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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 TAB.com.au 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

As the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s annual Gold Crown Carnival looms, The Lagoon trainer Nathan Turnbull has good reason to feel optimistic. On Friday night he picked up a trifecta in the Graeme Board and Co Sales Graduate Two Year Old Final (1,730 metres), a race which provides a good form guide for the carnival. The field consisted entirely of runners who are eligible for the two biggest races on the Bathurst calendar – the Group 1 Gold Crown and Gold Tiara. A pair of Turnbull’s Gold Crown eligible runners battled it out down the home straight, Our Sams Home getting the nod over stablemate Flash In Sam by a half neck. Gold Tiara eligible filly Lady Zaras Home snared third, a further 10¾m back. “You don’t even dream of things like that, that was unreal,” Turnbull, who drove the runner-up, said. “They’ve shown a bit, so you are always hopeful, but to have it play out is fantastic.” With four members of his team earning their place in the decider after doing well enough in their heats a week earlier, the trainer enlisted the help of his family. Younger sister Amanda steered $2.20 favourite Our Sams Home, he took the job with Flash In Sam ($13), brother Mitch guided Artistic Sam ($21.60) and father Steve drove Lady Zaras Home ($11.80). Nathan Turnbull felt he was set for an upset as Flash In Sam, a Major In Art colt, took the lead as the finish line loomed. But Amanda, who currently sits third in the Harness Racing New South Wales drivers’ premiership, found a way to beat him. “I thought I had her. The boys work together at home all the time and there’s not much between them,” he said. “I thought I had her midway down the straight, but she got me. She really is just unbelievable, I’m lucky to snap her up sometimes.” Though Turnbull will face stiff opposition over the course of the Gold Crown Carnival, the final trifecta will no doubt give him hope. The closest he has come to success in the headline act was two years ago when Sams The Master placed a close third in the Gold Crown Final. It was the fancied KerryAnn Turner trained filly Hannah Mae ($2.40) who rolled to the head of the field once the green light was given. Flash In Sam was out of position for the start, having drawn barrier 11, but quickly made up the ground. As the bell sounded Nathan Turnbull set off on a three wide move with him, one which Amanda Turnbull followed with Our Sams Home.  Steve Turnbull had ducked in behind the leader in third with Lady Zaras Home, while Mitch Turnbull temporarily occupied the death seat with Artistic Sam. As they rolled off the back straight and turned for home, Hannah Mae faded. Our Sams Home, who had punched on into the death seat, took over in the lead. While Flash In Sam came hard and nosed in front with 100m to go, Our Sams Home kicked again to take the honours. It was the maiden win for the Roll With Joe x Our Ladylight gelding, who clocked a 1:57.7 mile rate. The Gold Crown Carnival starts March 15. By Anya Whitelaw  Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Good results at Bathurst tonight will top off a remarkable week for Western Districts-based harness racing horseman Mat Rue. The 27-year-old added another highlight to his resume when winning the Group 2 Miracle Mile Drivers Invitational with Queensland pacer Leos Best at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Rue was invited by Club Menangle to take part in the race after winning the 2013 Miracle Mile with Baby Bling. And driving in front of a large crowd at that very same track last weekend brought back some good memories for Rue. “It was great driving in front of a crowd like that again . . . the crowd was huge,” Rue said. “In the warm up I looked across at the crowd and reflected on how it all came about when I won the Miracle Mile with Baby Bling. “It was also nice to lob up on the night and drive in a race on a nice horse.” Rue will have a bit more work involved than just turning up and driving at Bathurst tonight. He has six drives and trains three of those horses himself. Originally having a two-pronged attack in the opening race, Rue has been reduced to just one runner, Bettor Ranger, with his other pacer Big In America being scratched. “I’m expecting a better run from Bettor Ranger even though he is drawn a bit wide,” Rue said. “He won two races as a two-year-old and this time in made a mistake first up and faced a hard race the following start at Penrith.” Rue’s next three drives are for other stables including the Barry Lew-trained Karloo Damajor. He is very familiar with this gelding having driven the son of art Major in all of his 15 starts which includes six wins. “He has started this campaign well with a win at Dubbo last week,” Rue said. “He faces an awkward