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Sydneysider Robert Morris didn't take long to get into the winner's circle during his latest harness racing border-hopping raid. Morris, who trains out of "Lucky Lodge" with his wife KerryAnn at Menangle, has taken a strong team of eight horses to campaign in Queensland for the next few weeks. A similar hit and run visit during the Queensland winter carnival saw the popular horseman land more than a dozen winners, collecting $85,000 in stakemoney. "We sort of decided on this trip after we checked out the program for their Summer Carnival and we hopefully have the right horses for the right time," Morris said. The trip started off in promising fashion at Brisbane headquarters Albion Park on Friday night, with a narrow second placing with Take In The Gold. Gotta Be Downtown (Gotta Go Cullect-Downtown HollyBrown) went one better and got the money on Saturday in the $13,000 Changeover @ Burwood Stud Mares Qualifying Pace. "She's a nice mare owned by Neil Edge over in New Zealand. After wins at Bathurst, Goulburn and Penrith, she did well at a few Menangle runs," Morris said. "Hopefully she can keep doing the job for us. She's the only one we train for Neil at the moment. He breeds a few each year, but normally concentrates on square-gaiters," he said. Morris said he was on "a bit of a downer" over the poor performance of in-form four-year-old trotting mare Princess Kenny, who ran ninth being beaten by 32 metres. "I thought she was my best chance but didn't fire a shot. I'll have to try and sort that one out in the next few days because there's another round of championship heats coming up," he said. "It was disappointing because she's been in terrific form winning her previous four starts fairly easily back home. "She will now need to do something special to get herself a place in the Group One Final of $50,000 on Saturday week, December 21, but we'll give it our best." Robert Morris The Championship is named in the memory of former legendary horseman Darrell Alexander, who was a fitness fanatic throughout his life, but was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late 2004 and sadly passed away in March 2005. He was only 65. Alexander, fondly known as DJA, was born and grew up in Wynyard, Tasmania. He went on to take the sport in the Apple Isle by storm, winning five 'Tassie' premiership titles and a host of feature events. A holiday in Queensland in the '80s resulted in him being offered the role of private trainer for then Racing Minister Russ Hinze. Over a three-and-a-half-year period with the racing magnate, DJA was prominent as a trainer and driver. When the curtain came down, he had driven 1315 winners. While Morris is racing up north, wife KerryAnn is in charge of about 35 others back home. "Unfortunately, we couldn't both get away. We have a four-year-old son Archie, and we decided it was best for him to be home with KerryAnn," Morris said. "I'm again staying with Grant and Trista Dixon at Tamborine. I've come up with some lovely horses so with a bit of luck we'll do okay," he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A former Kiwi pacer destined to become a star in NSW has a huge fan in ace Sydney harness racing horseman Robert Morris. Three-year-old gelding Balraj NZ (Art Major-Mahendra (Courage Under Fire) has burst onto the scene in spectacular fashion, with three spine-tingling undefeated runs. Prepared by astute hobby trainer Shaun Simiana, who trains at Hawkesbury, Balraj has not only got faster at each of his three appearances on Australian soil, but his winning margins have got bigger. Morris was understandably impressed with Balraj's first two runs, but his most recent start at Newcastle took the cake when he absolutely blew away his rivals to set a new track record of 1.50-9 and a winning margin of 55.9 metres! "The horse has been a bit of a surprise packet because he's still got a lot to learn, which might sound scary," Morris said. "He's still a little green and certainly not your typical horse that glides along. He can get on one rein at times, as well as become a little rough," he said. "But incredibly, while there's a lot for Balraj to learn, there doesn't seem to be an ending to him. The horse is quite unreal in the way he just gets the job done. "There's certainly some fun times ahead for Shaun (trainer) and his three mates who purchased the horse. He's certainly exciting and Shaun has him looking an absolute picture." Newcastle Harness Racing Club secretary-manager Wayne Smith believed Monday's winning margin was the biggest seen at the track, beating the effort of the Shane Tritton-trained Arms Of An Angel (32.4m) in 2015. Balraj blitzes them!  The photo finish of this week’s record-breaking Newcastle run Prior to crossing the Tasman Sea, Balraj had three unplaced runs at Addington, Rangiora and Omakau, but then turned it around with two wins at Forbury. Two months later, Simiana produced his newly-acquired pacer at Penrith where they won a qualifying trial over 1720m in two minutes. It was four weeks later when they returned to Penrith, but this time it was at the races. Morris worked forward in the early stages, and despite having to balance him up on the final bend, Balraj was too good. He won by 7.1 metres in 1.58-7. The next assignment was Newcastle on June 14. After galloping for a few strides at the start, the youngster again went forward. Morris allowed him to stretch out over the final stages and they recorded a 25.7m victory in an impressive 1.52-7. But it was his latest performance at Newcastle that has everyone, rightfully so, touting Balraj as a shining star of the future. In taking out the $6360 Tooheys Pace by one of the biggest winning margins ever seen at the venue, the pacer eclipsed the previous track record of 1.51-4 held by Majordan, by half a second. "I knew we were running along, but the time did surprise me," Morris said. "The third quarter was 26.4 and he went a bit awkward around the bend, but then he straightened up and dug in again with a final split of 27.9. He's got some class about him." Morris said Simiana had only ever worked small teams of horses. "He's always had one or two going around and does them as a hobby around his work. "They decided to buy one from New Zealand with the idea of having a bit of fun. They all love the sport and I'm certain they are in for some great times." Morris, 27, who began driving professionally just over a decade ago, has now landed more than 1250 winners. The Menangle Park based reinsman forms a formidable combination with his talented, horse training wife Kerry Ann.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

