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Hectorjayjay has won the harness racing Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint tonight at Albion Park in a last-minute run from behind that has to be seen to be believed. The bay gelding spent the vast majority of the race in the back of the field, only making his run for the line at the 400 metre mark sitting five wide. Hectorjayjay is in the midst of brilliant form, beating his stable mate and Inter Dominion winner Lennytheshark only recently in the Len Smith Mile, and now running down the brilliant Christen Me to take out tonight’s feature race. Handler and travel companion of Hectorjayjay, Kima Fenning, said she was used to the horse coming from  behind but tonight’s late run had her thinking. “To be honest, I wasn’t too worried at the start of the race because I’ve seen him come from way behind before, but at the 400 mark when he was still second last I thought we were in a bit of trouble,” “I saw when he came out on the top of the straight, I saw him put in that little extra that he does, but then again I saw Christen Me get a run and I thought “Oh, we might be in trouble here”, but he’s just an amazing horse and he never puts in a bad run, he just always does that little bit extra,” said Fenning. Harness racing Operations Manager Brett Rail was impressed with the great run and the flow-on effect it has for harness racing. “It was an outstanding race, and it’s the type of race that brings people back to trotting,” “To see the son of Dream Away come from the tail of the field in a virtually impossible position to beat horses like Christen Me, who’s probably the best in Australasia, it was an outstanding field and an outstanding race.” “I think Hectorjayjay is the next one on the block, he’s ready to take over the mantle and become the best horse in Australasia I’m sure,” Rail added. The 2016 DPMA Queensland Oaks (2138m) was another high-quality race on the cards tonight, with the gutsy three-year-old filly Nek Time (Gotta Go Cullect) working hard to grab the lead early and take home the win in a blistering time of 2 minutes 34.2 seconds. Brett Rail praised the run and the stunning victory. “The winner Nek Time was an absolutely outstanding run, she did so much work early and through the run,” “It was a super-fast time, and the way that horse just kept going it was just an unforgettable race to watch, hopefully she goes on to the Derby for a Picket Fence next week,” Rail added. The 2016 Garrard’s Gold Coast Derby was the other feature race of the night, and it was always going to be a hard to separate the contenders, all entrants very even on paper. Both the winner Charlaval and runner-up Stanly Ross Robyn did a great job to grab their win and place, Rail full of praise for the quality three-year-olds. “It was an outstanding field of three-year-olds, Charlaval from the draw had a good run and was an outstanding winner,” “There are a number of horses in that race that can easily win the Derby, barrier draws are going to be all important for that one,” said Rail. The ground-breaking Picket Fence promotion offers trainers and owners the chance to win a share of $111,000 in bonuses if their horse can win three races in a row in Queensland including one of four feature races on Blacks A Fake Night. At this time the Bill Cosby-trained Slippery Jade is eligible for the two-year-old filly’s bonus, Chris Petroff’s Maestro Bellini is eligible for the two-year-old colt’s and gelding’s bonus, while the Chmiel-trained Nek Time will be in the running for the bonus in the Derby. Blacks A Fake night will be held next Saturday, July 16.  

The Queensland Oaks has been robbed of interest following the scratching of harness racing favourite Rockmemama. Sawyers Gully trainer Darryl Thomas reluctantly made the call to withdraw his star pupil from Saturday’s Albion Park feature today (Thursday) owing to the filly having a high temperature. A last start winner of the Gr.1 NSW Breeders Challenge at Menangle on June 26, the Rock N Roll Heaven filly was installed as the favourite with UBET bookies after landing gate three. “We were all set to travel up today but after we did all our cross checks, she had spiked with a temperature and therefore we couldn’t take any chances with her so we scratched. It’s disappointing but she always come first, we’re grateful with what she’s already done this season with two feature race victories.” Thomas said. It remains unclear at this stage whether Rockmemama will be retired or race on next season with a decision to be made following her immediate spell. Rockmemama has won 6 of her 10 career starts, all six victories have come this season while banking more than $136,000 in prizemoney. “This filly has battled injuries and setback throughout her career and was considered that we would retire her after the Queensland Oaks but she will have a really good break and then we will reassess when her break is over. “If she spells well and looks ready for another campaign, then we will give her another opportunity with the four-year-old mares races the primary target but that will depend on her, if it happens then it will happen.”Rockmemama is raced by her breeder, Max Deckert. Star New Zealand filly Nek Time is now a clear favourite to claim her maiden Group One victory with UBET bookies pricing her as a$1.90 elect.A dominant winner last week of the Gold Coast Oaks, the Terry and Glenys Chmiel prepared filly has drawn nicely in gate three following the scratching of Rockmemama. Champion reinsman Dexter Dunn will again take the drive on Nek Time in the 2138m feature. The scratching of the horse paves the way for first emergency Vinland to gain a start in the race. Chris Barsby

