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There are only five TAB Carnival Of Cups meetings remaining this season however a number of horses still remain in contention to be crowned the series' leading pacer. With $5,000 on offer to the horse's owners, some trainers will look to compete at the remaining harness racing meetings in a bid to secure vital points. Every winner at a Carnival of Cups meeting receives three points, the runner up gets two points while third picks up one. Hollywood Sign set up a healthy lead after winning races at four meetings and placing third at another for trainer Trevor White but has since been sold and now is prepared by Victorian horseman Brent Lilley. The son of Life Sign has a three point lead over five pacers including Eugowra's Canola Cup winner Holm Three. Snoop Stride will compete at Cootamundra on Sunday afternoon and should the son of Stonebridge Regal win the final event he will join Hollywood Sign on thirteen points. The Turnbull family dominate the trainers and drivers points tables with Steve more than 100 points clear of his nearest rival in the training division while Amanda has a 42 point lead over her father in the leading driver tally.   LEADING HORSE HOLLYWOOD SIGN 13 HOLM THREE 10 MOUSE IN THE HOUSE 10 READ ABOUT LEXY 10 RISEANDRISEAGAIN 10 SNOOP STRIDE 10* DENISES LEGACY 9* MITHRYS MAGIC 9 STRATHLACHLAN ANDY 9* LEXUS ON THE BEACH 8 PEPPERALL 8 SOKYS BIGBULLET 8* STENING 8* *racing at Cootamundra this Sunday       LEADING TRAINER A S TURNBULL 145 S J SNUDDEN 41 S P TRITTON 36 B J HEWITT 33 D M HEWITT 22     LEADING DRIVER A J TURNBULL 85 A S TURNBULL 43 C R BELL 35 D N MORAN 32 B J HEWITT 27   Greg Hayes

Talented horseman Anton Golino trains a team of six horses and all are trotters. Therefore it is no surprise that with a number of harness racing features for the square-gaiters programmed in New South Wales over the next fortnight that the 34-year old will be well represented. This Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Menangle Golino will have a runner in the Gr. 1 NSW Trotters Oaks and the Gr. 3 La Coocaracha. My Tribeca (late name Tribeca) will represent the stable in the Oaks and Golino is excited by her long term prospects. "My Tribeca was bred in the Northern Hemisphere so she is giving away six or seven months in age to most of her rivals but I think she might develop into something special," said Golino. "She is unbelievably well bred by Goetmals Wood, a champion French stallion from the Italian mare Image by Coktail Jet and her second dam won a lot of money, I went to France last year and leading French trainer Jean Etienne Dubois had this filly that he wanted to race in Australia and I am very lucky to have been given the opportunity to train her." My Tribeca trialled behind unbeaten pacer Our Waikiki Beach last week and recorded a personal time of 1:58.8 for the mile. "I think she has the ability to develop into a top horse eventually, she doesn't have the race experience of many of her rivals on Saturday night and I'm not in any major rush with her. "After Saturday night I will take her to Melbourne in a fortnight for the Victorian Trotters Oaks." In the Gr. 3 La Coocaracha Golino will produce lightly raced mare Arboe. The daughter of Love You had a preparation in New Zealand with Craig and Aimee Edmonds before heading to Australia. "She's got untapped ability, Arboe is getting better with the experience and although she is a slow learner she does have a very big motor. "Pat Driscoll owns her and I think with a bit of time she is going to develop into a really talented trotter, I want to take her to Victoria in a fortnight as well and she will compete in the Bacardi Lindy Trot for the four and five year old mares." Greg Hayes

