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Before he was a teenager Anthony Essex was considering a career in harness racing. He fondly recalls going to Albion Park trots as a ‘little tacker’, with his father Rob, now a greyhound trainer, sparking his interest further when he started racing standardbreds. When those horses had success Anthony confesses he was hooked on the sport of racing. Anthony is Racing Queensland’s newest operations employee, winning selection for the harness racing handicappers job after a national search for the position. Anthony started in his new role on Monday, replacing handicapper Darren Clayton who left RQ to travel overseas. The handicapping role is a new challenge for Anthony after working in casual roles at RQ in greyhound racing administration and integrity as well as formerly managing the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club.  The 42-year-old is well versed in procedures at the Deagon racing office and with the rules of racing. “My previous roles at RQ have been a great step towards my future within the racing industry and I’m now keen to expand my knowledge and skills within the harness racing industry,” Anthony said. “I’m sure the handicapping role will be a steep learning curve but I am certain I will enjoy the challenge and I’m eager to learn the craft from (chief handicapper) Brett Rail. I’m really looking forward to being a member of the team” Anthony believes that he has had a good foundation for the handicapper job and says his family history in the sport has given him a good insight. “Going to the trots was a normal thing for me to do when I was younger, I loved to watch the races and I reckon harness racing is the most exciting racing to watch,” Anthony said. “Rob (Dad) raced successful pacers Badge Of Honour; Dinnygone; Group 1 winner Maywyn Jasper and Maywyn Tonz, a dual Group 2 race winner so there is plenty of fond memories there as well,”. Multi-skilled, entrepreneurial, with an artistic flair Anthony had other options for his career path but he firmly believes that he has made the right choice and that there has never been a better time to be involved in harness racing. “Harness racing in Queensland has increased prizemoney and new industry initiatives, it’s pretty positive at the moment,” Anthony said “I am really looking forward to seeing and handicapping the quality races with our top locals taking on the might of the southern states and New Zealand during Queensland Winter Racing Carnival. Let’s hope there is fantastic racing with close finishes that can excite everyone on and off the track.” by David Aldred

Just over three years ago at the age of 89, harness racing owner Ron Hutchinson purchased his first racehorse, the then seven-year-old New Zealander, Barney Maguire which took 47 attempts to win its first race. On Sunday Ron, now 92 hopes to cheer home his veteran pacer to victory, a win that would see the rising 11-year-old maintain a perfect record on the Beaudesert turf track. Sunday is the Beaudesert Hibernian Club charity race day and it features a 10 race card, three harness races and seven thoroughbred races on the turf. The trots will be over a mile (1609m) starting in the home straight with the horses travelling a full circuit of the picturesque track. “The races are a real crowd pleaser,” deputy chairman of harness stewards Larry Wilson said. “Last year everyone loved seeing the trots here and I just hope the locals turn up early to watch so they don’t miss the harness racing action. The 10 race TAB card starts at 10.20am with the three harness races run before the fourth race, the first thoroughbred race at 11.55am. All races will be telecast on Sky Racing with the harness races on Sky 2, the first four gallops on Sky 1 and the last three gallops on Sky 2. Barney Maguire will start from gate three in the mobile start, race two, the Hygain Feeds Pace. Ron’s son Richard, a long time harness racing participant and breeding authority, is the trainer of Barney Maguire and said the pacer, the only horse he now trains at his Tamborine property, has really made a difference to his father’s life. “Dad has not been well lately but this horse is a real tonic for him,” Richard said. “He just just loves to watch him race and replays the races over (on the TV). “Hopefully we can both be at the track and see him win again on Sunday.” Barney Maguire may have the oldest owner in the race but he will be ably supported by one of the youngest drivers in the race, talented young gun Brittany Graham. Brittany is counting the days until she travels to the US for a month driving experience overseas, a prize she won for her high achievements in Queensland last year. With the knowledge of Barney Maguire’s grass track win, Brittany will sure to have the In The Pocket pacer in the firing line from go to whoa. “He is not a horse that you can bottle up, in fact if he cops to much shoving he will turn it up,” Richard said. “At Albion Park on Tuesday he copped a check and that was it but his previous form this month, a second and fourth placing at Redcliffe suggests that he is racing good enough to keep his perfect grass track record intact. The only other horse on the program with a Beaudesert win beside its name is Major Lefty which will start off the second row in the third race, The Ubet For the Thrill of It Pace (1609m). Major Lefty trained by Cristina Monte has been out of form the past few months but the Art Major seven-year-old gelding is more than capable of turning the form around on the grass. Charlie Cini who was in the cart for last year’s grass track win will again take the reins. Steamline Boy trained by the driver Steven Doherty looks the one to beat in this race, starting from the pole mark position. The eight-year-old Artesian gelding has won two of his past three starts with both wins at Redcliffe. Last year he showed a liking for the turf, finishing third on the Beaudesert track. The first of the three TAB harness races on the program starts at 10.20am with coverage of all three races on Sky Racing 2. Concession driver Trent Moffat teams up with Jimboomba local Gary Gerrard in this race to drive 4yo mare Latin For Lovable, a Redcliffe winner last month by David Aldred Related Links Fields for Beaudesert, Sunday 24 May 2015 Form guide for Beaudesert, Sunday 24 May 2015 Race programme for Beaudesert, Sunday 24 May 2015