Star New Zealand harness racing filly Nek Time is a chance of taking on the boys next week in the Queensland Derby. But first, she must claim the Gr.1 $75,000 DPMA Queensland Oaks at Albion Park on Saturday night. And her chances are looking good following her stylish all the way victory last week in the Gold Coast Oaks coupled with a handy draw this weekend. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trained Gotta Go Cullect filly will start from gate four on Saturday and provides reinsman Dexter Dunn with plenty of options. “It’s a nice draw and we’ve got room to move so Dex can plot a path to success hopefully from there, I’m really happy with the way she won last week. She had a good blow after the race so I’m expecting a good performance again this week but it’s a much stronger field with several new fillies starting this week.” Co-trainer Terry Chmiel said. New faces this week include a trio of talented fillies from Sydney headlined by last start Gr.1 Breeders Challenge winner Rockmemama plus the duo from the stables of Amanda Turnbull in Eye See Diamonds and Neon Sky while classy local filly Cherish The Moment also starts after bypassing last week. Rockmemama defeated Eye See Diamonds in the Breeders Challenge final two weeks ago while Newcastle Oaks winner Neon Sky has been kept fresh for this assignment. But Chmiel is confident his filly can lift again and rise to the challenge. “I’m actually a little surprised how well she’s actually doing over here, after I weighed her the other day, she’s actually put some weight on so she’s really thriving in the warmer climate. Her work this week has been good and everything is looking good. “That was the first time we’ve used her off the gate last week and the lead time was pretty solid so I was more than happy with the effort, normally we just drive her steady early before making a move but Dex made full use of the good draw last week. “If we can win again this weekend, she’s eligible for the Picket Fence bonus but she must start in the Queensland Derby next week so we’ll keep our options open. We’ve got to win this weekend first.” The Rob and Sharon Symon owned filly is chasing her third Oaks success this season after already winning the Southland and Gold Coast Oaks. New Zealand bred fillies have a fine record in the Queensland Oaks with the past four winners coming from the shaky isles. Last year, the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Fight For Glory proved victorious. Betting giant UBET have opened Rockmemama ($2.50) a slight favourite over Nek Time ($2.80).        Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 09 July 2016 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 09 July 2016           Chris Barsby

Harness Racing Co-trainer Terry Chmiel is toying with the idea of extending Nek Time's Brisbane campaign after she won the Gold Coast Oaks in Brisbane on Saturday night. Another big run by Nek Time in next Saturday's Queensland Oaks could persuade Chmiel and training partner wife Glenys to consider starting her in the Queensland Derby a week later.  Wins in all three races would earn her a Picket Fence Bonus of A$30,000 (NZ$31,360). A grade race on the same programme as the Derby is also an option for Nek Time.  Reinsman Dexter Dunn drove Nek Time in front in Saturday's Gold Coast Oaks (2138m mobile), with the filly fighting off two challengers for the early lead. Nek Time held on comfortably by two lengths in a mile rate of 1:56.6. She sped over the closing 800m in 57 and 400m in 28.9. "She had a good blow afterwards and should improve for next week," Terry Chmiel said from Brisbane. The daughter of Gotta Go Cullect doesn't need to lead and can work a bit in races.   "She's in the zone, let's hope she stays in it." Southland owners Robert and Sharyn Symon were at Albion Park for the win. "It was a pretty big thrill . . . the club really turned it on for us," Robert Symon said. Glenys Chmiel, who is looking after the team at Leeston, will join her husband and the Symons in Brisbane on Thursday. Nek Time's win on Saturday also marked the first time the Chmiels had raced a horse in Australia. Terry has not driven there, unlike Glenys who finished third in the Australasian Junior Drivers' Championship in South Australia in the 1990s. Dexter Dunn's other two drives on Saturday night were Rubys Bad Boy (fifth) and Candyliscious (fifth). Meanwhile, Our Waikiki Beach has drawn No 1 for a C5 and faster mobile mile at Menangle, Sydney, on Tuesday. The unbeaten three-year-old, trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, will be shooting for his 20th win. Luke McCarthy is booked to drive. The race will be televised on Trackside at 7.17pm (NZ time). Among his rivals is ex-Kiwi Four Starzzz Flash, who has not won since his success in the Group III Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington in September, 2013. Mat Kermeen

Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival will heat up when a vast quality of interstate and New Zealand three-year-olds converge on Queensland to stake their claim in the Picket Fence Bonuses worth $111,000. The ground-breaking Picket Fence promotion offers trainers and owners the chance to win a share of $111,000 in bonuses if their horse can win three races in a row in Queensland including one of four feature races on Blacks A Fake Night on 16 July. The upcoming three-year-old features including the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks and Derby will be hotly contested, with quality horses like Kimani, Charlaval and Nek Time looking to secure two victories in the lead-up to the Blacks A Fake finals night at Albion Park on July 16. Nek Time, who will be targeting the Gold Coast Oaks this Saturday is one of the leading contenders for Picket Fence Bonuses, having come back from a spell in March and performing well. The three-year-old filly has won four of her last eight starts in New Zealand, setting a national record in the G2 Southland Oaks by a widening margin at Invercargill back in April. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel-trained filly arrived in Australia just under two weeks ago and is settling in well, staying at Ian Gurney’s property and being looked after by Nathan Purdon. “She’s been doing really well since she’s been there, she’s as bright as a button and it’s a nice property up there so she’s settling in well,” said Chmiel. While all is going well, Chmiel said the three-year-old filly can be quite temperamental and likes being the boss in any given situation. “She’s temperamental, she’s a one-person filly and she quite likes the wife,” “She’s pretty competitive on and off the track and likes to be in charge, in the last few months she’s really developed and grown into herself, she’s developed into a nice three-year-old,” said Chmiel. Chmiel is happy with Nek Time’s form since arriving in Queensland, last Friday’s trial over 1660 meters at Albion being covered comfortably in a time of 1:55.2. “We were pretty happy with the way she trailed the other night and she’s drawn well for Saturday (Fr2), hopefully we can lead from the front.” Other three-year-olds to watch out for include locals Catcha Lefty, Leos Best, Mattgregor and Son Of Mara. Leos Best is enjoying a good run, winning five of his last nine starts, including his last start, the Rising Stars C3/C4 Final at Albion Park on June 18. Catcha Lefty narrowly missed out on a second Picket at Albion Park last start in the Rising Stars C1/C2 Final on June 25, coming in third. Son Of Mara is a strong Queensland horse who has already earned himself a Picket, but the New Zealand and interstate rivalry is tough, and with the likes of Living Again and Roarn already having earnt a Picket as well, many more local and visiting horses will be working hard to open their campaigns with a win in the near future. Albion Park will have a 10 race card including four feature races this Saturday night. With a total prize money pool of $171,000 the four feature races are the Garrards Gold Coast Oaks for three-year-old fillies, the Horsepower Four-year-old Championship, the Garrards Premiers Cup and the Mr Feelgood Open Pace. Racing starts at 5.12pm. Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 02 July 2016 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 02 July 2016

