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The All Stars harness racing stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have arrived in Brisbane. Originally, three pacers were set for the three-year-old features but an injury to star filly Spanish Armada reduced the team back to two. More The Better and Partyon will fly the flag for the leading New Zealand stable next month at Albion Park. The pair of highly regarded pacers is based with Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen at their Stanmore property, north of Brisbane. More The Better will tackle the Derby classics while Partyon will start in the Oaks features. ********** Former Grand Circuit winner Our Hi Jinx is close to a return. A winner of the 2015 Queensland Pacing Championship, the Christian Cullen gelding is now prepared by Ian Gurney and has shaped nicely in a number of recent public trials. In his latest effort yesterday (Tuesday), Our Hi Jinx finished stoutly to run down stablemate Smooth Showgirl and Amajorjo in a time of 1:53.4 for the 1660m. Our Hi Jinx hasn’t raced since failing at Melton back in October last year when prepared by David Aiken. ********** Impressive New Zealand three-year-old Mongolian Storm won’t make the trip to Brisbane for the Queensland Derby next month. Trainer Paul Court has been deliberating for some time about an assault on the Queensland winter carnival and despite a hugely impressive winning performance last Friday night at Addington, the Courage Under Fire colt will remain on Kiwi soil. Mongolian Storm scored easily by over two lengths while rating 1:54.7 for the 1950m event. A winner of 5 races from 26 starts, the colt is raced by the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry syndicate. Court was the co-trainer of three times New Zealand Cup winner Terror To Love. ********** Recent Redcliffe Derby winner Paternity Suit is now being set for the Gr.3 $30,630 Premiers Cup at Albion Park on July 1, the opening night of the Albion Park winter carnival. The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding qualified safely from the standing start yesterday (Tuesday) at Albion Park. Prepared by husband and wife team of Grant and Trista Dixon, Paternity Suit starts on Friday at Albion Park in the final of the $10,500 Seymour Pot of Gold Final. ********** Bathurst trainer Steve Turnbull is considering a tilt at the Queensland Derby on July 15 with his talented pacer Joes Star Of Mia. The Roll With Joe colt starts on Sunday at TABCORP Park, Menangle in the Gr.1 $153,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Final for three-year-old colts and geldings where he has drawn gate three. Joes Star Of Mia is bred and raced by John Starr. ********** Connections of former New Zealand filly Kotare Yarra are showing considerable interest in the Queensland Oaks. The $75,000 feature is scheduled for July 8 at Albion Park. Prepared by Phillip Walters, the Bettors Delight filly starts this Friday night at Ballarat where she has drawn gate five. A runner-up at her past two starts, Kotare Yarra has won three races on Victorian soil following her purchase from the Christchurch stables of Robert Dunn. ********** Gotta Go Ya Hu remains on track for the Queensland Derby. The Big Jim gelding scored an effortless victory at Newcastle last Saturday night for the Shane and Lauren Tritton and driver Ben Woodsford. Gotta Go Ya Hu scored easily in a time of 1:55.3 for the 1609m. He has now two of his three starts since arriving from New Zealand. The $75,000 Queensland Derby is scheduled for July 15. ********** The regally bred Our Dainty Lady set a track record with her victory at Albion Park last Saturday night. Starting from a back mark of 30m, the Pegasus Spur mare recorded a time of 2:00.5 for the 2647m discretionary handicap. The previous mark was held by Releven Dream at 2:00.8. Our Dainty Lady is a daughter of former champion trotting mare Pride Of Petite, a winner of 35 races and close to a million dollars in prizemoney. ********** The Darrel Graham stable has been bolstered with the purchase of New Zealand three-year-old Franco Totem. The Changeover gelding has been placed in both starts to date at the recent Nelson meetings. He was previously prepared by Steve McRae. Franco Totem has been purchased by Dean Shannon. ********** Proven Gr.1 winner Rocker Band is headed to Brisbane. The classy mare was desperately unlucky when third in last week’s Gr.3 $31,800 Frith Stakes behind Onlykidding and Killara Ninja at TABCORP Park, Menangle in a time of 1:51.7. Trainer Mark Jones has several options for the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover – Mainland Banner marked out in the coming weeks. ********** Former New Zealand pacer Ashton K looks set to make his local debut. Following a number of trials, the Grinfromeartoear – Spicey gelding won his most recent effort at Albion Park yesterday (Tuesday) in a time of 1:56.6. Ashton K has won 4 of his 6 starts to date but hasn’t raced since winning at Addington during Cup week of 2015. Raced in partnership by Garth Ritchie and Stonewall Stud, the talented pacer is now prepared by Trevor Lambourn. Chris Barsby

A harness racing driver has been slapped with a ham-fisted three-month suspension because of a fundraising pig whose name “boar” similarities to that of a racing official. Dannielle McMullen was suspended for three months for “misconduct” after her prank at the recent BOTRA Charity race day in a penalty that left harness racing participants with disbelief. McMullen did not drive at the meeting, preferring to help raise funds for the charity, being a full-time employee of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club. One of the fundraisers on the day was a pig race, where participants could “buy” a pig. McMullen took up an offer to race one of the contestants, before deciding to give it a name that had a striking resemblance to deputy chief harness steward Kwan Wolsey. The pig, officially named Qualm, won the race and McMullen even took the winning ribbon to show Wolsey. Nothing further was said on the day. The “incident” took a turn for the worse two days later when McMullen was issued with a misconduct charge by stewards. Harness racing driver Dannielle McMullen. Picture: Dan Costello At a subsequent inquiry presided over by Joseph Elliott, Kerry Lathopolous and Robyn McCrae from the QRIC Integrity Regulatory Unit, McMullen was suspended and fined $500. The driver estimates the suspension could cost as much as $10,000. As she’s also a trainer, she has already relinquished horses in her care to other stables. Albion Park Harness Racing Club chairman David Fowler said the penalty was “over the top”. “Maybe Dannielle should have been more mindful, but the penalty is way out of kilter for a somewhat innocent mistake,” he said. “In her employ at Albion Park, I have never once had reason to question her respect or manners.” Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett vigorously defended the sentence on Friday and said he expected QRIC staff to be “treated with a high level of respect”. “This action was inappropriate and showed a lack of respect and disregard for common decency in relation to a QRIC staff member. Ms Wolsey felt disrespected by this regrettable incident,” Barnett said. McMullen is now awaiting the result of an internal review of the penalty before deciding if she will appeal the verdict to QCAT. By Nathan Exelby Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail  

