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Harness racing participants in New South Wales will be the recipients of a $2.8million injection in prizemoney initiatives commencing from July 1 as announced by HRNSW Chairman Mr Rod Smith today. The raft of initiatives cover the broader industry as the HRNSW Board, working collaboratively with the Club Menangle Directors and respective executive managements on funding aspects, also took into consideration the needs of all stakeholder groups. These prizemoney increases should encourage existing and potential owners to invest in yearlings at the Australian Pacing Gold and Bathurst yearling sales in February and March respectively, particularly yearlings eligible for the 2019 Alabar Breeders Challenge and Bathurst Gold Crown Series. "Breeders can now look to the future and ensure all foals are paid up for the various NSW futurity series, as no doubt buyers will be very interested in eligible yearlings with the half-a-million dollar combined increase for the Breeders Challenge and Gold Crown," said Mr Smith. In partnership with Club Menangle midweek prizemoney will increase to $9,000 per race. "My Board Members are extremely appreciative of the Club Menangle team led by Ray Sharman and Bruce Christison for working with John (Dumesny - HRNSW chief executive) towards a more productive racing calendar for the Sydney area but more so for the Club's on-top contribution to the standard $6,500 per race funding for the Tuesday meetings," said Mr Smith. Whilst there are increases to the Alabar Breeders Challenge and Bathurst Gold Crown series, owners and trainers have not been forgotten especially owners who may not have horses in the top category with the introduction of a new 'Reward Series' with regional and provincial heats and finals ($10,000) as a reward for continuing to be involved in the industry. "The Reward Series will allow owners of Australian bred and NSW trained horses to compete at the lowest entry level for better prizemoney but to also earn $6,000 in Owners and Breeders Bonuses," explained Mr Smith. The funding injection will benefit breeders, owners, trainers and drivers with the further contribution of Clubs which are willing to add value to base prizemoney offered at non-feature race meetings. "Where a Club is to conduct a standard race meeting, eight races at $6,000 per race, HRNSW will offer additional monies to be matched by the Club for a single race on that programme," said Mr Smith. In making the announcement Mr Smith stated HRNSW is confident the injection of funding will continue into the future whilst wagering revenue through Tabcorp, corporate operators and tax parity streams remain consistent. "The HRNSW Board and management will continue to monitor wagering revenue streams and provided future financial commitments which can be adequately accommodated through surplus funds that are returned to the industry stakeholders in various forms be that through administrative assistance, infrastructure improvements or prizemoney," concluded Mr Smith. The $2.8 million funding is provided through: $600,000 Club Menangle funding of M1 races and increased prizemoney for Tuesday meetings to $9,000 per race in partnership with HRNSW. $600,000 Convert all $3,500 (R penalty) race meetings to minimum $5,000 (C penalty) race meetings and increase the allocation of $6,000 (C penalty) race meetings. Note: There will still be some individual "R" races for $3500 as Heats into Finals and as lead up races to support the likes of the Canola Cup. $300,000 Three-Year-Old Fillies and Mares funding for dedicated racing calendar. (Similar to the Two-Year-Old Calendar with guaranteed races if six original nominations are received) $300,000 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge funding increase from 2019 in consultation with the Harness Breeders NSW and the NSW Standardbred Owners Associations. $200,000 Bathurst Golds Crown Carnival funding increase from 2019 in consultation with the Bathurst Harness Racing Club and industry stakeholders. $100,000 Group 2 funding increases for Pink Bonnet, Sapling Stakes, Rod Fitzpatrick, Raith Memorial and the Simpson, Paleface Adios and Hondo Grattan Sprints. $200,000 Regional Rewards Series of Heats and Finals to accommodate four-year-old and upwards C0 horses which are Australian bred and physically trained in NSW by HRNSW licenced trainers. (Heats $3,500 and Finals $10,000) $300,000 Non feature race meetings prizemoney boost in conjunction with Clubs. $200,000 Cups Series in Metropolitan and Country Regions incorporating established and new feature races. For example the Shirley Turnbull Memorial, Renshaw Cup, Treuer Memorial, Newcastle Mile and Riverina Cups (Goulburn, Young, Wagga). AMANDA RANDO

