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Rockntouch, driven by Mickey McNichol, used a furious stretch drive to nail Here Comes William, handled by Donald Dupont, right on the wire to take Pompano Park's $9,500 Open Handicap Pace on the Sunday harness racing night, covering the mile in a lifetime best 1:52. Trained by Odell Thompson for the Fred Monteleone Stable and Salvatore Promuto, this four year-old altered son of Rock N Roll Heaven was the beneficiary of suicidal early fractions--:26 and :54.3-to score by a head. Goldstar Raider with Wally Hennessey in the sulky, finished third, just a neck off the winner while Abreathofreshart, last until mid-stretch, finished fourth, 1¼ lengths away. Northern Companion, prominent the entire mile, finished fifth in the field of nine. Providing the early fireworks was Heartfelt (Walter Rodd, Jr.) who blasted out of the gate from post position eight to engage Sir Globalop Z Tam (Andy Santeramo) in a fist fight through that aforementioned hot opener of :26. Northern Companion (Dave Ingraham), on the prowl early from the outside post nine, eventually settled in third while Here Comes William, also looking for an up-close spot, wended his way into fourth. As Heart Felt continued to blaze around the oval to the :54.3 half, Northern Companion was on the move again with Here Comes William following the live cover and Goldstar Raider now third over with Rockntouch anxiously following into the outer flow, as well. With three quarters in 1:22.4, Northern Companion surged on even terms with Heart Felt with Here Comes William charging three deep, Goldstar Raider fanning further out and Rockntouch widest of all in a cavalry charge to the wire. After the event, driver Mickey McNichol related, "Sometimes things just go your way and tonight it did just that. I wasn't going to get mixed up in that early scuffle because I would have taken a chance of being hung out to dry. "Of course, the hot pace helped. When I saw :54.3 at the half, I was just following some live cover. I was still fourth over but much closer as the field tightened up turning for home. "My horse found his bets stride when it counted and that was that." For Rockntouch, it was his second in in a row and sixth this year in 12 starts, good for $22,874. Lifetime, the four year-old has $68,760 on his scorecard to go along with his new lifetime mark. As third choice in the wagering pool at 5 to 1, Rockntouch paid $12.00 to win. In the co-featured $8,500 Pop Up Series race-off, Scofanman, driven by Walter Ross, Jr., closed from sixth and last at mid-stretch to score by a half-length over One Eyed Alley Cat (Dave Ingraham) in 1:53 for his initial win of the year. Onlythetuffsurvive (Kevin Wallis) finished third, 1¾ lengths back, while Well To Do and Fly Away picked up the final two awards in the sextet. Again, the pace was extremely hot as Wild Bill M took command just a step or two shy of the :26.2 opening panel and continued on through subsequent splits of :54.1 and 1:23 with Onlythetuffsurvive on the attack turning for home and One Eyed Alley Cat also surging. But not even these two could stall the rally of Scofanman, who closed fastest of all to gain the victory. Trained by Veral Bowman for the consortium of Arnold Merola, Kathleen Merola and Robert Barnello, the victory prompted trainer Bowman to say, "Well, he sure picked a good time to win his first race of the year! "He's been knocking at the door the last few weeks, so it didn't surprise me that he raced so well tonight. Wally (driver Ross, Jr.) drove him nicely, too." Off as the 5 to 1 third choice in his sextet, Scofanman returned $12.40 to win. Yet another highlight on the Sunday night card was in the Florida Amateur Driving Club trot as Gimme The Loot ($5.80), driven by Leon Cable, scored a repeat win in 1:59.2, holding off the determined late bid of Zeitgeist (Dein Spriggs) to win by a head. Magic Cheque (Joe Pennacchio) finished third while Chaplin Hall finished fourth. Total Freedom picked up the nickel. After the event, the Club made a generous donation to "A Second Go," a charitable organization founded less than one year ago helping cancer patients make the transition from "fighter" to "survivor." The charitable organization, founded by cancer survivor Kelly Sudell, 28, arranges for therapeutic sessions, spa services, nutritional and yoga sessions enhancing the lives of these survivors. The F.A.D.C. presented a check to Kelly, vaulting their contributions over the $170,000 plateau. Racing continues Tuesday night at Pompano Park with post time listed at 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Rockin In Heaven made a name for himself last year as a surprising Grand Circuit harness racing competitor and Sunday he will look to continue making a mark in the $244,000 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee will be making his third start of his four-year-old season on Sunday after earning more than $367,000 last season as a sophomore. Rockin In Heaven was not on many, if any, radars to be a Grand Circuit level colt last year and his conditioner is not shy to admit even he was caught off guard by his trainee's breakout season. "As I stated last year, he has been one of the most pleasant surprising horses I've ever had in my entire life," said Dr. Moore, Thursday afternoon. "How he went from a two-year-old that was so-so to a nice stakes horse last year, hopefully he will become a nice four-year-old this year." The journey to a nice four-year-old season has certainly started off well for the son of Rock N Roll Heaven. Rockin In Heaven finished a close fourth in his season debut on April 30 and followed it up with an impressive 1:50.1 victory last Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. The Dr. Moore trainee will now tackle his first stakes engagement of the season Sunday and will be forced to overcome the tough starting spot of post-seven. "He's really feeling good and all that sort of thing," Moore said. "It's really a shame that we drew so bad, which as everybody knows is very important in a half-mile track race of that caliber or any caliber." Rockin In Heaven, who is 7-1 on the morning line, is no stranger to stepping up in big moments. He was an 11-1 upset winner in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes last June at Mohawk and a few months later, at the exact same price, won the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs. Rockin In Heaven spent most of last summer on the New York Sires Stakes circuit, becoming well adjusted to racing on a half-mile track. Sunday's Confederation Cup will put him against some familiar faces from his Empire State battles. "There is a lot of New York horses in there that he raced against, including National Seelster and Americanprimetime," said Moore. "So they are all good half-mile horses." Dr. Moore is confident his driver, who is very familiar with Ontario's half-mile tracks, gives Rockin In Heaven a bit of an added boost in Sunday's dash. "Trevor (Henry) is well-versed on a half-mile track, so I'm glad we have Trevor to drive," said Moore. "He got along very well with him last year and we are looking forward to Sunday." Henry and Rockin In Heaven have teamed up on 13 occasions and visited the winner's circle in six of those starts. Dr. Moore will leave the strategy up to his driver on Sunday, but with heavy-favourite Wiggle It Jiggleit starting from the second-tier, the start and first-turn at Flamboro could be interesting. "Our horse has raced at Flamboro as a two-year-old and he finished his two-year-old season there," noted Moore. "I presume there will be a bit of a mad dash (at the start)." Dr. Moore co-owns the four-year-old with Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte and Gordon McComb. Rockin In Heaven is entering the Confederation Cup less than $2,000 away from $400,000 in career earnings. Whether Rockin In Heaven is able to stun his rivals on Sunday, Moore knows his pleasant surprise will certainly give him and his co-owners a great effort. "He's a very tough animal. He's always up to the task and no matter what he always gives us his best." Mark McKelvie

