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

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

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

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

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

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

Chantal Turpin will launch a three-pronged attack on tomorrow night’s Group 2 Garrards South East Derby at Albion Park, but will need a slice of luck after Wednesday’s gate draw. Not surprisingly, Grant Dixon’s Group 1 superstar, Governor Jujon (5), has opened a short-priced $1.30 favourite, a justified price for a horse unbeaten this campaign, and three second placings the only blemishes on his otherwise flawless record. Turpin’s trio in Miss Ruby Sunshine (9), Blacksadance (10) and Will The Wizard (12) all drew the second row in Saturday night’s feature race, however, the trainer isn’t fazed by her luckless starting positions. “We were probably a bit disappointed, we would’ve liked to have got one drawn up the front but that’s what we’ve been dealt with and we’ll deal with it,” Turpin said. “Governor Jujon is a really good horse, and he’s drawn the front line which obviously helps him as well so I think that’s going to be very tough to overcome – as I said, he’s a very good horse.” Miss Ruby Sunshine holds a special place in Turpin’s heart, claiming the trainer’s 900th win in March of this year. The three-year-old filly has claimed six wins from just 17 starts and backs up again this week after running second behind Jenden Strike during last week’s Group 2 South East Oaks. “She probably has the better draw out of our three, and hopefully she can get a good trail through,” Turpin said. “I don’t think the quick back-up will affect her much at all, she’s been really good throughout the week and it looks like that run didn’t take much out of her. “Pete (McMullen) got the pick of the drives this week and he always drives Blacksadance and I actually normally drive Will The Wizard but I’ve opted for the filly – the girls stick together!”  Blacksadance will be gunning for his seventh career win with Turpin’s husband Peter McMullen in the seat, and comes into Saturday’s race a last-start winner at Albion Park a week ago. More encouraging is a second placing behind the race favourite on May 16 of this year, going down by a mere one-and-a-half metres in what will provide Turpin with plenty of optimism. “I think if he was drawn a bit better then he would go really close to the favourite on the basis of that form, but I think the draw makes it hard,” Turpin said. “He just keeps improving and getting better every time he goes around; the draw does hurt but other than that he is going great.” Like his stablemates, Will The Wizard has enjoyed a really consistent season thus far, winning three and placing another five times from 10 starts. “He is a tricky horse and that’s probably why I’ve opted to drive the filly,” Turpin said. “He’s good when he draws the front and can just bowl along but the second row does make it harder for his racing style. “Like the other two, he’s going really well so hopefully he can put his best foot forward and do us proud on the night.” Outside of Governor Jujon, Jenden Strike will take her place in the race on the quick back-up as a $10 second-favourite. The father-son combination of Chris and Anthony Frisby are hoping their star filly will become the first girl to complete the South East double. Another Grant Dixon-trained chance in Fond Memories – also $10 on the TAB – is among the other hopes in the TAB market to take down the hot favourite.   Andrew Adermann for Racing Queensland

