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With a cheeky grin harness racing trainer/driver Steve Turnbull snatches the race cloth out of daughter Amanda's hand and takes them back to the racks while shaking his head. It's because she bolted down the inside to win Wednesday night's TAB Western Region Championship Heat 1 (2,260 metres) with Animal ($3.20), just as Steve had looked to have the win sewn up with Firestorm Red ($1.35 favourite). The two Turnbulls exchanged friendly banter in the stables post-race and the younger of them had a smile on her face throughout it all. And that's no surprise when you consider the ticket she just booked. Victory for Animal has earned him a place in the Group 1 $100,000 TAB Western Region Championship Final to be held later this month. Turnbull knew the draw would make for a tough heat but her runner turned up at his best. "I didn't think I'd be able to catch. He had the better draw and I was stuck on the fence," she said. "He raced so good. When he didn't pull I knew he'd get home. "He's always had a bit of ability but can overrace and that takes the sting out of him. Tonight he was pretty good. Once he found the helmet he relaxed straight away." Talent-wise there has always been very little between Animal and Firestorm Red but favouritism in Wednesday's heat fell to the latter courtesy of his favourable draw. After Cobbity Chic forced him to do some early work Firestorm Red eventually found the lead from gate five while Animal - off the second row - had to settle for three back on the pegs. Firestorm Red crossed into of Carramar Times Up to take up the running and Cobbity Chic pushed ahead to settle in the death seat. Animal raced in fourth with Enk Spot Shannon to his outside. Steve Turnbull began to ask questions of his rivals around the 400m mark. When he asked Firestorm Red to pick up the pace he quickly put on several lengths to Cobbity Chic and Carramar Times Up. The fading Cobbity Chic kept Animal boxed inside and that meant Amanda Turnbull would need the sprint lane to play the catch up game. Animal dived to the inside of Carramar Times up when the lane emerged but was giving up nearly 10 metres to the favourite. Steve Turnbull took a glance over his left shoulder at the 200m and could see Animal making a charge. In no time he would be looking at Animal racing ahead of him. Animal won the race by 1.1m and recorded a 1:59.2 mile rate. Firestorm Red, plus all other runners who failed to win, will get their second chance in the next round of heats. Alexander Grant Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Steve Turnbull's eight-time Group 1 starter Atomic Red headlines this year's edition of the Banjo Patterson Cup (2260 metres), the feature race of the Orange Harness Racing Club's calendar. Turnbull has four starters in the race,including Atomic Red, while 12-year-old veteran pacer Beetson will line up for the 203rd start of his career at the meeting, which has been moved from Towac Park to the Bathurst Harness Racing Club following the drought's impact on the Towac Park racecourse. Fouroeight, named after the late Australian Test player Phillip Hughes (his cap number was 408), will also get a run, with trainer Mat Rue in the gig for the seven-year-old. Fouroeight is coming off a third at the Tamworth City Cup on January 23 and while the $2.70 favourite was held out by an $81 chance in Gottashopearly, Rue said he was pleased how the bay gelding ran. "I was pretty happy with how we went [at Tamworth]. The winner just ran me off my feet pretty much," he said. "I tried to put him into the race early but the driver of the lead horse got running and pretty much didn't allow my horse to get comfortable." Rue expects a difficult drive on Sunday, citing Turnbull's four chances as key threats. "It's probably looking like the hardest race he's been in for a long time, to be honest," he said. "The Turnbull runners are sensational. "Atomic Red's form doesn't look well numerically but I think he's the one to beat. Amanda [Turnbull] jumps on him this week and I think he'll lead and run pretty strong sectionals the whole race. He'll be hard to run down." Fouroeight has drawn barrier six and will start behind the mobile between Beetson (barrier five) and Courtsinsession (barrier seven). While Rue admitted it'll be difficult for Fouroeight to claim victory, he said he still excepts the gelding to run a "good race". "If the race is run at a genuine tempo, he'll be getting home well but, like I said, the Turnbull runners will be hard to beat," he said. "Courtsinsession and Conviction are going to be really tough to beat. My guy, he doesn't mind the journey if he doesn't do any work." Rue also expects the meeting to be well supported by the Orange community. "It's really disappointing that they couldn't run it over in Orange. The Bathurst drivers don't mind going over a couple of times a year," he said. "I'm sure there'll be a strong representation from Orange and it'll be good if of the Orange drivers and trainers can have a bit of success on the day." BANJO PATTERSON CUP FINAL:  1) Lets Katchmeifucan, 2) Bettor Than Best, 3) Atomic Red, 4) Maximus Red, 5) Beetson, 6) Fouroeight, 7) Courtsinsession, 8) Conviction By Bradley Jurd Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

