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Following his Oberon Cup win James Dean, from KerryAnn Turner’s stable, was being prepared with Orange Harness Racing Club’s Carnival of Cups in mind and harness racing driver Robbie Morris confirmed the champion is still set to run. Morris, who called James Dean a “C5/M2 graded, honest, little horse who came out of New Zealand”, confirmed the Oberon Cup winner is primed to front in February 10’s Banjo Paterson feature race at Towac Park. That’s just one of the races set for February 10 with a number of other finals to be run, the heats are being hosted in this Sunday’s Family Day. “The owners contacted me......and they decided to bring him over here to me which is great because it’s not often horses like that land in your lap. Previously he has been a first emergency in the New Zealand Cup,” Morrish told Orange Harness Racing Club. “He is racing in the Goulburn Cup on Monday (February 4) then up to Orange for the Banjo.  “He has two straight wins under his belt heading into Monday’s race in Goulburn.” And Robbie’s thoughts on James Dean racing on the unique grass track at Towac Park? “It’s something different. James Dean has previously run on the grass in New Zealand recording a slick mile rate of 1.55,” Morrish said. “It's just people’s perception of the grass. It's actually quiet smooth and everyone has to run on the same surface on the day.” Sunday’s Family Day kicks off at 12pm at Orange’s Towac Park. By Matt Findlay Reprinted with permission of the Central Western Daily

A pair of leading stables is eyeing the upcoming Queensland summer carnival. The summer features, to be staged at Albion Park from December 1 through until December 15 has caught the attention of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy plus Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris. And both stables are likely to bring plenty of talent north of the border. In recent times, both combinations have been frequent visitors to the Sunshine State while success has also followed and consistently. The Queensland summer carnival clashes directly with the famed Inter Dominion series, being staged in Melbourne this year after spending the past three years based in Perth. With many leading stables heading to Melbourne, the Sydney combinations have focused on the Brisbane features. The Cross/McCarthy stable arrives this week and again will be based south of Brisbane at the property of Cristina Monte and Charlie Cini with six horses and the possibility of more to come in the coming weeks. “The carnival looks a good option for a number of our horses and we’re still considering on bringing Mach Doro up for the open class events. We haven’t made a decision about him yet but it’s definitely an option,” McCarthy explained. “We have runners this weekend at Redcliffe and they will remain for the Albion Park carnival. Hopefully, we can make a good start this weekend.” He added. The stable has Young American, Ima Kennedy Two, Blue Moon Rising, Rich Virgin and Living Again starting this Saturday night at the Redcliffe meeting. The Turner/Morris stable are yet to head north as they have confirmed their team but numbers should be strong with at least six to eight shortlisted. Stable favourite Aztec Bromac is likely for the open class events in December. Last year, the American Ideal gelding scored victories in both the Christmas and Queensland Cups. Two starts ago, Aztec Bromac rated a new personal best time of 1:51.6 when successful at TABCORP Park, Menangle. “We’re definitely looking at bringing him up again at this stage, he’s engaged to race again this weekend at Menangle while we’re sorting what races suit some of our team best,” Morris said. “As long as the features are at Albion Park, we’re keen to be part of the action again.” He added. The Queensland summer carnival features over three consecutive Saturday nights include; December 1 – Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprint, $20,660 APHRC Members Cup, December 8 - $20,660 Christmas Cup, $20,660 Forever Gold Mares FFA December 15 – Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup, Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, $20,660 C2-C5 Feature & $14,999 King of the Claimers Final Chris Barsby

