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The Tamworth Harness Racing Club held their awards night last Friday – with plenty of winners. Congratulations to Lola Weidemann for taking out the drivers premiership at Tamworth while Julie Weidemann won the trainers and owners premierships. The Mare of The Year was Aussie Vista while Readily was the Horse of the Year. The locals then began to shine, with Tom Ison picking up the N&NW Young Drivers Award as well as The Pub-sponsored Drive of the Year behind the Richard Williams trained Never Die. The Tamworth Harness Racing Club Young Achiever Award was presented to Rory Brown, while reinswoman Courtney Sutherland picked up the Encouragement Award and David Pike was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award. Tim Varga achieved the Rookie of the Year Award, and Vince Brennan picked up the Contribution to Harness Racing in the North West Award. Tony Missen won the North-West Trainer Award for the third year running. Women take the reins Albion Park had a novel way of trying to draw attention to their meeting last Saturday night.  It was a race program where the men had the night off with only women drivers taking the reins.  The women were invited from all the states. Lola Weidemann was one of those contenders before she headed to the Inverell meeting on Sunday afternoon with only a couple of hours sleep. Conducted on a point score system, Queenslander Brittany Graham took the honours just over Kerryn Manning from Victoria. Inter Dominion starts tonight The Inter Dominion kicks off tonight with the first round of heats to be conducted at Gloucester Park, the second round on Tuesday at the Bunbury Trotting Club, then back to Gloucester Park on December 1 for the third round of heats. The $1.1 million final of the Inter Dominion will be held on December 8 at Gloucester Park.  The Inter Dominion is the richest horse race in Western Australia and is seen by many as the pinnacle of Australasian harness racing. Back in Tamworth If you would like to witness the action of harness racing closer to home, the Tamworth Harness Racing club will stage an eight-event card tonight with the first race set to go at 6.18pm. Friday tonight’s Tamworth harness races will be preceded by a trial. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Tamworth trainer Tim Varga has had a stellar start to his first season of racing – so much so that he has taken out the Tamworth Harness Racing Club Rookie of the Year Award. Varga has hit the ground running and heads into Friday night’s Tamworth HRC meeting with two runners. In The Pub Drive of the Year-Tom Ison Pace, Varga has his runner Bold And Famous contesting the race alongside his parents-owned (John and Noelene) Mitrhys Magic. “There is conflict already at work,” joked Varga. The family members work together in their business, Johns Auto Service, with plenty of banter going on as to who will be first home on Friday night. Bold And Famous is raced by Tim Varga along with younger brother Anthony and sister Kerryanne Davis, with Tim the trainer. The gloves will be off, so to speak, as Anthony Varga – a reinsman in his own right – has elected to retain the drive behind Mitrhys Magic. Mitrhys Magic will commence from the six barrier tonight while Bold And Famous has drawn the three barrier. “I backed my award up with another winner last Sunday,” added Tim Varga, with Bold And Famous coming into Friday’s race a last-start winner at Inverell. “He [Tim] has done a good job with this mare and we got the lucky run at Inverell in on the leaders back. We didn’t have to do much work,” Anthony said. “I was pretty confident down the back at Inverell.” It was back to back wins for Anthony Varga at Inverell when he drove the Les Enks trained Sassy Shannon for a win. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