Steve Turnbull has driven over 3000 winners including the two most important races in Australia but he has called in the big gun for the Inter Dominions which start at Alexandra Park on Friday. And in the Turnbull family the big gun is Steve’s daughter Amanda. That is a considerable honour considering Dad has won a Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion Final with Smooth Satin, following on from his father Tony who won two Interdom Finals. But while Steve still drives and drives well, he just isn’t as good as Amanda and he knows it. “Ever since she was a kid starting out the horses just run for her,” says Turnbull. There is no hint of parental bias in that statement, it is relayed as a trainer talking matter-of-factly about the best driver for the job. “I don’t know why she is so good, I have never been able to work it out. “I will try and do the same things she does but it doesn’t work the same. “Even in track work or minor races she gets them humming along and you come up to her in the corner and think you have a chance and her ones lifts and finds another gear. “So she is a better driver than me. That much is clear.”  Amanda’s record proves it too, having won the NSW state driver’s premiership three times and she sits second on that ladder this season, her 117 wins putting her only five behind superstar steerer Luke McCarthy. Friday night she will partner both Conviction in the first Interdom pacing heat but more crucially Atomic Red in the second and the comeback pacer could be one of the most tactically important horses on opening night. A titanium-hard stayer at his best, Atomic Red has only had two starts back this season after his “buggered up knees” forced him off the track for a year. “He has horrible knees but he has never broken down and he has been very sound this time in,” assures Steve. “And he is getting fit now and has developed more gate speed. So I won’t be giving Amanda instructions from barrier one but he does tend to roll along pretty well.” What decision Amanda makes in the first 600m of the race could decide the fate of several favoured runners. If she wants to hold the front that greatly aids last season’s New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer who is drawn on her back and would mean favourites like Bling It On and Cruz Bromac could have to work during the run as they would have little chance of getting to the marker pegs. But if Atomic Red looks to trail the right horse, more than likely a favourite, then the complexion of the race changes and Thefixer could end up three back on the inside. And whoever assumed that pacemaking role could become the horse to beat. Dad Turnbull has no firm opinion on tactics and laughs that daughter Turnbull may not listen to him anyway. As for the perennial Inter Dominion concern about the Australian visitors handling the right-handed track, of which there are none in their homeland, Turnbull isn’t concerned. “I have worked him five or six times at my place right-handed and he has been fine and my track is only 550m,” he offers. The race is shaping as the heat of the night and potentially one of the most deciding of the series for which Cruz Bromac and Bling It On are the favourites. If one of that smashes the other, particularly Cruz Bromac coming off a second line draw, it could have huge market ramifications for the series which moves to 1700m heats next Tuesday and 2700m heats three nights later. The 2700m mobile pacing final for $500,000 is on December 14.    by Michael Guerin

Steve Turnbull reached the heights of the Miracle Mile when Smooth Satin won NSW’s most prestigious harness racing crown in 2001. Almost two decades ago, the Miracle Mile was then worth $400,000 but after Thursday’s announcement the 2019 Harness Racing NSW feature will carry a record purse of $1million the March-run event is now the richest harness racing event in the southern hemisphere.  And the 62-year-old is keen for another crack at the riches on offer. “It’s great news, and it’ll be even better if I can get one good enough to be in it,” Turnbull laughed. A living legend of HRNSW, Turnbull has had four cracks at the Miracle Mile, three of those with champion pacer Smooth Satin. He said Joe’s Star Of Mia and Conviction were both heading towards being Miracle Mile ready in the new year but finding a horse capable of winning such a big race was always a dream. “You’re always trying to get those types of horses, but they only come around once or twice in a lifetime,” the Lagoon-based Turnbull added. “I just hope prizemoney everywhere goes up as well. “I know the Inter Dominion dropped down to $500,000 this year, it’d be great if both were up there.” The prizemoney increase from $750,000 will make the Miracle Mile the most lucrative harness event ever held in New South Wales, a move Club Menangle chairman Ray Sharman says will give all stakeholders something to be proud of. “Any increase in prizemoney must be both affordable and sustainable and today’s announcement is the result of the collaboration between Club Menangle and HRNSW,” Sharman said. “I am confident that such a significant lift in prizemoney for the Miracle Mile will ensure that connections of all our Grand Circuit horses will endeavour to secure their place in this great race, further raise the profile of harness racing both in NSW and nationally.  This thought was echoed by HRNSW chairman Mr Rod Smith. You’re always trying to get those types of horses, but they only come around once or twice in a lifetime. Trainer-driver Steve Turnbull. “Harness Racing NSW in 2019 has increased grassroots prizemoney by 20 per cent and is now excited to be able to join with Club Menangle to increase the prizemoney for the Ainsworth Miracle Mile to $1million,” said Mr Smith.  “These prizemoney injections are fully funded by the harness racing industry and assures a strong future for our code of racing.”  Adding to this announcement, prizemoney has also been increased for the Newcastle Mile on February 8 to $100,000.  Elevating the feature to Group 1 status for the first time, the Newcastle Mile will also be a Miracle Mile qualifier where the winner will receive an automatic invitation to the Grand Circuit event.  By Nick McGrath Reprinted with permission of The Daily Liberal

