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Savvy breeders have every reason to be on good terms with themselves. Following the recent harness racing Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sale staged in Brisbane, the progeny of former world champion pacer Mr Feelgood sold incredibly well. In fact, he averaged $27,000 from his six lots sold. He also snared the top lot of the sale with his Catwalk Beauty filly fetching $48,000 when knocked down to the bid of Patrice Madden, partner of leading trainer/driver Peter Greig. The sales topper was also awarded the best presented filly on the day. His sale results included $26,000 for a filly from Magic In Motion, $30,000 for a Truly Famous filly, $28,000 for a Get Happy colt, $14,000 for a Girl Of The Moment filly and $16,000 for a Girls Rule filly. After standing his first two commercial seasons at stud at Yirribee in New South Wales, owners Kevin and Kay Seymour along with Peter and Zilla O’Shea relocated their prized stallion to Queensland. Standing at Egmont Park on the Darling Downs of Toowoomba under the watchful eye of Peter and Leann Bell, he was generously offered for a free with only a handling fee involved. The highly decorated stallion has just completed a very large book of mares which includes several well credentialed mares from all states of Australia. And with the heavy workload, his fertility has remained potent with every nine in ten mares confirmed in foal. The move in standing Mr Feelgood for free was a way of helping the Queensland breeding industry which has stalled following the demise of the incomparable Fake Left and Perfect Art. And breeders pounced on the wonderful opportunity. The Grinfromeartoear stallion has already proven his talent at stud in North America after serving a small crop of mares with twenty-two live foals hitting the ground before being imported back in 2008. His North American progeny include Meadowlands winner Nathan Feelsgood while both I'm Feelin Good and Feels Good have both proven their talent on the Kentucky Sires Stakes circuit. Remarkably, with only two foals to race last season, he produced two richly talented types in A Good Chance (4 wins including $35,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Final) and Feel The Faith (6 wins including Australasian Breeders Crown consolation). Astute buyers have reacted quickly at the sales so far this year. The Brisbane results were a flow-on effect from a positive Melbourne sale. His four lots averaged $18,500. His individual sale results included $16,000 for a Miss Holmes colt, $25,000 for a colt from The Princess Poet, $13,000 for a Trend Setter filly and $20,000 for a Twice Again Franco colt. This weekend, the Sydney sale takes place where three lots will be offered which includes two colts and a filly. by Chris Barsby

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today concluded an inquiry arising from a stable inspection conducted at the property of licensed trainer Mathew Neilson on Saturday, 31 January 2015.  Mr Neilson was observed allegedly stomach tubing a horse, identified as My Aliyana, which was engaged to race that evening at Albion Park. After taking further evidence from Mr Neilson and Dr Bruce Young, Manager, Veterinary Services of the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre, Stewards issued a charge against Mr Neilson pursuant to AHR Rule 193(1) which reads: “A person shall not attempt to stomach tube or stomach tube a horse nominated for a race or event within 48 hours of the commencement of the race or event.” Specifics of the charge being that on Saturday, 31 January 2015, at the stables of licensed trainer Mathew Neilson, he did stomach tube a horse named My Aliyana which was engaged to compete in Race 9 at Albion Park that evening. Mr Neilson pleaded not guilty to the charge, however on hearing further submissions and reviewing the available evidence Stewards were of the view that the charge could be sustained as issued and formally found him guilty. In determining penalty Stewards were mindful of the particular circumstances of this case, the seriousness of this rule, the deterrent effect of a penalty and the impact of any penalty on Mr Neilson’s personal and financial circumstances as tendered in his submissions.  Stewards deemed the appropriate penalty be the disqualification of Mr Neilson’s licences to train and drive for a period of 12 months backdated to commence 31 January 2015, the day on which he was stood down. Mr Neilson was advised of his appeal rights. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, L Wilson Racing Queensland

If races are won when the mobile gates are folded back, then the Grant Dixon stable are the masters as one of the biggest harness racing upsets of Inter Dominion heats night unfolded at Albion Park tonight. Majestic Major, from the Dixon stable, burned out of the gate and crossed odds-on favourite Avonnova at the start and that forced the unhoppled hero to race without cover for the entire journey as there was no lead there for him. Turning for home, though Avonnova showed his true colours and moved up to find the lead and went within a hairs breadth of taking the race. Then Dixons 'other' stable hope, Majestic Mach, a son of Mach Three who had strung together a mighty sequencer of wins for Kevin and Kay Seymour a couple of seasons ago, ignited and flashed down the outside to grab victory in the shadows of the post. With only one Inter Dominion Grand Final berth up for grabs, connections of Avonnova will be hoping to secure a wildcard entry into the big race. Many would say he earned it. Still the night belonged to Majestic Mach, with Avonnova finishing second and Bettor Draw third in a quick 1:54.8 in a race where there was no place for the faint-hearted. Second favourite Forever Gold raced in a one-one trail but couldn't finish the race off and wilted to run fourth.

