Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 215
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Any win is welcome for young harness racing drivers, but Goulburn Valley reinswoman Abbey Turnbull took out a race recently that she says will always have a special place in her heart. The talented concession driver, based at Tatura, near Shepparton, won the second division of the Tiffany Murray Memorial at Echuca on Friday night with six-year-old gelding Mangochililime (McArdle-The Land Lover (Badlands Hanover). "I was just pleased to be invited to be part of the Tiffany Murray Memorial races. It was such an honor, but to be successful, it will definitely be a win I will cherish forever," Turnbull said. "Tiffany was loved by everyone because of who she was and her beautiful ways and she's someone I aspire to be like," she said. Aged just 22 when she was diagnosed with multiple brain tumors, Tiffany Murray was a popular figure in the industry. She had twice beaten cancer as a child and had lost her own mother just a few years earlier, also to cancer. With her fiance Leigh Sutton and their baby daughter Milla by her side every step of the way, Tiffany fought a short but brave battle before her death in 2011. The Tiffany Murray Memorial was established in her honor the following year, and this year was the first since its inception that the race was conducted in two divisions. Local trainer Susan Hunter was successful in the first division with enigmatic pacer Monash (Somebeachsomewhere-Nightn Georgia (Safely Kept), who was well rated by in-form Heathcote junior Shannon O'Sullivan. Part owner of Monash Shane Gourley with victorious driver Shannon O’Sullivan accepting the rug for winning the first division of the Tiffany Murray Memorial (Photo Echuca Harness Racing) The female drivers' race has always carried significance for those invited to compete, and Turnbull said she is now hoping to again be part of the special night next season. "It was just lovely because members of Tiffany's family were all there. They went onto the track to present the rugs. It was awesome," she said. "And it was just the perfect race to get my first Team Teal win." Abbey Turnbull crosses the finish line to win the second division of the Tiffany Murray Memorial with Mangochililime (Photo Echuca Harness Racing) In addition, Turnbull was the toast of her parents Craig and Rebecca, who recently took over the training of Mangochililime. "That was only his second start for us and dad trains him, so yes it was a good result. The horse has some ability, so they will have fun," she said. Turnbull, whose grandfather is the legendary AD (Tony) Turnbull, of Bathurst, works for her father as well as doing university studies. "I spend one or two days at Bundoora in Melbourne where I'm studying osteopathy. I've still got a few years to go, but I'm enjoying it," Turnbull said. "Luckily I can do a bit on-line at home because dad's stable numbers seem to be increasing," she laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

ELMORE trainer Keith Cotchin celebrated his first winner since a short break with the victory of Karlos at Shepparton on Wednesday night. The five-year-old pacer produced a sustained run to overhaul the pacemaker Always Grinning in the shadows of the post to earn career win number three at his 23rd start. Only 15 of those runs, including all his wins, have come under Cotchin's training. His victory was in stark contrast to his previous two front-running performances at Shepparton and Echuca in April this year, with Karlos coming from towards the tail of the field. "He keeps on improving .... we've been keen to try him from behind, which we did in (Wednesday night's) race," he said. "He's not the smartest tool in the shed. He gets in front and when they get at him and go past him, he seems to get going again. "We just haven't had the opportunity to have him come from behind too often. "He's an improving type, so hopefully he can win another race or two." Formerly trained in New South Wales, Cotchin expects Karlos to have his next run on Melbourne Cup day, at either Swan Hill, Yarra Valley or Cobram. The win followed a couple of weeks lay-off for the Elmore trainer, who enjoyed a short holiday. "We only went away for two weeks, but we put all the horses out and it's taken a while to get them back in," said Cotchin, who has just six horses in work at the moment. "We had our first runners the other night (October 16) and they didn't go too bad, but we were lucky to get the money (on Wednesday night). "We'll bring a few more back soon, but being spring time, I like to give the young ones a bit more of a break." They include his promising four-year-old Betternbetter, who is set to return to training at the end of this month. As they more often than not do, Bendigo region trainers and drivers again made their presence felt at Shepparton. Marong trainer David Van Ryn and driver Haydon Gray combined to land a winner with the five-year-old trotting mare Maorishadow; Heathcote trainer Ron Sheppard returned to the winner's list with pacing mare Chooz Reactor; while the Kate Hargreaves stable continued its excellent strike-rate this season with a fifth career win for Bootleg Bert. The six-year-old trotter was driven by Alex Ashwood, who now has eight wins for the season. Gray's win aboard Maorishadow was his second for the season in only seven drives.   by Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Heathcote harness racing driver Tayla French is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and the hard working 22-year-old thoroughly deserves her success. Somehow Tayla juggles working part-time at a Bendigo stable three or four mornings a week, a job as a medical receptionist in her hometown, helping her father Terry prepare his team and somehow fits in race driving a couple of nights a week. "It does get a bit hectic, but I'm enjoying it. It usually all falls into place so that's all good," Tayla said. And over the past 10 days, the junior concession reinswoman has been in sensational form on the racetrack. Competing at Shepparton, Kilmore and Bendigo meetings, French has chalked up five wins and is well on the way on improving on her debutante 2018-19 season of eight victories and 40 placings. "It has been great. I think I'm getting better at reading races and if things don't initially go to plan, I don't get fazed and work out then what might be best," she said. "The highlight was obviously getting my first winning race double at Kilmore - the first leg was with Nuclear Nikky (Auckland Reactor-Nickle Miss (Grinfromeartoear), prepared by dad. He's only had the horse for a fortnight and that was her first start, but she did trial nicely four days before. "The other Kilmore success was Blissfull Mind (Blissfull Hall-Mind Dance (Megamind), for Charlie Farrugia, who I had won on at his previous start." French said despite wanting to join the police force at one stage, it was "probably always going to be horses" after studying Year 12. "I can remember driving fast work for dad as a kid and it just continued on from there. When I made the decision to pass on the police force, for the time being, it meant commit to harness racing and that's what I'm wanting to do," she said. French started driving only in August of last year and three weeks in, landed her maiden winner. "Dad has been fantastic in teaching me things about the industry. My mum Kym's unfortunately allergic to horses, but she gives me heaps of support, too," she said. "l work part-time in Bendigo for local trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, and he also has been a terrific help." The winning streak by French kicked off at Bendigo last Tuesday week when she was successful for trainer Jess Tubbs on Illawong Mustang (Mach Three-Light In Every Day (Artiscape). The following night at Shepparton, the youngster drove a well-judged race for her father Terry to land the money on Joeys Hangover (Well Said-Without Guile (Art Major). French then headed down the road to the same venue seven days later to team up with an old favorite in 12-year-old Lights And Music (Jet Laag-Computerize (Stand Together) and they posted the gelding's 28th career win for trainer Colin Godden. Her memorable double at Kilmore was last Thursday. Five-year-old daughter of exciting sire Auckland Reactor In Nuclear Nikky had to do it the hard way after racing in the death-seat for the majority of the race. "I got through early from barrier 11 to land in the one-one, but then the horse outside the leader went to the front so I was posted. We only just go there, but she did it tough and deserved it," French said. Blissfull Mind wrapped up the double for her. The gelding led until the bell, took cover, but then finished full of running in the latter stages to get the prize. French said she used to enjoy playing other sports including netball and cricket. "I just don't have the time now. But I'm happy with what I'm doing," she said. French now has six wins and nine placings for the 2019-20 season...and on her current form, there are more winners just around the corner!   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

NANNEELLA trainer Colin Godden predicts good opportunities ahead for emerging Heathcote-based region Tayla French after combining for a win at Shepparton on Wednesday night. French notched up her fourth winning drive of the new harness racing season, from limited opportunities, aboard the veteran pacer Lights And Music. It was the 28th career win for the now 12-year-old pacer, who has had an amazing 245 starts for Godden, and won his first race back in 2010 at Maryborough and qualified for a Vicbred Super Series final as a four-year-old. Lights And Music has developed quite a cult following across the Goulburn Valley region, where he is trained, and in other pockets of Victoria. Godden was full of praise after French's winning drive - her second aboard the horse. "(Lights And Music) has a real affinity for the girls. Abbey Turnbull has been driving him a bit and Tayla has been doing a good job with him too," he said. "They both get on really well with him. "Tayla's been on him about six or seven times now and they won a few weeks back (September 9) at Maryborough and her first drive they ran second. "She does a great job. She doesn't get great big opportunities, but hopefully they come to her in the future and she gets a few nicer horses to drive. "I'm sure there'll be a few more people putting her on their horses." The installation of a water-walker on his property about 12 months ago had not just prolonged, but rejuvenated Lights And Music's career, according to Godden. "That's why he has had a real good patch the last 12 months or so," he said. "He's been well looked after and has been part of the family all his life. "The water-walkers are tremendous things, no doubt about it. "He has always had bad feet - not bad legs - but his feet have long been a problem and it's taken all the pressure off him jogging and working on the track all the time. "I'm sure he'll tell us when he's ready to give the racing away, but at the moment, leg-wise and all that stuff, he's like a two-year-old an his heart-rate is still fine. "There's not one year of his (racing) life he hasn't won a race." Lights And Music will likely have his next run at Kilmore on October 24. The win at Shepparton boosted his prize earnings to $166,485, with 28 wins complemented by 65 placings in a remarkably consistent career.   by Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Popular Shepparton harness racing trainer-driver Donna Castles got a belated 50th birthday present this week when talented square gaiter Fatouche turned it on with a faultless display. "She is nice mare on her night, especially if she doesn't get a head of steam and start pulling a lot," Castles said. Seven-year-old Fatouche (Yankee Spider USA-Whatu Eat NZ (Frugal Gourmet USA) certainly looked the goods in the Bendigo event on Tuesday night when she cruised to the lead mid-race. "When she settled so well, I decided to put her into the race early and whip around them. I thought on paper she was one of the top chances," Castles said. Based at Ardmona with partner Doc Wilson, Castles rated her charge to perfection with a steady clip (31, 29, 29.9 and 29.4) to score easily in the end from Illawong Sunny and Black Valley. The mile rate for the 2150m trip was a handy 1.59-4. Fatouche showed at Shepparton early last month that another win was just around the corner with a strong third placing after locking wheels. She then pulled hard at that same track 17 days later when a close-up fourth. The mare has now won eight races and amassed 12 placings for over $53,000 for enthusiastic Sydney owner Greg Corbett. "Greg has been a fantastic owner for us for about 14 years. He breeds all of his own horses and at the moment we are training 10 or 11 for him. Greg was a trainer years ago and his dad before that and never misses watching them on sky channel," Castles said. Castles, daughter of legendary Sydney horseman Jim Castles, shifted with Wilson to Victoria in the early 2000s. The pair are training a team of 30 horses and enjoyed a successful 2018-19 season. "The win was a great birthday present - my birthday was actually the day before the trots. I can't believe I am 50 - I'm getting old!" she joked.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When 11-year-old Kiwi bred square-gaiter Just Call Me Earl didn't fire a shot at Cobram earlier this year, the Newberry harness racing family decided it was the end of the road. "We were all disappointed because we wanted him to win one more and finish his career with 20 wins - but he really struggled, tired pretty badly and finished 50 metres from the winner," reinsman Matt Newberry said. "So, when we got home, dad (John) took the horse off the truck and put him straight out into the paddock," he said. "A friend later offered to take him as a hack, but that didn't work out because then she couldn't find room for him. After a few weeks we noticed he was bolting around the paddock and always seemed to be up at the gate waiting for us to come and get him. "It was then we decided to give him another go and see if he could regain some form." Newberry said Just Call Me Earl had worked well leading up to his first run back from "retirement" at Shepparton on July 28 from the 20metre handicap. "We thought at best he might sneak a place - we were all gobsmacked when he came out and recorded a strong win, running away from his rivals," he said. "I was three back on the pegs early and then got into the one-out line. I got a trail forward and sat outside the leader for the last 500 metres, then he burst clear to win by eight metres as rank outsider at 20/1." And sure enough, there was plenty of excitement in the Newberry camp with Just Call Me Earl (Earl CA-Shine On Alisha NZ (Sundon USA) getting to that elusive 20 wins from 219 starts. But the veteran campaigner had other ideas and wasn't stopping there! Just Call Me Earl fronted up at Shepparton last Wednesday night in the JD. Contractors Trotters Handicap and scored an all-the-way win to prove the previous one wasn't a fluke. "We weren't overly confident as he was in a terrible mood before the race. He was grumpy as ever, biting and kicking and that's certainly not his usual behavior," Newberry said. "Dad was unsure of our race tactics and in the end we decided to jump to the front and try and do very little work." Just Call Me Earl was rated to a nicety by Newberry with consistent splits of 31, 32, 30 and 30 to score by 1.7m from Nica MacDonon and a further eight metres back to Levina. His record now stands at 220 starts for 21 wins and 49 placings for over $142,000. The old timer was bred by his owners John and Maree Newberry, of Bunbartha, and John's parents, Gordon and Norma, who are retired and live in New Zealand. Newberry has been working with his father John, a highly-regarded horseman, for the past 10 years. "It's a real family affair because mum does a lot behind the scenes. We have nine in work at the moment with probably six or seven ready to come back in soon. We love it out here at Bunbartha, about 20 minutes from Shepparton. Our property is 130 acres and we have a 800 metre track," he said. Newberry said Just Call Me Earl's latest win was an early birthday present. "I'm 25 this Friday. In the past I've won twice on the day of my birthday, so I've been lucky. I'd love a belated present at Melton (with two-year-old trotter Feeling Enerjetic) on Saturday night, but that's maybe asking a little too much!" he said. And there's sure to be a big fan club at Shepparton next Tuesday night as Just Call Me Earl tries to make it a hat-trick of wins after a remarkable comeback.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Champion expat reinsman Anthony Butt has a word of warning for Kiwi punters as our interest in the Breeders Crown heats ramps up at Shepparton tonight. Talented juveniles Zeuss Bromac and Perfect Stride contest different heats of the male series, which has a A$300,000 final at Melton on August 24, with Butt to partner Perfect Stride. Regular reinsman Zachary Butcher is actually in Victoria and will drive Zeuss Bromac, who he trains, but Butt will drive Perfect Stride as he has become the go-to man for big-money NSW owner Emilio Rosati. Butt partnered Ultimate Stride, owned by Rosati, to win the A$50,000 Redwood Trot at Maryborough on Sunday and is engaged to partner four of the eight New Zealand reps in the Breeders Crown. “It works well for me and I hope well for the horses connections,” says Butt mater-of-factly. “Obviously I watch the racing back home very close but also do the form for over here. And I have been thrilled by the support I am getting.” While former Canterbury-based Butt rates Perfect Stride a real speedster who can shock the Aussies in his heat tonight he does say changes to the series suggest punters on horses not drawn to lead should be careful. “With the changes to the series (all heats now in Victoria) all the horses starting in those two heats are guaranteed a place in the semi final next week. “So they could be tame races because those drawn to get back might not be able to win. “A horse like Perfect Stride follows out a good beginner and should be handy on the outer but he looks best driven with a sit. “And with this heat and semi make-up and maybe not much pressure in the heats I can see him having a hard job to win, unless somebody goes hard up front.” The usual leader bias of Breeders Crown heats, and often semis, could aid Zeuss Bromac tonight because while he is in by far the stronger heat he should settle handy from a front line draw Butt will also partner Pukekohe filly Best Western in her three-year-old fillies heat at Kilmore on tomorrow night but she also faces a second line draw but more importantly series hot favourite Princess Tiffany, who has drawn barrier one.   Michael Guerin