He has been there, he has done it and now he is hoping to do it again. Premiership winning harness racing trainer-driver Steve Turnbull is set to head south to Victoria next week after receiving the news that two of his stable stars have ranked high enough to compete in the 2018 Inter Dominion. Having won this very race back in 2002 at Harold Park with Smooth Satin, Turnbull is hoping to relive the glory of winning the prestigious Grand Circuit event. Both Joes Star Of Mia and Conviction will be heading to Victoria on Thursday hoping to earn a spot in the final with the first round of heats commencing on the December 1 at Tabcorp Park Melton. With both horses in career best form, Turnbull is confident that his team can do enough in the heats to earn a spot in the final. “I couldn’t be happier with their condition,” Turnbull said. “They’re both working sensational at home so we’ll just have to wait until the fields come out and hope for some decent draws.” While Turnbull has always rated Conviction highly, he is very impressed with extent of improvement seen in Joes Star Of Mia, having won his last start at Tabcorp Park Menangle stopping the clock in a blistering 1:49.3. “Earlier on Conviction and Atomic Red were the better race horses but Joes Star Of Mia has really stepped it up, especially in the last six weeks he’s come so far,” Turnbull said. “I’m hoping they’ll be split in the heats so Amanda (Turnbull) can drive them both initially but she also has one in (Elmers Image NZ) so we’ll just have to see.  “I don’t know who I would pick to drive if they both make it, there’s nothing separating them at home.” The second round of Inter Dominion will be run at Ballarat on December 4 and the last night of heats will be run at Cranbourne on December 8 with the final taking place back at Tabcorp Park Melton on December 15. AMY REES

FORMER Dubbo reinsman Tom Pay made it a successful trip home on Sunday driving a double at his former local track. Moving to Bathurst just shy of 12 months ago to work for the Mat and Gemma Rue stable, Pay was confident he would have a good day. His first win was a family affair driving the fancied JoanandI who is trained by his father Michael. Beginning out of barrier one the $1.90 favourite scored a comfortable all the way victory, winning her first race at only start number five. “I was confident in dad’s mare if she did everything right,” Pay said after the race. His next steer of the day was on the Monica Betts-trained Snoop Stride who is a regular drive of Pay’s. Although trained by Betts her daughter Phoebe spends most of her free time working the horses with ‘Snoop’ being the family favourite. “I knew it would be hard from the draw but after his last start at Penrith I was confident he’d be in the finish if the right run presented itself,” the 15-year-old said. After being taken off arm the eight-year-old gelding flew down the outside scoring a 2.8 metre victory defeating the consistent Steve Turnbull-trained Shandance NZ. “I knew Snoop would run an honest race but wasn’t sure if he’d win,” Pay said.  “Monica and Phoebe have been a great support throughout my driving career so it’s always nice to get a winner for them.” The move to Bathurst has proved to be a great opportunity for the young reinsman having been given driving opportunities from a number of trainers including Bernie Hewitt, Peter Bullock, Ashlee Grives and boss Gemma Rue. Already having driven half of his total wins from last season only nine weeks into the new one, the 2018/2019 season looks to be Pay’s best one yet.   AMY REES