The harness racing season is over for outstanding filly Park Life. A last start winner of the Gr.1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle last month has been forced to the spelling paddock owing to shin soreness. The pint-sized Rock N Roll Heaven – Strawbs Interact filly pulled up “a little lame” following some work with trainer Wayne Graham this week. Initial thoughts were that the filly hadn’t fully recovered from her scorching APG victory where she paced a mile of 1:53.2 – the fastest time recorded by an Australian juvenile this season to date. But the situation took a nasty turn following some x-rays. “We sent Nelly (Park Life) to the Gatton University this week for further testing and the scans revealed it was a type of shin soreness. It’s quite bad and she will be out for the remainder of the season, we’re planning on giving her six months off.” Regular driver Shane Graham explained. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for the Graham family because they have in their care, the two best fillies in the state with Park Life and Jossie James. With the Brisbane winter carnival fast approaching, Park Life had a number of feature events to contest including the Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic next month plus the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Final in July. “It’s very disappointing because she is such a good little filly, a real racehorse but unfortunately we had no option but to shut her down otherwise we ran the risk of doing further damage. We will give her as much time as possible and hopefully she’ll make a complete recovery. “We’re lucky it didn’t happen before the APG series so when you put it into perspective, the timing could’ve been much worse. We got the main race for her this season and now we can look ahead to next season. “Obviously she would’ve played a major role in the remaining features this term but now it paves the way for Jossie James, the competition will be fierce but we rate our filly and she’ll be hard to beat. I think it would’ve been difficult for Nelly to beat Jossie James if she drew to her outside, maybe they can fight out an Oaks event next season.” Park Life has a record of 3 wins and 3 minor placings from 6 career starts to date while baking more than $168,000. Chris Barsby

Harness racing trainer Colin Holloway tapped into his three-year-old’s formidable potential to claim Tuesday night’s coveted Terang Guineas and in doing so cracked a track record. Co-owned by his wife, Heather, and son Brett, who drove the winning three-year-old, King Of Rocknroll is Holloway’s only horse in work and he brought the Sebastopol trainer joy in the age race classic. Of the $14,000 spent to purchase the colt by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Fast And Flighty at the 2014 Australian Pacing Gold Melbourne sales, $11,200 has already been reclaimed in stakes. Holloway said he and Ross Sugars “looked at about 16 horses” at the sales and for various reasons, including being outbid, were drawn to this colt, a “nice type who came within my price range”. It wasn’t smooth sailing though, with Holloway discovering a “cricket ball lump at the back of his chest”, which proved to be varicose veins that required surgery. The vet recommended the horse be held back from racing until he was a three-year-old. Holloway tested him at two trials in May 2015, when King Of Rocknroll won at Maryborough after running second at Ballarat to Heavens Trend, but a minor injury meant a spell before he returned for a further two trials on October 24 and November 2. King Of Rocknroll debuted at Terang on November 17 and ran second. Three starts later his $7000 Vicbred bonus was secured when he won by 1.2m at Maryborough on Christmas Eve. A tilt at the VHRSC Victoria Derby was unsuccessful, but Holloway said the gelding “was tired” and so the “throw at the stumps” for a Group 1 “didn’t work out”. After a spell of six weeks King Of Rocknroll won his seven-horse Maryborough trial by 50m, and started Tuesday night’s competitive Terang Guineas a $2.70 favourite. In the running, Brett Holloway worked around Im Wrongly Accused in the early stages and held off a fast finishing Senor Macray in the straight to win the bulk of the $7575 stakes. “Once he got to the front I thought he’d take some crossing,” he said. “That other horse did come at him, but they ran a 1:57.5 age record. In retrospect, he did a reasonably good job and should be improved for the run. “I might give him a run at Maryborough next week, if he does well then we will look to run him at Ballarat in the race called the Colin and Heather Holloway Classic. It would be nice to win our own race, but whether he runs will depend on his next start.” And the good times could roll on for the former Ballarat Trotting Club chief executive, who bought King Of Rocknroll’s half-sister, a filly by Bettors Delight out of Fast And Flighty, for $22,000 at this year’s APG Melbourne sales. Michael Howard Race programme for Maryborough, Thursday 12 May 2016