BARRIER draws will force reinsman Robert Morris to utilise all the driving skills he has at Penrith tonight. Having sat behind more than 1200 winners in his career, Morris admits luck will play a big role in any results he does achieve however believes he has the horsepower to help him. “It’s going to be a difficult night and I’m going to have to think through each drive,” Morris said. The Menangle Park reinsman’s first drive is with Stormont Star in race two. Trained by Morris’ wife KerryAnn Morris, Stormont Star has drawn inside the second row. “Barrier seven doesn’t look great on paper but if the barrier one horse [Rockn Brushgrove] comes out well, we should end up in a good position,” Morris said. “He will run a good race either way on what his work has been like. “His form does look a bit patchy of late but his work at home has been great. “We’ve freshened him up and changed his work around.” In the following race, Morris will sit behind last start winner Prophesy. The mare will have to overcome barrier nine to make it back-to-back wins at that track. “We’ve certainly found our groove with her now and she is probably my best chance of the night,” Morris said. “Her last couple of runs have been super and even though she has some missed placings next to her name, they have still been good runs.” Morris’ final drive for his wife on the night is behind the pacer Squire in race five. The gelding has drawn outside the front row in barrier six. “Squire is a really nice horse but it is going to be tough where he is drawn,” Morris said. “Benicio has drawn underneath him so I will most likely have to go back at the start and hope they are running hard in front to bring me into the race. “He is good enough to be there at the end.” Morris will also be competing at Newcastle’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting tomorrow night before preparing for a number of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The 27-year-old has been driving across the state in recent weeks as well as interstate and is looking forward to having a rest this Sunday. “I’ve been travelling all over the place and even somehow ended up in Queensland last week for the Australian Pacing Gold and this Sunday will be my first day off in while so I’m looking forward to sleeping in,” Morris said. The hard work has paid off, however, with Morris already steering 62 winners this season, extending his overall total to 1245.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

