Search Results
1 to 16 of 909
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

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

Racing Queensland has warned participants of plans to inspect sulkies to make sure they meet Harness Racing Australia specifications. This comes after last Saturday night’s fiasco when stewards gave trainers no notice of pending inspections, which ultimately led to six of the 10 runners being scratched from the Group One Ballarat Cup. Queensland stipes have stated they will inspect “every sulky at race meetings in the coming weeks”. Each sulky inspected, once approved, will be photographed and allocated a compliance approval number, with a tag bearing this number to be affixed to the sulky. As was the case in Ballarat, any sulkies found to be wider than the 120 to 130-centimetre specifications will be banned. Stewards will also be looking for sulkies which may fail to meet the required safety standards, such as cracks/fractures in shafts or wheels or extended axles. 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 

Harness racing is very competitive at the best of times but add a bit of Trans Tasman rivalry to the mix and it becomes ultra competitive. That is the best way to describe the Australasian Young Guns Challenge which has been played out at Ashburton Raceway on Thursday and Alexandra Park last night. With funding help from long time Queensland harness racing supporter Kevin Seymour, seven drivers from the sunshine state have spent Cup Week in New Zealand. While here they have competed against the leading South Island drivers in a race on Thursday at Ashburton and against the leading North Island drivers in a race at Alexandra Park last night. One of the Queenslanders to impress a few of the local judges is young Hayden Barnes who incidentally celebrated his 19th birthday on New Zealand Cup day. That must have been a good omen as Hayden was a close second on Ranfurly Rulz at Ashburton and drove Millie Sampson to a convincing win at Alexandra Park last night. Hayden’s passion for the sport of harness racing came from his father, Al Barnes. As time went by and with his love and interest of the horses continuing to grow, school became more of a distraction. Deciding to leave school in grade 10, Hayden managed to secure a position with the Darrel Graham stable. After three and a half years of working for Darrel, Hayden had gained a great start in his career and his education continued.  Last season Hayden was offered a job working with the newly established Turpin McMullen racing team, led by Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, which he accepted. On the last night of the 2013 racing season, Hayden’s biggest win thus far came when partnering My Jellignite who scored in a brisk 1.53.3 rate in an Open class event at Albion Park. Hayden has already chalked up eight winners so far this season in Queensland from just fifty drives and looks to be a young driver with a big future in the sport. Harnesslink Media    

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.”

Leading harness racing driver Pete McMullen is cool under pressure. Even last week, he proved he’s got ice running through his veins when he tied the knot with his longtime partner, Chantal Turpin at the Gold Coast and cruised through the day with ease! But his nerve on the track is what sets him apart from most. At the age of 23, the third generation horseman is set to smash the record held by Amanda Turnbull by becoming the youngest driver to reach 1000 wins. Turnbull registered the mark when successful with Forever Texas at Peak Hill last June at the age of 24 years and four months. The previous record was held by Western Australia’s Morgan Woodley who was 24 years and eight months. Other young guns who reached four figures early in their career include Luke McCarthy (25 years, one month and two days) in December 2007, Kerryn Manning (25 years, eight months and seven days) in March 2002, Gary Hall junior (26 years, seven months and 17 days) in March 2009, Greg Sugars (26 years, eight months and seven days) in June 2011, and Chris Alford (27 years, five months and 26 days) in November 1995. McMullen celebrated his 23rd birthday in August. The skilled reinsman’s tally is sitting on 971 victories, leaving him an abundant of time on his side as he chases down the record. “The record is something I’m very aware of and it will be a huge milestone,” McMullen declared. “It’s something that has been in the back of my mind for a little while now and my family and friends keep a bit of tally.” Since commencing his race driving career during the 2007/08 season - after graduating from the mini trots - winners have flowed consistently for McMullen. His first driving success came at the Rocklea Showgrounds aboard Melton Royal Bonny on January 12, 2008, with 29 wins registered during his first season. Since then, his season hauls have been 92, 147, 191, 162, 159 and 174….he already has 17 wins this term. Over the last four seasons, only Grant Dixon has stood in his way from claiming the state driving premiership. During his short, but spectacular career in the sukly, McMullen has achieved plenty, including driving at the famed Meadowlands racetrack in North America in 2009 and competing against the likes of John Campbell and Ron Pierce. His best finish from a handful of drives was third behind Stacked Deck. Also in 2009 at the tender age of 18, McMullen competed in the Gold Coast Inter Dominion series driving Riverboat Star for his father John and grandfather John senior. McMullen has also represented Queensland in the 2010 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship in Sydney. But his biggest highlight came earlier this year when taking a phone call from champion Perth-based trainer Gary Hall and being offered the drive behind superstar pacer Im Themightyquinn during his Brisbane Winter Carnival campaign. McMullen sat behind the $4.56million earner in a trial at Albion Park when he paced in 1:51.9 before getting the call-up on race night on July 12 only to be beaten narrowly behind Suave Stuey Lombo. “Driving a horse like Quinny was unbelievable,” McMullen said. “I was in shock when I got off the phone from Gary Hall and when he asked me to drive him I couldn’t believe it, but it was such a thrill, a dream to drive and memories that will last forever. “My next aim is to drive a horse like him again, Quinnyis one of a kind, but hopefully one day I can sit behind something that possesses similar speed and power. This is a business about opportunity and you never know what’s around the corner. “I’ve been lucky to get some wonderful opportunities during my career, but this is what I love doing, this is my business and this is my life. I wouldn’t swap it for anything.” It looks certain that McMullen will break the record by the end of this year and it just underlines how big a year 2014 has been for McMullen because his wife Chantal also registered her first century season as a trainer. The young couple train a team at Patrick Estate, west of Brisbane, and have built up a strong ownership group headed by leviathan owners Kevin and Kay Seymour. It’s all about winners for McMullen, and lots of them. CHRIS BARSBY

