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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.    

Catch up on the weekend’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD How do you categorise the feeling of owning a winner, training a winner, or driving a winner? Combine all three, and that is a feeling that not many in the sport get to achieve. Add a milestone to the mix and there is a whole lot more thrill, excitement and satisfaction. Hayden Barnes was able to achieve that on Saturday night with the victory of Gee Up Neddy, a horse that he owns on lease, trains, and drove to victory in claiming the ninth race on the card at Albion Park. The win was also the 400th occasion that H L Barnes has been successful as a driver in his career, was number 70 for the season and the second leg of a winning double for the night. The first leg of the double was courtesy of Northview Hustler, a horse trained by Al Barnes - Hayden’s father - who was successful in the Open Class event. Utilising gate one to full advantage, Hayden was wearing his proverbial balaclava, able to steal a crazy 61.4 second opening half, a time unheard of in the open class ranks. With the short-priced favourite Ashley Locaz forced to cut the breeze first-up from a spell, Barnes was sitting on a flush hand and after a very steady 28.6 third split only had to turn and burn up the stretch. Doing exactly that, Northview Hustler had 2.3 metres to spare on the line for the easiest of victories and an even easier armchair drive. “I thought we were a good chance if I could pinch a cheap quarter, but as it turned out, I was able to get away with 3 and once that happened I knew they wouldn’t run him down, he was bolting around the bend,” Barnes said. Claiming career win 399 with Northview Hustler, the elusive 400 was within reach in a season that had been underwhelming for Barnes, as he lamented some lost opportunities. Fast forward 152 minutes to Race 9, and the milestone was made official. “It was a relief to finally get to 400 wins, after a lean period in the second half of the season,” Barnes said. “It is good to get it out of the way as Brendan (Barnes), Matt (Elkins) and I were all heading towards 400 so we had a little rivalry of who would get there first.” With his younger brother Brendan and Elkins both eclipsing the mark some months back, Hayden was finally able to crack the milestone with a Saturday night success. In an ironic twist, it has likely become more memorable through the circumstances by being reached with Gee Up Neddy. Thinking that he was a place chance following from his run last week, Gee Up Neddy was safely away, although not quite in the position that many expected. “I thought I would be on the back of Havana Magic who looked the leader but the fence did not worry me at that speed,” Barnes said. “They were going too quick and I was pretty confident once I angled off the fence.” That confidence was well-placed when popping up into the running line at the 500-metre mark when Havana Magic began to wilt under the torrid trip. In a tempered and controlled drive thereafter, Gee Up Neddy arrived for a deserved win, his fourth for Barnes. In fact, it has been a successful period for the eldest of the Barnes brothers, with Hayden also owning shares in a number of other winners in recent weeks. Buying shares to provide an interest outside of his Queensland stable, Barnes has ventured into some talented horses placed in various stables around the country. Needabacardi, One Night Out, Dreamee, Stylish Trend and Ohoka Jimmy are the newest additions, with Barnes holding a percentage share in each.   THE BAD It has not been all plain sailing with Gee Up Neddy this season, with the gelding disqualified from a race in October 2019 after returning a positive swab. After some anxiety and concern into how the positive became, Neddy had the race taken off him under the rules, however no conviction or penalty was imposed on Barnes once the circumstances were identified. Following a mid-year spell, it has taken some time to get Gee Up Neddy back fully fit, with the conditions on Saturday night certainly working in his favour. Returning to the front line from the inside lane was a bonus with the eldest Barnes brother confident a top-three placing could be achieved with the nine-year-old gelding. “His run last week was good and I thought from the draw he was a solid top-three hope as I thought he was nearly back to where he should be,” Barnes said. With the disqualification and the disappointment of a season where things have not entirely gone as hoped, it has certainly ended on high. However, the racing bug bit back, with five winners in the past week, a metro double and the elusive 400 having quickly changed Barnes’ plans to reconsider his career.  “I actually was not going to renew my licence, I need a break and have had a lean spell so I was not going to bother,” Barnes said.  “After Saturday night and five for the week, I thought I better get back into it.” Winning form is the best form and it has kept Hayden in the game - for now.   THE WILDCARD Trevor Barsby was a fearless opening batsman for Queensland that has the honour of scoring a century in the State’s first ever Sheffield Shield victory. Barsby also faced up to some of the best bowlers in the world to have ever played the game of cricket, names like Garner, Marshall and Ambrose. Donny Smith was involved in a Sheffield Shield squad and was a member of the Wynnum Manly’s first ever Brisbane A Grade title when defeating the Greg Chappell led Souths outfit. Smith also faced one of the most lethal bowlers of the time in Jeff Thomson. Matt Elkins represented Queensland in his junior years where he was an accomplished player that rates Cameron Gannon as the fastest bowler he has faced. Gannon was the leading wicket taker in the most recent Shield competition and has since left Queensland after signing with Western Australia. On Saturday night, Barsby, Smith and Elkins combined to form a dynamic three-prong attack with the victory of Coolie Kid in Race 5 at Albion Park. While Barsby has had previous success as an owner, the latest victory ended a quest to achieve Saturday night glory, a goal that ‘Tank’ had been chasing for some time. A recent acquisition from New South Wales, Coolie Kid is raced by Trevor Barsby, his partner Mary Bragagnolo, his mother Lorna, along with Ian Barsby. The gritty win by the five-year-old gelding suggests the innings is far from over and that there are more runs in store.   