The ladies showed the way at the Tamworth harness racing meeting on Sunday. Laura Spencer, Lily Hosking, Madi Young, Sarah Rushbrook and Lola Weidemann all drove winners on the day. Hosking’s came in the second race of the meeting behind Casual River, the Maitland reinswoman leading home a female trifecta with the Caitlin McElhinney-driven Kemira Cause a 2.9m second and Atom Ranger (Weidemann) 22m away third. Her first Tamworth winner, Hosking said the horse is “definitely improving”. “About half way up the back straight I pulled out four wide and let him go and he kept going,” she said. “To finally have a good draw that worked out in his favour – he has done well,” she added with Casual River commencing off the second line from the nine barrier. Hosking drives for her grandfather Robin Hosking who was pleased to see his granddaughter crack the Tamworth win. “I had my first drive here at Tamworth and won it,” chimed Hosking Snr. Fellow Maitland reinswoman Spencer started the day off when she drove the Gerry Osborn trained Always Ivy to the mares first career win in the We Will Remember Them Pace. “She is very green and needs to learn a bit more but she picked up the win today so that is all that matters,” Spencer said. Leading the field and dictating the terms Spencer only had to contend with her opposition over the concluding stages with Always in the Red driven by Young making a last stride challenge. “I thought Maddi had me,” she said. “But my horse saw them coming and gave a little bit more”. “Once she gets a few more race starts under her she will pick it up.” With only the one drive for the meeting Spencer was determined to make it a winner. “If you are only coming for the one drive you have to make the trip worthwhile,” she said. “It is the first winner that I have driven for Gerry in four years so I am really happy with that.” Always Ivy had a neck win over Always In The Red with Monterei Bay (Mitch Faulkner) 3.9m away third.  Maitland's Lily Hosking drove her first Tamworth winner on Sunday. Young then came out in the AON Risk Solutions Pace to take Western Safari to a win for Inverell trainer Col Hobday. With Rayong Princess leading the field, the now Sydney-based reinswoman had Western Safari placed in the one by one. “When they went hard early it made it better for her (Western Safari) - I thought they would slow up down the back which they did and I was lucky enough to get out,” she said. Western Safari had a 9.8m win over Mini Masterpiece (Mitch Faulkner) and Rayong Princess (Sam Ison), who was another 3.4m away third. Local reinswoman Sarah Rushbrook was then back in the winner’s circle when Christian Shannon broke through for a win. Rushbrook – who scored a win from her stables a few weeks back with the 12 year old pacer Aces First – has had Christian Shannon in her stables for six starts before the win. “He hasn’t had much luck at all in his races – he has had some bad draws – but I thought he had to be a chance today,” she said.  “He is one of those horses that you can’t back him off too much – so you have to let him roll a little bit - hopefully it is the start of more to come.” Christian Shannon held on for a metre win over Belubula (Paul Grima) with Dontbefoolish (Weidemann) a half neck away third. Weidemann then rounded off a top day for the ladies when she drove Lehmann to a half head win over Quincy Storm (Paul Grima) in the Wardle Osborn Chartered Accountants Pace. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Young Harness Racing has received a potential blow to its plans for the future with the Wagga Harness Racing Club looking to come out with a win. The possibility of the Young Harness Racing Club becoming part of the Western District Association has been mooted with Young surrendering up to four meetings to the Wagga Club in 2018.  Wagga are in the process of building a new and much bigger facility that will bring the South West and Riverina club up to speed with other tracks that include Bathurst and Goulburn.  Young have, in recent years, received the major support from trainers in the Bathurst area including Peter Bullock, Steve Turnbull, Bernie Hewitt, Lester Hewitt, Ray Davis, John O’Shea, Matt Rue and many other smaller trainers which in itself supports that possible decision.  The loss of meetings is the most serious suggestion. Young Harness Racing Club will return to the track on November 24 for the Cherry Festival Cup. By Stuart Maxwell Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness

Harness racing driver Mitchell Reese has suffered fractures to his lower back following a horror fall involving three horses at Penrith on Thursday night.  The incident occurred on the turn for home when Reese's drive Hes My Mate, who had settled behind the leader, stumbled, causing a pile-up behind him.  Reese was sent flying after getting hit in the back by Charlie James who then fell with driver Brooke Wilkins. Mortenson, who was trailing the field, then went over the top of Hes My Mate, throwing Stephanie Lippiatt from the sulky.  Race caller Fred Hastings said Reese was taken to Westmead Hospital with CT Scans revealing he had suffered some fractures to his lower back.    Fred Hastings @HastingsFred   Mitchell Reese transferred to Westmead, undergoing CT Scans and tests for pelvic injuries, in a deal of pain- updates courtesy of the family 1:04 AM - Nov 3, 2017   He said Reese was still in a neck brace as a precautionary to rule out any injuries to the neck and surgery was not required at this stage.  Remarkably both Wilkins and Lippiatt walked away unscathed from the incident and the early reports on the three horses were also positive.  Mortenson sustained a laceration while Hes My Mate and Charlie James appeared to have escaped injury pending further vet checks.    By Nick Hluchaniuk  Reprinted with permission of The site         Video: Sky Racing