draw but we will go back and hope there is a bit of speed on that we can tag onto.” Rue is then looking forward to racing his debutant Billy Braveheart later in the night following that pacer’s trial win at Bathurst on Monday. “He’s produced a couple of nice trials and should run a good race first up even though it is a pretty handy race,” Rue said. And rue is just as pleased with his filly Callmequeenbe in the last. “She goes quite well,” Rue said. “She got a long way back in her first start but ran home some good sectionals and has really tightened up after the run . . . I’m really happy with her.” AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando Fields for Bathurst, Friday 03 March 2017 Form guide for Bathurst, Friday 03 March 2017

Victorian pacer Lennytheshark scored a thrilling harness racing victory in last night's (Saturday) Gr.1 $750,000 Ainsworth Gaming Technology Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle, and the 50th edition of Australasia’s premier speed test. A runner-up last year, Lennytheshark ($5.50) sat without cover in the 1609m contest before holding off Smolda ($10.20) by a half-head margin with race favourite Lazarus ($2.20) a further two metres away in third in a time of 1:49.1. The breakdown was 24.8, 30.3, 28.2 and 25.9 seconds. The time was well outside of the race record set last year by Have Faith In Me at 1:47.5. It was the first victory for Lennytheshark on the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. The victory was also the first since Smoken Up back in 2010 where the winner of the Miracle Mile has sat without cover – a first over crush! Lennytheshark becomes the 10th pacer to claim the Miracle Mile/Inter Dominion double joining the likes of Beautide, Smooth Satin, Our Sir Vancelot, Westburn Grant, Our Maestro, Village Kid, Preux Chevalier, Young Quinn and Hondo Grattan. It was the 22nd victory in the event by a stallion, the Four Starzzz Shark – Botswana entire becoming the first since the mighty Christian Cullen proved successful back in 1998. And Lennytheshark now becomes the highest earning stallion in the southern hemisphere with earnings of $2,560,890 eclipsing Terror To Love. The overall record belongs to the incomparable Queensland champion Blacks A Fake with $4,575,456. The victory provided both trainer David Aiken and driver Chris Alford with their maiden success in the great race. For Alford, he has now claimed the Australian Grand Slam with victories in the Inter Dominion, Victoria and Hunter Cups and the Miracle Mile. Alford joins Natalie Rasmussen, Chris Lewis, Barry Perkins and Brian Gath as winners of the Big 4! It was his fifth drive in the Miracle Mile following placings previously with Golden Reign (1994 – Chokin), Tailamade Lombo (1998 – Christian Cullen, 2000 – Holmes D G) and Lennytheshark last year when second behind Have Faith In Me. The early burn was set-up by Hectorjayjay who charged across the face the field to lead from the wide draw while Smolda attempted to go with him from his inside draw. The 24.8 opening split is the fastest opening quarter in a Miracle Mile. Hectorjayjay led the way with Lennytheshark parked outside him while Lazarus worked into a one wide trail. As the field hit the half way point, the second quarter was timed in 30.3 seconds. Hectorjayjay continued to lead his stablemate Lennytheshark while the All Stars team of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen lurked dangerously. Smolda was sitting behind Hectorjayjay, Lazarus in the one out, one back trail while Our Waikiki Beach tracked Lazarus. As the field passed the 400m mark, the third quarter was timed in 28.2 with Hectorjayjay still in front while the moves were being made behind him. In the straight, Lennytheshark raced to the front while Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach loomed on his outside and Smolda probed for an inside run. Under the urgings of Alford, Lennytheshark failed to surrender and fought off his rivals. The last 400m timed in 25.9 seconds. “He’s an unbelievable horse.” Alford said. I’m so proud of him and he deserves this victory. “He gets the job done, I wasn’t sure at the 100m or 50m mark but he wouldn’t give in.” Lennytheshark is owned by Kevin Riseley and his son Martin. The final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place in the sunshine state with the running of the $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. The latest points table for the APG Grand Circuit; Lazarus – 240 points Smolda – 185 Bling It On – 165 Lennytheshark – 140 Chris Barsby