A 50th birthday celebration on the Gold Coast back in July was the catalyst for the debut win of Pop The Bubbles at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway last Wednesday night. Nicki Inwood, Nicole Lavelle and Kellie Dunbar took time from Grant Inwood’s birthday bash to watch Amanda Turnbull’s Albion Park Group One win with Tact Tate and decided that they’d like to share the excitement of owning a successful horse. And it should be named after the pina coladas they happened to be drinking at the time. Things moved very quickly after that with fellow celebrant Jenny Turnbull straightaway making contact with Amanda, who explained that she’d been keeping an eye on a Sportswriter filly over in New Zealand, which would be just the ticket for the girls. By the time the group flew back to Sydney the next day, they owned the horse, and to make it even better, she was named Pop The Bubbles! A very close second at her Australian debut at Bathurst the previous Wednesday saw the four-year-old come in for strong support this week, and Steve Turnbull took full advantage of a favorable inside draw to lead throughout in the CO/C1 sprint that closed the Bathurst proceedings. There was never any doubt how the excited owners would celebrate the win, raising glasses of bubbly back in the clubhouse, in confirmation that the ownership caper was every bit as good as people said it was. The win completed a good night for the stable, which finished with three winners. Steve drove a double which began with Shandance in the C2 Club Menangle Country Series Heat, and Mitchell supplied the other win with the ‘death seat’ effort of Grosestar in the CO Where Horses Fly Heat. Robbie Morris and Dance For Glory scored a strong win in the fast class sprint, working early to find the death seat and applying plenty of pressure to the leader Thunder Dance , which broke on the home turn, leaving Dance For Glory well clear turning in. The winner was well down in grade from his recent Menangle runs and won accordingly. Mat Rue took a driving double for father-in-law Bernie Hewitt - a gutsy all the way win with Trunkey Digger in a CO sprint, after blistering early sections, and an equally tough win from the death seat, with Lady Swiss in the three-year-old class, for her second win in succession in this grade. Racecaller, Fred Hastings gave his Drive of the Night award to Tom Pay, aboard Havana Moon, for Gemma Rue, in a C1 sprint. Tom bided his time at the back end of the field during the early stages, bringing Havana Moon into the race at the turn and busting clear over the closing stages. With Penrith Rugby League supremo, Phil Gould a part-owner of the winner, and driver Tom Pay being a nephew of Canterbury Bulldogs coach Dean Pay, there was a real football feel to the race. Quite appropriate for September. TERRY NEIL

IT might have been the sort of abbreviated, run-of-the-mill affair that mid-winter regularly serves up, but Wednesday’s Gold Crown Paceway meeting produced driving credits - Turnbull, Day, McCarthy, Hewitt, Rue and Morris - that read like a harness racing “Who’s Who”. Nathan Turnbull took the first, a C0/C1 Menangle Where Horses Fly heat, with Lucky Lyla, a beautifully-bred Mach Three mare trained by brother Josh for his wife Jess and named for their daughter. It was a tough effort, three-wide for much of the 1:56.9 trip, and holding on strongly from Walk On Kimmy and Waikari Fire NZ. “You probably heard me screaming and yelling at her as soon as we turned for home, “ the driver observed, “ and even though she tried hard when the others came, it was my noise that did the trick so I reckon I’m entitled to a sling from Josh!” Neil Day wiped out all the Pick-Six tipsters in the racebook promotion when $45 longshot Arma Hotshot got up in the final stride, from Snoop Stride and leader Spike Robyn NZ, in the C2/C3 Menangle Country Series heat. The Modern Art mare settled at the tail of the field from her wide draw on the front row but relished the fast pace -including  a 57.4s first half - that brought the backmarkers into the event, and her trainer-driver is hopeful that a similar scenario unfolds when she heads to Menangle for the  $20,000 final in a fortnight. Todd McCarthy and his Uncle Pat’s  Grinfromeartoear runner Im Cool Harry NZ have had to settle for minor placings in a long and frustrating season, but patience and consistency finally paid off when they scored a decisive all-the-way win in the 2260 metres fast-class third. A 28.1s third split enabled the pair to break clear of the field, and though the rallying Shannonstheman and third-placed Hidden Courage tried hard, they were no match for the winner, which extended Todd’s narrow lead over Amanda Turnbull in their down-to-the-wire battle for the NSW drivers’ premiership. Mark Hewitt gave promising Sportswriter filly Ace Reporter a lovely trip in the running line in the 2YO class,sprinting well to hit the front turning in, before grittily holding off Make Mine Memphis which tracked it over the last lap. The last half of the 1:57.8 trip was run in a sharp 57.2 seconds. His efforts earned him Drive-of-the-Night honours from racecaller Craig Easey. The lesser-known of the Hewitt brothers trains a much smaller team than either Bernie or David, but lacks none of their ability and has a fine record with juveniles, including Group One success with Two Eye See and Makes Mine Scents. Mat Rue achieved the maiden win, at start 16, for Roll With Joe filly Ichiba Newy -trained by his wife Gemma - in the Evolution Series 3YO Fillies heat, trailing favourite Madame Leza every step of the way and using the sprint lane to get up in a 1:57.0 rate for the 1730 metres sprint. He’s had more success with the Bathurst sprint lane than any other driver, so it’s hardly surprising that he’s a big fan of it. Having previously shared his tips on race driving with an interested audience at a local awards night, he’s now been put on notice to deliver a follow-up tutorial on sprint laning, at the first available opportunity! Robbie Morris and his partner Kerryann Turner, adopted “locals” at Gold Crown Paceway, seldom head back to Menangle without a winner, and they left it until the final race, the Evolution Series 3YO Colts& Geldings heat, where Weona Luke put an end to some muddling stop-start tactics by taking the lead mid-race and dictating the race from that point. The handsome Mr Feelgood gelding, which  stopped the clock in 1:56.1 for the sprint journey, won’t have to travel very far at all for his next start, in the $20,000 final at Club Menangle next Saturday. Terry Neil