In 12 career starts Redbelly Jack has only once finished out of the placings and if he can continue that trend on Wednesday night, it will earn him a spot in the harness racing Star Trek Series Final. Trained at Londonderry by Michael Xuereb, Redbelly Jack will line up in a 1,730 metres semi-final of the the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s annual series. The four-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven x Jackpot Girl gelding booked his spot at this stage on the back of an impressive heat win – coming from three back on the pegs after being inconvenienced to prevail by 1.9 metres. The win was the six of an impressive career thus far, Redbelly Jack’s worst placing for Xuereb a fifth when he contacted his own sulky and got a flat tyre. Cameron Hart, who steered Redbelly Jack to victory in his heat, has been given the job again for the semi-final at 5.38pm. He will need to contend with a tricky barrier 12 draw and talented rivals such as Im With Lexy and Inner Light. The semi-final is the first of eight races on the card, with the last to leave the mobile at 9.12pm. The other Star Trek semi is the night’s third race, starting at 6.40pm. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of the Central Western Daily

Barrier draws mean so much in harness racing, and that was the case again on Friday night when Nyngan-trained mare Bulgari Rose was successful in the Gerard Yeo Memorial Pace (2120m) at Dubbo Paceway. With members of the Yeo family trackside, leading driver Mat Rue was at his absolute best as he guided the four-year-old Mach Three (CAN) x Cartier (USA) mare to an all-the-way win in the feature, just lasting to win in a driving three-way finish. Bulgari Rose ($2.40 fav) was able to hold the lead early, and it was a lead she wouldn’t relinquish. After strolling through the first two quarters of the last mile in splits of 33.3s and 32.5s, Bulgari Rose slipped through the third quarter in 30.7s. It ensured she had enough in the tank to fly home over the last 400m in 28.7s, enough to hold off Village Angel ($8.30, McKayler Barnes) by a half-neck. Son Of A Virgin ($9.80, Mark Hewitt) was a further neck away in third place in a race where the mile rate was 2:03.9. The other main race on the card, the Dubbo RSL Club and Resort Final (2120m) also saw an all-the-way winner in the form of She’s A Ranger. Trained at Forbes by Adam Bellach, and with Angela Hedges in the gig, the $1.90 favourite shot away from her rivals at the 400m mark to beat Miss Ives ($14.30, Greg Rue) by more than 11 metres. Shazam Shannon ($23.00, McKayler Barnes) was a further six metres away in third position. Dubbo Harness Racing Club’s next meeting will be held at the Showground Paceway on Wednesday, November 15. By Ben Walker Reprinted with permission of The Daily Liberal