A number of New South Wales drivers are rallying their support behind Victorian Mini Trot driver Connor Clarke who is currently undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a condition rare in children. Without even meeting young Connor, his story has touched many hearts and some of this state’s leading reinsmen and women are showing their support. Connor is just 14-years-old and has to spend time away from his family and friends whilst undergoing the 18-week course of treatment. From Ballarat, Connor is having his treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital, 1.5 hours away from his loved ones. One of the state’s leading drivers Robert Morris is more than happy to donate to the cause. “It’s so sad and I’ve decided to donate my driving fees from Bankstown (tonight) as well as Menangle (Saturday night) to try and help Connor and his family in this time,” Morris said. “To see such a young kid go through something like this just breaks my heart.” The state’s leading driver Amanda Turnbull is also donating all of her driving fees from Bankstown tonight where she had five drives. Meanwhile, leading reinsmen Todd McCarthy and Jack Trainor have agreed to donate their driving fees and percentages from their drives at Menangle on Saturday night which add up to 13 drives collectively. And so too is Inter Dominion winning reinsman James Rattray who has a number of drives at Albion Park this Saturday night. Harness racing participant Maria Furina helped co-ordinate this fundraising after being touched by Connor’s story. “It’s just something that I want to do, I want to help Connor,” the mother of one-year-old Charlie said. “Two years ago I shaved my head and helped raise over $15,000 the Leukaemia Foundation Shave For A Cure. “A lot of people donated and helped with that and hopefully we can help Connor too. “Chris Alford, Greg Sugars, Grant Dixon and Shane Graham are all donating their driving fees from Saturday night too. "Luke McCarthy is giving Connor a service fee to For A Reason so he can breed a horse one day and have something to look forward to. “Garrards Horse and Hound, Zilco International and Finntack are also donating products which will have raffle tickets available for purchase through the Garrards Horse and Hound stores at Menangle and Bendigo. “Connor’s parents Belinda and Steven are just absolutely blown away and extremely humbled by everyone's generosity in this trying time and are so happy to see the industry pull together in their time of need. “They are a lovely family and have four children of their own and still find room in their hearts and home to care for foster children.” There is also a Go Fund Me page set up for Connor called Connor’s Cancer Journey which can be found here.  Amanda Rando

Snaring a couple of winners over the weekend has not only pushed reinsman Robert Morris up the driving ranks in the state but it has also moved him closer to achieving a special harness racing milestone. The 25-year-old is just three wins shy of driving 1000 winners in his career and he believes he can reach the landmark by the end of this week. "I should be able to get to 1000 winners this week, or at least I hope so," Morris said. Since 1975, only 17 other drivers from New South Wales have driven more than 1000 winners in their respective careers. And Morris has a strong chance of adding his name amongst this list with a strong book of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. "I have a couple of strong chances," he said. "The Smiler in the claiming event should run a good race and I also think Overtaking Lane should run a nice race first up for KerryAnn (Turner). "We brought back Overtaking Lane from Junee last week and she is a nice enough little horse that has been ultra-consistent." Morris originally has six drives at today's meeting but lost his first drive of the day on Yankee Commando in the Canadian Club Trotters Mobile (1609m) after the horse was sold to interstate connections. Subsequently, Morris' first drive will be on Overtaking Lane in the Ainsworth Technologies Pace (1609m) which is having her first start in Sydney having done all of her previous racing in the Riverina. Morris will then drive My Guy Mac in the Allied Express Claiming Pace (1609m) and then jump in the sulky a race later to drive last-start winner The Lions Roar in the Garrards Horse and Hound Pace (1609m). There will be no rest for Morris as a race later he will drive Heza Swinger in the Wards Accounting Group Pace (1609m) before ending the day on board The Smiler in the final race on the program, the Cordina Chickens Claiming Pace (2300m). Just last Saturday night, Morris drove the second last winner on the program at Menangle when saluting with the trotter Visualise. A day later Morris was back in the winners' circle at Goulburn's TAB.com.au Carnival of Cups meeting when saluting with the unhoppled pacer I Am Serengeti in the Guineas. These victories have pushed Morris closer to the top of the New South Wales Drivers' Premiership where he is now just one win behind the leader Chris Geary. Morris has driven 56 winners and 77 places in 326 drives this season in this state but nationally has driven 64 winners. Last season Morris had his best result yet in the sulky driving 184 winners. He began driving professionally in 2008 and his overall record currently stands at 997 wins and 1695 places in 6662 drives.   AMANDA RANDO

