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Leading harness racing reinsman Chris Petroff has landed the big double at Redcliffe.  Back on June 2, Petroff guided the Kylie Rasmussen trained Gold Reactor to victory in the Gr.1 $100,450 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series Classic Final – the biggest event ever staged at the bayside club. Tonight, the skillful horseman partnered improved three-year-old pacer Celtic Cruza to win the Listed $25,450 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series Classic Final tonight (Friday) defeating race favourite Bumper and Western Jewels. It was the third edition of the feature and Celtic Cruza now joins inaugural winner Cullens Jewel (2015) and Leos Best (2106) as winners of the 1780m feature. Prepared on the track by Donny and Maureen Smith, the Rob Roy Mattgregor raced outside the leader throughout before pulling clear over the concluding stages to record a dominant victory in a time of 1:56.5. Sectionals were recorded in 29.3, 29.1, 28.4 and 30.6 seconds. Bumper mustered from the inside gate to full advantage to lead while January struck trouble when the green light came on which caused a chain reaction of interference with Couldntbetold, Heart Of Change and Vintage Dream all checked. But Petroff wouldn’t allow Bumper to get an easy time in front and continuously worked the leader throughout. “I knew I was on a fit horse and I thought my best chance for success was to make it a survival of the fittest, that opened the door for a swooper but luckily this horse kept fighting right to the line. He was spot on.” Petroff said. Celtic Cruza is raced by long time harness racing enthusiasts Laurie and Linette Feehely. Bred by Burwwod Stud principals, Noel and Christine Denning, Celtic Cruza has now won 4 races. All victories coming this season while all triumphs have been recorded at Redcliffe. Petroff becomes the first reinsman to win both Yearling Sales Series Finals in the same year. The feature double adds to his Redcliffe Gold Cup victory with Our White Knight back in 2011. Chris Barsby

Exciting Queensland pacer Mattgregor is ready for another big test this weekend. Fresh from his excellent effort in the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire two weeks ago when fifth behind champion pacer Lazarus in 1:49.0 after drawing the ten hole, he gets another chance at cracking it in a feature harness racing event. On Saturday night, the fresh faced four-year-old takes on seasoned rivals in the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at TABCORP Park Menangle. His rivals include last year’s Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, Tiger Tara, Hug The Wind, Aztec Bromac, Major Crocker and Tact Tate among others. Amazingly, Mattgregor is still assessed as a C5 MO, meaning he is eligible for much easier races. Mattgregor is the veteran of 14 career starts to date but has won 8 of those starts. But connections don’t feel out of place in the open class feature. “He deserves his chance and he’s drawn much better this week compared to his past couple of starts so we’re optimistic about his chances. His latest run in the Chariots was the best run of his short career to date; we were absolutely delighted with the effort.” Co-owner Karen Turpin said. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding will immediately return to Brisbane after the weekend for a deserving break before being set for the winter carnival at Albion Park. During his Sydney campaign, Mattgregor scored an easy first-up victory in a career best time of 1:51.6 before a slashing second behind Dashofluck in the Paleface Adios Stakes while finishing fifth in the Chariots of Fire at his most recent start. Prepared by Karen’s daughter Chantal Turpin and her husband Pete McMullen, Mattgregor continues to develop and looms as a serious future prospect which has his connections excited. “The main aim for this southern campaign was to give him his chance to contest the Chariots and he did himself well in that series, this is obviously a very strong race this weekend but we’re in with a chance. We think he’ll be mixing at this level in time to come. “The kids have done a great job in Sydney and it’s been a great learning experience for them, it would be nice to end the stint with a big race victory this weekend. “All the family will be there on Saturday night, Jake has the weekend off before the footy season starts next week and he’ll be trackside to cheer on his horse. I’m really looking forward to the night in so many different ways.” Mattgregor is raced by Denis Golinski, Karen Turpin and her son Jake. Jake Turpin is a contracted NRL player with the Melbourne Storm. Chris Barsby

