Classy harness racing gelding Our Jimmy Johnstone has drawn awkwardly tonight’s $50,000 The West Australian Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park. Despite receiving barrier six, co-trainer Greg Bond remains confident of success, stating “the barrier draw hurts a bit, but I still think that he’s in the race right up to his eyeballs.” Such is the belief in Our Jimmy Johnstone, Ryan Warwick, foreman for Greg and Skye Bond, leapt at the opportunity to drive him when the stable’s number one reinsman Colin Brown was committed to handle his own nomination, rank outsider Erskine Range. Our Jimmy Johnstone, a lightly-raced six-year-old, has not been extended in winning his first two Australian starts and appears to be a Cup contender in the making. Bettor Offer, also trained by the Bonds, set a track record over 1730 metres when he rated 1.53 in his all-the-way victory over rising star Machtu last Friday night, but his prospects in the Final deteriorated when he drew eight. He will be handled by the up-and-coming reinsman, Dylan Egerton-Green. Leading trainer Gary Hall has three runners in the feature, four-year-olds Soho Lennon (barrier one), Classic American (two) and Machtu (seven). A talented front runner, Soho Lennon he looks certain to set a fast pace based on his latest effort when untroubled to lead from the pole in which he dashed over the final 800 metres in 55.7 seconds to rate 1.53.8. Bond was typically philosophical when commenting on the wide draws of his two runners, saying: “You’ve got to do the best you can with what you’ve got. “Our Jimmy Johnstone, for sure, is our best chance. I expect Soho Lennon to lead, Classic American and Nicnak Paddy Wak (barrier three) to take a trail and Im Riddick (four) likely to work into the breeze. “We’ve got Machtu outside of us and, on paper, he’s our main danger. We’ll hold our space and go forward with Our Jimmy Johnstone and then see what happens. “Ryan will be aiming to keep in front of Machtu. If the barriers were reversed they would be aiming to do exactly that. If this brings us undone, so be it.” Bond and his No. 1 stable client Rob Gartrell bought Our Jimmy Johnstone last October, with his New Zealand trainer John Hay, some New Zealand friends and some of the gelding’s original owners taking minor shares in the son of P Forty Seven. “We decided to race him in some of the lead-up races and in the New Zealand Cup at Addington in a bid to earn some decent money,” Bond said. “He was going to be racing against Terror To Love, Christen Me, Franco Ledger and Adore Me and other good ones and I thought he probably wouldn’t be winning.” KEN CASELLAS
An exciting night of trotting at the Nyah District Harness Racing Club was held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday, with many races on the program named after those who have been associated with the club for a long period of time. This season’s state leading trainer, Mildura’s Shayne Cramp, had favourite punters cheering when he won the opening race – the Alta Christiano @ Alabar Stallions 2YO Pace over 1750 metres with Mach Three/Ally McBlossom filly Aldebaran Brandi. A winner on debut at Mildura on July 15, Aldebaran Brandi ($1.60) repeated the dose by leading throughout from outside the front line to easily account for Bright And Sonny (four wide last lap from last), with Our Work Of Art a stablemate of the winner coming from four back the markers at bell along the sprint lane to finish third. The mile rate was 1:57.2. Bendigo duo David Van Ryn and nephew Haydon Gray had an easy victory with Courage Under Fire/Delightful Emm 3Y0 gelding Courageous Emm in the Alan Branson Pace for C0 class over 1750 metres. Driven with aggression from gate two to retain the front running, Courageous Emm ($1.20) bounded away on the final bend to record a 10.9 metre victory in a rate of 1:57.5 over Another Approval (three back the markers) and Marcellus, which trailed the winner. Echuca trainer Wayne Lear is a regular at most Nyah meetings and landed the Max Slater Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1750 metres with five year old Village Jasper/Macray Purple gelding Purple Village in a rate of 1:58.7. Taken back to the tail of the field