Prominent breeders from most states have thrown their weight behind the 2019 Shepparton Mixed Stock Sale to be held at the Shepparton Harness Racing Club’s Kialla complex on Sunday, July 14 at 12 noon.   The sale comprises 67 well bred lots – 47 pacers and 20 trotters - including weanlings, broodmares, two and three-year-olds and tried and untried stock with strong consignments from two of the country’s most successful breeders, Robert Watson and Duncan McPherson.   Of the 16 weanlings going up for auction three are by the great American Ideal, two by A Rocknroll Dance and Sunshine Beach with single entries by high profile sires including Sweet Lou, Betting Line, Heston Blue Chip, Auckland Reactor and Majestic Son.   The weanling section includes A Rocknroll Dance half-sister to the outstanding pacer Shadow Sax, a Heston Blue Chip half-brother to the dual Listed winner Sophies Ideal, a Sweet Lou colt out the $120,000 winner So Shesachristian, a Betting Line half-sister to the good Gloucester Park winner Soho Changeling and A Rocknroll Dance filly closely related to Mother Courage.   Among the mixed stock listed in the catalogue are Jamm Kiss NZ (1:57.1), a Somebeachsomewhere two-year-old half-sister to The Graduate winner Stars Align (1:50.4), an unraced three-year-old half-brother to the dual Group winner Lombo Kotakinabalu, a three-year-old half-sister to the NSW Breeders Challenge winner Shezallapples and an American Ideal two-year-old half-brother to Soho Changeling.   There’s 30 broodmares in the sale highlighted by the millionairess Miss Galvinator, Our Awesome Lover, a sister to Under Cover Lover; Frances Lombo, dam of Lombo Kotakinabalu; Lethal Mee NZ, dam of NZ 2YO Filly of the Year Susie Maguire; the $130,000 winning trotter Countessa Hest NZ, Mossdale Gabby (Tas. Mother of Pearl), Aspenglow USA, the mother of cups winner Cold Sister; Ushaka Bromac NZ (winner of $144,000) and Sundons Babe NZ, a daughter of NZ Trotter of the Year Merinai.   Broodmares are in foal to well credentialled sires such as Sportswriter, Four Starzzz Shark, Pet Rock, Sunshine Beach, Hes Watching, Tintin In America, Auckland Reactor, Yankee Rockstar and Aldebaran Eagle.   Catalogues are available from Melton and most Victorian country clubs.   To request a catalogue email or phone Shepparton club manager Ian McDonald on 0428 231 403.   by Peter Wharton

Euroa-based harness racing trainer-driver Cameron Maggs produced a nice winner on debut at Shepparton last Friday - and punters didn't let it get under their guard. Four-year-old mare Maddielea (Auckland Reactor-Allison June (Major In Art) was heavily supported into favoritism on fixed odds and the issue was never in doubt. Maggs sent Maddielea to the head of affairs in the $7000 Alabar Pace for C0 only pacers and looked to have things well under control from that point. The first split was 28.2, followed by a 31.4, and then the mare was allowed to stretch out in 28.3 and 29.6 to win by 15 metres in a sharp 1.57-5. Despite not being sighted at the trials for some time, the course commentator Brendan Delaney advised shortly before the start that the fixed odds that had been put up regarding Maddielea had been knocked down from $19 to $4. Betting then tightened to $3.50 and $3.20, with the eventual starting price $3.50. "The winner landed some big bets, and someone has their pockets full for the weekend, you would think!" Delaney quipped after the race. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Maddielea certainly looks a horse destined for a bright future and is expected to make it two wins in under a week as she has come up the top selection at Shepparton this Wednesday afternoon in the CO-C1 mares' event. The daughter of Auckland Reactor, who continues to stamp his mark as a quality sire, goes about her business in trade-like fashion. With a nice gait, she has some of her dad's renowned grit as well. Maddielea, raced by P.L and S.L Maggs, was bred by her trainer Cameron Maggs. She is out of an unraced mare in Allison June (Major In Art-Miss Nightowl (Our Sir Vancelot). The recent winner also has a three-year-old full brother, yet to be named. Miss Nightowl was only lightly raced with four wins and seven placings from 26 starts for earnings of $14,480. The mare was successful for Maggs at Wagga and Echuca, while Nathan Jack was the winning driver at Bendigo and Mildura. It was also a very good outcome for connections who also took home a lucrative first win VicBred bonus. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

When enthusiastic Cranbourne harness racing trainer Matthew Martin needs some expert advice, it's never far away. "I've got a nice network of family and friends to lean on when I need a bit of help or guidance regarding horses, so I'm very lucky," he said. And Martin, 32, was thrilled to see his one-and-only stable representative in Final Chapter (Art Major USA-Nyanjee (Classic Garry) get the money at Sunday's Mooroopna at Shepparton twilight meeting. "The race did look ideal for her and I thought if she could lead over the short trip, we'd be hard to beat," Martin said. "I've since read that a punter had $30,000 on at $1.65 - and I can guarantee that it wasn't anyone that I know!" he laughed. Driven perfectly by Kima Frenning (who also showed awesome touch with three winners for the Emma Stewart stable the previous night in Adelaide) Final Chapter was always going to be the one to beat. A first quarter of 29.9 was followed by a casual 33, then 29.1 and 27.9. "When Kima got that easy second quarter, I did think she had pinched the race," Martin said. Matt Martin and Kima Frenning are all smiles after the Shepparton win (Courtesy Shepparton HRC) Final Chapter, raced by Martin, his wife Kym, and successful