Leppington trainer Kevin Pizzuto is glowing in his praise for lightly raced three-year-old Heza Bromac.  The son of Rob Roy Mattgregor has won four of his five career starts and harness racing trainer Pizzuto expects the gelding to make it five from six after he competed at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Pizzuto is pleading with NZ Jewels organisers to give Heza Bromac an invite to the series and is confident the horse would represent Australia proudly. “He by far and away is the best horse I have ever had in my stable, I’ve had some nice horses over the years but there is daylight between Heza Bromac and the rest,” Pizzuto said. “I’ve got no doubt given the right conditions and on the back of a good speed he could run a 1:48.0 mile, he is just a freak of a horse and has done everything I have asked him to do.” Heza Bromac was purchased by Pizzuto out of New Zealand for some clients but it took him a while to settle into his new surrounds. “He wasn’t right when he came over, he was lame and then he wanted to hang so I gave him four and a half months off and it did the trick with him.  His owner Danny (Zavitsanos) puts a lot of money into the game and I’m really happy that he has got such a good one. “Heza Bromac is one of those horses that takes a lot of work to keep him up to the mark, the harder you work him the better he goes.” Heza Bromac will be looking for his second win at Menangle this week after winning on Tuesday afternoon.  He produced a blistering turn of foot when racing off the speed and recorded a career best 1:52.5.  He also produced a stunning 25.6 final quarter when winning at Menangle three starts ago. “He should be winning again on Saturday night.  He is so versatile and so strong, I’ve looked after him and while he won’t be out to set any records this weekend, we have to be mindful that the Jewels organisers will be watching so I hope he’ll go well. “If we get the invite Todd (McCarthy) will retain the drive in New Zealand, none of the stars in New Zealand worry me and I think he would be right up there with them.” Stablemate Alta Jerome will race for the first time in four weeks on Saturday night but will have to topple Beautide if he is to be victorious. “I’m happy with where he is at, I think he is on his way back to his best and I’d like to think he could squeeze into the Len Smith Mile in a couple of month’s time.” Pizzuto’s winning strike-rate continues to be healthy and a lot of his stable’s success he puts down to the staff he has working for him. “Karen (Crouch) is great with the horses, so too is my daughter and then I’ve got Joe working for me as well.  Brendan Barnes has come down from Queensland and I think he is going to be one of the leading junior drivers in NSW.” Greg Hayes

The sixth heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series is up for decision at the harness racing meeting at Forbury Park on Thursday night and RR Sand Dollar has all the form on the board to be the one to beat here. A three year old filly from the first crop of the now defunct Rob Roy Mattgregor, RR Sand Dollar has nothing in her favour except class and even from barrier seven over the 1700 metres trip she looks to carry too many guns for the opposition here.  RR Sand Dollar was beaten a nose here at Forbury Park in December over the 1700 metres at her only start on the track and she has improved dramatically since then. Three runs back she was beaten a nose by the brilliant Nek Time in a brilliant 1:54.8 mile rate at Addington Raceway and followed that with two effortless wins down south, with the big late finish at Winton especially impressive. Trainer Paul Court has enlisted the services of Blair Orange, the hottest driver in the south over the last few weeks to take the reins again and only bad luck should really beat her. Take out RR Sand Dollar and the race becomes very even, with four or five big winning chances. The Gavin Smith pair of Scarlett Banner and Allison Stokke have both shown enough at various stages this season to be big chances here from their draws of one and two. Scarlett Banner has been racing Golden Goddess, Piccadilly Princess, and Luisansbelle Midfrew most of the season and will appreciate the huge dropback in class here while Allison Stokke has run two beauties in her last two starts behind two very smart maidens in Heavens Rocks and Fiddlethefool and looms as a big improver here.  Rakarazor continues to go good races every week and her third in 1:54.1 for the mile at Winton on Saturday is good form for this race. Rakarazor has high gate speed and Clark Barron is sure to use that and attempt to lead all the way from barrier four with catch me if you can tactics. And so we come to Emily Blunt. Three months ago she would have been a hot favourite in this race and although she has performed admirably since, she has not been her old self lately. Blinds come off tomorrow night in an effort to sharpen her up and that just be enough to right the ship here.. She has the ability to beat most here and weather she has the aptitude we will see on Thursday night. Selections RR Sand Dollar is the clear first pick for us and should win barring accidents Scarlett Banner and Emily Blunt may not have the best form on the board right now but they are two high class fillies at their best and we found it hard to split them for second or third.  It is the same for 4th and 5th with Allison Stokke and Rakarazor both going consistently well and both are capable of finishing first four. Trifecta and First Four  8 --- 2, 3, 4, 5 Harnessjlink Media