The harness racing industry has rallied around Cessnock trainer Andrew Stapleford and his 21 year old daughter Sophie who underwent surgery today (Monday) to have a brain tumour removed. The friends and family of Sophie were amazed at the response from the industry and HRNSW CEO John Dumesny applauded everyone that has helped out. "The harness racing industry is like a big family and when a member of that family needs a helping hand then everyone is quick to do whatever they can," said Dumesny. "On Friday HRNSW donated a NSW Breeders Challenge Owners Bonus Certificate for auction at the fundraising night organised for Sophie in Cessnock on August 1 and over the weekend there have been a number of people who have made donations to the cause." A fundraising campaign had been created on mycause.com.au for Sophie with the goal of raising $40,000 to help pay for some of the costs associated with the operation and rehabilitation. These were estimated to be between $60,000 and $80,000. By Monday afternoon the amount raised on the website totalled more than $21,000. While the fundraising night is still two months away, popular owner Rob Nalder has already started the bidding on the $3,000 bonus certificate. "I read the story and it is obviously a very hard time for Sophie at the moment so I would like to put in an opening bid of $4,000 for the NSW Breeders Challenge Owners Bonus Certificate," said Nalder. "I would encourage any other owners or breeders that would like to become involved in raising some money for the Stapleford family to throw in a bid for the certificate because it is going to a very good cause." Anyone interested in placing a bid for the certificate can email ghayes@hrnsw.com.au Trainer/driver Guy Chapple confirmed a set of signed McCarthy colours would be auctioned at the Cessnock Leagues Club on August 1 at the fundraising night. "We've spoken with Luke (McCarthy) and he is going to donate a set of his colours and sign them and I am going to get them framed," said Chapple. "Sophie is a very good soccer player and there will be a number of people interested in soccer at the fundraising night so I'm going to try and get my hands on a signed soccer jersey as well to raise some more money." Fundraising coordinator Anthony Burke praised everyone that has become involved. "It is great to see the money that has been raised so far for Sophie and if anyone would like to donate items for the fundraising evening please contact me on 0439 601 852," said Burke. Greg Hayes

Cessnock harness racing trainer Andrew Stapleford is a respected horseman and loving father. Despite having only a handful of starters every season the 47-year old has trained more than his fair share of winners throughout his career. Harness racing has understandably taken 'a back seat' recently for Stapleford with news that his 21-year old daughter Sophie has a brain tumour. Sophie will undergo surgery on Monday at the Prince Of Wales Hospital in Sydney with the cost of the procedure and rehabilitation estimated to be between $60,000 and $80,000. A Goal For Sophie fundraising committee has been formed by friends of Sophie and the Stapleford family to raise money to ease the financial burden and allow Sophie to concentrate on her health and recovery. A fundraising night is being held at Cessnock Leagues Club on August 1 with entertainment, an auction and raffles to be conducted. HRNSW has donated a $3,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Owners Bonus Certificate for auction on the night. "The Stapleford family need all the support they can get to help fund the operation and Sophie's rehabilitation and HRNSW is pleased to offer a bonus certificate to be auctioned at the fundraising night on August 1," HRNSW CEO John Dumesny said. "Sophie is a very brave young lady that will undergo a very important operation on Monday and our thoughts are with her and her family at this time." Andrew Stapleford confirmed renowned Australian neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo will conduct the operation. "In harness racing terminology when a trainer takes a horse to the races he wants the best driver so he books Luke McCarthy," Stapleford said. "We wanted Sophie to be under the care of the best doctor there is and that is why Dr Charlie Teo will be in charge, he is the best." The position of the tumour means that the operation will be a very delicate one. "It is in a difficult spot and they still haven't been able to diagnose what type of tumour it is, originally it was thought to be a very aggressive one that gobbles up everything in its path and if that is the case then they won't be able to remove it all. "That means Sophie may have to undergo more surgery in five, ten or twenty years but we just have our fingers crossed at the moment." Sophie is a talented soccer player and her father is proud of the resilience she has shown. "Sophie has handled it so bravely, things have been a little tense with the operation approaching and I'm pretty sure it will be very emotional in the day leading up to it." There is a fundraiser page that has been set up via the Mycause website. If anyone can assist with donations or prizes for the fundraising evening visit the facebook page - A Goal For Sophie Greg Hayes - Harness Racing New South Wales

