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Last year’s Bathurst Gold Crown winner Shadow Runner should have been back at the races by now.  Harness racing trainer Sam Dimarco’s plans to trial the gelding in preparation for this Saturday night’s Simpson Memorial were thwarted on more than one occasion due to wet weather and therefore a decision was made to miss the three-year-old feature. Owner Marissa Dimarco confirmed Shadow Runner and stablemate Gotta Go Gold have been nominated for Saturday night at Newcastle but the heavy rain may cause another change in plans. “My property itself is fine as it is pretty high but we are flooded in, there’s water around us but we are pretty safe,” Marissa said. “Sadly Shadow Runner has missed another trial and can’t be worked today (Wednesday) because of the weather but Dad (Sam Dimarco) will make the final decision on whether both of the horses will start.” With heavy rain continuing to fall in the region, Marissa is concerned for other trainers as water levels continue to rise. “I know of a few people having problems around Raymond Terrace and I see Maitland is in trouble again after going through the flood last year, my thoughts are with those people at the moment.” While Gotta Go Gold made a successful racetrack return last month prior to Christmas, Shadow Runner is slightly behind schedule after putting on a lot of condition during his spell according to his trainer. “Shadow Runner was spoiled too much during his time off so it has taken me a little bit longer than I would have liked to have him fit,” Sam Dimarco said. “The plan initially was to have him back racing by now but he has now missed three trials because of the bad weather, there are plenty of options, they are both eligible for Bathurst again and the Breeders Challenge so everything should work out in the long run.” Shadow Runner won $88,225 in eight starts as a two year old and recorded a 1:53.6 mile when winning his semi final of the NSW Breeders Challenge in June. Greg Hayes

Hunter Valley harness racing reinswoman Polly Downing will not drive in races for at least six weeks after sustaining a serious back injury in a race fall at Newcastle on Saturday night. Downing suffered a compression fracture to vertebrae in her back as a result of the fall, an injury commonly associated with trauma suffered in motor vehicle accidents. Downing also suffered bruising to her body and was taken to John Hunter Hospital where she remained overnight for observation. The 27-year-old returned home on Sunday and despite being in pain is happy to be home. "I remember everything that happened in the fall, the horse in front of me galloped and I got to the outside of that horse but there wasn't enough room and I got flipped out," Downing said. "I think I might have got hit by a wheel on the way through but that wasn't what caused the problem with my back, it was definitely the fall." Doctors have told Downing she should be feeling a little better by the end of the week but the fracture could take up to eight weeks to heal. "I thought I'd ruined Christmas but the doctor told me that I won't be as sore by the end of the week, it will take between six and eight weeks before the fracture is fully repaired though." Downing was driving the lightly raced mare At Em Ashley when the accident took place. "The good news is that she wasn't hurt during the fall, she is in the fields on Wednesday night and will take her spot at this stage with Paul Bourke doing the driving. "Paul did a great job on Saturday night because he was driving in the race but he still managed to catch At Em Ashley after I got tipped out." The event was re-run and was won by the Colin Edwards trained Second Hand News. Greg Hayes

It was a big night for multiple wins at Newcastle on Saturday night and while local horseman Mark Callaghan won three races, the harness racing meeting was dominated by Ebenezer trainer Colin Edwards as he prepared four winners - the first time he has achieved the feat in his career. All of the winners trained by Edwards were driven by Sydney reinsman Michael Towers and owned or part owned by Ray Cahill. "It was a big night for the stable and it was very special for all of us, I have trained a treble before but that was many years ago when they still raced at Richmond," Edwards said. "A lot of the credit must go to Michael (Towers) he drove them really well and while you can go to the races thinking you have a good chance in a few races it all comes down to the performance of your driver." The final winner on the night for Edwards was six-year-old first starter Behindthebushbarry and the effort on debut was satisfying for the trainer. "We went to the sales and Ray (Cahill) purchased a Courage Under Fire youngster and the next year we noticed the mare had another yearling for sale but this time by Holmes Hanover. "I told Ray he better go buy the Holmes Hanover because we wouldn't want to see it win ten and the Courage Under Fire colt not win a race, so he did." The son of Courage Under Fire was named Aimfire, he had three starts and failed to run a place while Behindthebushbarry spent a long time in the paddock. "There was nothing wrong with him, we just left him in the paddock and I was very happy to see him win at his first start." Reinsman Michael Towers has driven three winners at a meeting on two previous occasions but arrived at Newcastle on Saturday and thought he was in for a good night. "I've just come back from a holiday in Perth and Saturday night paid for the trip it was great," Towers said. "I thought they all had good chances, Courtsinsession really impressed me though, he is a giant of a horse and when he learns what racing is all about I think he might be a really nice horse." Courtsinsession is a son of Art Major and was having his first start in a race. "For a big horse he moves quite quickly, he still has a bit of maturing to do but Col does a great job with his horses and he deserves a night like Saturday." Towers enjoyed having owner Ray Cahill in attendance which added to the enjoyment for the group. "Ray was really happy, he was there and I don't think he had ever had more than a double in one night so you can understand why he was pretty excited." "Col is thinking about taking Rodanthe Nights to the heats of the Inter City Pace and the rest of them might wait until Menangle starts racing again." Greg Hayes

