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JUST a week after winning the Miracle Mile, Luke McCarthy and Craig Cross were back dominating again at Menangle. They blitzed the middle of the card, winning five successive races with: Sociable, Better Enforce, Cash N Flow, Flingandwingit and Molly Kelly. McCarthy then made it a staggering six wins on the nine race card when he teamed with trainer Peter Russo to win the last race with No Apachemee. The major win of the night for McCarthy and Cross came with Cash N Flow in the appropriately-named Group 3 King Of Swing free-for-all. The former All Stars’ pacer enjoyed a drop back in grade from the Miracle Mile qualifiers and thrashed a handy field, running the mile in 1min49.8sec and powering away after finding the lead after 400m to win by 12m. “It looked a good race for him, even though he had the wide draw,” McCarthy said. “He’s just that bit below our best open-class horses, but when he’s in the right sort of race, he’s just too good for them.” Despite a 26.3sec opening quarter and slick 54.6sec first half, Cash N Flow still packed a 26.8sec closing quarter to win as he liked. Former classy Kiwi mare Sociable, having just her second run for the stable, looked good leading throughout to win in a 1min52.3sec mile. While Ladyship Mile runner-up Better Enforce did it easily to win the fourth race by 5.6m in a 1min51.2sec mile. Promising trotter Flingandwingit enjoyed a gun run before easily winning the Group 3 4YO Trotters Foundation final in a 1min59.9sec mile rate for 2300m. Former top juvenile filly Molly Kelly made it three wins from as many runs for Cross and McCarthy when she led throughout to win the seventh race in a 1min52.9sec mile. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ LOCAL pin-up pacer Ryley Major won Tasmania’s biggest race, the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmania Cup in Hobart last night. There’s no doubting he was the best horse in the race, but a 30m backmark in the 2579m feature saw him start an easing $3 favourite. Victorian raider Im Sir Blake beat Ryley Major in the qualifying heat two week’s earlier and was heavily-backed to do it again, but he ruined his hopes by galloping out of contention at the start. Ryley Major began well, settled just worse than midfield and Hillier launched with a big run around the field to eventually find the lead in the middle stages. He never really looked in danger and won from another Victorian, Its Back In The Day, who sat behind Ryley Major, and veteran Star Chamber, who won the Tasmania Cup way back in 2014, finishing well for third. Ryley Major’s won 28 of his 39 starts and will now surely get his chance in some better races on the mainland. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ CLASSY NSW stayer Atomic Red is just one of the many Aussies to make a lie of his poor Auckland Inter Dominion form since returning home. The six-year-old only knows one way and he was at his trademark best in front, bowling along for driver Amanda Turnbull and simply running his rivals ragged in the Group 3 Young Cup on Friday night. Atomic Red ran the 2480m trip in a 1min57.2sec mile rate and beat stablemate Conviction by 13.7m with favourite Our Uncle Sam tiring for third after doing the work outside the leader. Jimmy Rattray trained and drove Jimartee to an all-the-way Young Derby win, while the Oaks went to Chris Frisby’s exciting filly Jenden Strike. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE and Lauren Tritton “farewelled” Menangle when old-stager Maximan ran second in the final race at Menangle last night. The Trittons now head to North America to continue their careers. “We’ll be based with my Dad (Peter Tritton) and race horses at Yonkers and the Meadowlands,” Shane Tritton said. “We hope to have our first runners in late April or early May. “You certainly leave here with mixed emotions, but it’s time for us to try something different.” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ IT is a shame a minor setback derailed a Sydney raid for WA’s most exciting pacer Shockwave. Luckless through the big WA and Fremantle Cups in January, Ryan Bell’s four-year-old returned to racing with a soft win in the $50,000 Group 2 4&5YO Championship (2130m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night. There’s no doubt he would have been competitive in a Chariots Of Fire and/or Miracle Mile. Driver Aiden De Campo used gate one to lead and dictated terms in front before ripping home in 55.5 and 27.3sec. “His point to point speed is outstanding. He can sustain for a long way,” De Campo said. Bell is keen to tackle some big races, including the Sydney Inter Dominion later this year and De Campo wants to be part of it. “I’ll go anywhere to drive him, he’s so exciting,” he said. Another WA horse worthy of Inter Dominion consideration is Greg and Skye Bond’s Vampiro. The speedy gelding exploded from the outside draw to lead the 2536m free-for-all and never looked in danger. The Bonds contemplated a crack at the Miracle Mile qualifiers with Vampiro, but opted to keep him at home with a view to an easter states raid later this year. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE early signs say the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn is set for another big juvenile season. Although their babies have been a little later to hit the track this season, the impact has been immediate. Nicely-bred filly Treachery (Captaintreacherous-Lovelist) has looked fantastic winning both her runs in a heat and final of The Allwood series at Globe Derby. After winning her heat by 24.8 metres, Kima Frenning parrnered Treachery to a staggering 37.2m win in the final at Globe Derby last night. Making the win so good was the fact Treachery copped an early check, galloped, lost about 15-20m and recovered to whiz around and take the lead before powering clear over the last 400m.   Adam Hamilton

