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Tuesday 7th April 2015 - Fellas R Trouble qualified for the Gr. 2 Carousel at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday April 26 with a barnstorming victory in a heat at Fairfield on Monday evening. Trained by Peter Rixon, owned by Peter's wife Cindy and driven by their daughter Ellen, the victory was a real family affair. "It was a cracker of a drive, Ellen was very patient and the horse really hit the line strongly once he got into the clear," Peter Rixon said. "I watched the race from home because I had spent the weekend at the mini trotting championships at Gunning so Cindy headed out to Fairfield with Ellen and while they weren't expecting the horse to win they thought he would run a nice race because his run in the Carousel heat at Penrith on Thursday wasn't too bad." Ellen will not be able to drive Fellas R Trouble in the $50,000 final because she doesn't have a metropolitan licence. "I will be on the lookout for a new driver because Ellen won't be able to drive him, I have been using Todd (McCarthy) at Menangle recently but I guess it will all depend on what other horses qualify for the race." "Todd might have to drive something else, Amanda Turnbull is another option too but our bloke isn't going to be one of the favourites in the race, so I will just wait and see who doesn't have a drive and then make the decision." Rixon bought Fellas R Trouble from New Zealand and he has already exceeded the family's expectations. "I was looking for a nice sensible horse for Ellen to drive, I was told this horse would be the ideal one and we didn't pay a lot of money for him so it has worked out nicely." "I don't do a lot of race driving anymore, I might get on the occasional one but I'm happy to let Ellen do most of it." Only two years ago Rixon qualified Prince Kai for the Carousel. The son of Stature finished fourth behind Monifieth. "Prince Kai has done a very good job for the stable since he ran in the Carousel, I've actually nominated him for Saturday night but have decided to put a junior driver on him so he can get back into the M1 over 2300 metres which suits him." "We are working ten horses at the moment but everyone helps out and everything that needs to be done gets done, it isn't too bad actually." Greg Hayes