Blake Fitzpatrick is hoping My Valerie’s Jewels campaign is just the start of his association with the NZ$1.2million harness racing day.   One of Australia’s leading trainer of trotters, Fitzpatrick is excited to bring his four-year-old mare to the Ruby at Ashburton on May 30, the final Australian invite for Jewels day taking their team to six.   “She is a good mare and she went 1:54.8 two starts ago,” says Fitzpatrick.   “So with Ashburton being a lot like Menangle, if she can reproduce that sort of time then she can be right in it.”
   Fitzpatrick has grown his team of trotters enormously in the last two years, backed by main owner Pat Driscoll, who has developed one of the more elite band of trotting mares in Australasia.   “Pat is in the industry to breed top trotters and he is really excited about having a Jewels runner."   “And we only see the day getting bigger from an Australian side of things so we want to bring horses back again and again."   “So this is just the start for us.”
   Fitzpatrick also intends bringing stable star Vincennes to Addington for Cup week in November and with a huge number of trotters in work realises New Zealand is a logical target in the seasons to come.   “It is the next stage of my career and to get an invite with this mare is exciting."   “She has won 14 of 21 and while she only finished fourth last start that was after losing 50 or 60m galloping from the stand."   “So we can’t wait to get there.”   Plenty of Australian raiders will be on show on Friday night, with Salty Robyn in the Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington and Just Cala and Glenferrie Bronte racing at Melton.   Michael Guerin - Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Thursday 14th May 2015 - Four time Gr.1 winner Fly Like An Eagle will stand at Yirribee Stud next season in what has been described as a coup for harness racing breeders in New South Wales.  The son of Mach Three defeated the best pacers of his time including Christen Me, Smolda, Sushi Sushi, Caribbean Blaster and Sir Lincoln and still holds the New Zealand record as the fastest two year old over 1700 metres with a mile rate 0f 1:55.9. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny praised Yirribee Stud on securing the $756,178 earner and believes it is an indication of the confidence in the NSW breeding industry. “Fly Like An Eagle is all quality as his record demonstrates and the Yirribee team must be congratulated for securing him from the New Zealand owners over other Australian states,” Dumesny said. “Yirribee’s Rod Woodhouse has been extremely proactive which will benefit the NSW breeding industry with this acquisition.” Standing for $2750, Fly Like An Eagle will qualify for the Colonial Bred Stallion Scheme which sees broodmare owners receive $500 payable on a live foal, while the progeny of the NZ Derby winner will be eligible for the NSW Breeders Challenge and Breeders Challenge Blue Series. “The introduction last season of the Colonial Bred Stallion Scheme judging by the resultant covers was an instant success. “There are 190 mares in foal to eligible stallions this season which represents around fifteen percent of the mares served in NSW.” Yirribee boss Rod Woodhouse is excited by the announcement that Fly Like An Eagle will join the stallion roster at his well known Riverina stud. “Fly Like An Eagle was an exciting racehorse and his prospects as a stallion are just as exciting, Yirribee Stud is looking forward to the upcoming breeding season,” Woodhouse said. “He is from the famous Black Watch family, has been well priced and being a part of the Colonial Bred Stallion Scheme will make him very attractive to broodmare owners.” Dumesny believes the board of HRNSW demonstrated its support of the local breeding industry through a number of initiatives last year and these are already producing dividends. “The board recognised it was important to nurture Gr.1 winning colonial bred stallions in the same way the thoroughbred industry had,” Dumesny stated. “The decision by the board of HRNSW to fund the rebate attracted the quality first season stallion Caribbean Blaster last year and increased the numbers of mares over previous seasons to other eligible stallions.”  “Board members Rex Horne, Alex Smith and Rod Smith took the opportunity to inspect Fly Like An Eagle at Yirribee Stud on Tuesday and were all impressed by his athletic appearance which I am sure will attract broodmare owners.” Fly Like An Eagle ($150,000 Young Guns Final) Fly Like An Eagle ($150,000 Jewels Final) Fly Like An Eagle ($150,000 New Zealand Derby) Fly Like An Eagle (Breeders Crown win) Fly Like An Eagle - Kaikoura Cup Fly Like An Eagle ($650,000 New Zealand Cup) ; Greg Hayes