Sunday's Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale offers harness racing buyers unprecedented opportunities. Youngsters passing through the ring are eligible for more prize money and bonuses than any other horses in APG’s history. Thanks to the amazing QBred Bonus Scheme and APG Gold Bonus Scheme, a single win in a standard two-year-old race in Queensland, and then a single win in a standard three-year-old race in Queensland will net filly owners more than $30,000 in prize money and bonuses, and will net colt owners over $25,000, as follows:     Fillies Colts First 2yo Win:     Base Prizemoney ($7000 Race) $4489 $4489 Qbred 2yo Bonus $12,000 $10,000 APG Gold Bonus ($Max) $4000 $4000       First 3yo Win:     Base Prizemoney ($7000 Race) $4489 $4489 Qbred 3yo Bonus $7000 $5000       Total $31,978 $27,978   Add on to this, an $80,000 Two-Year-Old Sales Race exclusively for APG Brisbane Sale Graduates, plus APG’s $1Million Race Series, and it is no wonder Sunday's Sale has attracted the strongest line-up of yearlings ever assembled in Brisbane! The quality on offer is also a quantum leap ahead of what has been on offer in recent years, as demonstrated by the following table:   Brisbane Sale      2015          2014          2013          2012     No. Horses Catalogued 70 56 52 73 Prizemoney earned by Dams $3.652M $1.818M $1.814M $1.449M Average Earnings per Dam $52,174 $32,467 $34,885 $19,848 No. Dams with earnings $100,000+ 11 5 6 2 Races won by Dams 449 288 312 316 No. of Winning Dams 51 35 35 41 Percentage of Winning Dams 73% 63% 67% 56% No. of sub 2:00 Winning Dams 40 26 24 26 Percentage of sub 2:00 Winning Dams 57% 46% 46% 36% Indeed, Sunday's APG Brisbane Sale catalogue compares very favourably with APG's Melbourne Sale which was conducted on February 1:   Catalogue Statistics Brisbane Sale Melbourne Sale No. Horses Presented for Sale 70 195 Average Earnings per Dam $52,174 $63,151 No. Dams with earnings $100,000+ 11 32 Percentage of Winning Dams 73% 58% Percentage of sub 2:00 Winning Dams 57% 44%   The Sale starts from 11am, but buyers are encouraged to give themselves plenty of time to register and conduct their inspections. The latest photos and list of withdrawals can be viewed by clicking here.  Buyers that are unable to make it to Brisbane on Sunday have the ability to appoint an agent or may be able to bid via the telephone.  Buyers interested in either of these options should contact APG immediately on (03) 5275 1999. - Harnesslink Media

Harness racing’s free-legged star Avonnova appears certain to qualify for the Inter Dominion Final. A brilliant beginner, Avonnova has drawn the pole in Saturday night’s heat at Albion Park, which should see the Ian Gurney-trained pacer lead throughout. The $750,000 decider is scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 1, with heats being conducted throughout Australia this weekend. Only the winner of the Queensland qualifier will be guaranteed a berth in the time-honoured Final. Successful at seven of his nine starts this season, Avonnova’s only home state defeat this season was a gutsy second behind New South Wales visitor For A Reason in the Queensland Pacing Championship last October. Kept fresh since his victory at Menangle a fortnight ago, the son of Art Major has been installed a prohibitive $1.30 favourite as he looks to stretch his winning sequence to five. An eye-catching winner at Albion Park last Saturday night, classy mare Forever Gold shapes as Avonnova’s main danger after drawing alongside the gelding. Racing in consistent form this campaign, the daughter of Famous Forever is likely to be sent forward early in hope of opening a gap and being slotted onto the pegs behind the leader. PAUL COURTS