Leading harness racing horsewoman KerryAnn Turner and partner Robert Morris will cover a lot of miles this weekend but their most important mile is on track this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Menangle. As the countdown to the Chariots Of Fire ramps up, Turner and Morris' gun pacer Charlaval will take on some of Australasia's best four-year-olds to earn a spot in the Group One on February 11. Going head-to-head with the likes of last season's Horse of the Year Our Waikiki Beach and this term's unbeaten star Salty Robyn in Saturday's Hondo Grattan Stakes, Charlaval is bringing his best form into the Group Two. The gelding is unbeaten in four starts and that includes his personal best winning mile rate of 1:51.9 set at Menangle last weekend. "Every time he has a break he comes back stronger and better and his preparation has been faultless," Morris said. "He has become more confident with each run." But will that be enough to wear down his classy rivals? According to the TAB Fixed Odds market, Charlaval is currently ranked as a $21 chance and the only two horses in single figures are Our Waikiki Beach ($1.90) and Salty Robyn ($2.30). "The faster they go and the harder they go the better it will be for Charlaval," Morris said. "We believe he is a lot better sitting off the speed and drawn in barrier four, hopefully we can slot straight into the running line and keep our fingers crossed. "It's a hard race . . . I can't split Our Waikiki Beach and Salty Robyn who has been a revelation this season. "Our Waikiki Beach doesn't need any recommendations, he's a good horse . . . a lot of people said he was plain last week but I thought his run was the best of the night. "I've driven a lot of horses at Menangle and horses just don't do what he did and the only thing that beat him was his barrier." Our Waikiki Beach finished third and it was just his second defeat in 25 starts while Salty Robyn has won his eight starts this season and last start sat parked and clocked 1:49.2. And it is for this reason that trainer Shane Tritton believes Salty Robyn should be the favourite for this feature. "If you go on latest form, no reputations, then Salty Robyn has to be the one to beat," Tritton said. "I hope Johnny (McCarthy) can get Waikiki away quickly enough to lead . . . I'd like Salty to sit outside him." With trainer-driver Mark Purdon in Victoria driving Lazarus in the Group One Ballarat Cup on Saturday night, the leading New Zealand conditioner has engaged John McCarthy to drive Our Waikiki Beach. Purdon also has Have Faith In Me engaged on the night. It is also a busy time for Morris and Turner too who on Friday split their team between Bathurst and Newcastle, are racing at Menangle on Saturday and then are heading to Canberra on Sunday. "It will be a busy couple of days but we have good owners and a lot of nice horses and we try to place them as best as we can," Morris said. Morris is just two wins behind Chris Geary in the New South Wales Drivers Premiership having driven 51 winners this season and Turner is also in second place in the NSW Trainers Premiership with 55 winners. AMANDA RANDO

Harness racings big day at Menangle yesterday was full of firsts for a lot of drivers and trainers involved. Kerry Ann Turner claimed her first Group 1 when Lettucerockthem was way too good in the four year old colts and geldings division of the $100,000 Breeders Challenge Finals after a great drive in front by her partner Robbie Morris. Not long after that was the sight of Luda getting home in the $100,000 four year old mares final for her young trainer Daniel Neagoe and her equally young driver David Morris. It was the first Group 1 victory for both the trainer and driver and showed both have the talent to make it at the highest level. Mark Purdon stamped his mark on the days proceedings by winning three of the six Group 1 features on offer and continued the great run the stable is having in both Sydney and Brisbane during their winter campaign. As usual Greg Hayes got around to interview a lot of the drivers and trainers and owners and we include those videos here. Harnesslink Media  