A new weekly harness racing segement on, Around the Traps will, each Tuesday, put together happenings from around New Zealand and Australia over the weekend just been. NEK TIME TRIALS IMPRESSIVELY Speedy Canterbury 3-year-old filly, Nek Time, was an impressive winner of a trial at Albion Park on Friday night as she readies herself for the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trainer filly, who is based at the stable of Ian Gurney, paced her 1660 metre trial in 1:58.9 which equates to a 1.55 mile rate. The Southland Oaks winner, will kick off her campaign in the Gold Coast Oaks this weekend before tackling the Queensland Oaks a week later. Dexter Dunn has been booked to drive the filly during her Australian campaign. TELFER/GARLICK TEAM DRAW LEVEL North Island trainers, Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick drew level with their best ever season tally of 37 with a winning double at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The Papkura Stable won on Friday with River Emperor and First Home to take them to 37 and continue what has been a great season. Just inside the Top 10 trainers on the national premiership, the partnership have produced 16 individual winners this season with Better B Amazed (5 wins), Prince Of Pops and Ashton K (4 wins) and Superimposed, No Doctor Needed, American Flybye and Ideal Flybye (3 wins) their best performers. MAINLAND BANNER’S PERFECT RECORD The win of Glenferrie Classic on Friday at Blenheim kept former New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner’s strike rate perfect. Of the five foals the daughter of Christian Cullen has produced, all five have now been winners with Glenferrie Classic the latest. Aside from Stunin Banner (13 wins) her other four foals; Peruvian Banner (1 win), Return To Sender (8 wins), Rocker Band (9 wins) and Glenferrie Classic (1 win) have all been embryo transfer foals. Incidentally, Stunin Banner will race this weekend at Alexandra Park in a claimers event carrying a price tag of $9,000. He is currently domiciled with Todd Mitchell. GILL SUSPENDED Marlborough horsewoman, Kendra Gill has her licence suspended until the middle of August on the opening, and only, day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Friday. Gill, the daughter of local trainer, Mark, was suspended for careless driving after her charge, Gotta Ticket was shifted into a position in which there is was insufficient room to allow it to happen. Gill’s suspension ends on the 14th of August. OUR WAIKIKI BEACH TRIALS TODAY Embattled 3-year-old pacer, (Our) Waikiki Beach will trial today (Tuesday) at Menangle as he continues his preparations for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown. In the care of leading Australian stable, Belinda McCarthy, the unbeaten pacer, who has won all 20 of his career starts, is earmarked to return to the race next Tuesday in a C3-C5 pace before tackling a heat of the Breeders Crown seven days later. VOTING CLOSED Voting for the annual Harness Racing New Zealand Awards, which are to be held in the Mashina Lounge at Christchurch Casino on Saturday, July 30, closed on Friday. There has been plenty of speculation around the Awards this year - in particular the battle for Horse of the Year between freakish pacer Have Faith In Me and superstar trotter, Monbet. 29 votes are allocated for each of the categories, which this year include the return of the 5-year-old and older categories. The voting panel is made up largely of members of the harness racing media in New Zealand which also includes commentators and Trackside presenters. BREEDERS CROWN HEATS KICK OFF The first round of heats for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown will be held this week. Addington plays host to heats for the 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings as well as the 3YO Trotting fillies. Three horses will go around in the male event; Blood And Whiskey, Conon Bridge and My Armour while the fillies race will be contested by Oona and Wilma’s Mate. Further heats will be held at Addington on the 8th, the 15th and the 22nd of July and at Cambridge on July 10 and 21. By Matt Markham

Exciting New Zealand filly Nek Time impressed in her first Albion Park hit-out today (Friday). The Terry and Glenys Chmiel prepared filly arrived on Brisbane soil last weekend in preparation for the upcoming harness racing features, the $20,000 Gold Coast Oaks (July 2) followed by the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks the following week. Both events will be staged over 2138m. Nek Time was given the opportunity to familiarise herself with the Albion Park oval with a trial over 1660m and scored comfortably in a time of 1:55.2 after coming off the speed. Sectionals were covered in 28.2, 28.2, 29.1 and 29.9 seconds. The Gotta Go Cullect filly was handled by Joe Taaffe. “Whatever she did today, there was always going to improvement to come from the filly and I’m content with where she is at as we head towards our targets. These races won’t be easy and we’ll need no bad luck heading our way.” Terry Chmiel said. Nek Time created a national record when successful in the Gr.2 $45,000 Southland Oaks by a widening margin at Invercargill back in April. The 2700m feature was covered in a time of 1:58.8. In her most recent start, Nek Time finished a tidy third against quality three-year-old performers Shandale and Motown at Alexandra Park, Auckland on June 10. Nek Time is raced by Robert and Sharon Symon. Chris Barsby

