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A new-look TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival is poised to finish the 2019/20 season in style after being released today. As announced earlier this year, the Group 1 Blacks A Fake - Queensland’s only Grand Circuit event for pacers – will headline the Summer Carnival with features to be held at Albion Park and Redcliffe throughout November and December. In total, 11 Group races will be staged across the Summer Carnival, including the $175,000 Blacks A Fake, with opportunities for pacers and trotters alike. While COVID-19 has significantly impacted this year’s racing calendar, RQ COO Adam Wallish said all roads would lead to Queensland to conclude 2019/20. “It’s a genuinely exciting TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival that we’ve been able to pull together,” Mr Wallish said. “The presence of the Group 1 Blacks A Fake elevates this year’s carnival and provides one final opportunity for Australasia’s premier pacers to snare a Grand Circuit victory. “With the talent on display at the moment, it promises to be a must-watch affair. “Given the extension of the season to the end of the calendar year, we’ve made a concerted decision to programme opportunities for two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds, as well as our open-class horses.” Having originally been slated for the TAB Queensland Constellations, the Group 2 DJA Trotting Championship returns to summer with the Final to be held at Albion Park on November 28. The new Trotters Sprint, staged over the flying 1660m, will be held a fortnight later. On the same night as the DJA, the Group 3 The Be Good Johnny Sprint will provide the perfect lead into the Group 2 Queensland Cup (December 5) and the Blacks A Fake (December 12). Albion Park Harness Racing Club Executive Manager Scott Steele said they were thrilled with this year’s carnival. “What an outstanding collection of feature races we have for our Summer Carnival,” Mr Steele said. “With the quality of horses that will be on display during the Carnival, I have no doubt Albion Park will be a sell out with the  corporate industry  taking the opportunity to host their Christmas parties at this ideal time. “Hopefully COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed further by carnival time allowing us to showcase our industry to as many people as can be safely permitted.” In addition to the Group events, Redcliffe Harness Racing Club will round out the carnival, with the open class Christmas Cup to be joined by feature races for both two and three-year-olds. "The Redcliffe Christmas Cup is a great to finish off what has been a very trying racing season," Mr Ring said. "With no Derby or Oaks this year, it's pleasing to see the Northgate Comfort n Suites Redcliffe Guineas and a further $10,000 Open feature." Click here to see the full programme for the 2020 TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival.   Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland’s $500 ‘In Foal’ rebate initiative for standardbred mares will return in the 2020/21 Standardbred Breeding Season (1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021) to help support breeders with the financial impacts of COVID-19. First introduced in 2018 to assist breeders with the impacts of the drought, the ‘In Foal’ rebate can be claimed for up to six mares per breeder as an industry response to the rising cost of feed and agistment and, more recently, the financial impacts of COVID-19. Over the past two years, RQ has distributed over $200,000 to more than 150 breeders across the state as a result of the ‘In Foal’ rebate initiative. “The breeding industry is critical to the Queensland racing industry, nurturing and raising the QBRED stars of tomorrow,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said. “COVID-19 has had an impact society wide, and while racing has continued, many owners and breeders will have been impacted financially.  “The ‘In Foal’ rebate is designed to assist breeders through this period so as they can continue their important involvement in the industry.” In order to be eligible, breeders must meet the following criteria: the mare must be a standardbred registered with Harness Racing Australia (the Mare); the breeder must evidence a 42-day live pregnancy test for the Mare; the Mare must be inseminated in Queensland by a standardbred stallion registered with Harness Racing Australia; and the Mare must be located in Queensland throughout the breeding season. To make a claim, breeders have two options: Complete the online form – click here to do so; or  Complete the downloadable form – click here to access. The form must be lodged by 11.59pm on March 31, 2021.  Earlier this month, RQ also announced the introduction of the ‘Transitional QBRED’ eligibility as part of the QBRED Incentive Scheme for the upcoming racing season (commencing 1 January 2021), to complement the existing scheme and replace what is currently the ‘International QBRED’. The ‘Transitional QBRED’ eligibility will allow a mare once in her lifetime to foal a QBRED-eligible horse in Queensland, despite being inseminated interstate or overseas by a stallion not registered with QRIC. Click here to learn more about ‘Transitional QBRED’ eligibility which will be included in the QBRED Incentive Scheme for the 2020/21 Racing Season.   Racing Queensland

It was a night for the favourites at Albion Park, with both Big Wheels and Jasper justifying their short-price quote by taking out the respective Group 1 BRED Triad Finals at the weekend. The driving rain did nothing to deter the masses, with a strong crowd on hand for the feature night.   Big Wheels keep on turning Big Wheels kept on turning after taking out the $100,000 Group 1 QBRED Triad Final for Colts & Geldings. The triumph adds to his last-start win in the Listed QBRED Breeders Classic Final, and made it a third win from seven starts - including three minor placings. Drawn on the inside of the first row, the race mapped perfectly for the Turpin-trained two-year-old, who was taken straight to the lead by driver Peter McMullen. McMullen steadied the tempo on the $2.20 favourite at the bell, and held a comfortable lead for the majority of the 1660-metre pace. The only challenge came late in the form of the Grant Dixon-trained Dynamic Dan, who found a run in the sprint lane after box seating the majority of the trip. The half-metre win was a first Triad Final success for Turpin, husband McMullen and owner John Polson.   