Exciting Queensland pacer Mattgregor has returned to work today (Monday). Prepared by husband and wife combination of Pete McMullen and Chantal Turpin, the harness racing three-year-old has created a strong impression after being purchased from the leading New Zealand stables of Mark Jones late last year. But an injury setback to his offside front tendon at Christmas derailed plans to take him south of the border and therefore ruled him out of a host of features including the recent Victoria and New South Wales Derby classics which ultimately, have him been dominated by the Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen All-stars stablemates Lazarus (Melbourne) and Our Waikiki Beach (Sydney). “We ended up giving him eight weeks off straight away and hopefully we jumped on it quick enough before it became a major issue. It’s always touch and go when dealing with these matters but I think it was a blessing in disguise for him because he looks great and he’ll miss the worst of our summer and it’s been so hot over the past couple of weeks so as a kiwi, he’ll really appreciate that. Everything looks in order and I’m happy to have him back in work.” Turpin said. Importantly, the decision was made by his group of owners to make the Rob Roy Mattgregor – Miss Sunshine youngster two stone lighter during his time out. To date, Mattgregor has won three of his four starts to date and all three victories have been recorded in sub 1:54 mile rates at Albion Park. His most recent start on December 22 was a personal best effort when scorched the oval in a time of 1:53.4 defeating Brass Lantern and dual feature race winner Leos Best. Connections are now focused on their upcoming home state winter carnival features with the climax being the Gr.1 $100,000 Queensland Derby on July 16 at Albion Park. “That’s the ultimate aim with Bear (Mattgregor) – the Queensland Derby but hopefully we’ll be able to get a look at quite a few of the other features prior to the Derby all going to plan. Fingers crossed, Mark and Natalie might even bypass the Brisbane features this year. “Seriously, that stable is just amazing and they continue to set the standard for everybody in this part of the world, I know Pete and I are just awestruck by how they run and operate their stable and it only pushes us harder to obtain better results for our stable going forward. “The program for our guy will be quite meticulous given his setback but his workload won’t really change once he gains a solid foundation because we don’t see any point changing what worked for him before. He’s exciting, clearly the most exciting pacer in our stable but he’s still untapped and every challenge we set for him in his previous campaign, he conquered.” Mattgregor is raced by the trainer’s brother Jake, along with their mother Karen and loyal stable client in Denis Golinski. Jake, 19, is an up and coming NRL prospect with the Melbourne Storm and is hopeful of cracking it into the senior squad this season. by Chris Barsby