When Park Life arrived at the stables of Queensland trainer Wayne Graham, the veteran harness racing horseman was just hoping to get the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven to the racetrack. Park Life was one of three fillies Graham had in work and was the slowest of the trio. The thought of contesting the Australian Pacing Gold hadn't entered Graham's mind but he nominated her for the Group 3 Paleface Adios Classic and despite being the stable's second elect, finished third behind Maestro Bellini. "I didn't think much of her when we first got her and to this day she's a different horse off the track," Graham said. "We've got three fillies at home and she's eight to ten seconds slower than them on her trackwork but when she gets to the races it's like she is a totally different horse." Even after winning her third start in a mile rate of 1:55.7 at Albion Park, Graham was still unsure whether Park Life would measure up to the APG in Sydney. "I didn't even know when we left Queensland whether she had a 27 second quarter in her. Her first win was very good but she did no work early and came with a late run. "While I knew she'd be competitive I wasn't sure whether we were a realistic chance in the APG." Graham stayed with John and Narelle McCarthy in Sydney and worked the filly at the property of Luke and Belinda McCarthy and was still unsure he had made the right decision to head south. "I asked Luke what a two year old should work and he gave me an indication and we worked for the first time. Lyn (Graham's wife) drove her and told me she felt good but then I looked down at my stopwatch and thought what am I doing here, I should just pack up and go home." Park Life performed well in her semi final finishing second behind Petacular and went one better in Saturday's $322,000 final and stopped the clock in 1:53.2. "That was the biggest shock, I never thought she would go within coo-ee of that time, I am so proud of her and now we can take her home and get ready for the Breeders and the Triad. "Jossie Jones won the APG race at Albion Park on Saturday night. She was meant to compete in the Brisbane heat won by Park Life but she had a hissy fit going onto the track and had to be scratched. I could have had both of them here in Sydney in hindsight but it was great to get the victory." Greg Hayes

It was a night to remember for Wayne and Lyn Graham. Within the space of 25 minutes, the popular Queensland couple snared their biggest double during their long and decorated careers in harness racing after claiming the Gr.1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle plus the $80,000 Albion Park Gold Final. Park Life, handled by their son Shane, claimed the Sydney classic while in-form reinsman Adam Sanderson handled Jossie James in the home state feature. The respected couple have been a regular fixture in Brisbane harness racing circles for decades and has enjoyed tremendous success with such stars like Sparkling Melody, Mach Alert, Yahoo Buckaroo, Lively Highlander, Bossys Henry, Power In Disguise, Innocent Nero, Rapt In Red, French Heiress and Albert Aralar among others at Moomba Lodge, their property at Beaudesert. Their current team is headed by exciting four-year-old Major Coup, a last start winner of the QBRED Breeders Classic Final at Albion Park plus this pair of precocious fillies. Park Life, a $16,000 purchase from the Brisbane division of the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sale last year is raced by Victorian based couple Stephen and Narelle Dickson in partnership with local owner Pete Poulsen. The filly was bred by Mario Di Carlo. From 6 starts to date, the Rock N Roll Heaven – Strawbs Interact filly has recorded 3 wins and 3 minor placings while amassing more than $168,000 in stakes. After drawing the coveted inside gate, Park Life was handled perfectly by the reigning Australian Driver of the Year and sat just off the pace which was set by race favourite High Rolling but that filly could not withstand the strong sprint from Park Life at the top of the long straight before defeating Victorian fillies Perfect Sense and Petacular in a time of 1:53.2. High Rolling finished 5th. The time is the fastest recorded by a two-year-old this season. While celebrations and presentations were underway for the diminutive filly, the couple took time out to witness stablemate Jossie James lead throughout and beat Our Major Day and Rock With Sam in the Brisbane feature. The punters favourite rated 1:55.4 in the 1660m event, slightly slower than her heat success of 1:55.0 eight days earlier. Bred and raced by longtime stable clients Trevor and Louise O’Reilly, the Big Jim – Empty Promises filly has now won 2 of her 4 starts to date. The filly was passed in at $7500 after failing to make the reserve price of $16,000 at the Brisbane division of the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sale last year. Jossie James has now banked more than $39,000 in stakes. The O’Reilly’s have been breeding from this family for over three generations and have enjoyed considerable success with this lineage. Local horseman Garry Fliedner has played a major role in the development of both fillies and was on hand at Albion Park to share in the celebrations. Both fillies will be aimed at the upcoming QBRED features during the Brisbane winter carnival. Chris Barsby