MENANGLE Park to Bathurst is amore than a three hour float trip but it’s been a worthwhile excursion on many occasions lately for KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris, when bringing well-graded horses over the mountains to Gold Crown Paceway. Last week’s trip produced a three-from-three result for driver Robbie Morris, in successive races. He scored with Milwaukee Stryder for Londonderry trainer Richard Camilleri, before adding a double for his and Turner’s stable with Stormont Star and Kleened Out NZ. With the driving duties completed after race four, and back on the road for the downhill run home  before seven o’clock, he would have been doubly pleased, by the perfect result and the prospect of being tucked up in bed well before midnight. Milwaukee Stryder cleared maiden ranks at start 17. After leading early, Morris handed up to Karloo Bentwofifty, and he came out of that trail rounding the home turn to draw level with the leader, grabbing him right on the line in a slogging finish, with a 58.2s last half and a  1:56.7 mile rate. Stormont Star began well from the middle of the second line in a C1 sprint and was well positioned in the leading division, launching his claim with a 28.1s third quarter before holding off the closing Lucky Lyla in 29.7s for a sharp 1:55.7 victory. The winner, a half-brother to the top-class Stormont Czar which races out of the stable,  is owned by Robbie’s mother Margaret, making this second Bathurst win even more enjoyable for the driver, who believes the horse has a nice future. “And I’m a fan of his sire For A Reason, which is doing a good job, with a number of nice horses,” he added. Although clocking in fractionally slower, in a C2-C3 sprint, Kleened Out NZ was the most impressive winner of the meeting, sitting outside the well-performed Callmequeenbee and upping the ante over a gruelling 56.2s final half before forging clear in the straight from Snoop Stride, which worked home well. Despite the strong support for the local filly, which was looking for a hat-trick, Morris was expecting a strong performance from his horse, and drove him accordingly. “I thought as a five-year-old he had the edge in race experience and toughness over Mat Rue’s nice filly, and he’d put in some very good runs recently down at Menangle. I considered this race suited him really well, and I’m certainly not surprised by the win,” he indicated on returning to scale. And that long drive he makes most weeks? “ It’s a fair hike, but I’m not complaining. It’s no different for Steve, or Bernie, when they bring their horses to race at Menangle, and they do it every week, some weeks even twice,” he acknowledged. Other winners at a true mid-winter meeting up on the tablelands: Jeradas Delight, strongly supported into favouritism in 3YO fillies class, and bringing up a hat-trick courtesy of Mark Hewitt’s classy drive - gradually working his way inside and outside into the race before bursting clear - that earned him the Drive of the Night award from racecaller Luke Marlow Volaticus (John O’Shea for Ed Collins ), sitting in the death and far too good for his  maiden opponents  at start number 18, his last half in 57.3s suggesting that he’ll be winning more races in coming starts for his very popular owner/trainer Navua Girl, for Steve Turnbull in the first  of two 2YO fillies events, well deserved after being runner-up at her previous three starts, and the Sportswriter daughter likely to have another couple of runs before going for a spell Soundslikeart (Gemma/Mat Rue ) in the second division, scoring her second win in succession by leading throughout, and a blistering 27.1s final quarter enabling the Art Major youngster to romp in for the easiest win of the night Captain Cosmonaut (Chris Frisby/ Amanda Turnbull ),the three-year-old enjoying a change of tactics in this CO sprint, sitting back in the field and set loose over the final 600 metres in one sustained run, remarkably Amanda’s only drive of the night. Some meritorious individual performances, from both horses and drivers, but without question, the honours belonged with Robbie Morris. Over the hill (literally) and far away the best of the night.   Terry Neil

When Charlaval takes to the Bathurst Paceway track on Tuesday night in the Shirley Turnbull Memorial, the five-year-old bay harness racing gelding will bring up his 50th career start. Robbie Morris will be in the gig for the KerryAnn Turner-trained gelding and is confident that Charlaval will perform well in the iconic Bathurst pace. “He’s going really well. This is his first season where he’s kind of stepped into the big league,” he said. “He’s looking to equip himself really well. He’s starting to acclimatise. “He’s drawn one, so he’s definitely a chance.”  In his last start at Menangle on December 16, Charlaval finished just 0.1 metres behind Bling It On, who will start as red-hot favourite in Tuesday’s memorial at $1.70.  “You go to any race to win but Bling It On is a serious horse. He’s coming back from a serious injury and his runs since coming back from that injury has been enormous,” he said. Morris said it was great to be apart of one of Bathurst’s key race meetings. “The Turnbull family are a great family in harness racing,” he said. “They’ve got the pristine that goes along with them. “Any race that is for any Turnbull is a race you want to win. It’s something great to be a part of.” Quality-wise, Morris is aware of the strong field he is going up against. “Blazin N Cullen has been a good horse for a number of years,” he said. “Admiral Bronski is lowly assessed but he’s last three or four races have been handy.”  Charlaval has won 16 races, finished second 15 times and claimed three thirds.  By Bradley Jurd Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

