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Owner Jason Grice understands just how lucky he is on two fronts. Firstly, the Sydney-based Grice owns the first horse to be invited for the inaugural Group 1 $250,000 The Rising Sun – the Belinda McCarthy-trained Expensive Ego. The four-year-old confirmed his ticket to the richest harness race in the southern hemisphere for three and four-year-old pacers last Saturday night after claiming the Group 1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. While Grice, Expensive Ego and McCarthy are all based in southern states, they all have distinct links to the Sunshine State with the star pacer being a QBRED and was also purchased at the APG Brisbane Yearling sales. And, secondly on the luck front, Grice understands just how special his success with Expensive Ego has been, winning 12 races for $305, 218 in prize money from just 16 starts. “I had one horse before him, who was not very good, and now I have got him,” Grice explained. “I know how hard it is for people to get good horses, so I understand how lucky I am here. “It is the same with the dogs, you can buy, buy, buy and have no luck – but I went in this other direction now to get the horses. “I have been very lucky here; people might buy horses and dogs for 30 years and never get one like Expensive Ego – I see how lucky I have been.” Grice first got into the racing industry through his grandparents, who owned greyhounds with him, before recently making the switch to harness racing. A family friend sold Grice Expensive Ego and he has not looked back yet. Even before the invitation was confirmed for Expensive Ego, his Camden-based driver, Luke McCarthy, was already looking to Queensland. “We are always a part of the winter carnival no matter what anyway,” McCarthy said. “Hopefully we have a big team of horses to come up for the whole carnival. “Expensive Ego will be set for that race and hopefully we can have multiple runners throughout the entire carnival.” The exciting new race, The Rising Sun, will now debut on July 10 later this year as part of the Constellations Carnival after it was postponed in 2020 with limited feature racing occurring due to COVID-19. Racing Queensland and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club have the option to issue invites to 3YO’s (up to two) or 4YO’s (up to two) for the upcoming The Rising Sun.  With Expensive Ego the first to be invited for four-year-olds, there is a chance more will be handed out following the NSW Derby and the New Zealand Great Northern Derby, both to be held early next month. Grice thinks The Rising Sun is an excellent initiative for the harness racing industry. “It is a great concept, it is making the sport go forward, it is a great race,” he said. “Once it has been run for a couple of years and people see how great it can be, it will really take off. “We actually had our eyes on the race last year and then things obviously changed with COVID and he wouldn’t have made it anyway as he hurt himself. “It is amazing how this has come around, him being the first one invited, it is just great.” Racing Queensland Senior Harness Racing Manager David Brick said it was exciting to be able to hand out the opening invitation for the first ever The Rising Sun later this year. “He is a great fit for the race following his dominant win in the Chariots of Fire on Saturday night,” Brick said. “Expensive Ego is a QBRED and was purchased at the APG Brisbane Yearling sale. “We are looking forward to seeing him at Albion Park later this year.” Driven by Luke McCarthy, Expensive Ego won by almost three metres in the Chariots of Fire and now looks towards the $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle on the first Saturday of March. “I am over the moon with him, he went awesome the other night,” Grice said. “We thought it was going to be tough from where he drew but he keeps surprising us. “It is unbelievable, it really was.” Following the Miracle Mile, Expensive Ego is likely to head to Melbourne before looking north to Brisbane for the first ever Group 1 $250,000 The Rising Sun. McCarthy’s Expensive Ego was last in Queensland in 2019. Last year, RQ unveiled the Rising Sun as its newest Group 1 feature. The full schedule for the 2021 Queensland harness racing Constellations carnival is set to be released in the coming weeks.   Jordan Gerrans

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD I Am Sparta became the first two-year-old winner for the new season in Queensland after scoring an impressive victory at his race debut on February 16. Trained and driven by Darrel Graham, the colt franked some impressive trial performances when defeating the older horses to open his account. The new National Rating system was in his favour after the previous system was not conducive for the young horses to compete against their older rivals early in their career. Those changes meant that I Am Sparta was able to get to the races and land that first victory despite a lack of two-year-olds qualified and ready to race at this stage of the season in Queensland. Starting a hot favourite, Darrel Graham sent the son of Shadow Play straight to the front to take any unforeseen circumstances out of play and make his own luck. Luck was not required however, as the colt proved too classy for his older rivals when cruising home to an untouched victory by 20.1 metres. The 1.56.2 mile-rate was smart with the last mile covered in splits of 28.4, 30.3, 29.2 and 28.4 to make it an impressive debut for owner Shane Grice. A graduate of the 2020 Brisbane APG Sale, the colt is eligible for the Brisbane Group 1 Sale Series as well as the QBRED race features. The $18,000 purchase price was quickly offset after his victory secured the $12,000 QBRED first win bonus on top of the race prizemoney. Bred by Greg Mitchell and Burwood Stud, I am Sparta is the ninth foal of his dam Dontdrinkthendrive and the fifth winner the daughter of In The Pocket has produced to date. The compact colt looked the ultimate professional in his victory and has been displaying ability through his educational and qualifying trials. The next appearance for I am Sparta will likely depend on whether he can find a two-year-old race, with plenty of targets throughout the season on the radar following his debut.   THE BAD The Newcastle Mile was shaping as a great spectacle with connections of Lochinvar Art looking to make the most of the opportunity on their path to the Miracle Mile. His scratching from the race then looked to provide the Queensland-trained Turn It Up with the prime opportunity to force his way into the famous mile, and punters reacted to send the gelding to the post as an odds-on favourite. However, it was not to be, and the Vicki Rasmussen-trained gelding will now have to regroup and try to win his way through one of the sprint qualifiers this weekend to stamp his ticket to the big dance. Starting from gate 6 in the field of 7, Shane Graham was eager in the early stages to get across the field and after a brief challenge, restrained as The Black Prince kicked through to lead. Making another challenge, Turn It Up was able to press to the front with a lap to travel after the opening quarter was set down in a slick 26.4. Running the field through quarters of 29.5 and 27.7, Graham was trying to stave them off as they swung into the stretch, but they were unable to raise the effort to fight off the challengers, finishing in fifth place. While victory and the two-week break into the Miracle Mile was the ideal path, all is not lost and Turn It Up still has an opportunity to earn entry to the $1million event.   THE MILESTONE Bertil Olsson has owned horses over an extended period, and last Thursday at Redcliffe was able to secure a double as an owner from his small team. Placing his horses with different trainers to suit the horse, the Redcliffe double came through trainers John Kerr and Lola Weidemann. The first win came via the four-year-old Bertils Watch Me; a gelding by Hes Watching that was also bred by Olsson out of the Fake Left mare Pinoshea. Trained and driven by Lola Weidemann, the gelding was second-up from a spell at just his seventh career start when he was able to finish over the top of them in the closing stages. The maiden-breaking win was made even sweeter with the gelding securing the $12,000 first win QBRED bonus. Just two races later, John Kerr partnered Bertils Firefox to an all the way victory, with the five-year-old gelding claiming the third win of his career. Another bred by Olsson, Bertils Firefox is by Rock N Roll Heaven out of the six-win Bertils Wildfire, a mare that has had four foals to race and all four are winners. The win of Bertils Firefox completed the breeding/owning double, with Olsson having claimed an ownership double just once previous. That came back in 2015 at Hobart when Vander Jenkins and Bertils Bliss were successful with both horses trained by Heath Szcyzpka and driven by Gareth Rattray. In claiming victory, Bertils Firefox also added another milestone in the ownership history for Bertil Olsson; 100 lifetime wins as an owner was reached as Firefox crossed the line, a proud moment as an owner to reach triple figures. Congratulations Bertil!   THE WILDCARD Narissa McMullen was stuck on 999 wins for 20 days waiting to breakthrough to 1000 career wins, but it has been full steam ahead ever since the four figures were raised on February 5. Driving in great touch, McMullen completed a treble at Albion Park on February 13 and bettered that on Saturday night when steering home four winners. From six drives on the night, not only did Narissa claim four victories, but she also finished second with the other two drives. It was the fourth quartet of her career and the second at Albion Park, with the other two coming at Redcliffe and Gold Coast. However, the achievement was the first time at a Metropolitan meeting for McMullen. The night started with a dominant and deserved win to Ideal World, a pacer she also trains that had finished second at each of his previous three starts. The second win came courtesy of a pick-up drive aboard the classy Blacksadance when he was able to outstay his rivals in a tough victory. Win three came aboard the Stephen Cini trained trotter Garland Greene - overcoming a 40-metre handicap - and the quartet was completed when Clarry claimed victory in the ninth event, also providing Cini with a double. Very few female drivers have been able to score four or more wins at a Brisbane Metropolitan Staked card, with McMullen joining Kylie Rasmussen, Natalie Rasmussen, and Trista Dixon in the elite club. Dixon stands alone with her five wins on January 21, 2017, the only time a female has driven five winners at a Queensland Metropolitan meeting. Kylie Rasmussen has achieved four metro winners on four occasions, to lead the way for frequency amongst her female rivals. Meanwhile Lola Weidemann is in a league of her own, having driven four winners on a card on 32 occasions and five winners on 6 occasions.   THIS WEEK Six meetings are scheduled for decision this week with a Sunday afternoon fixture from Marburg the addition. Heats of the always popular Marburg to Albion Series will be held for the NR 47-52 rated performers doing battle to secure a spot in the $11,030 Final to be held at Albion Park on March 6. Marburg will also be joining the Team Teal campaign, hosting a female driver invitation race. Always a great day of country racing, QBRED cash bonuses will apply to all races on top of the regular prizemoney. Action from Albion Park this week will be the regular Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday timeslots. Friday’s meeting will play host to the second round of heats of the Jim McNeil Memorial, where Orlando Jolt and Unknown Son gained maximum points when winning their respective round one heats. Saturday Night sees a 3YO pace programmed for $14,060, another of the Ultimate Tools sponsored events with the winner to receive a rug along with vouchers to Ultimate Tools presented to the winning trainer and driver. Redcliffe will host the other two meetings in their regular Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon slots.