A harness racing trainer with 35 years experience has been forced to relocate to Queensland because he is unable to use Taree Showground to work his horses. Greg Minns and his partner, Marie Smith, bought a property in Coopernook for the purpose of training their horses, particularly the promising Decapria, which has two wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts at Bathurst, Penrith and Menangle. Marie said if was their intention to use the Taree Showground and they contacted the Taree Show Society to gain permission. They were prepared to pay a fee. Taree Showground is listed with Harness Racing NSW on its public liability and Mr Minns carries public liability with his Harness Racing NSW licence. However, Marie said despite meetings with show society officials, along with much correspondence, they have been frustrated in their attempts. This has led to the move to Queensland. “When we purchased the property at Coopernook we didn’t think there would be any problem accessing the track in Taree,’’ Marie said. “Every other showground in Australia that has a track allows access within 24 hours of providing a harness licence.’’ Marie claims the society hasn’t given her any concrete reason why they can’t use the track. However, Taree Show Society president Milton Johnston said the matter isn’t finalised. He claimed the society was only offered $50 a week in remuneration, which he said was unsatisfactory. He said there would be costs involved in maintaining the track and there were other expenses involved with the use of facilities at the showground. Marie has contacted Harness Racing NSW chief executive John Dumesny on the matter. Mr Dumesny in turn contacted show society committee members Milton Johnston and Allan Richards, confirming the necessary insurances were in place. “Hopefully your committee will agree to this request however should you wish to discuss this proposition with me, please contact me at your earliest convenience,’’ Mr Dumesny concluded in his correspondence. This was dated August 28. Mr Dumesny then contacted Mr Johnston and Mr Richards on September 13 seeking a response. “We cannot keep waiting for an answer so we request an answer by the close of business Friday, September 15, 2017,’’ he wrote. Nothing was forthcoming. Mr Johnston admitted the association didn’t reply to Mr Dumesny, but said organisation of the Taree Show took priority. He added the association is prepared to discuss the matter further, but added a $50 levy is not acceptable. Mick McDonald Reprinted with permission of The Manning River Times

The Star Trek Series is set to get under way on Wednesday night, in what is one of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s premier feature series. With a long history dating back 50 years, this year’s Star Trek Series will see a shake up in the series’ format. Bathurst Harness Racing’s CEO Danny Dwyer said the change is to encourage more participation. “Usually the heats were one week and the finals were next week,” he said. “Now we have heats this Wednesday, semis next Wednesday and final next Friday. “We’ve changed the format to encourage further participation, for more horses in the fields.”  Due to the change in format, Dwyer has has seen an increase in quality.  “The race is for C1 and C2 horses and we’ve definitely seen an increase in quality,” he said. “With $15,000 on offer in the final, it’s certainty a good race to win. “The club is very happy with the quality. This is the first time the series will be held over three meetings.” Three series heats will be staged on Wednesday night. In race one – the Bedwells Feedbarn Star Trek Heat 1 (1730 metres) – the Amanda Turnbull-trained and owner Crafty Cullen ($1.60) will start as favourite. It will be the five-year-old brown gelding’s first start in Australia and first run since finishing sixth on September 10, in the New Zealand town of Rangiora. “Crafty Cullen and Whittaker both look likely to get the win,” Dwyer said. “I expect both horses to dominant the race.” Whittaker ($3.75) will also make a first start in Australia and the four-year-old bay stallion is to be driven by Ashlee Grives. In race four – the Bedwells Feedbarn Star Trek Heat 2 (1730 metres) – two Hewitt trained horses with start at equal favourites. Brad Hewitt’s gelding – Inner Light ($2.50) will start from barrier three, while Bernie Hewitt’s Im With Lexy ($2.50) will start at barrier five. “[Inner Light] is in really good form. He’s just come over from New Zealand,” Dwyer said.  “[Im With Lexy] also won the recent Canolla Cup in Eugowra.  “I think both horses will match it with each other.” In race five – the Bedwells Feedbarn Star Trek Heat 3 (1730 metres) – Dwyer has cited another New Zealand horse to perform well. “Taihape Sunset has come across and should race well,” he said. “It’ll make for an excellent night of racing.”   The New Zealand horse will be trained by Amanda Turnbull. The top eight in each heat will qualify for the two semi-finals. Each semi-final will have 12 runners and the top six will qualify for the final on November 3. By Bradley Jurd Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate  

