it and has learnt to respect and to look after his body. Sadly with the accident, Finnbarr had to say goodbye to his sporting career. Although his sporting career was short lived, he accomplished playing Rugby Union in the Curtain Raiser game for the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton New Zealand. Favourite food: Homemade crumbed beef schnitzel that mum makes Favourite drink: Since moving to Oz, nothing beats a good can of Solo Footy team: Rugby Union will always take priority so, ALL BLACKS! AMANDA RANDO

After 10 months and near 15,000kms later Bendemeer horseman Len Clement will complete the dream of driving at every harness racing track across New South Wales at Tabcorp Park Menangle tomorrow. And while the Wards Accounting Group Pace (1609m) may not seem significant to some, it will be for Clement. At the beginning of the season the retired Clement set himself a bucket list - Len's Bucket List - to drive in a race at all the tracks he had not previously. Having been involved in the sport for more than three decades, the 59-year-old had only driven at 11 tracks before embarking on this trip last September. And now this well documented journey is at the end. "This is the finale!" Clement said. "We finally have a run at Menangle and even though we haven't drawn too well I'm just happy to be going around. "I've been to Menangle a few times as a spectator but have never driven there. "I'm not sure if I'll like the track or not as there aren't enough corners for me . . . I'm used to driving on a much smaller track." From Eugowra, to Albury and even out to Broken Hill, Clement will tick off the 1400m circuit at Menangle behind his pacer Atara Blue Chip, which he acquired along this expedition. However, it is not the easiest test the lightly raced seven-year-old gelding has faced, especially considering his last and only win came more than three years ago. Ironically, Clement's last win in the sulky was also in 2013, behind Lifeslittlesecret at Tamworth in February 6. And this same mare is the horse Clement began Len's Bucket List with at Dubbo on September 13, 2015. After sticking with Clement through the Western Districts, the Riverina, Canberra, Sydney and back to the Riverina, Lifeslittlesecret was forced to the sideline with a potentially career-ending respiratory problem. Clement still determined to fulfil his dream reached out to his fellow horsemen and women and was offered many horses to complete his quest. "I always say it but the people and friends we have met and made along the way has been great," Clement said. "It is something my wife Christine and I will never forget "We have made life-long friends on this trip and it has certainly exceeded our expectations." AMANDA RANDO

Fresh from driving his 201st harness racing winner, young professional reinsman Chris Geary has a strong book of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The 18-year-old, who is only in his third season of driving, has emerged this term as one of New South Wales’ leading drivers. And seven catch drives at a metropolitan meeting, including in the two Group features on the card, supports that. His first drive is with the Darren McCall-trained Ideal Situation who has been a revelation since being claimed in Queensland and relocated to Sydney. “He has been a really good horse to me,” Geary said having won six races on the pacer since May. “He backed up over the 2300m here the other week and it didn’t suit him, he feels like a good miler that can follow speed well and also make his own luck. “Even though he is on the second row this is the closest draw he has had to the pegs for a while and should be in the finish.” Geary is driving a couple of horses for trainer Belinda McCarthy, whom he has worked with since he was 14, which includes the pacer Epaulette. “I was really happy with him first up a fortnight ago,” Geary said. “It was a big job to face 2300m first up, he will strip a lot fitter and back to the mile with this draw he can go close.” Geary is then sitting behind Don Boston in the claiming event. “I’ve never driven the horse before but I’ve driven against him plenty of times,” Geary said. “He seems to relish the 2300m and also a high tempo.” A race later Geary is partnering Takahoa in the Group Three Harness Breeders NSW Go Girlfriend Series Final. “I was really happy with her heat effort . . . it looked as though she was gone but she kept grinding away to finish third,” Geary recalled. “Barrier 12 isn’t a bad draw for her and even though it’s a tough race I’m not counting her out, especially if a few of them end up doing too much work.” Backing up in another Group Three, Geary is driving Dont Be Jealous in the Garrards Horse and Hound Ready2Run Sales Stakes. “It’s a good race and this is a step up for her but she is an honest little filly and anything could happen in a small field,” Geary said. Geary is ending the night in the trot driving the Russell Commens-trained Kip Keino. “He’s an honest horse that usually steps away well . . . he is facing some better trotters in this race but his form has picked up and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finished top four.” Amanda Rando Fields for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 23 July 2016 Form guide for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 23 July 2016

Twenty-year-old Kiwi expatriate Steph Burley experienced the thrill of her first driving win at Bathurst's harness racing twilight meeting on Wednesday and enjoyed the experience so much that she backed up for a second success in the very next race. Both winners were trained by Steve Turnbull, father of her boyfriend Mitchell and her boss for the past few months, and were part of a four-win haul by the leading trainer. The special first win came behind Our Emancipation with Burley revving up the three-year-old Real Desire filly from a wide draw to find the lead into the first turn, remaining in front for the 2660m race. To make it even more special, the filly is owned by her Auckland-based parents Mark and Heather, a fact appreciated and noted by Steve Turnbull after one of his wins later in the meeting. Heather was on the phone soon after the win to pass on parental congratulations, and later on it was the turn of Mitch Turnbull, even further away in Perth, where he'll be for the next month or so . . . he managed a win with his very first drive in the west, at Pinjarra two days earlier, making it a rather special time for the young couple. And though she wasn't aware of it till the following day, her poised performance earned her the Drive-of-the-Night award from race caller Mitch Manners, who thought she rated the winner to absolute perfection. Half –an-hour later, it was back to the winners' circle again, this time with the aptly-named Oh I Am The One, after a contrasting but equally skilful drive, positioning the Gotta Go Cullen gelding in the one-one trail before getting the bob in right on the line in a desperately close finish. When it was suggested at the presentation that "You're starting to make a habit of this," her "I hope so" response was both spontaneous and understandable. Stephanie might have had to wait about twelve months since her debut drive - a second behind Global View at Menangle - to finally secure that first win, but now she's done it, and gone one more for good measure. Steve Turnbull drove the other two winners from his stable, Sabrage and Gentleman Red, while Ashlee Grives also scored a driving double at the meeting with Platinum Roulette in the fast-class and Zibibbo in a Three-Year-Old Fillies sprint. Vergels Girl continued a great winning run for the Connolly family from Carcoar by leading throughout - her third win this season - while Lexy Can Wait, for Bernie Hewitt, appreciated a drop in class to score a last-stride win in the corresponding male division. Rains continue to flood the Bathurst region. Hopefully "the winter of our discontent" will soon give way to "glorious summer". Amanda Rando

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