In our prominent harness racing stallion series we have reviewed American Ideal,  Art Major, Bettors Delight  and Christian Cullen so far and today we have produced an in depth review for Courage Under Fire. Enjoy the read. BREEDING - Another son of the Southern Hemisphere super sire In The Pocket  (As a stallion In The Pocket has been nothing short of sensational in New Zealand and is responsible for changing the breed in Australia and New Zealand. – becoming NZ’s Champion Sire in both 1998/99 and 2003/04 as well as being the Leading 2YO Sire five times and twice 3YO Sire of the Year. He is the sire of 3 NZ based millionaires and multiple Harness Horses of the Year). Courage Under Fire is from the Vance Hanover mare Advance Debra. She won the NZ Sires Stakes Final but was the only winner of any note in her family. The old saying about champions can come from anywhere certainly applies in this case. RACE RECORD - Arguably the best juvenile pacer to ever race in the Southern Hemisphere. He won his first 24 races and included in those were six derbies on both sides of the Tasman, a record which is unlikely to be ever broken. Small in stature, he was known as the "Pocket Rocket" and thrilled crowds with his displays of speed and stamina. Not as dominant as an older horse but he still wound up his racing career with the outstanding record of 41 wins and 4 placings from 56 starts, taking a time of 1:54.2 on his way to earning $1,551,000. AMERICAN STUD RECORD - Only has the very small number of just 17 horses that have been exported to America but they have done a stellar job so far. Headed by such smart types as the mare Itz Cherry Ripe ($526,727), Flem N Em 1:49.3 ($461,175) and Artic Fire ($341,008), his stock have garnered $3,735,535 to date. With such small numbers it is hard to draw any conclusions either way on his record in the USA.  Eligible to race - 17 Winners - 17 $100,000 plus - 13 $1,000,000 plus - 0 Sub 1:50 - 1 Average earnings - $219,737 Total earnings to date - $3,735,535 AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD - Bred small numbers initially (foals; 15, 19, 29, 44, 15, 21, 64) as he was based in NZ  and there were issues with the transportation of his semen. Now based in Australia under the care of Alabar, he has served large books in the last three years (foals; 134, 100, 144). This is due in no small part to the record of NZ imports with 38 of them having won over $100,000 in Australia. The record of his Australian born stock is a lot less successful with Smolda ($512,888) standing head and shoulders over the other 341 sons and daughters he has in Australia. His next best performer after Smolda is Runnaway Fire ($228,061). What is really concerning is his percentages of winners to foals which are well off the pace of his major competitors. That may change now that he is under the influence of Alabar but it needs to and soon. Foals 3yr old and older - 341 Winners - 118 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 35% $100,000 plus - 13 $1,000,000 plus - 0 Average earnings per starter - $23,390 Average earnings per eligible horse - $14,129 Total earnings to date - $4,818,319 NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD - Right from the start he had huge support from breeders in NZ (foals; 151, 127, 186, 236) and that is reflected in the number of quality colts and fillies he has left in NZ. Colts of the class of Pembrook Benny ($787,745), Sleepy Tripp ($723,887), Lanercost ($506,324), Courage To Rule ($489,231), Choise Achiever ($502,095), Franco Jamar ($367,492) and Days Of Courage ($335,859) while his fillies included the likes of Lancome ($461,277) and Secret Potion ($285,312). His percentages in NZ are again a concern but at least he has some quality horses to showcase. Foals 3yr old and older - 950 Winners - 374 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 39& $100,000 plus - 16 (38 in Australia) $1,000,000,000 plus - 0 Average earnings per starter - $20,610 Average earnings per eligible horse - $10,413 Total earnings to date - $9,892,809 POSITIVES - Can leave top line two and three year olds who can go on to be competitive as older horses on the Grand Circuit. Leaves top class fillies as well as colts and they have a reputation for being very durable. NEGATIVES -  In both Australia and New Zealand his percentages are 15 to 20 points below what his major competitors are achieving in both countries. And he needs a few more quality individuals in Australia with Smolda his only real credit so far. OVERVIEW - This horse has all the credentials to be a leading sire but his record to date is one of under achievement. That may have more to do with his management in the recent past. He has changed ownership twice, countries and states and that makes it tougher for a stallion to excel. Now under the management of Alabar he will get the opportunity to turn those numbers around but it better happen in the next twelve months or so or he may find himself passed over for some of the new boys on the scene OVERALL RATING - 6/10 JC A Sire review - American Ideal A Sire review - Art Major A Stallion review - Bettors Delight A Stallion review - Christian Cullen Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we are running a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires. As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true. As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data. The above PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them.  (All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)  And here is "The forgotten sires series" This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink have already completed with a view to sheading some light on some of  the "forgotten"sires in Australasia. Elsu - Redemption awaits McArdle - The quiet achiever Santanna Blue Chip - On the up and up! Major In Art - Big and fast Mr Feelgood - Dual hemisphere champion Pay Me Christian - Blistering speed Monkey Bones - All class Tinted Cloud - Still going strong Real Desire - The real deal Washington VC - Continuing excellence Wetern Ideal - A superstar sire Bacardy Lindy - Blue blood Monarchy - Out of Sundons shadow Artiscape - Frozen semen blues? Dream Vacation - Frozen semen superstar Badlands Hanover - Great value Lis Mara - The quiet achiever Brylin Boyz - Potential fulfilled