Every Queensland harness racing fan remembers the deeds of Be Good Johnny. In fact, most involved in harness racing know the name of Be Good Johnny. A dual Miracle Mile champion who amassed more than a million dollars during a highly decorated career from the stables of John McCarthy. He was a true modern day great. Now, there’s another pacer that carries a similar name that could be headed to sunny Queensland for the winter carnival features during the month of July at Albion Park. His name is Oh Jonny B Good. A New Zealand bred colt now based in the stables of outstanding couple Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack at their Shepparton base. The Mach Three – Maikona three-year-old created a huge impression when successful first-up at Bendigo on May 12 when he scored by an ever expanding margin and created a new track for 2150m with a mile rate of 1;54.9. In many ways, his speed that night brought back memories of Be Good Johnny. Now connections are looking at their feature race options. Oh Jonny B Good starts again this Saturday night at TABCORP Park, Melton in the Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centre Final but where he heads after that is unknown. But options seem endless. “We’re still in the mix with the New Zealand Jewels because he currently ranked 16th and if things fall our way, we would definitely head back because we already have Glenferrie Bronte and Just Cala heading over. If we don’t make the cut off, the Queensland Derby looms as a logical target for him.” Jack said. The Gr.1 $NZ150,000 KPMG Private Enterprise Emerald will be staged at Ashburton on Saturday May 30. The Queensland winter carnival offers plenty including the Gr.1 $150,000 Queensland Derby on July 18, the Gr.1 $100,000 Nursery Fly on July 4 and the Gr.3 $40,000 Gold Coast Derby on July 11. “It’s nice to have options and Queensland definitely makes strong appeal, I don’t think we could do both trips but it’s unlikely we’ll make the field for the Jewels in New Zealand so Queensland is looking likely at this stage. He’s got to hold his form because it won’t be easy up there. When he first arrived we weren’t overly impressed but as it turns out, he’s just a really bad track worker because he was excellent winning first-up and there should be further improvement to come from him. If New Zealand doesn’t eventuate, we’ll look at the E K Bray Country Clubs Cups series next before heading north to Brisbane. He’s a nice horse in the making and his form in New Zealand backs that up, he’s raced some of their best over there and performed well so we’re prepared to give him his chance.” Currently, Nathan Jack sits third on the Victorian Drivers Premiership with 146 victories while Amanda Turnbull is ranked fifth on the Victorian Trainers Premiership 53 winners. With Amanda still driving regularly in her home state of New South Wales for her father Steve, she is ranked second in the driver’s premiership with 89 winners. by Chris Barsby