Newcastle based harness racing trainer Shane Tritton is spreading his wings.   And far and wide.   The leading conditioner is currently campaigning smart juvenile pacer Salty Robyn in New Zealand while campaigns in both Victoria and Queensland are also planned in the coming weeks for his stable.   Tritton has been a regular in the sunshine state for a number of years and with the Brisbane winter carnival fast approaching, he is planning another trip north.   Exciting three-year-olds Miss Riviera Belle and Artistic Flite will be his headline acts.   “Queensland is a great place to race and the winter carnival is always good fun, it was great to part of the carnival last year with champion pacer Im Themightyquinn and we’re looking forward to getting back up there.” Tritton said.   New Zealand bred filly Miss Riviera Belle completed a rare double recently by winning both the Newcastle Oaks and Derby in dominant fashion and will now be deliberately aimed at the Brisbane features starting next month.   The Gr.1 $100,000 Queensland Oaks is scheduled for July 11.   “After returning from her Melbourne campaign she has really trained on well and her two recent victories underline that, the trip away from home brought her on and really sharpened her up.   She’s a lot better mentally now and there are a few races we will look at in Brisbane.   “I’m going to give her a couple of easy weeks now before getting her ready for Brisbane, she’ll be nice and fresh again for her next campaign.   I like this filly, she’s now won five races for me and she’s still improving.   “Her efforts during the Victoria Oaks were really good, she just didn’t have the best of luck but it’s proven to be a great experience for her so Brisbane fits her schedule nicely.   Her winning efforts at Newcastle in the Oaks and Derby were very good, running time and winning easily.”   Last start feature race winner Artistic Flite has been freshened and will concentrate on the upcoming Breeders Challenge series before Tritton eyes off a Queensland Derby start with the proven Group 1 winner.   Tritton spelled the Artistic Fella colt following his triumph at Bathurst in the Gr.3 $40,000 Gold Chalice Final on March 28 with a view to bigger targets at the back end of the season.   The $125,000 Breeders Challenge is scheduled for June 28 while the $150,000 Queensland Derby will take place on July 18.   Artistic Flite is also eligible for the Australasian Breeders Crown in Melbourne during August.   “He’s not far away from a return and I’m happy with the way he’s coming to hand following his let-up, he’s got several features in the coming months and giving him that break was perfect timing.   “The Breeders Challenge is the first target and then we’ll look at Brisbane because there are quite a few races for him up there and worth some good prizemoney, the Nursery Fly and then Derby.”   Tritton is currently ranked third in the National trainer’s premiership with 153 winners and sits behind Grant Dixon (176) and Gary Hall (154).   Chris Barsby - Racing Queensland