Boom pacer San Carlo is on trial for the Queensland harness racing winter carnival. The outstanding Victorian gelding, fresh from his success last weekend at Bendigo, is being considered for the final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season – the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake on July 15. It’s the biggest event staged in Queensland, the 2680m mobile start feature takes place at Albion Park. And co-trainers Steve O’Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley are very interested in dipping their toe in the water with their rising star. A winner of 14 races from 16 starts, the Mach Three six-year-old gelding made a massive statement when he demoralised his rivals last Saturday night at Lords Paceway after sitting wide throughout before racing clear over the concluding stages. San Carlo scored easily by 5m while rating 1:55.4 for the 2150m. “That was a big step forward into making Brisbane a reality, he performed in such a great manner and Steve thinks the Blacks A Fake is a good target for him but he’s got to prove himself once more before any decision is made.” Bartley said. And that next assignment comes up next Thursday (June 22). San Carlo will start in the Leo Crameri at Maryborough, a race that has historically produced plenty of high quality performers. The event will be staged over 2190m. “That’s his next target and it’s likely he will meet plenty of classy rivals but it will also tell us if Brisbane is one or off. A victory will go a long way in making the northern trip a reality, Brisbane will be tough but it looks a good opportunity for him. “I don’t think he shocked us in anyway last week because we’ve known for some time how good he really is but to do it in the manner in which he did was the best part. He was really strong. “And that’s his best asset; he’s a very strong horse.” O’Donoghue, the boss of Morley Park (of Classic Garry fame), believes San Carlo is the best horse he has worked with and rates him higher than Barclay Court (23 wins – $99k) and Triple Vance (20 wins - $182k). San Carlo is raced by John Eichhorn. Chris Barsby

The McCarthy name is synonymous in Queensland harness racing circles. A decade of dominance in the Sunshine State will leave an effect. It must. And it has. From John being the leading trainer and producing plenty of star performers following moving his young family from Bathurst, his three boys all commenced their race driving careers in Queensland and the rest is history. And now the youngest member of the famous clan will return and looks set to play a leading hand in the state’s biggest event, the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. Fresh from success with outstanding pacer Tiger Tara in the Gr.3 $31,800 Garrards Golden Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle last Saturday, Todd McCarthy and trainer Kevin Pizzuto are eyeing the Brisbane riches. “He was absolutely super on Saturday night and felt like the old Tiger Tara, I was thrilled with the way he performed and now Brisbane is on the radar. I know Kev has mentioned it previously and following that performance, it must be seriously considered because he’s right in the mix.” McCarthy said. Starting from a second-line draw, Tiger Tara nosed out Mach Doro while race favourite Lennytheshark weakened to third after leading in a time of 1:52.6. It was first start since finishing 7th in the Bulli Cup at Menangle behind Lennytheshark in 1:49.6 back on April 29. Prior to that start, the Bettors Delight six-year-old won his previous five starts. “He was really sharp the other night and gave me a great feel in the warm-up and I thought he raced super, Mach Doro is a much underrated type while Lenny is a champion so that underlines the effort. “He’s got the Len Smith Mile before Brisbane and that should be another great race too because there’s plenty of nice types chasing that race but I wouldn’t be swapping right now. I would say he’s one of the best horses I’ve driven in my time, that’s for sure. “I think the main race will suit him up there and I’m looking forward to driving at Albion Park again, it’s a great track with special memories.” Tiger Tara has now won 20 of his 65 starts while banking more than $880,000. With Tiger Tara a ‘likely’ Queensland winter carnival contender; it will see Todd pitted against his older brother Luke once again who has a commitment to millionaire pacer Bling It On who is already based in Brisbane. And just like they’ve done numerous times prior, they could end up with a one/two result. Just like in the Golden Mile. Chris Barsby

