The Inter Dominion Grand Final will be a moment of change. During the past decade, two names have become synonymous with harness racing’s premier event, Queensland champion Blacks A Fake recorded victories in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 thus becoming the only horse to win the series four times while West Australian wonder horse Im Themightyquinn has claimed the past three editions. Sadly, the 2014 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Pacing Championship on Sunday at Menangle won’t feature either of these immortal pacers. On the flipside, a brand new name will be etched onto this famous honour roll. It also means another Grand Circuit champion will be crowned. Following the heats that were conducted at five different venues within the space of eighty minutes a fortnight ago, the stage is now set for an epic final. Star Kiwi pacers Terror To Love and Smolda will both carry strong support while Victorian quartet Keayang Cullen, Restrepo, Wartime Sweetheart and Caribbean Blaster all boast legitimate claims. Queensland mare Forever Gold is the sole female runner in the rich final while Im Victorious and Livingontheinterest represent the sand gropers. Flying the flag for the host state will be Seel N Print, Mach Beauty, The Gold Ace, For A Reason and Beautide (although he carries the weight of a state in Tasmania). The barrier draw has certainly raised several questions with many of the key chances drawing the second-line in the 3009m event leaving bookmakers and form experts scratching their heads as they attempt to map the race. Last year, Im Themightyquinn produced a stunning burst of speed as he sailed down the crown of the track leaving many of the belief that a leader can’t take the field all the way. So many theories and so many scenarios. And the race to be crowned the 2013/14 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit champion continues. Christen Me (260 points) leads the way following his gritty performance in the Hunter Cup last month in Melbourne before connections decided against starting in the Trans-Tasman feature paving the way for a challenger to emerge. With only two legs remaining, the chance to be crowned still has two legitimate players who both start this weekend. For A Reason (160 points) and Terror To Love (104 points) can clinch the title from Christen Me if successful in the Inter Dominion Grand Final followed by the Auckland Cup which will be staged five days later. It’s a tall order but both pacers possess the brilliance to snatch the title from Christen Me who already has one hand on the trophy. The race to be crowned Grand Circuit champion is just another sidelight to what shapes as an intriguing race. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)
The long hard slog continues for the connections of richly talented pacer Wicked Style. The multiple feature race winner strained his offside front tendon after winning his first five starts as a four-year-old which forced him out for the rest of the season. In fact, the Shawn Grimsey trained gelding hasn’t raced since January 26 last year. A return to the racetrack in October appeared likely before plans were thwarted after he pulled up lame in track work which forced Grimsey searching for alternative treatments. Grimsey decided against tipping him out for a lengthy break and elected to give him a short break while undergoing constant treatment for the troublesome tendon and the results are pleasing. “He was scanned again today (Monday) and the vet was very happy with what he witnessed on his monitor and gave me the go ahead to keep jogging him for another month before being re-scanned again.” Grimsey said. The Western Edition gelding has been in constant work since January and another month of jog work will continue to trim the fat as connections now ponder a race return later this year. “Any tendon injury is never the same but I’m hopeful things are starting to turn for the better. As we continue to increase his workload that will prove to be crucial for his future, let’s just hope he stands up for a full preparation. “Michele (wife) and I continue to do all the tedious and laborious things and its working at this point but we haven’t got to the pressure stage yet, so, we’re not allowing ourselves to get too far ahead of ourselves. “In a perfect world, I would like to think that we could have him back at trialing stage by mid-May. If we get that far down the track with him, who knows, the Brisbane Winter Carnival could be a sneaky chance but time will ultimately tell.” During his three-year-old term, Wicked Style captured the Gr.1 $100,000 RQIS Final plus the Gr.2 $75,000 Nursery Pace Final at Albion Park while finishing second to Best Deal Yet in the Gr.1 $100,000 Queensland Derby. A half-brother by BG’S Folly on account of Burwood Stud will go under the hammer at next month’s Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale. The sale will be staged on Sunday, March 30. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)
Hunter Valley trainer Geoff Harding looks set to play a major role in Sunday's feature event at Muswellbrook's Carnival of Cups meeting after qualifying two runners. The heats of the Hunter Valley Harness Racing Association Cup were run on Sunday and although the last two races had to be abandoned, Harding was able to get Strathlachlan Andy and Charming Joseph through to the $12,000 final. "Strathlachlan Andy is my best horse and he was very impressive on Sunday afternoon, he won pretty easily and I was happy with the performance because it was his first run back since arriving back from Queensland," Harding said. "I've had a few offers to buy him but he is a pretty nice horse and he is still only a C0 pacer so there are plenty of wins left in store for him." Harding headed to Queensland attempting to take out a Rising Stars Final but after winning his heat comfortably he was narrowly beaten in the final. "He was beaten a neck in 1:57.5, it was a bit disappointing to take him up there and get beaten and he was only just beaten in very fast time in a country final at Menangle so he's been pretty close in some nice races." "The horse himself has always shown ability but he was a bit green and dopey early on in his career, he has a nice turn of foot and I think he is going to take some beating this week." Harding's other runner Charming Joseph was only narrowly beaten in his heat. "He was probably a bit unlucky in his heat, he was only beaten a couple of metres and they ended up calling the rest of the meeting off because of the weather." "Matt (Harding) will drive Strathlachlan Andy and James (Harding) will drive Charming Joseph." By Greg Hayes - Sky Racing .