Dixon adds to his stellar season The nation’s leading trainer in Grant Dixon added another Group 1 to his cabinet behind Jasper in the $100,000 Group 1 QBRED Triad Final for Fillies. Dixon – who also did the driving behind the $2.60 favourite – took a leaf out of McMullen’s earlier drive and ensured he got the lead from a wide front row barrier. It was as easy as you like from there, who led the entirety of the 1660-metre pace, bursting clear down the straight to claim a near-seven metre win from Shes Miss Devine. “You can never get too confident, plus it was a wet night so things could have played out a lot differently – but I felt I had them covered,” Dixon told National Trotguide post-race. “I liked her chances and wouldn’t have swapped her for anything else in the race. “She felt really strong up the straight and found the line quite well.” The win was Dixon’s 262nd of the 2019/20 season, putting him 51 clear of Emma Stewart who sits second on the Harness Racing Australia National Trainers Premiership. The two-year-old will now be set for the $100,000 APG Final at Albion Park on August 15, with heats kicking off the week prior. “She’s a neat little filly; the APG series will be harder against the colts but all things even she will let them know she is there,” Dixon said. “I will give her a few days off now then get her ready for the hearts in a fortnight.”   Ladies claim the remaining features Il Pirata sprung a massive surprise late on the card to take out the Group 3 Queensland Trotters Cup. The nine-year-old enjoyed a near-perfect drive from Shane Graham, who patiently sat off the pace before winding up at the top of the straight to claim a half-metre victory. It was a first Group victory for trainer Stephanie Graham, and a 13th career win from 104 starts for the gelding, in what was only his second start in Queensland after the being sold to the Grahams from Victoria. “We are all proud of Pirate’s effort to take out last night’s G3 Qld Trotters Cup,” Team Graham Racing said on Twitter. “At only his second start for the stable, he trotted faultlessly to snatch a narrow victory. “Under horrendous conditions, Shane Graham executed the perfect drive. “As our first racehorse syndicate, it is a dream come true to have such success for our owners so quickly. “We must also thank Kate and Andy Gath for sending this horse up to us in such good condition, and our staff for working hard to get him spot on.” Earlier in the evening, Lola Weidemann once again showed why she is one of the state’s top horsewomen, with an expert drive behind Kid Montana to take out the Listed Lucky Creed Open Pace. Sitting second-last at the bell, Weidemann followed the Chris Frisby-trained Our Uncle Sam into the race down the back of the final lap, and before she knew it was near-level with the leaders at the top of the straight.   Race favourite Colt Thirty One struggled to find room in the sprint lane, allowing the four-year-old Kid Montana to capitalise on his growing momentum over the final 200 metres. It was a rollercoaster week for Weidemann, who was forced to scratch her entire team at Thursday’s meet after suffering severe back pain. Weidemann recently surpassed 3000 career victories, and sits clearly atop the list of female drivers in the state. Only Kerryn Manning has more wins in the country, closing in on 4000 career triumphs.   Andrew Adermann

The barrier draw for Saturday night’s Group 2 Changeover South East Oaks has thrown a spanner in the works for Pelosi. Earlier today, the Anna Woodmansey-trained superstar drew barrier seven for the $50,000 feature – the outside of the front row – with Jiggle And Jive (six) and Fond Memories (five) inside her. The highly-fancied Jenden Strike will start from the second row for Chris Frisby after drawing 10. Despite the draw, Woodmansey remained upbeat, hoping Pelosi’s versatility will prove telling in the finish. “I didn’t want to draw one or eight,” Woodmansey said. “She can slot in somewhere from there – she’s got so much speed – so she should be ok to just slot in somewhere. “And she doesn’t know that she’s drawn seven, she just gets out there and runs.” A dual Group 1 winner, Pelosi was crowned the Queensland 2YO Pacer of the Year – and the Queensland Filly or Mare of the Year – in 2019 after winning all but two of her first eight starts and more than $250,000 in stakes. A leg injury she sustained whilst kicking a rail or fence may have stymied her NSW Oaks hopes, but after making a successful return to the track, Pelosi has captured three of five starts this campaign including back-to-back wins to be peaking ahead of the winter features. “Her biggest asset is she’s just so versatile,” Woodmansey said. “She can win in the death, she can win in front, she can come from behind, she’s done it all. “She’s not a big girl, she just loves to race. She’s the best horse I’ll ever have…she’s just a beautiful pacer.” Having narrowly held off Fond Memories last start, Woodmansey is well aware of the threat she poses, but is also mindful of a number of others including Miss Ruby Sunshine. “She’s got a really nice turn of speed,” Woodmansey said of Miss Ruby Sunshine. “It should be a great race.” In addition to the Oaks, the Wondais Mate (Open) will be staged on Saturday night along with the Queen of Heats Pace.   RQ Media

Queensland harness racing participants are set to be boosted next month with the state’s base driving fee set to rise to $60 per drive. Since 2017, Racing Queensland has lifted the base driving fee from $45 for all races worth $3000 or more, an initiative that was included in a plan to support and sustain industry participation A further increase will be delivered in 2021 as part of the third and final year of an agreement with the Breeders Owners Trainers and Reins-persons Association of Queensland. The increased driving fee will now be applicable at Albion Park, Redcliffe and Marburg, with drivers previously receiving $25 per drive at the latter. While COVID-19 recently forced the abandonment of the TAB Queensland Constellations, a number of feature races will still proceed this year including the Group 1 Garrards Yearling Sale Graduate 2YO Final and Redcliffe Gold Cup this Saturday. RQ recently announced in conjunction with the Albion Park Harness Racing Club that the Changeover South East Oaks and Garrards South East Derby would be elevated to Group 2 status this year, with prize money rising to $50,000 apiece. While the state’s biggest race, the Group 1 TAB Blacks A Fake, will headline the new-look Summer Carnival this year alongside the Group 2 Queensland Cup and the Group 3 The Be Good Johnny Sprint. “There is no doubt it has been a challenging period for the Queensland racing industry and we’re grateful for the manner in which our participants have taken this in their stride,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said. “But there’s a lot to look forward to. We have a number of feature races on the horizon and we expect to announce more in the near future. “Our wagering performance has been solid, with turnover set to eclipse $500 million for the first time and innovations including the inaugural Trot Rods series have been warmly received.” Meanwhile, RQ has today published its race dates for the next 12 months with 295 meetings scheduled including four dual code meetings. Following its recent success and positive industry feedback, Kilcoy will stage two standalone grass meetings during the summer holiday period, while Redcliffe will stage an additional Saturday night meeting in January to capitalise on the tourist numbers visiting the Peninsula during school holidays. Click here to see the latest RQ harness racing calendar.   Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland has advised that maximum field sizes for all 1660m mobile races at Albion Park will be reduced from 12 to 10 from next week. Over the past year, BOTRA raised concerns via RQ’s Harness Racing Advisory Panel with respect to the competitiveness of horses that settle back in the field over the 1660m distance. As a result, RQ and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club agreed to undertake consultation – and data analysis – prior to making a decision on any prospective field reduction. Having consulted with industry stakeholders including the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, TAB and participants, analysis of historical wagering data showed similar per race wagering on 10 and 12 horse races at Albion Park over the 1660m distance. Furthermore, a review of the metropolitan harness racing venues in Victoria and NSW also identified a maximum field size of 10 at both venues for their short-course races over 1720m and 1609m respectively. Accordingly, maximum field sizes for all 1660m mobile races at Albion Park will be reduced to 10 and will come into effect from Tuesday, March 3. A six-month review, including further consultation and wagering analysis, will also be conducted.   Racing Queensland

Racing will resume at Redcliffe Paceway on Wednesday following the completion of a $300,000 track upgrade. Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Attorney-General and Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath inspected the venue after stewards approved the return to racing. Mr Hinchliffe said it was terrific news for the region, as it was the most significant Racing Queensland investment in the venue this decade. “Add to that the fact that new economic data has revealed that harness racing is responsible for generating $21.7 million to the Moreton Bay economy each year,” he said. “More than 18,000 people come to harness racing meetings here, and there are more than 600 participants, including 65 trainers. “Most significantly, however, is that it provides more than 180 full-time jobs right here in Moreton Bay, which is why the Palaszczuk Government supports racing in the Sunshine State.” Mrs D’Ath said that the paceway played an important role across the region and the State. “There’s no doubting that it’s a significant contributor to the Queensland harness racing industry,” Mrs D’Ath. “With more than 100 race meetings each year, it will provide participants with a new and improved racing surface and upgraded training facilities. “I’m really looking forward to seeing it back in action next week.” Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said the unique 800-metre track was expected to be better than new when it reopens next week. “This is the first time the track has been resurfaced in 10 years,” Mr Ring said. “I’ve been down to look at it a couple of time and it looks great. “In time I think we will see faster and perhaps some records broken once the track has settled in.”   Racing Queensland

Narissa McMullen knows that she wouldn’t be both the Australasian Junior and Australian Lady Drivers champion, had it not been for her late grandfather, John McMullen. That is why the 24-year-old said she was enormously proud to be the only member of the McMullen family to line up in the inaugural Group Three $31,000 J.C. McMullen Pace at Albion Park on Saturday night. The race was formerly known as the Premier's Cup. The man known as ‘Hollywood’ McMullen, and was renowned for his familiar red jacket and white-sashed silks, died on September 20 last year aged 81. McMullen Senior was an original ‘Queensland Harness Racing Hall-of-Fame’ inductee, who won multiple metropolitan training and driving premierships at Albion Park. His grand-daughter said he made a huge impact on harness racing in the Sunshine State for more than half a century. As well as being an astute trainer and driver, Mr McMullen was also an active exporter of horses to the United States. “We owe it all to him really. He got Dad (John) involved in the sport and now Dad has four children who all drive. It was really sad to see my grandfather pass away last year. “I remember Dad and I used to go and see him and look at all his amazing photos and listen to all of his racing nostalgia when he lived close to Albion Park. It’s such an honour to drive in this race, even more so lining up the first time it will be run, McMullen (Narissa) said. McMullen, who has three drives on Saturday, has commented about the trio below. She said she got to drive the Mark Jones and Aaron Goadsby trained Barrett through Alberton trainer, Stephen Cini. “Stephen and Aaron are good friends and I managed to get on Barrett through Stephen. I’m very grateful for that because he’s a nice horse who has huge speed over 200 metres. “It’s just the second time I will have driven him. I know he went well in New Zealand for Mark Jones, so I’m very fortunate to be able to sit behind him. “Like I said it means a lot to be there for my grandfather in what will be a very special race. I will certainly be thinking of him when I’m out there,” McMullen said. Her grandfather campaigned many good horses over the years including Viking Reign, Alba Wings, and Toliver Bye Bye. All-up he trained 734 winners form 4,952 starters ($2.3m). He also saluted the judge 509 times ($1.5m) as a driver. The ‘J C McMullen’, for the C2 to C5 pacers, which is race seven, will be run over the 2,138m mobile at 7.40pm. Here’s what McMullen had to say about her three drives (with trainer, draw, and opening odds): Race 1: The Narissa McMullen trained and driven TOM ME GUN (12) $5.50 – "He’s going really well after his last win (Albion Park - June 28). I gave him a lil freshener and he trialled real well last week finishing just behind the talented Princess Tiffany, who won in 1:51. I am real happy with the way he is going, but I really wanted a front-row draw. Twelve is not ideal, but some of his best races have been when he’s saved for one last go at them. That’s what I’ll probably have to do. Save him and wait.” Race 6: The Stephen Cini trained AIR TIME (8) $5: "His run last start was unbelievable. He was last at the 800m and then was forced to travel four-wide when they came home in 55 and quicker. He hit the line real strong and another metre or two I think he might have won. He would be the unluckiest horse in Queensland in his last few starts. I hope the one horse holds up, which I think he can, because this horse will go well in the trail. There is speed in the race though. I still definitely think he can win. He would be my best winning chance of the three on Saturday.” Race 7: The Mark Jones & Aaron Goadsby trained BARRETT (3) $14 – "He’s a really nice drive. He’s a lovely sit-and-sprint type horse, who didn’t get a drag into the race last time when they ran a quick time. He has a lethal sprint if saved for the right run. This is just my second time behind him, and I think he will be better for that Redcliffe run. Albion Park suits him better, because he did win first-up on the track last month. If he gets a nice trip he should figure right in the finish."   Racing Queensland