The Brisbane summer carnival is just around the corner. And the southern harness racing stables are well aware about what’s on offer during the month of December at Albion Park. Features include the Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship, the $60,000 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, the $40,000 Egmont Park Stud Darrell Alexander Memorial Trot and the $30,000 Group 3 AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint among others. The leading combination of Robbie Morris and Kerryann Turner are keen to return. The Menangle based couple enjoyed solid success last season through the deeds of now North American based pacer Iam Mr Brightside and are keen to return north again. Iam Mr Brightside won both the Be Good Johnny Sprint and the Christmas Cup. “We’re keen to be part of the summer carnival again and we have a number of types that we’re looking at bringing up, a mixture of both pacers and trotters. I’d say we could have anywhere between 8 to 10 horses coming up at this stage.” Morris said. While exact numbers are yet to be confirmed, some of the likely types headed this way include Condagen, Celestial Arden, Iam Serengeti and Mark Of Integrity among others. At this stage, no trotters have been confirmed but Morris is keen to be involved again with the DJA series. “We’ll definitely have a trotter or two for the series but we haven’t confirmed anything just yet, we bought Visualise last year and he performed well during the heats before missing out in the final. We know what we’re looking for as far as that series is concerned. “The open class features will certainly have interest from our stable, Condagen is definitely coming up and he’s racing in such in great form currently and just needs some luck going his way while others are being looked at. “And we’ll have a number of pacers for the weekly Rising Stars and Pot of Gold series, we’ve got some really nice emerging types that will be suited to those races and the prizemoney is very good. We’re just getting sorted for with numbers and then we’ll confirm how many boxes we’ll need.” The Morris/Turner stable is one of a number of southern trainers that have flagged interest in the Brisbane summer carnival. And the added bonus this year is the staging of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship, being held at both Albion Park and Redcliffe. The 2017 Australasian Young Drivers Championships Representatives are; Narissa McMullen (Queensland) Todd McCarthy (New South Wales – defending champion) Chris Geary (New South Wales) Michael Grantham (Western Australia) Matt Howlett (Tasmania) Jayden Brewin (South Australia) Jason Lee (Victoria) Sheree Tomlinson (New Zealand) Dylan Ferguson (New Zealand) Kimberly Butt (New Zealand) The series starts on December 13 before ending on December 16. Chris Barsby

Popular harness racing horsewoman KerryAnn Turner hopes today’s trip to Tabcorp Park Menangle is the first step towards the ideal engagement present. Celebrating her birthday last week, Turner’s gifts included a ring from her partner Robbie Morris, which resulted in a firm “YES”! “I was pretty spoiled for my birthday, but the proposal topped it off,” Turner said. As for the first step towards the ideal engagement present, Turner is set to contest a pair of Australian Pacing Gold heats in a bid to qualify for the rich $322,000 Final at Melton on May 6. “That certainly would be a great engagement gift,” Turner said. “With a bit of luck we can get through the series and have a chance at the Final.” Promising filly Pacific Cullen will kick-start Turner’s quest when she takes her position in the first heat. To be driven by Morris, the daughter of Christian Cullen has drawn to search for the lead from barrier three. Pacific Cullen has two wins and a third from four starts, while being retired from the race during the other outing as a result of broken gear. “She is a very nice filly, which has only done what she’s had to so far,” Turner said. “She is such a relaxed type, which just gets the job done. “She trialled last week, which was a good solid hit out, and she is in top order for her heat.” Redbank Addi will then take her position in the second qualifier, with Turner stating the daughter of Rock N Roll Hanover needs luck in the run. The two-year-old has also drawn three, but slots into two due to a scratching. “She’s been working great, but just hasn’t had a lot of luck in her races,” Turner said. “She was a bit disappointing in the Bathurst Tiara, but has been doing well since. “If luck goes her way she will be in the finish.” by APG Media