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD As the second week of the Team Teal came to a close, the Queensland ladies were able to better the results of the previous week’s 12 wins by claiming victory in 16 races. Narissa McMullen led the way with five wins, highlighted by a Saturday night treble at Albion Park. Claiming driving honours on the night, McMullen scored with Clarry in race one for Stephen Cini, Paravani in race three for partner Matt Elkins and completed the treble by race four with Garland Greene - again for Stephen Cini. Kelli Dawson was able to record four victories for the week, including a Wednesday night double at Redcliffe. Maywyns Jewel, a pacer that Dawson also trains was the first of her pair, with the second for her father Geoff Dawson behind Shereacts. Chloe Butler - one of the 2021 Team Teal ambassadors - was able to drive three winners for the week, highlighted by a Tuesday double at Albion Park. Scoring with a bold front-running display on Illawong Dreamtime for trainer Doug Lee, Chloe completed the double with a win behind Casino Tommy for trainer and father Jack Butler. Sisters Dannielle Veivers and Taleah McMullen each landed a pair of wins for the week to take the tally to 16 for the week. The Queensland ladies are in second place on the national tally, with Kate Gath leading the charge for the Victorian team out in front. With $200 being donated to ovarian cancer research for every win by a female driver during the six-week period, the ladies are quickly starting to build a strong total. While it may not add any extra to the tally in terms of donations generated, the Queensland team were the first team to land an all-Teal trifecta, and as of Sunday afternoon, had three with all other states yet to get on the board. The first of those for the Queensland ladies came at Redcliffe on February 4 when Chloe Butler led home Taleah McMullen and Lola Weidemann. At Albion Park on February 9, Narissa McMullen scored with sisters Danielle Veivers and Taleah McMullen filling the minors. The third was again at The Creek, this time on Friday February 12 when Kelli Dawson led home Taleah and Narissa McMullen. Victoria did manage to gain their first all-Teal trifecta on Sunday afternoon at Charlton, while New South Wales also did on the same day in an all-female, invitation drivers race at Bathurst. With four weeks still to run, the tally looks set to soar at the current rate that the ladies are bringing home the winners.   THE BAD Joy quickly turned to despair for trainer Justin Pascoe at Redcliffe last Thursday with his pacer Ocean Lane. A recent addition to his stable, the four-year-old is a well-bred daughter of Mach Three out of the former smart race mare The Neptunes Lady. Purchasing the mare from the Sydney stables of Paul Fitzpatrick, Pascoe had trialled Ocean Lane at Albion Park in readiness for her first Queensland race start. Doing it comfortably in that trial without being asked for any real effort, it was decided to send her to Redcliffe for her first race start for her new owner. With Nathan Dawson booked to take the drive, Ocean Lane was well supported in the market off the back of her trial and despite starting from gate five, was sent to the post as an odds-on favourite. Looking to make light work of the wide alley, Dawson sent the mare straight to the front, and controlling the race, entered the home stretch looking all over a winner. With cousin Pete McMullen on the second-favourite Torque In Control, the pair had broken clear of the rest of the field to settle down for a battle to wire. Ocean Lane began to shift up the track but fought hard to be first past the post and score a first-up victory for the Pascoe-owned and trained four-year-old. However, after returning to scale, McMullen exercised his right to fire in a protest. Unfortunately for Pascoe, the success would be short-lived. After reviewing the replay and hearing submissions from both drivers, the stewards determined the interference was sufficient to have cost the chance of victory to Torque In Control. The numbers were reversed and the joy across the finishing line was gone, with Ocean Lane officially placed second.   THE MILESTONE Owner Ian Corrazol is no stranger to success, having secured feature race success over the years, most notably with his Group 1 Ladyship Mile winning mare Torque In Motion. Aiming to become the first Ladyship Mile winner to leave a Ladyship Mile winner in the breeding barn, Corrazol’s mare Justalittle Torque has headed to Sydney looking to follow in her mother’s hoof steps. While on Saturday night at Menangle it was not to be for Justalittle Torque in the Sibelia Stakes, she will have another chance to qualify for the Ladyship Mile this weekend via the Robin Dundee Stakes. Back on the ‘home’ front however, it was a successful Thursday afternoon sojourn to Redcliffe for two fillies that share several characteristics. Both Torque In Control and Typhoon Torque share the Torque moniker and are owned and bred by Ian Corrazol, trained by Chantal Turpin, were driven by Pete McMullen and are three-year-old daughters of Hurrikane Kingcole. It was a unique moment for Torque In Control, who has been trying to break her maiden status since placing on debut as a two-year-old back on February 7, 2020. Placed on nine occasions heading into her latest start - the 22nd of her career - it looked likely she would have to wait another day for the elusive win after being second across the line. However, with her momentum impeded, a protest was fired in and was soon upheld, meaning that Torque In Control had broken her maiden status with a steward’s room victory. The win was extra sweet, with the first win QBRED bonus also adding a nice cherry on top to the prizemoney. Three races later and Typhoon Torque scored the first win of her three-year-old season when leading throughout. A winner as a two-year-old back in August at Redcliffe, the victory secured the second win QBRED bonus for Corrazol. Hot off the strong showing at Redcliffe, it could well be a milestone week for Corrazol, with Justalittle Torque a finalist in the Queensland Aged Pacer of the Year and the Filly or Mare of the Year categories at this Sunday’s awards evening. His former Group 1-winning mare is also a nominee for the Broodmare of the Year award. Victory would be music to the ears of Corrazol, a passionate breeder that has continued to build from his foundation mare Thelma Palms.   THE WILDCARD With the New South Wales Carnival of Miracles heating up, Queensland was well represented across the weekend as trainers Vicki Rasmussen, Wayne Graham, Chantal Turpin, and Anna Woodmansey all headed to Menangle. Chantal Turpin had the biggest representation of the Queensland trainers on Saturday night, and the only trainer to land a victory. After breaking the four-year-old mares track record at Albion Park at her last start before heading south, Miss Ruby Sunshine was able to repeat her front running deeds. With Pete McMullen opting to drive stablemate Saucy Dreams, David Morris picked up the drive aboard the Sunshine Beach mare and made the most of his opportunity. Taking control from the start, Miss Ruby Sunshine was able to run a new career best mile of 1.52.1 in scoring a narrow victory. Owned by a long-time stable client of the Turpin barn in Ross Patrick, there was cause for further elation later in the evening as Will The Wizard qualified for the Chariots of Fire when finishing fourth in the Paleface Adios Stakes. Bred and owned by Patrick, the smart 4YO stuck to the pegs and was able to squeeze into the Group 1 to be held this Saturday, February 20. While Will The Wizard was able to qualify, One Change was not as fortunate and missed his chance after finishing down the line. Pelosi landed her ticket to the Group 1 Ladyship Mile when she was able to finish third in the Sibelia Stakes for trainer Anna Woodmansey. QBRED performers also ran strongly across the weekend thanks to Expensive Ego and Tough Monarch. Expensive Ego looks hard to beat in the Chariots after his slick win in the Paleface Adios Stakes where he stopped the clock effortlessly in a 1.50.1 mile. Meanwhile Tough Monarch - the richest trotter bred in Queensland - added another Group 1 victory to his name at Melton on Saturday night when claiming the Knight Pistol.   THIS WEEK It is another regular week in Queensland harness racing with five meetings set down for decision. Redcliffe has a ten-race card set down for Wednesday night and will follow that with the afternoon meeting on Thursday. Albion Park hosts a nine-race card on Tuesday and rounds out the racing week with the Friday afternoon meeting followed by the Saturday night metropolitan fixture. The Friday meeting will see the first-round heats of the Jim McNeil Memorial series for the square gaiters. Restricted to horses rated NR 50-70, the conditions are discretionary handicap with both rounds of heats over the 2,138-metre distance, while the final is at 2,647 metres. After the two rounds of heats, the top point scorers will progress to the Final on Saturday March 6 where the Group 3 event will offer $25,770 in stakes.    Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Last season may have ended in disappointment for trainer Jack Butler following Hectorjayjay’s forced retirement, however every end signifies a new beginning. The new season has been a strong one for Butler, with winners at all three Saturday metropolitan fixtures to date. At Redcliffe on Saturday night, the Butler stable was able to leave the Peninsula with a winning treble thanks to victories by Needabacardi, Bohannan and Rock With Sam. In-form square-gaiter Needabacardi was the first in the bag when scoring his third victory since joining Butler’s Logan Village stables, making it the 10th of his career. Sent out as the favourite in the AQWA Constructions Trotters Cup, driver Brendan Barnes was able to secure a great position in the one-out one-back trail as Skyline set the tempo in front. Making his challenge as the field approached the home turn, there were a few anxious moments as the saddle-cloth number detached. Flapping around the legs of the gelding, he remained focussed and maintained stride to power home to victory - minus the pink number eight cloth that was left on the Redcliffe track. One race later and Bohannan took to the track from inside the second line, drawn to follow out the race favourite Master Catch. Just prior to release, Master Catch was off stride and again when the field was released again made an error, forcing driver Chloe Butler to take evasive action before settling in position three back along the marker line. Angling across runners to find open space as the field swung for home, Bohannan produced a powerful closing sprint to arrive for a narrow victory - his second at Redcliffe. Knocking on the door in recent weeks, it was a deserved victory for the seven-year-old after placings at his past five starts in succession. Butler’s third and final win of the night came courtesy of Rock With Sam in open company when taking advantage of conditions to lead throughout, giving Brendan Barnes driving honours for the night with a double. Not raced through December after finishing fifth in the Be Good Johnny Sprint behind Colt Thirty One, the seven-year-old was the recipient of a smart drive from Barnes. With a steady opening half, the speed was dialled up through the last 800 metres with identical 28.4 seconds for the last two panels making it near impossible for the chasers. The win took Rock With Sam’s record to 20 career wins, with the gelding having recorded a win every season since his first as a two-year-old back in May 2016. With the Butler stable having some handy types looking to progress through their grades - Franco Landry, Going For Gold and Sweet Appeal come to mind - season 2021 has started in promising fashion.   THE BAD It’s fair to say that Saturday night’s meeting at Redcliffe wasn’t smooth sailing. After the Greater Brisbane lockdown the week prior, updated COVID-19 protocols were enforced and then after a week of dry weather, storm activity began to build on Saturday afternoon. With rain hitting the Redcliffe Peninsula, the track was in great order, but the muddy conditions made it tough for the drivers. Just to make the night even trickier, the track lighting was a victim of the storms and deluge of water, with the front straight plunged into darkness following the running of race six. Despite the misfortunes that the club was forced to endure, the meeting was able to progress and all ten races were completed. With over an hour lost to the lighting issues, it made the night even longer for Lola Weidemann who had just one horse in for the night. That runner was Pacific Coin who had progressed to the Hygain Final after winning a heat of the series 10 days prior. Sent straight to the front over the sprint trip, Lola was able to stay in front and relatively mud-free, the luxury that leading the pack brings with it. Owned by Lola’s sister, Julie, the nine-year-old had one of the busiest seasons of any horse in Queensland last term, facing the starter on 84 occasions for 10 wins. The big season has certainly not hampered his start to season 2021, with his record showing two wins from three starts. In claiming the 15th career victory with Pacific Coin, the near six-hour round trip from her Clifton stables may just have been worth the race delay for Lola.   