Exciting Queensland pacer Mattgregor is ready for another big test this weekend. Fresh from his excellent effort in the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire two weeks ago when fifth behind champion pacer Lazarus in 1:49.0 after drawing the ten hole, he gets another chance at cracking it in a feature harness racing event. On Saturday night, the fresh faced four-year-old takes on seasoned rivals in the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at TABCORP Park Menangle. His rivals include last year’s Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, Tiger Tara, Hug The Wind, Aztec Bromac, Major Crocker and Tact Tate among others. Amazingly, Mattgregor is still assessed as a C5 MO, meaning he is eligible for much easier races. Mattgregor is the veteran of 14 career starts to date but has won 8 of those starts. But connections don’t feel out of place in the open class feature. “He deserves his chance and he’s drawn much better this week compared to his past couple of starts so we’re optimistic about his chances. His latest run in the Chariots was the best run of his short career to date; we were absolutely delighted with the effort.” Co-owner Karen Turpin said. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding will immediately return to Brisbane after the weekend for a deserving break before being set for the winter carnival at Albion Park. During his Sydney campaign, Mattgregor scored an easy first-up victory in a career best time of 1:51.6 before a slashing second behind Dashofluck in the Paleface Adios Stakes while finishing fifth in the Chariots of Fire at his most recent start. Prepared by Karen’s daughter Chantal Turpin and her husband Pete McMullen, Mattgregor continues to develop and looms as a serious future prospect which has his connections excited. “The main aim for this southern campaign was to give him his chance to contest the Chariots and he did himself well in that series, this is obviously a very strong race this weekend but we’re in with a chance. We think he’ll be mixing at this level in time to come. “The kids have done a great job in Sydney and it’s been a great learning experience for them, it would be nice to end the stint with a big race victory this weekend. “All the family will be there on Saturday night, Jake has the weekend off before the footy season starts next week and he’ll be trackside to cheer on his horse. I’m really looking forward to the night in so many different ways.” Mattgregor is raced by Denis Golinski, Karen Turpin and her son Jake. Jake Turpin is a contracted NRL player with the Melbourne Storm. Chris Barsby

Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards advise that two runners from the Mark Purdon stable will undergo a veterinary examination at the Menangle Park Training facility tomorrow morning. OUR DREAM ABOUT ME: "HRNSW Stewards advise that on Tuesday afternoon at Tabcorp Park Menangle they spoke to a representative of the Purdon stable and information was provided in relation to the horse's condition and recent treatment," reported HRNSW Chairman of Stewards Graham Loch. "Following review of the two recent trials of Our Dream About Me at Menangle, having noted that the mare last raced on 31 December, 2016, and having regard to comments made this morning by Mr Purdon on Perth radio, we have advised the trainer that we require our HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian to examine the horse tomorrow morning." HAVE FAITH IN ME: HRNSW Stewards have received information from a number of New Zealand-based Veterinary Surgeons regarding a kidney condition sustained by Have Faith In Me. It appears that the condition was identified and treated prior to the horse racing successfully in Australia last season. "It is our position that we possibly should have been provided with the information in the past but in light of recent performances and public speculation HRNSW Stewards are attempting to gain an understanding of the condition and what, if any, issues may affect performance," said Loch. Loch added that Mr Purdon has been advised to present the horse tomorrow. ULTIMATE MACHETTE: HRNSW Stewards have also received the results of pathology tests undertaken from Ultimate Machete after racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Following the race Mr Purdon had expressed disappointment in the performance. Wollondilly Equine Clinic Veterinary Surgeon Dr Andrew Argyle has advised the pathology results were normal other than indicating that Ultimate Machete was exhibiting signs of post virus recovery. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600                AMANDA RANDO   MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER       HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES   22 Meredith Street Bankstown NSW 2200   PO Box 1034 Bankstown NSW 1885   T: 02 9722 6600 E: arando@hrnsw.com.au T: @Amanda_Rando   W: www.harnessmediacentre.com.au | T: twitter.com/hrnsw_harness | F: facebook.com/hrnsw              