As the son of an Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile winning trainer, 32 year old Nathan Turnbull enjoyed a number of opportunities early in his harness racing career. In his late teens and early twenties Turnbull drove in more than 200 races every season and enjoyed plenty of success, racking up more than 120 winners in the sulky between 2000 and 2005. However when Nathan's little sister Amanda arrived on the scene, he quickly understood that the driving opportunities for his father's stable would be reduced. "Amanda is a freak and was from an early age so I knew it was going to be tough being the third string driver for the stable so I went and got a job in a factory for a while," said Turnbull. "I still loved harness racing and when Dad's (Steve) farrier announced he was going to retire a year or so ago I was offered the job, so I spent some time learning and gave it a go." However a serious knee injury forced Turnbull to have another break. "Last year I was shoeing a horse one day and it lashed out and I suffered a pretty bad injury which meant that I had to have my leg in a brace for six months." During this six month period Turnbull helped out fellow trainer Jack Butler with his team of horses. "Jack asked me to come out and help him one day because he was hoppling a couple of two year olds and he told me to drive Sams The Master because he was a bit of a fruit loop and thought that I would be a little bit more patient with him. "Sams The Master and I just clicked from the very first day, his owner Rod Smith said to me that if I lose some weight that he would give me a drive on him so I did and since then I have lost about 20 kilos." On December 19th 2014 Turnbull had his first race drive in more than four years and when Sams The Master proved too good it reignited his passion for driving. Since then Turnbull has had more than 70 drives and won thirteen races. "Jack sold his place and Dad bought it and has put me in there, I am really enjoying it again, I'm training eleven at the moment and there are a couple of yearlings there as well. "I've got Sams The Master and Sams The Champ for Jack and Rod and both of them are being aimed at the Breeders Challenge next month." Another of the horses that has performed well since joining Turnbull's team is Hand For Tilly. "She wasn't a very expensive buy, I think Josh (Turnbull) and Pete Crennan paid $800 for her and she has already won $12,000 and has qualified for a Menangle Country Final at the end of the month. "The Red Ochre Mares Classic at Dubbo looks a good option for her as well so hopefully she can continue to do a good job for the boys." Turnbull has already trained six winners this season from a handful of starters. Prior to this year his last training winner was in May 2004. "I'm enjoying my involvement in the sport, shoeing for Dad, working my own team, driving a few and jogging up some horses for Amanda as well, it is all keeping me very busy." - HRNSW Media  

Dubbo Harness Racing Club’s Carnival Of Cups Series gets underway at Wednesday night's harness racing meeting with an eight race program.   The meeting features two heats of the $30000 Gr. 3 Red Ochre Mare Classic.   Once again the race has attracted the attention of some of the state’s biggest stables.   Shane Tritton will attempt to make it back to back victories in the feature and looks to have a couple of handy mares in Ohoka Royal and Real Star with both expected to figure prominently.    The leading stables of Steve Turnbull, Nathan Hurst, Bernie Hewitt and Ashley Siejka are all represented in the heats as well.   An interesting runner in the second heat is My Whisky Lullaby.    The Sydney trained mare will be driven by talented reinsman Josh Willick and has already won four races.   The other feature race on the program is the fifth heat of the Club Dubbo Dooza Golden Gig.    Six local trained horses are engaged and hope to qualify for the rich final being run on Sunday May 17.   Only two spots remain in the final after recent heats were run at Forbes, Bathurst, Tamworth and Parkes.     Two Dubbo trained horses have already qualified with five time local premiership winning trainer Gary Edwards and James Sutton set to be represented in the final.   Another interesting race on the program is the Maiden Pace.   This race, for horses that have not won at all at a licenced meeting is sponsored by Ron Hoy.   The 94 year old veteran, who seldom misses a meeting, was Dubbo’s leading trainer back in the 1970’s and 80’s preparing more than 150 winners.   His sons Garth and Lester remain the only local drivers to win more than 100 races on the Dubbo circuit.   Harness racing in Dubbo has long been known as a family sport.   Names like Lew, Hoy, Pay, Lesslie, McKinnon & Edwards have become very familiar and successful names in the industry.   When you add to those more recent families participating with a deal of success like Reynolds, Carroll and Sutton harness racing in Dubbo will continue to thrive.   - HRNSW Media