Harness racing: Stacey Weidemann had an evening to remember at Tamworth last night, booting home a hat-trick and raising $1200 for charity in the process. The Clifton-based driver made the 450-kilometre trip with aunts Lola and Julie, and they made the long journey more than worthwhile. Stacey's three wins, coupled with a victory for Lola on Mac Sweet, raised $1600 in total for Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG), taking the family's total to $2400 since the start of February. "It's good when the stable can raise so much money,” she said. "Everyone takes a few things of granted, and it's nice to help and contribute to people who are going through tough times.” After finishing fifth and third in the opening two races, a determined drive on Readily ($5) saw her pick up her first win of the night. The five-year-old gelding was under the pump as the horses made their way down the back, before finally getting past leader Mammals Rockstar in the final 50 metres to claim a narrow victory. "They had gone a bit hard, and I thought I was gone in the back straight, but eading for home the leader showed signs of cracking,” she said. "In those circumstances it was hard to come from behind.” Weidemann didn't have a drive in the fourth race, before overcoming a tricky draw to land the prize in the fifth race with one-eyed standardbred Fours Enough Tas ($12.60). Having his 137th start, a textbook piece of driving saw the seven-year-old settle in the one-one, before nabbing favourite Midnight Prowler right on the post. "I thought I had got there, but I'm generally bad at picking photos,” she said. She didn't have to stress as much in the following race, after Condafew ($3.10 fav) made the most of drawing the pegs, showing gate speed to take up the running. The gelding was never in doubt after picking up a cheap lead, holding off rivals in the straight to cap off the memorable night. "He's a little horse we purchased cheap, and he wasn't hyped to be too good, but he has done a good job for us,” she said. "He led over 2300 last start and the distance cracked him, so we were hoping for an easy lead.” By Sean Teuma   Reprinted with permission of the Warwick Daily News

Six local harness racing identities were honoured and lovingly recalled when the Memorial Night fixture took place at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway last Wednesday. The meeting has become firmly established in recent years as one of the summer highlights, particularly for families and friends of those honoured, who gather in numbers to pay respect and relive some family harness history. This year’s races honoured trainer-drivers Keith Colley and B. J. (Jim) Turnbull, owners John Clayton and Don & Alfreda Callan, and administrators Harold Lonard and Kevin Dougherty. The  “old” track on the Bathurst Showgrounds is the common backdrop for the race book biographies which told some of their histories. All of them would doubtless be impressed with the new complex “up on the hill” at Mount Panorama. Keith Colley’s horses carried the “Swift” prefix, so it was fitting that the winner of the C2 race named for him, Master Benny (Jason Turnbull for Wayne White) , should set the standard for the night, with a 1:55.5 mile rate for the sprint trip. With the first half run in a gut-busting 56.7s , Master Benny hopped onto the three-wide train down the back the final time and got the better of Rockn And Rolln close to home for a good win, impressing his trainer with his ability to back up well within a few days. Warren Lonard, whose father Harold served as the Bathurst Trotting Club secretary for a remarkable 35 years until the mid-‘eighties, was elated when his lone horse Our Wall Street Wolf NZ (Anthony Frisby, for trainer Chris) took out his dad’s race, in a tough staying performance. Second-up from a six-month break, the McArdle son sat parked for the last mile of the 2260 metres C3 event, and showed Harold Leonard-type tenacity to get up for a good win, the best of his seven to date, and certainly the most emotion-charged. John Clayton, whose namesake Little Digger chased home Our Wall Street Wolf in the second, would have approved of the winning drive behind Presidential Dude ( Justin Reynolds, for father David ) in “his” race, the 2260 metres C0/C1 third. Reynolds rated the Presidential Ball four-year-old perfectly, quickening down the back in 28.4s to keep his rivals off the bit, and maintaining his advantage in a 28.7s final quarter for a 1:59.4 mile rate. It was win number 11 for the ever-improving Oberon teenager. Mitch Turnbull maintained his lead in the Junior Drivers Premiership when he brought his father’s runner Star Writer with a strong sprint to take out  the 2260 metres fast-class Don & Alfreda Callan  Memorial, after a nice trip mid-field in the running line. The speed was on throughout, with a first half in 59s and final quarters of 27.9s and 28.6s producing an impressive mile rate of 1:55.9s for the longer trip. A fast-finishing second in the race was Mister Haywood, raced by Harriett Bourke, daughter of the Callans and the lady who makes dress rugs for Bathurst and many other race clubs. The blue-and-white one she lovingly made for this race almost got to go back home with her, but it will match the colour scheme of winning owner John Starr. Graham Betts drove Browns Creek Boy confidently to score an easy win in the B.J.Turnbull C0 class sprint, taking up the running at the 1200 metres point and sprinting home in 58.3s for a 1:58.2 mile rate. It earned him Drive of the Night honours from Fred Hastings. A large group of family and friends