from outside the front line by Bec Bartley, Purple Village ($2.90) came with a barnstorming finish on straightening to blouse the leader Illawong Lively right on the wire (the margin a runaway half-neck), with Parisian Ruler third after facing the open from the bell. Honest five-year-old Die Laughing/Lily Princess mare Misschinoise scored a well deserved victory in the Peter Coady Pace for C2 class over 1750 metres, chalking up her seventh success in 51 outings. Trained and driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, who travels many thousands of miles around the state each season, Misschinoise ($3.70) enjoyed a sweet passage from gate three three back along the markers, with the pole marker Soho Jagger driven desperately to hold out the second elect Attack On Command (gate four) which then eased to follow the pacemaker. Moving away from the inside in the last lap, Misschinoise cruised up to Soho Jagger on the home turn and when asked for an effort on straightening, coasted to the wire 5.5 metres in advance of Soho Jagger and Attack On Command in a mile rate of 1:59.8. Popular Mildura trainer Frank Cavallaro was in the winners stall following the victory of Tommys Song ($5.80) in the Arthur Graham Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Driven by Luke Watson, Tommys Song, a 4YO gelded son of P Forty Seven and Tell Laura began smartly from gate three to be outside the leader Gnarly at the start, before being eased to take one/one cover when Unfair Dismissal was driven forward to park in the open. Eased three-wide in the last lap, Tommys Song ran home strongly to gain the day from Boom Boom Hall, which rattled home from near last on turning, with Yankidoodledanvers using the sprint lane for third after following the weakening leader. The mile rate was 1:59.8. Mildura (Cardross) trainer Frank Merceica’s six-year-old Pass The Mustard/Princess Yum Yum gelding Sir Pickles Yum Yum loves competing at Swan Hill and registered his third victory on the circuit when successful in the Jim Roberts Pace for C3 to C5 class over 2240 metres. With Greg Sugars in the sulky after making the long trek from Melton, Sir Pickles Yum Yum ($12.50) settled four back in the running line from gate four, with Mind The Wire leading before handing up to Mick Bellman’s Ourcrownin. With a number of changes happening during the race, Sir Pickles Yum Yum had moved to be three back at the bell and when taken wide on turning, rattled home to score by 1.3 metres in a rate of 2:00.2. Well Oiled Lombo (four wide final bend) ran home from last to claim third place. The Blissful Hall @ Empire Stallions 3YO Pace, first leg of the Daily Double and second leg of the Quaddie was declared a no race following a fall by Warana Court on the first turn. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria
Great Western trainer Peter Manning’s promising Armbro Invasion/Free Rider gelding Weregonnarock after three consecutive seconds, finally cracked it for a victory when successful in the Oktoberfest At Lord’s Raceway 19 October 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2150 metres at Bendigo on Wednesday October 2. Driven by daughter Kerryn, Weregonnarock led throughout from barrier two to score by a nose over her nemesis Dell Boy which trailed after coming from a 20 metre backmark (Dell Boy had beaten him on the last two occasions), with Girls Go First a gap away in third place. The mile rate 2-07.6. Wahring’s Daniel Jack was successful with Mach Three/Shards A Flyin filly Shards Secret who greeted the judge in the Johnny Tee Bendigo Horse Of The Year 3-Y-0 Pace over 2150 metres. Making her second race appearance, Shards Secret was driven with plenty of vigour from the pole to hold out all challengers at the start and was never headed, defeating Stunning Grin (one/one) which switched to the sprint lane on turning and the hot favourite Eliseos Falcon which had a torrid passage outside the winner. The mile rate 1-59.2. Nagambie’s Chris Lang (Jnr) is making a name for himself, especially with the trotters and landed the Flying It At Springvale Stud Castlemaine Trotters Mobile for T2 to T4 class over 2150 metres with former Kiwi Lysenko. Sent forward from gate four to park outside