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into the discovery of an unlabelled substance during a stable inspection carried out at the training premises of licensed trainers Travis McKay and Jess Manzelmann on Monday, 3 November 2014. This item, along with several others, was seized and referred to the Racing Science Centre (RSC) for analysis. Subsequently the RSC reported the substance in the unlabelled vial to be the prohibited substance Testosterone  Enanthate. After considering the evidence tendered by Mr Mackay, Miss Manzelmann, currently disqualified trainer Brian Manzelmann and Dr Bruce Young, Manager, Veterinary Services of the RSC, Stewards issued the following charges: Travis McKay was charged pursuant to Rule 190A (4) which states:   If any substance or preparation that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered to a horse at any time is found at any time at any premises used in relation to the training or racing of horses then any owner, trainer or person who owns, trains or races or is in charge of horses at those premises is deemed to have the substance or preparation in their possession and such person shall be guilty of an offence. The specifics of the charge being that the substance Testosterone Enanthate which is an anabolic androgenic steroid and thereby a substance that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered, was found at the stables registered as the training premises of licensed trainer Travis Mackay during a stable inspection conducted on Monday, 3 November 2014.   Mr McKay pleaded guilty to the charge and after hearing submissions on penalty Stewards imposed a fine of $1000. Jess Manzelmann was also charged pursuant to Rule 190A (4). The specifics of the charge being that the substance Testosterone Enanthate which is an anabolic androgenic steroid and thereby a substance that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered, was found at the stables registered as the training premises of licensed trainer Jess Manzelmann during a stable inspection conducted on Monday, 3 November 2014. Miss Manzelmann pleaded guilty to the charge and after hearing submissions on penalty Stewards imposed a fine of $1000. Brian Manzelmann was also charged pursuant to Rule 190A (4). The specifics of the charge being that the substance Testosterone Enanthate which is an anabolic androgenic steroid and thereby a substance that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered, was found at the stables registered as the training premises of currently disqualified trainer Brian Manzelmann during a stable inspection conducted on Monday, 3 November 2014 after Mr Manzelmann knowingly purchased the substance prior to his disqualification, stored it at the stables and failed to dispose of it as of 1 May 2014 on which date it was prohibited to be in possession of anabolic steroids. Mr Brian Manzelmann pleaded guilty to the charge. In determining an appropriate penalty Stewards were mindful of Mr Manzelmann’s record in relation to prohibited substances, and also that he is currently serving a period of disqualification for a breach of rules relating to prohibited substances. In all the circumstances Stewards imposed a further period of 3 months disqualification to commence at the expiration of Mr Manzelmann’s current disqualification on 9 October 2015. Mr Manzelmann was further charged pursuant to Rule 194 which states:   A person who procures or attempts to procure or who has in his possession or on hispremises or under his control any substance or preparation that has not been registered,labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in compliance with relevant State andCommonwealth legislation is guilty of an offence. The specifics of the charge being that prior to being currently disqualified, Mr Manzelmann procured and had on his premises a substance, namely Testosterone Enanthate, which was not labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in compliance with relevant State and Commonwealth legislation. Mr Manzelmann pleaded guilty to the charge. In determining an appropriate penalty Stewards were mindful that Mr Manzelmann had previously breached this rule, and also that he is currently serving a period of disqualification for a breach of rules relating to prohibited substances.  In all the circumstances Stewards imposed a $1000 fine. Mr Manzelmann, Miss Manzelmann and Mr  McKay were all advised of their rights of appeal. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey Racing Queensland  

Plenty is at stake for the harness racing connections of classy pacer Alleluia. The gifted four-year-old pacer faces a must win situation this Saturday night at Albion Park when he starts in the Listed $25,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final. The Art Major – Shy Annie gelding is heading south next week in preparation for the country’s biggest four-year-old classic, the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on March 1. “That’s been the target for some time, probably since the day we bought him last year and everything has been geared for this campaign so a win this weekend would have us heading south with great confidence.” Owner Greg Mitchell said. The former New Zealand pacer has surprisingly tasted defeat at his past two starts at Albion Park; he was scorched by a red-hot Medal Of Honour in a Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final on January 24 after breezing while he went down on Tuesday as a short priced favourite. Stablemate and proven feature race winner Major Moment conquered Alleluia when he was able to lead throughout under stand-start conditions. “I haven’t been disappointed by his latest defeats, in fact, I thought he was tremendous when Medal Of Honour beat us because we did all the work and the times were fantastic while he lost a lot of early ground on Tuesday before being forced to chase hard. “He’s clearly the horse to beat in the final this weekend and I think that run on Tuesday and looking at the tapes will be very beneficial for him in the final, I think he was caught off guard a little. With a clean getaway, I think he will find the lead and prove very hard to catch. “He’s been great fun and very consistent since I bought him last year, he raced great through the winter carnival against Bling It On and the performance in the Breeders Crown Final was simply outstanding considering the barrier draw and sectionals that were posted.” Alleluia will start next week in the Gr.2 $50,000 Hondo Grattan Stakes at Menangle where he’s expected to clash with Bling It On among others. The Gr.2 $50,000 Paleface Adios Stakes on February 21 is also shortlisted if he fails to qualify in the Hondo Grattan. “We’ll start in both races if need be but hopefully he does enough to stamp his ticket the first time around. The depth in this division is truly extraordinary and could easily be the main race on Inter Dominion Grand Final day. “The Kiwis are loaded with stars while Victoria has plenty of emerging types and then there’s Bling It On, a horse we know well. It’s very exciting to be a part of this great race and I’m sure he’ll perform at his best, like he always does.” Mitchell is also looking forward for his trotter Our Overanova to tackle feature races in Sydney and Melbourne in the coming weeks. Our Overanova must overcome a 50m handicap on Saturday night at Albion Park over the short distance of 2138m. The Monarchy gelding resumed with a solid second behind Our Billy Ray at Albion Park on January 24. Our Overanova is qualified for the Gr.1 $300,000 Great Southern Star at TABCORP Park, Melton on March 7 following his victory in the Gr.3 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final back in October. Both Alleluia and Our Overanova are trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon. Hoofnote; Greg Mitchell is the current Racing Queensland Harness Chairman. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 07 February 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 07 February 2015