They’re coming back! Leading New Zealand based couple Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are planning another raid on the Brisbane Winter Carnival later this year. Only two years ago, the Purdon/Rasmussen combination plundered the carnival winning a raft of features which included the Queensland Derby and Oaks plus the Gold Coast Premiers Cup among others. And again, they intend on tackling many of the same feature events. The All Stars stable of Christchurch boast tremendous depth in their three-year-old crop which at times, makes it difficult to split their runners but all feature race programs are looked at and the Brisbane carnival fits in nicely to their schedule. The Brisbane Winter Carnival in July quickly follows on from the Jewels Day in New Zealand which paves the way for many Kiwi pacers to continue with their preparation as they get set for the Australasian Breeders Crown carnival in Victoria the following month. The Purdon/Rasmussen stable have already banked more than a million dollars in prizemoney this season and are clear leaders in the premiership race in their homeland while Australian feature race targets will be at their mercy in the coming weeks through the likes of Smolda, Adore Me, Border Control, (My) Willow and Isaiah. They will also be heavily represented at the up-coming Auckland Cup carnival at Alexandra Park in the next fortnight. Key runners for the Brisbane campaign include three-year-old pacers Aldo Rossi and Gentle Western. Both pacers are Queensland owned. “We really like both of these guys; Aldo Rossi was bought at the Brisbane sale of the Australian Pacing Gold and has always shown talent while Gentle Western is still growing into himself hence why we have given him plenty of time. He’s huge.” Rasmussen said. Aldo Rossi has headed to Auckland again to target feature events in the coming weeks including the Great Northern Derby and the American Ideal colt has impressed enough to take a shot at the Gr.1 feature. After winning at his debut, Aldo Rossi was then beaten by his stablemate Bio Marinus before winning his next two starts in Auckland over the Christmas period. Gentle Western has only faced the starter on one occasion which resulted in a nose victory at Wairio in a time of 1;55 back in October. The Western Ideal colt will start again this Saturday at Wyndham. “Both of these guys have come up well for their next preparation and their recent trial/workout form indicates they will perform well when they step out again, they both enjoyed some recent time off and have returned in good order. “The Brisbane carnival looks a logical target for both and we will certainly look at races like the Queensland Derby, Gold Coast Derby and the Premiers Cup series again. “We may even have some fillies to bring for the Oaks but we will assess that a little closer to the carnival and see how all of the troops are holding up with their form and health in the coming months.” It appears the All Stars stable is set to be the star attraction again this winter. by Chris Barsby
Racing Queensland today relaunched the new and improved trottips.com and according to Michael Polster, the mastermind behind Trotips, it will completely change the landscape of punting blogs and websites. Polster said the site is far more interactive, allowing punters to navigate around different tabs easily and overall. “It is a user-friendly website,” Polseter said. “The trial replays are absolutely key for punters to watch. They are run at Albion Park and Redcliffe during the week and are all available on the website. “Also available on the Trotips website is game plans, which are a great tool for novice punters to get involved and bet on the harness product.” The trial replays, game plans and speed maps were key concept designs when developing this website. The design provides more information to punters, in a neat and easy to read format and has a better flow of content. “I am very excited about this website; I have been involved with the concept design from the beginning, and I think the redesign is worth it.” “The big blog of one page of information is now gone, and punters will be able to sort through the tabs for direct, simple information. It is very easy to navigate around. “Owners or other industry participants who don’t even bet will benefit from this website, as they will have access to all the trial replays where they can review their horses’ performance. “Hopefully in the future, we can make the website self-sufficient and place advertisements on the homepage and raise some revenue. “ Racing Queensland is offering merchandise packs to the first 250 subscribers of trot tips. Head to www.trottips.com to view the new site. Harness Racing Australia