Just eight months ago there was just one metre that separated stablemates Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark but that gap has narrowed according to harness racing trainer David Aiken. As the two quality pacers prepare to go head-to-head in this Saturday night's Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle, it will be just the second time they have raced each other. Their first clash saw Hectorjayjay come out on top in the 2016 Len Smith Mile and Lennytheshark finished a close second, 1.2m away to be precise. "They have trialled against each other but at the races I've tried to keep them separated as much as I could," revealed Aiken. "They were going to race each other in the Inter Dominion but then we had to withdraw Lenny from the Final with his hoof issues. "There isn't much separating the pair of them now. "They are two different types of horses . . . Lenny is tougher and Hector has the speed." Both horses won preludes for the Miracle Mile at Menangle last Saturday night. Lennytheshark was the faster one of the pair, leading throughout in the Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint recording the mile in a rate of 1:50.3. "Lenny is back to his best," said Aiken. "We were really happy with his latest run and is spot on heading into the Miracle Mile." Lennytheshark is currently the equal third favourite at $6 with TAB Fixed Odds to win Saturday's Grand Circuit race after drawing barrier six. His stablemate Hectorjayjay is the second favourite at $3.80 despite drawing barrier 10. He too led throughout to win his Miracle Mile qualifier last week, the Group 1 Allied Express Sprint, in a rate of 1:51.5. "We haven't sat down to discuss what our tactics will be in the Miracle Mile but Hector will be going forward," stated Aiken. "He ran home his last quarter in 25.8 (seconds) last week and he will only benefit from the run considering it was only his third start back from the Inter Dominion." Aiken's son Josh has secured the drive on Hectorjayjay having won seven races and two placings in his 10 drives on the gelding. As the age of 23, Josh is the second youngest driver in this year's 50th edition of the Miracle Mile with Chris Geary on Salty Robyn the youngest at 19 years of age. Meanwhile, Chris Alford will drive Lennytheshark. Alford, a winner of 5893 races, has driven Lennytheshark in every start the pacer has had in Aiken's care.   AMANDA RANDO

Sunday's Cathedral Parish harness racing Day at Bathurst drew a very large crowd, swelled by many once-a- year family groups (the Irish Catholics love a punt!), clergy and school students. They all had a rollicking good time, but it's unlikely anyone enjoyed themselves more than winning owners Dave and Helen Harper, and Rob Davis, whose wins came right on the back of major successes at Saturday's feature Menangle race meeting. The morning (well, almost) after the night before, where the only hangover was the sweet smell of success. The Harpers race Mysweetchilliphilly NZ, which scored a truly amazing win on debut in the opening event for 2YO fillies,  flying the gate, bursting clear of the field in the run to the first turn, then extending her lead throughout to score by a mere 59.7 metres from the chasing pack! She stopped the clock at 1:55.3, which easily lowered the fillies record held by last year's Tiara winner Don't Think Twice, and came close to Bullet Stride's 1:54.7 overall record for that age group. She's a daughter of Betterthancheddar, the Alabar-based sire whose first crop race this season, and a true free-running type, a fact acknowledged by driver Chris Geary and Shane Tritton, who co-trains the filly with his wife Lauren. "We wanted to give her a look at the track before we bring her up for the Tiara in a few weeks, but we knew she was capable of doing this, based on her work at home, where she works with Divine State and keeps up with him all the time," Tritton commented at the presentation. That colt, bought as a going 2YO from New Zealand by the Harpers, set tongues wagging with his own sensational debut  a few weeks ago then followed up with an Australasian record of 1:51.6 in Saturday's Sapling Stakes on his home track at Menangle. He, too, is heading to Bathurst for the Crown, and the Harper youngsters will line up in their respective heats as short -priced favourites to take out the double. In the meantime, Dave and Helen will be cheering on Salty Robyn whose placing in the Chariots Of Fire earned him a run in Saturday's Miracle Mile at Menangle,  together with Yayas Hot Spot from the Tritton team. It's an exciting time for the couple, and Sunday's one minute and fifty-five seconds was an exciting time for everyone at Group One Feeds Paceway, as they witnessed the start of what looks likely to be an exciting career. Rob Davis, whose team all carry the "Red" name which derives from his initials, enjoyed the win of Power Of Red in a C1/C2 2260 metres class, trainer-driver Steve Turnbull dodging some early trouble then bringing him with a strong run from mid-field to score a narrow but convincing win. It brought up a hat-trick for the four-year-old, after heat and final wins the previous two Sundays