Astute mentors Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris left the harness racing trials at Menangle  yesterday absolutely thrilled (Tuesday).   Their stable stars Aztec Bromac and Iam Mr Brightside both pleased in public trials and proved conclusively that a Queensland winter carnival campaign is on target.   The Menangle based couple are currently enjoying another hugely successful season, they’re just shy of 100 winners with several months still remaining before seasons end.   A Brisbane campaign was divulged following their most recent efforts where both pacers contested Group 1 events on March 1, Inter Dominion Grand Final day.   “We gave both boys a freshen-up following their most recent efforts and both have returned in very good order, if anything, Aztec must just be a little further advanced in comparison to Brightside but he is a year younger.” Morris said.   Aztec Bromac hasn’t started since contesting the Gr.1 $200,000 New South Wales Derby won by Victorian colt Ideal For Real while Iam Mr Brightside contested the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire won by New Zealand star Sky Major.   The Queensland winter carnival features several targets for Aztec Bromac including all Derby features (Queensland, Redcliffe & Gold Coast) plus the inaugural running of the Gr.1 $100,000 Nursery Fly.   Yesterday, Aztec Bromac chased home former North American pacer Johny Rock in a time of 1;53.8 for the 1609m hit-out.   “He went really well and it proved he’s come back in very good order, he can go straight into a race following that trial and we’ll look for something within the next fortnight to start his campaign.   “The Redcliffe Derby takes place on June 5 and I’m pretty sure we’ll be heading up for that race and then we’ll just concentrate on all the other features thereafter, he’s got so much he’s eligible for up there and the prizemoney is very attractive.   “He’s proven that he’s a classy horse with a good future, he proved that he’s competitive against the best colts going around and this campaign fits in really well. His speed is his best asset and he’ll prove tough to beat in anything he contests.”   Iam Mr Brightside finished fourth in his 1609m trial won by classy mare Ocean Diva in a time of 1;58.1 but was never extended at any stage up the home straight.   Obvious targets during his Brisbane campaign include the Gr.2 $50,000 4yo Championship and the Gr.2 $50,000 4 & 5yo Championships in July.   “He went well and it was a really nice start point for him, being a year older he’ll probably take a bit more work compared to Aztec but I was happy with the way he felt up the lane.   “He’ll trial again before we look at a race return for him, he had a good blow after the trial but he’ll tighten up pretty quickly following that hit-out. His next trial will be more serious and that will give us a good guide.   “He’s a high quality pacer that always performs at a high level; he’s no stranger to Brisbane after racing there last season against Bling It On in the Nursery Pace Final. This carnival has some really nice options for him.”   Turner is ranked third in the state premiership behind Shane Tritton and Steve Turnbull while Morris is currently fifth in the state driver’s premiership which is led by Lauren Panella.   Chris Barsby - Racing Queensland

NSW harness racing reinsman Robbie Morris had very little luck during the Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC) in New Zealand over the weekend. The popular reinsman finished ninth overall after driving in six of the seven heats during the Championship with his best result a fourth at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Throughout the Championship the average odds of horses driven by Morris was 20 to 1, however the 23 year old still left New Zealand on a winning note driving $81 chance Sioux Nation to victory in the final race, a non AYDC event, at Timaru on Sunday afternoon. "It may have not been part of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship but it was still a great feeling to drive a winner in New Zealand," Morris said. "I really enjoyed the experience, it was a great opportunity for me to represent New South Wales and I would like to thank HRNSW for the opportunity." Morris had never driven in New Zealand previously and had his first experience driving on a right handed track when he competed at Alexandra Park. "It was fantastic that the drivers were given the opportunity to drive at both of the big tracks in New Zealand, I have watched so many races from Addington and Alexandra Park, it was a thrill to get the chance to drive on both of them." Having driven 72 winners in NSW with more than three months still remaining in the current season, Morris will return to Australia and aim towards his season goal of 100 winners. "I've driven 100 winners each season for the past three years and that is a goal I will be aiming at between now and the end of the season. "I will be back driving at Menangle on Tuesday afternoon but it was good to see the team back home in Australia get a winner on Saturday night with Stormont Czar winning with Rickie Alchin driving." - HRNSW Media