Harness racing Punters have been given a great lead heading into the weekend. Leading Brisbane based reinsman Shane Graham is giving up a full book of drives at Albion Park on Saturday night to take the drive on an unraced two-year-old pacer. But not just any freshman. Graham heads to TABCORP Park, Menangle to take the drive on the Mark Lichtwark trained Major Buddy in the Gr.3 $40,800 NSW Sapling Stakes. The regally bred Art Major – Aquarius Rising rig will face the starter for the first time but trial experts believe he’s the horse to beat and Graham is keen to partner the precocious talent. “I haven’t sat behind a young horse like this for some time, he gave me a great feel in the trial at Albion Park recently and I was more than pleased to accept the drive when Mark offered it to me last week.” Graham said. Major Buddy oozed class when successful in his qualifying trial at Albion Park on January 16, the long striding youngster rated 1;57.4 for the 1660m hit-out while running his final half in 57.6 seconds. A Sydney campaign has been in the making for some time and Lichtwark headed south soon after his qualifying performance with a string of big race targets in mind. A brilliant trial at Menangle last week proved that this week’s Sapling Stakes is within reach. Handled by John McCarthy in the trial, Major Buddy scored easily rating 1;55.2 while defeating his rivals by an ever expanding margin. “I had a good chat to both Mark and John last week at Menangle and both seemed very happy with the way he went about it, he’s come through it really well and Mark thinks he’s still on the improve. “He’s got a real presence and he’s very easy on himself, he’s certainly one of the most natural youngsters I’ve sat behind so here’s hoping that he keeps improving. “It’s always difficult to assess form in early season two-year-old races and there’s plenty of bluebloods in this field but I’m happy to be driving Mark’s horse.” Graham has enjoyed good success in recent weeks at Menangle through the deeds of open class pacer Avonnova, a winner of the recent Les Chant Cup and last week’s Kevin Robinson Cup. Hoofnote; Major Buddy has been well backed with most betting agencies that posted markets earlier this week. Major Buddy is currently listed as the $2.75 favourite with TattsBet.     by Chris Barsby

Racing Queensland’s QBRED incentive scheme has cemented its place among Australia’s best with registered harness racing stock for an additional $330,000 per year in bonuses from next season. Under the improvements to come into effect for the 2015/16 season, two-year-old fillies will receive $12,000 for their first win in any Queensland two-year-old race, while two-year-old colts and gelding will receive $10,000 for their first win under the same conditions. Three-year-olds have also received a boost, with fillies receiving $7000 for their first win in any Queensland three-year-old age race. Three-year-old colts and geldings will receive a $5000 bonus. The recently-elevated Group One QBRED Triad Finals and Group Two QBRED Breeders’ Classic Final purses have also increased for each gender to $100,000 and $50,000 for the 2015/16 season. Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon stated the increased QBRED bonuses capped off a big year for the industry, which was also on the receiving end of a 16 per cent base level prize money increase and feature prize money boosts. “These improvements almost certainly rank QBRED as the nation’s best harness breeding scheme and we are pleased to be able to continue to deliver increased opportunities for our participants to increase their returns,” Condon said. “The increases to the breeding scheme offer even more incentive for our participants to support Queensland breeders and race for what will be a significant maiden prize purse for those horses. “The boosts to the Triad and Breeders’ Classic Finals are also in keeping with Racing Queensland’s commitment to make the racing product more compelling, bolstering the quality of horses racing on a regular basis. “With the APG sales just around the corner and the Redcliffe Yearling Sale in March, anyone buying a horse should be looking at its QBRED eligibility to take advantage of these increases.” The improvements to come into effect in September 2015 are: Cash bonuses for first win as 2, 3 or 4YO QBRED registered horses $12k bonus for 2YO fillies $10k bonus for 2YO C&G $7k bonus for 3YO fillies $5k bonus for 3YO C&G $3k bonus for ALL 4YO QBRED registered horses 2. $1000 bonus certificate awarded to QBRED registered horses for their first win as 2 or 3YO. 3. Prize money increased to $100,000 for each gender QBRED Triad Finals 4. Prize money increased to $50,000 for each gender QBRED Breeder’s Classic Final. 5. 5 per cent of winning stakes for QBRED Triad Finals and Breeder’s Classic Finals paid directly to the Breeder. 6. Up to $5k in incentive certificates for QBRED registered mares in the new Queensland Mare Owners Breeding Incentive Scheme. Condon said it was an exciting time to be involved in harness racing with plenty of opportunities for new participants to become involved or for existing participants to continue to invest. “Coupled with the base level and feature prize money increases and the addition of seven new Group One races in 2015/16, the QBRED improvements set the scene for what should be another great season of racing come September,” Condon declared. “We have so many talented young people in our harness industry, who began as drivers and our now dipping a toe in the water as trainers, so these boosts couldn’t have come at a better time.” RQ Media