THE MILESTONE With the 2019/20 season facing various changes as a response to the COVID pandemic, club and state premierships that involve horses will continue through to December 31. However, training, driving and other premierships that are for participants have been finalised, with the Queensland and National training title again going to Grant Dixon, rounding out the term with 290 winners. It will be the eighth time that Dixon has claimed National honours in the past nine years, with 290 winners his third highest total, surpassed only by the mammoth 340 in 2018/19 and 291 in the 2017/2018 season when finishing second to Emma Stewart. This season has seen the Dixon stable secure victories in Victoria, New South Wales and of course Queensland. Leading the stable charge has been star three-year-old Governor Jujon, who also sits in the National Starters Top Twenty with a season that has returned ten wins and over $190,000 in stake earnings. Highlights were Group victories in the South-East Derby, Colts & Geldings Triad Final, Redcliffe Sales Series 3YO Final and the Simpson Memorial. The Gov also notched up heat wins in both the Victorian and New South Wales Derby. Colt Thirty One recorded six wins for the season and took the stable to all three eastern-seaboard States, as well as to the North Island of New Zealand for the 2019 Inter Dominion. Season highlights for the five-year-old were Group victories in the Swan Hill Cup and the Queensland Cup at Albion Park. With the stable producing the quality juvenile talent to complement the established stars in The Gov and Chester, the likes of Jasper, Chamonix, Fond Memories and True Stepper will hold Dixon in good stead for another big season ahead.   THIS WEEK It is another packed week in Queensland harness racing with meetings to be held every day of the week. Kicking off the bonanza will be an eight-race card at Redcliffe on Monday night which will signal the end of the premierships for the 2019/20 season, with race 8 on the card also the last harness event in Australia for the season. Albion Park will play host to its regular weekly schedule, that takes in racing on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Redcliffe has its standard Wednesday night and Thursday fixtures as well as the added Monday night card. The seventh meeting for the week will see Marburg host a Sunday afternoon meeting to coincide with Father’s Day. Another edition of the always popular Marburg to Albion Series will be the main attraction on the track. The series for the NR 47 to 52 performers will culminate with a final carrying $10,900 to be held on Saturday September 12.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the weekend’s harness racing action in Racing Queensland's weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.   THE GOOD While the COVID-19 has slowed the kilt and bagpipe making business he owns, the current climate has allowed Doug Manger to get back into his other great passion; training pacers. That passion reached new heights on Saturday at Albion Park after Ideal Tiger was successful, providing Manger his first metropolitan winner as a trainer. Owned in partnership with wife Karen, the five-year-old gelding used the passing lane to score with Nathan Dawson taking the drive, arriving in time to claim a half-neck victory. The benefit of a good starting barrier made all the difference, with his recent performances from bad gates suggesting only a change of luck would be required to see a more favourable finish. Running some superb sectional times at his past three starts, those runs had come from gates nine, three and five, meaning barrier one was a huge improvement on his winning hopes. With an original plan to attempt to lead, the early speed shown by the outside runner Recipe For Dreaming saw Ideal Tiger take the trail before finishing best to claim victory and a maiden Saturday night training success for his trainer. Having had Saturday night success as an owner previously - through the former handy performer Enrique Of Malacca - business commitments prevented Manger from being able to prepare horses himself consistently. Purchasing a new property in late 2019, the plan was to return to training again, having prepared horses ‘on and off’ since 1990. After purchasing Ideal Tiger from New Zealand for a modest sum, the timing could not have been any better. “He was only a cheapie, but it has worked out perfectly,” Manger explained. “He arrived just as COVID hit and to be honest, I would not have bought him in from New Zealand if I knew shutdowns were about to happen.” Having his first start in the Kilt Hire Australia colours for the Mangers on March 14, the signs were positive that the gelding by American Ideal would prove competitive in Brisbane. It was at start number three when Ideal Tiger scored his first Australian victory, arriving in the closing stages to win by a narrow margin at Marburg. Further victories at Albion Park and Marburg followed, with his three wins all coming when driven by Clint Sneddon. With Sneddon unavailable as he battles ill-health, Nathan Dawson was given the opportunity to take the reins. “I gave the drive to Nathan a few weeks back and after his first drive, we discussed how I work the horse - Nathan suggested I tinker with his workout regime which I did,” the trainer said. “It seems to have just given him a little bit more speed and Saturday night it worked a treat, having that zip to get there in time.” With just a 450-metre track on the home property, Ideal Tiger does his fast work at the Marburg track. Another technique in his preparation is that he is trained from the paddock and is only put into a yard at feed time, with the remainder of his time spent roaming across twenty acres. “He has the run of the place, he only comes in for a feed and the rest of the time he just wanders -he is just such a beautiful natured horse,” Manger said. The Manger/Dawson combination has been successful in recent weeks, with another pacer that is owned by Manger – Faireachdainn – winning twice in the past month. That filly is trained by Mitchell Dawson with Nathan driving the three-year-old at both Redcliffe victories. Sired by Mr Feelgood, Faireachdainn translates to ‘feelings’ in Gaelic, with the maiden-breaking win at Redcliffe also securing connections a $10,000 first win QBRED bonus. “It has actually been a good time despite the COVID; between the two horses, they are actually paying the mortgage,” Doug remarked with a laugh. With the two horses racing at present, the Manger team also includes a three-year-old by Sweet Lou yet to race and another new addition that will hopefully be seen in the new season. “He is a QBRED and still has a second-win bonus left in him, so hopefully we can get that with him in a few months’ time,” Manger said. “But as we say, we don’t have race-horses, we have race pets,” joked Manger, who is more than happy with how his latest venture in panning out. Business may be slow, but the smile could not be bigger for Doug Manger.   THE BAD Favourite backers were left reeling last Wednesday night at Redcliffe following the relegation of Nikalong Henry. Having previously been plagued by bad manners at the start, this time it was at the end of the race where the gelding was up to his old tricks. Looking to have the race won after leading throughout the 1780-metre journey, as Nikalong Henry approached the winning post, he was off-stride and crossed the finishing line in the incorrect gait. Under rule 155A the stewards were obliged to relegate Nikalong Henry to 2nd placing and promote Holdingno Currency to first placing. A rule that is not often seen, it is the third instance of this rule that stewards have had to enforce in the past six months - the others being Tori May on February 29 and Youknowwhat on July 30. A bad beat for those that had backed the favourite.   THE WILDCARD Greg The Great has been a source of great frustration for trainer Graham Dwyer and that was no more evident than Saturday night. You would not think that winning in great style would prove frustrating, however that is exactly the case; his dominant 16-metre victory showing just how great the square gaiter can be when on his game. Speared off the gate under the mobile conditions, driver Pete McMullen kept the power on all the way over the mile. Doing it all himself out in front, Greg The Great stopped the clock in a mile rate of 1.55.1, shaving 0.6 off the previous record. The win saw the seven-year-old eclipse $100,000 in stakes earnings, bringing up his 13th Albion Park victory. It has been a continual work-in-progress for Dwyer, who has done a stellar job in getting Greg The Great to perform in the manner he has. The gelding has struggled for confidence in his racing manners for successive starts, so to reach his current level is a great testament to Dwyer’s training skills. Asking the likable trainer how he will help bolster Greg The Great’s confidence even further- “I think if he had his name on the running rail as the track record holder like they have for the pacers, it might just get him right in the zone!”   THE MILESTONE Adam Sanderson is the latest Queensland driver to enter the 100-win club following success aboard My Mastercraftsman on Friday night at Albion Park. Entering the meeting on 98 wins, Sanderson moved to 99 with the success of Thats How Weroll after the third event on the card. Not wasting any time moving into triple figures, the ton was realised just one race later. Both his Friday night winners are prepared by Ian Gurney, with Sanderson having recently joined the larrikin trainer at his Chambers Flat stables as foreman and leading driver. It is the second time the New Zealand-born reinsman has reached the century mark, having finished the 2017-18 season on exactly 100 wins. Moving past his best season was also quickly achieved when win 101 was notched aboard the Shawn Grimsey trained Rubies For Tash Saturday gone. With two weeks left in the season, the new benchmark looks set to rise.   THIS WEEK Group racing has drawn to a close after Saturday night’s APG Final, however that does not mean the race calendar is not packed full of options. Starting on Monday August 17, there will be seven consecutive days of harness action in Queensland. This week, Redcliffe will play host to four meetings - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Albion Park will host its usual three meetings on Tuesday afternoon, Friday night and Saturday night. Following agreement between the Albion Park Club, sponsor Ultimate Tools and Racing Queensland, there will be twelve races added to the existing program for two-year-old and three-year-old pacers. The first of those will be held this Saturday night for two-year-olds, along with a rug and trophy to the winner - the trainer and driver will also receive a $250 voucher. The winning owner will receive a $500 voucher, courtesy of sponsor Ultimate Tools.   by Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

New South Wales harness racing mates John Boserio and Dean Cernovskis went searching for gold at Albion Park on Saturday night and got it with an upset win in the $104,000 Two-Year-Old feature event. Cernovskis drove a superb race for popular trainer Boserio on bay gelding He's Sweet (He's Watching-Our Sweet Melody (Art Major) to get home by a neck in the AP Gold-Brisbane APG Sales Graduate Final. To watch the race click here The win was the highlight so far of this year's annual northern pilgrimage to the Gold Coast, providing Cernovskis with his first ever Group One success as a driver, while it was Boserio's first as a trainer (although he did own G1-winner, Four Trumps). "John has been getting heaps of ribbing down at the stables because prior to this he hadn't trained a winner this Queensland trip-but I guess he's now trumped us all!" Cernovskis said. "He's had a couple of chances to break through and hasn't quite made it, but all he needed was the big stage - he's got the bragging rights well and truly!" Victorious visiting driver Dean Cernovskis gives a jubilant wave as he crosses the line with He’s Sweet, narrowly holding off race favorite Jasper (Grant Dixon) (Dan Costello Photography) Bathurst-based Boserio, who has headed north each winter with a small team since 1983, said the latest victory was "by far his biggest". He is based temporarily near Coolangatta with a group of other New South Welshman who also make the trip each year - Chris and Anthony Frisby, also of Bathurst; Cernovskis, who is based at Gunning, between Goulburn and Yass; and Scott Hewitt, of Crookwell, half an hour from Goulburn. Cernovskis, who has been making the trip now for six years, said he was so grateful to land the winning drive. "There were plenty of other good drivers in the stands, but they stuck with me which was nice. It's an unbelievable series. 