The debate about the relative importance of owners and punters – racing’s version of the hen-and-chicken argument – will probably go on for ever, but no-one would ever dispute the thrill and enjoyment of owning a winner. That’s certainly true for the diverse group which shared the winning spoils at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Just Clooney ($2.30 fav. John O’Shea) was highly impressive in the first, a C0 sprint event, tramping three-wide from the bell to score with something in hand, from William Peter and Feel The Courage, which raced in the running line. The Modern Art three-year-old rated 2:00.7 in scoring his second win from three starts since he began racing  just three weeks ago. He’s raced by the Connolly family, who breed cattle, and these days standardbreds, at  Carcoar. His racing name has survived from the one bestowed on him as a very handsome foal, of just “Clooney”. By George, he looks even better now after this latest win. Trikala  ( $2.30 fav Bernie Hewitt) , winner of the second, a C1  class over 2130 metres, raced three back in the running line but launched a big sprint to gain the lead at the 500 metres point, and hold off El Mega, which had followed him wide, and Dashing Deano. He’s raced by the Oxford Centennials Cricket Syndicate, winners of one of the local premierships last season and keen fundraisers for the Pink Stumps Day each year. Wayne Loader, the driving force behind the syndicate, is the vice-president of Bathurst HRC. It took stewards more than half an hour before upholding a protest which awarded the third race, a 2130 metres C2-3 class, to Our Southern Belle ($5.80 , Ben Hagney) which appeared likely to overhaul McArdles Chance until losing momentum just short of the line. Leader Beth Shannon held on for third. Managing part-owner Dave Birrell, a brother-in-law to trainer Steve Conroy, lives at Medlow Bath, mid-way between the Mt Victoria and Springwood bushfires of recent days. It was a tough decision to head to the races, but he was thrilled to see his pride and joy score her first win for the season, and her eighth overall. Nathan Hurst’s stable maintained its excellent run with a treble in races four, six and seven, by Make Some Magic NZ, Kyalla Luke and Imitate Life. Hurst drove Kyalla Luke himself, while the other two provided Angela Hedges with her second Bathurst double. Make Some Magic NZ ($10.70), last season’s leading horse in the Carnival of Cups series,  raced in the death seat throughout the C4-C7 sprint event, winning by an ever-widening 13 metres margin, from pegs runners Veracity Red and Packnplenty, with a last half of 58.7.  The Cullen daughter has now won 19 races and close to $100,000. That particular milestone was achieved by David and Audrey Mason’s Stature mare Kyalla Mary, dam of Kyalla Luke ( $2.30 fav.), which death-seated throughout in an R1-R2 sprint class to defeat Fire Eclipse and Woodsy James Lombo, in a 2:03 bat. The thirty-strong Hurst team includes five horses raced by the Masons, long-established breeder-owners from Forbes. Runner-up in the previous week’s mares’ final at the track but with no Gabrielle Solis to contend with this time, Imitate Life ($3.20) proved too good in a C1-C2 mares sprint, coming out of the trail to overhaul stablemate Express Jet, with Claire Bogan which followed her throughout, getting third spot. Troy Peters has enjoyed six wins now, with the Trump Casino daughter. Breaking the Hurst sequence, in race five, a 2130 metres 3YO fillies class, was Lettucegrin ($3.90, Kerryann Turner). She sat outside the leader Miss Marg Shannon, which held on for third, while Denise and Jules, which raced three-back in the running line, tried gamely but couldn’t quite match the winner. The Grin daughter, raced by Kerryann’s original boss and strong stable supporter Paul Kahlefeldt, is now likely to spell, having picked up her 3YO wins, both of them at Bathurst. Jenny Turnbull, in the middle of a holiday with Steve after a taxing end to last season, took a call from daughter Amanda who phoned to say she’d just bought two horses for her mother, off the internet. Good holiday news or bad? Highview Conall NZ ($1.10 fav. Amanda) confirmed it as good news, with a second successive Australian win, in the final race at Bathurst, an R 0 sprint. The stylish Cullen four-year-old made a three-wide move to take the lead and looked untroubled in scoring from peg runners Sunnyside Magic and Ultimate Jet. The last half took a comfortable 59.5 seconds. There mightn’t be any of the over-the-top performing for the camera that is now obligatory at the galloping carnivals, but it’s not hard to spot the mix of satisfaction, pride and, maybe, excitement that comes with winning at the trots. Winning- you can’t beat it. Regards Marianne Bathurst Harness Racing Club