It was a content group of connection that joined Cup champion Terror To Love in the winner’s circle after last night’s $50,000 Inter Dominion heat at Addington. “He did everything I asked of him,” said driver Ricky May. “All you can do is win – and that is exactly what he did,” he added. “He felt really good out there and he was holding Smolda at the line which is no mean feat.” As expected, Terror To Love came off the gate with wings on from his inside alley, with Smolda and Mark Purdon quickly jumping on to his back for the trail. Terror To Love was then allowed to pace a couple of pedestrian halves before dashing up the lane in 25.6, the quickest quarter ever recorded at Addington, to win by a neck over Smolda, with a further 1 & ¾ lengths back to Jivin Cullen in third. The win took the six entire’s earning up and above the magical two million dollar mark. Terror To Love and Smolda will now both progress to the $A750,000 Grand Final on March 2, but while the two horses that were expected to qualify did the job in New Zealand, things weren’t so straight forward across the Tasman. The first shock of the Inter Dominion carnival came when series favourite Beautide was beaten by Seel N Print ($38.80), who was bred by Terror To Love’s owner Terry McDonald and formerly trained by Graham and Paul Court, while another shock came soon after when For A Reason was collared by Mach Beauty in the second of the Menangle heats. Keyang Cullen used the aid of a nice trip in the trail to down favourite Restrepo, who looked home for all money on the bend, in the Melton heat, while Im Victorious came out on top after a hard fought battle with Livingontheinterest in Perth. Oh and as for the Queensland heat, which was without a doubt the weakest of the six – It was taken out by star mare Forever Gold, who may now bypass the Ladyship Mile for an unlikely shot at Inter Dominion stardom. Meanwhile, Vice Chairman produced a brilliant front running display to set a new track record of 1-51.9 over the unpopular one mile distance at Addington. By Mitchell Robertson Order of entry - Inter Dominion Grand Final Following completion of the Inter Dominion Qualifying Heats tonight (Saturday 15 February 2014) Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) and the NSW Harness Racing Club (NSWHRC) have issued an Order of Entry for the Inter Dominion Grand Final on Sunday 2 March 2014. Connections of all 20 horses have until 10am on Monday 17 February 2014 to advise HRNSW of their decision to accept for the Inter Dominion Grand Final. The Final Field for the Grand Final, comprising 14 runners and at least two Emergencies, will be declared at 12 noon on Monday 17 February 2014 based on the Order of Entry after non-acceptors are taken into account. The barrier draw will be conducted on Monday 24 February. Horse Order of Qualification 1 Terror To Love 1st place NZ Qualifying Heat 2 Smolda 2nd place NZ Qualifying Heat 3 Seel N Print 1st place NSW Qualifying Heat 4 Beautide 2nd place NSW Qualifying Heat 5 Keayang Cullen 1st place VIC Qualifying Heat 6 Restrepo 2nd place VIC Qualifying Heat 7 Wartime Sweetheart 3rd place VIC Qualifying Heat 8 Mach Beauty 1st place NSW Supp Qualifying Heat 9 For A Reason 2nd place NSW Supp Qualifying Heat 10 Forever Gold 1st place QLD Qualifying Heat 11 Im Victorious 1st place WA Qualifying Heat 12 Livingontheinterest 2nd place WA Qualifying Heat 13 Caribbean Blaster Wildcard 1 14 The Gold Ace Wildcard 2 15 Franco Nelson Standby 1 16 Pub Blitz Standby 2 17 Im Corzin Terror Standby 3 18 Ardghal Standby 4 19 Mah Sish Standby 5 20 Abettorpunt Standby 6 It is anticipated that the Order of Entry will be announced as part of the Sky Racing 2 dedicated coverage of the Qualifying Heats and distributed as an official Inter Dominion Media Release at approximately 9.45pm on Saturday 15 February 2014.
STAR Queensland mare gave the girls a representative in the Inter Dominion final in two weeks when she led all the way to capture the fifth heat, this time at Albion Park. Perfectly drawn in gate one, trainer-driver Darren Weekes had to pull out all stops to hold the lead out of the mobile gate when Avonnova almost crossed to the front. Yet Forever Gold was able to kick up and just hold onto the lead and thereafter Weekes was able to dictate terms to a nicety in the last lap. The well-backed Field Officer (Mat Neilson) made a brief dash in the straight but his run petered out and Sign To Inverell, who had carted Field Officer into the race and looked beaten on the turn, kicked back to finish second - although it was all to no avail as there was only one invitation to the Inter Dominion final from the Queensland heat. And the six-year-old mare many rate as one of the best of the fairer sex in Australasia, Forever Gold, is on her way to the Inter Dominion final. The winner rated 1:56 with a last half of 55.8 seconds in an impressive - and dogged - performance. Video attached.