IT was a rare Miracle Mile night without much All Stars “flavour”, but they still found a way to snare a win. The emerging Im Anothermasterpiece, who had no luck in a Miracle Mile qualifier the week before, did a power of work and was simply too strong and classy in a free-for-all. And the time was brilliant, a 1min53.3sec mile rate for the long 2400m trip. “It was a really good effort because I had to make my run a long way from home and the leader was going quick, but his owners are over here and it’s great to win for them on a night like this,” co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon said. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ BARRY Purdon won the feature mares’ race on Miracle Mile night, but just not with the mare most expected. Havtime, regarded as a stable second-stringer to glamour mare Belle Of Montana, produced a career-best 1min50sec flat mile to upstage a crack field. It was a confident front-running drive from Robbie Morris, copping pressure through a 54.2sec first half, but pinching a break on his key rivals around the home bend. Our Princess Tiffany, who did some early and mid-race work, ran on strongly along with Belle Of Montana, but they never looked like catching the leader. Havtime won by 4.4.m over Our Princess Tiffany with Belle Of Montana another metre away in third spor. “I wanted to hold the front provided they didn’t go crazy. She’s been going so well and it’s great to get this win for Barry,” Morris said. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S amazing to think Our Uncle Sam cost just $3000 at the Bathurst yearling sales. The Frisby family’s pride and joy surged passed $600,000 in career earnings when he successfully defended the Group 1 free-for-all title he won last year at Menangle on Saturday night. It was a fitting reward after an NZ campaign last year which was littered with bad luck, poor draws and a dislike for the reverse way of going in Auckland. Driver and co-trainer Anthony Frisby won the race when he attacked successfully for the lead from Galactic Star mid-race then dictated terms with splits of 29.2 (1200-800m) and 29.1 (800-400m). Our Uncle Sam ripped home in 26.1sec and fought-off a challenge from The Black Prince by 1.4m with Kiwi pacer Mach Shard making late ground from three pegs for third. “We never have much luck with draws, but we did this time and made the most of it,” Frisby said. “We were a bit lucky because we got things our own way once we got to the front, but he still sprinted home really well.” ____________________________________________________________________________________________ BIG Jack Hammer joined Our Uncle Sam as a back-to-back winner with his victory in the Group 1 Aquagait Trotters’ Mile at Menangle. It was a fantastic trainer performance from David Aiken to rebuild Big Jack Hammer’s confidence and target the race after an Auckland Inter Dominion campaign where he was never comfortable the other direction of racing. And Josh Aiken, David’s son, kept it in the family with a superb drive, summing it up well early by dropping in behind the leader, Tough Monarch, “Gee I was confident in the run. It was the perfect trip for him and he felt so good,” Josh said. “It’s extra special to win this one tonight because it’s Dad’s birthday too.” Big Jack Hammer headed a Victorian trifecta, holding-off the late swooping Red Hot Tooth to win by half a neck with the emerging Sammy Showdown getting in third spot in a 1min54.7sec mile. The two Kiwi runners, Temporale and Massive Metro, were below their best in eighth and sixth spots respectively. Hot favourite Dance Craze, lethal with a sit, had to sit parked and never look comfortable before tiring late for ninth. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ BRIAN Portelli had a Miracle Mile night to remember. His Bettors Delight gelding Tasty Delight won the Group 2 Sapling Stakes in upset style. “That’s my first Group win as a trainer or driver,” Portelli beamed. Tasty Delight had the last sit on stablemates and favourites Lochinvar Chief and Patsbeachstorm and finished over the top of them in a 1min52.4sec mile. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ THE powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn is starting to unleash their latest juvenile crop. The pair snared the quinella in the Sapling Stakes at Melton on Saturday night with Ideal Dan, raced and bred by Danny Zavitsanos, beating stablemate Idyllic in a 1min55.1sec mile rate for 1720m. Mick Stanley’s highly-rated Drain The Swamp was a good third after doing the work outside the leader. Over in Adelaide, he Stewart-trained Treachery thrashed her rivals by a thumping 24.8m winning a heat of the Allwood series with Kima Frenning in the sulky. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is something exciting about watching breakaway leaders, whether it’s in the gallops or harness. And that’s what Perth has now with Talktomeurmattjesty. The headstrong former Kiwi gelding ran his rivals ragged again, in stunning at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Driver Kyle Harper let him stride in front, opening up a huge lead on the bulk of the field with only his main danger, Chiaroscuro sticking on his back. Talktomeurmattjesty broke their hearts with splits over the last mile of the 2130m of 27.6, 28.2, 28.7 and 29.9sec. Chairoscuro couldn’t stay in touch from the 400m, dropping away to finish 24.5m away in second spot. The 1min52.9sec mile rate equalled Beaudiene Boaz’s track record. On the same card, exciting three-year-olds Double Expresso and Major Martini won their respective $50,000 Sales Series’ finals. Double Expresso, who may tackle the boys in the WA Derby on April, cruised to an all-the-way win in a 1 min56.1sec mile rate for 2130m. Major Martini was stunning, sitting parked and roaring away to win by 15.3m in a 1min56.6sec mile rate, capped by closing splits of 27 flat and 27.7sec. Another WA Derby hopeful, Franco Ecuador, made it three wins from just four starts in the last race on the card.   By Adam Hamilton