The QBRED Breeders Classic 3yo Finals were full of high excitement and intense drama. Both divisions were held as Gr.2 $50,000 events at Albion Park last night (Friday) over 2138m and quality was strong with a number of chances heavily spruiked for the respective harness racing finals. In the colts and geldings finals, punters found it hard to split Timmo Time, Frankie Rocks, Leos Best and Catcha Lefty. With Timmo Time making an error at the start, Catcha Lefty charged around the field to lead before reaching the 1600m before the Grant Dixon trained duo of Leos Best and Frankie Rocks making early moves. More interference was met at the bell which enabled Leos Best to find the back of Catcha Lefty. In the straight, Leos Best ($5) finished best via the sprintlane to beat the unlucky Timmo Time ($4.10) by a half neck margin with a further neck away to Catcha Lefty ($2.40 fav) in third. The mile rate was 1:57.0. Leos Best was driven by Bart Cockburn and is raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour. The Cammibest – Miss Marleo gelding is a graduate of the Redcliffe Yearling Sale and is now the winner of more than $134,000 in stakes. In the fillies’ final, again, it was a race marred by interference. The Grant Dixon stable was well represented with punters finding it hard to split Cherish The Moment and Get In The Groove. Speedy filly Firebby fired off the gate to lead and ran along at a genuine speed while Cherish The Moment was forced to race without cover. Heading off the back straight, Cherish The Moment gave ground quickly before breaking which caused a massive chain reaction of interference which had a number of fillies in trouble including Reds Jet Star, Covert Beauty and Get In The Groove. At the line, it was Georgia Grace ($20) who made the most of her luck to score by 2.3 metres from Firebby ($26.20) who nosed out Hereiam ($67.50). The winning mile rate was 1:57.4. Georgia Grace is trained by Shawn Grimsey and was handled perfectly by Adam Sanderson. The Rock N Roll Heaven – Grace With Pace filly is raced by Barry Grimsey and his daughter-in-law Michelle Grimsey and was purchased at the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Brisbane Sales after being bred by Kevin and Kay Seymour. Georgia Grace has now amassed more than $60,000 in prizemoney. The Listed $25,000 QBRED Breeders Classic 4yo Finals were also staged and the mares final was taken out by Bettor Promise ($3.40) who outstayed Mathilda Diventa ($4.80) while Bettorthanspecial ($2 fav) finished a close-up third. Despite racing without cover, Bettor Promise rated 1:55.8. The Bettor's Delight – As Promises mare has now won the 2yo and 4yo divisions of the Breeders Classic Finals while finishing 6th in the 3yo Final last year. Bettor Promise is trained in partnership by Shannon Price and Scott Miller and provided Bart Cockburn with another triumph on the night. In the Entires and Geldings Final, race favourite Major Coup ($1.20 fav) led throughout to defeat Constantlysideways ($10) by 3m with Drifting Away ($23.90) in third. The winning mile rate was 1:55.9. Major Coup is trained by Wayne Graham and was handled by his reinsman son Shane. The Art Major – Attracts Attention gelding is raced by his breeder, Terry Flynn. Racing Queensland

When looking at the Harness Racing New Zealand site this afternoon for some statistics on a couple of stallions we are reviewing, we came across the current seasonal siring figures for the three year olds and were a bit surprised at how well the stock of Rock N Roll Heaven are performing in New Zealand. With small numbers he has tended to fly under the radar a bit but he currently lies sixth on the 3 year old premiership sires list and that is with just 34 three year olds to represent him from this crop. He is not far behind American Ideal on the sires list with under half the number of foals he has and is ahead of Changeover who also has twice as many foals as Rock N Roll Heaven has in this season's crop. So far 17 have lined up on raceday for 11 winners and several of them are preparing for the classics in the next few weeks. A couple of the winners are Australian imports in Benicio ($23,350) who has won three from five to date and the lightly raced filly MacKenzie, (One win ,two placings from three starts) while another import in the form of the very smart Heaven Rocks will make his career debut at Invercargill on Saturday and has early winner written all over him. The best of the New Zealand bred progeny is the Ray Green trained Killer Queen who has won $45,959 this season and is quickly closing in on $100,000 in career earnings. Others to show well above average ability to date include the following: * Emily Blunt - Has won four from eight to date ($18,815) * Alpha Rock - Has won four from five and run second at his other start ($21,854) * Bernie Winkle - Won three from eleven with four second placings as well before being sold to Australia *Celestial Arden - Won three from twelve to date ($17,157) The second crop of Rock N Roll Heaven who are presently two year olds number just 21 in New Zealand and seven have qualified to date but unfortunately the numbers in the years following are again very small. Rock N Roll Heaven has 31 yearlings on the ground in New Zealand but it then drops back to 11 weanlings and just 11 mares served in the last breeding season. All of which adds up to a very steep hill to climb for the young stallion to get the recognition that his results deserve. The one big thing in his favour is that his progeny seem to win multiple races so if he can keep up the great percentages he is currently producing, he will get there in the end. With the performance of his first crop this season, you would expect that Rock N Roll Heaven would serve his biggest book in New Zealand in the next breeding season. Harnesslink Media

Yonkers Raceway Tuesday afternoon begin its annual tribute to Teddy Roosevelt, the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series for harness racing 3 and 4 year-old gentlemen (non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec.1). Six, $20,000 divisions went postward, with Arrow (Matt Kakaley, $14.80) the lone "price" horse in the third division. Working out a second-over trip from post position No. 4, Arrow went up and over, whipping pace-setting Steve Said (Eric Carlson) by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.3. Arrow, a 4-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven owned by Growth Opportunities LLC and trained by Tony Farina, is now 3-for-7 this season. Last summer, he won here at 94-1. Tuesday's second Sagamore Hill division had pole-sitting Don'tcallmefrancis (Brian Sears, $5.30) sitting a loose pocket to favored Toni's Affection (Scott Zeron), then picking him off by a neck in 1:53.2. The 3-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding whipped his elders while caving nearly four seconds off his previous life-best. Nifty Norman trained the seasonal-debuting winner for Enzed Racing Stable. The other chalky divisions were won by... --Some Power,g,4 (by Somebeachsomewhere); owner P T Stable/trainer Rich Banca/driver Jason Bartlett; 1:53.3/$4.30; --Team Captain,g.4 (by Somebeachsomewhere); owner Joseph Martinelli Sr./trainer Tony O'Sullivan/driver Bartlett; life-best 1:53.1/$3.70; --Rodeo Romeo,4 (by Rocknroll Hanover); co-owners Oompa's Farm,Robert Mondillo,Michael Day/trainer Chris Ryder/driver Sears; 1:53.3/$2.30; --J T,g,4 (by Badlands Hanover); co-owners (as Burke Racing) (trainer) Ron Burke/Weaver Bruscemi/driver George Brennan; 1:53.2/$3.30. The Raceway's live season continues Thursday evening (first post 7:10 PM), with the newly-relocated $10,000 guaranteed Pick 5 pool (program pages available at www.yonkersraceway.com). Frank Drucker