The curtain is set to fall on star Queensland mare Smooth Showgirl this weekend. Win, lose or draw – trainer Ian Gurney will send his ultra-talented mare to the next phase of her career after contesting the Listed $25,660 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes at Albion Park on Saturday night. Motherhood beckons for the Art Major mare. Throughout her career, Smooth Showgirl has raced at the elite level contesting many features along the way while her biggest triumphs came at her home track of Albion Park. Boasting 17 wins at the famed Breakfast Creek oval, Smooth Showgirl snared feature race victories in the Gr.1 $100,000 2014 Nursery Pace Fillies Final before returning the following year to claim the Gr.2 $75,000 3yo edition. Smooth Showgirl also won the Forever Gold Mares Open twice during the Albion Park summer carnival, scoring in 2016 and again in 2018. Her list of feature race placings include the Gr.3 Teeny Teeny Stakes at TABCORP Park, Menangle behind Millwood Liberty and Frith plus the Gr.2 Queensland Cup twice, third behind Aztec Bromac and Avonnova in 2017 and then as the runner-up behind Colt Thirty One the following year. Smooth Showgirl managed to wins races at Melton, Menangle and Albion Park – the three metropolitan venues on the east coast of the country. Amongst her haul of Albion Park victories, five of them were recorded in Open Class events where she tackled the best available pacers in the state at the time. Overall, Smooth Showgirl has won 25 races from her 112 starts with earnings in excess of $370,000. Raced by the Gurney family throughout her career following her purchase at the 2013 APG Melbourne Yearling Sale at a cost of $22,000, her time was spent with Belinda McCarthy and Ian Gurney as trainers. Her best winning mile rate is 1:52.3 when successful at Menangle back in 2016 while placed behind Arms Of An Angel in 1:50.3. “We absolutely love this mare and several times I’ve knocked back offers from North America and over the past eighteen months I’ve contemplated retirement but I knew she had more to give,” Trainer Ian Gurney said. “I’d love to see her go out as a winner, I think she deserves that but racing is a hard game and fairytales don’t always play out but she’ll be giving her best just like she does at every start. “Like most, she’s battled her problems but always gave her best. It’s hard to pin point one race in particular as a highlight because she always tried so hard so I’m going to miss her around the stable. Maybe the race she won earlier this year at Albion Park, all the family was there following the passing of Uncle Brian. “We’ve got her booked to Sweet Lou, he’s an exciting young sire and doing a big job so here’s hoping she can produce something just like herself.” Last week, Smooth Showgirl led up before being run down in the latter stages to finish fourth behind Justalittle Torque in the Queen of Hearts Pace in a time of 1:53.4. It’s an identical field with the exception being Weeks End gaining a start over Cherrys The Best this week. Smooth Showgirl will start from gate five with regular reinsman Adam Sanderson booked to drive.   Chris Barsby

The open class events in Brisbane in the coming weeks will boast strong depth. And that was evident on the opening night of the 2020 Queensland winter carnival last night (Saturday) with the longstanding 1660m track record held by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn falling. The ‘wonder from the west’ set the track record at 1:50.4 back in 2014 when successful in the Sunshine Sprint. While many have dared to dream of breaking the mark, it’s largely stood untested. Until Sydney pacer Cruz eclipsed the mark with his all the way victory in the $21,160 Wondais Mate Pace with a time of 1:50.3 defeating reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One and Watch Pulp Fiction. He covered the sprint trip with sectionals of 27.1, 29.2, 27.7 and 26.5 seconds. Prepared by Craig Cross, the American Ideal gelding was handled by Leonard Cain. The open class feature this week is the Listed $25,770 Mr Feelgood Pace which will be staged over the 2138m before they step up to the 2680m in the Listed $25,770 Lucky Creed Pace the following week. Another high quality performer expected to contest the above mentioned features is the Chris and Anthony Frisby trained Our Uncle Sam. The multiple feature race winner is expected to trial on Tuesday afternoon at Albion Park in readiness for his latest Queensland campaign. Our Uncle Sam was surprisingly beaten first-up at Bathurst on July 1 as a short priced favourite behind Fouroeight in a time of 1:55.8. “We’re going to give him a trial at this stage before starting up here, maybe some were disappointed with his effort the other night but he was probably a little underdone so another trial will tighten him further.” Driver Anthony Frisby said. The Frisby stable is all smiles following the victory of classy filly Jenden Strike in the Gr.2 $50,660 Changeover South East Oaks at Albion Park last night. The Betterthancheddar filly scored a narrow yet decisive victory over local fillies Miss Ruby Sunshine and Fond Memories in a time of 1:55.9 for the 2138m event. “It was a deserving victory in many ways because she’s been a little unlucky in some of the better races this season but it played out well for us and we got the right luck,” Frisby said. “I think Dad (Chris) is planning on backing her up this week in the South East Derby so that will be interesting.” He added. Jenden Strike has won six of her 12 starts to date while banking more than $66,000.   Chris Barsby