YOU could hardly call it a hoodoo . . .not when you are renowned as one of the champions of your sport. Yet star reinsman Luke McCarthy certainly got a monkey off his back with a magnificent victory in tonight's $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. West Australian pacer King Of Swing defied all the efforts of star four-year-old Lochinvar Art to run him down as he scored a stirring two-and-a-half metre win over the Chariots Of Fire winner with the winner's stablemate Alta Orlando a head back in third place. The winner ran a stunning 1:48.0 mile to join an elite list of pacers to have won the Hunter Cup and the Miracle Mile in the same season. King Of Swing also joined champions such as Mount Eden, Royal Force, Pure Steel, Preux Chevalier, Village Kid and Norms Daughter who have made the long journey from Western Australia to win Australasia's greatest sprint race. McCarthy was always excited to be driving a horse he described as a "machine" . . . and a versatile one at that. The race threw up the first surprise when Majordan tore across from the outside draw to take up the running. No sooner had he settled there when McCarthy took on his brother with King Of Swing and found the front in a slick 28.8s first quarter of the mile. He didn't get much peace in front though as Lochinvar Art (David Moran) kept at him for most of the race. "We always knew he had ability when he won a Derby in WA," explained part-owner Glen Moore. "Trainer Gary Hall senior recommended we send him over to Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy and we had confidence in their ability to run him around as we felt it could be an attitude problem. "We thought the cross and McCarthy team could rejuvenate him and they have certainly done the job. "We're pinching ourselves as to what this horse has done in winning three groups one races in recent weeks and the things this horse has not only done but may go on to do." McCarthy looked slightly stunned by his win: "Thanks for trusting me with the drive and Gary Hall senior for sending us the horse. He knew how good this horse was and he wasn't putting his best foot forward [in WA]," he said. "To give us a crack with him and to win the Hunter Cup and now the Miracle Mile, well it's a dream come true. "I've been trying for a long time to win this race so it is a special thrill to win it - at last."   Club Menangle

LEADING Kiwi trainer-driver Anthony Butt put himself right in the spotlight when he agreed to prepare a massive team of horses for Australia's biggest owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Anthony had moved from New Zealand and settled into the Victorian harness racing scene before following his elder brother Tim to Sydney to drive a lot of his horses. But when trainer Noel Daley decided to return to the US, Rosati asked Anthony Butt to take over his big team and Butt has tackled the task with relish and capped it off by preparing the quinella for the Rosatis in tonight's $200,000 APG NSW Derby at Menangle. Anthony steered the Victoria Derby winner Line Up, who worked hard to find the front then defied anything to run him down before scoring a powerful four-metre win over stablemate Perfect Stride (Cameron Hart), with outsider Zeuss Bromac (Gavin Fitzptrick) a head back in third place in a 1:52.8 mile rate. Pacifico Dream and Mach Dan were just behind the placegetters. Rosati was naturally ecstatic with the effort of his team. "We finished first and third in the Victoria Derby in Melbourne and they said to me 'you've got to be happy with that'." said Rosati. "I said 'no, I'd prefer to run first and second'. "Well, tonight we've done that - and yes, it's as good as it gets." Rosati paid special tribute to his wife Mary: "She always says buy, buy, buy, so I have to thank her for that - because I do just that," joked Rosati. "And as for Anthony (Butt) he is doing a phenomenal job - even though we have a long way to go." Butt was just as delighted as he headed off to prepare My Field Marshal with brother Tim for the Miracle Mile. "This is a world-class facility here at Menangle and we are fortunate to be training here," said Butt. "It's a privilege to be training so many quality horses and I'm rapt to be getting the results. "My partner Sonya is an important part of this partnership and I have to thank her, as well as the rest of the staff - this is certainly no one-man band, that's for sure. "And we'll all be celebrating well tonight."   Club Menangle