ALL of the action took place inside the Clubhouse when the awards for last season were presented at a highly enjoyable Gold Crown Paceway function last Friday. Guests included Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rod Smith, Board Member Peter Nugent, Bathurst Regional Council Mayor Cr Graeme Hangar and NSW Owners Association representatives Peter and Marie Neil, the current Gold Crown Honourees. The Chairman, in a brief address, touched on several current topics:  the $200,000 funding increase for the Gold Crown (which will provide four Group 1 finals in 2019, for the first time);  the decision to stage a  Group 1 series for both four and five-year-olds at Wagga next season (eligibilty for horses which were paid up as juveniles for the Bathurst Gold Crown) ; and the extension of the current drought assistance to participants. He then made the presentation for Trainer of the Year to Steve Turnbull, who trained 63 winners, including five trebles, 15 doubles and Group wins with Art Series in the Gold Bracelet and NSW Regional Final. Steve’s children Amanda and Mitchell completed a family trifecta of major premierships, by taking out the Senior and Junior Driver of the Year Awards respectively, to the evident pride and delight of their grandfather 'A.D.' Tony Turnbull, the legend himself. Amanda’s 49 winners included five winners at one meeting, back in October 2017, the Soldiers Saddle Final, Oberon Cup, Sales Graduate Final and both feature wins by Art Series. In making the presentation to Amanda, Mayor Hangar recalled his days as a teacher at Kelso High School, reminding Amanda that she still owed him a history assignment from back in Year Nine! Amanda’s focus then was clearly on the future, and not writing about the past, and nothing’s changed since. Mitchell was dux of a very strong class of Bathurst junior drivers  - the likes of McKayler Barnes, Justin Reynolds, Doug Hewitt and Jake Davis - with 17 wins for the season, which included a treble and several doubles. Three of his wins came courtesy of the Bathurst sprint lane. HRNSW Board Member Peter Nugent made presentations for Horse and Juvenile Horse of the Year and UDR Trainer and Driver of the Year. Bathurst couple Lester and Linda Hewitt accepted the trophy and rug for Horse of the Year. What A Jolt, a four-year-old Village Jolt gelding, registered seven wins during the season, including three consecutively at one point. Hewitt paid tribute to driver John O’Shea, who formed a strong connection with the horse, using his brilliant gate speed to advantage many times. Jenny Turnbull, mother of Amanda, received the award for Juvenile Horse of the Year Shoobee Doo. The two-year-old Shoobees Place colt lined up at Bathurst seven times for four wins, which included heat and final of the Graeme Board Sales Graduate series, and a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge. Bathurst was a regular destination for a number of metropolitan stables last season, including KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris from Menangle, and the UDR Trainer and Driver winners, Cobbity-based Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy. Luke drove a winner every 2.9 starts, including a number for other stables, while Craig was successful every 3.6 starts, with winners such as Majestic American, Blackened, Rocknroll Dude, Zahven Banner and Darkershadeofpale. With Craig and Luke lining up with  Mach Doro in the following night’s Victoria Cup, the awards were collected on their behalf by Matt McCarthy, a Bathurst HRC director and the uncle of Luke. Jake Davis, likewise, represented his grandparents Ray and Pat Davis in accepting their Owner of the Year award from NSWSOA representative Marie Neil. The Davis family milk 650 cows twice a day at their Browns Creek dairy near Blayney, yet still find time to race a nice team of horses, mainly at Bathurst, the likes of Browns Creek Boy, Studleigh Kristen and two-year-old winners Nifty Studleigh and Rainbow Comet. Jake, who expresses a hope of making a full-time career in harness racing, does most of the stable driving, alongside father Leigh and uncle Brett. Art Major was acknowledged as the leading sire of winners at Bathurst, with 28 individual winners during the season. Bernie Hewitt, runner-up in the Trainer and Senior Driver premierships, was acknowledged for his achievement in winning his first Bathurst Gold Crown, with College Chapel, and spoke about the outstanding season for the youngster, finishing with his hopes for the coming season. Which was possibly the thought uppermost in most minds as folk headed home after this year’s awards.   Terry Neil

THE Bathurst Shootout Time Trials highlighted Wednesday night’s fixture at Gold Crown Paceway, the first of two meetings conducted during the world-famous Race Week at neighbouring Mount Panorama. On the eve of the Bathurst 1000 “Great Race” the 10 fastest cars from practice individually complete a flying lap of The Mount to determine their grid positions in Sunday’s race. Harness racing’s equivalent this week saw eight nominated pacers, up to M0 grade,  time-trial over a flying 1200 metres, their times determining gate positions for Friday’s $12,000 final. Izzy Watt, one of three to compete without the assistance of a galloping pacemaker, showed blistering speed for Mat Rue, completing  quarters in 26.3, 27.6 and 27.2 seconds repectively for an equivalent mile-rate of 1:48.7, to earn the coveted pole for Friday’s feature race. In doing so, he relegated Steve Turnbull’s Sabrage, the fastest of the first five triallists with a 1:50.9 mile rate, to gate two in the “dash for cash” come Friday. Remaining runners in Friday’s final, in barrier order, are: 3. Bradness Eldefuego ( Steve Turnbull ) 1:51.4 4. Our Chittybangbang NZ ( Chris Frisby ) 1:51.4 5. Smack Dab Shannon ( McKayler Barnes ) 1:51.7 6. Switowski ( Mitch Turnbull ) 1:52.6 7. Kapow Shannon ( Amy Rees ) 1:53.7 8. Wrangler Duke ( Trent Rue ) 1:56.8 The large and enthusiastic crowd of car racing visitors who came down from the mountain to enjoy a different kind of horse power were totally familiar with the time-trial concept, and indicated that they’ll be returning to see the final act play out on Friday night. It should be a fair-dinkum shootout, with no hostages taken.   Harness Racing New South Wales

