Day At The Track
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Goulburn horsewoman Amy Day had more than one reason to celebrate when she piloted Atomic Bombshell (Auckland Reactor-Art Asset (Artsplace) to a harness racing victory at Orange. Day, 28, drove a well-judged race last Sunday afternoon to break Atomic Bombshell’s maiden status; and the filly did it while racing on a grass track for the very first time. And if that wasn’t enough for some sort of celebration, the talented trainer-driver posted her 300th winner as a driver. “I didn’t realize I was close to such a nice milestone until a friend told me,” Day said. “I’d been stuck on 299 wins there for a while, so it was fantastic to finally make it, and I was so proud of the horse because she’s a bit of a favorite of mine,” she said. “She has a turn of speed, but without doubt her greatest attribute is an unbelievable attitude, she’s willing to do anything.  And along the way I’ve found that to be so important in a horse.” It was also an outstanding day for exciting Alabar sire Auckland Reactor, who, in his racing days, had the nickname “The Reactor Factor” because of his utter dominance.  Auckland Reactor progeny landed the quinella at the Orange event, with Whata Reactor finishing runner up to Atomic Bombshell.  Auckland Reactor has now sired 39 winners in Australia.  In New Zealand he has 34 winners with superstar Chase Auckland leading the way for stakes of $405,329. Day shares a property and training facilities owned by her father Neil to prepare her team of about 13 and has predicted a bright future for Atomic Bombshell. “I raced outside the leader to win on the grass at Orange and the mile rate of a tick over 1.58 was pleasing,” she said. “Racing on the grass is a bit different but the track is the home of the Orange gallops and it was in good condition. “We thought Atomic Bombshell would give us a good sight, because her form as a two-year-old was okay and she has come back stronger after a three-month spell.” Day has been driving for 10 years but has been involved in the training caper for five years. “I’m enjoying it and there’s always some family help in close reach when needed. I work in well with dad and my mum Vickie is always ready to lend a hand.  My brother Justin takes care of the farrier side of things,” she said. Day said being in Goulburn was a great base for harness racing in NSW. “It’s so central to a stack of tracks.  The Riverina racing is perhaps two or three hours away; Canberra is an hour down the road, and Menangle is around a one-and-a-half-hour trip.” And as for a favorite win during her short career? “Any success is a good one because there’s such a lot of hard work involved,” Day said. But she did say she fondly remembers May 5, 2012 at Wagga when she took out the Cup with 40/1 shot Marooned (Hare Hare – Greek Jewel (Golden Greek), trained by Frank O’Sullivan, and then landed the Derby with Armalife (Life Sign – Arma The One (Badlands Hanover), prepared by her father Neil. “Yes, that was surreal, but we didn’t get involved in any crazy celebrations of course – we probably all had horses to train or trial the following day!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Following his Oberon Cup win James Dean, from KerryAnn Turner’s stable, was being prepared with Orange Harness Racing Club’s Carnival of Cups in mind and harness racing driver Robbie Morris confirmed the champion is still set to run. Morris, who called James Dean a “C5/M2 graded, honest, little horse who came out of New Zealand”, confirmed the Oberon Cup winner is primed to front in February 10’s Banjo Paterson feature race at Towac Park. That’s just one of the races set for February 10 with a number of other finals to be run, the heats are being hosted in this Sunday’s Family Day. “The owners contacted me......and they decided to bring him over here to me which is great because it’s not often horses like that land in your lap. Previously he has been a first emergency in the New Zealand Cup,” Morrish told Orange Harness Racing Club. “He is racing in the Goulburn Cup on Monday (February 4) then up to Orange for the Banjo.  “He has two straight wins under his belt heading into Monday’s race in Goulburn.” And Robbie’s thoughts on James Dean racing on the unique grass track at Towac Park? “It’s something different. James Dean has previously run on the grass in New Zealand recording a slick mile rate of 1.55,” Morrish said. “It's just people’s perception of the grass. It's actually quiet smooth and everyone has to run on the same surface on the day.” Sunday’s Family Day kicks off at 12pm at Orange’s Towac Park. By Matt Findlay Reprinted with permission of the Central Western Daily