One of the best fields in recent years has fought its way through to the final of the Grand Prix de l’UET to be held at Solvalla on Sunday. Despite the undoubted stature of the race, there is always the risk that either of the great powerhouses of European trotting, the French or the Swedes, will decide that the differing track conditions and travel is too great a hurdle for their stars, especially if they have already guaranteed a lucrative stud career with domestic glory. Many years the best of the crop stay at home, with the TravDerby, or a high placing in the Criteriums secured, when they see a rival in the Euro Derby that looks so dominant – such as a Brad de Veluwe  last year – that there is no advantage fronting up only to be shown to be vastly inferior. The French, in particular, are wont to bypass European events, the status of their own events being more than enough for their purposes, and they are also mindful that the tight kilometre tracks of Scandinavia often do not compliment the style of horses suited to the unique demands of Vincennes, with its undulations and wide open spaces and the need for three or four bursts of acceleration. The French are also rarely presented with a dominant champion, and the depth of their racing is such that upwards of a dozen or more have true claims of the type of genetic superiority needed to succeed on track and stud – which is the secondary purpose of group racing. This year a sizeable group of their elite four-year-olds fronted up, even with the disadvantages of a final on Swedish soil, and the best of the Scandinavians, and a Belgian horse with true championship claims are also in one of the greatest fields in recent memory. The two dominant horses in this Swedish crop, Lutfi Kolgjini’s Mosaique Face, the recent TravDerby winner and Timo Nurmos’ Chelsea Boko, who won the 3YO equivalent of this crop, the TravKriterium are both in the final as are the next three best credentialed Swedish colts who can all mount a serious challenge, Noble Knight (a former European 3YO champ) Indigious and Molle CD. The Swedish Group I winning  filly Your Highness is not without a chance either, although a filly has not won this race since the French superstar Qualita Bourbon in 2008, and she is nowhere near that good. Indeed she was the last French horse to win this event. In fairness to the French, they often have to make a difficult choice, front up in the bike here on foreign soil, or take their chance at Group I glory at home under saddle in the Prix Des Elites held on the same day at Vincennes, and one of the biggest races on the French calendar, such is the equal status afforded monte racing in that part of the world. In Varade d’Hermine (a winner of 11 of 16 and harshly disqualified – to non-French eyes – from second in the Criterium des 4 Ans), Vaux le Vicomte (second in the Criterium des 3 Ans) and with master reinsman Jean Michel Bazire in the cart, and to a lesser extent Vive Majyk, they have three highly credentialed participants, who fought their way to three of the four spots available in two heats at Vincennes a fortnight ago. The former two have great draws too and will be top chances. Then there is a Dutch-bred  son of a former German winner of this very event, (Abano As) who won the other heat at the Temple du Trot, Clint W Boko (the Dutch Derby winner), and even the French admit that this is a horse of rare quality – and he has drawn No 2, a great spot for the dominant front runner that he is. And the dark horse in the field is a Norwegian, by  US sire Broadway Hall, Thai Broadway (the Norwegian Derby third placegetter), who is also one who is suited to this style of racing, has impressive stats and has drawn the important pole position, from where he might be able to exert control. Denmark’s entry Satisfied la Marc (4h Andover Hall) was a surprise qualifier, and has the breeding to keep on surprising. So buckle yourself in, this is going to be a super race. GRAND PRIX DE L'UET Solvalla 2140m  (G1)  Int 4 YOm/f  €400,000 1         Thai Broadway (4h   Broadway Hall - Isabella Knick)  Dr: Gunnar Austevoll  Tr: Trond Anderssen                2       Clint W Boko (4h   Abano As - Vantz Boko)   Dr: Robin Bakker Tr:   Paul Hagoort              3         Vaux le Vicomte (4h   Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin)   Dr: Jean Michel Bazire  Tr:   Jean Michel Bazire                4         Mosaique Face (4h   Classic Photo - Iona Lb)  Dr:  Lutfi Kolgjini Tr:    Lutfi Kolgjini               5         Indigious (4h   Prodigious - Indication)  Dr:  Erik Adielsson Tr:   Stig H Johansson               6         Varade d'Hermine (4m   Legs du Clos - Hotesse des Champs) Dr:   Pierre Vercruysse Tr:    Jean Michel Baudouin                7       Satisfied la Marc (4h   Andover Hall - Loving Her Is Easy) Dr:   Svante Ericsson Tr:    Markus B Svedberg                8         Chelsea Boko (4h   Chocolatier - Kelsea Boko)  Dr:  Jorma Kontio Tr:    Timo Nurmos                9         Your Highness (4m   Chocolatier - La Belle Lady)  Dr:  Björn Goop Tr:    Ulf Stenströmer                10         Noble Knight (4h   Scarlet Knight - Bruschetta)  Dr:  Örjan Kihlström Tr:    Roger Walmann                11         Vive Majyc (4m   Baccarat du Pont - Mammy Blue)  Dr:  Louis Baudron Tr:    Louis Baudron                 12         Molle C.D. (4h   Scarlet Knight - Not in a Million) Dr:   Daniel Redén  Tr:  Daniel Redén        by Dave Sanders for Harnesslink.com