IF you are given the opportunity to disburse $53 million in varying amounts to Queensland racing clubs for capital investment in long-term infrastructure, you must be very confident of your abilities in this area, or you seek advice. The decision-makers at Racing Queensland, mindful of the need to "get it right", have played the "advice card" and engaged the services of Deloitte Brisbane in a consultative and advisory capacity. The following impressive statement is taken from the Deloitte Brisbane website. It indicates a reassuring level of self confidence in the company's ability to meet RQ's requirements. "With a well-connected and professional team of more than 480 people and over 50 partners, we are leading providers of assurance, advisory, taxation and consulting services. Ours is a high performance culture that thrives on the strength and success of its people. It's a culture that sets us apart from the rest. Represented by the Deloitte Seven Signals, we take pride in the 'way we do business,' and it shows." Feedback from a teleconference last Monday between members of the Marburg Pacing Association executive and the Deloitte team appears to support a belief that the "wizards" want all the facts, before formulating any opinions or offering any advice. Mattgregor worth watching INTEREST is at Menangle tonight when the up and coming Mattgregor, from the McMullen-Turpin team, goes around against older horses in the $100,000 Bohemia Crystal Free For All. Among the field are last year's Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, Tiger Tara, Major Crocker and Tac Tate. With eight wins from 14 outings and a loose assessment of C5-M0, Mattgregor has shown exceptional ability from the start of his career. Connections feel that he will acquit himself well in top company. After tonight, the gelded son of Rob Roy Mattgregor will head home to Patrick Estate for a break before being set for the Winter Carnival at Albion Park. Lodge for sale AFTER a career in harness racing covering 64 of his 79 years, Bernie Wilson has put Runnymede Lodge on the market. Wilson, who in his younger days in Sydney put the polish on NSW Oaks winner and later good producing broodmare Negro Dancer, cites the depressed state of harness racing in Queensland at the present time. The veteran further believes that there is little light evident at the end of the current tunnel. Runnymede Lodge is on 50 acres with an irrigation licence on Warrill Creek and has accommodation for a minimum of 40 horses plus a huge list of harness and associated horse equipment. Ring Bernie on 5464 3349 for a yarn about better days. Some earn big dollars I KNOW times are tough, but not for all of us. Having spent considerable time in the belief that Thursday at Redcliffe, with its current prize money set at just short of $3000, was a meeting set aside for the moderate horse and the hobbyist trainer, I was amazed to see an Albion Park Saturday night field go round this Thursday in a lowly R4 and better event. The winner, Forever Texas, stopped the clock at 1-57.4. The seven runners have career earnings of $942,697 at an average of $134,671. Only one runner had earnings less than $100,000. It is debacles such as this which lead to the exodus of the battlers. When will enough be enough for the top 10%? Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 1-3-5: Forty Seven Flash (M.Elkins)- Monarkmac (T. Dixon)- Always Prompt (G. Dixon). R2: Quinella 1-8: Supaliner and Itsallaboutlu (S. Graham). R3: Quinella 1-8: Stawbs Ideal Act and Days End (Madi Dux). R4: Quinella 1-8: The Duke Downunder (S. Doherty) and Sams Cam (S. Graham). R5: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Fours Enuf Tas (L.Weidemann)-Sports Chaton (G. Dixon)-Real Social (N. Dawson). R6: Box trifecta 1-7-8: Alleluia (G. Dixon)-The Space Invader (Madi Dux)-Polished Rocks (M. Neilson). R7: Quinella 1-2: Ivegotalife and Joys A Babe (T. Dixon). R8: E/w 5: Im Jack Black (G. Whitaker). R9: E/w 5: Shezabonnygem (G. Dixon). Honour board A new face on the trainer's side of the leader board this week with Purga-based Steve Bunz taking the honours with three winners. They included a Sunday outing to Tamworth, NSW. King of the drivers was Nathan Dawson who landed four for the term, three of which were for Steve Bunz. The most pleasing was five drivers on two winners apiece. Albion Park, February 17: Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Sicilian Slumber (Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, February 18: Zac Mac (Danielle McMullen for Darren Hooper); Reservation Road (Narissa McMullen); Sweet As Candy (Matt Elkins for Vic Frost). Tamworth, February 19: Change the Nation (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Emargee (Ricky Gordon). Albion Park, February 21: Rock With Sam (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Abitgoingonhere (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz). Redcliffe, February 22: Projectile (Matt Elkins for Kerry Smith); Ima Sea Storm (Nathan Dawson for Graham White); Royal Taz (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Trentleigh (Hayden Barnes for D.R. Pollock). Redcliffe, February 23: Our Champion (Gary Whitaker for Mal Charlton); Soi Cowboy (Gary Whitaker for Ken Belford). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

An accidental choice of words and a random tweet have landed Channel 9 personality Erin Molan in a place she never thought she would be. Molan is now the proud owner of two-year-old harness racing filly Long Legs Lou, whose winnings will be donated to Bowel Cancer Australia (bowelcancer australia.org). The Footy Show panellist is an ambassador for Bowel Cancer Australia after her older sister Sarah Sutton battled the illness several years ago. Molan will race the regally-bred filly through the stables of leading Queensland horseman Grant Dixon. The offer to race the filly was put forward by harness racing benefactors Kevin and Kay Seymour. It came about after Molan backed a winner at the trots and gave the “jockey” a wrap to her 100,000 followers on social media. “The tweet got a bit of attention when harness racing people replied and quickly told me that in harness racing it was a driver, not a jockey,” Molan said. “Then out of the blue I got an offer from Kevin Seymour to race this filly. “Every cent she earns will go to Bowel Cancer Australia and that is something I am really passionate about.’’ Molan interviewed her sister Sarah in an emotional piece for The Footy Showin 2015, which was recognised by the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand media award. Bowel cancer is Australia’s second-biggest cancer killer. It is estimated that about 17,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year. Sarah Sutton has recovered well but Molan is determined to continue to raise awareness of bowel cancer, encouraging people to be aware of symptoms and have them checked. Molan has owned several thoroughbred racehorses but this is her first dabble in the harness racing industry. She has no family racing background but her racing passion was spawned after a few winning greyhound bets. “I loved punting on the greyhounds and then I fell in love with watching horse racing,” she says. “I am so excited about having this harness racing filly and hopefully she can live up to what her breeding says she should be able to achieve.” The Bettors Delight/Rich Heritage youngster is by Australasia’s leading sire out of one of the best mares in the studbook. Courtesy of Ben Dorries, The Trot Spot, The Courier-Mail Reprinted with permission of the Courier Mail      