The 2015 edition of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship was decided today at the Timaru Harness Racing Club's meeting at Phar Lap Raceway. Conducted over seven races at four different tracks over four days, the championship was keenly fought for by six young drivers from Australia and four from New Zealand. Robbie Close representing New Zealand's South Island went into the last two races today with a twelve point lead over his nearest rival Andre Poutama and Robbie quickly put the contest to bed when he won the first of today's two heats with a lovely drive on the trotter Saint Michel. Away well from barrier one to lead early, Saint Michel was taken on in the mid stages and ended up three back on the inner going past the 400 metres mark. Angling off the inner on the point of the turn, Robbie pulled Saint Michel out four wide as they turned for home and slowly reeled in the leader Clean Break with Trent Moffat in the bike while Price Of Fame and Josh Aiken flew late for third just in front of Peterhof and Jake Webster. With the 17 points for the win, Robbie had an unassailable lead of 27 points going into the last heat of the series later in the day. Mind you all the other drivers still had plenty to aim for and after a stirring race Coringa Delight and Tom Buchanan had a half head to spare from Secret Lotion and Dylan Ford with 6 1/2 lengths back to Indian Arrow and Josh Aiken and a further 1 1/2 lengths back to Betabcool and Michele Neilson with Robbie Close only picking up one point with a last placing. When all the points were tallied up the final result looked like this. 1st - Robbie Close (NZ)  -  77 2nd - Andre Poutama (NZ) -  52 3rd = Tom Buchanan (WA) -  51 3rd = Michele Neilson (NZ) -  51 5th - Dylan Ford (TAS) -  48 6th - Jake Webster (SA) -  44 7th = Trent Moffat (QLD -  39 7th = Josh Aiken (VIC) -  39 9th - Robbie Morris (NSW) -  27 10th - Ben Butcher (NZ) -  26 This season has been Robbie's best to date with 24 wins so far and 88 wins lifetime which is a great achievement with the limited opportunities for junior drivers overall in New Zealand compared to their Australian counterparts.  We here at Harnesslink would like to congratulate Robbie on winning the title and wish him all the best for the rest of the season. Harnesslink Media

This years Lone Star Riccarton Australasian Young Drivers Championship got under way at last nights harness racing meeting at Cambridge and the defending champion Andre Poutama immediately showed that he wasn't going to give up the title without a real fight. This years series is being run over seven races at four race meetings across New Zealand and last night saw the first two of those seven races run. First blood went to the defending champion Andre Poutama from New Zealand who settled Sapphire Castleton in the trail behind the pacemaking Tereskova driven by Tom Buchanan from Western Australia and then used the passing lane to good effect to nail Tereskova right on the line. Silver Stream off 50 metres with Dylan Ford from Tasmania in the bike ran on well to grab third in front of Madam Simone and Jake Webster from South Australia. The second heat saw New Zealand's South Island representative Robbie Close grab the early lead with Balius with the hot favourite Forever An Angel and Josh Aiken sitting in the death seat after Robbie wouldn't hand up the front with Balius. Passing the 800 metres Forever An Angel went into a wild gallop and caused a bit of carnage back in the field which left Balius clear in the lead. The only danger was Elusive Edgar with Dylan Ford in the bike in the trail and try as they might, they couldn't run down Balius.  Mach Cullen and Andre Poutama flew home late for third after copping a interrupted run with Stars Star and Jake Webster running on into fourth. Robbie Close can count himself a little bit fortunate to win the race as he copped a $250 fine  from stewards for squeezing Elusive Edgar up when crossing to the lead early. After the first two heats the points table sits like this. Andre Poutama     26  Robbie Close        21 Dylan Ford           21 Tom Buchanan     18 Jake Webster       14 Robbie Morris        9 Michele Neilson     7 Josh Aiken            6 Trent Moffat           6 Ben Butcher           4 The series continues tonight at Alexandra Park before shifting to Addington tomorrow and Timaru on Sunday Harnesslink Media  