Atta Boy Dan on the inside and Phil Your Boots on the outside wagered a side-by-side battle the length of the stretch before harness racing driver Andrew McCarthy got Atta Boy Dan’s nose first to the finish line in 1:50.to win the $36,000 Preferred/Handicap pace on the big Monday, March 7 card at Dover Downs. After twice being handicapped to post 8, Atta Boy Dan finally had a better post position starting from number 3 in the week’s top pace. The Ron Burke trained Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot gelding responded with his second win in six starts this season for Weaver Brucsemi and Burke Racing Stable. Phil The Boots, steered by Tim Tetrick was a game second for the second consecutive start losing by a nose in the Yonkers feature a week ago. Phil Your Boots is also from the same barn as last week’s winner Lucan Hanover, trained by Andrew Harris. Third place in this week’s feature belongs to the Tony Morgan driven good closer, Doctor Butch. Sean Bier Mustang Art steamed from the outside to take the early lead and set fast fraction before Atta Boy Dan finally took the lead on the final turn. In the last of 15 races, 13-1 Casey At Bat never got a call until late in the stretch when Allan Davis got him off the rail fifth and closed with a rush nearing the wire in time to catch apparent winner Apollo Seelster (Tetrick) in the finals strides for a 1:53.1 win in a $18,500 4&5-Year-Old Male Winners pace. Skyway Gladiator (Mike Rossi) finished third. Soto found the passing lane to his liking to catch front-pacing favorite Just A Jolt (Tetrick) at the wire in 1:51 for his second straight victory and third in four and fourth in six starts for trainer Eric Ell and ‘Big Three’ owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta. A brown four-year-old by Rock N Roll Heaven-Incredible Beauty, Soto won for the fifth time this year in eight starts with a second for $38,875 and $151145 lifetime. Sicily (Allan Davis) took third money, Swapportunity finally broke through consecutive seconds to score a 1:52.1 triumph in a $16,000 race for young pacers with Jim Morand winning of his two decisions. The Mach Three-Swap Blue Chip four-year-old gelding held off a fast finishing Grantland (McCarthy) in a photo. Owned by Arlene Paisley, Ed Maas and Nanticoke racing, the former Woodbine Raceway regular made the winner’s circle for the first time in 2016. Big Secret (Jonathan Roberts) was the show finisher. Tim Tetrick scored a four-bagger. George Dennis had a triple. Montrell Teague and Tony Morgan had two wins while trainer Kevin Switzer, Dylan Davis and Brian Malone had trainer doubles and owner KDK Standardbreds had a owner double.  FASHION SHOWDOWN GOES FOR THIRD STRAIGHT IN $20,000 MARES OPEN Fashion Showdown, a winner of two-in-a-row, is the one to catch in the $24,000 Mares Open Handicap faces seven rivals on Tuesday, March 8 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p m. Chris White's Fashion Showdown has been an impressive winner of the last two female Opens. This week, in the absence of Corey Callahan, Allan Davis will be at the controls for trainer Craig McInnis. Owner-trainer Bob Bailey's Duneside Chella with driver Tony Morgan has been in the money with two wins, two seconds and two thirds in his last six starts. Jeff Clark's Springforth piloted by George Dennis, has been right there in recent starts with a win, three seconds and a third is another starter with a standout record and has not been off the board in her last eight starts. Scandalicious, owned by JFE Enterprises, with Tim Tetrick in the bike, finished a good-closing second last time following a win the week before, starts from post 4 this time, and improvement from outside posts. John McGill's No Respect draws the rail with Ross Wolfenden driving. Returning following a short respite is The Cheyenne Gang's fast Cheyenne Robin with Jim Morand holding the rains. Thus far in 2016, the only four-year-old in the lineup has already had two wins, a second and close-up fourth in her first starts of the New Year. Lou Catana and Vince Bradley's Matinee Dragon and Jonathan Roberts also has an excellent record this meet. There is a strong undercard on a top female pacing loaded card. Dover Downs races Monday through Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m. No Live racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Watch the races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