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

Astute mentors Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris left the harness racing trials at Menangle  yesterday absolutely thrilled (Tuesday).   Their stable stars Aztec Bromac and Iam Mr Brightside both pleased in public trials and proved conclusively that a Queensland winter carnival campaign is on target.   The Menangle based couple are currently enjoying another hugely successful season, they’re just shy of 100 winners with several months still remaining before seasons end.   A Brisbane campaign was divulged following their most recent efforts where both pacers contested Group 1 events on March 1, Inter Dominion Grand Final day.   “We gave both boys a freshen-up following their most recent efforts and both have returned in very good order, if anything, Aztec must just be a little further advanced in comparison to Brightside but he is a year younger.” Morris said.   Aztec Bromac hasn’t started since contesting the Gr.1 $200,000 New South Wales Derby won by Victorian colt Ideal For Real while Iam Mr Brightside contested the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire won by New Zealand star Sky Major.   The Queensland winter carnival features several targets for Aztec Bromac including all Derby features (Queensland, Redcliffe & Gold Coast) plus the inaugural running of the Gr.1 $100,000 Nursery Fly.   Yesterday, Aztec Bromac chased home former North American pacer Johny Rock in a time of 1;53.8 for the 1609m hit-out.   “He went really well and it proved he’s come back in very good order, he can go straight into a race following that trial and we’ll look for something within the next fortnight to start his campaign.   “The Redcliffe Derby takes place on June 5 and I’m pretty sure we’ll be heading up for that race and then we’ll just concentrate on all the other features thereafter, he’s got so much he’s eligible for up there and the prizemoney is very attractive.   “He’s proven that he’s a classy horse with a good future, he proved that he’s competitive against the best colts going around and this campaign fits in really well. His speed is his best asset and he’ll prove tough to beat in anything he contests.”   Iam Mr Brightside finished fourth in his 1609m trial won by classy mare Ocean Diva in a time of 1;58.1 but was never extended at any stage up the home straight.   Obvious targets during his Brisbane campaign include the Gr.2 $50,000 4yo Championship and the Gr.2 $50,000 4 & 5yo Championships in July.   “He went well and it was a really nice start point for him, being a year older he’ll probably take a bit more work compared to Aztec but I was happy with the way he felt up the lane.   “He’ll trial again before we look at a race return for him, he had a good blow after the trial but he’ll tighten up pretty quickly following that hit-out. His next trial will be more serious and that will give us a good guide.   “He’s a high quality pacer that always performs at a high level; he’s no stranger to Brisbane after racing there last season against Bling It On in the Nursery Pace Final. This carnival has some really nice options for him.”   Turner is ranked third in the state premiership behind Shane Tritton and Steve Turnbull while Morris is currently fifth in the state driver’s premiership which is led by Lauren Panella.   Chris Barsby - Racing Queensland

Team McCarthy is heading back to Brisbane for next week’s $75,000 Seymour Nursery Pace series. Heats are scheduled for next Tuesday, with the Finals will be staged on May 16. Locally-owned pacers Smooth Showgirl and Birdy Mach will represent the power stable in their respective divisions and both will command strong respect. Smooth Showgirl is the defending champ following her dominant performance in last year’s Final when she defeated Feel The Faith and stablemate Bamako Mali, while Birdy Mach is very highly regarded within the Belinda and Luke McCarthy stable. “We’re looking forward to heading back to Brisbane next week for the Nursery Pace,” Luke said. “It’s a series that has been very good to me over the years and we believe we have the right horses to give it a good shake. “There’s nothing better than a Brisbane autumn/winter campaign.” Smooth Showgirl has raced in strong form this season, winning four of her 10 starts and setting a personal best time of 1:53.2 when successful at Menangle last month. The daughter of Art Major was unplaced as favourite last week at Menangle behind Image Of Courage after racing without cover in a time of 1:53.4. Birdy Mach has raced just once this term when unplaced at Menangle on December 30. Following a freshen-up, the son of Mach Three has undertaken an extensive trial campaign in preparation for his Brisbane trip, with his trial yesterday resulting in a comfortable victory in 1:56.4 when leading throughout. He paced the mile in sectionals of 29.6, 30.4, 28.5 and 27.9 seconds. “Both horses are fit and well and we’ve deliberately set both horses for this series,” Luke said. “It’s been one of their major targets all season. “The local talent looks pretty handy so it won’t be easy, but we’re confident both will perform at the required level. “Smooth Showgirl has been solid this season. She got left parked last week in fast time and she only just missed a placing in the end, so I was more than happy with her effort. “She can sustain her speed and she’s quite tough, so the style of Brisbane racing will suit her down to the ground. “We discovered a few little issues with Birdy Mach following his first-up effort and worked on those during his down time. It wasn’t anything major and time has helped him. “His trials have been good and he felt sharp yesterday, he pulled up in good order and I’m keen to test him during this series.” Both horses will be based at the property of co-owner Ian Gurney during their Brisbane campaign. McCarthy is no stranger to success in the Nursery Pace with victory behind Smooth Showgirl and Waves Of Fire (2014), Bling It On (2013), Aussie Made Lombo (2010), Fleur De Lil (2006), Tip Your Hat (2005) and Slipnslide (2003). He also won the three-year-old colts’ and geldings’ Final last year with Bling It On. HRQ Media