This seasons Australasian Young Drivers Championship gets under way at tonights harness racing meeting at Cambridge Raceway in New Zealand with six drivers from Australia and four from New Zealand involved in the series. Ten of the best rising talents of the driving ranks across two countries will square off in a seven race series across four race meetings after which a winner will be crowned.   Things kick off at Cambridge tonight with two heats before the group head to Alexandra Park tomorrow night for two more heats.   They then shift down New Zealand to the South Island and Addington Raceway where they will have one heat on one of the bigger days of racing on the New Zealand calendar before the competition winds up with two heats at Timaru on Sunday.   Representing New South Wales this season is Robbie Morris and he is thrilled to have been given the opportunity.   "Ever since I have been involved in harness racing I've always dreamed of representing my state"   "It's a real privilege to do so"    " My dad drove in the series a long time ago so I'm rapt to be following in his footsteps."   " These series come down to the luck of the draw a bit with what horse you draw in the ballot but I will be giving it my best shot."   "I haven't been to New Zealand before so I am looking forward to it,"   " Kerry Ann (Turner) and I have watched a lot of racing from New Zealand on Sky so it will good to have a look around," Robbie said.   Robbie Morris has already racked up 72 winners this season in New South Wales and looms as one of the favourites to take out the overall title in New Zealand.   Harnesslink Media

On Friday evening  6 March, 2015 HRNSW Stewards concluded an inquiry which had been adjourned from the Menangle Park race meeting on 21 February, 2015 to permit Stewards to review several races of interest regarding the use of the whip by driver Robert Morris and in particular his driving of Abettorrose in this race. At the resumed inquiry the Stewards reviewed the official vision of races from the race meetings held on 14, 20 and 21 February at Menangle Park. After considering Mr. Morris’ explanations in regards to these matters the Stewards issued the following charges. Under Rule 297(7): That when driving Iam Mr Brightside in Race 4 - Form 700 Hondo Grattan Stakes (Group 2) at Menangle Park on Saturday, 14 February, 2015 by using the whip with a free hand he had failed to comply with a direction previously provided by the Stewards at Bathurst on 21 January, 2015. That when driving Pompidou Race 6 - WDC Heats Wednesday @ Bathurst Pace at Menangle Park on Friday, 20 February, 2015 by using the whip with a free hand he had failed to comply with a direction previously provided by the Stewards at Bathurst on 21 January, 2015. That when driving Sing It Loud in Race 3 - WDC Heats Sunday @ Newcastle Ladyship Pace at Menangle Park on Friday, 20 February, 2015 by using the whip with a free hand he had failed to comply with a direction previously provided by the Stewards at Bathurst on 21 January, 2015. That when driving Abettorrose in Race 6 - Best In Beds Pink Bonnet (Group 2)at Menangle Park on Saturday, 21 February, 2015 he had failed to comply with a direction previously provided by the Stewards at Bathurst on 21 January, 2015 (Rule 297(7)) by using the whip with a free hand. Under Rule 156(3)(b): That when driving Charlaval in Race 4 - Tabcorp Rod Fitzpatrick Memorial (Group 2) at Menangle Park on Saturday, 21 February, 2015 he did use the whip excessively. Mr. Morris plead guilty to all charges. In regards to (four) Charges issued under Rule 297(7), Mr Morris was fined $ 250 in each instance. In regards to the charge under Rule 156(3)(b) the Stewards determined that Mr. Morris’s licence to drive in races be suspended for a period of twenty-one (21) days to commence at midnight on Friday, 6 March, 2015. In addition the Stewards directed that Mr. Morris be required to have a rein in each hand when applying the whip for a period of two months commencing from 21 February, 2015. In determining this penalty the Stewards took into account Mr. Morris’s plea, his driving record in whip related breaches which the Stewards considered unsatisfactory and the HRNSW Penalty Guidelines. Furthermore Mr. Morris was placed on notice that frequent and continued breaches of the Rules relating to the use of the whip might result in more severe sanctions being applied. Mr. Morris will be referred to the HRNSW Driver Mentoring Panel to review his breaches. Mr. Morris was informed of his right to appeal these decisions. Harness Racing New South Wales  