listened as Terry Turnbull spoke of pride in that Turnbull name, and the family spirit that makes the Turnbulls the keenest of rivals on the track and good friends and supporters away from it. Kevin Doherty, a long-time President and a Life Member of the Bathurst HRC, was an unassuming type who wanted no fuss, a quality shared by Kerryann Turner, trainer-driver of Major Lucky NZ which led throughout for the night’s easiest win in the 3C0/3C1 Doherty Memorial. Blistering last quarters of 27.7s and 28.2s meant the race was over a long way from the line, but it was noteworthy that Gold Crown champion Castalong Shadow, which has struggled somewhat in his races this time in, seemed to find another gear to be getting home strongly, albeit a long way from the runaway winner, who is rated highly by his trainer. It should be pointed out that , with only enough horses for six races at the meeting, the Memorial races for John & Margaret Donnelly, and Norm & Garth Harkham, will be staged at the next Bathurst meeting on February 7. Terry Neil

Game of Thrones fans eagerly awaiting season eight can get an early taste of the Seven Kingdoms at Towac Park on Sunday afternoon. The Orange Harness Racing Club is hosting its first meeting of 2018 on turf, with the heats for the 2018 Carnival of Cups beginning at 1.27pm with the Visit Orange City Pace. It’s an eight race program that promises plenty. Aside from the obvious difference of racing on turf and in a clockwise direction, rather than the traditional anti-clockwise fashion most harness racing tracks in NSW are run, some of the industry’s elite drivers like Amanda Turnbull, Bernie Hewitt, Nathan Hurst and Mat Rue are on deck for Sunday’s heats. Given there’s just two harness racing meets in Orange a year – the second in 2018 is on February 4 – that’s not a bad level of pacing. But a lot of attention – well, all of the attention of those wondering what the Night King and his zombie dragon’s next move is, if Aegon Targaryen will claim the Iron Throne, or whether Tormund is even still alive, take a breath - will be on race seven, the Orange Vet Hospital Heat 2. Peak Hill veteran trainer-driver John Beeby will guide a five-year-old called Tyrion around the 1609 metre class one pace. By Beeby’s own admission, Tyrion, named after hugely popular GoT charactor Tyrion Lannister, and the rest of his chances headed to Towac Park on Sunday are in terrible form. But if Game of Thrones has taught the greater public anything, it’s you can never discount a Lannister. That, and they always pay their debts. “Apparently the name’s out of that show, Game of Thrones … I didn’t name him, he was called Tyrion before I bought him,” Beeby said from his Peak Hill base next to the town’s trotting track. “A lot of my horses are completely out form. But we’re on turf, and that’s different, and running right-to-left in some cases is easier. Most pacers can handle that. “All I can do is go out there and wish for the best.” Harness racing action will start at 1/27pm on Sunday. The final race starts at 5.34pm at Towac Park.  Nick McGrath Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

Maitland trainer Mitch Chapple is about to tackle his first Tamworth Harness Racing Club January carnival and is in the thick of it straight up. On Wednesday night, Chapple has Burning Ambition engaged in the $10,000 Pub Group Gold Nugget where the winner takes home a gold nugget as the trophy. At the tender age of 20, Chapple only gained his trainer’s licence back in early December and has trained three winners since then – two with Burning Ambition and one with Derringer. “It is the biggest race that I have nominated in but I’m looking at it as just another race at this stage,” Chapple said. “It would be a quick trip back home if we won it though.” Burning Ambition has seen the Tamworth Paceway on numerous occasions and that adds another shade of confidence for the stables. “She [Burning Ambition] is in the right class and is going pretty well so thought we would have a crack at it,” said Chapple of the Gold Nugget. “She has had a second and a couple of wins at Tamworth – she likes Tamworth.” Chapple has engaged fellow Maitland harness identity Brad Elder to take the drive. “Brad is taking the drive – he is driving good at the moment and drove a Group 3 winner last week so he is in fine form,” he said. “He loves Tamworth at the moment – I don’t think there is a meeting lately he hasn’t driven a winner at.” The Pub Group Gold Nugget had 31 nominations for the prestigious race with HRNSW handicappers selecting 10 runners. “It is a fairly competitive race but we have raced against them before so she will be right into it,” Chapple said. Burning Ambition has drawn barrier four. “Hopefully we can slide across from that draw and look for a forward position,” Chapple said. The Chapple name has featured before on the Gold Nugget Honour Board with Chapple’s father Guy having success over the years. “Dad has won a Gold Nugget with Remember Rusty [in 2007] as well as a Tamworth Cup and a Golden Guitar Final,” Chapple said. “We will contest the nugget and hopefully the Garrard’s Tamworth City Cup the following week with Burning Ambition. “I am aiming Derringer and The Puritan for the Golden Guitar heats on the Sunday.” In the Gold Nugget, Chapple said anyone could win the race but named Shadow Runner and Captain Rockey as the main dangers.  Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Queensland trainer and reinsman Jamie Donovan has been attending the Tamworth Harness Racing Club January race carnival for 14 years. This year he is on a mission – a winning mission - in the hope of returning home with a feature race trophy. “It would be nice to take home a trophy. I have only missed three years since 2004 so it would be good to get a feature.” Donovan, who is based at Taigum, has been settled in Tamworth for the past three weeks, letting his horses become accustomed to the racing here as well as the climate. “I am staying out with Michael and Paul Grima at their property. It’s great. They can’t do enough for you. They are a great family,” he said. Donovan enjoyed success with Bella Rippin last Sunday night at Tamworth when the five-year-old mare took the Bearing Accessories Tamworth Pace by 1.6 metres over race favourite Jax Tellar (Courtney Sutherland). Readily (Stacey Weidemann) was another two metres away in third. “We will aim her for the Nugget next Wednesday night [in Tamworth],” said Donovan. “And if she comes through that, we will then aim her for the Cup race.” The Garrard’s Tamworth City Cup will be raced on Thursday, January 25 with $12,000 prizemoney on offer. “They are both good races within themselves,” said Donovan. “That was her [Bella Rippin] first win at Tamworth. She did it pretty easy.”  Bella Rippin had the run of the race on the back of the race leader, Irish Town Babe (Julie Weidemann). “It was just a case of getting out but she came home easy – she had her ears pricked and off the bit going to the line,” said Donovan. Prior to the 2016 carnival, Bella Ripp won three races on the trot at Albion Park. The mare now has the benefit of Sunday’s win behind her before contesting the $10,000 Pub Group Gold Nugget, which has a gold nugget trophy, on Wednesday night. “She came down here two years ago to contest the Starmaker and then had a shot at the Golden Guitar last year and had no luck,” said Donovan. “But she did run a good second in another race on finals night.”  Stablemate Seven Rippin Aces – who collected the cash for Donovan at the December 27 Tamworth meeting – will contest the heats of the TAB Starmaker Three Year Old on Sunday, January 21, after finishing fourth to All About Alice (Brad Elder) last Sunday at Tamworth. “He got a win first up here at Tamworth,” said Donovan.  “He is going as good as gold. I was happy with his run and how he pulled up [on Sunday]. He copped interference and then locked wheels with another runner in the race. “He came through that alright so we will look at the Starmaker for him now. It’s not bad money for a three-year-old race and it’s a good stepping stone for the horse if he wins. I made the final one year with another horse.” The $15,000 TAB Starmaker Final will be conducted on January 25. Fields for Wednesday night will be released at 4.30pm on Friday.  Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

For the fifth time in her career, The Lagoon’s Amanda Turnbull has notched up five winning drives in a meeting when dominating the Parkes Harness Racing Club’s Wednesday night program. Though she did not win the feature Elvis Championship Final as she had done 12 months earlier – the honours this year going to Monique Parsons (Its A Shakedown, $19.60) – the evening still belonged to Turnbull. She took out the first four races of the meeting, steering members of her own team Moon Ovr Manhattan ($1.40 favourite), What A Curtainraiser ($1.60 favourite) and Crafty Cullen ($1.20 favourite) to victory as well as Conviction ($1.20 favourite), who is trained by her father Steve Turnbull. Amanda Turnbull then made it five wins in a single meeting at Parkes for the third time in her career when guiding the Darryl Fliedner, Cowra trained Molly Dolly Diva ($13.70) to an upset victory. “It’s a pretty good feeling to do that,” Turnbull said. “I knew I was in for a pretty good night because I had a couple of good ones in with a couple of good draws, but I never thought I’d get that many. “It was good to get on a bit of a roll too.” While Turnbull, who sits on top of the Harness Racing NSW drivers’ premiership, was unable to nominate one run as more impressive that the others on Wednesday, she is excited to see what is to come from Conviction. His win came in a Club Menangle Country Series Heat (1,660 metres), which qualifies him for the final at Menangle. “The ones I trained I was really pleased to win with, it rewards that hard work you put in, Conviction was a good one too, he’s a good horse, it’s good to see him back and doing well,” she said. “He was a bit wayward, he didn’t love it, but he ran a good time and got up. “He’ll race in the final at Menangle and if he goes good in that, we’ll probably look at some of the four-year-old feature races with him.” A four-year-old by For A Reason out of Safely Grattan, Conviction was second up at Parkes on Wednesday after saluting at