Exciting prospect A Good Chance is nearly ready to kick start his latest harness racing campaign. The Donny Smith trained colt is expected to trial within a fortnight as he gears up for a lucrative and busy campaign. The reigning Queensland Two-year-old of the year performed with great distinction last season and never missed the board during his ten start campaign which netted four victories. His crowning glory came in the Gr.3 $35,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Final at Albion Park while he finished an agonisingly close second in the Gr.2 $80,000 QBRED Triad Final behind Jack Malone at his final start of the season. The Mr Feelgood – Chance The Walk colt also notched a placing in the Gr.1 $100,000 Seymour Nursery Pace Final behind Waves Of Fire and Artistic Flite. “He’s just about ready to go again and I can’t be any happier with him, I was deliberate in giving him a lengthy break and I’m thrilled with his current condition because he’s really muscled up and filled out in key areas of his body.” Smith said. A Good Chance will trial at Albion Park in the coming weeks and a raft of feature events have been penciled in for his upcoming campaign. His first major mission will be a title defence of the Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic at Albion Park on March 27 before looking at the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad in late May before concentrating on THE Brisbane winter carnival. “It’s going to be a long season with so many features but we will carefully manage him just like last year and hopefully get the best from him. I’m convinced he’s grown and filled out compared to last season, I would say he’s 30kg to 4okg’s heavier but its all muscle. “He’s enjoyed a really good foundation and he continues to improve with his times so a trial will bring him on even further. I’m likely to give him two trials but I will just monitor him after his first hit-out.” Since Smith and his wife Maureen made the switch to their current Redcliffe base from Hendra last year, the numbers have swelled and the results have also been very pleasing. The couple are currently working a team of twelve while a few a more are currently in pre-training as they prepare for their next campaign. “We love it here at Redcliffe; with the extra room and stables we have been able to expand our numbers and things are going along nicely. It’s very trainer friendly and the track is well looked after by Greg Franklin and his team. “Maureen and I get some good help every morning and the system is working, I’m back doing the bulk of the shoeing but I haven’t made my mind up about race driving again yet. “My foot is getting better all the time but I’m still undecided on which way I’ll go with the driving.” Smith has been out of action for the past four months with a broken foot after he was stood on by a pacer he was shoeing at his new property. Just recently, Smith gained a medical clearance to resume race driving but is yet to get back in the bike on raceday. “I’ve got my clearance but I’m happy with the way things are going currently, we have the services of Chris Petroff and he’s a good driver who drives regularly which is important. “We may even offer him the drive on A Good Chance this season, but we’ll make that decision soon.” Smith has already trained 12 winners this season with the promise of plenty more to come. by Chris Barsby  

Queensland harness racing ace Peter McMullen grabbed a slice of history at Albion Park today. Thanks to his victory with Ezi Days, McMullen became the youngest person in Australia to register 1000 wins. By rating 1:53.6 for the 1660 metres, Ezi Days gave McMullen the record at 23 years, four months, and 18 days old. Popular reinswoman Amanda Turnbull set the previous mark when she partnered Forever Texas to glory at Peak Hill last June. Turnbull was 24 years and 4 months, which bettered Morgan Woodley 24 years and eight months. Others to reach 1000 wins at a young age include Luke McCarthy (25 years, one month and two days), Kerryn Manning (25 years, eight months and seven days), Gary Hall junior (26 years, seven months and 17 days) and Greg Sugars (26 years, eight months and seven days). With last Saturday night’s program cancelled due to bad weather, McMullen entered the meeting on 998 wins, with Cullens Jewel becoming 999 in the second event. “This is unbelievable,” McMullen declared. “It’s a wonderful feeling and a record I’m very proud of because this country has produced some outstanding drivers. “There are so many people I want to thank, but most of all my parents, my grandfather (John and my wife Chantal.” There is no doubt 2014 has been a stellar period for McMullen, with his feats including capturing the Australian Drivers Championship at Globe Derby where he accounted for some of the best reinsman in the nation. PAUL COURTS