Buzz Queensland pacer Brigadier Bronski is on target to qualify for the Chariots Of Fire. The in-form four-year-old has arrived safely in Sydney in preparation for the Gr.2 $50,000 Hondo Grattan Sprint at TABCORP Park, Menangle this Saturday night where he meets fellow Sunshine State star Majestic Mach and boom Kiwi pacer Border Control. A top three finish this weekend will see him stamp his ticket for the $200,000 feature on Sunday, March 2. And his owner/breeder/trainer Stuart Hunter is happy with his stable star. “We arrived on Monday and he handled the travelling well and appears to have settled in nicely to his new surroundings. We have landed a good draw and everything seems to be in order so hopefully he continues with his good form.” Hunter said. This is the first time Brigadier Bronski has raced outside of his home state but his current form is unequalled, boasting eight victories at his last nine starts. Two starts ago, he produced a jaw-dropping performance at Albion Park to beat Majestic Mach and Caesar Augustus after racing three-wide solo over the final 800m in blistering sectionals. Brigadier Bronski cruised to an effortless victory in a career best time of 1;54.9 at Albion Park last week proving his previous victory was no fluke. “It was good effort last week but I told Shane (Graham – driver) before the race to look after him and not knock him around so he basically cruised around last week, the plugs still in while he was basically shut down over the final furlong. “We’re here for the Chariots and another forward showing this week should see him gain an invitation but it’s a tough field with several in-form pacers but I can’t fault my guy and the draw, it makes it easier from a good draw. “Obviously Majestic Mach and Border Control have big reputations and deservedly so considering what they have achieved to date so they have my attention and respect but my horse continues to improve and his form lines are brilliant currently. I think the big track will suit his style of racing.” Shane Graham will travel south on Saturday to continue his association with the Art Major entire. Queensland is chasing its third Chariots Of Fire victory following the success of Slipnslide (2005) and Lanercost (2011). By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)
Harness Racing NSW Handicappers in conjunction with the NSWHRC met this afternoon (Monday) to determine the rankings for the 2014 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Qualifying Heats to be run this Saturday night (February 15) between 8pm and 10pm AEDT. The number of horses to progress from each Qualifying Heat to the $750,000 Grand Final on Sunday March 2 is as follows; Addington (NZ) 1st & 2nd Tabcorp Park Menangle (NSW) 1st & 2nd Tabcorp Park Melton (VIC) 1st, 2nd & 3rd Tabcorp Park Menangle (Supplementary) (NSW) 1st & 2nd Albion Park (QLD) 1st Gloucester Park (WA) 1st & 2nd Additionally two Wild Card invitations will be issued following the running of the final Qualifying Heat to complete the field of 14.
From Grand Circuit winners to premiership leaders - this year's Lexus International Lady Drivers Race certainly has it all. Ten of the top reinswomen from across Australasia were selected today for the race on TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final Day at Tabcorp Park Menangle, March 2. Most are not new to the series and both Jodi Quinlan and KerryAnn Turner will return to defend their title. The 2014 line-up: New Zealand Natalie Rasmussen Queensland Narissa McMullen New South Wales KerryAnn Turner Lauren Panella Amanda Turnbull Amy Day (reserve) Victoria Jodi Quinlan Kerryn Manning Kate Gath South Australia Danielle Hill Tasmania Kate Macleod The invitations were issued in accordance with the condition that the respective ladies were the leading drivers in their state at the time of the decision. For further information telephone NSWHRC racing manager David Wonson on 0438 398 251. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
Former New Zealand two-year-old of the year Five Card Draw is now a Queenslander. Negotiations were completed last Friday after a deal was struck earlier in the week through well-known agent Paul Davies before being purchased by Dean Shannon. The Bettors Delight gelding will join the stables of Fernvale based trainer/driver Darrel Graham after being previously prepared by legendary horseman Barry Purdon. Graham has enjoyed immense success this season with another former Kiwi pacer in Major Sam, a winner of six of his last seven starts including four $20,000 events – two Seymour Rising Stars Championships and two Seymour Dash For Cash Finals at Albion Park. Amazingly, Five Card Draw will arrive on Australian soil assessed as a CO/RO/MO. “Given his credentials, he’s a nice horse to have in the stables and his assessment was too good to be true. That was the key component for us.” Graham said. Five Card Draw was simply brilliant during his rookie term winning five of his seven starts including two Group One features. His haul included the $NZ100,000 Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park and the $NZ150,000 Harness Jewels Emerald Final at Cambridge while he also