Queensland harness racing horseman Brendan Barnes is returning home. But it’s a brief visit only. The in-form reinsman landed another Gr.3 victory last weekend with his winning drive behind Freyberg in the Les Chant Cup at TABCORP Park, Menangle in a time of 1:51.0 defeating Stormont Czar and Blazin N Cullen. Freyberg is prepared by Kevin Pizzuto, for whom Barnes works for in Sydney. “I’m coming home for a friend’s wedding this weekend but I’ve taken an extended break and will be based in Brisbane for about two weeks all-up but I’m hopeful of taking a few drives during that time.” Barnes said. The 19yo continues to improve and the winners are arriving at a rapid rate which follows his solid season which netted him 82 victories for the 2015/16 season. He has already landed 6 winners for the current season. The natural lightweight landed a Gr.3 triumph earlier this month with a polished display behind the Pizzuto trained Match Point in the Club Menangle Final. “That was a massive thrill winning that feature with him because he’s such a cool horse and he’s been a massive part of my success in Sydney. It’s my biggest moment in the sport to date and I’m pumped it came via this horse. “I’ve won six races with this horse and they’ve all come at Menangle so he’s played a big role in helping me get established down here. He continues to race in good form so hopefully he’ll keep racking up the victories in the coming months along with Freyberg. “Another horse that continues to do a very good job for Kevin is Blow A Cloud, he’s a former New Zealand pacer that has wicked speed and I believe he’s best horse I’ve driven to date. I know Kevin has nominated both Freyberg and Blow A Cloud for the Inter Dominion series in Perth later this year so that underlines the faith we all have these horses. “I’ve really enjoyed making the move south and the experience has been huge for my race driving, I’ve got no doubt that Menangle is the best track that I’ve driven but I’m looking forward to driving back at Albion Park and competing against some excellent drivers like Shane Graham and the like.” Another bonus in his return home is the opportunity to renew his rivalry with his brother Hayden. Both possess natural talent and continue to improve with every opportunity they’ve been presented to date. “I’m really looking forward to catching up with Hayden and going against him on the track is an added bonus because we’re both competitive as each other. He’s a good driver and we’re always keeping an eye on each other’s results. “I’m sure if we get the opportunity to race each other it will give us the extra purpose of trying to outdo one another. We both love to win, that’s always been the way we’ve looked at our race driving.” *Hoofnote; Barnes has returned for the marriage of Bart Cockburn and Megan Armour on Sunday.   by Chris Barsby

Each week, Queensland Harness Racing commentator Chris Barsby does a ring around and gets the inside info on a big list of Australasian based runners. Queensland trainer/driver Darrell Graham heads back to a specialist on Monday, his broken leg is healing well. Champion Perth trainer Gary Hall headed for operation on his hand next Monday. Has constant swelling. He will be out of action for a couple of weeks Talented Sydney trotter Cyclone Lucky Seven headed to Menangle trials next week for trainer Alex Alchin. - Last start was mid march. Star pacers for Shane Tritton, Arms Of An Angel & Salty Robyn both back doing pace work. No set plans for either speed machine. Last start Group 1 runner Three Of The Best is back in Queensland, starts Friday week in Breeders crown heat, decisions to be made after that. In-form couple Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull arrive in Queensland next week with 3 runners. Fcee, Neon Sky & Eye See Diamonds. Reigning Australian Driver of the Year Shane Graham, already has over 200 winners this season and celebrates his 52nd birthday today. Millionaire mare Frith will have one more start before a well-deserved break. Starts Saturday week in the Adore Me mares event at Menangle. Top Goulburn horseman Brad Hewitt arrives in Brisbane today with his winter carnival team headed by Spare Me Days. Talented 3yo Stanley Ross Robyn has also made the trek north and will start in both the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby classics. Victorian trainer Andy Gath will make final decision on Three Ways & possible Queensland Derby trip after he starts next Tuesday at Bendigo. Birthday celebrations today for Gareth Hall – he's planning a big party in Brisbane next week when he cheers home Hectorjayjay. Good race tomorrow at Albion Park when Queensland Derby aspirants Kimani (Matt Craven) & Mattgregor (Chantal Turpin) clash. Smart pacer My Kiwi Mate is headed to the Winter Championship series next week at Melton. Good trial this week after NZ Campaign. Despite an impressive trial this week, former Kiwi 3yo He Can Fly will remain in Sydney. Connections were eyeing Queensland Derby Last start Group 2 Breeders Classic winner Maestro Bellini is bang on target for Qbred triad Final on July 16. Starts new week. North American speedster Hurrikane Kingcole is facing a battle to make a successful comeback down under. Team McCarthy working overtime. Plans remain intact for SA Derby winner Brallos Pass to head north for Queensland Derby on July 16. Faces poor draw in Group 1 Vicbred Final this week Chris Barsby