gallops trainer Luke Oliver, had been placed at Melton, Warragul and Shepparton before her maiden victory. Martin, who's based at the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre, said he learnt a lot as a teenager when working horses with his father Alan. "I realise now that probably I should have listened a bit more, because if I can't get one to pace properly or it needs sorting out, I send it straight up to dad at Marong," he said. "But the other trainers based at the centre are awesome too - if it wasn't for them I would have been in the deep end and struggling along. I've definitely learnt so much and we all help each other out." But Martin also has some impressive cross-code expertise he can call on - in the form of Black Caviar trainer, Peter Moody. "I got to know Peter through my horse farrier business and, even though he was doing gallopers, I did pick up a lot about training and conditioning horses in general," Martin said. "Peter's ethic was to work them hard with lots of swimming, and his horses would go to the races so fit first-up, and that's rubbed off onto me, which I've tried to replicate." Martin said the Cranbourne centre was a "fantastic venue", boasting A1 facilities. "We have the use of a racetrack, 1200m jog track and a 600m heavy track and all of those are prepared daily. There's also a swimming pool, eight horse walking machine and a treadmill - we are spoilt rotten that's for sure," he said. Martin completed a four-year farrier apprenticeship in 2008 and has since built up a big clientele, including three days a week at Caulfield racecourse and the other two at the Romsey stables of Luke Oliver. His work days start when the alarm clock goes off between 4 and 4.30am and in a juggling act, he then gets back to Cranbourne in the early afternoon to train his pacer Final Chapter. "I recently decided to retire Mulgrave, a horse I got out of the claimers which actually gave me my first winner - Kima also drove him, but he was struggling towards the end," Martin said. "I've trained two others which didn't make it. So, all in all, I've only ever had just the four horses. I've held a trainer's licence for four years and now have six wins from probably not many more than 50 starters. "But it's an enjoyable sport and my only other hobby is supporting the mighty Collingwood AFL team." And it's not hard to miss the Martin stable--a race sulky in the Pies black and white colors, drivers colors likewise, while Matthew and Kym's two-year-old son George has his own set, which he wears with pride at the meetings.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Skillful harness racing reinsman David Moran, is hot property at the moment. Moran, based at Kialla, near Shepparton, landed a winning treble at his home track on Monday and four days later was at his very best with a bag of four winners at Wagga Wagga. "To be honest they all did look to be strong chances on paper at Wagga, but we've probably all learnt not to get ahead of ourselves in this caper!" Moran said. "It all worked out okay this time and I think I have been lucky enough to get four previously at Wagga, Leeton and Shepparton," he said. Moran's Shepparton meeting got off to a flying start with the boom youngster Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA), trained by Moran with partner Laura Crossland, cruising to victory in a tick over 1.57 for 2190m. A relative newcomer to their stable, Mamas New Dude (Western Terror USA-Shake It Mama (Mach Three), looked good in bringing up Moran's second winner, taking out the Alabar 3YO Pace. To complete the trio of winners, Moran then piloted the Patrick Ryan-prepared Starsbythebeach (Somebeachsomewhere USA-Maid For You Lombo (Sportswriter USA) to take out the BMW 2yo Pace. (Bendigo conditioner Glenn Douglas, who has his team absolutely up-and-about at the moment, shared the honors with Moran at Shepparton-also landing a treble.) Moran said he was pleased the way Lochinvar Art went about his business. "He had a bit up his sleeve and it was his first start back after taking out the Gold Chalice Final at Bathurst about seven weeks ago," he said. "We're aiming him for the Breeders Challenge semi-finals and final at Menangle next month, so we are on target. "We chose the Breeders Challenge rather than the prestigious IRT Harness Jewels in Addington, NZ, next Saturday because over there we would have come up against a 'handy horseman' by the name of Mark Purdon!" Moran was the punter's pal in his trip over the border to Wagga Wagga on Thursday, duly getting the prize on three favorites and a second-favorite. It was again none other than the Kevin Gordon-owned flying machine Lochinvar Art, getting the ball rolling, zipping over the 1740m trip in 1.53-8. Moran then landed a double for the powerful Stewart/Tonkin team at Ballarat with Victoria Brew (Sportswriter USA-Charlotte Brew NZ (Mach Three) and Hardhitter (Mach Three-Grace Robinson (Perfect Art). His fourth for the day was for Victorian Gippsland co-trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan, of Drouin, in Rocknroll Pearl (Rock N Roll Heaven-Jazzam (Christian Cullen NZ). "It's nice to pick up a few drives for Emma and Clayton and it's good to do okay for them and stay in the mix because they have a lot of horses going around," Moran said. Moran's four-win efforts are not his best, though - he joined a select group of drivers in March, 2015, when he bagged five winners at a meeting. "That was exciting, and I remember it well because it was the Albury Pacing Cup meeting and I won five of the eight races on the card," he said. The in-form driver is also enjoying a great season as a trainer, with his partner and co-trainer Laura Crossland. The training partnership was formalised recently and has 11 wins, 16 placings from 44 starts. "Laura is a bit under-rated as a driver, because the horses do run for her," Moran said. "I'm always happy to watch her take the reins and I do think it's a bit surprising that more trainers don't use her services," he said. Demonstrating the commitment required of today's professional reinsmen, after driving at Wagga, Moran caught a plane to Shepparton and then drove his car to the Ballarat meeting that night. "The fairytale unfortunately didn't continue - I had one drive and didn't do any good as the horse jumped a shadow and ended up back in fifth spot in the 3yo Classic," he said. Moran, who has been at Kialla for eight or nine years, got involved in harness racing through well-known and highly successful trainer-driver David Aiken, of Avenel. "I grew up with his son David junior. We were best mates as kids," he said. "It was a natural transition to start with the Aiken stable once I finished school."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura      