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

The 2016 Racing Queensland UBET winter carnival is fast approaching and in the coming weeks, Queensland harness racing broadcaster Chris Barsby will profile a number of major players vying for the top prizes. With 18 Black Type races on the program for the 2016 Winter Carnival, the carnival’s pinnacle in 2016 is the G1 Blacks A Fake, which now boasts an impressive $200,000 in stakes. The carnival spans from May 28 to July 30. Here’s a profile featuring a likely New Zealand filly that looks certain to be a major player in the Queensland Oaks. Name: Nek Time Stable Name: Laura Age: 3yo filly Owner: Robert & Sharon Symon Trainer: Terry & Glenys Chmiel Driver: Dexter Dunn Prizemoney: $93,989 Biggest win: Gr.3 Southland Oaks - Invercargill Target: $75,000 Queensland Oaks (July 9) Trainer says: “Lovely filly with plenty of quality; loves following a genuine speed and then producing her sprint which is extremely good at the end of her races. She’s been a delight since joining our stable and her winning effort in the Southland Oaks was very impressive and the time was super. We’ll tackle the Jewels and then head over and get ready for the Queensland Oaks.” Barsby says: “A high quality filly that looks certain to be a major threat in the filly’s features during the carnival. The Southland Oaks triumph was stunning and the time underlines the effort, her sectionals always seem to be very impressive. Remember, this filly has beaten some very highly regarded types this season and should add plenty in the Oaks puzzle.” Chris Barsby

Talented harness racing filly Zara’s Delight is ready to go again. The Rock N Roll Heaven – Barely Legal three-year-old has not raced since being a beaten favourite in the Gr.1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park, Melton last May. After working hard throughout, Zara’s Delight finished 6th behind Jilliby Jitterbug in a mile rate of 1:56.5. Following a lengthy break, the Jack Butler trained filly is set to attack in her latest campaign. “I wanted her to have a big break and she got that, we spelled her at Bathurst following the Melbourne campaign which me made by road and she’s been back in work for some time. She’s a lot bigger now and she’s really thrived during her time away from the track, I’m hoping she rewards us with a big season.” Butler said. Zara’s Delight has indicated she’s returned in fine form following some neat trials at Albion Park over the past fortnight. Her latest trial (Tuesday) was a convincing 14m romp in a mile rate of 1:57.0 for the 1660m event after racing without cover. The previous trial was a hard held third placed effort behind talented filly Cherish The Moment in a time of 2:01.1. But these latest efforts were marked improvement on her first official trial last month which resulted in a mediocre 6th beaten some 13.75m behind Frankie Rocks. “Fortunately we discovered that she was suffering from a throat complaint and that explained the performance because that was way out of character, we had to treat the problem and we backed right off on the work while she recovered. “Given that we had such a great foundation underneath her before this bump in the road, it didn’t take long to bring her up to peak fitness again. I’m sure we jumped on this issue before it became much worse so we got luck in many ways. “I’ve been really pleased with her latest efforts, I told Bart (Cockburn – driver) not to come off a helmet in her first trial back while she was allowed to stretch right out today and she finished off in a good last half, she pulled up well and I think she’s ready to head back to the races now.” Butler will scan the programs but the long term aim appears to be the Brisbane winter carnival later this year. The Gr.3 $40,000 Gold Bracelet at Bathurst next month has already been ruled out. “We won’t be heading back to Bathurst with her, I think that series comes up a little too soon plus I don’t want to travel her that far by road again. I’m planning on giving her a couple of runs within the next month before building her up over the coming months. “The Queensland Oaks is the long term aim while both Gold Coast and Redcliffe Oaks are also heavily favoured, at this stage we might just stick close to home rather than hitting the road with her this season.” Zara’s Delight is raced by Sydney businessman Rod Smith. by Chris Barsby