Top young Victorian Harness Racing horseman Matthew Craven is heading to Queensland. The emerging star is keen to chase Group One glory in both the Queensland Oaks and Derby with a pair of richly talented ex-kiwi pacers in Im Wrongly Accused and Kimani. And he’s heading north next week. Im Wrongly Accused has already shown her class by winning a heat of the Victoria Oaks earlier this season while Kimani is yet to race on Australian soil following his purchase from the stables of Barry Purdon recently. “The Queensland winter carnival has been on my radar for some time and I think I’ve got the right horses to head north with, the filly has proven she can compete with the best while Kimani is very talented and the Derby was an obvious target.” Craven said. Winning a Derby classic has proven elusive so far this season for Craven with another former kiwi pacer in Cant Refuse coming up short in the Victoria, New South Wales and West Australian features. Cant Refuse finished as a runner-up in the Sydney feature while running a close fourth in the other two events. Kimani is a son of super sire Bettors Delight out of the former champion filly Lizzie Maguire and gave a glimpse of his ability with a stylish trial at Terang last Sunday. Kimani rated 1:55.7 for the 2180m workout and scored by a widening margin. “I was very happy with the effort in the trial last weekend and he’ll improve on that obviously because that’s the first serious hit-out I’ve given to date. He had a good blow following the trial but he’s come through it in good style. “I’m keen to start him in a ‘CO’ event at Albion Park next week before pushing to the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby features. He’s pretty good and I’m looking forward to starting him up there.” Despite her scratching today (Wednesday), Im Wrongly Accused remains on target for the Queensland campaign. The Bettors Delight filly was ruled out owing to a hoof abscess and Craven wasn’t prepared to take any risks. “It’s not a major issue but I wasn’t prepared to take any chances, we’ll get it sorted and she’ll be ready for the Gold Coast Oaks on Saturday week. “This filly possesses very good speed and the pattern of racing up there should suit her ideally, these features have been earmarked for some time.” Another in-form pacer making the trip north is Roy George, an impressive last winner last night (Tuesday) at Ballarat. The Grinfromeartoear six-year-old has won 10 of his 15 starts including 7 of his past 8 starts. Craven is considering a $20,000 Rising Stars Championship series for the talented gelding. Chris Barsby

All is in readiness for iron tough Brisbane based harness racing pacer Destreos and his milestone moment. Well, almost everything. At his next start, it will be start no. 400. Yes, 400 career starts! The horse affectionately known as Dexter, will become only the second horse in Australian harness racing history to reach the 400-start milestone on his way to surpassing a national record set by former North Queensland star Cane Smoke for most starts (401). But there will be an unfortunate omission when he steps out next. Regular driver Kelli Dawson will not be taking the lines behind her favourite pacer. Dawson was badly injured followed a nasty race fall at Redcliffe last night (Wednesday), injuries sustained include a chipped tail bone and a cracked rib. Jimboomba based trainer Ken Rattray and his wife Sally Stingel are now weighing up their options on who will partner their twelve-year-old marvel. “We haven’t made a decision, not yet anyway, our immediate focus is with Kelli and making sure she is comfortable and pain free. We weren’t trackside when the fall took place and when we heard the news; we were shocked and very concerned for Kelli because she is such an important part of Team Dexter.” Stingel said. And to illustrate the bond between horse and driver, Destreos has won a total of 89 races and Dawson has steered him to victory on 52 occasions. Dawson took the drive behind Destreos on Tuesday afternoon when he trialed at Albion Park when finishing as a runner-up to emerging four-year-old talent Major Coup in a mile rate of 1:56.6. Destreos was beaten a half head margin while the final quarter was timed in 27 seconds. “We were really happy with his trial because as we know, he’s such a good doer between races and he’s had a few niggling issues in recent weeks so we’ve backed off on him a bit. It’s just about three weeks since his last start so we’ll probably trial him again next Tuesday before he starts at Redcliffe on April 2. “The most pleasing part about his trial was how comfortable he looked, he’s paced a little indifferently at the start at his past two starts and we’ve worked hard on that issue and he looked much better in the trial. He had a good blow after the trial but another trial will have him in better condition before he starts again. “Obviously whoever drives him in the trial will be with him at Redcliffe but we will make a decision across the weekend. We’ll sit down and look at our options, there are plenty of good drivers going around and we’ll look at everybody before Ken makes the call.” Both the Redcliffe Harness Club and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club are eagerly looking forward to embracing this milestone moment in the coming weeks. As it stands, Destreos has won a record 68 races at Albion Park from 297 starts - a record that has seen him tagged as the “King Of The Creek” while he has managed 4 wins from 16 starts at the smaller Redcliffe circuit. The New Zealand bred pacer has amassed almost $730,000 in prizemoney. Destreos Fun Fact; Q. How many sets of hopples has Destreos gone through since making his Queensland debut back on August 15, 2008? A. 4