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

FATHER and son Steve and Mitch Turnbull had to settle for the minor placings in Let It Ride’s barnstorming 1:49.4 victory in a Breeders Challenge Final the previous Sunday at Menangle but they bounced back in fine style by sharing a winning treble at their home track on Wednesday. Steve trained three successive winners, driving the first two - Shandance NZ and Karloo Bentwofifty -  and Mitchell “dive-bombing “ his fast-class rivals in Let It Ride fashion with the long-priced outsider Smithstars Lexus. Shandance NZ made it two-from-two on Aussie soil with another impressive effort in the C0  Guaranteed. Ladyship Pace, settling behind leader Fastestgirlintown and proving just a touch too strong for that mare, scoring by almost two metres in a 1:56.5 rate. Stu Valentine, the well-known bloodstock agent, might now be feeling quite satisfied that he wasn’t able to find owners for his latest import and consequently decided to race her himself. Plan B has produced a perfect result so far, and plenty of valuable publicity. Karloo Bentwofifty completed the driving double for the leading NSW trainer when it led throughout in a 3C0-3C1 sprint, home in 58.2s for a 1:57.4 trip, his maiden win at start thirteen. As in the previous race, Turnbull got the win at the expense of KerryAnn Turner, this time in a very tight photo, with the barest half-head margin back to Hannah Mae which had enjoyed a good run in the one-one before sprinting home strongly. “I usually go on the position of the wheels in these close finishes. My bloke’s pretty big compared to KerryAnn’s filly, and when I checked that the wheels were level, I was pretty confident that we would get the result,” was his reply when asked about the finish." The American Ideal gelding arrived at The Lagoon in different circumstances from his earlier winner, sent down to Bathurst by Dubbo trainer Barry Lew when a serious shoulder injury, and subsequent operation, forced him to clear his stables for a lengthy recuperation. He’d shown promise in a couple of earlier runs at Bathurst, but then turned in an inglorious performance when he failed to handle the track at Young, and he clearly needed the wide open spaces of his home track to produce his best. It was another half-head result in the fast-class fifth event, when Mitch Turnbull turned in a slick performance with $23.70 chance Smithstars Lexus to get up right on the line in a most exciting finish. Odds-on favourite Parramatta NZ led until halfway down the running, when Im Cool Harry loomed up wide, while Sabrage came hard along the sprint lane. But Smithstars Lexus, which had tracked into the race on the back of Im Cool Harry, came very late and very fast to get there just in time in a driving finish, stopping the clock in 1:55.9, the night’s best. His young driver didn’t appear to be lining up the wheels, instead leaning back in the bike to lift the shafts, but he did indicate afterwards that his horse “travelled really well in the run, and when I was able to follow Im Cool Harry into the race, I was feeling quite confident he would run on,” Other winners: Crossfirehall in C1 grade for Bernie Hewitt, making use of the sprint lane to bring up the win for a very happy group of local league players and officials, which include former NRL star George Rose and Group 10 president Lenore Zamparini Bettor To Be Tricky NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint, courtesy of a great drive from Kerryann Turner, setting the four-year-old alight up the back in a race-winning move, to the evident delight of long-time owner Craig Rusten and his mate Mick Horan, who got to enjoy that special first win as an owner Blaster Ranger, leading throughout for Junee Reefs visitor Matty Harris ( recipient of racecaller Mitch Manners’ Drive of the Night award ), a second successive win for the good-looking son of Caribbean Blaster, whose owner Rob Nalder would be pleased despite finishing third in the race with We Salute You Ominous Warning ( John O’Shea for Peter Trevor-Jones) in a Reward Series heat, the half-brother to Beetson leading throughout and roaring away over the closing stages by more than 20 metres, for his seventh career win but just the first in his last two injury-interrupted seasons Uncle Peter, all-the-way in the 2260 metres C1-C2 heat of the Penrith Mayors Cup, for Chris Frisby and reinsman son Anthony, who’s currently racking up lots of frequent flyer points winning multiple races at Albion Park, where most of the horses, and family, are dodging the Bathurst winter Gabbys Sportstar, for Nathan Hurst in the HRNSW Guaranteed Two-Year-Old Pace, the Sportswriter first foal of classy racemare Gabrielle Solis  - winner of 13 of her 28 race starts for the Hurst stable - making a perfect start to his career, and also providing a neat sprint-laning book-end to the meeting. Terry Neil

The Turnbull clan is headed back to the Sunshine State. And the Brisbane winter carnival riches beckon. The famous Bathurst family made annual pilgrimages during the 1970’s and 80’s spearheaded by the legendary A.D (Tony) and knocked up winning races on a consistent level at all tracks in the south-east corner plus Tweed Heads. While the trips north haven’t been so frequent in recent times, the Turnbull name is still a constant. The three night carnival at Albion Park officially starts this Saturday night and continues over the next fortnight and the Turnbull’s will play a role on the final two nights. Both Steve and daughter Amanda are eyeing feature targets. “I’m bringing Tact Tate and dad (Steve) is bringing up Atomic Red, Conviction and Art Series at this stage.” Amanda said. Tact Tate, a dual Group One winner finished a close-up sixth behind Cruz Bromac in last week’s Len Smith Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle in a time of 1:50.1. The Albion Park track and style of racing could prove beneficial for the speedy performer and the Gr.2 $50,540 Garrards Sunshine Sprint followed by the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship are within reach given luck. Both Atomic Red and Conviction come out of the same race at their most recent start, in last Sunday’s Gr.1 $100,000 Breeders Challenge 4yo Final. Conviction finished as the runner-up behind Let It Ride while Atomic Red finished a courageous fifth after engaging in a frantic early speed battle. The winning mile rate was 1:49.4. Both four-year-olds boast very strong overall records. The Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Oaks next weekend is the target for Art Series, a regally bred filly. Back in March, Art Series won the Gr.2 Bathurst Gold Bracelet Final defeating smart Victorian filly Soho Burning Love. So, the very familiar blue and red livery returns to Brisbane and looks set to play a strong hand. Chris Barsby 