Orange Harness Racing Club has confirmed its two meetings for 2019, with both once again to be held on the grass of Towac Park in February. The club’s Carnival of Cups heats will kick-off the short, two-week season on Sunday, February 3 before with the finals to be run the following week on Family Day. This year the club has also established a battle of the sexes race of sorts, with male and female drivers pitted against each other in one of the second meeting’s races.  Drivers already confirmed for that include Orange’s own Jake Davis, along with Codi Rauchenberger,  Brittany Graham, Amy Day, Isobel Ross, Martelle McGuire, Mat Rue, Anthony Frisby, Mitch Turnbull and Robbie Morris – a stellar cast by anyone’s standards. Brittany Graham will also partake in a number of other duties throughout the day, calling on her Sky Racing talents. “Some of the emerging stars in the female driving ranks will be challenging the established male drivers,” Orange Harness Racing Club’s Frank McRae said. Renowned Australian race caller Mark McNamara, now living in New Zealand, will be travelling across the Tasman to call the finals as well in a big coup for the club. On Family Day there will also be food stalls, jumping castles, face painting, mini trots, performance from local gymnastics clubs and the Orange City brass band, with all welcome to bring a picnic lunch too. Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

Angela Hedges timed Saloon Passage’s ($4.80) rapid finish perfectly at Orange’s Towac Park on Sunday afternoon, beating out a red-hot harness racing field and securing a second Kent’s H Hardware Banjo Paterson Cup (1609 metres) for Eglinton trainer Nathan Hurst. In fact the eight-year-old’s final 600 was so swift he set a new track record over the mile too, motoring over the grass track in 1.55.4. Coming from the second row, the Elsu x Rosesrredviletsrblue gelding sat three from the back for the best part of his run, before shifting to the outside lane at the top of Towac Park’s straight. He sped past last year’s winner Parramatta ($3.20 favourite), pole starter Mister Heywood ($9.70) and then 2010 Gold Crown champion Beetson ($16.60) – which produced a stellar run for third – before looming large on the Codi Rauchenberger-driven Rykov Leis ($5.20), which had all but led from the start. With a sizable portion of the Towac Park crowd in his corner and one last-gasp effort, Saloon Passage caught Rykov Leis just shy of the post to win by a little over a metre. “I’m really happy, it was a super run, it worked out really well. They did run along so I knew it’d be a pretty quick time,” Hurst, who first won Orange Harness Racing Club’s marquee event with Tolhurst Kiss, said. “We thought there’d have to be a reasonable speed on for him to come from the back and there was so that helped us a little bit, and his last 600 was really good. “They took off at just the right time, timed it to perfection really so I couldn’t be happier with the drive.” While it’s Hurst’s second Banjo Paterson Cup, it’s his first on the grass track. Sunday’s race was just the second time it’s been run at Towac Park after Orange Harness Racing Club’s move in 2017. “We were interested to see how he’d go on it, but it didn’t seem to worry him at all,” he said. Mister Heywood paced roughly from the inside, and Rykov Leis was sent forward immediately out of the three gate and pushed to a two-length lead early. The gelding stayed at the front of the pack too, until those last few metres. Parramatta went forward in the early stages as Saloon Passage settled toward the pack, before a lightning mid-race move from Beetson at the 1000 mark. He pushed within a neck of Rykov Leis and continued challenging James Rattray’s last-start winner, until the end. As they hit the top of the straight Amanda Turnbull started Parramatta’s run, but he didn’t do enough as Mister Heywood picked up the inside lane. He fell away somewhat too, although he finished fourth, while Saloon Passage flew home. By Matt Findlay Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

The Orange Harness Racing Club appears to have settled at its new home at Towac Park – and president Frank McRae couldn’t be happier. “The two meetings in 2017 exceeded expectations,” he said as the first meeting of 2018 was run last Sunday. The club has shifted from its traditional home at Highlands Paceway to the horse racing track and is unique in NSW for running on grass. “We always used to have good crowds,” he said. “But the move to the grass at Towac Park has kept harness racing in Orange.” Mr McRae said he had been involved in harness racing in Orange from when he moved to the city in 1993. Before that he said he had been involved in the sport with horse breeding and training elsewhere in NSW. Mr McRae said he still had an interest in a couple of horses. The club has about 30 members, mainly trainers and owners with five life members. The next big harness racing event, the Banjo Paterson Cup meeting, is at Towac Park on Sunday February 4.  David Fitzsimons Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