A Police raid on an Albion Park harness racing meeting followed a tip that drivers and trainers were using cocaine and ice and giving drugs to horses. Officers with sniffer dogs descended on the Brisbane raceway after a Racing Queensland request to investigate serious drug allegations, The Courier-Mail can reveal. Information was obtained suggesting ice — or crystal meth-amphetamine — was being given to horses to enhance their performance and that drivers were on cocaine. Police did not discover any drugs during the raids at the Saturday night race meeting last month. A joint police-RSPCA greyhound taskforce — set up after the live baiting scandal — led to the raids in a sign that investigations were expanding into broader criminality in the racing industry. Nationwide, jockeys and drivers have tested positive for methamphetamines, cocaine and other substances. Racing Queensland is in the spotlight, with concerns police have not always been kept informed of drug allegations, sources said. There are also questions over what Racing Queensland does with drug stashes if they are discovered. Jockeys, drivers, trainers, attendants, officials and others in control of racing animals are banned from taking illicit drugs and some prescription medication that can impair their ability to work safely. Racing Queensland confirmed it did not inform police of positive drug tests but did report drug possession and other illegal conduct for further investigation. Urine testing at Albion Park on April 4 resulted in driver Brendan Barnes testing positive to cocaine metabolites. He pleaded guilty and was disqualified for six months. Trainer-driver Ricky Thurlow tested positive to cocaine metabolites in a random test at Albion Park in October and was suspended for six months. Two horses in South Australia last year returned positive tests for methamphetamine. In Victoria, greyhound Jubilea Bale returned a positive test for methamphetamine in January. By David Murray Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail

Astute New South Wales harness racing horseman Dean Cernovskis is heading north. With winter chills fast approaching, Cernovskis will campaign a team of nine pacers in sunny Queensland over the coming months spearheaded by talented former New Zealand filly BB’s Inspiration. Based at Gunning in the southern highlands of New South Wales, Cernovskis will target several features during the Brisbane winter carnival including the Oaks features with his filly. Cernovskis will be based at Tweed Heads during his northern campaign. “We’re not complete strangers to Queensland because over the past couple of years we have sent several of our horses north and they’ve been cared for by Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham, they’ve done a great job but we’ve decided to do it ourselves this year.” Cernovskis said. And Cernovskis is heading north with a solid team. Cernovskis will arrive next Tuesday (May 5) and have a team of eight to start with while the filly BB’s Inspiration will arrive later following her let-up after a recent Melbourne campaign. Headlining his team will be Scotlynn Jiggs, a former New Zealand pacer who is unbeaten in two local starts and will target several rich intermediate grade events. Heats of the Gr.2 $50,000 C2/C5 Carnival Cups series is scheduled for Saturday week while the final is slated for May 16. “I think he’s a pretty fair horse and I’m hopeful he can do a good job up there, the prizemoney for that grade of horse is sensational. That’s the reason we’re heading up so soon, we wanted to target this $50,000 series before looking at other options in the coming months. “He’s been impressive in his two victories since joining my team and I trialed him yesterday (Tuesday) at Menangle and he went very well beating some well above average pacers and running a good last quarter. I think Scottlyn Jiggs and BB’s Inspiration are my two best horses in my care. “I’ve also got Valastro coming up because he’s eligible for the QBRED Triad 4yo feature; he’s a nice little horse that’s doing a good job. He’ll start on Friday at Menangle before we head up next week.” Other horses that will campaign in Brisbane in the coming months include Harlequin Bromac, HezBuyinDiamonds, Long Hot Summer, Alta Capone, Here’s Rommel and Just Enzo. “I think I’ve got the right mix of horses to take up and hopefully we can earn some money, Queensland racing is very competitive and expecting strong competition, it will only get harder as the carnival approaches. “BB’s Inspiration will join the team in the coming weeks; she’s just having a let-up following her Victoria Oaks campaign which clearly didn’t go to plan. We’ve pinpointed a few problems and hopefully she’ll show her best form in Brisbane, I really like this filly.” - CHRIS BARSBY