Young Queensland harness racing trainer Ray Law is set for his first interstate adventure….and he can’t wait. Law will head south of the border next month to campaign his talented pair of former Kiwi pacers Ideal Tact and Chal Fire at Tabcorp Park, Menangle. A glazier by trade, Law prepares a small team with his partner Kelli Dawson at Wanora, west of Brisbane, with the pair boasting an excellent strike rate. Both Ideal Tact and Chal Fire attest to that fact. Ideal Tact, a speedy daughter of American Ideal, has won 11 races under Law’s guidance, while Chal Fire has proven to be an astute purchase winning five races. Both look set to expand on their already impressive records. “Both horses have been great for me and given me a great opportunity, but it’s now time to gain further experience and I’m really excited about heading to Sydney with them,” Law declared. “I’ve been planning this trip for some time now and we’re finally locked in and we will head south on October 7.” Ideal Tact scored a comfortable victory at Albion Park last week by leading throughout against her in 1:57.9, while Chal Fire tried gallantly when second behind Lucky Voodoo in 1:56.6. This weekend the stablemates will clash when they contest the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Pace at Albion Park. “Ideally I would’ve preferred to keep them separated, but I want them to continue with racing before we head south,” Law explained. “I’m even looking at starting them again next week before we head off on the Tuesday. Given the difference in our conditions compared to Sydney, it makes sense to head south and give it a shot because they both start as M0’s down there. “I was pleased with Ideal Tact last week because we’ve had our fair share of niggling issues with her since she arrived, but I think we’re winning that battle. That was the first time Kelli has driven her under race conditions and everything went to plan. “I’m confident she can go to Menangle and race well in a 1:51/52 speed. “I think Chal Fire is going as good as I can get him, his run last week was super and that backed up his effort the start before. He’s very tough and he’s genuine so I’m hoping he may be able to win two races at Menangle.” Both horses are raced by former Queensland Harness Racing Board Chairman Brad Steele in partnership with his broth Nick and good friend Brian Hewitt. CHRIS BARSBY

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  

Leviathan harness racing owner Emilio Rosati is set to transfer his team out of New South Wales. While a few are already in Queensland and Victoria, the rest will be sent south of the Murray River during next couple of months. Rosati’s stock is estimated to be between 30 and 40 horses, with star youngster Allblack Stride headlining the crew. Other than confirming the Group One winning son of Christian Cullen is becoming a Victorian, Rosati stated he isn’t ready to announce which trainers will be in charge of his team. Rosati’s horses carry the ‘Stride’ prefix, with former stars Excel Stride and Idol Stride among his best performed pacers. “Although they haven’t raced yet, a lot have moved and the rest will be moved soon,” Rosati said. “I won’t put a number on how many horses I have, but it’s a lot. “I’m not ready to say which horses will go to which trainer, but it will be known in good time.” Rosati’s decision to vacate New South Wales is based on his ‘principles', with the astute owner citing the integrity of the industry as the primary reason for the switch. When asked to elaborate, Rosati stated he’d “leave it at that.” “I have no problem with the people running the sport, I just have a problem with the integrity of it,” Rosati said. “I don’t want to harm the industry, I’m just frustrated with the way it is at the moment. “I’m not doing this because I want to...I have to, based on my principles. “Ideally I’d prefer to be in New South Wales and hopefully the problem gets fixed and I will return them. “I will still stay on as a sponsor there.” Paul Courts