Barnawartha horseman Wayne Anderson had mixed feelings when he landed the money at the Shepparton harness racing meeting this week with a 25/1 longshot - and who could blame him? Wayne decided to take the reins himself with bay gelding Postal Express (Flightpath-Bye Focals (Harmony Heaven), giving his 21-year-old son Chris, an up-and-coming junior driver, the night off. "Chris works in the scaffolding business and just lately he's been doing a fair bit of travelling," Wayne said. "As well as all the miles, he's also been working hard because he just recently bought himself a house. So, I said to him that I didn't want him pushing himself to get back and drive at the trots. "And of course, everything worked out perfectly in the race for Postal Express and we landed the money, but only just!" Postal Express won by a neck from Monash (Ros Rolfe) with four metres back to Waterboy (Ryan Duffy). The mile rate was a brisk 1.57-5. View the video here! It was Wayne's first race drive on the eight-year-old, and while he was delighted with the success, he intends to stay "second fiddle" to Chris whenever he can. "Chris has had a couple of wins and my wife Margy, myself and all the other family members are keen to see him get established and do well in the sport," Wayne said. "Whenever he's home and not away working, you'll find him at our place helping out with the team, which is up to five at present. "Chris was a late-starter into trotting as he used to do very well at football and cricket. I think he can make a go of it, because he's keen and will take on any advice. Guys like David Jack, Cameron Maggs and Peter Romero have been fantastic." The Anderson farm, nestled on the outskirts of town, has been in the family since 1956. Wayne said a 700-metre granite track on the property cost "24 dozen bottles of beer and some fuel, back in the day"! "Uncle Bob, who always had horses on the place, now looks after the cattle, while my brother Steve does the cropping and our dad David keeps an eye on things to ensure everything's ticking along okay. We have 60 cattle and 350 sheep as well as the horses," Wayne said. "It's a real family affair and while two of our other sons, Mitch and Isaac, aren't hands-on with the horses, they support us. "We got Postal Express off a mate in Robbie Walters, who thought he would be just perfect for Chris to learn the ropes. "And he is a nice horse-just a gentleman to do anything with. He's improved lately since we changed his feed on the recommendation of a nutritionalist and got his teeth done. "The horse has always shown high speed, but now he's starting to find the line." Wayne said he'd been in and out of the industry for nearly 40 years. "I was trying a heap of horses there for a while but dropped off a bit when I wasn't getting any to the races," he said. "Then in December 2015, we had a wild bushfire go through. We lost 300 sheep, 400 bales and five kilometres of fencing. It also destroyed our wooden horse yards, but fortunately two colts that I was breaking-in weren't injured. "The bushfire destroyed 6000 hectares in nine hours, being fanned by 100kph winds. We saved a few lambs as well as things around the house." Wayne said while Postal Express could be one to follow from the stable, he was excited with former Queensland pacer My Magic Merlin. "Chris got beaten a head at Kilmore with him last month which was his first run for us. He's a nice type by Mach Three and still only a C1," he said. And there's a fair chance that Wayne will be among the loudest supporters for Chris at Albury on Saturday night when the junior driver competes with Miss Rixon in the opening event, followed by My Magic Merlin in race two.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Jovial Bill Milner of Kilmore is strictly a trainer only of square-gaiters these days - and loves every minute of it. "I'll have to be honest and say that a fair amount of patience is required with them at times, but I just keep poking along and mostly they are enjoyable," Milner said. And Bill's certainly enjoying a pleasant time in harness racing at the moment, with four-year-old Dellsun (Majestic Son-Auravale (Malhana Gindin USA) getting the job done in fine style. The gelding, nicely driven by master Melbourne reinsman Chris Alford, didn't put a foot wrong to take out the JDC Contractors Trotters Handicap at Shepparton last Tuesday night. Milner said the Shepparton circuit was quickly becoming one of his favorite tracks. "I seem to have a fair bit of success up there. Dellsun is an example because his previous victory was also at Shepparton a month ago," he said. "It's a nice easy drive from home so I'll keep racing there while our luck is in." Milner is hands-on with pretty much every aspect of the sport and does a great job with a small team. Not only does he breed all his stock, but breaks them in, does the farrier work and trains them. That virtually leaves only the driving side of it, but he says he's quite happy to watch from the other side of the fence. "I do enjoy the breaking-in part probably the most. There's a heap of satisfaction comes out of that and yes I suppose I do nearly everything myself," he said. "Over the many years I've been involved, I've learnt a hell of a lot from a great number of people. "I got started with Carl O'Dwyer when I was a teenager doing a farrier apprenticeship. Then later on when I was shoeing for greats like Vin Knight, Gordon Rothacker, Kevin Murray, Kevin Dixon and others, I would pick up more knowledge. "Early days another influential person was Frank Shinn. I remember