To anyone assessing the chances in the $80,000 Albion Park Gold 2 year old sales final at the harness racing meeting at Albion Park last night, there appeared to be only one possible outcome. The well performed My Mojo from barrier two looked to have a vice like grip on the race with most of  his competition having not placed let alone won a race. Pete McMullen took his time off the gate with My Mojo and let the son of Camelot Hall work his way to the front after 200 metres. Georgia Grace with Shane Graham in the bike had left the gate quickly from barrier one and the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven nestled into the trail behind My Mojo when the hot favourite took over. With no midrace pressure, Pete McMullen was able to back off the speed and turn it into a sprint home. As they straightened for home My Mojo skipped clear with Georgia Grace the only serious challenger. Half way up the straight,My Mojo suddenly started verring out badly and almost collected Georgia Grace as she finished on down the outside. My Mojo and Pete McMullen completely lost momentum in the incident and had to watch Georgia Grace roar past and go on to win the Group 2 race. My Mojo got going again to hold second from a fast finishing Ballator Thor with rest of the field distanced. Georgia Grace cut out the 1660 metres in 2:05.1, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 59.5 and 28.7 A $34,000 purchase at the Brisbane leg of the Australian Pacing Gold sale last year, Georgia Grace continued the golden run the fillies by Rock N Roll Heaven are having in Australia. On Friday night at Melton, both the semi finals of the Australian Pacing Gold series for fillies were taken out by daughters of Rock N Roll Heaven  and with four months of the season to go, the son of Rocknroll Hanover has already produced six filly winners from his first crop.  Harnesslink Media

Well respected harness racing trainer/driver Peter Greig must have wondered weather all his bad luck had come at once when he had a night at Albion Park on Saturday night that he will never forget.   The Queensland Police raided Albion Park Raceway on Saturday night executing a search warrant for drugs on horse trainers and drivers.   When they came to Peter Greig in the stabling area, he objected to the widespread searching of bags and people and by all accounts was very close to being arrested at one point.   In the end the Police slapped Peter Grieg with an infringement notice for allegedly obstructing a sniffer dog from inspecting a bag.   A spokesman for Queensland police confirmed that no drugs were found during the extensive search and no arrests were made as a result of last nights operation.   Mr Farquharson defended the searches when spoken to last night.   “We have had several incidents in the recent  past where cocaine has been found so we want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” Mr Farquharson said.   If the night had started badly for Peter Grieg, it got worse in race 4, the $50,000 Autumn Staryers Cup where Peter was driving Major Moment for Grant Dixon.   Away well from barrier one on the 20 metres mark, Major Moment was making good progress through the strung out field when Swarovski who had can canned away from barrier one and run up the track a touch, came back down the track and collected Major Moment who was in full flight, tipping Peter Grieg out of the bike in spectacular fashion.   Peter was able to walk to the ambulance but at this time we have no further information as to how Peter is.   We here at Harnesslink wish Peter a speedy recovery safe in the knowledge that he has just used up all his bad luck for this year in one night.   Harnesslink Media 