Two of harness racing’s greatest rivals will join forces for the first time to try and win Saturday’s $1million Miracle Mile.  In a surprise move that turns back the clock Kiwi driver Mark Purdon will drive Alta Orlando in the great race at Menangle, even though he is trained by one of his fiercest rivals in Cross.  Cross and quasi training partner Luke McCarthy are riding the crest of a wave, having won the Hunter Cup last month and both Miracle Mile preludes last Saturday.  They are undoubtedly the strongest open class stable in Australia whereas Purdon and training partner Natalie Rasmussen have the strongest stable in Australasia, filled with open class stars.  But after a horror run with injuries, including having two Miracle Mile contenders ruled out of the carnival last Thursday, Purdon who won the race last year driving Spankem thought he would be watching it from the stables this season.  Until he got the call up to drive the heavily-backed Alta Orlando through an unusual set of circumstances.  Todd McCarthy drove Alta Orlando to beat My Field Marshal in their $100,000 Prelude last Saturday but is committed to Newcastle Mile winner Majordan, trained by Kevin Pizzuto who he does so much driving for.  Luke McCarthy chose to drive Alta Orlando’s stablemate King Of Swing because he has the better draw and John Dunn, who used to drive Alta Orlando in NZ, was offered the drive.  But he has opted to stick with Bettor’s Heart, trained by his uncle Peter Bagrie so the Alta Orlando drive was up for grabs again.  Remarkably Purdon was the first trainer of Alta Orlando and as a three-year-old he finished third in the prestigious NZ Sires Stakes Final to stablemate Have Faith In Me way back in 2014, who went on to win a Miracle Mile.  Alta Orlando broke down soon after and it was thought he was finished as a racing proposition until he resumed his career two years later trained by Dunn’s father Robert.  He then ended up with Cross and has risen to new heights at Menangle where the relentless racing style suits him. Ironically the last time Purdon drove Alta Orlando was nearly six years ago when he finished last in a minor race, won by a horse driven by John Dunn. “We are thrilled to have Mark on, everybody knows what a good driver he is,” said McCarthy.  “He has driven the winner of every big race you can think of and while I think King Of Swing is Craig’s best chance of winning on Saturday night if Alta Orlando is sitting in the one-one or handy he can beat us.” Michael Guerin

He ran his rivals ragged in winning tonight's $100,000 Allied Express Sprint at Menangle. Now the Craig Cross-trained King Of Swing is ready to assume favouritism for next week's $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. To be driven by champion reinsman Luke McCarthy, King Of Swing drew the ideal gate four and may come into three when second emergency Sicario is withdrawn before the big race. King Of Swing has shown stunning gate speed at his recent starts and the former West Australian has thrived since linking with the Cross stable and looks likely to chase an all-the-way win. Former winner My Field Marshall and his trainer Tim Butt will also be feeling on top of the world after the 2018 winner draw gate two, giving his reinsman Anthony Butt plenty of options and likely to take a trail after he attempted to lead all the way and was edged out by Craig Cross's other hope, Alta Orlando in the Schweppes Sprint. The final field, in barrier order is: 1. A Gs WHITE SOX  2. MY FIELD MARSHAL  3. SICARIO (2ND em)  4. KING OF SWING  5. CODE BAILEY 6. BETTORS HEART 7. THE BLACK PRINCE (1ST em) 8. ALTA ORLANDO 9. LOCHINVAR ART 10. MAJORDAN Earlier slick times were the order of the night and earlier the Allied Express and Schweppes Sprints did not disappoint with fantastic wins by two of Craig Cross' Miracle Mile hopes in King Of Swing and Alta Orlando. The McCarthy brothers, Luke and Todd, did their jobs as they surged into serious Miracle Mile calculation with impressive wins. King Of Swing was taken straight to the front by Luke and ran his rivals off their legs, rating a slashing 1:49.6 in beating Code Bailey and A Gs White Sox by two metre in the $100,000 Allied Express Sprint. The first two home joined Newcastle Mile winner Majordan and Chariots Of Fire star Lochinvar Art in securing invitations to the "Big Dance", the $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile next Saturday night. The Black Prince also caught the eye, making up many lengths in the straight to finish fourth after settling back near last. That was enough to earn him a reserve spot for the big race. The $100,000 Schweppes Sprint was run a bit differently, with former MM winner My Field Marshal taking advantage of his ideal draw in one to hold the lead for Anthony Butt, despite an early challenge from Alta Orlando from gate five. The race worked out perfectly for Todd McCarthy and Alta Orlando as he was able to duck in behind My Field Marshal and secure a great run into the race. Turning for home Our Uncle Sam, who raced without cover, was tending to drop out of contention, giving Alta Orlando the perfect opportunity to jump off the pegs and score an easy 4.2m win over My Field Marshal with the surprise of the race, Sicario, looming into third, one and a half metres further back, just ahead of the perennially unlucky Hail Christian. The winner rated an even 1:50, although runner-up Anthony Butt would have been quite content in the knowledge he had qualified for another crack at a Miracle Mile with the fastest horse ever to win the race, the 2018 winner My Field Marshal. The $200,000 Boden Projects Ladyship Mile was another highlight of the big night when Kiwi mare Bettors Heart (John Dunn) dived on the line to score the narrowest of wins over Bettor Enforce, robbing Luke McCarthy of his second Group One of the night. Our Princess Tiffany came from well back to grab third, just in front of Belle Of Montana. A scintillating mile rate of 1:49.7 hurtled Bettors Heart into contention for the Miracle Mile and gave Kiwi reinsman John Dunn, the brother of another champion reinsman, Dexter Dunn, his biggest win outside of New Zealand. Trainer Peter Bagrie has been stabled with Shane and Lauren Tritton for the past week and gave the champion pair much of the credit for their mighty win. "Shane has been a terrific help to me this week in getting this mare ready to run the race of her life. We weren't certain she had got there but she has done a great job for us both in New Zealand and here and she didn't let us down," said Bagrie.   Club Menangle