on the grass track at Orange, but his owner was only thinking back as far as the previous night at Menangle, where the younger full-brother Atomic Red won a heat of the NSW Derby in a world-record 1:54.4 rate over 2400 metres. Rob Davis is known for his exuberant finishing bursts, as he races his horses to the line, but he must have been worn out by all the excitement from the Derby heat, and could manage just a few fist-pumps as Power Of Red came hard down the centre of the track. Steve Turnbull, who scored a training and driving double after an earlier come-from- behind win with Joes Star Of Mia, was also excited by the Derby success. He'd instructed Amanda to be aggressive on Atomic Red, who can be a difficult customer, but he needn't have worried as the youngster launched early on and just kept running. Much in the style of Mysweetchillipilly! Amanda Turnbull also backed up well at Bathurst, scoring a training-driving double with My Bettor Bella NZ, in C0 company, and What A Curtainraiser NZ, in a C1/ C2 sprint, both leading throughout as very warm favourites. The feature G.J. & A.D. Turnbull Cathedral Parish Cup also had a Menangle to Bathurst link, with recent Chariots contender Sams The Master scoring a soft win in 1:56.4 (last half of 56.5 seconds) for trainer-driver Nathan Turnbull, who was joined at the presentation by his children Jett and Lacey, Bishop Michael McKenna and the legend himself, Tony Turnbull. Owner Rod Smith, who has often declared that his childhood trips into Bathurst when A.D.Turnbull was racing is the reason he's involved in harness racing today, will be flattered by A.D.'s call that "Rod Smith is the best thing that's happened to trotting!" Nathan Turnbull is keeping his options open with Sams The Master, with some rich country races being considered, and the Four-Year-Old  Breeders Challenge series in late June as his main goal. Shane and Lauren Tritton featured as part-owners of their other debutant winner Lynnsanity, which sat in the death before scoring a promising win in the 2YOColts/Geldings event. While the mile rate of 1:59.6 was much slower than their earlier winner, it was the manner of the win which impressed, with the Mr Feelgood colt displaying a very professional attitude, and push-button capability. "Just like driving a car," was the trainer's comment to Chris Geary after the win. When the Trittons sought permission from Brisbane Heat cricketer Chris Lynn to name their trialling-sale purchase after him, he decided to take a share in the colt, and though the name isn't listed in the racebook, former Kangaroo and league commentator Gordon Tallis shares in Lynn's ownership. Lynnsanity also made the trip up the mountains to get experience on the Bathurst track before the Gold Crown series, and his trainer is hoping that both Lynn and Tallis can make it to Bathurst at some stage of the carnival. The late, great Artie Beetson never made it to Bathurst carnival, but his namesake did him proud by winning the Crown back in 2010, and he continues to race well, scoring his twenty-seventh career win, for trainer Peter Trevor-Jones and driver Mat Rue, in Sunday's final event. It was a good effort, after striking some bother early in the race. The focus at Bathurst is very much on the juveniles as the carnival fast approaches. This Friday sees the running of heats of the Graham Board & Co. Sales Race, with the finals on Friday March 3. by Terry Neil

The Purdon Express rolled on during heats of the New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight with the champion New Zealand trainer's All Stars harness racing stable winning two of the three qualifying heats. While the defeat of Ultimate Machete appeared to burst that bubble for Purdon, who admitted his Bettor's Delight youngster was beaten a long way from home, Vincent and Motu Meteor both scored strong wins and will give Purdon a hat-trick of hopes in the final with Ultimate Machete still qualifying despite a fading third. Still it was the win of Atomic Red which had everybody talking as the Steve Turnbull-trained and Amanda Turnbull-driven son of Rocknroll Hanover led all the way over the 2400m to score a slashing win in track record time. Taken straight to the front from gate three Atomic Red kept his rivals off the bit and chasing for the whole journey with a final mile in 1:54.4 to win by 2.3m from Astride with Ultimate Machete another three metres back a tiring third. That incredible run knocked two-tenths of a second off Zee Dana's track record run set at Menangle just 12 months ago. While Purdon qualified three runners for the Derby, the night was also a triumph for the country stables: Steve Turnbull qualified two runners, Atomic Red and Conviction for next weekend's $200,000 final; Bernie Hewitt qualified Pretty Hot, Brad Hewitt got Our Triple Play through to the big one and Russell Jack's Warden Express will also be there next Saturday night as will Wilberforce trainer David Brown's Hes My Mate. Atomic Red - Heat two Motu Meteor - Heat one Vincent - Heat three By MICHAEL COURT

Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Sunday meeting is building up to be a busy day for Georges Plains’ Bernie Hewitt, as he is set to feature in six races, either as a trainer or driver.  Myanga Sportsgirl and Pretty Big are expected to make their harness racing debuts in the S & J Turnbull St Stanislaus College Pace (1,730 metres).  While Hewitt is happy with Myanga Sportsgirl’s draw (gate five), Pretty Big’s did not draw as well.  Nevertheless, Hewitt is optimistic about the horses’ future. “I like both these fillies,” he said. “The draws are important, but they’re progressing towards the Gold Tiara.”  Mackeral, Mammals Terror and Lifes A Jungle will all feature in the Dunstan Constructions/Burkes Transport St Vincent De Paul Pace (1,730 metres). Hewitt will be in the gig for Mackeral, who has drawn well (front row, gate one) in his maiden race. “He’s a nice gelding and he’s got some good pace on him,” he said. In the Kelso Kitchens Catholic Primary Schools Pace (1,730 metres), Hewitt’s Mammals Magic and Headmaster will be racing. “They both haven’t drawn ideally, but I’m happy with both of them,” Hewitt said. “There are a few decent horses in the front row, so it’ll be a hard field.” Hewitt will drive Johnnycake in the Country Coffee Mckillop College Pace (2,260 metres), with the four-year-old bay gelding drawing gate five, in the front row.  Hewitt’s other horse in the race, Trunkey Emily, has drawn in the second row, gate three and will be driven by Douglas Hewitt.  Art Mistress, who has collected over $100,000 in prize money, will start from the front row, gate three, in the Catholic Education Office Pace (2,260 metres).  The four-year-old bay mare will look to collect a career 10th win from her 40th start on Sunday. Hewitt has also been a late call up to drive Shane Sanderson’s Expressionist in the meeting’s feature race – the G.J & A.D Turnbull Cathedral Parish Cup (1,730 metres). The seven-year-old brown gelding is looking for his first win since December 10, 2016, at Menangle.  Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Australian Pacing Gold graduate Our Little General will work towards consecutive Blue Ribands when he heads to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Fresh from his Victoria Derby triumph a fortnight ago, Our Little General will tackle a heat of the harness racing classic for trainer Emma Stewart. Despite drawing awkwardly in barrier six, the son of Mach Three is a $1.90 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds, with Stewart confident Our Little General can justify his short price. “The draw isn’t ideal, but we couldn’t be happier with his condition,” Stewart said. “He had a good, solid trial at Ballarat during the weekend, which has really sharpened him up. “He will be in better shape this weekend than when he won the Victoria Derby at his second start from a spell.” Should all go according to plan, Our Little General will then contest next week’s $200,000 Final, which is part of a super Miracle Mile program. “Barring bad luck, he shouldn’t have any trouble making his way into the Derby,” Stewart said. “Like I said, he is in top shape, but will be better again after the heats.” The colt boasts an imposing record of nine wins and five placings from 15 starts for earnings of $360,305. APG Media  

Top performing New Zealand pacer Tiger Tara may give harness racing trainer Kevin Pizzuto something he has always wanted . . . a Miracle Mile starter. Pizzuto has ranked amongst the top trainers in New South Wales for the past few seasons and now has the strongest chance he has ever had to have a starter in the state's pinnacle harness event thanks to his recent Kiwi import. Tiger Tara has been mixing it with the best of them across the Tasman this season. The entire is currently the top fifth performer in New Zealand this term behind the likes of champion pacer Lazarus, Our Dream About Me, Ultimate Machete and top trotter Monbet. "I originally brought Tiger Tara for breeding purposes and help grow breeding in New South Wales," Pizzuto said. "He's a nice horse and feeling well within himself. "He has been racing well enough over in New Zealand for me to consider aiming him at the Miracle Mile." Pizzuto has nominated the son of Bettor's Delight for the Miracle Mile qualifying sprints at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night. The winners and second placegetters of the Canadian Club Sprint and the Allied Express Sprint will receive an automatic invitation to the 50th edition of the Miracle Mile on February 25. The only horse to confirm a position in next Saturday week's ultimate speed test is Lazarus following his career best performance in the Chariots Of Fire last Saturday night. Rating the mile in 1:49 at his first look