CANBERRA trainer-driver Frank O’Sullivan made one of his infrequent visits to Bathurst on Wednesday and came away with a win in the Club Menangle Where Horses Fly heat with the intriguingly-named Jugiong. The picturesque village of that name was a popular stop half-way along the old Hume Highway for countless travellers until bypassed by the new freeway a few years back. These days, far fewer tourists take the turn-off, and many motorists would have forgotten about it entirely. That’s pretty much the story of its equine namesake. Frank O’Sullivan had broken in the Always A Virgin gelding, whose owners then dispatched it to the hilly country at Jugiong to do some growing, and it got to do plenty of that because it was still there three years later, when Frank decided to turn off the Hume to go get him. He’s subsequently bought the horse, which began racing this season, aged six. His first win came at start two, at Canberra, and this Bathurst win, qualifying him for the $20,000 final at Menangle , came at just his sixth race start. Charging out of the gate in a 27.6s first quarter -  speeding ticket stuff at Jugiong and nearby Bookham in the good old days - O’Sullivan followed up with a 58.2s middle half that had everyone off the bit. But despite looking very vulnerable half way down the running, Jugiong kept boxing on as the challengers faltered on their runs, and he actually drew away again near the line for a most deserving victory. The slog home in 30.8s brought up a 1:56.1 mile rate for the 1730 metres sprint trip. Jugiong produced a win at Bathurst last Wednesday night for trainer-driver Frank O'Sullivan The win added a small chapter to some Bathurst history. Jugiong’s grand-dam Diamond Intherough was a very classy Joule youngster which won a Tiara heat and Consolation for Wayne Driscoll, and her biggest win came in the George Johnson Mares FFA in Hobart several years later. This win was a little less spectacular than Frank’s previous win at Gold Crown Paceway back in 2017, when he showed his customary vigour to charge down the outside to victory - minus his driving helmet, which lay on the track back up the straight! Being the good sport that he is, Frank was quick to laugh about it when reminded after this latest success. Club Menangle director Bill Ellis was on hand to present rugs to the connections of Jugiong and the earlier Country Series heat winner Freddy Funk NZ (Nathan Turnbull), a tough effort from the death-seat in 1:55.7s, giving the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding five wins from his last seven starts. Turnbull made a fast move at the bell in an effort to grab the front, but Neil Day, driving Arma Hotshot in the death, was having none of that and pressed on to the lead himself, leaving Turnbull parked for the rest of the race. He proved well up to the task, putting paid to the leader before holding on from Shannonstheman and a wall of challengers. Ellis, accompanied by his wife Maureen, enjoyed a country excursion, the pair taking in meetings at both Young and Bathurst before motoring back to Sydney to help prepare for the upcoming Breeders Challenge Finals on Family Fun Day, Sunday July 1 . Steve Turnbull took driving honours at the meeting, Always Rockin working to the death and then the lead in the opening C2-C3 race, and Shandance NZ making a successful Australian debut in a 2260 metres 3YO event, showing a nice turn of foot to come from a fair way back in the straight. The latter winner is raced by prominent New Zealand bloodstock agent Stuart Valentine and his wife, sponsors at Bathurst and responsible for many of the Kiwi horses bought to race at that track. The Art Major daughter is a full-sister to the very promising Shandale, winner of seven races at Gloucester Park in the short time he’s been there, and more than $300,000 in earnings. Other winners: Thats Ideal, in the tactical battle that was the fast-class, Neil Day earning Luke Marlow’s Drive of the Night award, after a patient performance from the one-one Monkeybusiness (Todd McCarthy for Peter Trevor-Jones) in C0-C1 grade, leading throughout in a welcome return to form after an inglorious effort at this track several weeks earlier. A welcome return also for his driver, after his Elitlopp adventure, and back to chasing premierships Our Ultimate Mary (Jarrod Alchin) in 2YO class, living up to expectations by leading throughout at her race debut, repaying patient connections who’ve seen her through a few teething problems befojre making it to the races Better Be Donna NZ (Amanda Turnbull) in a second 3YO event, the night’s easiest win, putting a 25 metres margin back to the pack after leading throughout, two wins from three starts since arriving here Sports Story (Doug Hewitt for Bernie) in the second of the juvenile races, leading all-the-way and a well-deserved win after placing at four of her five starts previously. Doug accepts she’s no star, but says she’s a very genuine youngster that’s a pleasure to train. Bathurst race again on Wednesday night, highlighted by the visit of this year’s Rising Stars drivers, competing in two heats of their series. TERRY NEIL