IN-FORM reinsman Anthony Butt qualified two of his powerful team for next weekend's $200,000 NSW Derby after three heats were run at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. The first NSW Derby heat became something of a procession and landed some big bets when the classy Perfect Stride (Butt) found the front early in the race and led all the way to score a comfortable win. The Menangle reinsman Butt had no hesitation taking Perfect Stride straight to the front and defied all attempts to run him down, scoring a 1.7m win over Zeuss Bromac (Gavin Fitzpatrick) with outsider Sonny Weaver (Amanda Turnbull) another 2.1m further away in third place. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's Kiwi hope Smooth Deal was a close fourth which left him looking unlikely to make it into next week's rich final. The second Derby heat was not all that much different with the Emma Stewart-trained Pacifico Dream taking the front soon after the start and Victoria driver Kima Frenning setting a snail's pace in front before going on to score a strong win. The son of Mach Three was able to get away with a 32.8 second first split of his final mile, which left plenty of fuel in the tank for the run home. Despite late challenges from the $1.65 favourite Line Up (Anthony Butt) and the winner's stablemate, Mach Dan (Greg Sugars), Pacifico Dream was able to hang on tenaciously to score by 1.6m in a 1:57.2 mile rate with a last half of 53.3 seconds (26.7 and 26.6s). The third and final heat of the NSW Derby changed in a flash after former Victorian Yoaremysunshine bombed his chances with a little over a lap to travel when he galloped after settling in front for Luke McCarthy. Yoaremysunshine quickly went inside the markers as the field passed by as he surrendered any chance of making next weekend's final. The race was taken out by Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon, with Grant Dixon quickly taking the front when it presented and going on to score a commanding win over the fast-finishing Percy Bailey (Will Rixon) with yet another Victorian visitor Pradason (Allan McDonough) third in a 1:56.8 mile rate. Certainly Dixon was able to dictate term to suit himself and his splits of 31.4, 29.6, 28.6 and home in 26.7 made it difficult for the backmarkers to make any ground on him in the home straight. Wallacia trainer Michael Leary may have had the unlucky runner, coming from three back on the markers, angling wide turning for home and flashing home for third while Crunch Time hung on well for fourth after racing behind the leader for most of the trip.   Club Menangle

LEADING Kiwi reinsman John Dunn thought he had been beaten. Seconds later the brother of star reinsman Dexter Dunn was grinning from ear to ear after Bettors Heart was declared the winner of tonight's $200,000 Boden Projects Ladyship Mile. And that grin got even broader when he was informed the mare had earned a berth in next week's $100,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile after her stunning win. Bettors Heart (John Dunn) dived on the line to score the narrowest of wins over Bettor Enforce, robbing Luke McCarthy of his second Group One of the night after he earlier had scored with King Of Swing in the Allied Express Sprint. Our Princess Tiffany came from well back to grab third, just in front of Belle Of Montana. A scintillating mile rate of 1:49.7 hurtled Bettors Heart into contention for the Miracle Mile and gave Dunn his biggest win outside of New Zealand. "Yep, I thought I might have left my run a fraction too late," said Dunn. "But we got there and this mare deserves this, she has done a great job. Bettors Heart's trainer Peter Bagrie has been stabled with Shane and Lauren Tritton at the Menangle Training Centre for the past week and gave the champion pair much of the credit for their mighty win. "Shane has been a terrific help to me this week in getting this mare ready to run the race of her life," said Bagrie. "We weren't certain she had got there but she has done such a great job for us both in New Zealand and here . . . and tonight she didn't let us down," said Bagrie.   Club Menangle