Breeding for the harness racing market in Australasia is never an easy business at the best of times especially if you are trying to market and sell fillies, Buyers are notoriously reluctant to pay anything like the same premium for well bred fillies as they are for well bred colts but we feel that are missing out on a lot of opportunities because the buyers have missed the changes taking place in the stallion market down under. When you look at the present line up of stallions that are dominating the racing scene in Australasia, then just about all the elite stallions are outstanding filly sires. Bettor's Delight is without doubt the best filly sire in the world today, continually churning out champion fillies each season and in big numbers and they are keenly sought after at yearling sales in both hemispheres. Rock N Roll Heaven is another sire whose fillies to be honest are better than his colts in North America, Australia and New Zealand in his siring career to date. American Ideal is another stallion whose fillies often outperform his colts on the track while Shadow Play has five mares amongst his top eight earners in North America. So with such great filly sires dominating the stallion market in Australasia, you would think that fillies would be keenly sought after especially since any well bred ones have a good residual value once they have finished racing which the colts in the main just don't have. Looking through this weekends Australian Pacing Gold Sale at Brisbane and a great number of the fillies would appear to have a high residual value post any racing career. A lot of them come from high profile New Zealand families which are very current in the New Zealand market and have just fetched significant five figure sums at the latest sales in New Zealand. We thought we would highlight a couple of lots from Brisbane that in our opinion would have high residual valve post racing. Lot 450  -  Filly by Mr Feelgood from the Christian Cullen mare Tori Maguire 1:57 ($57,870) The first foal of a smart Christian Cullen mare in Tori France who is a full sister to a champion two and three year old filly in Lizzie Maguire 1:56.5 ($477,366). Christian Cullen is the leading pacing broodmare sire in New Zealand at the moment and for the foreseeable future. A colt by Mach Three from Unrehearsed making him a half brother to Tori Maguire made $40,000 at the recent Australasian Classic yearling sale at Karaka in Auckland. The family is seen as a rich source of  juveniles in New Zealand and has been selling well at the yearling sales for the last 15 years. Lot 431  - Filly by Lanercost from the Bettor's Delight mare in Manhattan Montana 1:57.6 The first foal from a 1:57.6 Bettor's Delight half sister to nine winners including such top liners as Village Hero 1:50.6 ($306,475) and He's My Hero 1:54.3 ($222,293), this is a family that is highly sought after in New Zealand as as can be seen from the latest yearling sales there Two Bettor's Delights colts from Christian Cullen half sisters to Manhattan Montana were sold at the Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka for $80,000 and $60,000 respectively The two Bettor's Delight colts in question are three quarter brothers in blood to Manhattan Montana. At the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch, a Washington VC half brother to Manhattan Montana made $45,000. Now both the fillies we have highlighted are by young sires  who still have to prove themselves at the highest level but the maternal families are so strong in our view that we wouldn't hesitate adding those two to a broodmare band when they are finished racing. There are numerous other lots for sale at Brisbane on Sunday that are just as well bred in our view and are from families that are in hot demand on both sides of the Tasman. In a lot of ways, the fillies are becoming a better financial investment than the colts these days. Harnesslink Media 

The last leg of this years Australian Pacing Gold Sales Series will be held at the Albion Park Sales Complex in Brisbane on Sunday, starting at 11am and even though there are only fifty lots on offer, there is a real depth to the lots catalogued. A lot of the lots wouldn't be out of place at any sale in Australasia such is the strength of their pedigrees and we have decided to highlight a handful just to prove our point. Lot 415  -  Colt by Art Major from Courageous Annie 1:52.6 ($201,551) This is the first foal from the brilliant Courage Under Fire racemare Courageous Annie who took a lifetime mark of 1:52.6. on her way to winning 15 of her 27 starts. Courageous Annie was a $105,000 purchase at the New Zealand Ready To Run sale of her year which gives you a good idea of her value in the incredibly strong New Zealand market. This colt would attract attention where ever he was offered for sale in Australasia and to have him in the Brisbane catalogue is a big coup for the auctioneers. Lot 417  -  Colt by Christian Cullen from English Elegance 1:53.2 ($174,923) English Elegance was a top two and three year old filly in New Zealand as her record shows and she has done even better in the broodmare barn. Her first six foals have all been winners and all in better than 1:58.4, the whole six of them. Those winners include such smart types as Elegant Christian 1:53.9 ($219,389) who has won 14 from 25 to date and is a full brother to the colt being offered on Sunday. Other winners from English Elegance include Major Moment 1:54.2 ($149,983) and the mare Meet Me In Mayfair 1:58.4($45,793) whose first foal made $37,000 at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 22nd  Lot 424  -  Colt by Rock N Roll Heaven from Sassi (NZ) A half brother to four winners including such talented horses as Mark Anthony 1:54.6 ($190,600) and Assassinator 1:55.9 ($96,303), this colt is from a half sister six winners including the champion New Zealand age group performer in Roman Gladiator 1:55.8 ($424,516) and ill fated Scorching 1:57.9 ($117,138). It is a highly sought after New Zealand family with a reputation for producing high class juveniles. The grand dam of this colt  in Assisi was the star two year old filly of her year in New Zealand and has done a huge job in the broodmare paddock. Lot 426  -  Colt by Bettor's Delight from Joyous Times 1:57.9 ($88,824) A Bettor's Delight colt who is the first foal from a quality race winning mare is going to get the buyers bench active anywhere in the harness racing world and here will be no different. The bonus is the rest of the family on the pedigree page is very strong with such standouts as Joy's A Babe 1:55.1 ($221,504), Jaccamo 1:53.3 ($281,471) and Son Of Fortune 1:58.2 ($118,537) all close up in this colts pedigree. When you look at his photo on the APG site, you can quickly see what a classy individual he is and in our opinion he is an early short priced favourite to top the sale on Sunday. Lot 432  -  Colt by Auckland Reactor from Medium Strip This is a colt from the first crop by the champion son of Mach Three in Auckland Reactor from a half sister to one of the best racemares of all time in Queensland in Forever Gold 1:51.7 ($700,593). Drop Dead Gorgeous 1:54.4 ($345,836) and The Red October 1:57.8 ($175,639) are close up in the pedigree so plenty of depth there as well. At the recent New Zealand sales, several of the leading trainers outlaid good money for yearlings from the first crop by Auckland Reactor. Mark Purdon lead the way with three yearlings including the colt, Chase Auckland for $45,000 but he had plenty of company with Brent Mangos, Greg Payne, Sean McCaffrey and Nathan Williamson also taking an Auckland Reactor home which bodes very well for his future as a stallion. We could carry on here for quite a while reviewing these yearlings in the Brisbane sale such is the depth this year. We think it is the best overall catalogue we have seen in Brisbane for a long time and judging by all the photos of the yearlings we have looked at on the APG site, the stock are in wonderful order heading into Sunday's sale. Harnesslink Media