Bathurst’s Carnival of Cups meeting on December 26 in a 1:53.3 mile rate. As Turnbull indicated, Conviction did not do it all easy on the smaller Parkes track after going from barrier two. Still, he showed good gate speed before settling one out and one back. Turnbull began her move after a 28.3 seconds third sectional, moving up to eye-ball stablemate Belligerence ($13.20) through the bend. Conviction took the lead down the straight and while Belligerence kicked again, the favourite held on to win by a head in a 1:56.8 mile rate. Hez All Courage ($8.40) placed third. As for Turnbull’s own team, she has not targeted any specific races. She just hopes to build on the 58 winners she had for the season as of the end of the Parkes meeting. “It’s going pretty good so far this season,” Turnbull said.  “Mrs Browns Boy is nearly back ready to race. I’m not really targeting anything, I’ll just see who it goes.” Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Goulburn Harness Racing Club hosts the 2018 Tom & Angela Hewitt Memorial race day next Sunday afternoon.  Honouring two great stalwarts of the harness racing industry, the afternoon of racing also doubles as an important fundraiser for the Crookwell Community Trust. First held in 2010, the $12,740 Hewitt Memorial has been won by a host of classy performers, and in more recent years that list has the included Just Cala, the 3YO Breeders Crown champion filly who won the Hewitt Memorial in 2015.   Trained and driven by Dennis Picker, the grandson of Tom and Angela Hewitt steered the 4YO Art Major mare to an easy win over a good quality field.  Just Cala raced on for another 7 starts recording a couple of wins in Melton Victoria before retiring to the breeding barn.  The Group 1 winning mare is now the dam of a yearling filly by super sire Bettors Delight. In 2016 the Hewitt Memorial winner was the aptly named Spare Me Days, owned, trained and driven by Brad Hewitt, another of Tom and Angela’s grandsons.  Named after one of Tom’s favourite expressions, Spare Me Days established a race record of 1:57.2 for the 2240 metre distance.  A star in young Brad’s stable, the now 7YO horse has developed into a quality fast class performer with race track earnings fast approaching $350,000. Last season’s winner Sams The Master trekked across the divide from Bathurst providing Nathan Turnbull and his owner, the present HRNSW Board Chairperson Rod Smith with their first Hewitt Memorial winner.  The now 5YO Tell All gelding went on to contest the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle before venturing south where this season he has raced successfully in Victoria and looks certain to increase his lifetime earnings well past the $150,000 achieved to date. Supporting the Hewitt Memorial will be the $12,740 Walla Walla Stakes for the C4 and better grade pacers.  With the immortal pacer buried adjacent to the Goulburn Paceway’s home straight, the Walla Walla Stakes is being held for the fourth year and provides trainers with the ideal lead up race to the Group 3 $31,800 Goulburn Soldiers Club Frank & Edna Day Goulburn Cup to be run during Goulburn’s Carnival of Cups race day on the 28th January. Sunday’s meeting is the first of four being conducted by the Canberra and Goulburn harness racing clubs as part of their combined summer carnival of racing.  With over $300,000 in prize money on offer, the two Southern Tablelands clubs are trying to give back to the participants that so often support them. “It’s a carnival we’re hoping we can grow over the next few years; there’s great prize money to be won, and between the two clubs we are covering all grades of horses” Goulburn Club President Dennis Day said. Following Sunday’s Hewitt Memorial meeting, the racing action moves to Canberra on Monday, January 22 for the $15,300 Canberra Derby and $15,300 Canberra Oaks.  Next will be Goulburn’s Carnival of Cups race day on Sunday, January 28.   This meeting will feature the Group 3 Goulburn Cup, the meeting also includes the $19,080 Goulburn Rose pace, with all other races valued at $10,000. The summer carnival wraps up on Sunday, February 4, when the Canberra club hosts its main meeting of the year featuring the $25,500 Canberra Cup for C3/6 horses.  Support races include the $10,200 Len Cornock Memorial for the 2-year-old pacers, and the $10,200 Ackie Hawke Memorial.  WINNING: Spare Me Days winning the Hewitt Memorial in 2016 in race record time. Photo: Greig Lord   In keeping with the Crookwell theme, Sunday’s race meeting provides an opportunity for the Crookwell Community Trust charity to raise funds for their very worthy causes.  The Trust distributes aid to people of the Upper Lachlan Shire who have experienced extreme difficulties due to personal trauma and or natural disaster.  The shire includes Gunning, Crookwell, Taralga, Binda, Bigga & Tuena, and each year tens of thousands of dollars are provided to those who have suffered. With free entry into Sunday’s meeting, Community Trust Members will conduct a major raffle with multiple prizes including weekend accommodation on the South Coast, Gates to the course will be open from about noon and the club encourages all to come out for a great afternoon of competitive and interesting racing, and to experience the wonderful facilities of the Grace Millson Function Centre.  