Breeding for the harness racing market in Australasia is never an easy business at the best of times especially if you are trying to market and sell fillies, Buyers are notoriously reluctant to pay anything like the same premium for well bred fillies as they are for well bred colts but we feel that are missing out on a lot of opportunities because the buyers have missed the changes taking place in the stallion market down under. When you look at the present line up of stallions that are dominating the racing scene in Australasia, then just about all the elite stallions are outstanding filly sires. Bettor's Delight is without doubt the best filly sire in the world today, continually churning out champion fillies each season and in big numbers and they are keenly sought after at yearling sales in both hemispheres. Rock N Roll Heaven is another sire whose fillies to be honest are better than his colts in North America, Australia and New Zealand in his siring career to date. American Ideal is another stallion whose fillies often outperform his colts on the track while Shadow Play has five mares amongst his top eight earners in North America. So with such great filly sires dominating the stallion market in Australasia, you would think that fillies would be keenly sought after especially since any well bred ones have a good residual value once they have finished racing which the colts in the main just don't have. Looking through this weekends Australian Pacing Gold Sale at Brisbane and a great number of the fillies would appear to have a high residual value post any racing career. A lot of them come from high profile New Zealand families which are very current in the New Zealand market and have just fetched significant five figure sums at the latest sales in New Zealand. We thought we would highlight a couple of lots from Brisbane that in our opinion would have high residual valve post racing. Lot 450  -  Filly by Mr Feelgood from the Christian Cullen mare Tori Maguire 1:57 ($57,870) The first foal of a smart Christian Cullen mare in Tori France who is a full sister to a champion two and three year old filly in Lizzie Maguire 1:56.5 ($477,366). Christian Cullen is the leading pacing broodmare sire in New Zealand at the moment and for the foreseeable future. A colt by Mach Three from Unrehearsed making him a half brother to Tori Maguire made $40,000 at the recent Australasian Classic yearling sale at Karaka in Auckland. The family is seen as a rich source of  juveniles in New Zealand and has been selling well at the yearling sales for the last 15 years. Lot 431  - Filly by Lanercost from the Bettor's Delight mare in Manhattan Montana 1:57.6 The first foal from a 1:57.6 Bettor's Delight half sister to nine winners including such top liners as Village Hero 1:50.6 ($306,475) and He's My Hero 1:54.3 ($222,293), this is a family that is highly sought after in New Zealand as as can be seen from the latest yearling sales there Two Bettor's Delights colts from Christian Cullen half sisters to Manhattan Montana were sold at the Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka for $80,000 and $60,000 respectively The two Bettor's Delight colts in question are three quarter brothers in blood to Manhattan Montana. At the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch, a Washington VC half brother to Manhattan Montana made $45,000. Now both the fillies we have highlighted are by young sires  who still have to prove themselves at the highest level but the maternal families are so strong in our view that we wouldn't hesitate adding those two to a broodmare band when they are finished racing. There are numerous other lots for sale at Brisbane on Sunday that are just as well bred in our view and are from families that are in hot demand on both sides of the Tasman. In a lot of ways, the fillies are becoming a better financial investment than the colts these days. Harnesslink Media 

The last leg of the harness racing Australian Pacing Gold Yearling sales series will be held in Queensland at Brisbane on Sunday starting at eleven o'clock and as the last sale to be held this year it faces a few head winds. The Kiwi connection that is so evident at Melbourne and Sydney will be that much harder to find this weekend with most of the Kiwis back home home preparing for their Oaks and Derbies now that the Miracle Mile carnival is over. With only fifty yearlings on offer, it may struggle to attract too many interstate buyers as if you miss the one you are after, there is not much backup. However New South Wales and Victorian buyers will be delighted to see that over three-quarters of the catalogue is eligible for one or more NSW and/or Victorian futurities, including Bathurst, NSW Challenge, Vicbred and the Breeders Crown so that is a big positive.  So the initial view here at Harnesslink was that the sale had a few things stacked against it and may struggle to hold its own. That was until we read the sales information more thoroughly and came across the exclusive sales race to be held in Brisbane next year for yearlings sold on Sunday The great news for this year’s Brisbane buyers is that Albion Park will be hosting a Group One, $100,000 Two-Year Old Sales Race exclusively for the 50 yearlings catalogued for Sunday’s Brisbane Sale. This is in addition to APG’s traditional million dollar race series and lucrative Gold Bonus Scheme.   To remain eligible for the $100,000 Brisbane Sales race, buyers simply need to keep their yearlings fully sustained for APG’s traditional race series.   Albion Park will be staging the $100,000 Two-Year Old Sales Race late in the 2016/17 season, meaning that horses can compete in APG’s traditional million dollar series in April, and also compete in Albion Park’s $100,000 Sales Race in the latter part of the season. If a $100,000 carrot is not enough incentive for buyers to get involved at Brisbane on Sunday, then it is hard to know what would draw buyers. A $100,000 two year old race that is restricted to just the fifty yearlings being sold on Sunday should ensure spirited bidding at Brisbane on Sunday. APG deserve a lot of kudos for the proposal as it does give all prospective buyers a huge incentive to get involved on Sunday and it should ensure that the Brisbane leg of their sales series is successful. To view the catalogue click on this link. Harnesslink Media

When your luck runs out, it’s out. But it will change in time. This is the conundrum with talented Queensland trotter Our Overanova who was primed to tackle the nation’s best during the Victorian Summer of Glory harness racing carnival which is currently underway. After being left grounded in Brisbane when his flight was cancelled at the last minute, he’s now battling a low-grade virus. “What’s the old saying, that’s racing or something to that effect? It’s very unfortunate the timing but it’s not all doom and gloom and he is showing signs of improvement. We’re pulling another blood at the end of this week and that will paint a clearer picture and determine what path we take for our southern ventures.” Owner Greg Mitchell said. After resuming from a short let-up, the Monarchy gelding looked set to tackle the Victorian features at Melton after scoring two impressive victories at Albion Park in solid time under mobile conditions. The Grant Dixon prepared trotter was set to tackle a raft of feature events in Melbourne culminating with the Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Melton on March 12. While the aim remains with the March 12 heat/final feature, a revised route to Melbourne appears likely. “All going to plan and with a clean bill of health later this week, I intend on racing him in Sydney at Tabcorp Park Menangle in the Gr.1 Trotters Cup over the marathon distance at the end of the month and then hopefully we head further south straight after that race. “Obviously the depth around is the deepest it’s been for a long time but my horse deserves his chance and I’m keen to give him that shot against the best. I have no doubt he can handle the format of the Great Southern Star with the heat/final on the same night. “We will give him a start at Albion Park before heading to Sydney, he was very fit before the setback so I’m sure he’ll come to hand quickly once he’s up and going again. We should know exactly where we’re at by Friday afternoon and that gives us time to be fully fit before heading south.” The Gr.1 $50,000 TAB Trotters Cup over 3009m is scheduled for Sunday, February 28. And the Dixon stable will be looking at having representation on the feature day of racing with talented three-year-olds Get In The Groove and Frankie Rocks also being considered for the Gr.1 $200,000 Oaks and Derby respectively. The main event that day will be the $750,000 Miracle Mile, the final leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit for 2015/16. by Chris Barsby