45 horses get a crack at it-everyone has a chance of living the dream and winning," he said. After settling three back the pegs, Cernovskis always appeared to have He's Sweet travelling nicely-it was just a matter of getting clear at the right time. And that came when the leader Our Ultimate Bonny run up the track with 450metres from home. Boserio was full of praise for Cernovskis, admitting that it wasn't his idea to stick to the pegs. "Dean told me before the race he thought staying on the fence was probably the best plan. And it all unfolded brilliantly for him, especially when the heavens opened up. So he definitely pulled the right rein there," Boserio said. The Jack Butler-trained Lillies, who was on the leader's back, took the gap and He's Sweet followed through before switching out into the clear and holding on gallantly from the well-tried Grant Dixon pair Jasper ($1.95 fav) and Chamonix ($5.50). Boserio, a former publican, races He's Sweet with keen Bathurst owner Ken Plunkett and Craig Lusby, of Casino, who is also a hotelier. "Craig was in charge of bidding for the horse at the sales. I told him to go to $15,000 and stop, but he didn't listen and kept putting his hand up. He ended up getting it for $35,000 - thank goodness he did keep going," Boserio said. "I picked the horse out because I'd had one out of the family years ago and it went really well." Boserio headed north nearly two months ago but has been hanging out for some good fortune. Holy Camp Dillon, who provided Boserio with his 150th win back home in early June, went amiss early in the Qld campaign, while another two-year-old, The Grogfather, went sour and was sent to the spelling paddock. That's virtually left him with a two-pronged attack in He's Sweet and the stablemate Happy Publicans. "We've got 'Happy' racing Tuesday and he does go okay, so he could run a bit of a race," Boserio said. "We were planning to give He's Sweet a spell, but there's a suitable race for him next Saturday so he can go around again. "Our accommodation is all fixed up until the first week in September, but after winning the 2yo feature we can afford to stay a little longer," he laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

THE GOOD The Marburg to Albion Park Series’ are always popular and the latest running culminated with the Final held at Albion Park on Saturday night. With five heats held at Marburg on the preceding Sunday, the first two placed runners in each heat progressed through to Saturday’s Final, run over the Albion Park 1660-metre trip. The Dudley Warburton-trained ten-year-old Bukthsystem claimed the race, using the passing lane to arrive for victory in a new career best of 1.55.5. In another superb advertisement for the longevity of the standardbred, the PB came at start number 203, recording the 14th win of his career for the rising eleven-year-old. It was a well-deserved victory, with Bukthsystem having been in great form in recent times and backed up his heat win at Marburg. In a superb training feat, Bukthsystem has raced at least three times every month consecutively since July 2018. However, it has not always been smooth sailing with the gelding for his trainer. “When he was younger, he threw me out of the cart when he was playing up and I fractured two vertebrae in the accident, that’s why we gave him the name Buk,” Warburton said. “Even now he will pull hard and is keen in the preliminary, yet when he races, he never seems to pull that much.” And it was at the instruction of his driver Nathan Dawson that some gear adjustments in recent times seem to be paying dividends. Dawson also may have provided punters with a lead in opting to drive Bukthsystem in Saturday night’s final after having the choice of drives. “Nathan said to me on Wednesday night with a cheeky grin, by the way, I will be driving Buk on Saturday night because only a bad driver will get him beat,” the trainer said. That left Dudley with some nerves to overcome as he began to feel a little bit of pressure in breaking a Saturday night victory drought. Some light-hearted banter between trainers on the night added to the mix. With trainer Graham White stabled next to Warburton on Saturday, he had a light-hearted jibe with Dawson with regards to how many winners the leading driver had reined home until that point of the evening. “Nathan replied ‘no worries Whitey, I’m about to get my first’ which then made me feel some more nerves because after what he had said Wednesday as well,” Warburton said. Dawson delivered on the promise, with a perfect drive to score victory up the passing lane. It was the first Saturday night success for Warburton since the win of Itzallinthetimin back in 2012 and a win that he won’t forget in a hurry. “It will take a while for this happiness to wear off that’s for sure,” quipped Warburton. “I hope it’s not another eight years for my next Saturday night winner.” Asked as to what sort of regime keeps Bukthsytem racing so well and consistently for such a long period now, Warburton was more than happy to reveal his secret. “Old Buk is just such a beautiful horse, my wife has him looking superb all the time - she looks after that,” he said. “I mostly let the racing keep him fit and I think when I threatened him a while back when he wasn’t going so well, it got him back into form. “You see he was racing a bit flat and so I pulled Buk aside and threatened him with retirement! “That was just what he needed and he turned the corner.” The entire Warburton family is involved in equine pursuits of some form, with a son involved in rodeo and a daughter in quarter horses. Buk even has a miniature pony in the yard next to him at the stables and all the family both two and four-legged having a contribution to Bukthsytem and his journey. “Buk is such a great horse, he even picks his hay up and will carry it to the fence so the pony can share it with him - that’s just him, he is such a great character,” Warburton said. The next race for Bukthsystem now provides Warburton with another challenge, a dilemma that he is quite happy to be faced with!   