Fight For Glory might not be a harness racing superstar in New Zealand where she has been overshadowed all season by The Orange Agent but once she crosses the Tasman sea, the Art Major filly is the real deal. That is not to say she is not held in high regard in the shakey isles but in Australia she sits on top of the pedestal all on her own. Even though she drew the second line tonight in the $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Albion Park, Natalie Rasmussen and Fight For Glory was still the favourite just in front of her stablemate Linda Lovegrace. Miss Riviera Belle burned the gate from barrier seven to grab an early lead with Linda Lovegrace in the death seat with Fight For Glory in the one by one early. However after 300 metres Champagne Dreams who was in the trail galloped and caused Fight For Glory to be restrained which let Bettor Promise slip into the one by one forcing Fight For Glory three back in the running line. Surprisingly, soon after Peter McMullen angled Bettor Promise out of the one by one and tried to go forward but Shane Graham kicked up on Linda Lovegrace, leaving Bettor Promise three wide for the rest of the race. Thus Fight For Glory was back in the one by one and as soon as she got clear air at the 400 metres mark, she quickly grabbed the lead and was too strong in the straight. Morton Plains, the stablemate of Menin Gate flew late for second just in front of an equally game Ameretto who flashed late for an unlucky third. Tonights win was the fourth Oaks success for Fight For Glory this season which is a good indication of her class. Fight For Glory paced the 2138 metres in 2:34.4, a mile rate of 1:56.2 with closing sectionals of 56.1 and 27.8 Natalie was all smiles post race. " Once she got into the one by one, I was really confident a long way out that she would win the race." " She is such an honest filly and she can really let down when she gets a bit of cover." " The owners from New Zealand all made the trip over so I am so pleased she got the job done for them," Natalie said One of those owners in attendance is the former outstanding New Zealand thoroughbred trainer Jimmy Gibbs. " It is always great to win a Group 1 in either code." " I am just very fortunate to have Mark and Natalie train my horses for me," Jimmy said. Fight For Glory may have to play second fiddle to The Orange Agent in New Zealand but in Australia she is the queen of the three year old fillies. Harnesslink Media  

Bathurst raider Amaretto will need to make her own luck to win the Gr.1 $100,000 Greg & Sharon Mitchell Queensland Oaks at the harness racing meeting at Albion Park on Saturday night. But this is nothing new for the Ashlee Siejka trainee. The Million Dollar Cam – Eyes Of Courage three-year-old filly has been plagued by constant bad luck and shocking draws throughout her career. The run of poor draws continues this weekend after being slammed with gate twelve, five off the second-line. Yet Siejka remains upbeat. “This is familiar territory we find ourselves in because this has been an issue with her right throughout her career to date." "We did draw well in the Breeders Challenge but we had Greg Hayes to thank for that after selecting our barrier for that final, but in the end, she made an error and cost herself victory but I still believe that was her best effort during her career to date.” Siejka said. Amaretto finished second to highly regarded New Zealand filly Supersonic Miss at TABCORP Park, Menangle on June 28 at her most recent start. An error soon after the start proved costly as the filly settled closer to last than first before charging home and running a gallant second. A key trial at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon underlined the faith that Siejka has in her filly. “I was thrilled with her trial earlier this week and she felt fantastic because I thought she was a little on the big side following a couple easy days after her last start followed by the travel to get here." "I thought she jogged it and her times were really sharp so I couldn’t be happier." “Obviously the draw is a setback because we’re now relying on a solid speed but this field boasts great depth and I think we’ll be running which will suit my filly." "The likes of the Purdon/Rasmussen fillies plus Morton Plains and the Shannon Price fillies will be very tough to beat." “I would love to win a major race with this filly because she’s been so consistent throughout her career; she tries so hard and never gives up so I’m hoping this might be our time to shine.” Siejka has an excellent chance in the $20,000 Lunchbox Lodge Country Cup Final with former New Zealand gelding Our Leonardo. The lightly raced four-year-old ran a cracking race in his Australian debut when going down narrowly in the heat eight days ago. “I’m still working him out but I like what I have and he’ll improve greatly off his effort in the heat last week. He showed good gate speed and the barrier is a massive advantage this week." “I expect to lead and he’ll prove hard to catch, I’m likely to make some gear changes and open him up because once that horse went past him last week, he actually kicked on again but it was too late.” The richly talented horseperson is also represented by talented pacers Lochinver in the Gr.2 $50,000 Gurney Group of Companies 4 & 5yo Championship and Mister Chow in the Brylin Boyz Q0 Pace while My Lucky Belle is listed as the emergency runner in the Queensland Oaks. Chris Barsby