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  

Exciting pacer Wicked Style is good to go again. A recent virus was the latest issue for the Shawn Grimsey trained pacer to overcome and a glowing workout recently has prompted his return to the trials next Tuesday (August 19) at Albion Park. Wicked Style was set to make his long awaited return to the racetrack during the recent Brisbane winter carnival before the virus forced the cancellation of his return. The Western Edition gelding has been off the scene since January this year after injuring his offside front tendon. “Well the plan is to give him a trial on Tuesday before looking at a race return in September. Everything is in good order, the leg looks great and the virus has cleared his system so it’s full steam ahead.” Grimsey said. Wicked Style had trialed on three occasions prior to his aborted race return last month including a victory at Albion Park where he scorched around the oval in 1;54.1. A winner of all five starts this season prior to his setback; Grimsey has patiently taken his time in nursing his star pacer back to the track and eagerly awaits his return but not before the trainer takes a well-earned holiday himself. “We’re off on a family holiday at the end of next week which has been planned for months so I had to do some juggling but it will all work out well in the end. I will trial next Tuesday and then monitor him for the following couple of days before we head off. “He’ll be in very good hands for the week that I’m away and then we will get ready for his race return mid-next month. A water walker has been very beneficial in his training this campaign and I’m really pleased with how the leg looks right now. “He does feel very well within himself at the moment and the trial will be good for him next week, he’ll have a good hit-out and that should top him off just nicely.” With spring features just around the corner including the opening leg of the new Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season, Grimsey is not prepared to make any predictions about future plans just yet. “I won’t rush him for a race like that, we’ve been very patient with him so far and I won’t jeopardise all the hard work just for one race. I’ll let him tell me where he’s at before locking any plans away. “I know he’s good enough to race at that level but you really need to be seasoned for that type of elite racing and obviously we’re missing that foundation but I’m not ruling out a shot at the type of racing later in the campaign.” The $200,000 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship is scheduled for October 25. Chris Barsby

Consistent harness racing pacer Clamorous will head to the spelling paddock this week on the back of his sixth win for the season. Clamorous produced the goods to outgun his rivals over 2200 metres in the Tenirama Pace at The Tote Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. The four-year-old gelding was having his 17th start for the season with this latest win is third from his past four starts. Clamorous enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out line and when Hodges called n him for the big effort turning for home he rounded up the leaders and went on to score comfortably from Melolyn and Divas Delight. The gelding's trainer-driver Grant Hodges described the gelded son of JR Mint as "one of the most consistent horses in his stable". "This horse has done a wonderful job for his owners this time in but he deserves a spell so he'll be off to the paddock after this win," Hodges said. "He's missed a cheque once in 17 starts this time in and that speaks volumes for the horse's ability." "I believe he still has improvement in him and hopefully that will eventuate next prep," he said. The gelding has impressive career stats of 20 starts for eight wins and nine minor lacings for almost $47,000 in stakes. Clamorous is owned and raced by the Arthur Wilson Memorial syndicate that have had Great Success in the past decade with Insobriety one of their best that started 67 times for 18 wins and 22 minor placings and finished his racing career in Queensland. Peter Staples

Harnesslink has become aware of the sudden death of the well known and respected harness racing identity, Ken McDonald at his home in Brisbane, Australia One of the "McDonald clan from Christchurch, Ken was well known in both harness and thoroughbred circles on both sides of the Tasman. His business success in the telecommunications industry let Ken pursue his passion for horse racing in both Australia and New Zealand over several decades. Ken first came to prominence in harness racing with the champion pacer Master Musician 1:54 ($1,926,810) who he raced with his close friend Eugene Stork and Robert Dunn. Over the years he has raced horses with a lot of his friends including Brian West of Studholme Park with whom Ken currently raced a few fillies including Secret Lotion and Art Critic. Ken was at Addington as recently as last Thursday night to see Dongel Jimmy Dave, who he races with family members, win impressively. A longtime friend and client of leading Queensland thoroughbred trainer Alan Bailey, Ken had interest in both codes in Australia. His latest star in the harness racing side of things in Australia was the brilliant For A Reason 1:49.4 ($803,433) Ken was really keen to bring  For a Reason to Addington for this years New Zealand Cup in an effort to stop his brother Terry, owner of champion pacer Terror To Love from claiming his fourth straight cup victory. Ken figured as Terry had won three, maybe it was time for his younger brother to have a turn although as anyone who knows them knew, the brothers were very close. Ken was also known on both sides of the Tasman as a generous warm hearted man of the highest integrity. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. The funeral service for Ken will be held at Silks at Addington Raceway on Thursday August 14th. Harnesslink Media