claimed the Listed $NZ243,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Open Final at Addington. Five Card Draw was an obvious choice for 2yo Colt/Gelding Pacer of the Year. As a three-year-old, Five Card Draw won twice from eight starts but battled niggling injuries along the way which forced him out of many classics during the season. Since returning as a four-year-old, Five Card Draw has gone winless in nine starts while showing glimpses of his best form including a third placing in the Gr.2 $NZ51,000 Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge behind Pembrook Benny and Christen Me in a time of 1;54.4. “His overall record is very impressive and he vetted well last week so we’re hopeful he can do a good job here in Brisbane, coming over as a maiden gives us plenty of breathing space. “Given our current structure with the weekly Seymour sponsored races plus the new metro system, we have a very good opportunity to make a good earn out of him. Hopefully, we can take him to Sydney and cash in on their good prizemoney. “Another bonus with this horse, he is also eligible for the Australasian Breeders Crown series at the end of the season if his form holds up.” FIVE CARD DRAW FACT FILE; 24 Starts 7 Wins 7 Placing’s Prizemoney - $347,316 Best Time – 1;55.1 By Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
The 2014 Reinswomens Challenge will be the feature at Betezy Park Globe Derby next Saturday with some of Australia's best talent named to represent their state. Amy Day, who will represent NSW, drove 48 last season, while exciting young 19-year-old Queenslander Narissa McMullen, who drove 96 winners, and Lola Weidemann (81 Wins in 2012/13) will don the Queensalnd colours. Victoria is represented by Jodi Quinlan 86 wins, Ellen Tormey 75 winners, Rebbecca Bartley 47 wins, and Lisa Miles 46 wins. The local talent includes top driver Danielle Hill, 94 wins last season, Leah Harvey 22 wins, and Gina Bell 15 wins, while Kerry Green is the reserve. There is three races planned for the Invitation Reinswomens Challenge with the winner decided by points. Also scheduled on the program is the running of the Nevele R Stud South Australian Oaks and the SA Heroine Stakes for mares. Entry is by gold coin donation to Cancer Council of SA Pink Ribbon Appeal. By Gary Newton
THEY say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth but in this case that is just the starting point. Over the next few months there will be "gift horses'' all over Brisbane that will have their teeth, tendons, form and pedigree scrutinised to the nth degree by 10 young harness racing drivers searching for their dream horse. Leading owner Kevin Seymour, one of Queensland's wealthiest men and a long-time harness racing benefactor, invited the 10 junior drivers to a special meeting last Friday night and unveiled a plan to enhance and cement their futures. After being promised media training by television personality Jillian Whiting and financial planning assistance, Seymour stunned the youngsters with the dramatic news that he would buy each of them a $15,000 horse. They could choose it, he would buy it and they would own and train it - no strings attached. To read more about Mr Seymours generous offer, view the full story on www.Couriermail.com.au By Robert Craddock
Veteran pacer Mysta Magical Mach bounced back to top form with an all-the-way victory in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Friday night and astute Byford trainer Tony Svilicich has high hopes the nine-year-old can equal the feat of former champion Village Kid by winning the $35,000 Make Smoking History Lord Mayor's Cup on Friday night for the fourth time. Trainer Bill Horn combined with champion reinsman Chris Lewis to win the Lord Mayor's Cup with Village Kid in 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1990. Svilicich has won the Cup with Mysta Magical Mach in 2009, 2011 and last year. Morgan Woodley, who handled Mysta Magical Mach in the 2009 and 2013 Cup victories, will again be in the sulky in this year's 2536m Cup. Justin Prentice drove the New Zealand-bred gelding when he won the 2011 Cup. Woodley has also won the Cup with the Svilicich-trained Taihape Tickler in 2006 and was successful behind Another One For Me in the 2012 Cup. Mysta Magical Mach has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the back line in this year's Cup, but the hardy gelding has a fine history of overcoming disadvantages. He started from the outside of the front line (barrier nine) in the 2009 Cup when he was restrained to the rear and then covered a lot of extra ground in the middle stages before winning from Mr Yankee and Smooth Crusa. He also started from the outside at No. 9 in 2011 when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before defeating Can Return Fire and Tsunami Lombo. In last year's Cup Mysta Magical Mach (4/1) started from the No. 2 barrier and Woodley got him to the front after 400m, with Im Themightyquinn, the 11/4 on favourite settling in sixth position in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move 1100m from home. Mysta Magical Mach held Im Themightyquinn at bay and beat him by a half-length. Im Themightyquinn was