After 132 days on the sidelines due to a serious hand injury sustained in a race fall, harness racing driver Lauren Panella returned in winning form at Newcastle on Friday afternoon. The 22-year-old recorded two victories in her first two drives back with Arms Of An Angel and Salty Robyn winning impressively. Both horses are trained by her fiance Shane Tritton but the first winner, Arms Of An Angel, gave Panella a few heart flutters after it galloped with a lap to go. The former kiwi trained mare settled down quickly, with Panella steering the four-year-old back into the lead before going onto record an effortless win. Salty Robyn's win was nowhere near as dramatic with the NZ Jewels finalist leading throughout to record an easy victory. Panella had seven drives on her first day back at Newcastle and will head to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night for another six. Last season's NSW Drivers Premiership winner is hoping Mach Beauty can add to her winner's tally as she is 25 wins behind this season's leaders Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris. It was announced earlier this week Panella will be one of two NSW representatives at the Australian Drivers Championship in Tasmania next month. Greg Hayes

Hunter Valley Mini Trotting administrator Daryll Jackson won the inaugural Industry Volunteer Appreciation award on Saturday night at the Harness Racing New South Wales Industry Awards in Sydney. Mr Jackson has been the Secretary of the Newcastle/Maitland Mini Trots for 33 years and on the NSW Mini Trots committee for the equivalent period of time. Mr Jackson organises the Mini Trotting State Championships at Gunning annually, with ponies and drivers coming from across New South Wales to compete in one of the 100 races run over the weekend. While Mr Jackson acknowledged he had been involved in the sport for a long time he was surprised when he was named the winner. "It was sensational to win but it was a big surprise and it came from nowhere," Mr Jackson said. "It has been a long stint but I've enjoyed every minute of it and I hope to continue in Mini Trotting for many years to come." Mr Jackson spends hours every week organising Mini Trotting events for his local Newcastle/Maitland Club and still works tirelessly for the state body. "I'm happy to do it, I got involved initially because my sons were involved in the sport and they have since moved on but I just get a big thrill out of watching all of the kids compete and become more confident around horses. "Daniel Morgan received the Junior Encouragement Award for the Country and I have seen him come through the ranks as a young driver so to see them develop like that is what keeps me going." While Mr Jackson was presented with a trophy on the night, he also received flights and an accommodation package to the Perth Inter Dominion later in the year. "Wendy (Strickleton) is a great support for me and if I didn't have her support I don't think I could get everything done, we will definitely enjoy the time in Perth." Greg Hayes

On Wednesday 2 September 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry into an investigation that commenced on Monday 17 August 2015, following the scratching of Heavenly Shades from the Newcastle Harness meeting on that date after a needle mark was observed on the neck of that horse during a stable inspection. Licensed Trainer, Mr Bruce Birch appeared at the Inquiry and provided evidence. Evidence of HRNSW Investigator/Steward Mr Chris Paul was also presented to the Inquiry. Mr. Birch pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 196B (1), (2) & (3) in that he administered an injection to the registered standardbred HEAVENLY SHADES on Sunday 16 August 2015, within one clear day of the commencement of a race for which that horse was nominated. Mr Birch was disqualified for a period of 5 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: * Seriousness of the offence * Mr Birch’s early admission and guilty plea. * The fact that this Rule was only recently introduced * Mr Birch’s licence history and other personal subjective facts, including personal hardship. Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 196B(1), (2) & (3) provide: (1)  A person shall not within one (1) clear day of the commencement of a race administer or cause to be administered an injection to a horse nominated for that race. (2)  For the purposes of this Rule, one (1) clear day means the twenty four (24) hour period from 12.01 a.m. to 12 midnight. (3)  A person who fails to comply with Sub-rule 1) is guilty of an offence.   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. Reid Sanders