THE BAD Happiness was quickly replaced with despair at Redcliffe on Thursday following the ‘win’ of Inciter in Race 3 - the Dan Costello Photography Pace. Owned and trained by Greg Elkins and driven by his son Matt, Inciter had been winless since December 9, 2018 heading into the race. Running down the straight, Inciter was first across the line, with Doolittle Dandy using the passing lane second over the line and Major Grandeur third. Delaying the all-clear to view the patrol film, connections of the third-placed Major Grandeur lodged a protest feeling they were hampered in the run to the finish by Inciter. Following the hearing, the stewards deemed the interference greater than the winning margin, amending the official results to Doolittle Dandy first, Major Grandeur second, and Inciter in third position. Not the best day for Elkins, who had two runners in for the day; his other Tearaway Diamond also facing the ire of the stewards, banished to the trials for breaking in running.   THE WILDCARD Some people enjoy a stiff drink as a pick-me-up, and for Gail Geeson Scotch En Ice would have been the ideal tonic, with the two-year-old claiming a maiden breaking victory last Tuesday. With Geeson battling ill-health, Scotch En Ice was sent to Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen to prepare. With Gail and husband Vic Frost cutting back on the workload, the COVID situation also became a factor with their stables based in Northern New South Wales at Sleepy Hollow. Scotch En Ice - a gelded son of Hurrikane Kingcole - had shown a win was not far away, having placed in two of his previous three starts. The victory last Tuesday came at his fifth career start, leading all the way in scoring a 10.8m victory in a slick 1.55.9 mile rate. With a QBRED first win bonus for Scotch En Ice, he became the seventh winner from nine foals to race for his dam Frostiness. In some bittersweet symmetry, it was also the first winner ranking Frost’s champion Westburn Grant as the sire or damsire since the dual Inter Dominion winner passed away back in late June.   THE MILESTONE The boutique stable of Stephen Cini ticked off a milestone at last Tuesday’s Albion Park meeting with the victory of Mymatepog. Scoring victory in a new personal best over the mile of 1.53.9, the win saw Cini notch up a half-century of winners for the season. Last reaching 50 winners in a term back in the 2009/10 Season with 71, the 2019/20 Season results have been returned at an impressive strike-rate. Following the win on Tuesday, Cini’s figures were 50 wins and 75 placings from 335 starters, equating to a 14.9% win and 37% place strike-rate. With only a small team, the Season has been highlighted by multiple wins from the stable including Garland Greene (seven wins), The Cruise Missile (six), The Doorman (five), The Money Ball (five), Quietly Spoken (five) and no doubt the source of tremendous frustration, Macey Jayde (four).   THIS WEEK Following the two heats of the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sales Graduates, this Saturday night will see the $100,000 Group 1 Final take place. The first five across the line from each heat have progressed to the Final, with heat one winner Jasper looking mighty impressive and every bit an Oaks filly for next season. In the second heat, Chamonix made it a double for Dixon/GSM Racing trainer/owner combination and will be hoping to draw a good barrier for Saturday’s Final to challenge his stablemate. Friday’s card at Albion Park will also see the inaugural running of the QBRED Trotting Finals; a $10,000 event for the two-year-olds and a $10,000 event for the three-year-olds will be held, confirming the commitment at growing the square gait population in Queensland following on from the Springboard Series. Next Monday (August 17) will see a meeting conducted at Redcliffe, with nominations closing on Wednesday August 12. Races are programmed at $3,499 with all races also carrying a QBRED cash bonus should the winner be an eligible QBRED horse.   by Darren Clayton

SPRINGBOARD TO SUCCESS Friday night saw the running of the Springboard Series Finals for both the two and three-year-old trotters at Albion Park. It was the second running of the two-year-old series, with victory claimed by the filly Aldebaran Selena. Having claimed the 1628-metre track record in winning a heat of the Series, the daughter of Majestic Son lowered that mark once again in claiming the Final. Showing clean manners, the filly stepped straight to the front and was never bothered thereafter, trotting safely in scoring a four-metre victory over Defensive Guy, with Okanagan a further 18 metres away in third place. Trained and driven by New South Welshman Rickie Alchin, Aldebaran Selena looks to have a bright future and looks set to pave the way for continued growth of the juvenile trotter in Queensland. Meanwhile in the three-year-old division, Indefensible was looking to add the 3YO Series to his 2YO victory in this Series last year. However, the Terry Hancock-trained and Narissa McMullen-driven Aurora was the worthy winner, with a perfect display in front. Stepping straight to the front, the fill led throughout to take the inaugural Springboard for the three-year-olds. A model of consistency throughout the series, she has been faultless in her manners, stepping cleanly on every occasion. Giving nothing a look-in from the front, Aurora cruised home to an 11-metre victory, making a clean sweep of the Series in the process after taking our all four heats.   