driven by Kim Prentice for leading trainer Gary Hall sen., deputising for the champion's regular driver Gary Hall jun., who was in Mildura contesting the annual invitation drivers' championship at that club. Hall sen. and Prentice are now confident of making amends for Im Themightyquinn's defeat in last year's Cup by succeeding with Livingontheinterest, who is ideally drawn at No. 2 on the front line and looks the likely leader. Prentice will take over from Hall jun., who drove Livingontheinterest when he finished a close third behind Mysta Magical Mach and Red Salute last Friday night. Hall jun. will be in Mildura on Friday night as Western Australia's representative in the invitation drivers' championship. Hall sen. has a good record in the Lord Mayor's Cup. He trained and drove Tricky Bey to victory in 1994 and Abit Rich for his win in 1997. He also won the Cup with Live Live To Reign (Hall jun. in 2007) and Talk To Me Courage (Shayne Cramp in 2010). In last week's race Livingontheinterest started from barrier five on the front line and Hall jun. restrained him to the rear. Woodley was able to get Mysta Magical Mach to relax in front and the gelding ambled through the first 400m section of the final mile in 32.8sec. Livingontheinterest made a lightning move 1300m from home to quickly move alongside the pacemaker, who then dashed over the final three quarters in 28.4sec., 28.3sec. and 27.7sec. Mysta Magical Mach held on to score by a head from the fast-finishing Red Salute, with a neck to Livingontheinterest. "I don't think any runner can beat my two runners, Livingontheinterest and Hokonui Ben," said Hall sen. "Livingontheinterest lost by only a long neck last week after working in the breeze. There's not much between him and Hokonui Ben. Livingontheinterest grows a leg in front." Livingontheinterest has won six times at Gloucester Park when leading and there appears little doubt that he will burst past the polemarker Ohoka Dallas in the early stages. Nine-year-old Ohoka Dallas has a losing sequence of 34 (in which his only placing was 27 starts ago) and he will be at6 handsome odds. Hokonui Ben is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night for his first appearance since Clint Hall drove him to an all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m last Friday week. Clint Hall is serving a term of suspension and Hall sen. will confer with the gelding's Queensland owner Jeroen Nieuwenburg on Wednesday before a substitute reinsman is engaged. Lewis, who has won the Lord Mayor's Cup a record eight times, will handle the Ross Olivieri-trained Red Salute, who rattled home from fifth on the pegs at the bell to be second to Mysta Magical Mach last week. Red Salute will start from the outside of the back line and should be finishing with a flourish. Hall jun. will be busy at the Mildura meeting on Friday night with eight drives. In the four heats of the invitation drivers' championship he will handle Rose Harvest, Our Bedrock, Aldebaran Macha and Ya Bowen Delight, and in minor events he will drive Em Jay Fortyseven, Par Three, Queen Mab and Saint Theory. ARISTOCRATIC GLOW WARMS UP IN FINE STYLE Five-year-old Aristocratic Glow has never set the pace during her 33-strart career and she is unlikely to lead from the prized No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Put Smoking Behind You Im Themightyquinn Mares final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But the Barry Warwick-trained mare should enjoy an ideal passage throughout the 2130m mobile event and should prove hard to beat. She warmed up for this week's feature event in splendid fashion when she charged home from the rear to be second to Courage On Fire over 2130m last Friday night. Aristocratic Glow started from barrier four and lacked early sparkle. She was tenth with 400m to travel before she unwound a spirited finishing burst, flying home from seventh (five wide) on the home turn. She was a Gloucester Park 2130m winner three starts before that when she surged home from sixth at the bell to beat Tatum Franco by a length. With Aristocratic Glow unlikely to muster sufficient early speed to lead, there is likely to be a keen battle for the front between Pure Empathy (barrier two) and Millies Girl (No. 3). Both are smart frontrunners. Pure Empathy, trained by Brad Groves, will be handled by Aldo Cortopassi, who drove the mare when she gave a strong frontrunning display to win from Millies Girl and Corza Commotion in a 2130m heat of this event three starts ago. Millies Girl has set the pace in all of her six wins from 58 starts and Shane Young will be expected to make a spirited effort to get to an early lead. One of the fancies is sure to be the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old Deluxe Edition (Chris Voak), an extremely consistent performer whose 32 starts have produced eight wins and 14 placings. Deluxe Edition, who is inclined to pull hard in her races, will start from the No. 4 barrier Deluxe Edition covered extra ground, out three wide and then in the breeze, before getting to the front and then finishing third to Lord Diego in fast time over 1730m last Friday night. She was most impressive the