THE MILESTONE A relative newcomer to Queensland, Sam Clotworthy is on the board as a winning driver in the Sunshine State. Joining forces with the Jack Butler stable, Clotworthy has taken a handful of drives before breaking through for his first Queensland victory at Albion Park last Thursday. Taking the reins behind the Butler trained Harpagus, the pair were able to settle in a perfect position from inside the second line as Springfield Spirit tried to lead throughout from gate one. Taking the passing lane when the gap presented, Clotworthy was able to arrive in time to end a prolonged period out of the winner’s enclosure for the six-year-old mare. Keeping the good start to the year for the stable rolling, the mare is now owned by stable boss Tara Butler and trained by husband Jack. Last victorious back in June of 2019, Harpagus was driven by champion reinsman, the late Gavin Lang on that occasion. Hailing from New Zealand, Clotworthy spent time in Tasmania last season where he was able to claim the Youngbloods Challenge just prior to arriving in Queensland. The Youngbloods is a six-race series for young drivers - with three heats at Hobart and three at Launceston - with Clotworthy claiming victory in three of the six heats, with a further two placings. Taking his second race drive behind Harpagus in Thursday’s event, the win was a great season start for Clotworthy to get off the mark.   THE WILDCARD Although it does not bring any further reward, book-ending a race card does not happen frequently. For owners Rob and Pam Essex, they were able to claim a book-end double at Thursday’s Albion Park meeting with driver Kelli Dawson piloting both winners. With a big team of pacers and greyhounds that race with the Maywyn moniker, the Essex’ have poured large amounts into both the pacing and chasing codes. On Thursday, Maywyn Troubador was able to score the second win of his career with a dominant victory in the opening race of the day. Given plenty of time to balance, the four-year-old was sent stomping around the field as they went down the back straight. Charging past the leaders, the gelding went on to score a commanding 21.8-metre victory and frank the effort of a recent trial where he blitzed his rivals in similar fashion. Trained by Geoff Dawson (Kelli’s father), the win demonstrated the talent of Maywyn Troubador who has taken some time to adjust to what racing is all about. Waiting until the last race for their second runner of the day, this time it was Kelli as both the trainer and the driver involved with the success of Maywyns Courage. Second-up from a spell, the six-year-old son of Courage Under Fire sat back in the pack from his second line barrier. The widest runner as they swung for home, Maywyns Courage sprinted sharply down the outside of the track to claim his first win of the new season. An APG sales graduate from 2016, Essex went to $22,000 to secure the Courage Under Fire x Nonni Sheffield colt, with his latest win taking his tally to 12 victories. No stranger to a handy horse, some of the better performed that the Essex family have been involved in include the likes of Maywyn Jasper, Badge Of Honour and Maywyn Tonz. Maywyn Jasper won the 2010 3YO APG Final at Group 1 level, defeating a field that included For A Reason, Chariot King and Renaissance Man - all Derby winners that Season. With Rob Essex recently celebrating a milestone birthday, number 10 may be the new lucky number for Rob, Pam and the Maywyn team, with both Troubador and Courage wearing saddlecloth 10 to victory.   THIS WEEK After a change-up to the regular Saturday night metropolitan meeting last week, this week returns to the more traditional programming. Tuesday afternoon, Friday afternoon and Saturday night will be from Albion Park. Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon will be from Redcliffe with Wednesday again hosting a full ten-race card. The week will start with an eight-race card from The Creek with race six named the Happy Retirement John Hackett Pace. John has filled many roles within the integrity arm across various administrations, most recently with the Integrity Regulation Unit for QRIC. A former Chief Steward of harness in Queensland and deputy chief steward for the thoroughbred code, John Hackett has given a significant contribution to the integrity of all three racing codes across more than 40 years of service. Enjoy retirement Mr Hackett.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Major Cam has faced his share of battles throughout his career but on Saturday night he produced one of his finest victories. In a career littered with issues and layoffs, the giant nine-year-old showed he still has the desire and instinct with a breathtaking last-to-first victory in the Remembering Atomic Ark Pace. Settling at the rear of the field as Mattgregor set the tempo in front, a steady early pace over the 2138-metre distance was making it look a difficult assignment for those back in the field. Still at the rear of the pack as the third split was put down in a sizzling 26.8 seconds, driver Kylie Rasmussen made her move. Angling across runners as they turned for home, Major Cam was soon the widest runner and shaken up to give chase, and give chase he did. Charging home down the outside of the track, he picked them up and put them away in the blink of an eye in claiming a two-metre victory. The win was astounding, with horses just not winning in free for all company in that manner. Trained by Darren Weeks, driven by Kylie Rasmussen and owned by her mother Cheryl, the win took Major Cam’s record to 59 starts for 26 wins and 13 minor placings and earnings of $235,000. Starting his career with a Redcliffe victory as a three-year-old in December 2014, Major Cam has been sidelined for periods of nine months or longer on three separate occasions. Following two wins from six starts in his first campaign, he was away from the track for 12 months, returning as a four-year-old with a first-up victory at Albion Park. It was to be a successful four-year-old term that returned 7 wins and 3 minors from 12 outings. Included were a pair of Group victories - the Group 2 Four-Year-Old Triad Final and the Group 3 Four-Year-Old Championship. The 4YO Championship victory would be his last in that season, with two more starts before another 11-month stint on the sidelines. Returning as a five-year-old, he showed no effects of the long break when scoring a gritty win first-up from outside the leader to claim his tenth career victory. A further six wins that season were followed with his progression to open company early in the new season as a six-year-old. Major Cam announced himself to the Free For All ranks with a dominant victory at his second start of the 2017/18 season in a field that included battle-hardened open class performers Alleluia and Mach Alert. Apart from a half-head second in the 2017 Redcliffe Patron’s Purse behind Bettorthanspecial, all his racing has been at Albion Park. His latest victory has elevated him into the ’25 Club’ for horses that have achieved 25 victories at The Creek. That victory indicating there is still film left to be added to the Major Cam highlight reel.   THE BAD George Michael is an owner, breeder and trainer that has put huge amounts of money and hard work into the sport of harness racing. With many of the horses owned by Michael bred by his own stallions in recent times, in 2016, he opted to send a mare by the name of Melton Bonny Bye to the court of Hurrikane Kingcole. The resultant foal was a filly, and that filly was then entered in the 2019 Redcliffe Yearling Sale. Entering the sales ring, the filly could not attract a solitary bid and was knocked down as a buyback to Michael for the paltry figure of $200. Naming his horses with the moniker of Melton as either a suffix or prefix in their name referring to Melton Stud - which is owned and operated by Michael - this filly would race as Melton Insulted. Given the name owing to how George Michael was feeling after his filly could not even secure a solitary bid at that 2019 sale. Fast forward to her two-year-old season and Melton Insulted - now prepared by John McMullen - progressed through to the Redcliffe Sales Series Final following a placing in her heat. There was to be no fairy tale in the $100,000 Group 1 Final, however the filly ended the extended season with 8 minor placings from 16 attempts. Stepping out as a three-year-old on January 7 at Redcliffe in her first start for the new season, Melton Insulted was able to land a maiden-breaking victory. Every cloud has a silver lining and the lining on this occasion was for Michael’s pockets. In claiming victory, the filly also pocketed the $12,000 QBRED first win bonus. Not bad for a horse that no one wanted!   THE MILESTONE Breeding is a character-building part of racing that can test the toughest of people and assess their resilience. Keith Croft has been lucky enough with his mare Versace Woman, on the most part, to experience the highs that breeding brings. On Saturday night at Albion Park, Versace Woman was able to land a metropolitan double when Just Joshin and Jiggle And Jive were both successful. Full siblings by the champion sire Bettors Delight, both pacers are trained out of Redcliffe by Aileen Smith and owned by Croft. Just Joshin was the first and perhaps unexpected of the double when claiming victory in a Qualifying Pace. Securing a perfect trip in behind the leader after starting from barrier one, Lachie Manzelmann was able to steer the six-year-old to victory via the passing lane. Securing a last stride victory by the barest possible margin, the winning rate of 1.55.3 also set a new benchmark for the gelding in landing his ninth career win. Less than 90 minutes later and the winning double for Croft, Smith and Versace Woman was completed when Jiggle And Jive triumphed. Already a Group 1 winner after claiming the 2019 2YO Fillies Triad Final, the four-year-old mare was able to break a winless streak when scoring a narrow victory in a mare’s event. After returning as a three-year-old with three successive victories, Jiggle And Jive just lost her way somewhat and after a steep rise in class that saw her meeting experienced rivals. A string of bad gates did not aid her cause, and after landing gate 1 on Saturday night, driver Shane Graham made the most of the advantage. Leading throughout, the mare was able to hold on for a narrow victory as Tuapeka Light made one last bid to get within a half-head of the winner. With a team of four in work - three of those full siblings out of Versace Woman - it has been a successful fortnight for Smith landing a pair of doubles. Joy To All - the third of the Bettors Delight x Versace Woman in Aileen’s team - was able to break through for her first victory at Redcliffe on December 30. Also successful on that night in completing a double for Smith was Regalia, the four-year-old claiming his second career victory. Owned and bred by Aileen along with her father Cliff Gassman, the gelding is out of the mare Idontneedluck that Smith raced to 12 career wins. Season 2021 has certainly started the best way possible.   THE WILDCARD Daroobalgie is a small hamlet just off the Newel Highway between Forbes and Parkes in the Lachlan Valley of New South Wales. It is also the name given to a handy pacer that raced in the early to mid-2000s for owner/breeder Carol Wood and her husband Bruce, who was also the trainer of the stallion. In an impressive career that netted 21 victories, the highlight was a Group 1 success when claiming the 2001 3YO NSW Sires Stakes. As a four-year-old, he was able to progress through to the 2002 Inter Dominion Final won by Smooth Satin. In a four-start Queensland campaign in 2003 as a five-year-old, he finished unplaced each time, including an eighth in the Winter Cup won by Sokyola and down the line in the Redcliffe Cup. At stud - with limited opportunities - Daroobalgie has been able to sire five winners from 11 starters. Of those five, three have been successful at Redcliffe - Gargarra, Ceear Rail and Aroona. Last Thursday, 15 years to the day since Daroobalgie contested the Shepparton Cup, Aroona claimed his fifth career victory. Trained by Melissa Kendall and driven to victory by her son Zac Chappenden, Kendall has been patient with the now eight-year-old. Repaying that patience has seen the gelding claim five victories and place on a further 22 occasions under her care after taking on Aroona as a 15-start maiden. The win of Aroona provided mother and son team of Melissa and Zac with the first leg of a race-to-race double. Wild About Town was the second leg when the seven-year-old was able to lead all the way in scoring his sixth victory for Kendall. Scoring a double with a pair of pacers that entered her barn as maidens and virtual cast-offs, they have started the latest season in perfect fashion.   