Pepper Tree Farm is excited to be partnering with Alabar for the stud future of these three world class young harness racing sires – Sportswriter, Rock N Roll Heaven and Roll With Joe. “Alabar has been keen to be involved with these exciting stallions and the timing was right for us to move forward together with our plans,” announced Pepper Tree Farm principal Rob Vandyke. “After 20 years of standing sires at Pepper Tree Farm, my wife Julie and I were looking to reduce our physical workload while maintaining our commitment to and financial investment in these great young sires.” “With our long standing and highly successful partnership with Alabar in Art Major, we knew this was the partnership we wanted for these young sires. With their outstanding reputation at the forefront of the Standardbred breeding industry, including their large client base and their farm in New Zealand, Alabar can value add to the careers of these young stallions.” Alabar will stand the stallions and they will be marketed under the Alabar umbrella. Alan Galloway, owner of Alabar, could not be more pleased. “We are always looking to increase the quality of the stallions we can offer to our clients,” stated Alan. “It is not often you get the opportunity to manage three quality young stallions such as Rock N Roll Heaven, Sportswriter and Roll With Joe. We are extremely thankful to Rob, Julie and the whole team at Pepper Tree Farm for this opportunity and we cannot wait to offer these stallions to our clients.” Pepper Tree Farm, who recently sold one of their properties as part of the planned stud reduction, will continue to operate as a smaller, boutique Standardbred stud farm with permanent resident mares. “We remain committed to the Standardbred breeding industry and to the future of these world class young sires and look forward to their progress and journey in partnership with Alabar,” said Rob. Rock N Roll Heaven p2, 1:50.4; 3, 1:47.6 - $2,748,818 2014/15 Australia’s Leading First Crop Sire and 2nd overall. Sire of 6 Group winners, incl two Group 1 winners, from his debut Australian crop. Sire of 2015 USTA 3yo Filly of the Year Divine Caroline from his debut North American crop. Sportswriter p2, 1:49.4; 3, 1:48.6 - $1,566,460 2015 Leading Ontario Sires Stakes Pacing Stallion. 2014/15 Leading Australian 2yo Sire by winners. 2014/15 Leading NSW Sire. Roll With Joe p2, 1:53.2; 3, 1:48.4 - $1,805,102 USTA 3yo Pacing Colt of the Year. Full brother to Bettor’s Delight. Debut crop of 2yos dominated New York Sires Stakes program – Leading money winning 2yo Pacing Sire in New York in 2015. For further details on these stallions please head to www.alabar.com.au  

The second leg of this years harness racing Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sale is being held in Sydney at Randwick today and it has taken an age to get into its stride. The first thirty lots were a bit of a struggle with a lot of buy backs but it slowly got a bit of momentum as we moved into the second thirty and leading New Zealand trainer Mark Jones set it going when he chased and secured Lot 234 for his New Zealand barn. A big upstanding daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, she is the first foal from the former outstanding age group performer in Joyfuljoy 1:51.6 ($480,422). A Harness Jewels winner at three at Ashburton, Joyfuljoy carried on at four and then in North America as an older mare. It has been a very smart  fillies family in New Zealand with Joyfulbelle 1:56.3 and Jumpforjoy 1:55.8 just a couple who have being competitive in age group classics over the last ten years. Mark Jones went to $65,000 for her which got the sale moving from then on. Mark thought he had got a bargain. " She is a lovely big filly by a sire who is predominantly a filly sire. " Rock N Roll Heaven fillies have done a great job all over the world and I thought on type she would fetch a bit more than she did." " The beauty in buying here is you you get two bites of the cherry with them." " You can race them in classics in  both countries for good money so it makes sense to buy here. "Her dam was a brilliant age group filly and the whole family is full of smart fillies so I am glad to get her for what I did," Mark told Harnesslink this afternoon.  Later in the sale Mark went back and dipped his toe in the market again and  bought a striking son of Somebeachsomewhere from a Falcon Seelster daughter of Tanisa Vance who sold as Lot 340 for $47,000 The number of Kiwis buying at the APG Yearling Sales continues to grow each year and it will keep doing so while they can buy quality fillies like Lot 234. For the full details on Lot 234 click here. Harnesslink Media   