Mojo Major passed another test in regaining his mojo with a gutsy harness racing win in last Friday's Oberon Cup, the feature at Bathurst's Group One Feeds Paceway. The Art Major son prevailed in a desperate finish from favourite Saloon Passage NZ, after the pair cleared away from the field over the final 600 metres and settled down to a stirring two-horse war, that recalled for some the Bonecrusher- Our Waverley epic 30 years ago. The battle continued into the stewards' room, with Nathan Hurst alleging interference at the point in the back straight where both horses made their runs, but stewards ruled otherwise, and the winning streak extended to three for the KerryAnn Turner-trained visitor. Driver Robbie Morris explained that the five-year-old "has a lot of ability, but he's not mentally strong, so we've decided to set him for some nice races away from Menangle as a way to build up his confidence.” Wins at Penrith, Maitland and now Bathurst have vindicated that decision, and judging by the way he knuckled down for the battle in the Bathurst home stretch, he's growing into a man. The mile rate for the testing 2260 metre trip was a solid 1:57.8 (last half 57.8 seconds), and Lexus On The Beach was a distant third, running home well after working clear. While part-owner and race sponsor Ray Mawhood was sorely disappointed not to score a "hometown win" in the Cup with Saloon Passage, several wins on the night by locals drew warm applause from the big crowd  of supporters who travelled in to Bathurst for the Oberon Community night. Miss Rodriguez, trained by Wayne White, responded to desperate driving from Jason Turnbull, her regular pilot, to nab leader Power Of Red right on the line in a C2- class Menangle Country Series heat, for her first win in three runs back this season. Mile rate for the sprint journey was 1:56.3. Rocknroll And Rolln made it a double for Oberon trainers named Wayne - in this case, Watterson - when he proved too strong in a C0/C1 sprint after sitting outside the lead, to hold off the sprint-laning Cherry Mahoney. The four-year-old is known as "Elvis" around the stable, and the win drew more than a few "thank-you-very-much" comments from punters who supported the second-favourite. That was also the response from Rebecca Walsh, the C.E.O. Of Ronald McDonald House at nearby Orange, the charity which benefited by more than $4,000 from the fund-raising on the night, through auctions of that celebrated Oberon lamb and beef, and a monster raffle. Other winners at the meeting were: Tuapeka Glory NZ (Wendy/Emma Turnbull), in a C0 Menangle Country Series heat, three-wide for much of the last lap and finishing strongly for an impressive win; Casino Tommy (Steve/Mitch Turnbull), in a C2 sprint, holding on by a half-neck after enjoying the run of the race in the one-one; My Lucky Belle NZ (Ash Grives), in a strong C3/C5 sprint, the night's longest-priced winner at $18.30, handing up early and getting a lovely run behind the speed; Royal Story (Bernie Hewitt), a most impressive winner on debut, in 3YO class, holding the lead and sprinting right away at the end, and earning Anthony Manton's Drive-Of-The-Night award; Spare The Price (Chris/ Anthony Frisby), in C0/C1 grade, sitting behind the lead and too strong over the concluding stages for her third win. Bathurst HRC will play host visitors from interstate this Wednesday, when former Gold Crown Honouree Chris Alford will lead a team of five drivers from Victoria competing against five of Bathurst's best, in the inaugural Interstate Drivers Challenge, between sister-clubs Bathurst and Bendigo. Terry Neil

After ending last season with a Group One win to his name 10-time winner Charlaval looks set to have another big harness racing season ahead of him. With the Chariots Of Fire the main aim for the four-year-old, connections are undecided if he will trial or race next according to the gelding's regular reinsman Robbie Morris. Charlaval has won his two trials back this preparation. "He's trialled twice now and has had two good hit-outs but Kerry (KerryAnn Turner-trainer) is still undecided if she will give him another trial or just race him," Morris said. "He trialled nicely at Menangle on Tuesday - he led and was a bit docile in front waiting for the other horses but hit the line well." Charlaval rated 1:55.4 in his most recent trial and when ready to make his debut for the season will be assessed as a C6. "He is a good horse and has earned the right to have this assessment," Morris said. "Being that grade won't affect him as he is usually driven back with a sit and if they go 1:50 or 1:51, the harder they go the better for him. "The Chariots is the real aim with him but he is eligible for the Breeders Challenge and Breeders Crown also so he has a big season ahead." Charlaval won a Breeders Challenge Final last season in a career best mile rate of 1:51.9. The son of Four Starzzz Shark has a record of 10 wins and 11 second placings in 29 starts and earnings of $199,025 AMANDA RANDO