Enjoy quality food and a wide range of cold alcoholic and soft drinks whilst watching all the racing action in air conditioned comfort. Goulburn harness racing is brought to fans by the kind support of Tabcorp, Goulburn Soldiers Club, Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Divalls Earthmoving & Bulk Haulage, Goulburn Mazda, ARW Multigroup, Hollingworth Crane Hire, RSM Accountants, and a host of smaller businesses including Top Water Carters Crookwell, First National Real Estate Goulburn, Goulburn Livestock Transport, Goulburn Landmark, J A Communications, Crust Pizza, Glen Mia ACT Saddlery and Ranvet. Friday’s Goulburn Post will contain all races, form analysis and tips. For all the latest Goulburn harness racing news visit the club’s website at and don’t forget to like us on Facebook  By Mark Groatto Reprinted with permission of The Goulburn Post  

Harness racing trainer Lola Weidemann won’t be short on company on the early Sunday morning drive from Queensland’s Darling Downs to Tamworth. The Clifton trainer will have at least 16 runners engaged in Sunday’s Tamworth Harness Club twilight meeting. Not that those type of numbers are anything new for Weidemann. The last meeting they (Weidemen and sister Julie) had around 15. It will be a bit of a juggling act with Weidemann having at least one runner in all nine races. In five she has two, and in one – Race 7 – three, potentially four with Irishtown Babe an emergency. Niece Stacey also has a couple of runners of her own, and will around those help out Lola with the driving duties. One of their best chances could be in the opening race of the program. “Condafew has been going well,” Lola said. “He’s won one there (December 22) and ran second the other day.” “He probably looks like he’s a chance in his race.” Drawing the back line though he will need luck. “But if he gets luck he’ll be there abouts,” she said. The others “should go alright” but are “no stars”. ”They’re just average horses,” she said. “They’ve got to have a lot of luck.” “We haven’t at present got a superstar.” Most of them raced at the last meeting. “We’ve got one or two new ones amongst them. They’re all finding their straps,” she said. Racing gets underway at 6.07pm. Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Harness racing driver Amy Rees may not have driven a lot of winners since making the move from Queensland to Bathurst 12 months ago, but she started 2018 on a good note. Rees took out the first race of the new year staged by the Bathurst Harness Racing Club on Wednesday, guiding Grand Zara to victory in a three-year-old (1,730 metres) pace. In the gig for Bathurst trainer John O’Shea, Rees had the $16.90 chance one out and one back before storming to the lead down the home straight. The Artistic Fella x Kalypso filly went on to notch up the first win of her seven-start career. “She went really well,” Rees, who is studying journalism at CSU, said. “She has a bit of ability, so we’d hoped she’d show it tonight and she did. She had a good trip and she came home over the top.” Though Rees estimates her tally since driving at Bathurst to be “seven or eight wins”, her drive aboard Grand Zara was faultless. There were nervous moments early for Graham Betts (Dinosaurus Rex) and Bernie Hewitt (Scarlet Babe) after their runners locked wheels in the opening metres. While that pair withdrew, Grand Zara was outside leader Write About Her on the bell and though she was then shuffled back into the one-one, it did not trouble Rees. She found space after turning three wide for home, Grand Zara hitting the front soon after balancing. She won by 3¾m over Doctor Somes ($52.70, Mitch Turnbull) in a 1:59.0 mile rate, with stablemate Zaras Dance ($40.30, O’Shea) third. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate  

Fundraising for the Women's Cancer Foundation began early at Leeton's TAB Carnival of Cups harness racing meeting on Monday. With fundraising for the 'Team Teal' campaign to start Australia-wide on February 1, the crowd at Leeton were certainly feeling festive raising $500 towards ovarian cancer research. This was then matched by the Leeton Harness Racing Club, taking the amount raised to $1000. However, this was equalled by Kriden Park, the sponsor of the Lady Drivers Invitational at the meeting, and then matched again by Harness Racing New South Wales, thus raising $4000 in total for the WCF. This is a great start to the Team Teal campaign which starts on February 1 to March 11, where female harness drivers across Australia and New Zealand will wear teal coloured driving pants to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Harness Racing NSW will donate $200 to the WCF for every official winner driven by a reinswoman in NSW during the 2018 campaign. Harness Racing NSW will finalise the list of 2018 Ambassadors across the state and seek the support of clubs and participants in this charitable effort. For those wishing to donate to the cause, head to All the ladies that took part in the Kriden Park Lady Drivers Invitation at Leeton on Monday gathered around HRNSW Chairman Rod Smith. From left to right: Amy Day, Madi Young, Martelle Maguire, Ellen Rixon, Jessica Prior, Rod Smith, Brooke McPherson, Laura Crossland who won the race with Lets Katchmeifucan, Fiona Schmetzer, Katie McGill and Lisa Bartley.          Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government.       For further information please contact:   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: T: @Amanda_Rando   W: | T: | F:          