Have helmet, will travel. Promising young reinsman Will Rixon has headed to Queensland to join his boss as they build on the winter carnival campaign. Rixon, 19, is the stable foreman for Menangle horseman Jarrod Alchin. Fresh from completing his driving duties last night (Saturday) at TABCORP Park, Menangle, Rixon immediately headed north to join Alchin as they prepare for tonight’s Redcliffe meeting. Rixon will take two drives on the ten race program. It’s the first time he has driven in the Sunshine State. “I’ll be up here for the next couple of weeks and I’m really looking forward to it, Jarrod has the team going along nicely plus I’m looking to do as much driving as possible.” Rixon said. To date this season, Rixon has driven 47 winners while he is approaching 200 for his career which commenced back on January 12, 2017. He currently has a C3 concession claim. Last year, Rixon combined with the Wayne Sullivan trained Cee Cee Ambro to win the Gr.2 $50,000 NSW Breeders Challenge 3yo Fillies True Blue Final at Menangle. “This season has been pretty good and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’m getting but I’m keen to keep building on my numbers. “I enjoy driving at Menangle but I like getting around to different tracks, it’s great for the experience and that’s why I’m looking forward to the Brisbane trip. They’ve got a great colony of drivers and I’m excited about driving at Albion Park, I went to Victoria last year and took some drives down there and really enjoyed it. “Jarrod has some nice horses in his care and I’m hoping I might get a drive behind Mohs Em Down, he’s my favourite horse in the stable and I believe he’s got a real future.” Rixon hails from a famous harness racing family, he is the son of Peter and Cindy (of Divisive fame) while his grandfather is the legendary A.D (Tony) Turnbull. Naturally, Rixon rates the Miracle Mile as the race he would most like to win in the future. His father won the event in 2008, his Uncle Steve (Smooth Satin) scored in the race back in 2001 while his grandfather won it back in 1974 (Hondo Grattan). And like many, Rixon is a graduate of the mini-trotting ranks. “It’s such a great grounding and so many good drivers are graduates of this pathway, I’ve made some really good friends from it too. “I admire so many drivers but I believe Blake Fitzpatrick is the most underrated driver going around, he’s so polished.” Rixon will drive again on Tuesday at Albion Park while he’s looking for more drives later in the week.   Chris Barsby

Star Queensland three-year-old Governor Jujon fined tuned his preparation for next week’s Gr.2 $50,660 Garrrards South East Derby with a sparkling trial at Albion Park last night (Friday). The Grant Dixon trained and driven colt led throughout in the 1660m public trial in a time of 1:53.9. He paced sectionals of 27.7, 31.1, 27.8 and 27.4 seconds. Governor Jujon scored by a widening margin of 22.5m defeating former New Zealand pacer Jive and Convair Hustler. “It was a nice trial; I needed to give him a decent hit-out before next week and he was comfortable doing that so hopefully he’s ready because it’s hard to gain a race start with his rating.” Dixon said. The John Mammino owned pacer has not started since winning the Gr.3 $35,550 Redcliffe Yearling Series Final on June 19. A winner of 9 of his 13 starts this term; Governor Jujon has already feature race trophies following victories in the Gr.2 $50,000 Simpson Memorial at Menangle, Gr.2 $50,660 QBRED Triad Final and the $21,170 APHRC Members Cup. Governor Jujon was a runner-up behind Line Up in the Gr.1 $200,000 Victoria Derby following a heat victory. Last start Breeders Classic winner Big Wheels also stepped out in a trial and finished second behind Amarone in a time of 2:01.6. The gelded son of A Rocknroll Dance is being readied for the Gr.1 $100,550 QBRED Triad Final on the final night of the Albion Park winter carnival, July 25. Prepared by Chantal Turpin, Big Wheels is the winner of 2 races from 6 starts to date. And quality trotter Majestic Simon also looked sharp winning a 2138m stand start trial easily defeating Shegotsass and Il Pirata in a time of 2:03.8. The Chantal Turpin trained performer started from a handicap of 50m. Il Pirata made a break at the home turn. Over the next two weeks, Majestic Simon will contest the Gr.3 $21,270 Trotters Cup and the Gr.3 $25,770 Queensland Trotters Cup.   Chris Barsby