THIS WEEK This coming week will again see five race meetings held in Queensland. Albion Park kicks off the week with an eight-race card followed by Redcliffe on Wednesday night with ten races to be decided. Redcliffe on Thursday afternoon will be followed by Albion Park Friday afternoon. The week will be rounded out with something a little different to the normal schedule, with Redcliffe hosting the metropolitan staked meeting. Highlighting the card will be a Trotters Cup race offering total stakes of $22,210, run over the 2613-metre distance with conditions of discretionary handicap. There will also be the final of the Hustler Raptor Series following two heats last Wednesday. For the 47-52 rated performers with a random barrier draw, heat winners were Headwin and Pacific Coin. All participants and stakeholders are requested to keep pace with the latest advice from Racing Queensland to ensure COVID-19 protocols are met.   by Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.   THE GOOD Angus Garrard has had one of his most successful weeks in the sport, landing multiple wins at three successive meetings last week. The run started at Redcliffe on Wednesday night with a winning double aboard the Doug Lee-trained Illawong Dreamtime and Barboo for Charlie Chiang. The Christmas eve meeting - again at The Triangle - saw Angus go one better than the previous evening when scoring a threepeat of victories. His first winner for the day came with Fortyfive Rock, a pacer that was winless after 43 career starts. Garrard has now had ten drives on the gelding for three wins and two minors. Go Anne Go was the second triumph, with the Gary Gerard-trained mare charging home from the rear of the field to claim victory. The treble was complete when Blues Terror - having its first start in Queensland - was successful in race eight for trainer Donny Smith. Angus only had two other drives outside of his winners, placing third in both. Heading to headquarters for what looked on paper a strong book of drives, the results backed up that early assessment. In claiming his third metropolitan treble in his fledgling career, it was trainer Donny Smith that provided the first winner of the night. That win was courtesy of Letterkenny Boy, a pacer Garrard has now partnered to five victories. Picking up a nice catch-drive for the Craig Cross stable in the seventh, Lets Katchmeifucan proved that the field could not, scoring a start-to-finish win. The treble was completed with a well-timed and patient drive aboard the star filly Pelosi, charging home wide off the track to score. In just his first full season of driving, Angus has broken into the top 20 nationally, sitting behind 174 wins in the extended season. Listing the treble of wins at his first ever Metropolitan meeting back in June as a season highlight, the young reinsman has had many memorable wins already. Landing four wins for the term aboard the excitement machine Speech Is Silver also ranks highly, purely for the acceleration and speed he can deliver at the end of his races. Arguably one of the most impressive wins for the season for Angus came aboard The Bus at Albion Park back in September. Caught three-wide throughout, it was a composed drive and looming up in the stretch, Garrard was able to coax enough out of the entire to score a win against the odds. The call by Chris Barsby complemented the triumph, as he proclaimed “The Bus reaches the lead, he has the Go-Card stamped tonight, The Bus - that’s a monster victory”. Driving with poise and balance beyond his years, Angus will also claim a unique record in Queensland for the season. Five tracks have hosted TAB meetings in Queensland this season and just one driver has been able to win at least one race at all five - Angus Garrard.   THE BAD Bad injuries are never easy for any human to manage, and athletes can often find it even harder in the pursuit of returning to their chosen endeavour. When those injuries belong to an equine athlete, the job of a trainer can become testing, stressful and even harder to manage. Secretagent Tycoon has faced a string of injury setbacks in his career, but trainer Ryan Veivers has been able to convert the bad into something special. A broken hip and two bowed tendons have meant long stints on the sideline, however with a patient attitude and a steady approach, Secretagent Tycoon is on the cusp of breaking into the open class ranks. Progressing through the grades, the rising eight-year-old is now one win off becoming a Band 1-rated horse in Queensland and thus a free-for-all competitor. The latest victory for the gelding on Saturday night was against many horses that are already in the open ranks, with the likes of Fame Assured, Mattgregor, Northview Hustler and recent Queensland Cup winner Cruz all finishing behind the gelding. Sent straight to the front over the 2,138-metre distance, Secretagent Tycoon proved too strong up front in claiming victory, his eighth win when partnered by Dannielle - now the wife of Ryan Veivers. Stepping out for Ryan for the first time back in July 2019, the rangy chestnut has now had 33 starts for 12 wins and 7 placings under his care, amassing just shy of $85,000 in stakes in that period. Owned by Karen Burrows, he is now within striking range of $100,000 in earnings and after his win on Saturday, and it looks a case of when, not if, he can breakthrough that figure.   THE MILESTONE Chris Petroff has achieved plenty in the sport; 1000 plus career driving wins, six Group 1 victories and countless feature race wins. However, in November 2018, it was time for a break and Chris stepped away from the sport. Harness racing is one contagious beast and like it has done to so many people before, it was able to lure another back to the bright lights of the racetrack. Enter Grant Dixon, the country’s leading trainer who knew the talent and experience Petroff could bring to the sulky, and soon the comeback was in motion. Pulling the silks back on under race conditions for the first time in 754 days, Chris was able to steer the Dixon-trained Tajie Baby to third placing at his first drive back. Just two days later with the first night of the Summer Carnival underway, linking with the Dixon stable meant that drives were available in the feature racing. While a comeback victory was proving elusive, the placings were starting to build. Finally, on Redcliffe Christmas Cup night, the present was delivered when Chris Petroff was able to bounce back for his first victory back in the sulky. Courtesy of an all the way win to Madamoiselle Jujon, 27 days following his first drive and 848 days since last tasting a race victory, the comeback was complete. With that monkey off the back, expect to see C A Petroff more regularly in the winner’s enclosure.   THE WILDCARD With the extended racing season closing this Wednesday night, one horse will end the term with a unique achievement. In the past season, TAB rated meetings have been held on five tracks through Queensland - Albion Park, Redcliffe Marburg, Kilcoy and Warwick. There are several horses that have competed on all five tracks, however Montana Chief stands alone with victories on four of the five and finishing runner-up at the fifth. Trained by Adam Sanderson, Stephanie Graham and Darrel Graham throughout the season, the four-year-old ends the term with the figures of 66: 9-11-7 and stakes of $55,509 for his owner Will Jones. Drivers at the reins for the wins were Brittany Graham (3), Adam Sanderson (2), Trent Lethaby (2) and Angus Garrard (2). The first win of the 2019/20 season came with an Albion Park success on September 30, 2019 and was followed four days later by another win at The Creek. Montana Chief scored his first Redcliffe victory for the season on December 11, 2019 and again showed an appreciation for the quick back-up when claiming a qualifying victory just three days later. Marburg was next on the hitlist for the Chief, scoring there on October 25, 2020, with his next victory coming at Kilcoy on Sunday November 29. The Kilcoy win made it success at all four tracks that had conducted TAB meetings until that point of the season. Heading to Warwick - the fifth track - victory in the Warwick Pacing Cup would have completed the set, however Our Major Day proved too strong on the day as Montana Chief scored a respectable second placing. A consistent performer throughout his career, Montana Chief will also bring up the milestone of 100 starts when he next steps out.   THIS WEEK Following the extension to the racing season to coincide with the calendar year, this week will see the 2019/20 term close. Racing for the final week of the season starts with 8 races to be held on the grass at Kilcoy. Although field sizes are thin, the races look competitive with the club also running a heat and final series for the first time. Those progressing out of the heats will do battle at Kilcoy on Monday January 25 in the Final where the $8,170 stakes will be the largest prizemoney ever offered in Queensland grass track racing. The remainder of the week will see Albion Park hosting the regular Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday slots. The last day of the current season ends with Redcliffe hosting the Thursday afternoon meeting. With last season starting at The Creek on a Monday, the 2020/21 Season will again at Albion Park as they play host to a night meeting this Friday.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Grand Circuit champion King Of Swing capped the 2020 Albion Park Harness Racing Club Summer Carnival in great style. Under rain-soaked skies, King Of Swing thrilled local fans with a breathtaking display in the Gr.1 $175,660 TAB Blacks A Fake when easily accounting for Colt Thirty One and Turn It Up in the 2680m feature. Prepared by Craig Cross and handled by brilliant reinsman Luke McCarthy, the $1.50 favourite rated 1:58.5 while ripping his final 400m in a stunning 26.2 seconds. For McCarthy, it was his ninth victory in the state’s biggest event. It was a cause for double celebration for connections with the victory confirming him as the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit champion. King Of Swing is raced by Beth Richardson, Mark Congerton, Go Racing (Mick Harvey), Karen Hall, Glen Moore, Sylvie Macgregor plus Rob & Frank Patriarca. Fittingly, the field was led out by the recently retired and 2017 Blacks A Fake winner Hectorjayjay. The Gr.2 $30,660 TAB Trotters Sprint also went the way of the Cross/McCarthy combination with the Queensland owned Arnold leading throughout in a time of 1:55.8 – just outside of the track record held by Greg The Great at 1:55.1. Arnold is raced by Jeroen Nieuwenburg. In total, the Cobbitty Equine team of Cross and McCarthy scored a quartet of victories with Lets Katchmeifucan (TAB Venue Mode Final) and Franco Hampton (Jack Waltisbuhl Memorial Final) also proving successful. The $21,160 Bill Dixon was taken out by the beautifully bred Straddie for Charlie Cini and Shane Graham, the half-brother to millionaire pacer For A Reason defeated race favourite Bomb Suit in a time of 1:55.0. The Cini/Graham duo also scored with in-form mare Chevrons Reward later in the program. Despite the inclement weather throughout the night, the highly anticipated Jockeys and Drivers Challenge Final was taken out by Baylee Nothdurft after sailing down the outside to defeat Georgina Cartwright. Nothdurft donated a winner’s cheque of $1000 to his charity of choice, Beyond Blue. NOVA 106.9FM Radio personality and breakfast show host David ‘Luttsy’ Lutteral was again trackside and joined oncourse broadcaster Chris Barsby to ‘call’ the Jockeys/Drivers Final. Club officials were thrilled with crowd numbers, turnover figures and race night coverage provided by Radio TAB, SKY Channel and the Seven Network throughout the carnival. Racing returns next Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Chris Barsby Australian Harness Racing