Any weanling that can survive a deadly disease, and then not long after, rebound from almost being drowned in the wake of Cyclone Debbie deserves his place in Saturday’s Group One event at Redcliffe Paceway. Gold Coast trainer Shawn Grimsey said it was a miracle that Storm Gilbert was still alive. After fighting back from the brink of death on three or four occasions, the Roll With Joe gelding will now line up from gate five in the $100,000 Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Two-Year-Old Pace. The 1780m mobile is the first Group One event of 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Harness Carnival. Nathan Dawson will drive Storm Gilbert. Grimsey co-owns and bred the strong-willed bay with his wife, Michelle. He said trainer (himself) and horse were only now just starting to get on, after a tumultuous relationship. “He’s been through so much and shouldn’t be here. I love his fighting spirit and he’s finally developing into a nice pacer. He has been a stroppy buggar though. He took a while to learn how to pace,” he said. “We have never really got on. We did not have much mutual respect for each other early on, but he’s warmed to me a bit more now – and vice versa. “He does get on well with Michelle though. I blame the horse and she blames me. I’ve learnt to keep a bit more calmer with him these days.” Storm Gilbert is the youngest of two foals out of the Grimseys’ seven-win Real Desire mare, Vitesse Heiress. Abut eight weeks after being foaled at the Grimseys’ Littlehaven property in Tamborine (November 8, 2016), Storm Gilbert’s troubles started. Firstly, he suffered from a case of the ‘rattles’. “It took almost a month of treatment and on a couple of occasions he should have died, but instead he showed an amazing will to live,” Grimsey said. “Then when the Queensland floods came through in March 2017 he was barely four months old and we put him in the driest paddock we had. As it got worse he became trapped and had to swim to survive. The water was so deep it was well over our walker. “To survive that was quite amazing especially after what he had been through. We all thought he would have been a weak horse after all his medication, but he has displayed great resilience and a will to live.” Fast forward just over two years and the 46-year-old horseman said he was just pleased to have his     horse fit and ready to line up in a big race, after earlier losing the services of another 2-year-old, the talented Xaviers Hurrikane “He’d won two of his four starts and placed in two others before breaking down in April. That was more bad luck. He will come back a better 3-year-old,” Grimsey said. Storm Gilbert has recorded a fifth, third, and fourth in three stars in May and June. Grimsey reckons he’s now developed enough to run a place. “I can’t see the one outside us (Governor Jujon) getting beaten. He’s a very nice colt. That pacer aside, I don’t think there’s any other horse in the race with any more ability than my fella,” he said. “Surprisingly he’s not a weak horse. I thought his immune system might have suffered a bit, but he’s bounced back well and is as strong as ever. “He’ still leaning though and will also make a better 3-year-old. It’s just a great honour to have a horse that you own, bred and train start in a Group One race, so early in his career.”   Duane Ranger  for Racing Queensland

Harness racing folk have long memories and there are plenty of people around today who would remember the closing years of the track at Ipswich showgrounds. They would also remember a trainer/driver who learnt his craft under the strict eye of the "Queen of Rocklea” Molly Bryant. There could be no better school, and our man was seen to advantage with Chipani, Kinta Lad and the well travelled and consistently successful Phosphor Bronze towards the end of his career. The family duly moved to a property at Amberley flat with a big barn which still stands some 40 years on. From this barn came the breadwinner Battle Brigade and his half brother First Storm, the sisters Southern Splash and Splash Again and, arguably, one of the biggest horses ever to negotiate the tight Ipswich track, the 18 hand monster Moobie Zae. In this era, when show racing was a significant part of the Queensland scene, our man teamed with the Nita Zahnow trained Hammersley to take the "Top horse and Driver” at the EKKA. His career tapered down after a bad fall at Ipswich resulted in severe facial injuries, as our man put family first. His colours were purple with gold Maltese cross and gold striped sleeves, and his name was Lionel Atkinson. Lionel would have been 77 years of age next month, but sadly, he passed recently after a short battle with lung cancer. A lot of us who saw Lionel in action in the sulky remember him as a decent bloke, one of those who held up the base of the pyramid in those times. He raced for the love of the sport, pure and simple. He was one of an army, which is now only a platoon. He will be sorely missed. Dramatic change WHO said there was nothing new under the sun? History was made in our local world of harness when Minden-based trainer/driver Tim Gillespie, and his Q bred filly "Shegotsass” took out the first 2yo trotters handicap ever run in Queensland. While there have been a number of traditional trotters which raced against pacers in the Sunshine State since day dot, including the 30 year hiatus of the 1930's and 40's when "Show” racing was the only form of light harness contest available north of the NSW border, recognition of the diagonal gait as a distinct form of harness racing, occurred only as recently as 1998. A number of representations to previous Racing Queensland harness control bodies, to run low prize money non-betting races for 2yos at TAB meetings were rejected out of hand. There has been a dramatic change in mindset at RQ, and the square trotting folk will no doubt be delighted. The current program, which culminates in a two heat $30,000 Final series, is just the plan of attack. It's likely to trigger an influx of Victorian juveniles which, although trotting soundly, just lack that smidgin of extra speed to be consistent earners at home. If I'm any judge, this first 2yo series will ensure that we are programming 3yo races in their own right in the 2019/20 season to come. For the breeding buffs, or someone looking at a dabble in that direction, Shegotsass is by the Vicbred Downunder Muscles from a daughter of Majestic Son, and can be said to have "it'' on both sides of her pedigree. As a spectacle, the three horse race did our image no harm. Apart from a short gallop on the part of third place- getter First Offence, the runners trotted well. They will go ahead on the back of this experience. Parklands 'scandal' THE following is an excerpt from last Monday's Courier Mail. It is taken from a piece by top sports journo Peter Gleeson and possibly mirrors the prevailing mindset of many current and recently departed participants. It is not what the administration is telling us, as we are continually told that turnover is way up and that good times are just around the corner, when the expected punting bonanza resulting from the switch to a "ratings” programming system, modelled on the gallops, kicks in. What is fact is that harness is trying to peddle a product, which has little or no appeal to the recreational punter. Get over that hurdle and we might make it to the next one. "The