On Tuesday 19 May 2015 Harness Racing NSW suspended the licence of trainer, Mr Joshua Carroll, pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 183. HRNSW has taken these measures after receiving a report from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that Cobalt above the threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from Tiny Tinker following its win in race 4, the TROTS TV LADYSHIP PACE (2030 metres) conducted at Newcastle on 19 March 2015. The “B” sample and associated control has been analysed by the ChemCentre in Western Australia who have confirmed the level of Cobalt above the prescribed threshold. Prior to suspending the licence of Mr Carroll, he was afforded the opportunity to make submissions which he did not exercise. Mr Carroll has been directed to attend an Inquiry on Monday 15 June 2015. It must be noted that at this stage Mr Carroll has not be charged or convicted of any offence relating to this matter. Reid Sanders - Harness Racing New South Wales

Marissa Dimarco, the owner of Bathurst Gold Crown winner Shadow Runner has knocked back a six figure offer for the two year old harness racing gelding. Shadow Runner finished first past the post in a heat of the Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge on Tuesday afternoon but was relegated to second after a protest by the connections of Match In Heaven was upheld by the stewards. Marissa admitted it had been a challenging week and to receive such a tempting offer made it even more stressful. "It was disappointing for us to lose the race on protest but I knew it was going to be a problem when I saw the race on replay, Shadow Runner moved up the track quite a bit," said Ms Dimarco. "Then to get a phone call from Dad (Sam, Shadow Runner's trainer) to say that someone had made an initial offer of $100,000 but was happy to negotiate a higher figure was quite a strange feeling." Sam Dimarco insisted his daughter consider the substantial offer but it didn't take the law firm partner long to make up her mind. "I can't sell Shadow Runner, he has been a very special horse for my family and I couldn't bring myself to sell him, he's not for sale. "Dad said with that sort of money I could go out and buy another yearling but it isn't about the money for me, the horses are my hobby." Shadow Runner has qualified for the semi finals of NSW Breeders Challenge on Saturday June 13. "There are some very nice horses in the series and Our Waikiki Beach looks the standout but it is nice to have a runner competing in the semi finals and hopefully he can get through to the final. "I made the trip down to Menangle from Newcastle for the heat on Tuesday and I will be there to watch the semi finals too." Marissa is confident her father can straighten out Shadow Runner before his next start. "Dad is working hard to correct him, he never runs out in track work but it is something he did do as a younger horse, I'm sure Dad will have him right. "Shadow Runner will go for a spell after he finishes his Breeders Challenge campaign and will have a good break before returning for his three year old season." Greg Hayes

Tamworth junior harness racing reinsman Scotty Welsh returned home on Monday after spending more than a week in Newcastle due to a fractured wrist sustained in a race fall at his home track on May 7. Seventeen year old Welsh had one metal plate and ten screws inserted into his left wrist and is unsure when he will be able to return to the sulky. "I am missing it, the day after the fall I thought I'd just start concentrating on training once I recovered but I am really looking forward to getting back out there and driving in races again," said Welsh. "My surgeon is unsure how long it will take to recover because it was a very serious fracture, he does 200 wrists operations every year and said he has only ever seen five injuries like mine." Welsh was transported to Tamworth hospital after the fall and was then taken to Newcastle several days later. "The ambulance officers cut my colours off me and I nearly passed out when I saw my wrist, I was taken to Tamworth on the Thursday afternoon, then on the Monday they took me down to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and then I was transferred to Newcastle Private on Thursday before the operation last Friday." "It was very sore initially but it isn't as bad now as it was when it first happened because the painkillers work very well but I will definitely be out for the rest of the season." Welsh is unsure of what he will do after finishing school but confirmed it will involve horses. "I'm in Year 12 at the moment so the injury has come at a pretty bad time for me but I have spoken to the school and they're going to help me with all of the work that I have missed." "I'm not really set on anything after this year, I am looking at going to university to study equine science or something like that but I will wait and see what happens, whatever I do will include harness racing as a hobby that's for sure." Welsh has driven seven winners since having his first career drive on March 8th 2014. Greg Hayes