A SHARE of history awaits outstanding pacer Lochinvar Art. Thanks to his victory in tonight's Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire at Club Menangle, Lochinvar Art received a 'golden ticket' into the $1million Ainsworth Miracle Mile. The southern hemisphere's premier speed test, the Miracle Mile is programmed to be run around the 1400-metre circuit on March 7. With trainer David Moran declaring the invite to Australasia's richest race will be accepted, the four-year-old will be aiming to become just the second pacer to secure the two premier events in the same season. Former boom gelding Have Faith In Me became the only performer to achieve the feat in 2016. "We will definitely be starting him in the Miracle Mile," Moran said. "It's not often you get a chance to compete in a $1million event. "He was sensational tonight and deserves a shot at the big one." Driven by Moran, Lochinvar Art occupied the 'death seat' before staving off a determined Self Assured to score by a head, with Max Delight five-and-a-half metres away third. By covering the mile in 1:50.1 Lochinvar Art became the second pacer to gain passage into the Miracle Mile. Majordan was the first offered a berth in the Grand Circuit event thanks to his triumph in last night's Newcastle Mile. With Todd McCarthy holding the reins, the Kevin Pizzuto-trained speedster stopped the clock in a track record 1:50.7. The balance of the Miracle Mile field will be determined via next Saturday night's Group One Schweppes and Allied Express Sprints at Club Menangle.   Club Menangle

OUTSTANDING New Zealand mare Our Princess Tiffany has put herself in a strong position to complete a rare Group One double at Club Menangle. Thanks to her victory in tonight's Therese Cordina Robin Dundee Stake at the world class venue the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained daughter of Art Major has earned a berth in next week's Boden Projects Ladyship Mile. Success in the famed sprint will see Our Princess Tiffany become just the fourth New South Wales Oaks winner to return to secure the Ladyship Mile. Cheryl's Delight was the ground breaker in 1977 followed by Foreal in 2005. Our Dream About Me won the Oaks in 2016 before capturing the Ladyship Mile last season in what was her swansong. Our Dream About Me was also trained by Purdon and Rasmussen. The power couple also combined to win the Ladyship Mile with Adore Me in 2015 and A Piccadilly Princess in 2017. Driven by Purdon during her latest triumph, Our Princess Tiffany covered the mile in a quick 1:49.9 as Bettors Heart and Havtime filled the placings. Local mare Hows The Memory won last weekend's Ladyship Mile qualifier - Sibelia Stake - in 1:51.2. Australasia's premier mares' event, the Group One is part of a stellar card at Club Menangle next Saturday night which includes the New South Wales Oaks, Pink Bonnet and Lady Drivers' Invitational. The $200,000 Boden Projects Ladyship Mile field: Belle Of Montana, Bettor Enforce, Pick Up Line, Hows The Memory, Fame Assured, Bettors Heart, Our Alfie Romeo, Our Princess Tiffany, Havtime and Takara Truffle, with Redbank Addi and Our Step Up the emergencies. The barrier draw will be held in the office of Harness Racing New South Wales from 3pm on Monday February 24. Club Menangle

THE POWERHOUSE Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn has four runners in Australia’s biggest four-year-old race, the Chariots Of Fire. Demon Delight qualified with a slashing second to prepost favourite Self Assured in the Hondo Grattan and the stable then completed “owned” last night’s qualifier, the Paleface Adios. Stewart and Tonkin landed the trifecta with the brilliant Hurricane Harley leading throughout to win from the eye-catching stablemate Out To Play and Fourbigmen. Although Self Assured is a $1.75 pre-draw favourite, it promises to be a fantastic Chariots next Saturday night. The final field (pre-draw) is: Self Assured, Lochinvar Art, Hurricane Harley, Demon Delight, Out To Play, Max Delight, Culture King, Fourbigmen, Make Way, Rockin Marty, Catch A Moment (1st emerg), Supreme Dominator (2nd emerg). _____________________________________________________________________________ VICTORIA Derby winner Line Up is clearly the horse to beat in the NSW Derby despite having his colours lowered at Menangle last night. The former Kiwi was astronomical in defeat, doing a power of work to find the lead the copping plenty of midrace pressure in a blazing 1min53.4sec mile rate for the long 2300m trip. Stablemate Perfect Stride, who led for young driver Cam Hart then took a trial and had a much easier run, nabbed Line Up to win by a neck. They went the four splits of the last mile in 27.6, 29.4, 28.3 and 28.4sec. Although trainer Anthony Butt doesn’t think there is much between the pair, Line Up’s run was clearly the better of the two last night. Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon was slightly disappointing in fourth spot after staying out of the early speed burn and making a midrace move to sit parked. And former Victorian Youaremy Sunshine, sensationally-backed into favouritism at his first run for Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy, went roughly at times and never looked comfortable before dropping out sharply from the 600m to finish last. _____________________________________________________________________________ STAR Kiwi filly Stylish Memphis suffered a shock defeat in the build-up to the NSW Oaks. Maybe she needed the hitout and the closing splits were superb, but $26 outsider Muscle Mach still sat outside Stylish Memphis and nabbed her on the wire to win by a nose. Stylish Memphis, the $1.35 favourite, led easily from the pole, seemed to settle quite well through a very cosy 59.3sec first half and dashed home in 53.3 and 26.1sec. Driver Tim Williams nursed her as long as he could down the straight and it looked like she was doing enough, but Muscle Mach snatched the win. Stylish Memphis now heads to the Oaks heats next Saturday night. _____________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal is right back to his best just in time for the great sprint race again this year. It’s been a tricky preparation with an aborted WA raid, but trainer Tim Butt’s decision to skip the