Bathurst harness racing trainer Peter Trevor-Jones is set to continue supporting the Carnival Of Cups concept as he has been since it was introduced nearly a decade ago.  Trevor-Jones was planning to take Crackerjack Jo to Tabcorp Park Menangle tomorrow night with stablemate Ima Gucci Girl, but after a closer look at the meeting program, decided to send the gelding to Blayney on Sunday. The feature race at Blayney’s Carnival Of Cups meeting this Sunday is the Bill Soo Blayney Memorial Cup for pacers assessed C3 to C5 and Trevor-Jones is expecting Crackerjack Jo to be competitive despite drawing the second row. “Crackerjack Jo is going really well and I was planning on taking him back to Menangle on Saturday night for the M0, but thought Blayney was a better option,” Trevor-Jones said. “I like the Carnival Of Cups concept and I always try to support the meetings when I can…plus, I have a soft spot for Blayney because it was one of the tracks where I drove early in my career.” Crackerjack Jo was driven by Anthony Frisby at his last start at Forbes, with the reinsman to partner the gelding again this weekend. “He is a C6 pacer so I needed a junior claim,” Trevor-Jones explained “Anthony has driven for me in the past, he does a good job and drove him well at Forbes. “After two straight wins I did think he would be very hard to beat at Forbes and when he was defeated I was a little bit surprised, but on reflection the horse that beat him Catch Your Breath has won nearly $200,000.” Trevor-Jones has enjoyed success at Blayney in the past and still uses one of the prizes he won at the track many years ago. “I remember winning a Coca-Cola Esky at Blayney a long time ago with Wyandah Lady and still to this day I use the Esky to take my food and drinks to the races,” Trevor-Jones said. “Blayney is a tighter track than Menangle or Bathurst and those two places are where Crackerjack Jo has done most of his recent racing, but Anthony told me that the horse handled Forbes really well last weekend, so the size of the track is not a concern.” HRNSW Media

HRNSW will conduct seven ‘road shows’ across New South Wales in the next month to update participants and interested parties about the handicapping and programming changes that have been undertaken.  CEO John Dumesny has confirmed HRNSW Board members and other key staff will be in attendance to explain the outcomes and answer questions arising from the review’s results. “The key objective into the review of handicapping and programming policy was to increase revenue returned to the harness industry through the creation of competitive racing,” Dumesny said. “The review was basically broken into three parts or ‘phases’, it is vital for participants to understand the results and ask any questions they may have and the best way to give people the chance to do this is by convening meetings across New South Wales.” Scheduled Road Shows will be conducted at:  Monday May 11th  WAGGA –                           7pm Wagga Showground  Monday May 18th PEAK HILL –                       7pm Peak Hill Golf Club  Tuesday May 19th BATHURST –                      7pm Bathurst Paceway  Sunday May 24th MENANGLE –                      Midday Tabcorp Park Menangle  Thursday May 28th TAMWORTH-                    7pm Tamworth Showground  Monday June 1st NEWCASTLE-                       7pm Newcastle International Paceway  Wednesday June 3rd PENRITH-                      6pm Penrith Paceway “Road shows were conducted last year to explain why there needed to be change to handicapping in NSW, a system was implemented in an attempt to decrease odds on favourites, create competitive racing and increase field sizes.” “HRNSW can now provide the results from the review and explain what it means going forward, I would encourage anyone that has an interest to attend.” 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 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. - HRNSW Media

With the increased coverage of American harness racing now beamed into Australia via Sky Racing, punters are given a better opportunity to follow former Australian and New Zealand competitors during their careers abroad.  Those tuning into watch Yonkers on May 12 will hear a familiar Australian voice with New South Wales broadcaster Fred Hastings confirming he will be behind the binoculars during the meeting. “I will be calling a couple of races at Yonkers at the Monday night meeting American time, so it will be Tuesday morning in Australia,” Hastings said. “I told my parents when I was nine-years-old that I wanted to be a race caller. I can remember watching a lot of American movies with a racing flavour as a child thinking I would love the chance to call a race over there one day and I will now get the chance to do just that.” A lot of work has happened behind the scenes to ensure Hastings got the opportunity to call his first international race. “This family trip has been in the pipeline for quite a while, so I spoke to the team at Sky International about heading over and asked whether they could make an approach to Yonkers on my behalf to see if I could call a race which they did,” Hastings explained. “John Hernan is the broadcaster at Yonkers and I am very grateful that I will be given the opportunity by John to call a couple of races. I believe the races I will be calling will be timed to suit the Australian coverage of the meeting.” Hastings has only arace outside of New South Wales once in his long career. “I called my first meeting for Sky Sports Radio or 2KY as it was known then on June 13 1986 at Nowra and the only time I have called outside of New South Wales was when I got the chance to call a race at Albion Park at the farewell meeting for David Fowler,” Hastings said. “I have a real fear of flying, so I haven’t done much travelling outside of Australia. I have been to New Zealand but that was on a cruise, so this holiday is a new frontier for me.” While Hastings is looking forward to the challenge of calling at Yonkers he is not planning on doing anything different to what he does at Menangle, Penrith or Bankstown. “I’m just going to call the races as I would at tracks around Sydney and I won’t be including anything that doesn’t need to be in the call,” Hastings said. “What I do in Australia I will do at Yonkers, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and I thank everyone that has made it happen.” HRNSW Media