Can Cruz overthrow Colt Thirty One? The co-owner of the Albion Park track record (1:50.4 with Im Themightyquinn) returns to the Sunshine State in readiness for Saturday night’s Gr.2 $50,660 Badcock Group of Companies Queensland Cup, the main event on the second night of the summer carnival. Prepared by leading Sydney trainer Craig Cross and to be driven by Brisbane born reinsman Leonard Cain, Cruz struck an early advantage after landing gate three while Colt Thirty One must overcome gate six in the 2138m mobile start feature. Back during the winter carnival in July, the two quality pacers staged some epic battles, but Cruz won both encounters after leading and winning in both the Wondais Mate and Mr Feelgood Open events. But plenty has changed since then. Cruz has won two of his five starts since while Colt Thirty One has won eight of his past nine including last week’s thumping victory in the Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprint in 1:51.9. Queensland’s pin-up pacer sat parked outside race favourite Turn It Up before asserting his authority in the latter stages. Can he sit parked this week and do it again or will the Sydney speedster prove his nemesis? “We’ve got so much respect for Colt Thirty One but we know our guy is capable of beating him and we’re going there to win again this weekend. It’s going to be a great race but we’ll be looking for the early advantage so we’ll see if he can catch us.” Cain said. Cruz has been unplaced in both runs backs this campaign but has been freshened since his latest effort when fourth behind Out To Play in the Gr.3 $30,000 Popular Alm FFA at TABCORP Park, Melton on October 10. That followed his effort in the Gr.2 $50,000 Smoken Up Sprint a week earlier when eighth behind Rishi in 1:50.2. Cruz is raced by Victorian based Luke Tabone. Boasting five wins from eight starts at Albion Park, Cain is confident he’s back near his best form like he displayed during the winter. “He hasn’t trialed since his latest run but his work at home with Craig and Luke (McCarthy) has been really impressive so we’re all confident. “I watched Colt Thirty One from Menangle last week and he was absolutely super, he’s full of confidence and very fit but he’s likely to have another tough run again because of his draw. “Cruz goes best in front and he proved that during the winter campaign, I think we can lead from our good draw. This race has been on the radar for some time, the borders have reopened and we’re ready to go.” TAB market framers have installed the local star favourite at $1.95 while Cruz is assessed as a $5 chance. Colt Thirty One is chasing back to back victories in the Queensland Cup following his brilliant victory last year, a week after returning from his luckless Auckland Inter Dominion series. The Cross/Cain combination will combine with another key runner at Albion Park this weekend, they have Balraj making his Brisbane debut in the Gr.3 $30,770 Ted and Edna Badcock Memorial 4yo Championship. The Art Major gelding has won 12 of his 22 starts to date including two from five since being under the care of Cross. Balraj failed in the Gr.1 Victoria Cup two starts ago (8th behind Lochinvar Art) before returning to Sydney at his most recent start where he ran a stylish second behind his stablemate King Of Swing on November 21. Cain is yet to drive Balraj under race conditions. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity, he’s a really nice horse and I know Luke has plenty of time for him so I’m hoping I can get the job done. “I’ve driven him in trackwork a few times to familiarize myself and he gives you a nice feel, some changes have been made so I think he’ll prove hard to beat.” Balraj has been listed as the $1.50 favourite with TAB while the only other runner in the mix is the locally trained L L Cool J at $2.80. Prepared by Nathan Dawson, the son of A Rocknroll Dance has won all three starts since arriving in Brisbane and looked super sharp last week in a time of 1:54.6 for the 2138m event. L L Cool J has drawn gate four with Balraj on his immediate outside.   Chris Barsby

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Queensland’s signature event for square gaiters - the Darrell Alexander Memorial - will be run this coming Saturday night; with the 14 finalists decided after six heats. There were five winners of the six heats - Our Overanova, BD Khaosan, Musculus and Majestic Simon, with Gee Up Neddy the only finalist to claim victory in both heats he contested. However, if Neddy is to claim victory in the Group 2 Final, he will need to overcome history. The 2020 edition will be the 14th running of the DJA and in the previous 13 renewals, no trotter has been able to win both heat rounds and the Final. But this year has been a year like no other in so many ways, so will this be the year that a trotter can sweep the series? Gee Up Neddy has certainly found form at the right time to make it a reality, and from the 10-metre handicap combined with his great manners, has the chance to re-write history. In in the fifth heat on Saturday night, Gee Up Neddy was safely away to settle closer to the rear as Godofthunder moved up outside the leader Im The Commando to ensure an even tempo throughout. BD Khaosan had the one-by- one trail and looked poised to strike as the field swung for home, however, Gee Up Neddy kept coming down the outside to claim victory by a half-neck. That pair had broken away with the third placed Havana Magic a further 14 metres astern. Owner, trainer, and driver Hayden Barnes will be hoping that he can go one better than the 2019 Final. In last year’s series, Gee Up Neddy was a narrow 2nd in the Final after looming up strongly, only to be grabbed in the closing strides along the passing lane behind Wee Man Trouble. Versatility could be the key to victory in 2020, with Gee Up Neddy possessing that attribute. Clean manners from the tapes along with the ability to work or be saved for a closing sprint will hold the nine-year-old in good stead. Back in August, Barnes listed his season highlight as bringing up his 400th career victory aboard Gee Up Neddy. That statement may be up for debate later this Saturday night if Barnes can become the first to sweep the DJA Series. If by some bad luck Gee Up Neddy is runner-up again, there is probably only one horse that Hayden hopes can beat him home - Needabacardi. To be driven by his brother Brendan, the chestnut has been runner-up in both rounds of heats. Trained by Jack Butler, listed as a part owner - Hayden Barnes, it would certainly be a season highlight. THE BAD American politician Frank A. Clark once quipped “It’s hard to detect good luck — it looks so much like something you’ve earned.” That is a statement that certainly would resonate with owner Mick Andreadis. Owning horses in several states spread across various trainers, Andreadis has certainly had his resilience tested, and here in Queensland, the trotter I Asked Nicely is one such test. Starting just nine times since arriving in Brisbane with trainer Travis Mackay back in March, the eight-year-old has won two races. Yet such are his problems, he has trialled on 15 occasions in that same period under enforced embargos to correct his manners. Another horse owned by Andreadis is Major Mucha, a horse that has been plagued by bad luck in landing a good barrier in recent months. Joining the Mackay stable back in July, the four-year-old Art Major gelding has started on 20 occasions. Heading into his latest assignment, Major Mucha had started from gate 4 or wider in 17 successive starts. From gate one on Saturday, he made his own luck when leading throughout to claim victory with Dannielle Veivers taking the reins. Luck may be turning for Andreadis, with another of his pacers scoring at Mildura on Thursday. Laser Major - now a 10-year-old - was successful in the opening race, ending a win drought that had extended back to 2016 and over 50 race starts. With that sort of drought, it is fair to say that any luck has certainly been earnt.   THE MILESTONE There were three age track records at Marburg on Sunday, with the warm weather and settling track proving ideal for fast times. The first of those records came in the opening event of the day when the Peter Greig-trained Straytothepoolroom was successful. Marburg does not tend to have a great deal of two-year-old events on their programmes, however on Sunday a mixed age event was the catalyst of the new record. Driven by Angus Garrard, the Cammibest gelding was put on the front-end early and once in control, held on to take the victory and surpass a record that has stood since 2008. Maywyn Gold, trained and driven by Shane Sanderson, has held the record for 12 years, with the win of Straytothepoolroom taking 0.9 seconds off the old mark. Two weeks ago, Voodoo Fella provided Jordan Topping with her first victory as a driver and with his latest victory, Jordan can also boast the three-year-old colts and geldings record. Twice within a month this record has been bettered - Major Fernco setting a new mark on October 25, with Voodoo Fella eclipsing that mark with his victory at the weekend. Wide in the closing stages, it was a well-timed drive by Topping, arriving to claim a half-head margin and set a record of 1.58.4 with the win. It also provided the Russell family with a quinella - David training the winner with son Dan training the runner-up - Abercrombie Tab. The third and final record was the victory of Gina Tarantella, setting a new benchmark for the aged mares of 1.57.8, taking 0.3 seconds off the previous mark held by Ale Ale Kai.   THE WILDCARD Gina Tarantella was having her first start for Jonah Hutchinson after joining his stables from New South Wales. The four-year-old Million Dollar Cam mare arrived in Queensland after 20 starts that had failed to net a return down south. After a sound trial at Menangle in mid-October, she was on the move North where Hutchinson opted to send her straight to the races on Sunday at Marburg - without a further trial. Powering out of the pack from the start, Hutchinson had the mare freewheeling in front, running the opening splits in close to even time with identical 30.1 second quarters. Dialling it up down the back, Gina Tarantella put up a big margin on her rivals when running through the third split in 28.3 seconds. With the race shot to bits, Hutchinson had not moved on the mare, cruising home in 29.8 seconds for the last 400 metres, setting the 1.57.8 mile-rate for the 1850-metre trip and establishing a new aged mare track record. In the demolition process, the winning margin could likely be a new record for the Marburg track - the 73.2 metre margin back to second also close to a Queensland record. Searching through mountains of results, the victory could possibly be the second biggest in Queensland behind the 77-metre debut win of Viking Reign back in 1987. Stablemates Greg The Great and Archilles - trained by Graham Dwyer - both won races by 55.3 metres last season but hitting into 70+ metres looks rarefied air. That is not the only big win in recent weeks for the Hutchinson stable, with the arrival of some new horses to the barn bringing some good success. Rousey claimed victory by 51.7 metres at her first outing for the stable, the mare remaining undefeated in Queensland after four starts. With the manner of the win by Gina Tarantella, Jonah Hutchinson and connections could have some fun times ahead.   THIS WEEK The TAB Queensland Harness Racing Summer Carnival officially starts on Saturday at Albion Park with the night jam-packed with feature racing. Headlining the on-track excitement is the Group 3 Be Good Johnny Sprint where Colt Thirty One and Turn It Up look set to do battle. After two rounds of heats, the Darrel Alexander Memorial Trot at Group 2 level will see a capacity field of square gaiters look to secure Queensland’s biggest trotting event. QBRED three-year-olds are set to do battle, with a pair of Group 3 races - for the colts and geldings and for the fillies - in the new QBRED for Life race to be conducted at 2138 metres. Support races on the card include the APHRC Members Cup, the Changeover Queen of the Creek for mares and a two-year-old feature. The racing week will include the regular schedule of Tuesday through Saturday, with Albion Park on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday along with Redcliffe hosting Wednesday and Thursday. Sunday will see grass track action from Kilcoy where three races will be conducted alongside the gallops meeting at the track known as Moonee Valley of the North.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