the speedy pacemaker Mister Gunsen, Lysenko a 6-Y-0 gelded son of Sundon and Dispride outstayed his rivals to score a strong victory over Just Call Me Earl along the sprint lane from three back the markers and Im Demimondaine which trailed the leader, moving away from the markers to be one/one on straightening. The mile rate 2-02.2. Avenel trainer Wayne Potter combined with Shepparton’s Nathan Jack to land the Chris Alford Premier Driver Pace for C2 class over 2150 metres with 5-Y-0 Armbro Operative/Eve Of Eden mare Tombstone Eden in a rate of 1-59.2. Taken back off the gate from barrier six to settle with most of the field ahead of her, Tombstone Eden gained a beaut ride home three wide on the back of Fergus Mactavish in the final circuit and when taken four wide at the straight entrance, rushed home at a great rate to score from a death-seating Drivingwithtess and Dusty Smiles which led. Another Avenel winner of the night was consistent 4-Y-0 P Forty Seven/Our Lifes A Ball gelding Luke Hobbs for David Aiken in the Haydon Gray Premier Concession Driver Pace for C1 class over 1650 metres. Driven by Greg Sugars, Luke Hobbs led for most of the journey in accounting for Who Broke Our Halo which moved to face the breeze, with Gohardorgohome third after leading out from gate three, before taking a trail on the winner. The mile rate 1-59.4. By Len Baker
The Stawell Harness Racing Club paid tribute to those who have assisted the club over the years when a seven event card was held at Laidlaw Park on Wednesday August 7 in very wet conditions. Former Ararat based trainer Aaron Brown now domiciled in South Australia, made a successful trip home when Presidential Ball/Lombo San Jan gelding Whata Player greeted the judge in the Reginald Cooper Life Member 2-Y-0 Pace over 1790 metres. Driven by Greg Sugars, Whata Player led throughout from the pole to defeat the well backed Just Call Me Mac (one/one - three wide home turn) in a rate of 2-05.8, with the first starter In The Trenches third after moving to face the open for the last lap. The Terry McManus Life Member 3-Y-0 Pace over 2175 metres was taken out by the Peter Manning (Great Western) trained and Matt Craven driven Armbro Speedstar in a rate of 2-03.9. Starting from gate two on the second line, Armbro Speedstar (Armbro Operative/Princess Of Stars) settled with most of the field ahead of him, with Sapper Ford leading from gate four. Sent forward three wide solo in the final circuit, Armbro Speedstar was too strong at the finish for the hot favourite Galleons Warrior which did a power of work from the outset to park outside the pacemaker. When Galleons Warrior surged clear approaching the home turn, Armbro Speedstar was hot in pursuit and finished best to score by 2.2 metres in a rate of 2-03.9, with Rising Power third from mid-field. Ultra consistent P Forty Seven/Just Moonstrike 4-Y-0 gelding Arr En Special notched up his 4th victory for the season in the Leslie McLeod Life Member Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Trained at Allendale (Mount Gambier) by David Kemp and driven by David Murphy, Arr En Special was trapped four wide from outside the front row running into the first bend, before angling into the one/one spot. Easing three wide at the bell, Arr En Special raced three wide uncovered for the rest of the journey, exploding to the front approaching the home turn. Although tackled by Peters Ace (four wide last lap from last) on straightening, Arr En Special held a margin to the wire, registering a 4.9 metre margin in a rate of 2-02.1. Kurraca Knight (one/one last lap) finished third. Arr En Special usually races at most Western District meetings and was making his 51st appearance at the races (19 this season). Redan (Ballarat) trainer/driver Michael Stanley may have something special in ex-Kiwi 3-Y-0 Presidential Ball/Pamela Pamela gelding Hilltop Hustler who brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the Life Members Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres. Settling three back in the moving line with the tearaway leader The Kingston Flyer making every post a winner, Stanley wasted no time in sending Hilltop Rustler forward to face the breeze at the bell. Doing a lot of