WHAT threatened to turn into a horror night for Shane Tritton - Lauren Panella team took a turn for the better when outstanding youngster Salty Robyn captured tonight's $51,000 Tabcorp Rod Fitzpatrick Memorial at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Panella endured something of a horror night when two of her earlier drives had galloped out of the mobile. And when Salty Robyn skipped for a few strides, Panella's huge band of followers must have had their hearts in their mouths. Still Salty Robyn settled quickly after the tardy beginning and came with a withering burst to score an impressive win in the time-honoured feature for two-year-olds. The son of Art Official rated 1:53.9 to beat Machamillion, Redbank Lenny and Boobalaga Road showing he is definitely a horse of the future. "We always knew we had something special on our hands with this fellow and watching some of the two-year-olds go 1:55 and 1:54 in races we knew he would need to be if he was going to beat them," said trainer Shane Tritton. "Thankfully he settled down after that early break and showed how good he is. "Plan A wasn't to gallop, that's for sure. Thankfully Plan B worked and Lauren did well to get him into the race with a good drive." An hour or so later, Tritton was lamenting another galloper when the well-backed Alabama Shakes galloped, losing all chance in the Best In Beds Pink Bonnet. The two-year-old fillies' classic went to lightly-raced Abettorrose, raced by the NSW Harness Racing Club for a different charity every time she goes around. Trained by KerryAnn Turner and driven by Robert Morris, the daughter of Bettors Delight fought off all challengers in the straight to score a strong win in 1:56.4, beating Art Mistress and Shes Bettor by a head. Abettorrose        

It has been a big week for young reinsman Robbie Morris. Less than a week ago he was announced as the NSW representative in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship, and then on Saturday night watched the Sky Racing monitors at Tabcorp Park Menangle as his partner Kerryann Turner trained and drove Aztec Bromac to victory in the first heat of the Victoria Derby at Melton. Morris has been the regular driver of Aztec Bromac in his career and it has been confirmed that he will drive the three year old again this week in the Gr. 1 event. "Kerryann and I have spoken about it and it has been decided that I will go down on Saturday to drive Aztec Bromac in the Derby," Morris said. "Kerryann has some important drives at Menangle this weekend including Zenable and Lettuceriprita so she will be in Sydney this weekend and I will head to Melbourne." Aztec Bromac is only lightly raced having competed just six times for four victories. "He's a nice horse and I don't think anyone thought we would be competing in a Derby but it has been a great ride so far and we're just happy to be there." "The two owners that are in him are long term owners and haven't had a real top liner so it is nice to see them get a horse like this. He will race on Saturday night and then return to Sydney in an attempt to qualify for the New South Wales Derby." Aztec Bromac has remained in Victoria this week after his heat win. "Kerryann has been stabled at Shepparton with Daniel Jack and he has a great setup, so she will be able to give Aztec Bromac his last hit out and then come back to Sydney and I will go down on Saturday morning." By Greg Hayes

Young harness racing participant Robert Morris has been selected as the New South Wales representative in the 2015 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship to be held in New Zealand in May.  Morris has driven in more than 4800 races and has won in excess of 660 of those since his first drive on January 4, 2008. “It is a massive thrill for me to be selected to represent my state against the best young drivers from Australia and New Zealand,” Morris said. “It is a good reward for all of the hard work and in a sport where there are very few opportunities to represent your state and country, I am very proud to be the New South Wales representative.” The series will be conducted at Cambridge, Alexandra Park, Addington and Timaru from May 7 to 10. “I have never had the opportunity to drive in New Zealand and it is something I have always wanted to do, so I am looking forward to it,” Morris said. “Plus I have never driven in a race where they run clockwise, so that will be something new for me at Alexandra Park. “The last 12 months have been tougher than previous years because of the leg injury I sustained, but I still managed to drive 103 winners for the season which was always my goal.” Morris was sidelined from April 25 until August 5 last year but returned to the sulky to drive 14 winners in three weeks to finish the season in strong form.  “I was lucky enough to win the NSW Rising Stars series for junior drivers in 2009, but this experience will take everything to the next level,” Morris said. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny congratulated Morris on his selection and wished him the best of luck later in the year. “Robbie is not only a good young driver but is a strong contributor to the promotion of the industry and deserves the opportunity to represent the state of New South Wales.” Dumesny said GREG HAYES

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