With the Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge finals just over six weeks away it is no surprise to see a number of the leading chances hitting the track in preparation for the rich Gr. 1 events.     The two year old colts and geldings division will be dominated by the unbeaten Our Waikiki Beach and he returned to the trials at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday with a win in a time of 1:55.8.   A number of his main rivals have also trialled this week with Bathurst Gold Crown placegetter Sams The Master winning at Bathurst on Monday.   The son of Tell All proved too strong for Bathurst Gold Tiara winner Pixies Parlour in the trial rating 1:59.3 for the mile.   Hunter Valley trainer Sam Dimarco also welcomed back his two talented two year olds at the Newcastle trials on Wednesday night with Gold Crown winner Shadow Runner and Gotta Go Gold winning.    Dimarco is eyeing off the Breeders Challenge heats at Newcastle on Friday May 22nd with his well performed pair.   “Both of them did what was expected on Wednesday night and it should have topped them off nicely for Friday week,” said Dimarco.   “The weather wasn’t great so the times weren’t all that important but Gotta Go Gold won in 2:03 while Shadow Runner recorded 2:02.4 in his trial win.”   Dimarco confirmed the recent wet weather had affected their preparations.   “I wasn’t knocked around like some people were with damage to their properties and tracks but because of the rain and the amount of water around it meant that my horses couldn’t work for about four or five days so it set me back a little bit.   “The pair had only been back in work for a few days when the storm hit so I just had to stop and start again, I gave them a few weeks off after the Gold Crown and it has helped I think.”   Gotta Go Gold has grown more than Shadow Runner during the short break.   “The little fellow (Gotta Go Gold) definitely grew during the break and I’m really happy with how the big horse (Shadow Runner) is looking too, I’m looking forward to the Breeders Challenge."   “As soon as the series is over they will both go out for a longer spell, somewhere in the vicinity of two to three months.”   Dimarco’s daughter Marissa owns both but did not look to buy another after the family’s success at Bathurst.   “I tied her hands behind her back at the sales, she doesn’t need any others at the moment especially with these two horses doing such a good job."    “Marissa has some broodmares and will breed a couple in the short term, I think that will keep her busy for a little while.”   The first of the Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge heats for the two year old colts and geldings will be conducted at Wagga on Saturday night.    The Col Thomas trained Bettermatch will race the smart Emma Stewart prepared Kingofthestars.   Greg Hayes - Harness Racing New South Wales

The Newcastle/Maitland Mini Trot Association has been forced to postpone the inaugural Ross Gigg Driver Challenge, which was scheduled for tomorrow evening.  Due to the extreme conditions in the region, the decision was made to defer the challenge with an alternate date to be announced soon. “At this stage six of our nominated ponies are unfortunately affected by the floods including Megan McNamara’s, who are currently on a small island with rising waters,” Daryll Jackson said. “Although the extreme weather conditions have eased in the lower Hunter, the backlog of water is just reaching Maitland and surrounding areas causing major concerns for the district with a number of roads now inaccessible.” Jackson confirmed the decision to postpone the challenge had not been an easy one and hoped it would still be strongly supported when reprogrammed. “We didn’t make this decision lightly,” Jackson said. “We are very excited about the concept and will put forward a new suitable date as soon as it is practicable and we still hope all of the participants can attend. “Those that nominated ponies did so to assist in the memory of Ross Gigg and with that support it is only fair we give everyone the chance to attend.” Saturday night’s meeting at Newcastle is unaffected and will continue as programmed. HRNSW Media