ON a rather chilly Wednesday evening at Gold Crown Paceway in front was the place to be with all four Alabar Breeders Challenge three-year-old winners leading from start to finish in their respective heats. The first heat of the colts and geldings was a very open affair, with five of the nine runners figuring prominently in the betting. It was, however, the $2.90 favourite Maximus Red, trained and driven by Steve Turnbull, which found the front very easily from barrier seven, and ultimately proved too good in a mile rate of 1.59.9. Aphorism driven by Anthony Frisby, sat parked for the trip and battled on gamely to  finish second, with Brad’s Luck (Doug Hewitt), a neck away third. The Amanda Turnbull-trained and driven War Dan, found the lead very easily in the second heat of the colts and gelding, and despite a late challenge from Bella Ball Terror, (Dennis Picker), held on to win by a half head in a mile rate of 1.59.8. Mackeral, (Bernie Hewitt), held on well for third. Both placegetters did a great job to finish as close as they did with the closing quarter being run in 27.3 seconds. The fastest recorded on the night. The first heat of the three-year-old fillies division was won in fine style by the John McCarthy-trained and driven, Hows The Memory. A recent addition to the McCarthy stable, after previously being trained very successfully in the Riverina by Billy Trembath, Hows The Memory, cruised away to win by 19 metres in a mile rate of 1.55.4. Second placing went to Redbank Addi (KerryAnn Turner) with a further three metres to Art Series (Amanda Turnbull) which finished third. The three placegetters dominated the betting in what was a very strong heat, with the winning margin of 19 metres showing how dominate Hows The Memory was. The final heat was taken out by Callmequeenbee. Although, not a genuine leader, the daughter of Shadow Play, trained by Gemma Rue and driven by Gem’s husband Mat, did all that was asked of her up the straight to record a four metre victory in a closing 27.9 quarter. Second placing went to Cobbity Chic (Bernie Hewitt), which made good ground in the straight, with Bid For Red, a further five metres away. Outside of the Alabar Breeders Challenge heats, Mango Stride (KerryAnn Turner) was a very impressive winner in race one. Despite only recording one win in its previous seven starts, Mango Stride rated 1.55.1 after over coming barrier five on the second line. He assumed the lead at the 800 metre mark and cruised away with a solid 26 metre victory. They’re plenty more wins in store for this son of Rocknroll Hanover. Danny Dwyer

Conviction secured a second piece of silverware in as many weeks with a harness racing victory in the $12,240 Tri Tech Refrigeration Cowra Cup on Sunday afternoon, one week after winning the Dubbo Presidents Cup. The four-year-old gelding did it with relative ease too, busting away from the field at the top of the straight to go on to win by 11.3m from defending champion Parramatta in a winners’ mile rate of 2:00.00s. It marked his second straight feature race victory for trainer Steve Turnbull, who was pleased to notch Conviction’s 13th career triumph featuring in the gig at Cowra Paceway.  “He always works really well and he has a lot of ability and he’s shown that on and off through the years. Today he went well. I always knew he had the ability,” Steve Turnbull said. Conviction speeds home to win 2018 Cowra Cup   Conviction and Turnbull had a perfect run from gate six and settled in behind Nathan Turnbull’s trained Parramatta who led for most of the 2520m journey. Entering the home straight Conviction peeled wide of Parramatta under Turnbull’s reins and sped home to win comfortably. Amanda Turnbull and My Bettor Bella filled the placings. It gave Steve Turnbull a winning double after Art Series won the Charlie Muddle Memorial earlier in the day. Amanda Turnbull steered Art Series who edged out the Dennis Picker-trained Bella Ball Terror by a neck.  He has a lot of ability and he’s shown that on and off through the years. Today he went well. Steve Turnbull It capped off a driving race-to-race double for Amanda Turbull who trained and drove Sir Cracker to victory in the Marks Pumps and Cowra Veterinary Centre Pace the race before. Nathan Turnbull also had success on the day driving Glenferrie Crest to her maiden win in the TAB.com.au Maiden Pace and backing that up with victory in the Sam Agostino Memorial with Freddy Funk. Brad Hewitt’s My Casino Belle and Neil Day’s Blackwhiteandblue booked tickets to Menangle after winning the two Country Series Heats respectively. Other winners on the day were trainer Tony Hagney and driver Trent Rue with Tim McGee in the Lachlan River Produce Pace and Ellen Bartley who celebrated driving her trained Glenisla to victory in the Mr Embroidery Pace. The meeting was the second of two weeks of racing for the Cowra Harness Racing Club and there biggest meet on the calendar. Reprinted with permission of The Cowra Guardian