Junee Show day will see the return of harness racing to the showground. The club will provide plenty of different aspects on Saturday afternoon. There will be led classes for judging at 3pm before the mini trotters and harness racing spring into action at 4pm. This week also sees the return on Wednesday night trials from 7pm. Junee will hold its first meeting on the season next Friday, November 3 with two Menangle Country Series heats the feature. Courtney Rees Reprinted with permission of The Junee Southern Cross

Amanda Turnbull came within a head of steering four winners at the Parkes Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Sunday. Having guided Blacklist ($1.04 favourite), Our Novak ($1.80 favourite) and Montana Maestro ($3.60) to success, she was chasing one more in the final race of the day with her chance Greenngold ($3.10 favourite). But the honours in the Join The Owners Association Pace (1,660 metres) belonged to Brown’s Creek trainer-driver Leigh Davis. His $12 outsider Rays Choice showed good speed from barrier four to take the lead, his cause helped when Laser In Flight galloped behind him. While The Emma Turnbull driven Poppy Cee ($6.10) took over the lead down the back straight for the final time and Greenngold made a three-wide charge, Rays Choice continued to fight. He put in one final surge to take the win by a half head over Poppy Cee, with Greenngold a further half head back in third. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate  

Lochinvar harness racing stalwarts Pam and Bill Tomlin are coming off their greatest win but not expecting another at Newcastle International Paceway on Saturday night. The Tomlins were given the Dick Osborn Medal for services to the industry at the Newcastle and Hunter Valley awards last week. The couple are life members of the Newcastle Harness Racing Club and remain involved in owning, breeding and training. Pam was the NHRC secretary for more than a decade and Bill was instrumental in constructing the Newcastle track and maintaining it over several stints as curator. They were both friends of Osborn, the late legendary trainer-driver, and said it was a great thrill to take out the award. Superstar Glowie, the only pacer trained by Bill, will race in the C1 heat of the Menangle Country Series at Newcastle on Saturday night but will start from the extreme outside in gate 10. “No hope, not from out there,” Bill said. “If Dale [Spencer] drives her out of the gate, she doesn’t get home. She’s going to have to drop out and get a cart and hopefully she gets home. It’s a pretty good field.” Also at last week’s function, Peter Allen won the Ros Falconer Memorial Award for services to the industry. The Aaron Goadsby-trained Takara Truffle was named Newcastle Horse of the Year, Clayton Harmey claimed the Newcastle and Hunter Valley premierships, Mark Callaghan and Brad Elder shared the drivers’ titles and Stacie Elliott and Laura Spencer took out the Newcastle lady trainers’ and drivers’ titles respectively. Yourblueyescrying was most successful filly and Lethal Star the top mare. The Mathew Jenkins Encouragement award went to Jake Hughes. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald  

When Damien Smith takes to the track at Friday night’s Tamworth Harness Racing Club meeting, it will be like a homecoming for the Maitland reinsman. As a 16-year-old, Smith made an impact at Tamworth when he drove his first winner on debut in April 2004.  The horse, Bush Eagle, was trained by his father Kenneth Smith Jnr. Smith went on to drive plenty more winners including a Glenn Tomlin Memorial and a Newcastle Cup. But then life got in the way and he stepped away from harness racing for seven years. “I brought a house, got married and Ashley and I have a little one due next month,” he said. “I wanted to make my comeback at Tamworth first up but it didn’t work out that way, but hopefully my luck will change tonight.” Smith will take the reins behind Double Dee and Our Midnight Mayhem for the Kristine Jackson stables. Upon making his return to racing in August, he was nearly in the winner’s circle first up with Double Dee at Newcastle. “Some how I got conned back into driving again,” he said. “I finished second on him my first drive back. I have only had the one winner [since then] and that was at the trials. It feels like I never left.” On Friday night, Smith will contest the Peter Jackson Bookmakers Membership Draw Pace behind Double Dee.      “I have had a couple of drives behind the horse but we will have to wait and see how the race pans out for him,” he said. Our Midnight Mayhem will have race start 141 in the Global Bloodstock Pace, with Smith taking the reins for the first time behind the Mach Three gelding. “He has been racing OK – just needs some luck in the race,” Smith said. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