Queensland continued on their winning way last night. A team of six from the sunshine state took on Team Victoria in a harness racing junior drivers challenge at TABCORP Park Melton in a two race series. The Queensland team was made up of Hayden Barnes, Brittany Graham, Dannielle & Narissa McMullen, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees. Team Victoria comprised of Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Haydon Gray, Mark Pitt, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips. It was a clean sweep for the Queensland team. Heat one went the way of Dannielle McMullen who took the winning drive aboard the Peter Thompson trained Our El Fuego in a time of 1;57.8 in the 2240m event. Placing’s were filled by fellow Queenslanders Narissa McMullen (Our Summer Wind), Trent Moffat (Mister Rufus) and Hayden Barnes (Brite Spark Lombo). Our El Fuego was the rank outsider and returned a dividend of $61.50. Heat two went the way of Hayden Barnes (Jambiani) who defeated Trent Moffat (Bushi) and Brittany Graham (Clarenden Daydream) in a time of 2;00.9 for the 2240m journey. Following a countback, the individual winner of the series was Hayden Barnes who beat Trent Moffat. “It was a great result for Queensland with a clean sweep and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they showcased their talents on foreign soil. It was great to see them catch up with friends while making new contacts; hopefully this helps them going forward,” Queensland Team Captain Kevin Seymour said. “I would like to thank Harness Racing Victoria and all of the trainers who supported the series, it’s about gaining experience and making them better and this is a great opportunity to do this.” Seymour added. In three series to date, Queensland has a perfect record after inflicting defeats over New South Wales, New Zealand and now Victoria. The winning form of Hayden Barnes continues with victories at Alexandra Park, Auckland late last year with Millie Sampson and then again last night at Melton with Jambiani. Seymour is now eyeing off a series against South Australian in the coming months. by Chris Barsby

Stewards today conducted an inquiry into the pathology report pertaining to a urine sample provided by licensed harness racing driver Brendan Barnes at a race meeting conducted at Albion Park on Saturday, 4 April 2015, which upon analysis revealed the presence of cocaine metabolites BENZOYLECGONINE and ECGONINE METHYL ESTER above the permitted threshold. After considering all the evidence tendered, Stewards charged Mr Barnes pursuant to AHR Rule 252E (1) which reads: “Subject to sub-rule (2) a person shall not have any alcohol or drug of abuse in his or her body when carrying on or purporting to carry on a licensed activity or official duties at a meeting.” Specifics of the charge being that when engaging in licensed activity at Albion Park on Saturday, 4 April 2015, Mr Barnes provided a urine sample which upon analysis was found to contain a drug of abuse, namely the metabolites of cocaine, BENZOYLECGONINE and ECGONINE METHYL ESTER. Barnes pleaded guilty to the charge. When considering the matter of penalty, stewards were mindful of the short period of time Barnes has held a licence, his record regarding this particular rule, and the impact any penalty may have on Barnes’ personal and financial situation. Consideration was also given to penalty precedents, the seriousness of the breach and the substance involved and the need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to Barnes and to illustrate to the industry that offences of this nature will not be tolerated, particularly bearing in mind the importance of a drug free workplace. In all the circumstances Stewards determined the appropriate penalty be a disqualification of Barnes’ licence for a period of six months, to be backdated to commence on Saturday, 4 April 2015, the day on which he was stood down. Further, under the provisions of AHR Rule 250(4), Barnes was advised he will be required to provide a sample free of banned substances prior to resuming driving. Barnes was advised of his appeal rights. Racing Queensland Media