SO far, so good for the Turn It Up experiment in Queensland. The former budding star of the sport showed serious glimpses of the sort of form that won him an Auckland Cup among other features when he blitzed his rivals at Albion Park last night. It was just his second run back from ongoing and serious feet issues which sidelined him after his Harness Jewels 4YO win back on June 1, last year. Now leased and trained by Vicki Rasmussen, Turn It Up grabbed the eye at his first run back when a late-closing third to Colt Thirty One two weeks back. Fitter and drawn the front row, driver Shane Graham drove with aggression and confidence by blasting across the field from gate seven to lead and that was effectively the end of the race. Turn It Up cruised home in a 1min53sec mile rate for 1660m, running home in 55.4 and 27.9sec. He’s been given a long, slow build-up by Rasmussen and looks to be shaping nicely for the Queensland Summer Carnival, headed by the rescheduled Group 1 Blacks A Fake on December 12. Turn It Up’s won 12 of his 17 starts with four second and a third for earnings of $446,724. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE rampaging Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable flexed its muscle big time at Melton’s stellar card last Friday night. As usual, they dominated the juveniles features by winning both Edgar Tatlow finals for fillies and colts and geldings. Mach Three filly Ladies In Red confirmed her ranking as the best of the crop by sitting parked and dominantly winning her final where Stewart trained the first six placegetters. Ladies In Red, driven by David Moran, zoomed clear and the top of the straight in a 55.3sec last half to win easily by 5.4m over the exciting Treachery with Beach Music third in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for 2240m. Stewart had to settle for just the win the colts and geldings final when the powerhouse leader Act Now continued his hot form this campaign and won by 3.8m for driver Jodi Quinlan in a 1min55.1sec mile rate. Anthony Butt’s former Kiwi Vanquish Stride dashed home late for second and is on the up at the right time. Stewart’s star juvenile of last season, Maajida, looks primed for the Breeders Crown and Vicbred judging by barnstorming to victory in the strong Argent 3YO Fillies’ classic. Kiwi interest was in Victoria Oaks winner Dr Susan, but she drew poorly and was never a hope back in ninth spot, 32m from the winner. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE girls continue to dominate Australia’s open-class trotting races. Just two weeks after three-year-old filly Pink Galahs created history beating Australia’s best trotters in the Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint, one of the beaten brigade, Red Hot Tooth, bounced-back in the best possible way last Friday night. Red Hot Tooth, already a multiple Group 1 winner, pounced on the lead from gate five in the True Roman free-for-all (2240m) and produced arguably the best win of her career for driver Kerryn Manning. She cleared out to win by 19.5m in a 1min56.8sec mile rate, closing in 56.8 and 28.2sec. It was her 24th win from 80 starts and edged Red Hot Tooth close to $500,000 in earnings. Glamour mare Dance Craze got well back, was pushed deep and ran home fairly well for third. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ STILL on the stellar Melton card where Wolf Stride and Catch A Moment looks serious stars on the rise. Already a Group 1 winner, Wolf Stride looked awesome clearing out to win the opening race by 9.1m in a slick 1min52.1sec mile rate for 1720m. “He’ll make a Grand Circuit horse in time,” trainer-driver Anthony Butt said. Catch A Moment looks Amanda Turnbull’s next star judging by his breathtaking Melton win. The four-year-old led throughout, but it was the way he kept going further in front without being asked by driver James Herbertson to score by almost 35m in a 1min53sec mile rate for the longer 2240m trip. By comparison, Lochinvar Art went a track record 1min51.4sec for 2240m winning the Victoria Cup two weeks ago. “He could’ve gone much quicker,” Herbertson said. “I was trying to give him as easy a run as possible knowing he’s got the final of this race next week.” It was a big night for Turnbull, who also trained and drove Speak No Evil to a minor upset win in the Group 3 Angelique Club Pace (2240m) for mares’. NZ’s best mare Our Princess Tiffany was sent out a commanding $1.60 favourite, but couldn’t repeat her sparkling win in the Make Mine Cullen the previous week and disappointed in fourth spot. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ EVERGREEN Galactic Star upstaged his more glamour stablemates to win the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The younger Vampiro was sent out a $1.30 favourite, led as expected from the pole, dictated terms, but couldn’t hold-off Galactic Star’s finishing burst from the one-one trail. Maybe Team Bond’s stable driver Ryan Warwick gave punters the tip when he elected to drive Galactic Star of their six runners in the eight-horse field. Galactic Star powered home to win by 1.6m from Vampiro with Stroke Of Luck third. Reigning WA Pacing Cup winner Mighty Conqueror sat parked, never looked a winning hope and just battled on fairly for fourth. Being blunt, the race just reinforced Chicago Bull and Shockwave had a fair gap on their nearest rivals right now in the countdown to the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in late November/early December. The other star performer of the night was classy mare Balcatherine, who resumed from a spell to brilliantly win the mares’ race by 12.3m in a slick 1min55.1sec mile rate for 2130m. She led and dashed home in 55.3 and 27.7sec. The disappointment was former Kiwi mare Wainui Creek, who did some work and sat parked, but tired very badly to finish almost 30m from the winner in second-last spot. Balcatherine’s win quickly stamped her as the testing material for the upcoming Group 1 Mares’ Classic at Gloucester Park on November 27. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ KIMA Frenning’s focus on training just got more exciting. Frenning unveiled her recent Kiwi import Russley Rush for a sparkling Ballarat win last Thursday night. The four-year-old son of Art Major led and won as he liked by 10.6m in a 1min57sec mile rate for 1710m, zipping home in 27.5sec for driver Chris Alford. Russley Rush raced 15 times in NZ for Tony Herlihy for a win and six placings.   By Adam Hamilton

Albion Park’s Summer Carnival has been matched by unprecedented sponsorship levels. The three night Carnival embraces a wide array of feature races on November 28, December 5 and 12. The Garrards family has affirmed their long term association with the Albion Park club by securing the naming rights on the opening night. Yet this is only a small part of their generosity which club chairman David Fowler has described as “ a gesture above and beyond their finest contributions over many years”. Garrards has donated $20,000 to be distributed as cash prizes on the night. “It’s a case of Christmas coming early. Chris Garrard and his family know no bounds in their support of the industry,” Mr Fowler said. The $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprint is the racing feature that night. Long time member and former committeeman Neil Badcock perpetuates the memory of his parents Ted and Edna with his sponsorship of night two (December 5). “Neil’s on-going contribution to our club is not only exceedingly generous but gives us the chance to remember two people who loved their harness racing,” Mr Fowler said. The $50,660 Queensland Cup is the signature race on the second night of the Carnival. The club’s principal sponsor TAB again has the naming rights to the $175,660 Blacks A Fake, the state’s only Grand Circuit event, which is the Summer Carnival’s pinnacle on night three (December 12). “Our sponsorship family continues to grow as we welcome Designlife Graphics and are delighted to continue our association with Paul Galvin’s Aqwa Constructions,” Mr Fowler said. Both companies will play a role during the Summer Carnival. The Pacers and Chasers Restaurant is certain to be in strong demand on each night as will be the recently-opened “The Creek Bar” which is located adjacent to the home turn. The Creek Bar will be  exclusive to members and was opened this week in conjunction to the club rolling out its new membership program which becomes effective from January 1 but the several tiers of membership can be purchased now.

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Young trainer and driver Lachie Manzelmann is on the rise, starting to make a splash after growing his training numbers in the past two months. Setting up in Redcliffe’s famous Knight Street adjacent to the track, Manzelmann can claim a training success at each of the main tracks in south-east Queensland – Albion Park, Redcliffe, and Marburg – over the last month. Kicking off the season primarily as a driver, it was a lean start in the bike, going winless for some months. Determination saw Lachie hit his straps in the second half of the year, closing out the season with 45 wins. Having first had success as a trainer back in December 2017 with Sicilian Slumber, it was not until earlier this season that the Manzelmann name was back in the fold as a trainer. That win was with the mare Dashing Hannah (pictured) in Heat 14 of the Trot Rods series – on the Final night – her second win of the series after claiming Heat 6 when prepared by Clint Petroff. With the team starting to take shape, success has flowed following the victory of Mizzz Adele back on August 13 when Manzelmann trained and drove the mare to success at her first start under his care. Since then, Lachie has triumphed with Mega Star, Bridget Blue Chip and Cannan, with his figures in the current term showing 7 wins and 6 placings from 32 starters. After spending time honing his craft with Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, Darrel Graham, and a period in Sydney with Team Tritton, Manzelmann is putting that knowledge into practice. The win at Marburg on Sunday with Cannan is a perfect example of his conditioning abilities. After Cannan finished mid-field at Albion Park on Saturday night in the final of the Marburg to Albion Series, the gelding was on the short back-up - less than 18 hours later at Marburg. Sent to the post as favourite to win the second heat of the Garrards Young Drivers Series, driver Jonah Hutchinson did not let punters down. Securing an easy lead from gate 1, the pair were able to dictate for the entirety of the trip to claim victory over a fast-finishing Bonnies Cam for driver Trent Lethaby. Cannan has been a ‘stable-hopper’ in his career, finding his way to Manzelmann after 74 career starts that have netted five victories. Ironically, Cannan was formerly prepared by Jonah Hutchinson who trained the gelding to a maiden-breaking win back in November 2019. With a pedigree to succeed, Lachie Manzelmann looks set to make his mark.   THE BAD The Queensland harness racing industry is mourning the loss of Russell Kajewski. A hobby trainer that entered the sport later in life, Kajewski was first licenced in 2009/10, with his maiden winner coming along in just his second season. That first winner was the mare Gypsy Island - an unfashionably bred mare by the unraced stallion Loverboy Gumnut - scoring at Toowoomba on November 26, 2010, with Scott Neaves in the bike. Gypsy Island would go on to win three races for her trainer prior to being retired to stud, where she produced just the one foal, the Lanercost filly, Itmightbeyou. Providing Kajewski with his best season to date, Itmightbeyou has been a five-time winner this season, also securing a $10,000 QBRED first win bonus when successful on May 25. Another special moment for Kajewski came in 2014 when partnering Myluckylife to victory at Marburg - his first winner as a driver. His four winners in the sulky were partnered by another 20 as a trainer. Our heartfelt sympathies go to his wife, Doris, and the entire Kajewski family.   THE WILDCARD Trainer Mark Rees has made the most of staying close to home over a six-day period, with some strong results at Marburg. At Monday’s October 5 meeting, Rees prepared a training double, which included a quinella. The meet also saw the return of Marburg track record holder Jewel Of Peak, who returned from a spell in fine style to win the eighth race of her career. Two races later, and Rees led home the quinella when Ale Ale Kai defeated So Kool Master, with Narissa McMullen claiming the drive on both Rees winners. With Marburg again racing on Sunday, Rees was able to send his team around again, securing a win, a third and a fourth from his three runners. So Kool Master - a horse he also owns - franked the form of Ale Ale Kai the previous week where he ran second, when coming with a well-timed finishing burst. Driven by Matt Elkins, the seven-year-old gelding attacked the line strongly to claim his 14th career victory and second since being trained by Rees.   