It was a huge night for the Singleton duo, Charlie Shearer and  Aaron Goadsby, at the annual Hunter Valley Harness Racing Awards Night.  In her inaugural season, Shearer’s prized filly, Takara Truffle, took out not one but two ‘Horse of the Year’ awards.  With a select panel judging her the most deserving of the top gong which is the coveted TAB sponsored Newcastle Horse of the Year title. Prior to this she was also judged Horse of the Year by the Hunter Valley Owners and Trainers. The impressive filly won 12 races in her three- year-old season; enjoying success at Bankstown, Tamworth, Maitland, Newcastle, Bathurst, and Albion Park in Queensland as well as notching up three Metropolitan wins at Tabcorp Park, Menangle –  including two Group 3 wins.   Takara Truffle And, her wins in the Group 3 Go Girlfriend series and the Group 3 Baby Bling Stakes were against older and more seasoned fillies and mares. She finished the season with 24 starts for 12 wins, 3 seconds and 3 fourths and was only out of the major money on six occasions and this returned prize money in excess of $91, 000. Upon accepting the accolade, Shearer said he looks forward to the racing ahead with his pride and joy. “It’s a great honor to win this award,” he said. While her trainer, Goadsby, picked up a Trainer of the Year award for those who had 25 runners or less on Hunter tracks this season. He recorded six wins from nine starts. Goadsby said the filly has enjoyed six weeks in the paddock and is now looking forward to her four year-old season of racing.  As such no racing program has been set out but he indicated that we won’t see Takara Truffle back to the races before the New Year.  He thanked both the Mericeca and Camilleri families along with farrier Ray Barwick because without their help and assistance “none of this could have been possible”. Charlie Shearer   Reprinted with permission of the Singleton Argus site

He may not have been racing a V8, but harness racing driver David Hewitt still had plenty of horse power to work with when it came to the Bathurst Shootout Final on Friday. It was in the form of a seven-year-old gelding called Modern Era. In a nod to the Bathurst 1000, the Bathurst Harness Racing Club this year staged the inaugural shootout series. Time trials were conducted at the track on Wednesday night, with the fastest eighth qualifiers advancing to the decider. Modern Era, trained in Goulburn by Brad Hewitt, was the fastest qualifier with a time of 1:23.2 over the 1,200 metres. He got his pick of barrier for the final and selected one. With David Hewitt in the gig for the final, Modern Era live up to his $1.50 favouritism. The son of Modern Art clocked a 1:24.6 to win by 3.2m over Smack Dab Shannon ($4.80), taking the sit early before pulling ahead with 50m remaining. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of the Western Advocate  

In a positive move for harness racing in the Riverina the first sod was turned at the site of the new Wagga track at Cartwrights Hill today. The New South Wales Minister for Racing Paul Toole was in attendance alongside Harness Racing NSW Chairman Chris Edwards and his fellow Board Members for the significant milestone. "The journey has been a lengthy one from when we first called for expressions of interest in a Riverina Super Centre back in 2006," Edwards said. "But now that we are finally at this stage, it is pleasing to know that in a year's time we will have completed a strategy to install 1000m tracks in all the regions Hunter, Western and Southern. "What is really positive for Wagga is that what we have learned from the other projects has been enhanced, corrected or improved with this last instalment." The long-awaited project will see a 1070m race track constructed with a width of 20m to accommodate 10 horses starting off the front row, if required. There will be a camber of 10 degrees on the 110m radius turns to assist with equine welfare, driver safety and to enhance the speed performance of the horses as well as a sprint lane to provide all horses a competitive opportunity. Alongside the track, public facilities similar to those at Bathurst will be constructed as well as race stalls that can accommodate for 140 horses, including a designated area for mini trot participants. Harness Racing NSW's long term vision for the property is to also include a training centre. AMANDA RANDO

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