THE GOOD Racing needs good stories and the tale of Maywyns Best fits that bill. The rising 11-year-old is in career best form for trainer Graham Dwyer and on Saturday night stretched Cruz all the way over the Albion Park mile, spearing out to lead from gate four with the speed on all the way. With the slick 3.3 lead time followed by a sizzling 26.6 second opening quarter, Pete McMullen kept the gelding rolling throughout. Despite having the sit on Maywyns Best, it took Cruz until deep into the stretch to reel in the leader, scoring a near two-metre victory. It was a brave effort by ‘Bestie’ who set the quarters of 26.6, 29.6, 27 and home in 27.7 to hold on for second. Having trained the gelding for a large portion of his career for previous owners Rob and Pam Essex, the opportunity to purchase the then eight-year-old out of a claiming race was too good to pass up for Dwyer. Despite an injury enforced five months on the sidelines immediately after being claimed, Dwyer and his team have rejuvenated the son of Blissful Hall. In a tremendous season, the gelding has scored eight wins and placed a further 12 times, while running a career best winning time of 1.51.0 on June 6. It has been a watershed season for Dwyer, who currently sits in sixth position in the State Trainers Title. Career best figures look set to rise by season’s end for Dwyer, currently leading in 64 winners and a further 102 placings.   THE BAD The Winter Carnival did not eventuate the way it was envisaged, but then again nothing in 2020 around the world has really gone to script. If anyone had suggested that Cruz would be the star of the revised Queensland winter, there may well have been people scoff at the suggestion. With his position on the pecking order seeing him down the line behind the likes of Cash N Flow, King Of Swing, Alta Orlando and Replaced Eye at his home barn, he was sent to Queensland in the hope of making hay while the winter sun shines. Not only did he re-gain winning form, the Craig Cross prepared pacer has taken all before him and on Saturday night was able to secure another race victory to stay undefeated in his three starts this campaign. Without doubt the highlight was his victory in the Wondai’s Mate Open Pace, when scorching around the Albion Park oval in a 1.50.4 mile rate. That effort saw him equal the track record once held outright by one of the greatest pacers ever, in the shape of Im Themightyquinn. Following his scorching mile, the gelding backed that up with another dominant victory in the Mr Feelgood over the 2138-metre trip, in a run that was not too far off the track record held by Bling It On. Completing the hat-trick with another slick mile victory on Saturday night when stopping the clock in a 1.50.8 mile, Cruz has been the bright light of the Cross stable in Queensland. Not bad for a horse that struggles to be in the top five at home!   THE WILDCARD Always In Command started favourite in the Mr Feelgood at Egmont Park Pace on Saturday night, despite going into the contest with a ‘duck-egg’ next to his name in four of his previous five starts. That didn’t deter punters however, who were keen to support the Donny Smith-trained gelding that looked the likely leader in the 1660m event. Eh Ef El - drawn in gate one - and driver Shane Graham had other plans and hustled hard with the benefit of the inside alley to repel the challenge of Always In Command through a lightning fast 26.6 second opening split. That left Nathan Dawson at the reins of Always In Command forced to cut the breeze. Content to hold that position, Dawson put the leader away at the 400-metre mark and looked to kick clear and breaking free of the pack, holding off the closing challenge of Sir Julian to score by a head. It was a new career PB for the eight-year-old, stopping the clock in 1.51.8 for the mile. It was the 10th success since being prepared by Smith, with the former Redcliffe track record holder proving he was Always In Command.   THE MILESTONE Taleah McMullen became the latest Queensland Centurion when steering Rancho Man to success at Marburg on Sunday. Heading into the meeting, the youngest of the four McMullen siblings was on 99 winners for the term and soon made the breakthrough to triple figures for the first time in her career. Second only to Angus Garrard on the Queensland Concession Drivers Premiership, Taleah became the second female to make it 100 driving wins for the season. In the process, Taleah has joined eldest sister Narissa and brother Pete in reaching 100 wins for the term. After searching the record books, it appears that it may well be the first time in Australian harness history that three siblings have all recorded triple figures in the same season. Highlights for the youngest daughter of John and Janette have been the success of her own horse Tommy Under Fire who returned from a break triumphant in late June. More pleasing for McMullen has been the fact that the Courage Under Fire gelding spent a long time on the sidelines and took plenty of care and rehabilitation to get him back to the track.   THIS WEEK Following the five heats of the Marburg to Albion Series held on Sunday, this Saturday will see the Final held on the Albion Park Saturday night card. Winners of the heats were Bukthsystem, Pago Pago, Rancho Man, Allstar Sea and Viewbytherock who will be looking to claim a second success after taking out the last of these popular events for trainer/driver/owner Megan Gee. Friday at Albion Park will also see heats of the Australian Pacing Gold, Brisbane Sales Graduate Series. Heats for the $100,000 Group 1 Final are restricted to those horses from the 2019 APG Draft entered for the Brisbane Sale. Recent QBRED Triad winner Jasper looks set to be a big player in the series, with Don Heston - a recent acquisition to the Grant Dixon stable - also looking like he will be one to watch.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Brilliant Lucky Chucky three-year-old filly Aurora completed a clean sweep of the Springboard Trotting Series at Albion Park when she scored an effortless win in the $15,000 Final last Friday (July 31). She led from end to end and won by 10 metres, clocking 59.3 for the last 800. Watch the win click here The filly had captured all four heats of the Series and from 10 lifetime starts she has won seven with two placings for $26,876 in stakes. Out of a Sundon mare, Aurora was bred by Eddy Bidder and is owned by Don Hancock. Lucky Chucky has the excellent record of eight winners and three placegetters from 13 starters in Australia. While in New Zealand, Lucky Chucky has left seven winners and six qualifiers from 26 foals three-year-old and older.  