Wind gusts of up to 130 km/h have caused major damage at the Newcastle Paceway, however, the hard working team is doing as much as they can to ensure harness racing can continue.  Newcastle’s General Manager Tony Drew confirmed the storm that wreaked havoc on the Hunter Valley had caused some major issues for the club, but a lot of work had already been done. “First and foremost I just hope everyone is okay,” Drew said. “The storm has been very intense in and around the Hunter, and while a lot of damage has been caused, it can all be fixed. “Monday night was the worst with the high winds causing some structural damage. A lot of our signs on the side of the track have been destroyed and the debris is littered all over the track, so obviously that needs to be cleaned up and removed for the safety of the horses.” The club’s function room was also damaged as were several skylights in the betting ring. “I spoke with the track manager Scott this morning and he is doing everything he can to get the track right,” Drew said. “We have called off the trials tonight and if the rain stops there is a good chance we will be able to race later in the week. “There were a number of ruts in the track and they have been levelled off, but what was most concerning yesterday was the fence panelling made of tin had broken off and was flying around which is obviously very dangerous.” Drew has been forced to remain at home since Monday due to the power outage as a result of the storm. “I live on the seventh floor of my building and the lifts haven’t been operating since Monday night,” Drew explained. “I had a double hip replacement three weeks ago and I am unable to climb the stairs, so I’m forced to be doing as much as I can from home. “As soon as the lifts are working I will get back to the track.” The Newcastle Harness Racing club is scheduled to race tomorrow and Saturday night. “We have had a number of calls from trainers wanting to come to the track to work their horses in the lead up to Saturday’s meeting, but until Scott is happy with the conditions and it is safe, it is not possible,” Drew said. Newcastle received 99.2mm of rain on yesterday, in comparison, only 88.6mm fell between February 1 and March 31. HRNSW Media

A pair of promising two-year-olds are proving the ideal tonic for astute harness racing trainer Sam Dimarco. Battling a few minor health problems, Dimarco’s spirits have been lifted thanks to Gotta Go Gold and Shadow Runner. Gotta Go Gold is unbeaten from two starts, while Shadow Runner scored upon debut at Newcastle yesterday. After working to the lead from two, Shadow Runner embarrassed his rivals as he cruised to a soft 53-and-a-half metre win from Milias Ideal, with Bontastic 12-and-a-half metres away third. With the final 800 metres run in 58.7 seconds, the son of Shadow Play covered the mile in 1:57.6. “I couldn’t be happier with both of them,” Dimarco declared. “Gotta Go Gold made his debut at Newcastle last month and went 1:57.2. “Shadow Runner is a big overgrown fella, but is still just a natural racehorse. He is so well gaited and races truly, which is a plus for any two-year-old, let alone one that’s so overgrown. “I’ve only got these two in work and having a couple of horses to train has really helped.” Dimarco has aimed the pair at the popular Bathurst Gold Crown series, with both to be sent for a spell following the futurity. “I’ll look at giving Shadow Runner one more run before Bathurst,” Dimarco said. “After that they will both have a bit of time off and hopefully come back well enough for the Breeders’ Challenge. “Then they will head back to the paddock for a nice long spell. “Shadow Runner will really benefit from a break as it will give him time to fill out and I expect he will come back as a nice three-year-old.” Gotta Go Gold and Shadow Runner are owned by Dimarco’s daughter, Marissa. PAUL COURTS

Sunday 22nd February 2015 - Three more heats in the 2015 World Driving Championship were run this evening at Newcastle, a large city 160 kilometres north of Sydney.  Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world but tonight all of the attention focused on the ten international harness racing drivers competing at the Newcastle Paceway.  The track itself is 940 metres in circumference. Australia’s Chris Alford started the night in second position after a strong showing in heats one and two, and after a victory in the third heat he assumed top spot on the Championship leaderboard.  Driving Better Than Max, Alford won narrowly, arriving just in time to grab USA star Tim Tetrick and Kardashiancrusader.  Denmark’s Knud Monster finished third on Shez Juslika while Finland’s Mika Forss picked up some important Championship points when he finished fourth on Son Of A Star. Better Than Max Day 3 heat 3 Newcastle from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo. Heat four was won by Frenchman Tony Le Beller driving The Merchant Banker.  Starting from barrier one, Le Beller pushed The Merchant Banker out early and held the lead despite being pressured by Red Raphael driven by Tim Tetrick.  Le Beller kicked away turning and won comfortably, second was Gee Tee Wage driven by Chris Alford while Norway’s Vidar Hop finished third driving The Puritan.  Spain’s Guillermo Adrover saved plenty of ground and finished fourth with Strawberry Courage. The Merchant Banker Day 3 heat 4 Newcastle from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo. The fifth heat saw an aggressive drive from Finland’s Mika Forss as he pushed his horse Satu to the lead early despite drawing wide on the track.  After finding the front Forss rated Satu perfectly and was able to sneak away turning for home and held a margin to the finish line with Vidar Hop second on Heza Panamach.  Tim Tetrick finished third with Hangover Joe while Tony Le Beller was fourth on Rollon Baby Belle. Satu Day 3 heat 5 Newcastle from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo.   Name Point Score After 5 Heats Chris Alford 52 Tim Tetrick 47 Mika Forss 43 Tony Le Beller 33 Guillermo Adrover 32 Vidar Hop 30 Jody Jamieson 29 Knud Monster 28 Dexter Dunn 19 Pierre Vercryusse 17 Peter McMullen Australia (travelling Reserve)   For all of the latest news and replays log onto Day 2 WDC 2015 from Harbor Television Productions on Vimeo. Canada’s Jody Jamieson won the first race at Newcastle tonight.  The race was not part of the World Driving Championship however he produced a great drive to score on Saint Stormy. The Championship will have a rest day on Monday and will then head to Wagga Wagga on Tuesday for another seven heats.  Wagga Wagga is 455 kilometres south of Sydney.  Greg Hayes | Media Coordinator | Harness Racing New South Wales |