at the Menangle track, Lazarus is one of the early fancies for the 2017 edition of the Miracle Mile. Aside from the Chariots Of Fire winner and the first two placegetters in this Saturday night's Miracle Mile preludes, the balance of the Miracle Mile field will be invited at the discretion of the directors of the New South Wales Harness Racing Club (Tabcorp Park Menangle). These invitations will not be decided until after Saturday night's two qualifying sprints. All of the leading free-for-all pacing starters across Australasia this season have nominated for these Group 1 clashes. From stablemates Smolda and defending Miracle Mile pacer Have Faith In Me to Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay as well as the local hopes Bling It On and Yayas Hot Spot who recently grabbed the quinella in the A.G. Hunter Cup. As for Tiger Tara, he is yet to race in Australia and will have his first start on Australian soil in the Canadian Club Sprint at Menangle this Saturday. Drawn in barrier three, the $13 chance with TAB Fixed Odds finished second to Lazarus in the New Zealand Cup last November and also placed in the New Zealand Free-For-All behind Lazarus and Christen Me. AMANDA RANDO

Champion harness racing pacer Lazarus is the first horse into the Ainsworth Miracle Mile following a devastating win in the $200,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. The New Zealand four-year-old, trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, led for the last 800m and held off stablemate Our Waikiki Beach in a career-best 1:49 for the mobile mile. The win earned him an automatic invite to the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle on February 25, which Purdon wasted no time in accepting. That means Lazarus will not have to start in next Saturday's two preludes of the Mile, with the first two in those preludes also guaranteed Miracle Mile invites. The balance of the field will be invited at the discretion of the directors of the New South Wales Harness Racing Club and will not be decided until after next Saturday's prelude. Tonight's group one win was the 23rd in Lazarus's 27-start career and he is closing in on $2 million in stakes. He is a son of champion Bettors Delight and Bethany. Tonight's other feature, the $51,500 Cordina Food Company Sibelia Stakes was won in all-the-way fashion by Cyclone Kate in a personal best 1:50.3, earning her an automatic spot in the $200,000 Ladyship Mile on Miracle Mile night. Lazarus Cyclone Kate

She is one of the leading drivers in the Western Districts but that is not the only advantage Emma Turnbull has at Sunday's harness racing meeting at Towac Park, Orange. The Bathurst local knows what it takes to drive a winner on this turf track and this skill will be vital when she competes against nine other drivers in Sunday's Kriden Park Drivers Invitational. And another string to Turnbull's bow is that her drive, Pom Pay, has drawn well in barrier two for the feature. "Going by last week's racing it does seem to be a leaders track which is good for the horse I'm driving as she's drawn well," Turnbull said. "Pom Pay is going well, this is a step up in grade so though so fingers crossed." Competing against the likes of Miracle Mile winning reinsmen Steve Turnbull and Mat Rue and Group winning horsewomen Ashlee Grives and KerryAnn Turner to name a few, a win in this race will go a long way for Turnbull. The 37-year-old is an ambassador for New South Wales' Team Teal campaign where female drivers across Australia are wearing teal-coloured pants in races from February 1 until March 11 to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Turnbull was an ambassador for the cause last year and individually rose close to $10,000 for the Women's Cancer Foundation. "I have over 80 sponsors this year which is great," Turnbull said. "Every winner I drive my sponsors will donate money to the Women's Cancer Foundation. "I've only had one winner in the teal so far but it will be great to get more winners for a great cause." Turnbull has three drives at Sunday's meeting including on the in-form pacer her mother Wendy Turnbull trains, Tuapeka Glory. The entire has drawn on the second row in barrier eight in the Watson Corporate Final (1609m). "He's going really well at the moment and it's a shame he didn't draw the front row because they wouldn't have caught him," Turnbull said. Meanwhile the other feature on Sunday's program, the Banjo Paterson Cup, has a rugby league theme to it. Not only do a few Canberra Raiders players, including skipper Jarrod Croker and coach Ricky Stuart, own a share in the $2.50 TAB Fixed Odds favourite, the feature is also made up of pacers named Parramatta, Beetson (Arthur Beetson) and Essbee Doubleyou (Sonny Bill Williams). The race favourite has produced a win and four second placings in her last five starts. AMANDA RANDO

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