Despite his winning run, things won’t get any easier this weekend. In-form Sydney harness racing three-year-old Charlaval will face fresh challengers on Saturday night in the Gr.1 $75,000 Sure Duz Mosquito Candle Queensland Derby at Albion Park. The Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris prepared gelding has secured back to back feature race victories including the Gr.1 Breeders Challenge followed by Saturday night’s feature, the Listed Gold Coast Derby. Charlaval defeated a late charging Stanley Ross Robyn and a game Kimani while several others also caught the eye including My Mastercraftsman, Mattgregor and Fcee. “We were really happy with his effort in the Gold Coast Derby; he got an economical trip and made the most of it. Importantly, he’s comes through the race really well and we’re looking forward to the main event this week.” Morris said. But arriving in the sunshine state to contest the 2680m feature are classy Victorian pacers Brallos Pass and Iceenothink while last start Menangle winner Match In Heaven is also heading north. Both Brallos Pas and Iceenothink come out of the same race at their most recent start; they were placed by Don’t Hold Back in the Gr.1 Vicbred Final at TABCORP Park, Melton on July 2. And New Zealand filly Nek Time, who has swept all before her on Australian soil to date with victories in both the Queensland and Gold Coast Oaks, will also take on the boys this week. Should the Terry and Glenys Chmiel trained filly emerge triumphant she will be the first member of the ‘fairer sex’ to annex the Oaks and Derby. The two classics have been conducted simultaneously since 1972. In recent years, the Queensland Derby has been dominated by clear favourites, Menin Gate last year followed on from the likes of Bling It On, Majestic Mach and Best Deal Yet but this year appears to be very open. The field and barrier draw will be released tomorrow (Tuesday). Chris Barsby

It was sweet revenge for harness racing owner Daniel Cordina, of Cordina Chicken Farms, when the well-backed Charlaval took out today’s thee-year-old colts and geldings Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Cordina was holidaying in the US a few years ago when Blissfull Guy lost a Breeders Challenge to No Ah Saint on protest. But Cordina was “back in the spotlight” today when Charlaval came from well back on the home turn to beat Sams The Master by a head with Rock Of America 3.6m away third in a 1:51.9 mile rate. Cordina was delighted to finally get a Breeders Challenge trophy for the sideboard. “I’m just sorry my Dad (his late father Joe) was not here to see this win,” he said. “Dad actually raced a horse by the same name about 50 years ago and I never for a moment dreamed we would be here today to celebrate something like this.” Trained by Cordina’s good friends KerryAnn Turner and reinsman Robbie Morris, Charlaval’s win was even more impressive as he appeared to be racing on a slower section of the track. Morris was delighted with the win. “It always good to be here on these big days and for him to do all that work and come down the outside like that was a real thrill,” he said. “It’s hard to believe he didn’t even make this race last year. “He matured late and took all day to do everything but he’s really hitting his straps now and we couldn’t be happier with him. “I needed everything to do a bit of work and it sort of played in my hands really. Match In Heaven carted me into it for a long way and that probably helped a lot and we were able to come off his back and move right into the finish. “It’s been a great combination (with KerryAnn) and our is a real family affair at home: we’re a tight knit team and you couldn’t do it without them. “We’ve always had that family support. Kids come and help at the weekend and it’s a really good feeling to score in a race like this. “I couldn’t be happier for Daniel.” Michael Howard

Training and driving combination Kerry Ann Turner and Robbie Morris admit it has been a different week with their talented three year old Charlaval leading into Saturday's Alabar Breeders Challenge semi finals. With so much hype around Our Waikiki Beach and the expectation that he would win the Group 1 final on Sunday June 26, Charlaval was only expected to be a realistic place chance in the series. However with drama surrounding Our Waikiki Beach and his late nomination leading to the Mark Purdon trained gelding being named second emergency in both of the semi finals, Morris believes there are now nine possible winning hopes including Charlaval. Should Our Waikiki Beach squeeze into the series with two scratchings, the son of Somebeachsomewhere will regain his spot as the likely series winner and Morris is feeling for Purdon and the unbeaten gelding's owners. "Nominating late is something that happens to all stables and you never like seeing it," Morris said. "I feel for Mark and the team, Our Waikiki Beach is the best horse in the series, his record speaks for itself and there is still a chance he could get into the semi finals but we have to treat everything as we normally would, the show must go on." Charlaval won the Simpson Memorial in January when he ran 1:52.3 and since then has recorded four more victories including a heat of the Alabar Breeders Challenge at Newcastle. "He qualified for the semi finals as a two year old and unfortunately finished seventh in his semi final, hopefully this year he will progress through to the final because I think if Our Waikiki Beach doesn't get a start then the final will be wide open. "He's come on as a three year old and I think he really took the next step when he won the Simpson Memorial. His Breeders Challenge heat win at Newcastle was very good too because he has never been a genuine leader but still managed to get the job done. "Charlaval ran second behind Arma The Gun in a heat at Menangle but he drew the inside of the second row and Brad Hewitt drove a perfect race to win. My bloke was only going three quarter pace for the majority of the race and it was the perfect lead up to Saturday night." The son of Four Starzzz Shark is raced by Daniel Cordina and the Turner and Morris combination have qualified a horse raced by Cordina for a Breeders Challenge final in the past. "Blissfull Guy was a great horse for Daniel and Kerry Ann, I drove him in the two and three year old finals of the Breeders Challenge and he placed in both of them. "Daniel is a great supporter of both of us and it would great to see him get another runner in a Group 1 event." Morris will drive the gelding aggressively on Saturday night from the good draw. "With the emergencies out we will come out of gate four and he has got pretty good gate speed so I think I can get across at the start. "In previous years the three year old series has been over the longer trip of 2400 metres but this year the race is back to the mile. I like the longer races because the mile racing tends to be less forgiving. Over the short trip, gate speed and barriers are vital." Charlaval will compete in the first of the Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi Finals for three year old colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The race is scheduled to begin at 8:20pm. Greg Hayes