THE Queensland Racing Disciplinary Board has quashed a five-year disqualification for a harness racing trainer who admitted backing his own horses to lose. Justin Abbott pleaded guilty to three charges of laying his horses on Betfair in races at Redcliffe and Albion Park in February and March this year. For each charge, Racing Queensland Stewards Kwan Wolsey and Paul Zimmermann disqualified Abbott for 12 months, to be served cumulatively. Stewards also handed out a two-year disqualification, to be served concurrently, for behaviour prejudicial to the industry and another two-year cumulative stretch for intimidating stewards. Abbott pleaded not guilty to those charges in the initial inquiry and the RDB found in his favour at appeal and quashed both convictions and penalties. “There is nothing to support the contention that the trainer has behaved in a way which was prejudicial or indeed detrimental to the industry,” RDB Chairman Brock Miller wrote in his judgment. In respect to the penalties for laying his own horses, the RDB knocked the penalty down to time already served, dating back to March, when Abbott was stood down by stewards, effectively making it a nine-month penalty. “There are circumstances where one can envisage significant long term disqualifications being imposed. However, those circumstances would demand that there be unmistakably serious contraventions involving significantly large amounts of money that had been wagered and won,” Miller deemed. “That is not the situation in the matters that are currently under review by this board. The three amounts of money that had been wagered and won are all below $1000.” The three lay bets admitted to by Abbott were to win amounts of $235, $97.55 and $811. Evidence was also tendered at the stewards’ inquiry whereby two associates of Abbott’s also layed the horse Foldem at Albion Park on March 10. In that race, Foldem took a sit three back on the marker pegs after starting from barrier one. A week later, Foldem was driven forward to lead from barrier six. Abbott backed the horse to win $810 in this race. Stewards submitted there was an “irresistible inference from these facts that Mr Abbott deliberately caused the horse to race inconsistently”. The RDB did not accept this submission, finding “there is no evidence that there was any such conduct on the part of the trainer or the driver”. The RDB said stewards should have charged Abbott under a merits or reasonable measures rule if the charge of prejudicial behaviour was to stand. By Nathan Exelby Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail 

Fresh from his first-up fourth last weekend, harness racing star For A Reason is expected to be a major improver at Albion Park on Saturday night. Pleased with the stallion’s performance at his return from a six-month break, trainer Belinda McCarthy is confident For A Reason can make his way to the winners’ circle after the Gold Coast Cup. For A Reason’s previous victory came in the Goulburn Cup last January, with his five subsequent starts netting three placings, including a third in the Inter Dominion at Menangle. “I’m happy with his effort, but he was in need of the run last week at it showed at the end,” McCarthy said. “He has pulled up well and his work has been solid. “He will definitely be sharper for the run and we expect an improvement. “That said, whatever he does this Saturday night, he will improve on again the following week for his main target.” For A Reason’s “main target” is the $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship, which doubles as the first leg of the Grand Circuit. McCarthy is no stranger to QPC success, having prepared Ideal Scott to capture last year’s edition with her father-in-law, John, in the cart. McCarthy’s husband, Luke, who will drive For A Reason, has won the Group One a record six times, beginning with Cobbity Classic in 2004. Luke then scored with Slipnslide in 2005 and ’06, Mr Feelgood in 2010 and ’11 and Washakie in 2013. Only Natalie Rasmussen’s two wins with Blacks A Fake in 2008 and ’09 have stopped the McCarthy’s during the past nine years. As for For A Reason’s immediate assignment, the multiple Group One winner will begin from barrier three, with John shaping as the main danger as the trainer-driver of Blazin N Cullen. A well-performed son of Christian Cullen, Blazin N Cullen will begin from the pole for the veteran horseman. John also has Machtavish in the feature, with the gelding drawn awkwardly in gate 10. “I’m happy with our draw,” McCarthy said. “From there Luke has plenty of options. “Blazin N Cullen has drawn well for John and from there will make a real fist of it.” McCarthy also cites Victorian raider Abettorpunt as a major threat after receiving barrier four. Prepared by David Lewis, Abettorpunt was ultra-impressive when equalling the Ballarat track record at his first run for seven-month spell a fortnight ago. “Abettorpunt is a nice type and they wouldn’t have made the long trip up for no reason,” McCarthy declared. “It’s going to be a tough race, but I’m happy to stick with For A Reason.”