During the past decade, only two local harness racing fillies have repelled the raiders to claim the Queensland Oaks. And they weren’t just any fillies. Outstanding mare Forever Gold was the most recent following her triumph in 2011 while All Promises scored back in 2007, one of three Oaks titles she claimed that season. All Promises was prepared by husband and wife team of Shannon Price and Scott Miller. This year, the astute couple have a dual-pronged attack heading into the Gr.1 $100,000 Greg & Sharon Mitchell Queensland Oaks at Albion Park on Saturday night. Bettor Promise and Bettorthanspecial will sport the black and red livery. And both fillies boast excellent claims. “We’re hopeful that both fillies will perform at their high level again this weekend; this has obviously been a major target all season long and they’re fit and in-form so we’ve got a chance." "Their preparation has been really solid so we can’t make any excuses for either of them prior to Saturday night, they’re ready to go.” Co-trainer Miller said. The two fillies fought out the finish of the $20,000 Rising Stars Championship Final last weekend with Bettorthanspecial edging out Bettor Promise in a mile rate of 1;54.3 for the 1660m event. It was the seventh time the two fillies have finished one/two under race conditions. “We were thrilled with the way both fillies performed last week and both have come through that race in very good shape, it just topped them off for the Oaks this weekend so it’s all systems go." "We’ve got handy front-line draws and both should find spots fairly quickly." “It’s a very strong field headed up by the two New Zealand fillies, they’ve looked very good in their Brisbane starts to date and loom as the hardest to beat." "I’m expecting a genuine speed and that should suit both of our fillies, their efforts in the Gold Coast Oaks recently proved we’re close to them." “Bettor Promise is a good staying type of filly while Bettorthanspecial is a very capable sit/sprint type, they both have strong records and the distance is ideal for both." "Like most, we just need that little bit of luck going our way but I think they’re both good enough to take it.” Win, lose or draw this weekend, both fillies are expected to tackle the Gr.3 $30,000 Redcliffe Oaks on August 1 before heading to well-earned break. Both fillies have won seven races this season including several features. Bettor Promise claimed the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Final on May 30 at Albion Park defeating her stablemate. Hoofnote; All Promises, a winner of the Queensland, Redcliffe and Australian Oaks is the older half-sister to Bettor Promise. Chris Barsby

Champion harness racing horseman Luke McCarthy is heading home. A notable absentee from the opening night of the 2015 Queensland winter carnival at Albion Park last weekend owing to Vicbred commitments at Melton, McCarthy is now firmly focused on his team that is based in the warm sunshine. McCarthy is booked for 8 drives on the 10 race program. “I can’t wait to get amongst the action this weekend, I love coming home to Brisbane and the winter carnival is something that I look forward to each and every year. Fortunately, the stable has quite a few up and going and it’s a pleasure to compete in these races in the next couple of weeks.” McCarthy said. The feature event on Saturday night is the Gr.1 Greg & Sharon Mitchell Queensland Oaks for the three-year-old fillies and McCarthy is looking at back to back victories following his success last year aboard Nike Franco. McCarthy will take the lines behind emerging talent Whitershadeofpale who is prepared by his wife Belinda; a filly co-owned by Victorian based Harvey Kaplan. Coincidentally, Kaplan shared in the ownership spoils of Nike Franco last year also. “This filly continues to improve and we think a bit of her although she’s lightly raced, the decision to send her to Brisbane for this campaign has proven to be a wise one and hopefully she’ll continue with her good form. “It’s a nasty draw and this Oaks boasts great depth so her job won’t be easy but I’m thrilled with her current form; she should’ve finished closer in the Gold Coast Oaks two starts ago before she got a confidence building victory last week, she’s still on the way up. “The two New Zealand fillies are the toughest to beat, Linda Lovegrace and Fight For Glory are both in excellent shape and loom as the obvious threats. We had Fight For Glory stay at our place earlier this year when she contested the NSW Oaks and she’s a real competitor, a great will to win.” While the fillies officially take centre stage this weekend, all eyes are expected to be fixed on brilliant pacer Bling It On who will start as a pronounced favourite in the Gr.2 $50,000 Gurney Group of Companies 4 & 5yo Championship. The American Ideal entire is unbeaten in two starts this campaign and he oozed class with his emphatic victory last weekend. “We’re thrilled with the way Yank (Bling It On) has returned following a freshen-up after his Chariots campaign earlier this year. He’s never really had a decent break since he started as a two-year-old but he’s thrived and it’s been really beneficial to him. “He felt unbelievable winning first-up when I took the drive and Toddy (McCarthy – driver) gave a glowing report after his effort last week. His work this week has been really sharp so we’re confident of another great showing. “The draw is perfect; we don’t have to burn early yet we can still hold a forward spot while the pressure is being applied. It’s a good field and they will run it hard but that will suit us, we will back-up next week in the 4yo Championship.” Bling It On has won 9 of his 10 starts at Albion Park while his only defeat came via a two horse Australasian Breeders Crown heat last season. McCarthy has won the 4 & 5yo Championship on two previous occasions, the most recent in 2011 aboard Lightning Raider while Slipnslide scored back in 2005. Other key drives for McCarthy this weekend include For A Reason, Epaulette and the Blake Hewitt trained duo of Sweet Molly OShea and Spare Me Days. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 11 July 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 11 July 2015