With harness racing participants in the Hunter Valley still assessing the damage caused by the severe storms last week, HRNSW today announced a strategy has been put in place to help those in need.  A number of trainers were forced to move their horses because of the rising flood levels, however, the biggest concerns for many participants is the availability of feed and welfare issues associated with the care of the horses. HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny confirmed access to feed in the Hunter Valley was a priority that would be addressed. “HRNSW has been in contact with a number of trainers and what we keep hearing is that once the water levels drop people will need to source dry feed for their horses,” Dumesny said. “A high percentage of trainers saw their feed storage facilities go underwater and it is important we assist in sourcing and providing emergency feed supplies.” Earlier this week westoration work began on the Cessnock Showground track in an attempt to give local trainers a venue to exercise their horses. “Sections of the Cessnock track were basically washed away during the storm and it was imperative local trainers could work their horses, so even before today’s board meeting, a decision was made to get that track fixed as soon as possible,” Dumesny said. “People outside of the Hunter don’t realise just how widespread the damage is. While a lot has been made of the devastation in Maitland there are other areas that have also been badly affected.”  Dumesny applauded the decision by the NSW Harness Racing Club to donate $20,000 towards the fund, which will help those hit hardest by the floods. “It is so important at a time like this that the industry sticks together and the Principal Club has shown great leadership by donating $20,000 to the participants in the Hunter Valley,” Dumesny said. “A full assessment of the devastation caused by the floods will be carried out by HRNSW as a priority and a request has been made for participants to contact Adam Fairley to report the damage incurred.” HRNSW Media

The skills of Mark and Natalie and the success of regular owners, Phil and Glenys Kennard , Neil Pilcher and Australian Marcus Kirkwood were underlined after Natalie's memorable drive to win her 30th Harness Racing Group One in the Len Smith Mile.   Finally after a long  history of frustration which bordered on resignation Smolda reminded Australians of his great class.   It was only in November that his career was in limbo.   His Cup preparation was in disarray and since the beginning of 2014 he had raced only five times.   This was after Mark was the man who insisted that Smolda had the full time off senior veterinary adviser Dr Bill Bishop had recommended. No short cuts.   Reassessing the situation with the horse who won eight of his 12 starts at three including a sensational Harness Jewels victory (1 52.1) and the NSW Derby and when Mark was rating him among the best horses he had trained, it was back to the drawing board.   Promising, then a little disappointing at the Auckland Cup carnival his only win since January 2014 came at Addington in March in a field he had to beat.   But Mark and Natalie sensed that all the racing was helping him after a long time off and with no opportunities here it was off to Australia where he is now unbeaten in two starts on the campaign which is likely to last longer yet.   And a cherry ripe Smolda is suddenly looming in 2015 NZ Cup contention.   But then all his life Smolda has been surprising people.   He was not in keen demand as a yearling shares being advertised on the All Stars site which brought Marcus Kirkwood into a ride he has enjoyed to the full.   Phil and Glenys of course are rarely out of the All Stars headlines and Pilch-well he has always loved his Courage Under Fire's.                                                                      Waikiki Beach   Neil Pilcher became the most successful APG two year old final winning owner in history when Our Waikiki Beach which he races with Trevor Casey and Cheryl Rasmussen won at Menangle on Sunday.   He ran his last 400m in 25.9 and 1.54.3 overall after a superb rating from Natalie who was posting her second APG final win.   Mark has figured in the training of all three of Pilch's wins which began with Mr Nickel in 2011 when the longshot came out best after Fly Like An Eagle got a horrible run.   Last year Follow the Stars was the winner with Pilch again in the partnership.   Waikiki Beach was knocked down to Neil, selected by Mark, for $A50,000 at least year's Melbourne sale and  it is hardly a matter of regret.   He is still unbeaten having won the Welcome Stakes at Addington after winning the Kindergarten Stakes and has won  his heat, semi and Final of the APG series.   OUR AUSTRALIAN RECORD THIS SEASON   13 WINS   Fight For Glory -2 wins - NSW Oaks Prelude. NSW Oaks   Follow The Stars- 3  wins - Caduceus Club   Adore Me - 2 wins - Ladyship Mile G1   Hug the Wind 1 win - NSW Derby Prelude   Waikiki Beach 3 wins - APG heat, semi-final, final   Smolda  2 wins - Penrith Cup-Len Smith Mile   EIGHT  GROUP WINNERS   FOUR GROUP ONES !   OVER $500,000 IN STAKES   Courtesy All Stars Racing Stables    