Smart pacer Feelingforarainbow has returned to work this week. Prepared by father/son combination of David and Dan Russell, the four-year-old hasn’t started since finishing third as favourite behind Little Bolt and Commodore Jujon in the Listed $25,660 QBRED Triad Final at Albion Park on May 23. With the 2020 Racing Queensland winter carnival much revised owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, connections opted to spell their gelding rather than keeping him in work. And connections are thrilled with his current condition. “He did extremely well during his break, he’s returned in really good order and we’re very happy we pulled the pin when we did. He did a big job getting to the Triad and probably raced a little tired in the final so giving him the break was the best thing for him.” Dan Russell said. A winner of ten races already this season, Feelingforarainbow will be brought along steadily with a view of a southern campaign an option moving forward. The Mr Feelgood gelding has been a great improver with maturity and looks like the open spaces of Menangle will suit him ideally. “It’s definitely an option, we haven’t locked in any plans yet but I know Dad and I have spoken about taking him to Sydney to win his ‘MO’ race so we’ll weigh things up when he’s getting closer. “He goes on all sized tracks but he really enjoys Albion Park so Menangle would be great for him, he can follow good speed and he can still produce good sectionals. “We’ve always believed in him and now he’s coming into his own so we’re hopeful he’ll keep improving, Dad trained his mother for a period and she was a good race mare with a very solid pedigree. He’s our current stable star and he’s given us plenty of fun to date.” Feelingforarainbow has won 15 of his 56 starts while banking more than $70,000. Meanwhile, the stable has taken over the training of talented mare RNR Windermere. And next week’s Listed $25,660 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes at Albion Park could be an early target. “We’ll see how she handles the trip north but it’s definitely an option, her record is very impressive and she looked very good last start.” The Rocknroll Hanover mare scored an impressive victory at her most recent start at Kilmore on June 25 when rating 1:55.5. Previously prepared by Amanda Turnbull, RNR Windermere has won 7 of her 17 starts this season. The regally bred seven-year-old has won 13 races to date with over $70,000 in stakes.   Chris Barsby

With the Queensland winter carnival now in full swing, a number of talented types were fine tuning their skills at the trials today (Tuesday). The opening night of the Albion Park features gets underway this weekend while the following fortnight will also see plenty of talent on display, both equine and human. Improving three-year-old Gleneagle Warrior is being set for next week’s Gr.2 $50,660 Garrards South East Derby, a feature event to be staged over 2138m. Raced by Graeme Harris who recently transferred the Shadyshark Hanover gelding to the care of Vicki Rasmussen and the big striding type has thrived with the change of routine. Under the care of Rasmussen, Gleneagle Warrior has recorded three wins from five starts while his overall record now stands at five wins from 24 starts to date. At his most recent start, Gleneagle Warrior finished a brave second to Governor Jujon in the Gr.3 $35,520 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series 3yo Final on June 19. In his 1660m public workout today, Gleneagle Warrior produced a withering sprint over the final 600m to score a decisive victory in a time of 1:55.4. The trial was covered in splits of 28.8, 31.5, 28 and 27.2 seconds. Leading reinsman Shane Graham again took the drive. Meanwhile, promising two-year-old filly Sheza Bonny Sheila caught the eye with a fast finishing third placing behind This Ones For You and Not The Kingswood in a 1660m trial. The time was 1:58.8 with the final half covered in 57.4 seconds. Prepared by Barb Barry, Sheza Bonny Sheila has not raced since making an error as favourite in the Listed $25,550 QBRED Breeders Classic Fillies Final at Albion Park on May 23 when fifth behind Vanish Hanover in a time of 1:56.8. The Betterthancheddar filly is already a feature race winner this season when scoring in the Changeover Classic at Albion Park on March 28. Regular reinsman Adam Sanderson took the drive. Sheza Bonny Sheila is being readied for the Gr.1 $100,550 QBRED Triad Fillies Final is scheduled for July 25.   Chris Barsby