THE MILESTONE The standardbred are a resilient breed and that was to the fore on Friday when rising 12-year-old Mark Dennis secured another victory. After 272 career starts, the gelding is second only to the champion Chicago Bull, as having the most wins of their sire - Bettors Delight- and still racing in Australia. Friday night’s victory took his tally to 46 career wins and just his second at Albion Park. Despite it being just his second victory at Brisbane’s pacing headquarters, it was his first while prepared in Queensland. The first victory he recorded at The Creek came back in April of 2019 when sent north to campaign by Shane Sanderson, a former Queenslander that has been training out of Menangle for several years. When previously trained by Shane Tritton, Mark Dennis competed in the state’s best race, finishing ninth in the 2014 Queensland Pacing Championship, a race won by For A Reason. Mark Dennis started his Australian career back on November 24, 2011 when trained and driven by Lance Justice to victory at Cranbourne. The journeyman pacer has been based in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and now Queensland where Jack Butler is the ninth trainer to saddle the gelding since that first Australian start. A win that came with Mark Dennis leading all the way, Chloe Butler took the drive and became the 12th driver to steer the gelding to success in Australia.   THIS WEEK Albion Park will host the $10,800 Pot Of Gold Final this Friday night, after the series had originally been put back a fortnight owing to the track resurfacing. After two heats, Major Fernco looks the one to beat after blitzing his rivals to claim the second heat by almost 25 metres. The first heat was a much closer affair, with just a neck margin separating the first three across the line, Motu Amethyst arriving along the passing lane to score. Redcliffe will host a Sunday evening meeting this week, to complement the Wednesday and Thursday fixtures. With stakes programmed at $3,499 for the Sunday night meeting, each race will also offer the added QBRED Cash Bonus feature to the winner. The Creek will host meetings Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday as per normal. Tuesday afternoon’s Albion Park meet has assembled a strong eight-race card with some competitive line-ups across the board. The sixth event looks the highlight, where the progressive types Kiwis Are Flying and Delightful Major are set to do battle, however there are some other quality performers that could claim victory.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

THE GOOD 2019 Queensland Horse of the Year, Colt Thirty One, has returned from a brief spell in fine fettle to press his credentials for successive titles. In two runs back this preparation, the Grant Dixon-trained entire has shown his versatility to overcome gate seven on successive occasions; the first in a tough fighting win, the second in a swooping finish. Resuming over the 2,138-metre distance on September 12, Dixon sent his star pupil to sit outside the leader, Northview Hustler, where he was able to show plenty of grit in scoring victory by a one-metre margin. Second-up on Saturday night in the Remembering Son Of Pearl Pace, the barrier draw was again unkind, landing the outside front-line gate, this time over the 1,660-metre trip. As the field was released, Dixon stayed out of the early pace battle that ensued, easing ‘Chester’ to find position in the running line. With Justalittle Torque repelling Maywyns Best through the first quarter, the clock was stopped in a sizzling 26.5 seconds. That drew an early move from Ashley Locaz, working forward from the 1100-metre mark, expending plenty of petrol in working forward. The move saw Maywyns Best flagged on to take control, with Ashley Locaz moving to the position outside the leader. With the speed on, Dixon made his move at the 500-metre mark, pushing Colt Thirty One around the field to loom into the contest strongly. Balancing up for the stretch drive, the Colt had bullets to fire, arriving for a strong 1.51.2 mile-rate victory, a new career personal best for the five-year-old. In claiming the 40th win of his career, it was the 35th time that Colt Thirty One has been successful at Albion Park. This moves the Dixon-trained star into the top 10 for most victories at The Creek, Queensland’s headquarters of harness racing. Sitting equal with Melton Multimax and the former star mare Happy Haldon on 34 wins heading into Saturday night’s race, the win pushed Chester to 35 and outright ninth on the list. Another three wins will move Colt Thirty One equal to three of the greatest Queensland trained pacers of any era, and amazingly all three campaigned at the same time. Be Good Johnny, Cobbity Classic and Blacks A Fake all finished their careers with 38 victories at Albion Park. Arguably the greatest ever, Blackie missed a cheque just twice in his 50 appearances at headquarters, adding 10 placings to his 38 victories. Colt Thirty One has made it to 35 wins from 49 outings at The Creek, placed a further 12 times having also missed a top-three finish just twice thus far. Returning in such dominant fashion, Chester looks set to further his record with successive Horse of the Year titles looking well within his grasp.   THE BAD While track resurfacing works were scheduled to be completed with the transfer of just the Tuesday and Friday meetings at Albion Park, the process involved has seen two further meetings transferred to Redcliffe this week. The delay has been necessitated by advanced surveying work to be undertaken, and these advanced works will allow accurate track levels to be surveyed and recorded. Despite the disappointment for the Albion Park Club to lose the Saturday and Tuesday meetings, the long-term benefits are worth the short-term loss. The transfer represents a great opportunity for Redcliffe to play host to metropolitan racing. Officially opened just last week, the upgraded facilities were the result of the Club securing a Government grant to complete works that included a new stabling complex and upgrades to the race day facilities for drivers and stewards. Fresh off the track undergoing maintenance resurfacing in the past fortnight, it bodes well for a top night at The Triangle this Saturday night.   THE MILESTONE It has been a long time between drinks for Deception Bay based trainer Stephen Bunz, yet his perseverance has never waned throughout the season. In the extended season, Bunz had yet to prepare a winner, not through lack of effort or attempts as he continued to toil away looking for an elusive winner. That determination was rewarded last Thursday at Redcliffe when Bunz broke the drought to land his first winner for the season when Rayong Princess was successful in the opening event of the day. In recording her third career victory - the second under Bunz care - the Rob Roy Mattgregor mare also broke a drought of her own. The last victory the mare recorded came back in April of 2018, driven on that occasion by Adam Richardson. This time around Paul Diebert took the drive, leading throughout in claiming victory by a half-head margin. Owned by Bunz in partnership with Matthew Greentree, it was a day to remember for Greentree as he recorded his first double as an owner. Just thirty minutes after Rayong Princess was successful, Greentree drove Sixpenny Red to victory, a mare he was gifted and is trained by Graham Dwyer. Coming with a well-timed run, four-year-old mare Sixpenny Red rushed by the leader to claim victory by just over 10 metres, the eighth win of her career.   THE WILDCARD One Change remains unbeaten in Queensland since joining the Vicki Rasmussen stable after another strong performance when successful at Albion Park at his most recent start. Sitting back as the leader Will The Wizard was out in front in ‘catch me if you can’ tactics, driver Shane Graham allowed One Change to slide up towards the leader. With a third quarter blitz of 26.9 down the back stretch, Graham continued to edge closer and approaching the home turn, put the power on to take the lead. Forging clear in the run to the judge, a fast-finishing Bombadier Jujon loomed up, but left his run too late with One Change holding on to claim victory by a neck. The win equalled the three-year-old track record at Albion Park, matching the mark set just last month by Crunch Time in a 1.51.1 mile. The previous record of 1.52.1 set by Burnaholeinmypocket had stood since June 2015. In securing the Ultimate Tools sponsored 3YO event, One Change took his superb record to 12 wins from 18 starts, with the colt sure to be a major player in any feature he contests this year. THIS WEEK As a result of Albion Park’s track resurfacing works, Redcliffe will play host to the next eight successive Queensland harness meetings, starting on Tuesday September 22 through to October 1. This Friday will see heats of the popular Pot Of Gold Series held over the 1780 metre distance. Those progressing to the Final will compete over the 1,660-metre distance at Albion Park on Friday October 2, with total stakes of $10,860 on offer. Trainers and owners are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the updated programme and distance amendments that are a result of the Saturday and Tuesday meetings being transferred to Redcliffe. Of interest in the calendar this Saturday is a 2040-metre event for the square gaiters to be keenly contested. For horses with no band assessment, it is effectively a qualifier for the trotters and on current numbers should provide a highly competitive event, with the likes of Doug, Skyline, Jeddy R Ya Ready, Aveross Don and Miss Invasion all possible nominations for the event.   by Darren Clayton

Catch up on the weekend’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.   THE GOOD The recently married Ben and Tamara Battle are putting their faith in Queensland harness racing, with the young couple recently purchasing a property at Peak Crossing. Originally from the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Battle spent a long period learning the ropes from Bathurst-based Bernie Hewitt, picking up plenty of skills and opportunities. Branching out from Bernie and Cath Hewitt’s stable to start his own team in the 2015/16 season, Battle set up a stable from Goulburn. With moderate success in those early years, two of the better horses in the team were sent north to the stables of Grant Dixon, with Whiskey Blaze and Soho Shanghai seemingly reaching their ‘mark’ in New South Wales. “I own both of those and it was becoming harder to find suitable races for them so thought I would send them to Grant to see how they would perform in Queensland,” Ben Battle said.  Whiskey Blaze proved that he could still be a force, with the gelding claiming five victories when prepared out of the State’s leading stable. Soho Shanghai also proved more than capable, securing three victories in his time with the Dixon stable. That led to a conundrum for Ben and Tamara in what to do looking to the future. Goulburn is home to some big stables and being an easy commute from Menangle sees the big stables often making the trek down the Hume to compete there on race day. “I had a few horses in the team who needed to head to Queensland,” Battle said. “Tamara and I had a chat and said ‘do we just send them up here to other trainers or do we make the move and bring them ourselves’. “So, we flew up one weekend and had a look at the property we knew was available and made the decision we would relocate.” After originally setting up the stable at Toorbul, the Battles had to make a financial decision to move again to Caboolture. All the time though, the pair have been on the lookout for a property to purchase and call their own. That search came to fruition recently with a property coming to market at Peak Crossing and after negotiating a deal, Ben and Tamara have settled and will move to their new home in October. The 116-acre property already has a 16-box stable block, stallion yards and a deep swim, something that Ben is looking forward to being able to utilise. “I had access to a swim when we were in Goulburn, but you could only use it half the year - the other half you had to break through the ice if you needed it,” Battle said. “The swim will be really good, it will just add another option to our training and is something that is so beneficial to the horses, particularly the older horses in looking after them”. The property size will also allow Battle to focus on another area that he is keen to build on - the education of yearlings. New to Queensland in early 2019, he completed the early education of just two yearlings, however that jumped to 11 in 2020 and the goal is to get that number to 20 in the new year. “It is something that I get a lot of enjoyment from and that first year, Justa Little Bit was one of them,” Battle said. That current two-year-old had a strong debut season, registering three wins from his six starts and was second in the QBRED Breeders Classic behind subsequent Triad winner Big Wheels. With an astute mentor of the ‘babies’ in Bernie Hewitt, Battle is looking forward to what the new year may bring from his Peak Crossing stable. “When I was with Bern there was plenty to learn, if I didn’t learn something it would have been a waste of time being there,” Battle said.   