A dozen new feature races will be introduced to the Queensland harness racing calendar from next month. A joint initiative of Racing Queensland and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club, the concept has been developed following industry feedback since the adoption of the National Ratings System. Among the most common requests from participants was increased opportunities for age-based stakes races to support two and three-year-olds throughout this part of their career. With the support of Ultimate Tools, RQ will programme six two-year-old races and a further six three-year-old races that will be conducted as a combination of $12,000 and $20,000 features. “The Queensland harness racing industry has done a great job innovating in recent times,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said. “We witnessed that earlier this year with the inaugural Trot Rods series and broadcast innovations such as driver cam. “Having conducted industry feedback, the need for Queensland to offer increased stakes opportunities for these young horses was heard loud and clear.” While horses will be free to capture as many of the $20,000 features as they can, they will be limited to one $12,000 win before being balloted out. In addition, Ultimate Tools will provide a $500 bonus to be evenly split between the driver and trainer, along with a further $500 voucher to the winning trainer. “It’s important for two-year-old and three-year-old horses to get the opportunity to race their own age for good stake money on a Saturday night,” Ultimate Tools’ Greg Mitchell said. “We are happy to partner with Albion Park and Racing Queensland to make this come to fruition.”  The inaugural two-year-old race will be held at Albion Park on Saturday, August 22 before the first three-year-old race is held on Saturday, September 19. Both age groups will host $20,000 features as part of a new-look Summer Carnival in December. “It is another great result for harness racing in Queensland,” APHRC Executive Manager Scott Steele said. “It’s been one of the consistent frustrations for trainers being able to place horses against their own ages, particularly three-year-olds. “We have listened to our racing participants and with the help of Racing Queensland and one of our partners, Ultimate Tools, these features have been born. Greg and Sharon from Ultimate Tools, long-time supporters of Albion Park, jumped at the chance to sponsor and we’re grateful for their support.”  Racing Queensland looks forward to making further announcements with regards to feature races for two and three-year-olds as part of the revised Summer Carnival that will this year feature the Grand Circuit TAB Blacks A Fake on December 12.   Racing Queensland

Trent Dawson will saddle up two key players in Saturday night’s Group 1 2YO Fillies QBRED Triad Final in what he believes will be a wide-open affair. Talent To Spare and Tancaltra Lis will represent the Dawson stable, and whilst the latter has drawn the gun run from gate one, Dawson would’ve been hoping for the stablemates to have swapped starting positions. The $34 outsider in Tancaltra Lis will look to settle off the speed early, while Dawson, who is doing the driving behind Talent To Spare, will have to be at his best to weave a path through for the horse he rates as one of the best in the field.  “It’s definitely a good achievement to have two horses lining up in a Group 1, and to be fair I think Talent To Spare probably has a really good chance on Saturday night,” Dawson said. “It feels like only half the job is done being in there, but I would love to get a result of some sort.” Talent To Spare is coming off the most disappointing run of her five-start career two weeks ago after finishing a distant seventh to another rising star in Uncle Shank. That run aside, she has never finished outside of the top two placings, and Dawson holds a big opinion of his two-year-old filly. “It’s hard to predict where she’ll end up from that draw, it’s a real shame for her because I think there’s something special about her and I’d say she’s as good as anything in the field,” Dawson said. “She’s just going to have to come from as bad a draw in the field as any one of the main chances. “She’s going to have to be good and I’m going to have to be good!” Tancaltra Lis is a sole winner from seven career starts and takes a big step up in class to Group 1 company, however, getting the inside run from gate one will significantly help her cause come Saturday evening. “She is probably given more of a chance with the good barrier draw that she’s got,” Dawson said. “She might find the class a little too much but from the barrier draw it will help her a lot. “I would not be surprised at all if she could sneak herself in to a little cheque somewhere there, it would be great for the owners if she could and obviously good for me if she could! “Hopefully she can get a nice run, and Nathan Dawson is driving her so it’s up to him now. “I’d be surprised if she was in front but it would be nice if she was behind the leader or somewhere handy.” In what is one of the most open feature races of the winter, Dawson identified three outside of his own that he thinks will be in the money. “I think the two and the three (Shes Miss Devine and Jaziah), as well as Grant Dixon’s horse (Jasper) - she’s probably the toughest and most professional one I’ve seen in the race,” Dawson said. “They’ll have to be too because they all have better draws and will probably have to use more early, so hopefully they spend a bit too much.” The Dawson family will be a live hope to snare both of the meet’s Group 1 events, with sister Kelli partnering Group 1 winner and race favourite Manila Playboy in the Group 1 2YO Colts & Geldings QBRED Triad Final. However, don’t expect any kind of celebrations if they do pull off the double. “I’d be quite happy to go home on Saturday night with my partner Crystal (Towns) and the kids, a sleep in would be perfect – I’d take that over any kind of party,” he said. Elsewhere, in the second of the feature races, the nation’s leading trainer Grant Dixon will launch a four-pronged attack on the boy’s final led by $7 chance Chamonix. Sharing equal favouritism with Manila Playboy at $2.70 is Big Wheels, trained by Chantal Turpin and driven by husband Pete McMullen.   By Andrew Adermann for Racing QLD