code that is wallowing in mediocrity is harness racing and it's no coincidence that its poor performance came off the back of the closure of Parklands in 2013 to make way for the Commonwealth Games. "Since the closure of Parkl-ands, there has been a vacuum in harness racing leadership in the Sunshine State. This lack of vision has manifested itself into a tired, cumbersome industry that has consistently had to fight off integrity and welfare scrutiny. "The lack of foresight and planning has resulted in harness turnover plummeting, prizemoney declining and a breeding industry in free fall. "The closure of Parklands is a scandal. "Parklands was the brainchild of former Bjelke-Petersen Racing Minister Russ Hinze, a dual harness and greyhound facility that was regarded as the best of its type.” Handy tips FOR Albion Park tonight (by Ben Crosby). Race 1: 4 Its Just Kenny. Race 2: 4 Holy Camp Clive. Race 3: 8 Our Memphis Mac. Race 4: 8 Lucky Lyla. Race 5: 1 Spike Bromac. Race 6: 4 Colt Thirty One. Race 7: 3 Vasari. Race 8: 2 Im Rocknroll Magic. Race 9: 9 Elle Yeah. Race 10: 1 Empire Bay. Race 11: 6 Soldier Of Fortune. Honour board As we batten down to face the Winter Carnival assault, it's well-tried faces on the leader board this week. Top driver is Pete McMullen, with a solid six wins. His wife Chantal Turpin headed up the trainers, producing four of the best. Most pleasing was Mitchell Dawson and Banny Gatt-Bouquet combining to land Unassuming Champ on two occasions in the seven day period. Ipswich factor: 24/46. Redcliffe, June 7: Unassuming Champ (Danny Gatt-Bouquet for Mitchell Dawson); Escalera (Darrell Graham). Albion Park, June 8: Clarry (Danielle McMullen for Steve Cini); Getoutnwalk (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Tom Me Gun (Narissa McMullen); Karinya Mully (Narissa McMullen for Mark Rees); Maybe To The Max (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Slippery Jade (Pete McMullen for Bill Crosby). Albion Park, June 11: Shegotsass (Tim Gillespie); Northern Muscle (Adam Richardson for Denis Smith); Greg The Great (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer); Devouged (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee); Ima Birubi Boy (Adam Richardson for Chris Monte); Cardles From Heaven). Redcliffe, June 12: Unassuming Champ (Danny Gatt-Bouquet for Mitchell Dawson); My Secret Torque (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Signor Jujon (Adam Sanderson for Grant Dixon); Mach Torque (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Just Joshin (Nathan Dawson for Aileen Smith); Trojan Banner (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes). Redcliffe, June 13: Impetuoso (Nathan Dawson for Ken Belford); Torque With Esteem (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Heavens Hurricane (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Invite Only (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham). Trot Tactics by Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Prolific Queensland owner-breeder, Kevin Seymour, described Colt Thirty One’s gutsy 1:52.9 mile rate victory at Albion Park on Saturday as the best of his 28 wins. It was also a personal best time, and in doing so the reigning Queensland Horse-of-the-Year went past $500,000 in stake money. Then immediately after watching the C6 and faster $13,000 pace with Seymour and his wife Kay, the Brisbane couple announced that the tough son of Mach Three and Charm Personified (by Perfect Art) would stand at Egmont Park Stud when he retires. “He’s only four, but that is the plan when he does eventually end his racing career. That was a phenomenal win, the best I’ve seen from him. Even better than his Victoria Derby win at Melton last year. “I always thought he would make a decent 5-year-old open class pacer, but he’s now doing things at four I never expected him to do. I think he will hold his own against the guns here at the Winter Carnival. “He’s going as good as he ever has and Grant’s got him in the best condition of his life. He’s come back extra this time in so retirement is still a wee way off yet,” Seymour said. The Grant Dixon trained and driven Colt Thirty One had to be good to win on Saturday. Even though he was a hot $1.30 favourite Dixon still had to sit back and bide his time from the widest second row draw over the 1,660m mobile. “To sit near last and then make a move two-wide and then three-wide without cover for most of the last lap was astounding. He did it all on his own. “And over the mile and he was still running on at the end. That’s the toughest performance I have seen from him. He’s really starting to come back to form now. This is his first year in open company and we are so proud of him. We now just have to be careful not to break his heart.” Colt Thirty One had 3.8m to spare over Lincoln Road and Hayden Barnes in Saturday’s Silks Trackside Marquee Pace. He stopped the clock in 1:56.5 with 27.2, 30.5, 28.3, and 27.4 sectionals. The talented bay entire has now won 28 of his 41 starts and placed in eight others for $500,592 in purses. “He’s now doing things as a late 4-year-old that I never expected. He’s the best horse we’ve had with Grant,” Seymour stressed. Seymour said he would race through until next month’s Winter Carnival and then the Seymours and Dixon would get together to discuss the horse’s racing future. “I don’t want to look too far beyond the Winter Carnival, but he’s proved he can win down south and the way he’s going he would be a worthy Queensland representative no matter where he races. “Grant’s a family man and doesn’t like to travel away too much, however I think this horse could persuade him to campaign him outside of Queensland. “Grant told me he was still giving at the line. He was quite ecstatic really – really delighted with the win.” Seymour believed that being a son of Mach Three would help Colt Thirty immensely when it was eventually time for the entire to stand at stud. “He will make a great sire. My objective is to stand a high quality son of Mach Three at stud (him), and a top-line son of Bettor’s Delight. We will announce the latter one later. “Regardless of what’s in store for Colt Thirty One on the racetrack, his progeny will be around for many years to come,” Seymour said. “I think he will put Queensland on the map as a stallion as well,” he added. Meanwhile, it was a night for the McMullen family at ‘The Creek’ on Saturday. Siblings Narissa, Dannielle and Peter drove six winners on the 10-race programme. Narissa won behind the horse she owns, trains and drives in race five – Tom Me Gun. She also saluted behind the Mark Rees trained Karinya Mully and the Ron Sallis trained Maybetothemax in races seven and nine. Younger sister, Dannielle, was successful behind the Stephen Cini trained Clarry in race two, and then half an hour later triumphed behind the 4-year-old mare her partner Ryan Veivers trains – Getoutnwalk. Older brother Peter, aka ‘Leader Peter’ won the last race thanks to a perfect front-running steer behind the Bill Crosby trained Slippery Jade from the two gate.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

