Day At The Track
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Some harness racing fans were calling it divine intervention, but a young lady with a bright future certainly also helped with the outcome. While Craig Turnbull is recuperating in a Melbourne hospital from serious injuries, his 20-year-old daughter Abbey provided the best medicine with a driving double at Shepparton on Wednesday night. "I rang dad as soon as I could, and he was pretty proud. I was told he may have had a little tear in his eye with my news, but he probably won't admit to that!" a jubilant Abbey said. "It was my first-ever double so it was an exciting night. And to make it even more special was that the first winner was actually one of the horses trained by dad." Abbey opened her winning account with Kissing Game (Santana Blue Chip USA - Kiss And Fly (Pacific Rocket USA) in the Shepparton BMW Pace. Then just one hour later, she landed the money with Lights And Music (Jet Laag USA - Computerize NZ (Stand Together USA) in the Hunter Rural Pace. Kissing Game, sent out a warm favorite at $1.60, was driven forward early by Abbey and despite doing the work outside the leader, looked the goods a long way from home. "I was really pleased with her and the even tempo of the race suited her nicely," Abbey said. The first leg of a winning double for Abbey Turnbull, with (from left) by Aunty Cindy Rixon; part-owner of Kissing Game, Geoff Baker; stable helper Sue Terry and Bendigo reinswoman Tayla French Eleven-year-old gelding Lights And Music continued with his consistent form for Abbey, with the pair seemingly having a real affinity. Abbey has now tasted success with the old-timer in three of his past five starts. "He's enjoying racing and I was probably a bit stiff in not winning another on him when we were an unlucky third," she said. Craig Turnbull, a son of the legendary A.D. (Tony) Turnbull, of Bathurst, is in hospital after being seriously injured in a stable accident at his Tatura training property recently. A young horse at a tie-up rail swung around and kicked into Craig who had just returned from working another of his team. His wife Rebecca Cartwright ran to his aid and the injured horseman was taken to Shepparton Hospital before being air-lifted to the Alfred in Melbourne. Craig has had surgery on a lacerated spleen and has four broken ribs, with 17 breaks in total. "Dad is obviously in a fair bit of pain, but today had his first walk on his own," Abbey said. "He's been told that when he's allowed to return home, he won't be doing anything for at least three months," she said. "We have received lots of offers of help and Aunty Cindy (Craig's sister) has thankfully come down to lend us a hand from Pheasant's Nest, near Sydney." As well as being number one "caretaker" trainer for her injured dad, Abbey is busy studying osteopathy at university. Osteopathy is best described as a hands-on form of treatment for the whole-body including muscles, bones, joints and all other tissues including organs and the nervous system. Abbey spends one day each week at Bundoora in Melbourne. "Fortunately, I can do the rest on-line at home. I'm in my second year of a five-year course and I love it," she said. "So, with my university studies and a team of 14 horses at the moment, I don't have a lot of free time. But it will be all good when dad is well enough to come home." Abbey said the family had been overwhelmed by well-wishers and thanked everyone for their kind thoughts.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A family favourite put retirement talks on the backburner with a barnstorming run in the harness racing Traralgon Pacing Cup at Warragul. Pressplay has long been held in special regard at Daisy Hill Racing, a Doreen farm that Rebecca Cartwright oversees with her husband, Craig Turnbull, for trots and gallops owners Kevin and Colleen Bamford, whose success includes the 2010 Melbourne Cup with Americain. Owned and bred by Cartwright, the six-year-old has mustered almost $140,000 in stakes across her 55 starts, which have yielded 31 placings including 12 wins. Most prominent among them was the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for four-year-olds in 2014, which garnered $66,550 for the stable. “She’s been a good little mare,” Cartwright said. “She was our first Group 1 winner when she won the Super Series.” It was the career that almost never happened after a freak injury struck the previous year. “She pierced her pedal bone when she was a three-year-old. She had lost a shoe in the paddock and stood on a nail,” Cartwright said. “She has had problems with her feet ever since and has had to be managed.” This has long been viewed as the pacer’s final season before she is sent to the breeding barn, a decision that was almost fast-tracked when Pressplay ran poorly when beaten by 54m at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 1. “She pulled up really distressed. Her action was really different on the night and we were not sure why,” Cartwright said. “It was back to the drawing board. We thought it may have been her last run and that it was time to retire her, but her track work was sensational, so we thought we would take her to trial and test her.” In the trial Pressplay ran third behind Hokonui Ben and Show Heeza Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 26. “She got through the trial pretty good and so we found a decent run for her in the Traralgon Cup.” Raced at Warragul Harness Racing Club, Turnbull eased Pressplay to the rear of the cup field from barrier five while Shifty Shivas and Show Heza Classic poured on the pace at the front. Turnbull showed patience, waiting until the approach to the final bend before setting Pressplay three-wide to try and run down the leader. “The speed was on in front and that’s how she needs it. She’s a real sit-sprinter,” Cartwright said. “She come with a big run and was really strong on the line. She doesn’t really have a chance to win at the turn, and if she had have run into fourth or even sixth I would have been so excited. But she just kept coming. “When she won it we were very excited. She is only a little mare but has a big burst of speed.” Cartwright said she “pulled up as well as she ever had” and they planned a “couple more races” for her, including at Shepparton on Wednesday. Michael Howard