previous week when she flew home from the rear to be a close second to Talk About Mach. Talk About Mach, to be driven by Kyle Harper for veteran trainer Bill Horn, will have many admirers from the inside of the back line. A versatile five-year-old, she has won at three of her past four starts, all over 2130m at Gloucester Park. ASKMENOW READY FOR HER FIRST STAND AFTER A DASHING TRIAL A dazzling trial by Askmenow at Byford on Sunday morning has filled leading trainer Gary Hall sen. with confidence for the four-year-old mare's first appearance in a stand --- the 2503m Quit Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred Askmenow, the youngest runner in the race, will start from 20m in the field of 12 and will be driven by Kim Prentice for the first time. Prentice was engaged because Gary Hall jun. will be driving at the Mildura meeting on Friday night and his elder brother Clint is under suspension. Askmenow, who has raced 34 times for ten wins and 11 placings, qualified to start in a stand for the first time when she began smoothly from the outside of the front line in a 2550m stand at Byford on Sunday morning. Driven by Hall jun., Askmenow set the pace and won by 24 lengths from Lifes A Journey at a 2.1.5 rate. After a third quarter of the final mile in 29.5sec., Askmenow sprinted brilliantly over the final 400m in 27.8sec. "Rating 2.1.5 in a stand at Byford is really flying," said Hall sen. "They usually run 2.3 or 2.4 in similar company. She did it easily and getting caught up in traffic should be her only worry on Friday night." Askmenow resumed after a brief let-up when she began from the outside of the front line and was restrained to the rear before finishing powerfully to be fifth behind Rocky Marciano over 2130m last Friday week. Hall sen. also has excellent prospects with the New Zealand-bred Majorly Foxy Styx in the Smoke Free Pace for three-year-old fillies. Majorly Foxy Styx has won at Gloucester Park at each of her past five starts, including her first four runs as a three-year-old. She will start out wide, at barrier five on the front line and will be driven by Kim Prentice. "She should go very close and her only danger appears to be Generally Outspoken, providing that filly does everything right," Hall said. "Generally Outspoken galloped over the line when she won a Byford trial on Sunday morning." Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Generally Outspoken, who has a distinct advantage, starting from the coveted No. 1 barrier. CONDRIEU SHOULD SEND PUNTERS HOME ON A WINNING NOTE New Zealand-bred four-year-old Condrieu, the youngest and least experienced runner in the final event at Gloucester Park on Friday night, should overcome the disadvantage of the outside barrier on the front line and prove the master of his ten rivals in the 2130m Thank You For Not Smoking Pace. Trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, Condrieu will be driven by Ryan Warwick, who replaces the suspended Colin Brown. Condrieu is a classy animal who should certainly have the edge over his rivals. There is plenty of early speed on the front line and Warwick is likely to restrain Condrieu before unleashing the gelding alight when the pace slackens. However, there is a possibility that Warwick could attempt to set Condrieu alight when the mobile barrier releases the field. Brown used the element of surprise successfully when he got Condrieu away brilliantly from the No. 5 barrier in the McInerney Ford Classic in November when the gelding burst straight to the front and set the pace before finishing a gallant second to Chilli Palmer. Whatever the scenario Condrieu appeals as the winner. He has raced 28 times for nine wins and 11 placings and looks set for a bright career. SCHOOLBOY GETS HIS CHANCE WITH THREE TOP DRIVES AT ALBANY Sixteen-year-old Micheal Ferguson has been rewarded for working over the school holidays for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. by being engaged to drive three smart Hall pacers at the Albany Cup meeting on Friday night. Ferguson will handle in-form pacers Ben Cartwright, Westernator and Vapour, each of whom has an excellent winning chance. Hall, who will have ten starters at the Gloucester Park meeting on Friday night, has five runners engaged at the Albany meeting. He has engaged Michael George for speedy Eyre Crusher, who looks a certainty in the Auto One Albany Three-Year-Old Pace after his dashing victory at Gloucester Park last Friday night, and Rowchester, who has drawn perfectly at barrier one in the $30,000 GWN7 Albany Cup. "Micheal Ferguson helped out over the school holidays and he deserves to get the chance with some good horses," Hall sen. said. Ben Cartwright should prove very hard to beat from the No. 3 barrier in the 2258m Bevan's WA Seafood Pace after his runaway victory over Grand Cru and Livelong And Prosper at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The American-bred Westernator has bright prospects from the No. 1 barrier in the 2683m MCB Construction Pace. Westernator, a winner at one of his six starts in America, has had 12 starts in Western Australia for two Gloucester Park wins and five placings. Vapour has strong claims from barrier five in the 2258m Snacks HSV Fremantle Pace. A winner of two races in New Zealand, Vapour has had four starts in WA for two wins, a second and an unplaced effort. Rowchester, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old with seven wins and eight placings from 21 starts, is in splendid form and should fight out the finish of the 2683m Albany Cup in which he will clash with Cyclone Mitch, Smokey the Bandit, Mighty Flying Thomas, Gday Mate, Son of Fergie and Lovers Delight. By Ken Casellas