A $10.5 million funding package will be delivered to Racing Queensland’s three codes from next week. Late last year, the Queensland Government announced it would fund a $26 million prize money increase for the thoroughbred code to be delivered in two stages. They were: - An immediate $18 million increase effective November 1, 2018; and - A further $8 million in six months following the implementation of reform measures. At the same time, the Government and RQ agreed to co-fund a $5.5 million increase for the greyhound and harness codes in 2018, with RQ providing an additional $2.5 million in 2019 following the implementation of similar reform measures. Across the three codes, $34 million will be delivered to address industry viability and long-term sustainability with the latest funding increase to commence from June 17. “Racing Queensland remains extremely grateful to the Queensland Government for their funding support,” RQ Chairman Steve Wilson said. “As an industry, we were committed to delivering reform measures and enhancing our viability, long-term sustainability and competitiveness with other racing jurisdictions. “Over the past six months, significant progress has been achieved, and while more work still needs to take place, I look forward to further progress as we deliver on our strategic and commercial priorities.” As part of the additional $8 million in thoroughbred funding, RQ will abolish starters’ fees to significantly reduce the cost to race in Queensland. “The removal of starters’ fees will benefit all thoroughbred representatives,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said. “We’ve also made a concerted effort to elevate mid-week metropolitan prizemoney, while our SEQ participants indicated that a weekly feature race would be warmly received.” Late last year, the greyhound code received a $3.5 million increase and a further $1.5 million will now commence, while the harness code earlier received a $2 million increase and will now realise an additional $1 million. “By allocating funds in such a broad manner across all three codes, RQ aims to drive improved field sizes which benefits wagering revenues which underpin our industry,” Mr Parnell said. Thoroughbred highlights include: - Removal of starters fee: $2.5m benefit to owners across all Queensland race meetings; - Metropolitan Saturday restricted races increased from $45k to $50k (+10%); - Metropolitan mid-week prizemoney raised from $30k to $35k (+17%); - Mid-week metropolitan maidens raised to $27.5k (+10%); - A feature $30k race to be programmed at SEQ Provincial meetings on a weekly basis (GCTC, ITC and SCTC); and - Northern Provincial midweek increased to $17,000 and Saturday Provincial 2 meetings to $15,000. Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland will launch the inaugural $30,000 Stallions Australasia Springboard Series for 2YO trotters at Albion Park this month. Following a number of recent initiatives to support breeding and racing opportunities, the introduction of the Springboard Series – complemented by a new $10,000 2YO QBRED feature on August 16 – has been strategically developed to enhance the trotting gait in the Sunshine State. In addition to three $5000 heats at Albion Park on June 25, July 9 and July 23, a $15,000 final will be staged on August 2. Stallions Australasia will also provide a complimentary service to one of their leading sires, Wishing Stone, to the winning connections of the Springboard Series final. The sponsorship follows RQ’s announcement to expand the definition of a QBRED trotting stallion to include those registered within Queensland for whom only frozen semen is available in Australia. In addition to Wishing Stone, Stallions Australasia’s other stallions who will fall under QBRED for the 2019/20 breeding season include Trixton, Muscle Hill, Southwind Frank and Royalty For Life. “The Springboard Series forms part of RQ’s strategy to grow the trotting gait in Queensland,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said. “We’re grateful for Stallions Australasia’s support and for their willingness to stimulate breeding and racing opportunities in the Sunshine State “Following the success of QBRED for life – the nation’s premier state-based incentive scheme – there’s never been a better time to race trotters in Queensland.” While there are no eligibility restrictions other than age for the Springboard Series, a minimum of three starters are required for each heat, with those qualifying for the final required to have contested at least two heats. The 2YO series will be complemented by a 3YO series in 2020 to provide further development and racing opportunities for juvenile trotters. In recent years, RQ has launched a number of new initiatives for trotters including: A $2000 first-win bonus (paid upon any trotters first win in Queensland, providing the horse is trained by a Qld trainer); Removing the age restrictions under the ‘QBRED for life’ bonus structure that provides a $10,000 first win bonus and $7500 second win bonus for any QBRED trotters that win a race with a stake value higher than $4500; The introduction of a monthly Trotters Cup thanks to Ultimate Tools; and The ‘Breed-a-trotter’ promotion in conjunction with Haras De Trotteurs at the 2018 Winter Racing Carnival.    Click here to see further information on the RQ’s QBRED for life initiative.   RQ Media

When tough Brisbane Broncos hooker, Jake Turpin, needs to draw on some inspiration and success, he looks no further than top Queensland horsewoman, his sister, Chantal McMullen. “Chantal works so hard training her team of horses and she’s the best Mum ever to my beautiful neices, Olivia and Rylee. I can see why she is successful, because she is the hardest worker I know,” Jake says “She is also married to one of the best drivers going around (Peter McMullen). Chantal is my inspiration to succeed. My motto has always been ‘give it a crack!’ Don’t do anything half-hearted – and they certainly don’t do that." The 22-year-old spoke to Racing Queensland not long after returning from a gritty 8-2 away win against the NZ Warriors in Auckland on Saturday (May 25). Since making the Queensland Under 15 team while attending St Edmunds College Ipswich in 2011, the humble ‘country boy’ from rural Queensland has escalated into one of the toughest and most fearless hookers in the NRL.