Leading reinsman Luke McCarthy tipped more feature wins are in store for All Eyes On Us after the son of Art Major’s all-the-way win in the Group Two Lands Legal Carousel Final at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle today.   After sustaining pressure from equal favourite Bettor Downunder for much of the 2400-metre journey, All Eyes On Us strode away along the straight to score a three-metre win over the fast-finishing Barimah, with Stormont Czar third, rating 1:55.6.   Trained by Luke wife’s Belinda, the four-year-old missed the majority of his three-year-old season due to an operation to remove bone fragment in his hind ankle.   “In the long run that could be the best thing to have happened to him,” Luke said. “This win will also be a great tonic for part-owner Emilio Rosati, who has been having some back and foot problems.   “All Eyes On Us’ other part-owner Tony Pace has also been a great supporter of harness racing for many years and I’m sure this horse could have some more good wins in store for him.”   Spearing to the front from gate three, All Eyes On Us was given little rest as Michael Stanley sent Bettor Downunder forward, turning the race into a stern staying test.   Turning for home Bettor Downunder began to feel the pressure of his hard run, enabling All Eyes On Us to kick clear before staving off a late charge from Victorian visitor Barimah, which came from near the tail of the field with a flashing finish.   All Eyes On Us provided the McCarthy stable with consecutive Carousel wins, having scored with Beetson, which was handled by James Rattray, last season.   Michael Court - Courtesy of National Trotguide  

Local harness racing participant Julie Hobday would love nothing more than to win the feature race at Inverell’s Carnival Of Cups meeting on Sunday.  The $10,000 Gallipoli RSL/RSM Carnival Of Cups is the main event and Hobday has her favourite horse Playboysholiday engaged, and despite drawing the second row, she is hoping to play a role in the finish. “Playboysholiday last raced on March 22 when he finished third at Armidale in 1:59.7, but I did take him out on the mid north coast show run and only got home last Sunday, so he is very fit,” Hobday said. “We bought Playboysholiday as a two-year-old from Victoria, he has done a really good job for us. “We sent him down to Cameron Davies for a while, where he won races at Newcastle and hasn’t been too far away at Menangle in the past either.” After a mishap the son of Blissfull Hall had only one start in 12 months. “He had to have the best part of six months in the paddock, but I was really happy with his run at Armidale,” Hobday said. “Although he has drawn gate nine, I think there will be enough speed on in the early stages to bring the horses that settle midfield into the race late. “There is no doubt the Inverell track suits a front runner, but I do think the 2000-metre distance is going to make a bit of a difference because the leaders are going to get tired.” Hobday has another four drives on the program and is hoping one of them, Starry Eyed Amanda, can race well. “She has had a slight issue with her leg, so she didn’t come on the show run with the rest of the horses, but I think she is a really nice filly and is going to win some races,” Hobday said. “Starry Eyed Amanda won a race at Bankstown on New Year’s Day and we bought her the day after. “The wide draw is going to make it tough, but I think she will be competitive.” HRNSW Media

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