The career of reigning Newcastle harness racing horse of the year Takara Truffle is on hold after the four-year-old mare broke a bone in her leg. Singleton trainer Aaron Goadsby said Takara Truffle was hurt when she kicked a jogger frame in training. However, she continued to work with no signs of injury until swelling two weeks later prompted Goadsby to send her for scans. The American Ideal mare, a winner of 12 races in 24 starts and $91,000 in stakes, was found to have a full fracture of the splint bone in her off-hind leg. She did not require surgery and Goadsby said the veterinarian was confident of a full recovery “but scans in six weeks will make it a lot clearer”. “She was ready to go and was in the noms this week and now with the broken bone, we’ll X-ray it again in six weeks and see where we’re at from there,” Goadsby said. “It might be another six weeks and X-ray it again and see where we’re at, but basically all the races are off.” Goadsby had planned to bring the two-time group 3 winner back to racing at Maitland on Inter City Pace Final night last Saturday ahead campaigns in Tamworth and Menangle. Takara Truffle won the group 3 Go Girlfriend Series Final and Baby Bling Stakes in July-August at Menangle, prompting thoughts of a shot at the group 1 Ladyship Mile at the same track on February 24. Her last start was the Baby Bling Stakes on August 19 when she ran 1.52.8. Goadsby was hopeful of having her back at the races again but said she would be out for at least six months. “It will take her that to work back up again,” he said. Another exciting Goadsby-trained four-year-old mare, Last Party, is also recovering from injury. A winner of three races in four starts, Last Party suffered a quarter crack in her hoof in September and was sidelined for three months. Goadsby said she would not be ready to race until March when he was also hoping to debut two-year-old Pamplona Princess, which he was bringing over from New Zealand. At Menangle on Tuesday, the Maitland team of Paul and Dan Morgan will race Blackjack Shannon, Dreaming Big and Never Know Ozzie.  Dan Morgan drove a winning double with Captain Rockey and Pay On The Pacer on Saturday night.  By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

Brad Hewitt and Our Triple Play have joined the $30,600 Inter City Pace’s illustrious honour-roll with a harness racing victory on the post in a thrilling final at Maitland on Saturday night. Hewitt needed another track record-breaking effort by his four-year-old gelding to beat his uncle Bernie Hewitt and Royal Story on the line. A photo finish was needed to separate the two runners with Mark Jones’ Delightful Memphis third. Both Hewitt’s praised Our Triple Play’s incredible guts and staying power to get the win after being caught one-out for the majority of the race. As predicted the pace was on from the start and the three favourites emerged to take advantage. James Rando’s The Times A Changing and Quick Income finished fourth and fifth respectively. Ellalong trainer Michael Formosa’s Mondooley Heaven was seventh, while Cessnock trainer Clayton Harmey’s two starters Apollo Thirteen and Jimmy The Editor took out eighth and 10 places respectively.  Michael Hartshorn Reprinted with permission of The Maitland Mercury    

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Albury Harness Racing Club. The annual New Year’s Eve race meeting is set to be bigger and better than ever, with plenty to keep the entire family entertained. “We’ve got lots of new rides, face painting for the kids, as well as the music,” club president Sue van de Ven said. “There’s also fancy dress fashions on the field for the little kids, so when you consider there’s only 25 minutes between each race, there’s not a lot of time to do all that. “We’re looking to improve the event all the time. “It’s difficult to come up with new ideas and so on, but we have plenty of new, young blood on the committee which is great to see. “We have our Carnival of Cups in February, but I think this is the biggest evening for the community more than anything else.” The first of eight races commences at 7.10pm, with the last to start at 10.52pm. Live music will continue right up until midnight, before a fireworks display to see in the New Year. Beau Greenway Reprinted with permission of The Border Mail    