“ I’ve never been big, or even fast for that matter, but Dad (Tony) always told me ‘the bigger they are the harder they fell’. If you go in half-hearted that’s when you get injured,” Jake said. “Growing up Dad always did the horses with Chantal and Mum Karen would take me to all my footy games. Mum and Dad have always taught us that if we are going to do anything then give it 101 per cent. “I was always the little kid who really tore into his tackling. I gave it my all, no matter how big or small they were. That still very much applies.” Turpin said harness racing was without a doubt his second favourite sport. “When I’m not playing league I always like to flick the Tv on and watch my family race. I’ve grown up around the horses and I’m slowly trying to convince my team-mates to get involved,” he said. “Some of them now look for the Turpin and McMullen name when the trots are on. I’d actually like a few of us to get a ‘Broncos horse’, perhaps a Kiwi import. “I Know ‘Birdy’ (Jack Bird) could be keen and I’ll try and get some of the others along to the track when and if I can. I know quite a few of them seem interested anyway.” Schedule and time allowing Turpin said he would more than likely be attending Queensland’s Winter Carnival at Albion Park in July. “I’d like to be there, especially if my horses are running at the time – and I think they will be. I think Watch Pulp Fiction is being targeted for the Carnival and Mattgregor is just on the way back, perhaps trialling this week,” he said. Turpin said he was never one to rush and muck the boxes or do feed-ups when he was young. “I’ve been around them all of my life. I still love them, but I was never too excited about doing it for a full-time job. I’m not sure what would have happened if I never got that Melbourne Storm (five-year) contract when I was 15,” he said. “Footy has always been my number one sport. Harness two. Our parents gave Chantal and I a great country life and the best possible platform to do what we wanted in life. “Chantal and I have always tried to do our best by our family and make them proud. We will never forget the hard yards they put in when we were growing up.” Turpin said he would like to pass similar guidance through sport to young league players, especially promising young hookers. “I remember when I was young and a Broncos fan, so now I’d do anything for the kids. They are the future of our game. If I can sign an autograph and makes someone’s day, then it puts a smile on my face too,” Turpin said. *Racing Queensland wishes to thank the Brisbane Broncos for their assistance with this article. Jake Turpin’s player bio can be found here:   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Anyone who changed their mind about going to harness racing at Marburg last Sunday certainly pulled the wrong rein. Happily, the weather was on side and approximately 800 folk ventured to the showground. The Marburg Pacing Association was able to demonstrate that, contrary to some opinions, it is possible to promote harness racing and do so in a profitable fashion. Yes, it took a lot of hard work, required a large advertising budget and needed good weather but isn't that the same for any outdoor sports venture? The MPA, on this occasion, managed to cover all the bases. With a few new faces to assist the regular corps of over-worked volounteers, and added attractions such as the Bremer Ford Suzuki Swift raffle and the "WINX" memorabilia, the fans went home happy. We will be back again on Monday, May 6 (Labour Day), to do it all again. Don't miss out. It's a value for money day watching a great sport. It's "the trots in a country setting" with feature races sponsored by well known Rosewood identities John and Chrissie Turner and Queensland Taxi Bowls Club. Interstate concerns IN Queensland, those of us with genuine concerns for the future of our sport often think that we are hard done by. Maybe we are but stop for a moment and consider the immediate future of licencees and owners in South Australia. The following is taken from the Harness Racing South Australia website and is crystal clear in its intent. "The HRSA Board wishes to reaffirm that it remains resolute in its drive to seek the resignations of the SAHRC committee. "Unfortunately, over time, the board has lost confidence in the ability of the SAHRC committee to properly oversee and administer the affairs of the club and harness racing at the state's premier track. "The HRSA Board reiterates its determination that for harness racing to prosper in South Australia the principal club must be vibrant, however the SAHRC committee has failed to demonstrate that it has any viable or feasible plans to arrest the escalating financial losses being incurred. "The realities being that club's fortunes under the current committee have continued to decline and its financial performance significantly deteriorate.'' Furthermore, HRSA states the following: "The HRSA Board is committed to ensuring Globe Derby Park remains the principal harness racing venue in South Australia and at no stage does HRSA want racing to cease on a permanent basis. "The HRSA Board believes that Globe Derby Park is an important facility for Adelaide's northern area and that it must be maintained for its intended purpose - harness racing. "The HRSA Board is not supportive of decisions made by the SAHRC to enter into conditional contracts to sell the majority of club property to a developer for the purposes of establishing mid-high-density residential housing. "The HRSA Board believes that as a consequence of the SAHRC committee's performance, the club's health and on-going viability has been put at serious risk. "In summary, the HRSA Board believes that unless the current issues being faced by the industry are satisfactorily resolved, this being the removal of the SAHRC committee, then harness racing in the state cannot progress but rather it will continue to struggle to remain relevant". From my perspective, it seems that HRSA is behaving responsibly. It begs the question here in Queensland, where the rumour mill spits out the same message every week, that the sale of Albion Park is crucial to any forward progress in the matter of infrastructure and in any other facet of Racing Queensland's operation. One rumour is that former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk is headed for a seat on the three-man thoroughbred component on the over-arching Board of Racing Queensland. Is former Lord Mayor Quirk being proposed on the basis of his expertise in gallops decision making, or is it for any expertise he may have in the processing of rezoning applications for high value properties? Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1:  First four 1-3-10-11: Jumping Jolt (J Elkins)-Tom Me Gun (N McMullen)-A Good Chance (P McMullen)-Mark Dennis (K Dawson). R2: Box trifecta 2-5-6: Only In Rome (T Dawson)-Gottago Jazzy Jet (C Hart)-Skyfella Cam (C Geary). R3: E/w 1: Riverleigh Rocket (Mark Dux). R4: Quinella 1-8: Lincoln Road (H Barnes) and Casino Grin (C Geary). R5: Quinella 1-2: Just Rokin (P Greig) and Opononis Bliss (C Turpin). R6: E/w 2: Oceans Predator (N McMullen). R7: First four 6-7-8-11: Spud (A Sanderson)-Maybe To The Max (H Barnes)-Justabitnoisy (Doug Lee)-Needle (D Graham). R8: Box trifecta 1-2-5: Watch Pulp fiction (C Turpin)-Alleluia (G Dixon)-Glenferrie Hood (P McMullen). R9: Box trifecta 1-4-9: Broken Ark (C Hart)-Albion Ark (A Sanderson)-Guy Looks Good (P McMullen). R10: No 2: Colt Thirty One (G Dixon). Honour board A bit of shuffling on the leader board this week as newcomers make their presence felt. In drivers' results, Adam Richardson was up there level-pegging with Pete McMullen on five wins and rates of 250 apiece. On the trainers' side, regular Chantal Turpin was forced to make room for Jay Edmunds. Both trainers prepared three winners for the term. Most pleasing was Mitchell Dawson beginning to post higher numbers in the training department. Ipswich factor: 27/46. Albion Park, April 20: Twitter Bromac (Adam Richardson for Jay Edmunds); Our Chittybangbang (Trent Dawson); Newmerella Sharkie (Trent Dawson for Max