THE BAD The COVID pandemic has had an effect in most facets of life and for Tamara and Ben, it has been no different. Originally scheduled to be married in April, the couple postponed the nuptials along with a honeymoon booked for Singapore and The Maldives. Weddings are stressful at the best of times; throw in a Global Pandemic into the mix and it certainly becomes a trying time. Rescheduling the date of the big day to late August, the dreaded C word would again play another part in becoming the Battles. An imminent border closure was again put forward by the Queensland Government, throwing the rescheduled plans into disarray once again. Not to be deterred, Ben and Tamara, just like their move North, put faith in themselves and decided the wedding would be brought forward - immediately. Having only earlier that week signed the contract on the new property, now they were planning a wedding in three days. “On the Wednesday they said the border would be closing, so we got on the phone, rang everyone and said the wedding would be on the Saturday,” Battle said.  “It was great, but I certainly would not recommend it that’s for sure.” True testament to the regard that the young couple are held in, they had over 50 people make the trek north from New South Wales to attend their wedding with three days’ notice and an impending border closure. The Maldives may have been ruled out, but the young couple did manage to squeeze in a brief trip to Hamilton Island before heading back to the day-to-day of running a harness racing stable. If the past season results are anything to go by, the pair look set to capitalise on the move, preparing more winners. This latest season has been their best yet, preparing 25 winners with Ben also taking the opportunity to pick up outside drives, landing 37 wins for the season. Whiskey Blaze, one of those that probably has a lot to do with the move north is still racing and is still competitive. In-fact the gelding has scored another five victories since re-joining the Battle barn and is a last-start placegetter. Starting to build the numbers, they have six two-year-olds that will be ready to come into work once they move onto the new property. With most of the horses in the barn arriving from New South Wales, either with or since they moved, Ben is looking forward to having some QBRED-eligible horses in his barn. Add to that his goal of working with more young stock and expanding the racing team, be ready for the Battles to make their mark.   THE MILESTONE Mafuta Vautin claimed the 30th victory of his career on Saturday night at Albion Park, equalling the number of wins of his sire Rollon Bigred in the process. The chestnut is named after Rugby League legend Paul Vautin, Mafuta being a Swahili word that translated to English means ‘fat’. Trained by Darrel Graham, Mafuta Vautin was driven patiently by Angus Garrard who utilised the passing lane to perfection, claiming victory by a head. Garrard became the fifth driver to rein the gelding to victory, joining Darrel, Brittany Graham, Adam Sanderson and Grant Dixon who have all recorded a victory behind Mafuta Vautin. Rollon Bigred was prepared by Darrel Graham in all bar two starts throughout his career, taking the stable all through the eastern states chasing feature race glory. Highlights from his 30 career wins were victories in the two and four-year-old QBRED Triad Finals, the two and three-year-old QBRED Breeders Classic Finals, the Hamilton Cup and the Paleface Adios Stakes. Mafuta Vautin reached his 30th career victory at start 130, while it took his sire only 76 starts to reach the same feat. While Rollon Bigred achieved his career wins across eight different venues, Mafuta Vautin has been successful at just 3 tracks - Albion Park, Redcliffe and on two occasions, Gympie. Ashleysplace, the dam of Mafuta Vautin was also raced by the Grahams, with Darrel steering the mare to one victory prior to being retired to breeding duties. Highlighting the real family involvement, Mafuta Vautin is owned and was bred by Darrel’s wife, Linda. With Steph Graham having also trained the gelding to one victory, all members of the Graham family have been involved in some part of the success - areal Team Graham performance.   THE WILDCARD Kiwis Are Flying franked his trial performance when making a successful start to his Australian career last Tuesday at Albion Park. Finding the one x one trail from the second line, the Narissa McMullen-trained gelding powered home in a strong 55.3 second closing 800-metre split. The gelding is impeccably bred, out of the former star mare Kiwi Ingenuity, a winner of eleven races - four of those at Group 1 level - and over $500,000 in stakes. The win by Kiwis Are Flying was the perfect way to start a new association for McMullen, entrusted with the gelding via a recommendation from her mortgage broker. With Narissa and partner Matt Elkins having recently purchased a new property, the couple are in the process of developing the infrastructure to have a full training facility. In the process of acquiring the property, McMullen has also taken on some new horses that are starting to hit the track. Joining Kiwis Are Flying are Lets Go Better and The Fortunate Son as recent arrivals to Queensland. With Elkins recently having success with Paravani, the couple have plenty of hard work ahead in establishing their property, but they have the horse flesh behind them to capitalise upon. With success flowing season on season in recent years, they look set to entrench themselves in the Queensland harness scene for years to come.   THIS WEEK Tuesday’s Albion Park meeting will see the return of top filly Pelosi. Drawing awkwardly in barrier 7 and taking on older and experienced campaigners will make it tough for the dual Group 1 winner. The Anna Woodmansey-trained filly has been to the trials three times to prepare for her return, after struggling to find an ideal return race for Pelosi. Targeting the NSW Breeders Challenge for three-year-old fillies, Pelosi will be aiming to go back-to-back following her victory in the Group 1 two-year-old edition back in 2019. Elsewhere, track resurfacing has been completed at Marburg and Redcliffe that will see racing return to those venues. After forgoing racing at ‘The Triangle’ last week owing to the works, normal transmission will resume with Redcliffe hosting their regular Wednesday night timeslot. Consequently, this week’s schedule will see racing at Albion Park on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, with Redcliffe hosting meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. Saturday night at Albion Park will see the second of the Ultimate Tools sponsored age events. After the initial race was held for the two-year-olds, the three-year-olds will be catered for on this occasion. With no performance restrictions, the race carries stakes of $12,880, along with a rug and trophy to the winning connections and $250 to the winning trainer and driver thanks to Ultimate Tools. The winning trainer will also receive a $500 voucher.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

A new-look TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival is poised to finish the 2019/20 season in style after being released today. As announced earlier this year, the Group 1 Blacks A Fake - Queensland’s only Grand Circuit event for pacers – will headline the Summer Carnival with features to be held at Albion Park and Redcliffe throughout November and December. In total, 11 Group races will be staged across the Summer Carnival, including the $175,000 Blacks A Fake, with opportunities for pacers and trotters alike. While COVID-19 has significantly impacted this year’s racing calendar, RQ COO Adam Wallish said all roads would lead to Queensland to conclude 2019/20. “It’s a genuinely exciting TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival that we’ve been able to pull together,” Mr Wallish said. “The presence of the Group 1 Blacks A Fake elevates this year’s carnival and provides one final opportunity for Australasia’s premier pacers to snare a Grand Circuit victory. “With the talent on display at the moment, it promises to be a must-watch affair. “Given the extension of the season to the end of the calendar year, we’ve made a concerted decision to programme opportunities for two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds, as well as our open-class horses.” Having originally been slated for the TAB Queensland Constellations, the Group 2 DJA Trotting Championship returns to summer with the Final to be held at Albion Park on November 28. The new Trotters Sprint, staged over the flying 1660m, will be held a fortnight later. On the same night as the DJA, the Group 3 The Be Good Johnny Sprint will provide the perfect lead into the Group 2 Queensland Cup (December 5) and the Blacks A Fake (December 12). Albion Park Harness Racing Club Executive Manager Scott Steele said they were thrilled with this year’s carnival. “What an outstanding collection of feature races we have for our Summer Carnival,” Mr Steele said. “With the quality of horses that will be on display during the Carnival, I have no doubt Albion Park will be a sell out with the  corporate industry  taking the opportunity to host their Christmas parties at this ideal time. “Hopefully COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed further by carnival time allowing us to showcase our industry to as many people as can be safely permitted.” In addition to the Group events, Redcliffe Harness Racing Club will round out the carnival, with the open class Christmas Cup to be joined by feature races for both two and three-year-olds. "The Redcliffe Christmas Cup is a great to finish off what has been a very trying racing season," Mr Ring said. "With no Derby or Oaks this year, it's pleasing to see the Northgate Comfort n Suites Redcliffe Guineas and a further $10,000 Open feature." Click here to see the full programme for the 2020 TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival.   Racing Queensland

Brisbane and Gold Coast spots fans will have plenty to cheer about when Australia’s leading sports broadcaster SEN arrives in town this weekend – with some of the State’s biggest names in sport making the selection on the new SENTrack 1053 AM Brisbane and 1620 AM Gold Coast. Former Australian test cricketer Ian Healy and highly respected sports journalist Pat Welsh will open the batting with their own breakfast show, weekdays from 6.30am starting Monday, 7 September. With rugby league legends Gary Belcher and Scott Sattler wrapping-up the day’s sport for the drive home 5-6pm, Monday – Thursday. Breakfast with Pat and Heals and Sportsday with Badge and Satts will book-end each day’s racing coverage – which will be jam-packed with previews, analysis, insights and reviews of key races across the country – with plenty of fun and banter for punters. The station will have a special focus on all the action across Queensland’s vibrant greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing industries – with insights from Queensland form analyst Chris Nelson and others. If it’s happening in sport or racing SENTrack will take you there with live coverage of NRL – including key finals and all the action of the 2020 State of Origin – through a one-eyed Maroons lens of course! Group commercial director Kate Parry said the team was thrilled to bring SEN to passionate Queensland sports and racing fans. “We are excited to launch SENTrack in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and to welcome Ian Healy and Pat Welsh - two of Queensland’s greatest sporting personalities to the team,” Parry said. “Queensland is a proud and passionate sporting State – with racing a key employer and contributor to the economy.  SENTrack will showcase racing in all its forms as well as  celebrating the country’s biggest sporting moments – through the eyes of sporting legends across all codes – and of course through the eyes of our passionate listeners who make the discussion all the richer!” Queensland listeners will be spoilt for choice with the SEN app providing instant access to live and on-demand content across SENTrack plus additional content specific to key sports including AFL Nation and NRL Nation live commentary and access to content from other SEN channels throughout the country – such as Australia’s top radio sports show – Gerard Whateley. Supporting SEN’s Queensland expansion is the appointment of commercial director Brad Johnson – formerly  Director Sales, Brisbane for Nine Radio. SENTrack is Australia’s first independent racing, harness and greyhound radio racing service.  It launched earlier this year in Melbourne on 1593 AM; Sydney 1539 AM; Perth on 657AM, Wollongong 1575AM,  Gosford 801AM, and also in Queensland on Ingham 96.9FM  and Atherton 99.1FM.  It can also be heard via the SEN app.    

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