Kilmore based harness racing trainer driver (brother and sister) Annetto Mifsud and Rita Burnett combined to land the De Bortoli Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2150 metres at Yarra Valley on Wednesday with speedy 5-Y-0 Jet Laag/Spiral Staircase gelding Spiral Jet, paying Supertab odds of $18.10.

Echuca played host to the Gunbower HRC meeting held at Frank Ryan Raceway on Tuesday December 13, with keen harness racing the order of the night.

Harness racing returned to Echuca on Wednesday November 30, when a neat seven event program was held featuring the $5,000 Echuca Harness Ladies Committee Moama Trotters Cup and the $5,000 Echuca Moama Storage Moama Pacing Cup.

Three heats of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club's TH Marshall Taxation Member's Cup will be staged at the Queensland headquarters this Saturday night (November 5). The first event, The Garrard's Horse and Hound Pace, an M1 to M2 event over 2138m will kick off proceedings at an earlier start time of 5.10.

The drawcard of some of Australia's best pacers and a clever balance of advertising and promotion saw a bumper harness racing crowd cheer Mr Feelgood (Grinfromeartoear USA) to victory in the $200,000 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship (QPC) at Albion Park last Saturday night (October 22).

An eight strong harness racing program will be conducted by the Albion Park Harness Racing Club in Brisbane this Saturday night (October 29). The first event on the metropolitan program will kick off at 5.40pm. Race one is the 'Call Norm taylor To Spell Your Horse Pace' - an M1 classed event over the sprint trip of 1660m.

The Nyah harness racing club held an interesting eight event card on Thursday July 28, with the honours for the night going to Echuca trainer Faye McEwan and Bendigo based reinsman Leigh Sutton who combined to land a stable treble.

The Alabar New South Wales Breeders Challenge for three-year-old's was staged at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 28 May. The fillies harness racing division was taken out by last year's two-year-old Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge winner Vertigal; she is a daughter of Western Hanover stallion Western Terror, who stood at Alabar's New Zealand Stud. Vertigal, a $177k winner is out of Height Of Wisdom, a Stature daughter of Athenas Art.

This year's Winter Carnival of Harness Racing at Albion Park promises to deliver with pre-carnival action already heating up this Saturday night. Finals of both the Anzac Day Gift and Easter Gift will take centre stage along with the Southern Queensland Plumbing Sweetheart Stakes.

New South Wales harness racing trainer Mitchell Reese has decided against a late nomination for the upcoming Inter Dominion series in Auckland for stable star Holy Camp Boy despite returning a career best performance when winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night (March 5).

Holy Camp Boy returned to the stables of harness racing trainer Mitchell Reese on Monday only a week after returning from a failed trip to Victoria for the Bendigo Cup. Reese was concerned for his stable star when he failed to recover from his Victorian effort and thought he might be battling something quite serious.

Despite being dished out a poor second row draw, New South Wales harness racing trainer Mitchell Reese is confident that Holy Camp Boy is the horse to beat in Saturday night's (January 15) PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup.

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