Last Saturday night was one of those rarest of nights when the All Star barn failed to land a big big on the opening night of the Queensland Winter carnival. Natalie reckons the team reacted well to a minimum of luck on the first big night of the Queensland carnival and that they all came through their races in top order. This is how she rated the runs from the team on Saturday night. Smolda (2nd ) "I was really thrilled with him." "In fact I would stay he probably went the best of the lot of them." "Going well and just couldn't beat that inside speed on the night" Fight for Glory (2nd) "Considering she was against older horses and it was a tune up race for her she was fine." "She will like going over a bit further now" Hug The Wind (2nd) "Look if I was really honest he was one who just disappointed a shade." "I thought he was entitled to kick on a wee bit better." "But he is another one who will go better next time over a bit more ground." "Those short races and bad draws are not ideal" Gentle Western   "Considering the work he had missed and his overall programme I thought he went really well." "He should be a strong contender in the Final" This weeks runners *Queensland Oaks (Fight for Glory and Linda Lovegrace) *Gold Coast Derby (Hug The Wind) *Country Cups Final (Gentle Western) Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here

Victorian raiders are heading north in force. Last weekend, Burnaholeinmypocket scorched the harness racing Albion Park oval winning the $100,000 Nursery Flying Stakes and now fellow state mates are following suite and heading up chasing the lucrative prizemoney and warm winter sunshine. Shelbourne trainer Larry Eastman, fresh from his triple Group 1 glory on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton with Menin Gate, Morton Plains and Milly Perez are headed to Queensland this week. Both Menin Gate and Morton Plains will fly to Brisbane on Wednesday. Targets for the star pair include this weekend’s Gr.1 $100,000 Greg & Sharon Mitchell Queensland Oaks with Morton Plains while the main focus for Menin Gate will be the Gr.1 $150,000 Queensland Derby on July 18. “All the horses have come through the weekend in great shape and we’re keen to head up there again and take in some of the winter carnival features. Lynette (wife) and I have some great friends in Queensland and we love the racing and in particular, the weather.” Eastman said. The Queensland Oaks will boast an outstanding field with a bunch of outstanding fillies already in town and the presence of Morton Plains only adds further intrigue. The Bettor's Delight – Don’t Answer That filly scored a decisive victory in the Vicbred Super Series Final last weekend defeating Niki No No and Vapar Grin in the 2240m feature. “She’s a lovely filly that is honest and continues to improve; the Queensland Oaks comes at the right time because she’s fit and in-form so it’s worth taking a shot, “Obviously the Purdon/Rasmussen fillies (Fight For Glory & Linda Lovegrace) will be tough to beat but I’m more than happy with my filly and an Oaks victory would be a nice bonus.” The victory of Menin Gate in his Vicbred Super Series Final provided his connections with his second major this season after winning the Victoria Derby back in February. The Somebeachsomewhere – Dreams Of Heaven gelding led throughout to win the 2240m feature defeating Mister Wickham and Follow The Stars. “I was really happy with him leading into that race because he trialed well at Maryborough the week before and Chris (Alford – driver) said he felt great in that trial. We added the block blinkers to his gear and it worked a treat, “The Queensland Derby has always been a target for him this season but I wanted to get through this series first before committing; now it’s full steam ahead.” Champion reinsman Chris Alford will take the drives in Brisbane. Chris Barsby

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