we went off buying a horse each and mine was named Fair Baron. I was learning how to drive fastwork one day and nearly put Frank over the fence, which didn't go down all that well. "Fair Baron never won a race, but I'm certain the one Frank purchased turned out okay!" Milner now owns the property that belonged to Shinn. It's on nearly four acres and has a 400-metre track. He said he trained pacers years ago before changing his alliances to square gaiters. "Without doubt the best pacer I had would have been Vice Regal, who raced in the early 1990s," Milner said. Vice Regal (Vance Hanover USA-Pat Hanover NZ (Emory Hanover USA) finished his career with 14 wins and 24 placings for more than $74,000. After becoming a fully qualified farrier, Milner was employed by the Victoria Racing Club and worked at Seymour and Kilmore gallops meetings as well as some in Melbourne. "I used to help out with barrier duties as well and I'm still at it, nearly 50 years later," he said. Most of the Milner team go back to a daughter of Welcome Advice, Star Advice, a moderately performed race mare. However, in the breeding barn, she had six foals, including Auravale and Auravalley. Auravale, a five-race winner, had six foals with all winners, except one. Auravalley has produced three foals with the best being My Archie Way (4 wins) and Tetra (2 wins). Milner paid tribute to his success with his small team to supporter Kevin Dixon, "92 years young", who has held a licence for 76 years. "Kevin would only train two at a time back in the day, but he was very good at it. When the old Melbourne Showgrounds closed, he moved to Kilmore on a small acreage and he lives about five minutes from me," Milner said. "He has taught me a lot. He calls into my stables regularly and still attends all the meetings with me - he's a great mate."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When star Victorian harness racing reinsman John Caldow set off up the highway to the Shepparton meeting on Friday night, he was entitled to believe he had a few nice drives. “I must admit that on paper I really did think I could do okay - but I have to be honest and say I wasn’t counting on landing five winners!” a jubilant Caldow said. “It was just one of those nights where you think this might happen, or that could be the case, and then it just all goes to plan and falls into place,” he said. “Absolutely amazing, but hell it was heaps of fun.” The quintet of wins was a first for the freelance reinsman, who, with wife Maree, has a training complex at Melton. “I did get five in total once before, but I couldn’t count it as such – one winner at Maryborough in the afternoon and then four that night at a Melton fixture,” he said. “I have actually had four a fair few times. But the prospect of five at one meeting has probably never entered my head.” The popular reinsman said Shepparton had been something of a happy hunting ground for him in recent seasons. “I’ve been getting heaps of support from trainers up that way and I really enjoy driving on the track. Besides I have lots of friends in the area so it’s great to get up there and see them as well.” The Caldow winning run started with Keith Cotchin four-year-old Karlos (Sportwriter-Kept For Pleasure (Safely Kept). To watch the video replay of Karlos click here. Then it was an all-the-way win with Sheer Modern (Shadyshark Hanover-Modern Society (Modern Art) for Brent Thomson. To watch the video replay of Sheer Modern click here. After being runner-up in the next, Caldow bounced back for wife Maree when successful with Meziah (Bettors Delight-Mesmerizing (Our Sir Vancelot). To watch the video replay of Meziah click here. He then scored a surprise win with $28 long shot Jackson Square (Bacardi Lindy-Front And Square (Yentls Image) in the Trotters Cup, landing the prize for Mick Blackmore. To watch the video replay of Jackson Square click here. Caldow’s fifth winner kept it an enjoyable family night, providing Maree with a training double courtesy of impressive 2YO colt Andover Sun (Andover Hall-Solar Flash (Sundon USA) in the Abrahams Trotters Classic. To watch the video replay of Andover Sun click here. And for Caldow followers wondering the outcome for a $10 all up bet on Caldow’s five winners?  A handsome $42,077 would have been the result . Landing winners is certainly nothing new for Caldow, who is up there with the best of them. He has driven more than 100 winners in a season on 20 occasions. And no-one would begrudge him his success (despite perhaps the one flaw in his make-up, some may say, of being a fanatical Collingwood supporter in the AFL!). After a horrific road accident in the 1980s claimed the life of his older brother Peter and severely injured his father Jack at Boundary Bend in Victoria’s far north west, John was given the task of running the stables, then located at Echuca. “I was only 13 years old at the time and I now sometimes look back on it and wonder how I did it,” he said. “Mum had to get special leave from the Education Department so I could quit school and takeover the stable duties of preparing a team of 12 horses. “But I couldn’t have done it without the help of a lot of people.  Probably the one who stood out was Russ Thomson, who had a set-up near Moama at the time, but many others gave us a hand. “I can remember having a team of 20 in work when I was 16 years old as that’s when I applied to get a trots driver’s licence.” The Caldow family relocated to Melton in early 2000 and John has continued to cement himself as one of the true success stories of the industry. Caldow said he was certain to remember his quintet of winners in years to come. “It was actually a huge two days as I went to the football the previous night at the MCG with Glenn Douglas, Mick Stanley and some other diehard Collingwood fans and we got a win over the Bombers,” he said. “You could say I’m on a bit of a roll…!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Shepparton harness racing trainer-driver Damian “Damo” Wilson was in two minds this week whether to make the demanding road trip to Yarra Valley – but he was glad he did in the end.   “It’s not a big or long trip, probably about 170 Kms, but a major part of it is winding roads and that sort of stuff, so you have to keep your eyes open,” Wilson said.   But Wilson had the last laugh when bay gelding Winkn Nod (Grinfromeartoear-Mull of Kintire (Chandon) impressively took out the Hargreaves Hill Brewery Pace.   Winkn Nod was ignored in betting starting a 20/1 chance. He scored from the Jayne Davies-trained pair Betterman Stride ($2 fav) and British General ($49 chance). The mile rate posted by the winner of 1.55-5 was just 1.4 seconds outside the track record.   “He has turned out to be a good money-spinner for the owners, who are Norm and Joan Visca from Moama,” Wilson said.   Norm Visca       Cobram Harness Racing Club photos   “I reckon I’ve given him 11 starts for two wins and eight placings – the other start he was unplaced after having absolutely no luck at all one day at Cobram,” he said.   “It would be great to have a few more like Winkn Nod because he just gets out there and tries his heart out.”   Wilson said the enthusiastic Viscas were “good people with an unbelievable love for harness racing”.   “They never miss a meeting when I’m racing a horse they own, which is great. And the way they support the industry is really good,” he said.   “Norm has been around horses for years. He usually breeds a few, but, also, if he sees a horse he likes he’ll buy it.   “You would go a long way to find people with more passion than the Viscas, that’s for sure.”   Starting from the outside of the front row, Wilson eased Winkn Nod back at the start. He popped into the one-out, two-back spot, but after a few forward moves by some of his rivals, he was again near last at the bell.   “I wasn’t overly-concerned because they’d set a solid pace up front (quarters of 29.9 and 29.5 for a first half of 57.4) and that suited me. I thought I would have something left in the tank because we hadn’t done much in the run,” Wilson said.   And his assessment was spot on as Winkn Nod worked stylishly around the field down the back straight. The gelding joined Betterman Stride on straightening and the two settled down to a ding- dong battle.   Winkn Nod did best, by a narrow margin, to the cheers of lucky punters who collected $20.90 for a win ticket on the TAB.   View the race replay here   Wilson, who trains on a 50-acre property at Byrneside, near Shepparton, has a team of 10 horses in work.   “I’ve got another racehorse in Miss McManus, who’s also owned by Norm and Joan. She was pretty consistent late last year and early this year,” he said.   “We had two wins and seven placings, but her last few have been a bit below par. They also have a three-year-old and a trotter so hopefully there will be a lot more trips to the races for them.”   Wilson said his trip to Yarra Valley was a rare occurrence.   “I haven’t taken a horse there ever since I’ve had my place at Byrneside, and that’s over two-and-a- half years,” he said.   “I probably shouldn’t leave it that long until my next visit, because the hard drive home didn’t worry me one bit after the win!”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Members of the Shepparton Harness Racing Club were among the large contingent of harness racing devotees who attended the Nic Dewar Memorial meeting at the Young Paceway last Wednesday night. Victorian driver Brad Chisholm catapulted to the top of the pointscore ladder to claim this year's crown, winning the final two races with Abitmorebliss and Twentyeightblack. Boorowa's Codi Rauchenberger and Young's Blake Micallef finished second and third respectively after leading the series following wins in the opening two races at Shepparton. Following race five an emotional presentation was made to all drivers involved in the Nic Dewar Memorial. This was the first of what is expected to be an annual event that will be shared by both the Young and Shepparton clubs. The nine race program opened with the running of the Glen Mia Saddlery Pace over 2100m, the well supported Canberra gelding About The Attitude ($2.00) for Will Rixon was able to secure the leading position and was able to lead throughout in an impressive winning mile rate of 1:59.2. Race two was the Nic Dewar Memorial race of the night won by Abitmorebliss trained by Ellen Bartley from Coleambally. Junee postman Bruce Harpley secured a last minute start when his five year old mare Rubbies For Tash ($14) who set a new track record for the distance of 1:54.8, that win will see Bruce head for Menangle on April 13 for the very lucrative final. Attention then turned to the second heat of the Nic Dewar Memorial and local plasterer Glen Wilmot produced a very striking black Courage Under Fire gelding in the shape of Twentyeightblack ($4) to start favourite and take out the race by a convincing margin in a mile rating of 1:58.4 for the 1720m race. Long time supporter of the Young club, Peter Bullock had another welcome win with the evergreen pacer Smack Dab Shannon ($23) driven by Amy Rees in race five. Nic Dewar Memorial drivers, Dewar family members and Young Harness Racing and Harness Racing NSW officials following Wednesday night's presentation. Race six was the Club Menangle Where Horses Fly Heat over the sprint 1720 meters with Rock Bottom ($1.35) sent out a short priced favourite. Stablemate Young Cambo ($5.50) decided he was the better horse on the night by defeating Rock Bottom. The seventh race was another highlight of the night with Freddy Funk ($2.80) trained and driven by Nathan Turnbull, making a fast forward move mid-race to skip away at the bell. In race eight Miss Fifi and driver Ananda Turnbull were joined mid race by second favourite Bustling Barney ($4) who sat outside leader before applying the pressure at the 400m, eventually coming away to secure victory. The final race of the night accommodated the three year old pacers with the well supported Junee pacer Western Secret ($4.80) who firmed dramatically from $14 early fixed odds to run away in the straight capping off another top night of quality racing at the Young Paceway.  The club to conduct another meeting next Tuesday night, March 26. By Stewart Maxwell Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness

1 to 16 of 215
1 2 3 4 5 Next »