chasing, Hilltop Raider dropped in for a short breather approaching the home turn. When asked for a super effort on straightening, Hilltop Hustler responded in grand style to record a four metre victory in 1-58.2 over the leader, with Roman Abbey a further 26 metres away in third place. Former Portland trainer Peter Tonkin now based in Ballarat, snared the Colin Prockter Life Member Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with Guvs Boy, a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Artiscape and Natashas Rose. Taking a concession for much improved Bendigo youngster Haydon Gray, Guvs Boy from the pole led throughout, ccounting for In The Frame Lombo which trailed, using the sprint lane to no avail, with Burston Holme third after following the pair. The mile rate 2-07.7. The Gregory Cooper Life Member Trotters Mobile went the way of Longlea (Bendigo) trainer/driver Paul Morrissey's 5-Y-0 Malabar Maple/Lady Clare mare Canadian Dream. Spending most of the race buried three back the markers from gate three, Canadian Dream was extricated to be three and four wide on the final bend, finishing with a wet sail to blouse the pacemaker A Stylish Jewel in the last stride, with Hezminenotyours a game third after racing in the open. The mile rate 2-11.8. Three year old Artesian/Soky Sue colt Easy Lighting trained and driven by Ahmed Taiba of Sushi Sushi fame, landed the Geoffrey Sanderson Life Member Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-01.7. Held in a firm pocket three back the markers after starting inside the second line, Easy Lightning finished hard along the sprint lane to tip out Make A Fuss also along the sprint lane ahead of him after trailing the weakening leader Tara Tom. Mathias a stablemate of the pacemaker finished third off a three wide trail last lap from last. Len Baker Len Baker email@example.com 03 9307 5265 0401 679 745
Great Western sisters Michelle and Kerryn Manning took the honours at the Stawell harness racing fixture held on Wednesday May 8th, Michelle with a training and driving double - Wheatsheaf Avaball and Aheadofhistime and Kerryn with a driving double - Shandorlass and Paparazzi Snapshot.
Robert Dunn may have missed out on the Southland Oaks, but in form harness racing driver John Dunn made sure he wasn’t going to miss out on the $40,000 Southern Supremacy as well.
Robert E. O'Donnell, 88, a prominent harness racing breeder for many decades, died April 10, 2013, in Florida after a long illness.
Terang based trainer Marg Lee and teenage reinsman son Jason combined to land the TAB Daily Double at the Geelong Harness Racing Club fixture on Wednesday April 3 with home bred stablemates Jilliby Ling and Jilliby Ablett, both horses using a concession.
Former Otago harness racing trainer and breeder Peter Cowan would have been smiling down from heaven last week.
One of North America's most prolific harness racing trainers sent two members of his stable to Saratoga on Saturday and secured a training double.
Of all the people who were shocked and saddened by the news of the untimely death of champion pacer and sire Rocknroll Hanover (Western Ideal–Rich N Elegant), no one felt the loss more keenly than the young woman who experienced first-hand his two-year odyssey at the very top echelon of harness racing.
Wednesday's harness racing Stawell fixture belonged to the Western District with no less than seven of the eight winners coming from the area including regular Mount Gambier visitors Alta Antonio and Bobby Maravu.
The pacer that beat Terror To Love's track record at Rangiora in November should be too strong in the South Island's feature harness racing event on Sunday (February 10) - the $25,000 Waikouaiti Cup.
Here's the news from the midst of a crazy holiday harness racing schedule:
Mount Gambier trainers Barry Finnis, David Drury and Mick Micallef enjoyed a super evening at the Ararat harness racing fixture on Tuesday December 11, winning three legs of the TAB Quaddie.
Great Western trainer Peter Manning and reinswoman daughter Kerryn, along with Mount Gambier trainer/driver David Drury took the honours at the Horsham harness racing fixture conducted on Monday November 25 - the Manning with a treble and Drury a double.