Seven Rippin Aces continued on from his Albion Park winning form at the Tamworth Harness Racing Club Paceway last Wednesday night. The $1.60 favourite lived up to the tag for Breakfast Creek resident Jamie Donovan who did it all as the owner, trainer and driver of Seven Rippin Aces. With the Tamworth HRC January racing carnival just around the corner, Donovan has arrived in time to settle his team in. “I have brought everything down with me and I am here to stay for five weeks so we will see how we go,” Donovan said. As if the win wasn’t enough, Donovan got a nice little bonus for his efforts on his gelding. “The main reason I came a couple of weeks earlier is he (Seven Rippin Aces) is NSW bred so I was looking for a win to get the breeders bonus. He got that tonight,” Donovan said. Donovan has already set the next benchmark for Seven Rippin Aces. “We will aim for the Starmaker now and there should be improvement off that win tonight,” he said. Seven Rippin Aces is eligible to contest the heats of the Starmaker Series for three-year-old pacers at Tamworth on January 21. From the heats, pacers will move through to the $15,000 final which will be contested on January 25. In the Wednesday night race, Seven Rippin Aces led the field early from the two barrier. However, he had to contend with race pressure from last start winner Condafew (Lola Weidemann) for two laps. “I was confident when we had the lead and he led easy,” Donovan said of Seven Rippin Aces. “He had a good grab on the bit when Lola came up outside me but he (Seven Rippin Aces) kicked in the back straight. “But he does have a tendency to switch off in his races which made it hard down the home straight.” Seven Rippin Aces went on to claim a 3.7-metre win over Condafew in second with Nice One Jon (Dean Chapple) another 2.9 metres away third. Seven Rippin Aces ran a 28.5 sectional in the second quarter of the race. It was a time Donovan was more than happy with. “To run a 28.5 sectional here at Tamworth is pretty fast,” he said. Donovan then had more cause for celebration after the win. “That was my first winning drive since Tamworth in 2014,” Donovan grinned. “Its Wellsaid was my last winner and I have probably only had about 20 drives since then.” As an accountant, Donovan is more compelled to handle the training and place a driver behind his team. “Because I work full time I just train and get others to handle the driving,” he said. The main reason I came a couple of weeks earlier is he (Seven Rippin Aces) is NSW bred so I was looking for a win to get the breeders bonus. He got that tonight Jamie Donovan By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Harness racing driver Tony Missen is back. After enduring some horrific injuries in a race fall in Tamworth 12 months ago, Missen continued on the training side of operations for his stables but the adrenalin rush has drawn him back to the paceway competition side of things. For Me was the pacer Missen made his return with and finished seventh in the Pub Group Gold Nugget January 17 Pace. Merry Jasper came into the opening event at Tamworth as a first emergency and gained a run on race morning with the scratching of Gargzdai Girl from the Richard Williams stables. With Williams having a runner out of the race, Quirindi trainer Brendan Hunt then engaged Williams to take the drive behind Merry Jasper that proved to be the winning combination. “It makes it all worthwhile as my horse was scratched from the race so it was a win-win situation,” Williams said after the race. With Conversion (Stacey Weidemann) leading the field Merry Jasper was tucked in on the leader’s back.  “I was hoping a split would come and when it came it was good,” Williams said. Merry Jasper pounced as Conversion drifted out on the final turn with Merry Jasper taking an inside run. “It was a close finish and he hit the line well but that is his go,” Williams said. “When he can get those sorts of runs, it’s good, as he finishes off strong.” Williams also had another reason for celebration. He announced his engagement to partner and stable forelady Ashlea McKinnon on Christmas Day. Tom Ison was a bit surprised with the win of Starzzzforlouise in the FM88.9 Tamworth Ladyship Pace – even though the six-year-old mare commenced as race favourite. “It was a really good run and she is improving every time,” Ison said of Starzzzforlouise who is trained by his father Andy. After gaining the one by one, Ison pulled Starzzzforlouise three wide as the bell sounded for the final lap. The move saw Ison place a gap on the field in the back straight. “She goes alright. She has a tough sprint on her,” Ison said. “She goes quick but can hold it for a long way and she does it easy.” Starzzzforlouise scored a big eight-metre win over Clancy Pants (Peter Hedges) while Miss Catalina (Stacey Weidemann) was another five metres away in third position. “That’s two wins from from about six starts,” Ison said.  “I thought we would run a hole at best but when she got cover I thought she was a real show.” Stoneridge Royal was another winner at Tamworth who gained entry as a first emergency.  Trained and driven by Dean Chapple, Stoneridge Royal was the first leg of a training double for Chapple with Right On With It also having a win. Right On With It was handled by Lola Weidemann. Harness racing will now head to the Maitland track tomorrow night for the 55th running of the Maitland Inter City Pace. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

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