Brilliant Queensland filly Pelosi is making up for lost time. Last year’s Australian 2YO Filly of the Year has been denied the chance to win a big race this season so far by an injury setback and COVID. But trainer Anna Woodmansey is not one to reflect. “I think things are meant to be,” she said. “After about 40 years training horses, I’ve now got the best one I’ll ever have and, in hindsight, the time out has allowed her to mature a lot.” Pelosi won six of her eight runs at two, including the Australian Gold and NSW Breeders Challenges finals at Group 1 level. She then kicked a fence and was sidelined for nine months, as much as a precaution as anything else. As Woodmansey watched Kiwi fillies Dr Susan and Stylish Memphis dominate the Victoria and NSW Oaks, she kept thinking her time would come during winter in the Queensland Oaks. The along came COVID and the Queensland Oaks was scrapped. Thankfully Racing Queensland responded and boosted this Saturday night’s South-East Oaks to Group 2 level and a $50,660 purse. Pelosi has looked terrific winning her past two runs, but has the outside draw (gate seven) to overcome in the 2138m feature. “I’m not taking anything for granted, especially from that draw, but she’s come back really well and I know she’ll give her all,” Woodmansey said. “I’m just pinching myself to have a filly this good.” Pelosi is bred in the purple being out of three-time Group 1 winning filly For Dear Life, who was one of just three foals former brilliant filly Express Post had. She’s a home-bred, coming from the great family stock of Woodmansey’s partner, Wayne Honan, whose family bred and raced a long line of stars. “Wayne’s really liked this filly since the day she was born, but he’s never one to compare them. He won’t even tell me who he thinks is the best horse the family ever had, but he does say Pelosi has inherited the speed of her grandmother and he speaks so glowingly about the speed Express Post had.” If Pelosi pleases Woodmansey this week, she could back-up against the boys in the South-East Derby the following week. The other option is to tackle older mares in the Fleur De Lil on the same night. “Let’s just get through this week first. I couldn’t be prouder of this filly, she’s unreal, and I’d love to win an Oaks with her,” Woodmansey said. The Oaks headlines a stellar Albion Park card, but the Wondais Mate Open Pace (1660m) is a mighty support race. That will see buzz former Kiwi pacer Speech Is Silver dip into open-class racing for the first time and clash with Queensland’s best pacer, Colt Thirty One. Speech Is Silver has won seven on end and 14 of her 18 lifetime starts, but faces a big ask from the back row (gate 10) in a sprint where Colt Thirty One has barrier five. NSW raider Cruz (gate four) and classy locals Major Cam (two) and Northview Hustler (seven) add to the depth of a ripper race.   Adam Hamilton