A locally-bred pacer has been named Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s horse of the year. Sportygal, bred by Colin and Ben Greenhalgh and Michael Walker, had six wins, six seconds and a third from her 21 starts in the last season. With 52 race meetings a year, eight races per event, competition for the title is fierce.  The honours for horse of the year came down to the wire: when it came to the end of the season on August 31, Mr Hayward and Casino Tommy also had six wins.  Sportygal claimed overall honours with her six second places.  The four-year-old, who is out of the local mare Rancid and Sportsrider, is now in training with Bathurst’s Steve Turnbull stables.  Both Steve, her regular driver, and his son Mitchell have achieved success with the mare.  Mitchell actually had the reins when Sportygal led and ran her best winning mile rate of 1.54.3. She's very tough. Colin Greenhalgh Steve Turnbull himself was named the Bathurst club’s trainer of the year, with 79 wins to his credit this season.  Sportygal started racing as a two-year-old, but was a little immature and returned to the track in earnest as a three-year-old. But she’s really hit her stride in the most recent season – particularly at the Bathurst track.  “She’s a good consistent mare,” Colin Greenhalgh said. “She’s not quick out of the gate, but she’s very tough. “Wherever she starts, she makes her way forward, races in the death seat – outside the leader – and just keeps wearing away.” Consistency is Sportygal’s secret to success: she doesn’t run the quickest quarters but she has good staying power. So what’s next? Sportygal is now getting up in grade, a C7 in harness racing, so Greenhalgh will be looking to take her up a level to contest an MO and possibly mare’s races at Menangle. “We are hoping that in her next preparation she will measure up,” he said. Sportygal has been on a spell since the end of the season in September and is returning to the Bathurst stables this week.  Reprinted with permission of The Forbes Advocate

Harness racing trainer Steve Turnbull commenced the 2017/2018 season where he left off in the last, with a training/driving double at Wednesday’s season opener at Group One Feeds Paceway. And while his two winners are very contrasting types, they both exemplified the driving touch of a real master. He may be content to take a back seat to his talented children these days, but there’s no doubt that he’s still as good a driver as any we’ve seen, going right back to the halcyon years of his own illustrious father. Ring The Till NZ was backing up from a successful Australian debut ten days earlier when trapped three-wide while working forward in a C1/C2 sprint, and there he remained for the entire trip. A lesser driver might have “gone for broke” in an attempt to find the death seat, or dropped back to the rear. Perhaps even both options, in that order. Turnbull, however, sat as quiet as a church mouse, keeping his horse comfortable out there as the race unfolded. While the speed was consistent, it didn’t quicken markedly as it often does through the third quarter, and his role in determining that speed might easily have been overlooked. Ring The Till kept finding in the straight, and had the audacity to poke his neck out right on the line for a truly courageous win. Margins to sprint-laning Her Razor Sharp and Soho Shanghai were just a head and a neck, and the  1:57.4 mile rate for this three-wide trip added to its merit. “He had a tough run previously at Dubbo, so I tried to be as kind to him as I could,” his driver commented on returning to scale. “ When I pulled the plugs, he really found plenty. He’s a very tough horse, this bloke.” And bred in the purple - by Mach Three, from a daughter of champion mare Under Cover Lover, a near-millionaire who won plenty of feature races on several Aussie raids during her three and four-year-old seasons. Her grandson looks certain to keep the cash register ringing. Steve Turnbull steered another son of Mach Three in the following race, a C3/C4 sprint, leading throughout with Sabrage NZ, and again displaying fine touch to keep that difficult customer running along comfortably, and not pulling ferociously as he often can. “He’s a real bugger of a horse, and you just never know what he’ll get up to. He’ll try sometimes, like tonight, and other times he doesn’t. Being able to get away with a steady second quarter helped him a lot.” Sabrage rated 1:56.4 for the trip, the night’s fastest, and held on by two-and-a-half metres from trailer Who's Driving and Sportygal in the death. And with that, the champion reinsman signed off for the night, with a perfect record from his only two drives at the meeting, and the leader’s yellow jersey in this year’s premiership! Last year’s premiership winners were: Trainer of the Year - Steve Turnbull, 79 wins Driver of the Year - Amanda Turnbull, 61 wins Junior Driver of the Year - Mitch Turnbull, 28 wins Horse of the Year - Sportygal, 6 wins Juvenile Horse of the Year - Karloo ThreeOThree, 5 wins Sire of the Year - Art Major, 26 wins UDR Driver of the Year - David Hewitt, 2.8 UDR Trainer of the Year - Barry Lew, 3.3 The Bathurst Awards Night will take place at Group One Feeds Paceway on Friday, October 13. Terry Neil

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