Young Queenslander Hayden Barnes is enjoying a breakout harness racing season. The promising horseman is racking up his best numbers to date, driving with skill and poise while making the most of his opportunities come raceday. In only his third season of race driving, Barnes has booted home 46 winners to date this season which includes victories in the recent Girls On Track Final at Albion Park behind Benazir Bhutto plus his triumph on foreign soil when successful aboard Millie Sampson at Alexandra Park, Auckland during the Australasian Young Guns Challenge last November. Barnes is currently ranked equal fourth on the concession driver’s premiership table behind outstanding talent Narissa McMullen who has driven 69 winners to date. This season, Barnes has taken 253 drives for 46 wins and 58 minor placings. On Saturday night, Barnes has been presented with a wonderful opportunity when he will partner in-form pacer Bettor Draw. The Bettors Delight gelding equaled the Albion Park 2138m track record with his stunning 1;54.0 victory after racing without cover on March 31. Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova is the co-owner of the track record. “It’s a great thrill to be driving a horse like Bettor Draw, he’s clearly the best horse that I’ve driven to date and I’m thrilled that Narissa (McMullen – trainer) has put the faith in me.” Barnes said. Bettor Draw must overcome a second-line draw in the Fiery Tan Pace over the 1660m while in-form rivals Medal Of Honour, Mista Mara, The King Of Swing and Livinthehighlife have all drawn the front-line. Since being transferred to the care of McMullen, the seven-year-old gelding hasn’t missed a beat with placings in 9 of his 10 starts including a career best performance at Menangle in 1;51.9 three starts ago. “I think he looks well placed in this field and hopefully we can push forward and get fairly close to the action early, his form at the sprint trip reads very strong. “His winning effort last start was just unbelievable, he was a monster and I’m really looking forward to the challenge this weekend.” Barnes is also listed to drive Skippy Saddler (Race 1), Western Union (Race 3) and his own runner Donegal Under Fire (Race 5). He has trained 4 winners from 42 starters to date with his first winner coming with Alberts Flight last year while the other three winners all coming from Donegal Under Fire. Barnes is currently employed by Chantal Turpin after spending his early days with Darrel Graham. In fact, his first driving success came aboard the Graham trained Palazzo Las Vegas at Marburg on June 1, 2013. After 449 drives, Barnes has 69 lifetime wins while being placed on another 100 occasions. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 11 April 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 11 April 2015

Leading Brisbane harness racing trainer Darrel Graham is hoping the feature race success continues. Fresh from his success last week with Mafuta Vautin in the $25,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Final for 4yo Entires and Geldings at Albion Park, Graham is now eyeing off the Easter Gift. The $16,000 event is programmed for the C2/C5 pacers and has attracted a strong field but Graham has a pair of former Kiwi pacers that look well placed. Graham has last start winners Chattanoogachoochoo and Five Card Draw lining-up in the 2138m feature but both have drawn the second-line. “I’m really happy with both horses and this race looks ideal to kick start their latest campaigns. Obviously the barrier draws could’ve been better but I’m confident both horses will perform at the required level.” Graham said. Chattanoogachoochoo is the most recent addition to his Fernvale stables after being purchased following his victory at Rangiora on February 26. The Christian Cullen gelding was placed in 1:52.7 at Ashburton two starts ago after coming from a long way back. Since arriving in Brisbane, Chattanoogachoochoo was struck down by a virus which forced his scratching from the recent Gr.2 $50,000 Silks Restaurant Cup series but a sharp trial earlier this week proved he was back on track. Chattanoogachoochoo won the 1660m trial defeating open class performer Terror Time in a time of 1;56.2 coming off the speed. “It was a nice trial, we got an easy run just off the pace and he finished really well once he got clear while running good sectionals." "It was just a quiet trial in lead-up to this assignment this weekend." “The virus wasn’t bad but I wasn’t going to take any risks with him so that’s why we pulled him out of that series a few weeks ago, the winter carnival is fast approaching and there’s plenty of good money races available so it was the best decision to make." “I think he’s a nice horse with good speed so we’re hoping he can measure up around carnival time, this race looks an ideal starting point for him and I’m happy with the way he’s come through the trial.” Last start Gr.3 $45,000 4yo Championship winner Five Card Draw is resuming since July last year but following a spate of recent trials, the former New Zealand 2yo of the Year appears ready. The Bettors Delight gelding is carrying extra condition but Graham is confident he will perform well fresh. “We decided to give him a good break at the end of his last campaign, he’s done a super job and we gave him a couple of months off, he spent his time at Dean’s (Shannon – owner) property at Maleny." “We’re looking at the winter carnival with this guy as well, we know he’s up to that level and we’ll head that way in the coming months." He’s had a few trials in recent weeks and his most recent on Tuesday night was pleasing when second behind Epaulette." “They went solid time in the trial and he chased strongly, he had a good blow after and has trained on well since." "Whatever he does this weekend, he will improve considerably which is what we want.” Graham will partner Chattanoogachoochoo while in-form reinsman Adam Sanderson will take the lines behind Five Card Draw. Both pacers are raced by Dean Shannon. Chris Barsby - Racing Queensland