Nineteen year old Queensland junior driver Justin Storie has arrived in New South Wales and is working for Camden based trainer Jarrod Alchin. Storie was working for trainer Darren Weekes but answered a job advertisement on social media and arrived in Sydney on the weekend. "It is the biggest move I have made in my career but I am looking forward to the new challenge here in Sydney, I knew a few people before I arrived here and have met a few already too, it has been really good," Storie said. "Jarrod put a post on Facebook saying that he was looking for a worker a couple of weeks ago because he was working around fourteen and I was keen to try something different so I sent him a message through saying I was interested and it all went from there." Storie has been involved in harness racing throughout his life and his family has a strong connection to the industry. "My parents and my grandfather have trained horses so it was pretty easy for me to follow in their footsteps, I also do some shoeing and I will continue to do that here in Sydney as well. "Around New Zealand Cup time last year when Darren (Weekes) was away I got the chance to work some of the top horses in his stable, horses like Forever Gold and Four Starzzz Shark, it was a great experience." With a junior claim Storie is hoping to pick up some outside drives. "I have driven around 30 winners I guess and have been driving for two or three seasons, I haven't had a standout win as such but I drove Jilliby Major a few times and was placed in 1:55 at Albion Park which was good. "My favourite horse would be Carla Bruni, a former trotter of David Thorn's who I drove a number of times in Brisbane, I actually drove her on the day before I left and she finished third behind Idle Lea." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
Who is the ‘Minister of Speed’ in Queensland? The answer to that question may well have been resolved yesterday at Albion Park when Brigadier Bronski staged an outstanding performance to defeat reigning Queensland pacer of the year in Majestic Mach and Caesar Augustus in a thrilling contest. Brigadier Bronski sat last in the 2138m event while Caesar Augustus and Majestic Mach raced together at the front of the field, as expected, all the power was in the back half of the race and that’s where the Stuart Hunter trained pacer made people sit up and take notice. Unleashing a devastating sprint from the 800m mark, Brigadier Bronski raced up three-wide without cover to join Caesar Augustus and Majestic Mach before sustaining the sprint over the final 400m to race clear and win with dominant authority. The final half was officially clocked in 27.6 and 27.9 seconds. Brigadier Bronski has been privately clocked to run his final half in 54.4 seconds. “That was sensational; I haven’t driven a horse like that with that type of speed for some time, he was so strong by the quarter and he felt just as good at the line.” Winning driver Shane Graham stated. Graham is no stranger to quality horseflesh either having sat behind the likes of dual Miracle Mile champion Be Good Johnny, Washakie, Torque In Motion, Sparkling Melody and Cobbity Classic among others. The talented reinsman has an excellent record with Brigadier Bronski, yesterday was his fifth victory from seven drives and he’s keen to stick with the in-form pacer. “If Stu wants me to drive in Sydney, I’ll be there for sure because I’m sure he will acquit himself well down there on that big track which will suit him down to the ground. “Each time I’ve sat behind him this campaign I have felt him become stronger but his sheer speed is sensational. He’s fast and he can hold that pace for quite some time as he proved with that win. “I wasn’t sure if he could keep going after racing wide outside Majestic Mach and Caesar Augustus but he did and he felt awesome, I could’ve dropped onto the back of Majestic Mach by the quarter but I didn’t want to alter his momentum. He’s right in the zone.” The victory of Brigadier Bronski over Majestic Mach was his first and also the first time that Majestic Mach has been beaten in Queensland. The talented trio will head to Sydney next month chasing an invitation for the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle. But the winning effort by Brigadier Bronski silenced many doubters. The Art Major entire has been brilliant this season winning seven of his twelve starts but yesterday’s victory has certainly elevated his claims for the March 2 feature. The $50,000 qualifiers at Menangle are scheduled for February 15 and 22, the Hondo Grattan and Paleface Adios Sprints. No longer is Brigadier Bronski lurking in the background. Video attached. by Chris Barsby