Bigga’s Dennis Picker kicked off Orange Harness Racing Club’s first meeting of the 2018 season in style on Sunday afternoon, steering an early double in the first two races on Towac Park’s grass track. He piloted Herbs Hero ($1.80) to victory in the first before edging home in a mile rate of 2:00.02 on board $2.30 favourite Rave On Rabbits in the second, the ILB Steel Heat 1 (1609 metres). It was one of three of the afternoon’s first set of Carnival of Cups heats, with another three contested later that afternoon, and gives Picker a look-in for the $14,000 final at Towac Park in a fortnight. Picker’s second win wasn’t an easy one, far from it, he edged home by a half-head from the Josh Turnbull-trained Lucky Lyla ($5.50). However, coming up Towac Park’s 300-metre straight the Mat Rue-driven Captains Call ($3.10) was absolutely flying home before he and Rave On Rabbits made contact, the latter recovered to claim the win while the latter finished third. “I thought [both winners] were chances, it was good, something a bit different out here racing on the grass, I’d only done it here last year and it’s good that Orange is still getting some harness racing,” Picker said. “[Rave On Rabbits] just wanted to duck out pretty badly in the straight, twice. He’s always been a bit of a funny horse like that and he caught me a bit unawares, but he knuckled down to the task at hand and got there in the end.” The four-year-old was resuming from a seven-month spell after picking up a win last start in June 2017, and came into Sunday’s meet after a strong trial win earlier this month – both those runs were at Bathurst. “He had quite a big spell and he was actually quite a handy two-year-old, he won a heat at the Gold Crown,” Picker said. “We did have a few problems with him last season but this time around I’ve been really happy with the way he’s worked up. “We just had the one trial before [Sunday] and he won it nicely at Bathurst about three weeks ago, so I was reasonably confident coming into this meet.” Picker, the poll marker, and his gelding led from beginning to end after kicking away beautifully from the mobile start, and wasn’t really troubled until early in the straight. That’s when Lucky Lyla, which sat behind the leader from the word go, getting an inside opening and finding a run to push up to test the eventual winner. It looked a race of two until the 250-mark, when Captains Call started his run. He actually looked all but guaranteed to fly past Rave On Rabbits and Lucky Lyla on the outside until the contact, a big setback for the Stephen Conroy-trained gelding. Rave On Rabbits held to edge past Lucky Lyla in a photo. Matt Findlay Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

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

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

Two long years of hard work culminated with Sunday afternoon’s inaugural harness racing meet at Orange’s Towac Park and, appropriately, the opening race of the program was taken out by central west harness racing royalty in the Turnbull family. Bathurst’s Mitch Turnbull steered $2.30 favourite Adore Ruby, trained by his father Steve, to a comfortable, four-and-a-half metre victory in the Orange City Welcome To Towac Park Pace (1609m), etching his name in the record books as the first driver to claim victory on the grass track. “It’s really exciting to be the first winner here,” Mitch Turnbull said. “Dad trains [Adore Ruby] and mum owns it too, so it’s nice to have the family connection there on this one.” Running from the front row, Turnbull piloted Adore Ruby to the lead on the inside early, but Ruth Shannon ($9.10) loomed two wide at the 1000m mark, looking set to challenge. The latter fell off quickly as Turnbull maintained pace and Way Up ($7.70) moved into second three wide on the outside, but it too fell off at the top of the straight. Dad trains it and mum owns it, so it’s nice to have the family connection.- Mitch Turnbull Ultimately Adore Ruby cruised to a four-and-a-half metre win from Imposing Betty ($23.90) in second, Art Secret ($17.96) was four metres back in third. “It was an excellent run, the horse got around the track really well, it was a good race,” Turnbull said. “I was lucky to get two trials here, so I was reasonably familiar with the track. “You watch it on the grass in New Zealand and they’ve got 17 in a race, not seven, so it was hard to know what to do as a driver a little bit but I was lucky she’s a bit stronger which probably suits the grass.” Bathurst’s Nathan Hurst drove Remember Mac ($5) to a tight win in the ILB Steel Honan Family Jack Honan Memorial Heat 1 (1609m) after that while John O’Shea piloted Cherry Mahoney ($1.80 fav) to a three-metre win in the third, the CYMS Rugby League Watson Corporate Heat (1609m). In the fourth, the second heat of the Jack Honan Memorial Series, Not A Bad Move (NZ) ($4.30) saluted before Tuapeka Glory (NZ) ($2.90 fav) came up trumps in the second heat of the Watson Corporate Series. The meeting was a roaring success, which will be built on in next weekend’s Carnival of Cups finals meet, which Turnbull confirmed he’ll return for. “Yeah, we’ll bring another truckload over and hopefully get a few wins,” he said. By Matt Findlay Reprinted with permission of the Central Western Daily  