Smart harness racing fillies Bettorthanspecial and Bettor Promise are both chasing redemption this weekend. Both fillies missed the placed in last week’s Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic 3yo Fillies Final won brilliantly by Cullens Jewel who led her rivals a merry dance in the 2138m event. After beginning the season with excellent form, both fillies encountered a series of niggling issues which had co-trainers Shannon Price and Scott Miller on the back foot entering last week’s feature. “Looking back, it was a race against time and we came up a little short but take nothing away from the winner because she was very good." "We turned the page quickly and their heat performances earlier this week both proved they needed that run under their belt.” Scott Miller said. Both fillies recorded stylish victories in their respective heats of the $25,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship on Tuesday at Albion Park. Bettor Promise rated 1:58.6 while Bettorthanspecial went faster and recorded 1:58.2 – both fillies raced without cover. On Saturday night, Bettorthanspecial has drawn ideally in gate four while Bettor Promise will start from gate six. “It’s nice to have front-line draws with both fillies because barrier draws are so crucial with our style of racing and that was proven last week when our fillies failed in the Breeders Classic after starting from second-line draws. “We were really happy with both fillies following their heats." "They both did plenty of work and responded strongly in the straight." "Importantly, they both pulled up great and have taken no harm from the run or even last week’s effort." “We’ll be out to make full use of the good draws this week but it won’t be easy because the opposition is pretty good, a handy mixture of fillies and mares." "With normal luck, I think both fillies will play a strong hand in the finish.” Brad Cowen partners Bettorthanspecial while Lola Weidemann again takes the drive on Bettor Promise. The stable is looking forward to the coming months with a raft of feature events programmed for the Bettors Delight fillies including the Gr.1 $100,000 Queensland Oaks in July. “There’s no shortage of feature races coming up and hopefully both fillies keep improving and getting a little stronger with every start. All going to plan, we’ll be looking at the QBRED Triad, Seymour Nursery Pace plus all of the Oaks classics during the winter carnival. “All of those races will boast very strong depth and they won’t be easy but we’re looking forward to the challenge.” Both fillies were bred and are raced by Tony and Katy Price. Chris Barsby - Racing Queensland

Nathan Purdon is to widen his experience in the harness racing business-and hopes to get more drives while he is doing it with his transfer to Ian Gurney's Brisbane stable in the next month . "I met Ian while I was in Melbourne while he was there with Avonnova and he offered me a position." "It will mean a lot more opportunities to drive hopefully and that is one of the main factors." "In a big stable like ours unless you are the No 1 Junior Driver its a real struggle to get opportunities." "I don't know how long it will be for." "I will see what happens." "But it seems a good chance  for me all round", Nathan said. Ian Gurney has built up a remarkable record from his Chapman's Flat base where he was a virtual hobby trainer for a good while, the family being involved in the earthmoving business. He has had four starters in the Miracle Mile with Raglan and Mach Alert being the earlier ones and he turned the career of Avonnova around after buying him cheaply out of a claimer in Sydney in late 2013. Avonnova  had earlier won good races for Steve Turnbull. Avonnova broke Beautide's 1.52.6 record in the Newcastle Mile this season and was Queensland Horse of the Year last season. Ian's success has been such that his thoroughbred loving family have started investing in standardbreds, and one, Smooth Showgirl, won the $A100,000 Nursery Stakes for fillies last year. He has taken a share in the Bettor's Delight colt Rishi purchased at the Christchurch sale along with Mark and Natalie and Luke McCarthy as a result of his association with the stable recently. Nathan does not expect to drive another Adore Me during his trip. He was close to the champion mare from her early days and her career ending injury was a blow for him, "I didn't want it to end." "It was such a great ride and eeally emotional." "But she never let us down and you can't say that about many top horses." "They all have their moments when they are not so good." "She was so laid back it was unbelievable and she was such a great mover it was incredible." "I was sad it was over so soon but there are so many memories and she had done all she had to and more." "I don't think I will handle one like that again for a long time if ever" Nathan said.   Courtesy Of All Stars Racing Stables    

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