Local harness racing trainer Michael Hughes prepared five-year-old mare Narreeva to win the Ken Miller Memorial race at Warragul's trotting meeting on Monday afternoon. In a keen contest Narreeva stormed home out wide to grab victory from Comigal and Temporal Join. The mare is bred and raced by veteran Narre Warren horseman Arthur Fullwood and is a recent addition to the Hughes stable. Narreeva bought up three winning drives for the afternoon for top horseman Greg Sugars, who won earlier in the day with Manly Mach and Betterman Stride. Melton trainer Brett Cargill had his name selected as the winner of a new Dooza Engineering racing sulky, from trainers who had a starter in the Miller Memorial event. Cargill was lucky enough to win the same lucky draw two years ago. Co-feature at Monday's meeting was the Traralgon Pacing Cup, where another exciting contest saw Pressplay grab victory in a keen finish. Trained at Doreen by Rebecca Cartwright and driven by Craig Turnbull, Pressplay has recorded 12 wins from 55 starts. Locally owned and trained filly Courageous Call scored an easy win in the fourth race. Coming off a sixth placing in the recent Victoria Oaks, Courageous Call appreciated a significant drop in class, and led all the way for trainer Gary Quinlan and driver Anthony Butt. She has won connections almost $29,000 in stakes with three wins and five minor placings from only 11 starts. Two other popular winners on the day were Mister Gunsen for trainer-driver Paul Grech in an eventful Trotters Handicap, and Change Of Address, which recorded a third win in succession when taking out the last race. Despite cold, windy conditions, a good crowd was on hand for the eight race program at the Warragul Pacing Bowl. Kyle Galley

They say you can’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It seems the same can be said for horses. For Group 1 winning mare Pressplay, punters who wrote her off as inconsistent must have felt as though they’d been kicked in the shins when she won the Vicbred Super Series final earlier this month at big odds. Pressplay has never lacked in ability, says trainer Rebecca Cartwright, but the horse’s feet have not been the same since she trod on a nail. “Some of her runs might have looked a bit disappointing on paper but if you knew the horse you’d know in some of those races it was like she was running on a hot tin roof,” Cartwright said. Farrier Stephen Said, who has been in harness racing a long time, has played an integral role behind the scenes with Pressplay. Due to her hoof ailment shoeing the mare is problematic, but Stephen’s persistence has paid off in spades, Cartwright said. “He did the most amazing job with her. Stephen really cared and made particular sets of shoes for her … her feet had never been as perfect as he got them heading into the Vicbred Final.” Doreen-based Cartwright bred Pressplay and raced her mother, Miss Superb. “It was just so humbling (to win the Group 1). We’ve been in the game a long time and to breed one and then to win a Group 1 with that horse was just amazing,” she said. “Craig (Rebecca’s partner) should take a lot of the credit for the win. He’s done a wonderful job with her and has always loved her.” Pressplay has drawn gate six in the Pet Rock Pace Final (Race 2) at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with Amanda Turnbull, who has become the horse’s regular reinswoman after guiding her to Group 1 success, taking the reins. “It’s a bugger of a draw,” Cartwright said. “I don’t really know at this stage. I’m going to have to sit down and look at all the runners and work it out.” Cartwright said Pressplay was a “dead-set sit-sprinter”, so making her own luck in running can be tricky. But in terms of ability, Cartwright always knew Pressplay had at least one big-race win in her. “Her first run in the (Vicbred) heat was a good one. Then she ran a super race in the semi-final. We always said she could win a big race she just need a little bit of luck,” Cartwright said. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

One stallion stood head and shoulders above the competition last night in the six finals of the harness racing Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Finals. Five of the six winners were sired by sons of Artsplace and to top it off his outstanding son Guaranteed was a brave second in the only age division he didn't win. Artsplace sons have been having an outstanding run in Australia for quite a while  and last nights results just confirmed how dominant the sire line is at the moment in Australia. Modern Art started the ball rolling with his smart 2 year old Feeling Arty who caused an upset in the 2 year old colts and geldings division. It was his  third  win from just nine lifetime starts and was just reward for a colt who has only been out of the money once in those nine starts. Art Major got into the act with his outstanding son Messini giving notice of his potential with a great win in the 3 year old colts and geldings division. It was his third win in three starts this season in Australia and his tenth win lifetime and judging by last nights effort there are a lot more wins to come yet. Modern Art was back on center stage in the 4 year old mares division with Pressplay, driven a treat by Amanda Turnbull, overcoming an early check to storm home center track for an impressive win. It was her fifth win this season and the eight lifetime for the Modern Art mare who was bred and is owned and trained by Rebecca Cartwright. Art Major got back into the picture in the 3 year old fillies division with My Bella Star just hanging on after a great front running drive from Gavin Lang. It was her eight win from just 14 starts this season and she looks like developing into a lovely mare next season. Next up was the 4 year old colts and geldings division and the only final not won by a descendant of Artsplace although the run of Guaranteed for second was every bit as good as that of the winner Lennytheshark with the draw having a major bearing on the contest. The last final for the night was the 2 year old fillies division with Niki No No from the first crop of Sportswriter showing real grit after being wide for a lap to kick away in the straight for a great win. It was her fourth win from just six starts and Niki No No looks a filly of real promise. All in all a great night for Artsplace and his sons and one that we may see a lot more of in the immediate future. Harnesslink media

Harness racing driver Amanda Turnbull drove a stack of winners while based in New South Wales but her first Group 1 success has come in her new home state. Turnbull, 24, who is now based at Shepparton, steered Pressplay to victory in the four-year-old mares’ Empire Stallions Super Series final tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton, upstaging more fancied runners Im Smouldering and Courageousnquick. “It’s a fantastic feeling,” a beaming Turnbull said after the race. “It couldn’t have worked out better for me out there.” Pressplay, trained by Rebecca Cartwright,  scored by 4.3m in a mile rate of 1:58.0, Im Smouldering (Gavin Lang) battling on well for second, while Courageousnquick ran third after leading for Kyle Marshall. Pressplay is by Modern Art and is trained in Doreen. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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