There might have been a smaller crowd, cooler conditions, and mostly "bread and butter" races compared to the recent Gold Crown carnival, but Friday's  harness racing fixture at Group 1 Feeds Bathurst Paceway certainly didn't lack for excitement, with a number of desperately close finishes. This was especially so in the feature Western Districts Oaks, where favourites Pixies Parlour and Rainbow Flash staged a good old-fashioned stoush the length of the home straight, necessitating a long delay before the judges found the narrowest of margins for Rainbow Flash ($2.70, Robbie Morris for Kerryann Turner) The battle continued into the stewards' room, Amanda Turnbull lodging a protest alleging that Rainbow Flash (which had sat outside her from the mile ) had forced Pixies Parlour down inside the marker pegs on the point of the home turn. After a lengthy delay, stewards dismissed the protest, allowing the Santanna Blue Chip daughter to maintain her unbeaten record in three runs at Bathurst.Mile rate for the 2260 metres event was a very pedestrian 2:00.6, after a very slow lead time and first quarter, but things got very urgent soon after, with a sharp 27.6 third quarter and then 29.2 for that stirring final section of the race. Positions were somewhat reversed in the following fast-class event, when Morris attempted to lead throughout on favourite Franco Tiago NZ, chasing four straight wins, and fought off Turnbull's runner Heza Thrill NZ, which had moved to the death mid-race. Mat Rue aboard Kenny Dee Dee ($4.90, for Bernie Hewitt ) took the opportunity for a cart into the race on the back of Heza Thrill, and ranged up in the shadows of the post to just get over the top of the other two. With the final three quarters all dispatched in sub 29s, the mile rate was a quick 1:57.3 for the 2260 metres. It was win number 15 for the Speed King five-year-old, bringing up a total of 56 wins for the progeny of his dam Beat The Clock, which connections purchased cheaply some years ago from Queensland breeder Stan Fyfe. The mare was humanely put down recently, but has been a wonderful producer for her proud owners Bob Boyd and Deirdre Masters. Both Robbie Morris and Amanda Turnbull scored driving doubles at the meeting, as did concession reinsman Chris Geary. Turnbull's earlier winner was Star Writer ($3.10, for father Steve ) which tracked three-wide over the final quick half of a C2-C4 class, for a very gutsy win in 1:58.8, and Morris picked up his second win in the 2YO final event, with Brobenah Boy ($6.20, for Bernie Hewitt ) leading throughout and dashing home in 27.8 for his first win at start number four. Geary's double came in the opening races, both for Belinda McCarthy. Somepartysomewhere ($3.80 ) took advantage of an early scrimmage in the 3YO event to find the front before dashing home in 57.2 seconds for his second win in succession, to remain unbeaten this season. Imnoracinggal NZ ($2.60 ) belied her name with the night's easiest win, by a mere 22.5 metres, in C1 company, Geary making a well-judged move after the bell to wrest the lead from runners feeling the pinch after a lead time of 45.3 seconds, the fastest so far at the track. Overall mile rate was 1:56.6, seldom bettered for the testing 2260 metres run at Bathurst. Geary currently sits in third place in the NSW driving ranks, behind Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris, with more than 70 winners, but is reluctant to talk about his chances of cracking a century. In his current form, and getting drives from strong stables, he must be a good chance. Castlereagh trainer Anthony Simiana missed his double when Franco Tiago got nabbed in that fast-class race later in the night, but was delighted earlier on when Walkabout Creek ($5.40, Wes Komorowski ) made it a hat-trick of wins since his recent purchase, in a conditioned class heat of the Dubbo Golden Gig. With the speed on throughout, he came three-wide from the half for a tough win, in 1:55.6 for the sprint trip. A beautifully-bred son of Somebeachsomewhere from fine racemare Trudee, he still displays some poor manners but has improved under Simiana's care and by working with other horses. There was no tougher win on Friday than that of the Steve Turnbull-trained and driven Sabrage NZ ($1.70 ), on debut in Oz and posted three-wide for a long way in C0 class, before eventually finding the death seat. Steve Turnbull  didn't think he'd got up in the photo from Summer Money, but his relief was tempered with some anxiety about his youngster having a gut-buster first-up. Everyone at Bathurst is well used to the sight of female drivers weighing in first, but it was refreshing to see a female steward, Annie Carruthers, checking the runners and signalling the all-clear after one of the races on Friday. Her seniors on the stewards panel tell me the young cadet is showing a lot of promise, and is only a couple of months off being ready to take charge of a race meeting. Great to see, and with a surname the same as Australia's first world boxing champ, she's sure to handle whatever comes her way! Terry Neil