7 August 2014: OVERVIEW. Statutory Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) $129.9 million, up 2.6% on the prior corresponding period (pcp). This includes: NPAT from continuing operations before significant items $149.4 million, up 7.4%. Loss after tax from discontinued operations $19.5 million[1]. Statutory Earnings Per Share (EPS) 17.2 cents per share, in line with pcp. EPS from continuing operations before significant items 19.8 cents per share, up 4.8%. Full year dividend [16] cents per share, fully franked (FY13, 19 cents per share).  EBITDA from continuing operations before significant items $486.1 million, up 4.8%. Revenues $2,039.8 million, up 1.8%. Variable contribution $919.5 million, up 3.8%. Operating expenses $433.4 million, up 2.8%. Portfolio of long-dated licences strengthened with extension of Queensland Keno licence (to 2047) and NSW retail wagering exclusivity (to 2033). Agreement to acquire ACTTAB. Refinancing of bond maturities completed 1 May 2014, resulting in interest savings of approximately $10 million per annum. New senior executive leadership structure in place, with the creation of new roles: COO Wagering and COO Gaming Services & Keno.   MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CEO COMMENTARY “The Group’s performance in FY14 demonstrates the benefits of a model that is diversified across four businesses. This result is testament to our market-leading brands and unique multi-product, multi-channel distribution model,” said Managing Director and CEO, David Attenborough. “The strong performance of our Wagering business was driven by excellent growth in Fixed Odds and Digital wagering. Media and International again delivered a positive earnings result, despite incurring one-off restructuring charges. “Our Gaming Services business, TGS, has built on the solid foundation laid in its first year in Victoria by successfully entering NSW. TGS is now well placed for further expansion.  Although it was disappointing not to see revenue growth in our Keno business in FY14, it is well positioned to grow in FY15, with new products set for launch.” Business Results – Continuing Operations Before Significant Items  Wagering  Total Wagering business revenues (including the Victorian Racing Industry’s interest) grew 1.8% in FY14{C}{C}{C}[2]{C}{C}{C}. Wagering revenue growth of 2.4% in the second half improved relative to first half growth of 1.3%.    Operating expenses were $284.0 million, up 0.6%. EBITDA was $282.2 million, up 6.5%.  By product, Fixed Odds growth was again the highlight with revenues up 26.5% to $511.5 million. This was made up of: {C}{C}{C}{C}·         {C}{C}{C}Fixed Odds racing revenues of $322.9 million, up 37.0%, primarily driven by an expansion in the number of markets offered and ongoing shifts in customer preferences towards Fixed Odds products. {C}{C}{C}{C}·         {C}{C}{C}Fixed Odds sports revenues of $188.6 million, up 12.7%.   Totalisator revenues were $1,262.9 million, down 6.3%, partly impacted by lower premium customer volumes and the shift to Fixed Odds. Luxbet revenues were up 22.5% to $47.9 million and Trackside revenues were $89.3 million, up 1.1%.  The Soccer World Cup produced revenues across TAB and Luxbet in FY14 of $14.9 million and in FY15 of $10.3 million. TAB’s successful marketing initiatives were driven by the ‘Back Gold’ campaign led by former Socceroos goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer.    Tabcorp’s diverse distribution channels allow customers to connect with TAB in multiple ways, differentiating Tabcorp from online-only wagering operators.  The Digital channel was a driver of Tabcorp’s Wagering growth, with turnover up 18.2% to $2,900.0 million.  Mobile devices made up 54% of Tabcorp’s Digital turnover, up from 35% in FY13. NSW retail turnover was $3,819.1 million, down 1.2%, and Victorian retail turnover was $2,762.2 million, down 4.9%. Performance in the NSW and Victorian retail wagering channels improved in 2H14 relative to 1H14, despite continued soft retail conditions. Media and International  Tabcorp’s Media and International business continued to benefit from the expanded export of vision and co-mingling.  Revenues grew 6.2% to $220.4 million. Operating expenses were $123.9 million, up 5.0%, with expense growth partly attributable to the acquisition of Sky’s US vision agent, now rebranded Sky Racing World US, and one-off restructure charges.  EBITDA was $68.5 million, up 2.2%.  Broadcast rights and racing industry contributions from Tabcorp’s International business were $73.5 million, up 15.6%.  Tabcorp continues to work towards concluding media rights negotiations for NSW and Victorian thoroughbred racing content and achieving a fair commercial outcome for all parties.  Gaming Services  The results of the Gaming Services business reflect a full year contribution compared to the prior year during which TGS was operational for 10.5 months.  TGS revenues were $98.1 million, up 13.7%. Operating expenses were $31.1 million, up 11.1%, resulting in EBITDA of $67.0 million, up 14.9%.    