Talented Queensland mares Demeter and Laughing Emoji are the latest recruits bound for the ever increasing North American market. Buoyed by the deeds of world champion pacing mare Shartin, the appetite for ‘downunder’ pacing mares has hit fever pitch. And the performance across the weekend of former Victorian mare Soho Burning Love at the Meadowlands winning the Mares Open in 1:48.1 has further underlined the quality heading north in recent seasons. Connections of both Demeter and Laughing Emoji accepted offers they couldn’t refuse. Demeter, trained by former Leeton horseman Reece Maguire has proven to be an outstanding money-spinner since coming to the Sunshine State where she has won four of her nine starts. All four victories took place at Albion Park. Overall, Demeter has won 10 of her 40 starts to date. In her first start at the famed Breakfast Creek oval, the Art Major – Weka Lass mare took a personal best time of 1:54.2. At her most recent start, Demeter finished second behind boom pacer Speech Is Silver at Albion Park on June 6 in a time of 1:56.9 for 2138m. Demeter is a half-sister to talented Victorian based mare Reciprocity (16 wins - $158k). Meanwhile, Laughing Emoji also created a tidy record in Brisbane following her purchase from New Zealand as a three-year-old. The big striding Mach Three mare was prepared by Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen and all of her 11 (from 53 starts) were recorded on Australian soil. Laughing Emoji was purchased from the south island of New Zealand following her second start. Nine of her victories took place at Albion Park while she also registered a victory on the half mile Redcliffe circuit. Her best winning mile rate of 1:52.9 took place at Menangle during a Sydney campaign back in 2018. This season, Laughing Emoji has won seven races. At her final Australian start, Laughing Emoji finished fifth at Albion Park behind Corsini in a time of 1:57.1 after being caught without cover.   Chris Barsby

Boom pacer Speech Is Silver has continued with his terrific form. Fresh from registering his seventh successive victory in the Badcock Group of Companies Pace at Albion Park on Saturday night, the Darren Weeks trainee recorded brilliant closing sectionals yet again. In fact, his closing half of 55.2 seconds (leader to winner) was the fastest of the night. His splits were even quicker than reigning Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One who scored an all the way victory in the Westburn Grant Open Pace two races later. And with the revised Brisbane winter carnival commencing this week, there’s an obvious question that most, if not all, are asking. Will Speech Is Silver take on the Open class performers? Obvious targets include the $21,160 Wondais Mate Open Pace (1660m) this Saturday night followed by the $25,660 Mr Feelgood Open Pace (2138m) the following week while the $25,660 Lucky Creed Open Pace (2680m) is another option for the gifted pacer. “He’s come through Saturday night in great shape; he’s actually jumping out of his skin and very well within himself so we’ll assess our options. I thought that victory was one of his best because he was exposed three wide for the final 800m and the splits were fast, that’s not easy to do.” Weeks said. His winning mile rate of 1:54.5 was also the quickest of the night for races staged over the distance of 2138m. The former member of the All Stars operation (Mark Purdon & Nat Rasmussen) in Christchurch has been a revelation since arriving in the Sunshine State winning 13 of his 15 starts. This season, the gelding has won 11 of his 13 starts to date. His only local defeats came when he fired up in front and struck the sulky footrests in the Rising Stars Final last October when sixth behind Tin Roof Raider while he finished as the runner-up behind Arthur Lowe after breaking at the start back on April 28. A majority of his victories have come via his frightening and powerful finishing bursts, time and time again he has sailed down the straight at Albion Park while his rivals have been left to deal with the remnants of his speed burn. It will be fascinating to see if he tackles the open class features during the carnival. Whether he does or doesn’t, the stable will have representation through the likes of Major Cam and Lilac Flash who both performed admirably across the weekend. Meanwhile, stablemate and classy mare Smart As Camm Be will miss the carnival features owing to a recent setback following her most recent trial at Albion Park on June 16 when unplaced behind star three-year-old filly Pelosi. “It’s nothing major and more the effect of jarring up so we backed off for a while there but she’s now back in work so we’ll build her up again.” Weeks said. In her first trial back, Smart As Camm Be finished a pleasing third behind Redcliffe Cup runner-up Northview Hustler in a time of 1:53.2. The Listed $25,660 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes on Saturday week loomed as a key target for the multiple feature race winner. Smart As Camm Be has won 12 of her 15 starts to date while banking more than $162,000. The Cammibest mare hasn’t raced since winning the Redcliffe Oaks last June.     Chris Barsby

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