As harness racing in Orange prepares for a new chapter some familiar faces will go head-to-head in the Kriden Park Drivers Invitational at the Club's TAB.COM.AU Carnival of Cups meeting Sunday week. Surnames that are synonymous with harness racing in the Western Districts such as Turnbull, Hewitt and Hurst, to name a few, are all represented in 'the girls v the boys' feature at Towac Park, Orange. The 'boys' contingent of the race is made up of drivers Steve Turnbull, Nathan Hurst, Mat Rue, Kel Winnell and Bernie Hewitt. Meanwhile the fairer sex is represented by Team Teal ambassadors Ellen Rixon, Emma Turnbull and KerryAnn Turner as well as Angela Hedges and Ashlee Grives. And if the female drivers win the $14,000 penalty free feature on February 12 on overall finishing positions, there will be a bonus for the Women's Cancer Foundation "If the girls do prevail in this feature the Harness Racing New South Wales Board has endorsed that $1000 will go towards the Women's Cancer Foundation," HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny said. The Team Teal promotion is currently taking place in NSW where all female drivers will wear teal coloured pants in official races from February 1 to March 11 to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Adding to this cause, HRNSW along with corporate sponsor Tabcorp will donate $200 each, so a total of $400, every time a female driver wins a race during the Team Teal campaign. Kriden Park Drivers Invitational C2-C5 Penalty Free Event – 1609m PBD/C   GIRLS Ellen Rixon Emma Turnbull KerryAnn Turner Angela Hedges Ashlee Grives   BOYS Steve Turnbull Nathan Hurst Mat Rue Kel Winnell Bernie Hewitt     Amanda Rando

The Orange Harness Racing Club has some big plans for its TAB.COM.AU Carnival of Cups meeting next month. Now that the 'all clear' has been given to switch racing from Highlands Paceway to Towac Park, the Club is making the most of showcasing harness racing on the turf. For the Club's Carnival of Cups meeting on February 12 there will be four $14,000 features with all races to be run in the clockwise direction over the 1609m distance. And to help capture all the action of the day will be renowned racecaller Mark McNamara, the original voice of the Carnival of Cups. Harness Racing New South Wales has worked alongside Racing NSW and the Orange City Council for some time to have this flagship harness racing event moved to Towac Park according to HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny. "The move is about having a presence here (Orange) and the Board (HRNSW) didn't want to see the sport move away from Orange," Dumesny said. "The Orange community suffered from the fact we had to move two meetings to Bathurst last year but we're back and we're very thankful to the Council who showed strong support and also to Racing NSW for allowing us to use Towac Park. "Everyone involved headed by Frank McRae and Kel Winnell should be congratulated for securing racing at Towac Park. "It's about using community assets and multi-using community assets and that's what can happen at Towac Park." Just last Friday local trainers and drivers trialled horses at this thoroughbred racing venue and it was a success according to the state's leading trainer Steve Turnbull. "It (the surface) was just beautiful and smooth," Turnbull said having previously tested out the surface. "I don't think I've even been around a harness racing dirt track as smooth as it was . . . I had a shock, I really did." Orange HRC's will host the first of its two meetings this year on February 5 and Turnbull plans to take a team of horses to both meetings. To view the race program for Orange on February 5 CLICK HERE To view the race program for Orange on February 12 CLICK HERE   AMANDA RANDO

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