Experienced harness racing trainer Wayne Graham could be excused for having a wry smile after snaring the feature event for mares at Albion Park on Saturday night. Graham, who has been involved in the sport for over 50 years, took out the $25,660 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes with five-year-old Justalittle Torque (Mr Feelgood-Torque In Motion (P B Bullville). "All along she has been a nice mare, but she has certainly stepped up. She's always had blistering speed-and now she's got strength as well," Graham said. He said winning the Ladyship Stakes had some irony about it. "We were the under-bidders on Fleur De Lil when she went through the Brisbane Yearling Sales in the mid-2000s. A friend of ours, Luke McCarthy, ended up with her and what a champion pacer she become." Fleur De Lil (Armbro Operative-French Flair (Preux Chevalier) retired as a "millionaire". The pacer posted 39 wins and 30 placings from 101 starts for $1,041,635 in stakes during a sensational race career. And while the win was a little ironic for the Grahams, the victory in the Queen of Hearts Pace the previous week by Justalittle Torque was also undoubtedly one for the armchair experts! The mare's victory has become one of the most-watched of Racing Queensland's successful "race-cam" innovation. Sky Racing shows snaps of vision from the sulky of each Albion Park event - but the full-race video of the mare bursting through the sprint-lane to victory, captured from the helmet of Shane Graham, is an exhilarating viewer experience. Watch the Helmet Cam vision click here:  Graham said the invitation to drivers to wear the race cam is known colloquially as the "kiss of death"! "That's what the local drivers call it - because the strike rate of drivers winning when they're wearing it seems to be a bit poor!" he laughed. "But it's a terrific promotion of the sport - it really does give everyday people a close-up view of the action from the sulky. It shows the speed of the animals and the closeness of racing, and it gets a lot of comment and interest from people who are watching it on Sky." Graham is based at Birnam, near Beaudesert, which is about one hour south of Brisbane, on a 360-acre farm that has been in the family for three generations and over 100 years. "My grandfather had horses on the place-but they were only draught horses that he used to plough the ground or chase cows," he said. "But when my parents took over, they combined dairy farming with racing a few pacers. My dad Tom (now 96 and in aged care) raced mainly at the old Rocklea and Ipswich tracks. "I suppose I started mucking around with horses when I was 10, but I was more into show jumping. Then three or four years on I began helping dad with his pacers. "My main income from harness racing for the first 20 or 30 years was the breaking-in side of it. It was something I enjoyed. The cow numbers eventually dropped away as it became a bit hard doing both them and the horses." Wayne, with the assistance of his wife Lyn, now train a team of 15. "Lyn works part-time as a nurse, but she's fantastic - and you know what they say about behind every man is a great woman!" he said. "And it's nice having our son Shane back driving for us. When he was sidelined I used Leonard Cain, Hayden Barnes and Paul Diebert. They were great, but Shane doesn't hold back and he tells me if one of my horses is doing something wrong or can be improved!" Victorious driver Shane Graham is with Justalittle Torque, prepared by his father Wayne. Graham said the recent form of one of the stable stars Justalittle Torque had been most exciting, with the mare winning both the $21,000 Queen Of Hearts Pace and then the Ladyship Stakes. "Her first start back from the break was a close-up second to the brilliant Colt Thirty One (Grant Dixon) in the Westburn Grant Open Pace and I thought that was tremendous," Graham said. "She followed that up with the two wins, so I couldn't be happier with her. She is a very good sit/sprint mare, but in saying that she is capable when leading as well. "I was really happy with her three starts at Menangle before she went for a spell as well. I went down for the Ladyship Mile, but had no luck in the lead-up race. She did win at her last run down there." Graham said Justalittle Torque was bred and owned by enthusiastic participant Ian Corazzol. "Ian loves the sport, probably more than anyone else I know. He names all of his horses with the moniker Torque," he said. "I have all four of the foals from her dam Torque In Motion (19wins including the Ladyship Mile; $380k) and all four were at the racetrack last week." In what was certainly an unusual event, Let's Torque A Deal (by Roll With Joe) ran 4th at Albion Park last Tuesday; Torque Is My Girl (Sportswriter) 3rd at Redcliffe, Wednesday; Torqueonetwothree (Hurricane Kingcole), Albion Park winner, Friday, and then Justalittle Torque, ditto on Saturday.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Key Queensland two-year-olds Manila Playboy and Big Wheels rounded off their feature race target preparations with stylish trials yesterday (Friday) at Albion Park. Both youngsters are last start feature race winners and both are set to collide in next week’s Gr.1 $100,550 QBRED Triad 2yo Colts and Geldings Final at Albion Park. The Shane Fraser prepared Manila Playboy scored a dominant victory in the Gr.1 $100,750 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Series Classic Final back on June 27 in a time of 1:57.3 His winning time created a new record at the triangular track for a two-year-old pacer. The Pet Rock – Bangkok Dancer gelding has won 3 of his 4 starts to date with his only blemish coming via the Listed $25,550 QBRED Breeders Classic Final at Albion Park on May 23 when making a break at the 400m mark when challenging hard for the lead. The winner of the QBRED Breeders Classic Final was Big Wheels. The Chantal Turpin trained Big Wheels hasn’t raced since his all the way victory that night but has had the benefit of two recent trials in lead-up to next week. Big Wheels has won 2 of his 6 starts to date. The A Rocknroll Dance – Washington Lass gelding is a full brother to Blacksadance, a runner in tonight’s Gr.2 $50,660 Garrards South East Derby. In the public trial, Big Wheels was able to run down open class trotter Garland Greene while Manila Playboy finished third after sitting back near the rear in the 1660m workout. The time was solid 1:55.7 Sectionals were timed in 29.1, 31.4, 27.5 and 27.9 seconds. And both youngsters recorded smart sectionals. The all-important barrier draws for both QBRED Triad Finals will be streamed live on the Racing Queensland Facebook page next Tuesday afternoon. The Gr.1 $100,550 QBRED Triad Finals, for the fillies plus the colts and geldings, headline the final night of the 2020 Albion Park winter carnival.   Chris Barsby

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