Harness racing driver Robbie Morris will drive Iam Mr Brightside at Tabcorp Park Menangle in the Kevin Newman Cup after the five-year-old gelding drew barrier one.  Morris also had the option to drive Lettucerockthem in the race as they are both trained by his partner Kerryann Turner. Morris decided to drive the son of Julius Caesar while leading freelance driver Josh Willick will be in the sulky behind Lettucerockthem. “Both horses are owned by the same people so that makes the decision a bit easier, Bill and John Green have been long term stable clients and it is good to have two nice horses for them at the same time,” Morris said. “Taking the drive on Iam Mr Brightside seems the right way to go, he is more forward than Lettucerockthem and is likely to land behind the leader while the other one is going to have to come from the tail of the field.” An early return to the sulky for Kerryann Turner after the birth of her son was not discussed. “It is up to Kerryann if and when she wants to make a return to driving in races but she has a lot on her plate at the moment so I don’t think she is in any rush. “We haven’t talked about her making a comeback, Archie isn’t even a month old and there are plenty of races every week that she can drive in once she wants to make a comeback.” Morris and Turner are considering a Victorian campaign for Iam Mr Brightside while Lettucerockthem will concentrate on upcoming features in New South Wales. “We are looking at the Victoria and Hunter Cups with Iam Mr Brightside if his forms warrants it, he has only had one trial from the stand and he began slowly but did everything right. “After that we would look to get him back to Sydney for the Miracle Mile qualifiers while Lettucerockthem will stay in Sydney and just target the qualifiers.” At Sunday’s Ready2Run Sale, Bill and John Green were looking to find their next Iam Mr Brightside and Morris is happy with the purchase they made. “The Greens bought lot three, he is an Art Major that trialled really well last Sunday but he is already in the paddock having a break. “He is super-gaited and paid up for the Breeders Challenge, Breeders Crown and Australian Pacing Gold so there are a few options if he measures up to what we think he can be. Greg Hayes

The Australian Driving Championships will be conducted at Launceston this Sunday evening with twelve of the nation's best harness racing drivers competing for the title. Each state will be represented by two drivers and NSW representatives Robbie Morris and Lauren Panella are both set to arrive in Tasmania on Sunday morning. Morris is awaiting the arrival of his first child with partner Kerryann Turner due to give birth last Friday but the pair is adamant the leading male driver in NSW last season will take his place in the Championship. "I've spoken with Kerryann about it and she said that opportunities to drive in a series like this don't come along very often in your career and she wants me to compete but I guess I'll just have to see what happens between now and Sunday," Morris said. "In an ideal world Kerryann would go into labour on Thursday and everything would fall into place but knowing my luck she will probably start having the baby as soon as I arrive in Tasmania on Sunday." In the heats Morris has drawn several strong chances including Paint The Wind in race three, The Bettormack in race four, Major Callum in race five and El Jays Minerva is race six. Those strong chances will make Morris one of the favourites to win the series. Lauren Panella will drive in Victoria on Friday evening before returning to Sydney to drive at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday and is also preparing for a trip across to Western Australia for the upcoming Inter Dominion later this month. Panella won the NSW Drivers Premiership last season despite missing the final ten weeks of the season with a broken wrist and will be representing NSW for the first time. In race two Panella will drive Kyleasha which has a strong winning chance and her drives in the following two races, Thatswhatshesaid and Our Percius have each way hopes. Last year's Australian Driving Championship was won by Queensland's Peter McMullen with NSW representatives Blake Fitzpatrick and Amanda Turnbull finishing 6th and 10th respectively. Greg Hayes

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