Towns); Good Time Stride (Rob Gorman); Spud (Adam Sanderson for Jay Edmunds); Glenferrie Hood (Pete McMullen for Wayne Graham). Marburg, April 21: Bambole Nere (Adam Richardson for David Rodger Jnr); Northern Muscle (Denis Smith); Under The Kilt (Matt Elkins for Warren Hinze); Mach Torque (Chantal Turpin); Itsadanceoff (Matt Elkins for Trevor Lambourn); Argyle Beach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Escalera (Darrell Graham); My Wingman (Paul Diebert for Ricky Gordon). Albion Park, April 23: Mister Ribbely (Adam Richardson for Chris Monte); Majestic Simon (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Trojan Banner (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Patsdelight (Adam Sanderson for Jay Edmunds); The Shady One (Justin Elkins for Trevor Lambourn). Redcliffe, April 24: No Confession (Adam Richardson for Tayla Gillespie); Burning Ambition (Narissa McMullen for Mitchell Dawson); Karloo Mac (Adam Sanderson for Brett Cargill); Riverleigh William (Danny Gatt- Bouquet for Charlie Chiang). Redcliffe, April 25: Unassuming Champ (Adam Richardson for Mitchell Dawson); On That Day (Pete McMullen for Donny Smith); Cotothemoon (Pete McMullen for Donny Smith); Itsadanceoff (Justin Elkins for Trevor Lambourn). by Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

It was a moment that New Jersey horseman, John McDermott, had been longing for from the moment his champion pacer and stallion, Hurrikane Kingcole, left him in the USA three years ago. Hurrikane Kingcole’s co-owner and former trainer was in the Toowoomba region on Monday (April 1), and specifically came to Queensland to visit his beloved mate who is standing at Egmont Park Stud in Biddeston. He also attended the Albion Park Trots and the Redcliffe Sales on Saturday and Sunday. “Of course I shed a tear. I’m almost shedding a tear now - a day just later - just thinking about it," McDermott said. “It was a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life. You know I couldn’t sleep some nights thinking about my best friend. I was so worried about how he would look now. Everyone who knows me will tell you I love my animals. “I didn’t have to worry about a thing though did I?. What beautiful, healthy condition he is in! All my fears were allayed. Peter and Leann (Bell) have done a wonderful job with him. He’s exactly how I hoped he would look. I can’t thank them enough. “And you know what? He knew me. It was like old friends meeting up after such a long time. Forever mates reunited. It’s truly a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” McDermott said from the Sunshine Coast. Hurrikane Kingcole was a $10,000 yearling sales purchase. The son of Cam's Card Shark and Blazing Yankee then went on to win 14 of his 49 starts and earned $582,807 in an injury-plagued career.. His lifetime mark was 1:47.3. His crop of 2-year-olds are just starting to hit the ground running now in Australia, but McDermott loved the horse from the moment he saw him at the sales. “If you thought I loved him at first sight, try now. I remember the moment the hammer went down and we got him for a bargain $10,000. Then the phone rang at home and I was told (my dog) ‘King Cole’ had just died," he said. “’King Cole’ was my best friend back then. My 16-year-old Great Dane. From that moment on I believe the dog’s spirit moved into that yearling. That’s why he’s called Hurrikane King Cole and that’s why this horse has long been my best friend." He also explained that the term ‘Hurrikane’ came from his mother and his son. “Kane is my son. He’s 22 now. He was named after my mother’s maiden name which is Kane. Kane’s sister nicknamed him Hurrikane one day and it stuck," he said. McDermott said when he bought Hurrikane Kingcole the colt was a bit fat. “He was like a tubby little school kid and then within months he blossomed into the wonderful racehorse and now the striking stallion he is today. It’s just a shame he was injured and sick throughout his career," he said. “If he had been raised in Queensland he could have been anything. Your fresh air would have been amazing for him, but instead he was always cooped up back home recovering in boxes. “Sadly we only got to see glimpses of him at his very best because of his immune system issues, as well as his breathing difficulties." Apart from reuniting with his old mate again for the first time in three years, McDermott said one of the other highlights ‘Down Under’ was visiting Albion Park with Hurrikane Kingcole’s co-owners and lifetime friends, Scott Mangini and Carl Garafalo (pictured). “Yes I am an emotional kinda guy, but it completely blew me away to see Hurrikane Kingcole’s name in large letters along the back-straight," he said. “That was touching. What a great place to visit. It was so good to see so many young ones in their twenties having a great night out at the races. We could learn a thing or two from you guys back home." The day after the trots McDermott and his mates were under-bidders on Lot 35 at the  Redcliffe Yearling Sale - a Hurrikane Kingcole - Too Smart For You colt. “We really liked him too but had to let him go at $47,000. That was also a great day out. It was so heartening to know that he produced the top lot and there were eight others by him at the Sale," he said. “When he raced his gait was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. His front leg stood so far out beyond his nose when he was in full gear, it was ridiculous. “He was the reason I got up every day to go to the barn. l loved his personality. He was such a pleasure to be around. He liked us. He was just a happy-go-lucky horse – just awesome. It was so good to see him again." And that wasn’t owners bias either. One of North America’s best reinsmen also agreed Hurrikane Kingcole was something special. “He is the fastest and most powerful horse I’ve ever driven. His gait was effortless and sitting behind him was awe inspiring,” said Yannick Gingras. Now Hurrikane Kingcole is starting to make his mark as a sire in both hemispheres. His son and daughter Hurrikane Emperor and Hurrikane Empress are really making a name for themselves against the best company in North America. Hurrikane Emperor is the current New Jersey Horse-of-the-Year. They are both trained by McDermott. “I live in both New Jersey and Florida depending on the season, but have to be back in New Jersey on April 7 for our Stakes season. Believe me these two pacers are something special. They have competed and won against the best and you will hear a lot more about them this season. They have a lot of their father’s traits. “Also down here Vic Frost speaks highly of his Hurrikane Kingcole 2-year-old, Frost en Ice. That is a huge compliment. “I tell you Hurrikane Kingcole is the greatest bargain going, both back home, and Down Under. I just know his offspring will do well. “But I’ve leased him to Kevin Seymour, and he knows I want my old buddy back. I think it’s a 10-year lease, but Kevin is a great guy and he told me 'HKC' would be coming home to me one day. “That news made my day. I hated saying goodbye to him again,” McDermott said.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

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