The harness racing trials at Rangiora Raceway today were full of quality bloodstock, especially in the qualifying and juvenile heats that were run. It is hard to comprehend how the juvenile fields have been so small this season and races unable to be held when you witness the depth of talent on show today. Star Qualifiers Heaven Rocks - 3 year old gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven from Mendecilo Purchased out of the APG Melbourne sale in 2014 by Kennard Bloodstock, Heaven Rocks produced a qualifying run right out of the top draw. Settling fourth for Tim Williams, Heaven Rocks was still there at the 800 metres but then unleashed a final 800 metres of 55.2 and a 400 metres of 26.8 (privately timed) to flash past them late for an easy win. His overall time of 2:29.5 for the 2000 metres from the mobile equates to a mile rate of 2:00.2 and was nearly seven seconds under qualifying time. The run of Heaven Rocks overshadowed the smart performances returned by both One Big Fella (Mister Big - Killarney) and Donegal Rundlescreek (Bettors Delight- Boyd's Creek) who finished second and third and who both look capable of winning a race at short notice. Don Pierre - 4 year old by Diedre Don from Paris Belle Don Pierre was successful twice back in October as a pacer but lined up today in the qualifying heat for trotters and put up a performance that suggests he has a big future in the trotting ranks. He trotted away safely for trainer driver Sam Smolenski who immediately set a tempo not often seen in a qualifying heat for trotters. The further they went, the further Don Pierre went clear and he eventually stopped the timer for the 2600 metres at 3:25.8, a mile rate of 2:07.3 which is nearly 14 seconds under the required time. The official winning margin was 20 lengths and Sam let him ease down the last bit which explains the 31.6 last quarter. Don Pierre looked to have a bit in reserve in our view at the finish Sam Smolenski enjoyed some success earlier in the season with Don Pierre's full sister Paris Princess who won four races in a short space of time before being sold to North America and Don Pierre looks to have the ability to follow in her footsteps. Vincent  -  2 year old colt by Art Major from Kept For Pleasure A $130,000 purchase out of the 2015 APG Sydney sale by longtime All Star client, Jean Feiss, Vincent showed today that he has the talent to go with the price tag. Allowed to settle back in the field by Tim Williams, Vincent was still near last last on the final bend. Eased to the outside, he just went straight past them for an outstanding win over a couple of more than handy two year olds. Vincent cut out the 2000 metres in 2:32.5, a mile rate of 2:02.6 with his closing sectionals a very quick 55.3 and 27 and he ran through the line really strongly. Ready To Fire  -  2 year old filly by Somebeachsomewhere from Fight Fire With Fire A $37,000 purchase by Graham Rogerson at last years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale, Ready To Fire looks the part and has the motor to go with it. Allowed to settle in midfield by Tim Williams, she quickly ranged up to them on the last corner and then proved too strong in the run to the line. Ready To Fire paced the 2000 metres in 2:30.3, a smart mile rate of 2:00.9 while her closing sections were 57.2 and 27.9. Delightful Memphis  -  2 year old filly by Bettor's Delight from Memphis Melody A $46,000 purchase at the 2015 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale by Wayne Higgs, Delightful Memphis lined up in a nine horse maiden heat today. Mark Jones was content to sit last with her the whole way before unleashing her as they turned for home. She just swept on by for an emphatic win that stamped her as a filly of real ability. She paced the 2000 metres in 2:30.4, a mile rate of 2:00.9 and we timed her over her last 800 metres in 57.4 and 27.6 and she seemed to do it with plenty in reserve. Already the subject of a six figure offer, Delightful Memphis is targeting the next Young Guns heat at Alexandra Park on March 4th. Mr Kalypso  -  2 year old colt by Art Major from Kalypso A $90,000 purchase at the Sydney Apg Sale in 2015 by Mark Purdon, Mr Kalypso only ran fifth in his heat today but it was a top effort and stamped him as a colt to watch. Caught behind a tiring runner at the 600 metres,Mr Kalypso lost contact with the leading group but at the finish he was right up with them again,making up a lot of ground late. We timed him to run his last 800 in 56.9 and 400 metres in 27 even and Tim Williams was letting him do it under his own steam. One to watch where ever he goes. Harnesslink Media  

The Nathan Williamson trained Bernie Winkle capped off a consistent formline by winning his third race at the harness racing meeting at Ascot Park on Sunday . The stable expected the son of Rock N Roll Heaven to progress through the grades a bit quicker than he has but Williamson says he’s taken some time to get his head around the racing game.  "He's needed to figure out what's required. He showed a lot of ability at home, had a lot of high speed and he's just starting to show it at the end of his races now. He's also got a wee bit more race savvy because he knows what's expected," said Williamson. After stepping nicely Williamson decided to take the gelding to the lead. "He's generally a good beginner and I was happy to stay out of that early rush. He had to go a bit to get to the front but he’s got that sharp speed so you can do most things with him. We got an easy time in front which made a big difference." Post win, local buying agent Geoff Gibson-Smith was on the scene and Williamson confirmed that Bernie Winkle is on the market. "He's on the market and we'll just have to see whether they want to buy him. He's on the market so if he's not sold now he will be in the next few weeks."  He’s owned by Barry Dent, Robyn Jones and Ross Jones. Later in the programme Bernie Winkle's half-brother Statham, despite missing some work during the week, proved too classy when winning the ILT Foundation Summer Cup. He led early before handing up to Regal Ideal. He came home late on the inside to get up by a head beating Devil May Care. The last half was cut out in 54.9. Williamson won last year’s edition of the Summer Cup on the Austin Stack trained Sheeza Shark in race record time of 3-21.3. The Southland driver was in Christchurch on Friday night driving the Brent Shirley trained Costa Del Magnifico to win the Alabar Super Series Handicap beating Seel The Deal by half a length. The 2600 metre event was run in 3-18.6. with the last 800 in 55.5 and 400 metres in 26.7.  "Yep great win. He's a lovely big horse and I'm looking forward to the future with him. He's got a lot more speed now because I think his gait has got a lot better. He's also got stronger and showing more and more speed. He got home in 26.7 the other night at the end of a race. A season ago it would be been 28." Williamson has driven the Mach Three entire for most of his wins. "He's probably going through the grades quicker than my horse (Tas Man Bromac) at this stage so maybe if his racing's in Canterbury in the near future I'll be able to stick with him right through."  Bruce Stewart  -  Southland Harness Racing  -  Check site here  

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