The first inklings of the immediate future of the animal racing codes of Queensland has been revealed in the proposed "Tracking to Sustainability'' plan released by the Office of Racing. Before we go into orbit at the prospect of prizemoney cuts, the following schedule will provide for a level of stakes some 3.4% above that paid out in the 2013/14 racing season. Effectively, what this provides, is breathing space and opportunity for harness racing clubs to put a great deal more effort into ensuring that they are providing fans and punters with the product they want. We all, from Racing Queensland down the line, have to try harder to increase turnover to a point where we can hold our heads up. Whingeing, screaming for assistance and interviewing ex-pat trainer/drivers who only return here to plunder our feature races, or quoting locals who are planning to shift camp to the south to chase the larger stakes on offer there, does no good at all. Bob Bentley's famous statement to Derek Payne (the former financial director of Clive Palmer's horse interests) that harness would receive "corporate reality'' is now with us. Sadly, so are a raft of corporate bookmakers competing with our major source of operating revenue, UBET, a company to which we are contractually tied for the next 29 years. We must work with what we have and we must make it succeed. We will only do it with a much simplified racing format for the punters to do their own reliable form and iron-tight integrity. Nothing less will provide a reliable starting point. The following is the short version of the proposed prize- money structure from January 1. Harness racing: Reduction of $2.9 million in prizemoney levels overall. Feature prizemoney to be reduced by $515,000. QBred scheme set to receive a $990,000 reduction. Albion Park Friday: Prizemoney levels to be reduced to eight races at $4000 and one race at $3501. Albion Park Saturday: Prizemoney levels to be reduced to one race at $13,000, five races at $11,000 and four races at $7500. Albion Park Tuesday: Prizemoney levels to be reduced to seven races at $5000 and two races at $3501. Redcliffe Wednesday: to remain at $3,501 for eight races. Marburg Saturday (non TAB): to remain at $1501 for five races. Grass TAB meetings on various Sundays: $2,500 for three to eight races. The following illustrates clearly that harness has by no means been singled out or ill treated. Brad Davidson reports for News Limited that thoroughbred racing will cop most of the reduction with $8.5 million to be cut from non-country racing prizemoney and $4.6 million cut from country racing prizemoney. However, the $4.6 million cut to country racing is expected to be fully compensated in a $21 million package set to be released from the State Government, which will see funding to the country sector remain similar over the next four years. Prizemoney for harness racing will be reduced by $2.9 million next financial year, which will leave the code 1.3 per cent worse off than the levels before increases were announced late last year. Greyhound racing will face a $2.64 million reduction in prizemoney next financial year with the average prizemoney a race set to decrease by two per cent to $1863 next financial year. The local breeding schemes for thoroughbred (QTIS) and harness (QBred) racing will also be reduced by $1.56 million and $990,000 respectively next financial year. Christmas Ducks salute THERE used to be an old saying when I was a boy, which surfaced every year at the festive season. Anyone who enjoyed a bit of luck or success in the matter of money at this time was greeted by friends with the salutation: "Christmas Ducks''. The ducks went in the bag for the extended family of Beryl (Nanna) Dawson on Tuesday at Albion Park. First up on the winner board was grandson Nathan who piloted Betonthebay to victory in race one for Redcliffe trainer Donny Smith. Then, perhaps the most pleasing result, was the win of Danny Cool for John McMullen. In a sport noted for the longevity of many active participants, John noticeably concentrated on training some years to make way for offspring Pete and Narissa who benefited greatly from the additional time in the sulky on race day. The win on Danny Cool was JMcM's first for five years, and he was suitably chuffed. Race 3 then went to Lively Hero, trained and driven by grand daughter, Melissa Gillies for herself and husband Keith. There was nothing new in the fourth leg of this family quadrella with star driver and grandson Pete chasing home Feel The Courage, trained by his better half Chantal in race six. The ducks are in the freezer or the bank waiting for the oven or conversion to other less traditional delicacies on Christmas Day. Great gift idea IF you are looking for a gift for a "horsey'' person, the December issue of Horses and People Magazine is worth a look. It includes top articles on hoof care for the older horse and how to avoid transport induced problems in the horse. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: E/w 2: Always Prompt (G. Dixon). R2: Quinella 1-8: Regal Point (M. Neilson) and Withalotofluck (N. McMullen). R3: Quinella1-8: Buy Chevron Direct (P. McMullen) and Bennys Ace (M. Neilson). R4: Quinella 1-2: Billy Badlands (N. Dawson) and A Passion for Aces (G. Dixon). R5: E/w 4: Artzone (T. Dawson). R6: No 1: Joys A Babe (G. Dixon). R7: Quinella 5-10: American Legend (B. Cockburn) and Caesars Folly (M. Neilson). R8: E/w 1: Corey ODonohue (H. Barnes). R9: Quinella 1-3: Lady Royal Sue (N. Dawson) and Jewel Lehigh (D. Weeks). R10: Quinella 1-8: Releven Dream (M. Neilson) and Goldstar Invasion (S. Graham). Honour board PETE McMullen leading the way again, driving six winners for the week. His other half Chantal was equally outstanding training five winners in the same timeframe. Gold Coast at Albion Park, December 4: My Precious Fling (Pete for Chantal Turpin-McMullen); Withalotofluck (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Attacovita (Brittany Graham for Debbie Rodney); Lady Royal Sue (Narissa for John McMullen); Cee Uin LA (Rob Gorman). Albion Park, December 5: Buy Chevron Direct (Pete for Chantal Turpin-McMullen); Five Card Draw (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Morethanmeetstheye (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Duke of The Moment (Pete for Chantal Turpin-McMullen). Albion Park, December 8: Betonthebay (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith); Danny Cool (John McMullen); Lively Hero (Melissa Gillies); Feel The Courage (Pete for Chantal Turpin-McMullen). Redcliffe, December 9: Bee Jays Abundance (Steven Burke); Sookie Go goes (Nathan Dawson for Steve Benham); Maybe Cruising (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Oozing Confidence (Pete for Darren Hooper); Gold Affair (Gary Litzow for Wendy Smart). Gold Coast at Redcliffe, December 10: King Of Spin Lombo (Trent Moffat for Matt Wright); Sweet as Candy (Gary Whitaker for Vic Frost); Blue Eyed Suzie (Pete for Chantal Turpin-McMullen); Annika Magic (Gary Whitaker for Kerry Smith). QT trotting columnist Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of the qt.com.au site