Three more heats of the World Driving Championship were run at Newcastle this evening, with Aussie harness racing hero Chris Alford again producing some polished performances. Alford started the night in second position but after a victory in the third heat moved to the top of the leaderboard.  Driving Better Than Max, Alford won narrowly from USA star Tim Tetrick driving Kardashiancrusader. Denmark’s Knud Monster finished third with Shez Juslika, while Finland’s Mika Forss picked up some important points when fourth behind Son Of A Star. Frenchman Tony Le Beller, driving The Merchant Banker, captured heat four be leading throughout to score from Chris Alford and Norway’s Vidar Hop. The fifth heat saw an aggressive drive from Finland’s Mika Forss as he pushed Satu to the lead despite drawing wide on the track.  Forss scored from Vidar Hop, driving Heza Panamach, and Tetrick, who partnered Hangover Joe.   Name Point Score After 5 Heats Chris Alford 52 Tim Tetrick 47 Mika Forss 43 Tony Le Beller 33 Guillermo Adrover 32 Vidar Hop 30 Jody Jamieson 29 Knud Monster 28 Dexter Dunn 19 Pierre Vercryusse 17 Peter McMullen Australia (travelling Reserve) As a side note, Canada’s Jody Jamieson won the opening race, which was not part of the Championship. Jamieson produced a great drive to score with Saint Stormy. Championship participants will have a rest tomorrow before heading to Wagga Wagga on Tuesday for another seven heats.  Wagga Wagga is 455 kilometres south of Sydney. HRNSW Media

Team Tritton is set to launch a strong attack on Saturday night’s harness racing meeting at Newcastle. Trainer Shane Tritton has 14 representatives and an emergency engaged in seven of the eight races on the program. Tritton’s primary target is the evening’s main event – the Newcastle Mile – in which the premier mentor has four starters. Tritton also has Lombo Toscannini on standby as the emergency in the Group Two. In-form speedster Suave Stuey Lombo heads the team, with rising star Marty Monkhouser the ‘prince in waiting.’ Trittong also has Laterron and Shipwreck in the 1609-metre dash. Winner of his last three starts, having also trialled in 1:49.2, Suave Stuey Lombo has drawn awkwardly in barrier 10, but will begin from nine with the removal of the emergency. Despite the wide gate, Tritton remains confident the son of Bettors Delight is the one to beat. In fact, Tritton declared Suave Stuey Lombo is ready to break Beautide’s 1:52.6 track record established in last season’s edition of the prestigious event. “He is flying at the moment and is still the one to beat regardless of the draw,” Tritton said. “Avonnova is likely to find the lead first from nine, but I’m more than happy to sit outside him and still run 1:50. “We’ve had this race picked out for Stuey for a long time and he is in perfect condition for this. “The winner will have to go close to 1:50, whether it’s Stuey or any other horse in the field.” Kept fresh following his disappointing hit and run mission to Queensland a fortnight ago, Marty Monkhouser is expected to be a big improver. The son of Village Jasper was first-up from a spell when unplaced in the Queensland Pacing Championship won by For A Reason. Marty Monkhouser has drawn to settle forward from barrier three. “Might as well forget he went to Queensland as he never got a crack at them and only really followed them around,” Tritton said. “His work since has been tremendous and he is in absolute prime condition for this. “He loves racing fresh, and from the draw, will be in this for a long way. “Laterron and Shipwreck will need a few breaks go there way, but under the right conditions they are capable of winning.” PAUL COURTS

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