Emerging talent Mattgregor is set to follow a similar path as his owner. The New Zealand bred three-year-old colt is co-owned by talented NRL prospect Jake Turpin, a contracted player with the Melbourne Storm. Turpin, 19, shares ownership with his mother Karen and long-time stable client Denis Golinski after purchasing the unraced pacer from the leading stables of Christchurch based horseman Mark Jones earlier this year. The similarities between owner and horse are eerily alike. Both are loaded with enormous potential and great skill while both are hoping to crack it at a higher level. Turpin has been part of the Melbourne Storm system since catching the eye of talent scouts at the Queensland Under-15 Schoolboys side a few years ago. The talented utility spent his first season as a Thunderbolt playing halfback in 2014 and earned selection in Queensland's U18 side at hooker and has trained with the NRL squad during pre-season for the second straight year. With future immortals Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk standing in his way, Turpin is happy to ply his craft and learn from the best. Turpin is midway through another gruelling pre-Christmas Storm training camp but keeps in regular contact with his sister Chantal, the official trainer of Mattgregor. “It’s tough going at the moment but it’s an amazing opportunity to train with the likes of our first grade squad, it’s all about building for a big season next year. Hopefully it will be the same with this colt, he looks like he’s got some ability and hopefully he continues to step up to the mark for Chantal and Pete (McMullen – driver)” Turpin said. Boasting two wins from three starts to date, Mattgregor has looked overloaded with speed because both victories have come in sub 1:54 mile rates at Albion Park before heading for a brief freshen-up while connections consider their options. The Rob Roy Mattgregor – Miss Sunshine colt resumed at the trials today (Tuesday) at Albion Park and scored a come from behind victory in 1:58.7 while covering his final half in 57.3 seconds. “We all know he’s got ability but it’s all about harnessing that potential and going to a higher level and like most owners, we’re hoping he can measure up to Derby standard and chase some of the better races available this season. “He’s still a colt but it has been mentioned about gelding him but they can make that decision if it needs to be made, they’re the experts in that regard. I know they’re still teaching him plenty and hopefully he will put it all together in time to come. “At this stage I think we’re heading to Sydney next month for the Simpson Memorial and that will be his measuring stick to see whether we have a really nice horse or just a nice horse on our hands. If he performs well, we can look at other features otherwise he can head back home and look at races at Albion Park.” Hopefully it can be a breakthrough season for both owner and his horse. by Chris Barsby

The changes in the harness racing breeding industry in the last twenty years have been huge and have fundamentally changed the way the business operates in the Southern Hemisphere. From shuttling stallions to frozen semen there is hardly a sire in the world who is unavailable to breeders in Australasia. A side effect of that of course is how much harder it is today for young stallions  to get established or to be in some cases even given a chance. One who falls squarely into the latter category is the Matts Scooter stallion Rob Roy Mattgregor. A smart racehorse in North America with a best time of 1:49.6 and $612,751, Rob Roy Mattgregor's real appeal to breeders lay in his pedigree. The Direct Scooter sireline has been on fire in New Zealand for nearly twenty years so Kiwi breeders needed no introduction there. It is the maternal family of Rob Roy Mattgregor that seals the deal and the reason he was given a shot at stud in New Zealand and Australia Rob Roy Mattgregor is a half brother to Predator DVM 1:50 ($627,993) from Cheer Me Up, a 1:56.2 full sister to the dam of Make A Deal 1:50.2 ($610,249) and Cheer Me Up is also a half sister to the dam of  the great racehorse and sire Western Ideal 1:48 ($1,455,422). Another half sister to Cheer Me Up is Best Of Memories who has produced Mr Feelgood 1:49 ($3,366,157) and Remember When 1:50.3 ($1,245,718). The grand-dam of Rob Roy Mattgregor is the former brilliant racemare Leah Almahurst 1:52.3 ($1,053,201). This is the other side of the brilliant Three Diamonds family and it is a noted sire producing family. Rob Roy Mattgregor only stood one season in New Zealand and covered 71 mares who produced 52 live foals which are two year olds in the 2014-2015 season. Rob Roy Mattgregor also has nine two year olds in Australia this season for one unplaced starter to date  In New Zealand to be honest, they have been very slow out of the blocks with just four qualifiers to date but last night Rob Roy Mattgregor broke his duck as a sire when the Bruce Negus trained filly Em Ay in the hands of leading reinsman Dexter Dunn was successful at Forbury Park. After that one season here, Rob Roy Mattgregor was moved to Australia where he has just 17 yearlings on the ground and that is all there will be as he died not long after siring that crop. As of today Rob Roy Mattgregor hasn't exactly set the world on fire but now that he is deceased it wouldn't be a surprise if his stock turn that around in the next year or two. Harnesslink Media

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