TGS made a successful entry into the NSW market during the year, signing up two NSW venues, Kogarah RSL and Auburn Tennis Club. TGS has now established capability to grow the business in NSW in FY15.  A second half highlight in Victoria, where TGS covers approximately 8,500 electronic gaming machines (EGMs), was the commencement of the in-EGM loyalty scheme.  Keno  Keno revenues were $203.9 million, down 0.7%, with Queensland and NSW revenues flat and Victorian revenues up 3.6%. Operating expenses were $41.2 million, up 1.0%.  EBITDA was $72.2 million, down 4.4%.    An operational highlight was the roll out of Keno Racing to more than 450 Queensland venues.  Improving the performance of the Keno business is a priority for Tabcorp in FY15. New initiatives planned for delivery include the commencement of jackpot pooling between NSW and Victoria in 1H15, with Queensland to follow. CAPITAL EXPENDITURE AND INVESTMENTS Capital expenditure was $133 million, with the major projects being digital and systems enhancements for Wagering and the TGS expansion. Expected capital expenditure in FY15 is $130 million, before the expansion of TGS in NSW and Victorian in-EGM loyalty. The depreciation and amortisation (D&A) expense for FY15 is expected to be approximately $170 million. Capital expenditure and D&A guidance is before the impact of the ACTTAB acquisition. RACE FIELDS FEES New Race Fields fee structures have been put in place by the Victorian, Queensland and South Australian racing industries, effective from 1 July 2014.  If these changes had applied to Tabcorp in FY14, and in the absence of any mitigating strategies, the estimated impact would be approximately $12 million before tax.   SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA PROCEEDINGS   Tabcorp has lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria against a judgment of the Supreme Court of Victoria handed down on 26 June 2014. The appeal is listed to be heard in October. The judgment relates to Tabcorp’s claim for a payment of $686.8 million from the State of Victoria, which found in favour of the State. Separately, Tabcorp has applied for special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia in respect of the Health Benefit Levy judgment of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, which was handed down on 1 July 2014.  The Court of Appeal judgment impacted Tabcorp’s FY14 earnings by $19.5 million after tax, which has been disclosed as Discontinued Operations in Tabcorp’s financial statements. DIVIDEND The Board has announced a final dividend of [8] cents per share, fully franked and payable on 24 September 2014 to shareholders registered at 14 August 2014.  The full year dividend of [16] cents per share represents [81%] of NPAT from continuing operations before significant items. The Board today announced that its FY15 target dividend payout ratio will increase to 90% of NPAT.    STAKEHOLDER BENEFITS Taxes on gambling paid                                             $439.3 million Income generated for racing industry                        $735.0 million VIC                                                                         $342.0 million[1] NSW                                                                       $246.2 million Race fields fees                                                     $73.3 million Broadcast rights and international business           $73.5 million Income taxes paid and payable          $66.7 million   [1] Excludes the impact of the VRI’s share of HBL of $8.9 million. FY15 PRIORITIES Mr Attenborough said: “Tabcorp is well placed to drive profitable growth through our diversified portfolio of businesses. This portfolio has been strengthened with the recent agreement to acquire ACTTAB, subject to necessary approvals.  ACTTAB will give Tabcorp new and attractive long-term licences. “In Wagering, we will continue to integrate our retail and digital offerings, noting our distribution channels work together for overall growth.  Other priorities in Wagering are product expansion and successfully completing the ACTTAB transaction. “The priority for the Media and International business is to conclude media rights negotiations and expand co-mingling and the export of Australasian racing. “Now that TGS has entered the NSW market, the business is well placed to demonstrate the value it can generate for licensed venues and increase sign-ups. “Finally, our Keno business has a clear agenda to improve its performance.  Product expansion and the pooling of jackpots between NSW and Victoria are among the initiatives that will help create a more compelling offer for customers. “We are well positioned to drive future performance, maintain expense discipline and deliver Return on Invested Capital of 14% by FY16.” For more information: Media: Nicholas Tzaferis, GM Corporate Affairs, 03 9868 2529 Financial analysts: Lachlan Fitt, GM Investor Relations and Strategy, 02 9218 1414

1 to 16 of 909
1 2 3 4 5 Next »