One of Queensland's best ever race mares, Forever Gold is about to begin her new life in the breeding barn. After recently announcing Forever Gold’s retirement, owners Murray Cole and Beau Watson have paired Forever Gold with leading first season sire Rock N Roll Heaven. Standing at Pepper Tree Farm in NSW, Rock N Roll Heaven has produced multiple Group winners from his first Australian crop and finished second to Bettors Delight in the 2014-15 Australian 2yo Sires premiership. Rock N Roll Heaven is also currently going head to head with Bettors Delight for the converted 3yo Sires premiership in the USA. Forever Gold was a champion on the racetrack and had 42 race victories and earned in excess of $700,000 in stakes. She was retired late last month to reside at Egmont Park Stud on Queensland's Darling Downs. Her last race start was in the Group 1 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park, a race which was preparing her for the Grand Circuit Group 1 Queensland Pacing Championship and possibly the New Zealand Cup. She finished sixth in the Gold Coast Cup won by Bling It On in record time. On retirement her owners revealed that Forever Gold had soreness in her nearside fetlock joint, an injury that she has battled with over the past couple of seasons Racing Queensland

The biggest race on the Queensland harness racing calendar takes place this weekend. As always, the Grand Circuit season starts in Brisbane at Albion Park with the running of the Gr.1 $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship. And as the starter calls the field to the gate, there will be a notable omission. Forever Gold won’t be there. The best mare in the sunshine state, and arguably the country, has succumbed to injury and has been retired by her connections. “Once informed of the news, it was an easy decision to make because she has nothing more to prove." "Her deeds on the racetrack speak for themselves and she’s been racing at the top level since her career began back in 2010." "The mare we dubbed Tammy gave us the best thrills, winning a Gr.1 Queensland Oaks plus winning an Inter Dominion heat while racing all over the southern hemisphere and never taking a backward step, what more could you ask for as an owner, what a ride it’s been.” Co-owner and breeder Murray Cole said today (Monday). Following her latest effort in last week’s Gold Coast Cup when sixth behind Bling It On in track record time, the tough as teak mare was feeling her nearside fetlock joint. An injury that she has battled with over the past couple of seasons. But never once was an excuse offered in defeat, always treating her rivals with the utmost respect and always expecting a tight tussle every time she graced a racetrack. The victories, all 42 of them, were celebrated in a quiet and unassuming way. “Tammy is the type of horse that everyone is hoping will enter their stables, we got lucky when she entered our care and the journey has been overwhelming." "We raced against the very best of opposition and on the very best of tracks in this part of the world; it was a privilege and an honour to train this wonderful mare.” trainer Darren Weeks said. “Like any racehorse, they end up with niggling issues along the way but she always seemed ready to grit her teeth and perform at her very best every time she started." "She took us to an Inter Dominion Grand Final plus we ventured to Auckland to race against the likes of Carabella and Bettor Cover Lover, that’s a dream come true.” Weeks added. Forever Gold retires with 42 victories from 92 starts while amassing more than $700,000 in stakes. Some of her biggest victories include the Queensland Oaks, Inter Dominion heat, Governors Cup, Robin Dundee Stakes, Make Mine Cullen, 4/5yo Championship, Qld Ladyship Stakes (x 4) and the 2yo & 3yo QBRED Breeders Classic and Triads Finals. Feature race placings include Nursery Pace Final, Gold Coast Oaks, Ladyship Mile, Teeny Teeny, Ranji Bill, Angelique Club Cup, Northern Breeders Stakes, Queen of Hearts, Redcliffe Gold Cup, Lord Mayors Cup, Christmas Cup, Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. During her career, Forever Gold was handled by Kylie Rasmussen, Darren Weeks, Shane Graham, Natalie Rasmussen and Mathew Neilson. Albion Park Club Chairman David Fowler was glowing in his praise of the brilliant mare. “Queensland has a proud history in the modern era of producing some of the very best mares including the likes of Fleur De Lil, Sparkling Melody and Five Star Comfort to name a few but Forever Gold ranks at the very least, right at the top because of her longevity." "Her ability to compete with the best, both sexes, is credit to her connections.” Fowler said. Forever Gold, now an eight-year-old, will head to Egmont Park Stud on the Darling Downs to begin the next chapter of her career – a broodmare. No decision has been made on which stallion will cover the ‘glamour gal’ of Queensland. Chris Barsby

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