Tuesday saw the Queensland Young Guns travel to Sydney for the New South Wales leg of harness racings State of Origin Young Drivers Championship. The joint initiative between Racing Queensland and Harness Racing New South Wales was the brainchild of outgoing Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman Kevin Seymour AM. The group consists of 10 young trotting participants who were selected to engage in a range of programs aimed at educating the group to further their knowledge, not only in the sport but in business, presentation and media. The Young Guns selected for the initial group training are Pete McMullen, Chantal Turpin, Hayden Barnes, Amy Rees, Ryan Veivers, Narissa McMullen, Dannielle McMullen, Brittney Graham, Trent Moffat and Isobel Ross. With early starts not being a problem for this group, they gathered in the wee hours at Brisbane Airport ready to jet off to Sydney for a day full of programmed activities. Looking extremely smart in their team uniform, the professional look the team displayed was a credit to all. Arriving in Sydney, first stop following a trek over the Harbour Bridge was the Frenchs Forest studios of SKY Channel. The group were given a tour of the studios and were able to meet and question some of the SKY ‘stable of stars’. Narissa and Trent were then interviewed for a segment of In The Gig that aired on Tuesday night. Venturing from the North-East back to the South-West, it was all aboard the express to Menangle. Of the 10 Young Guns, 5 were selected in Queensland’s starting lineup with 1 on the ‘bench’. Unfortunately for Pete McMullen, he met the wrath of stewards at Albion Park on Saturday night, meaning Brittany Graham was called into the starting lineup. Brittany joined the other starters, Narissa McMullen, Chantal Turpin, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees to provide the Queensland team with a strong advantage in experience. The Queenslanders boasted a combined total of 739 career wins with Narissa and Chantal both having over 300 wins a piece going into the Series opener. Taking to the track in the New South Wales lineup were Kasey Hocking, Chris Geary, Kylie Barnes, Cameron Jones and Todd Prest with a combined total of 128 wins. The total lifetime winners counted for little once the on track action started, especially considering that only Chantal and Narissa had previously driven at the famed Menangle circuit. Kylie Barnes, the most experienced of the Sky Blue Brigade put on a clinic in the first 2 races to show the Maroons that the Blues would not be easy-beats on their own dirt. In cold, wet and windy conditions the first race saw two scratchings, leaving both teams one runner short with Trent Moffat and Todd Prest left to cheer from the stands. In a great finish where only 5 metres separated the field, Kylie Barnes came with a well-timed run aboard Miss Artistic Tara to score majority points over Cameron Jones. Narissa McMullen was Queensland’s first finisher, coming in third position. Heat Two saw victory once again go to the Blues and once again it was Kylie Barnes to the fore. As the field turned for home, Barnes driving the race favourite El Chango, loomed up to the leader Eagles Ace and looked to run right on by. However, Narissa McMullen driving Eagles Ace fought back, as did Bazzas Art for Chantal Turpin. As the trio drove down to the wire, El Chango packed too many guns and scored a gutsy victory for his cartel of owners. Turpin finished second with Narissa third. It was left until the last Heat for Queensland to restore some pride and Trent Moffat provided the right tonic aboard Fellas R Trouble. Leading off the barrier, “The Moff” gave no others a look in with a very controlled drive to take the field all the way in a barrier to box performance. Brittany Graham making the most of her call up to the starting lineup ran into second place with the outsider of the field Major Command to provide the quinella to Queensland. Chris Geary finished third to avoid a Queensland trifecta. The series now moves to Albion Park for the deciding three Heats on Friday and early indications see it going down to the wire, despite New South Wales holding a 17 point lead. TrotTips Michael Polster’s form assessment sees two of those heats going to Queensland. Racing Queensland  

The Queensland harness racing industry will be on the receiving end of a 16 per cent prizemoney boost from October 1 this year as part of a funding windfall for the state's three racing codes. Addressing an industry briefing at Deagon this week, Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board Chairman Kevin Dixon said Racing Queensland had delivered on its commitment to improve the returns for participants of all codes in the wake of the new wagering deal. “This is a monumental occasion for the Queensland racing industry. We have now provided an opportunity for every participant in the state to increase their returns through significant increases to prize money allocations in all codes,” Mr Dixon said. “For years, the Queensland racing industry has been lobbying for more prizemoney and we have delivered that today in a way that ensures each code and region benefits from the increases. “Based on the increases coming into effect on October 1, overall prizemoney year on year will increase by 50 per cent for greyhounds, 20 per cent for thoroughbreds and 16 per cent for harness racing. “These improvements were devised with a new allocation strategy, which determines prizemoney based on each code’s individual revenue less the costs they incur. This means when one code is performing well, they will directly benefit from their success and not be impacted by other codes.” The key improvements from October 1, 2014 are: Harness Non-performing Monday meetings have been removed form the schedule and those races have been absorbed by other meetings, and will receive a prizemoney increase of 50% from $2,000 to $3,000. Prizemoney offered at Saturday Metro meetings increases by 19 per cent, highlighted by CMO races increasing 50% to $12,000, and 2nd Division Q0/Q1/Q2 increasing 33% to $8000. Similarly, prize money at Tuesday Metro will increase by 27.5 per cent and Friday Metro by 39% Increase to provincial prizemoney at Redcliffe on Wednesday nights by 52 per cent with a number of races now worth $5000. Mr Dixon said the new wagering deal with Tatts Bet had paved the way for the prizemoney increases, which would only be amplified by the recent improvements to QTIS and soon-to-be announced improvements to the other breeding schemes. “Once the wagering deal was finalised, we were able to look at the big picture and determine where we could invest and expend that money to give our participants the best possible return on their investment,” Mr Dixon said. “The best part of the new deal is, though, that if the racing industry pulls together and performs, increases like these will continue to flow in the future. “Prizemoney was the obvious and most sought after improvement, and now we will work closely with our stakeholder groups to ensure future allocations of funding continue to address the needs of the industry.” Minister for Racing Steve Dickson said the increases to prizemoney marked a major milestone in the Government’s commitment to reinvigorate the racing industry in Queensland. “Prizemoney increases in all three codes across the state have always been the goal and today we have seen just how bright the future is for our participants,” Mr Dickson said. The new prizemoney structure has been achieved because of the terrific wagering deal recently secured with Tatts, and builds on the success of the first phase of our infrastructure strategy, and the stabilisation of the administrative part of the organisation. “The reinvigoration of the industry is well underway and we will continue to work with Racing Queensland and industry participants to ensure it continues.” Racing Queensland  

Queensland pacers Alleluia and Majestic Mach are both facing their Everest. Both are prepared by leading horseman Grant Dixon. On Sunday, his pair of stablestars Alleluia and Majestic Mach must overcome shocking second-line draws to win their respective Australasian Breeders Crown finals at TABCORP Park, Melton. Alleluia will contest the $213,000 Roll With Joe Breeders Crown Series Final for three-year-old colts and geldings, the glamour division where he faces the likes of Bling It On and Our Sky Major among others. The Art Major gelding finished a gallant second in his semi-final last week at Ballarat behind in-form pacer Major Crocker after working throughout. Alleluia will start from gate twelve on Sunday afternoon while Bling It On has drawn ideally in gate three with Our Sky Major landing gate thirteen. Raced by Queensland Harness Racing Board Chairman Greg Mitchell after being purchased from the Mark Purdon stables mid-season, the talented pacer is yet to disappoint his new owner. “He’s been terrific since he headed our way and I was really pleased with his effort last week. Obviously the barrier draw is unkind but that’s racing, you win some and you lose some but it’s just great to be part of the series.” Mitchell said. Alleluia has quickly become the forgotten horse in the final since the barrier draw was conducted last Sunday afternoon but his form lines can’t be questioned. During the recent Brisbane winter carnival at Albion Park, Alleluia chased home Bling It On in the Queensland Derby, Gold Coast Derby plus the Futurity before gaining revenge in the heat of the Breeders Crown. “We’ve seen plenty of Bling It On in recent times and we know what we’re up against but we also know that we can beat him too which is comforting, however, Alleluia is yet to beat home Our Sky Major and they’ve met on a few occasions in New Zealand. “Looking back at our semi-final performance last weekend, I was really pleased with his effort and his sectionals were impressive and Grant said he had a good blow after the race meaning there should be more improvement this week. “The barrier draw was interesting on Sunday; with three horses remaining (Alleluia, Bling It On and Our Sky Major) and gates three, twelve and thirteen up for grabs, we ended up with twelve while connections of Our Sky Major chose the trophy with thirteen underneath it leaving Bling It On with gate three. Let’s hope we can have some luck on our side when we meet this Sunday.” Gambling giant TattsBet has Alleluia rated as a $14 chance. Like Alleluia, former glamour juvenile Majestic Mach has also drawn gate twelve. The Mach Three gelding qualified for the $100,000 Empire Stallions 4yo Entires and Geldings Final after running a brave third in the heat last Sunday at Melton behind Tasmanian ace Pachacuti and noted speedster Chilli Palmer after racing without cover. Raced by his breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour, Majestic Mach is still chasing his maiden interstate success. Majestic Mach is a $16 chance with TattsBet. Chris Barsby - Racing Queensland  

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