Hunter Cup and stick to Menangle racing counting down to the Miracle Mile seems to have worked. My Field Marshal made it back-to-back Menangle wins when he overpowered the leader and favourite, Majordan, and staved-off an eye-catching Alta Orlando to win by a head. Alta Orlando’s effort to get so close, from second-last on the home bend, was huge, showing he’s also right on target. All Stars’ runner Chase Auckland was never a hope after going back to last from a wide draw, but there was plenty to like about the way he closed in the last 150m for a close fourth. It will now be interesting to see which Miracle Mile hopefuls head to Friday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile or wait for the two qualifying sprints at Menangle eight days later. _____________________________________________________________________________ CRAIG Cross won the $50,000 Group 2 Sibelia Stakes, but just not with the mare punters hoped. Punters sent Cross’ much-improved mare Better Enforce out a $2 favourite despite a wide draw, but she drifted back and powered home late for an eye-catching third. Stablemate Hows The Memory grabbed the win after leading early, being shuffled to three pegs and getting inside runs in a 1min51.2sec mile. Kiwi raider Havtime did plenty of midrace work to find the lead and weakened late for sixth.   Adam Hamilton

THE All Stars barn will be looking to bounce-back from a very rare disappointing Aussie Carnival when they launch their Menangle assault on Saturday night. It was a Summer of Glory to forget for Australasia’s most powerful barn, who didn’t snare a major despite attacking with stars like Self Assured, Oscar Bonavena, Chase Auckland and Smooth Deal. Self Assured had to be content with two Group 1 seconds, but both were monstrous runs in the Ballarat Cup and 4YO Bonanza at Melton. Australasia’s most exciting pacer and prepost favourite for the Chariots Of Fire and Miracle Mile is looking to return to winning form in the $50,000 Group 2 Hondo Grattan (1609m) at Menangle this week. He’s there because the second to Lochinvar Art in the Bonanza didn’t qualify Self Assured for a Chariots Of Fire birth. The Aussie TAB opened Self Assured a $1.55 favourite and he quickly firmed to $1.45 from gate nine this week with his main rival being the untapped and explosive Balraj, who is a $3.20 shot from gate 10. Balraj, who is unbeaten in eight Aussie starts since coming from NZ, has brilliant early speed and will almost certainly pushed forward in search of the lead. This will be Balraj’s first run for new trainer KerryAnn Morris, who took over from Anthony Simiana. Morris’ husband, Robbie, takes the reins and has been the pacer’s regular driver. Classy Victorians Demon Delight (gate 11, $12) and Max Delight (12, $18) will also make their presence felt. _________________________________________________________________________________________ A ho-hum support race at Menangle on Saturday night could totally reshape the NSW Oaks. In an exciting twist for the already stellar card, Kiwi stars and the first two home in Victoria Oaks – Dr Susan and Stylish Memphis – will clash in a $14,280 fillies’ race over 2300m. It’s an ideal race to sharpen them-up for the NSW Oaks heats two weeks later. Under the preferential draw conditions this week, Stylish Memphis has drawn gate 10. Dr Susan is out of the draw after causing the false start in Victoria Oaks so she will start from the outside (gate 11). If there’s a blowout it could be emerging local Vincenzina, who stormed home from last to be beaten just half-a-metre by Dr Susan when they clashed in the Raith Memorial over a mile at Menangle on January 11. Vincenzina has since scored two impressive wins at Menangle, the latest in a blistering 1min51.8sec mile on January 25. _________________________________________________________________________________________ JIMMY Rattray’s decision to skip the Hunter Cup with Ignatius and stay home to build-up to the Miracle Mile could get a reward Saturday night. Ignatius has drawn gate two and will come into the pole if emergency Wrangler doesn’t get a run in the 1609m free-for-all. Star speedstar Majordan will likely burn forward and take the lead from gate eight, but Ignatius will be on his back or very handy. Paul Court’s Hail Christian, who went back and never got into a 2300m free-for-all when he resumed at Menangle last week, is sure to be fitter, but will need luck from the outside draw (gate 10).   Adam Hamilton

Reinswoman Ashley Hart provided the Midas touch as Chevrons Reward broke her Menangle hoodoo in spectacular style for Nulkaba harness racing trainer Clayton Harmey on Saturday night. Chevrons Reward had not won at Menangle Park since April 2018 when with Shane and Lauren Tritton, and she had run last in two attempts under Harmey. The in-form trainer turned to Hart, who steered the five-year-old to second at Newcastle last month, and the combination delivered a last-to-first win. Hart took Chevrons Reward around the field on the home turn and she was last on the scene to win by 1.3m in a career-best 1:51:1. "We've been driving her back in the field around here lately and she's been getting home over the top of them," Harmey said. "We stuck with Ash because she's driven her and she got her chance. She probably got back a bit too far last night and nothing was taking her into the race, so I was worried she wouldn't run on. "She was a long way off them but the further she ran up the straight, the faster she went. It was good because I knew she should have been able to do it and she finally did." Harmey also had a win at Newcastle on the night with Always A Secret, going to 53 for the season to sit second in NSW and seventh in Australia on trainers' standings. Driver Blake Hughes also won behind Wallaroy Boy for East Maitland trainer Rob Hosking, who achieved a rare feat in the sixth. All four of Hosking's runners on the night were in the race and they filled the top four placings. Hughes' double was soured by a 21-day suspension for causing interference aboard Major Mondo in race seven. Meanwhile, Lake Macquarie-owned Lochinvar Art stamped himself as a Chariots of Fire contender with a group 1 win at Melton in track record time on Saturday night. David Moran-trained and driven Lochinvar Art, owned by businessman Kevin Gordon, claimed the 4YO Bonanza (1720m) in a mile rate of 1:48:6. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

All you needed was for Kylie Minogue to be in attendance at harness racing's Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 18 January to complete the picture. Oh, what a night! The race and sectional times recorded at Menangle simply beggared belief. If ever there was a more resounding endorsement of the Australasian standardbred and Tabcorp Park, Menangle as the premier Southern Hemisphere harness racing facility, Saturday night provided that! The results on the night were a ringing endorsement of the professionalism of trackside staff in preparing a blindingly fast service. The prevailing weather conditions were also superb. Race 1 was won by the Craig Cross trained “Pocket Of Terror NZ”, a gelded son of Western Terror in a time of 1.50.5. Watch this race here. Craig followed up in Race 2 with “Little Rascal NZ”, a gelded son of Panspacificflight, winning in a time of 1.50.3. To watch this race click here. Not to be outdone by those achievements, Craig followed up with “Bettor Enforce NZ”, a Bettors Delight mare, winning Race 3 in the spectacular time of 1.48.9!  To watch this race click here. The regular scheduling of guaranteed mare races by Club Menangle and HRNSW have shown their worth time and time again, but Saturday night was actual vindication. A closer evaluation of the race won by Bettor Enforce NZ provides an incredible read. The race times for the first six placegetters in the race were all under 1.50! This almost unbelievable result reads: 1.48.90 Bettor Enforce NZ 1.49.08 Art Series 1.49.09 Hows The Memory 1.49.45 Island Banner 1.49.55 Fame Assured 1.49.77 Redbank Addi The seventh placed horse “Tralee Bromac NZ” was timed in 1.50.11, and the seventh placed horse “Power Surge NZ” was timed at 1.50.60. The fun did not end there as the Craig Cross trained “Wrangler NZ” a gelded son of Bettor Delight, won race 7 in a time of 1.48.8. To watch this race click here. Three other races on the program were won in 1.51 for the mile. The results on Saturday provide a great lead-in to the forthcoming yearling sales on both sides of the ditch. Saturday night was proof positive of the capacity and capability of the Australasian standardbred. The results also point to the forthcoming Sky Carnival of Miracles at Tabcorp Park Menangle being one of the most exciting harness racing events in 2020. Bring it on! Congratulations to the trackside staff at Tabcorp Park, Menangle for providing a superb racing surface. On a night like this…….. Alex Smith Club Menangle  

KIWI raider Smooth Deal has another serious Aussie rival to contend with in the Victoria Derby. Queenslander Governor Jujon blitzed a strong field in the rescheduled $50,000 Group 2 Simpson Memorial at Menangle yesterday, pacing a 1min52.8sec mile and ripping home in 54.3 and 26.2sec. He won without being asked for any real effort by stand-in driver Robbie Morris, while Paul Court’s Kiwi pacer Mach Da Vinci flashed home from well back for a ripper second. Governor Jujon’s win was his seventh from just nine starts and he’s run second in the other two. He’s trained by Grant Dixon, making him a stablemate to 2018 Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One. The exciting son of Cammibest now heads straight to the Derby heats at Ballarat on Saturday week. Australia’s other top Derby contender, last season’s 2YO of the Year Be Happy Mach, only had his first public trial this campaign at Geelong last night. He looks certain to head into the Derby heats first-up, which is a daring move given the jump from 2240m to 2760m for this year’s Derby final at Melton on January 25. Smooth Deal is $2.60 Derby prepost favourite with the Aussie TAB from Be Happy Mach at $2.80 and Governor Jujon seemingly the value at $9. Governor Jujon winning at Menangle ___________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was great to see Let it Ride return with a Menangle win yesterday. Tim Butt’s gelding failed in two runs in early winter and was sent straight for a spell. The 2018 Group 1 Blacks A Fake winner was given a lovely trip in the one-one by Anthony Butt, grabbed the front turning for home and held-on by 3.9m over favourite Little Rascal in a 1min52.4sec mile, capped by closing splits of 55.3 and 27.3sec. The opposition will certainly get much harder in coming weeks, but at least there were signs of the old Let It Ride. The Butts combined for another impressive win at the rescheduled Menangle meeting when Ideal Star led throughout and bolted in by 12.9m in a career-best 1min51.3sec mile. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ TRAINER Shane Tritton is regrouping after losing his two best horses. Last year’s Victoria Derby winner Muscle Factory has re-injured a tendon, ruling out the Chariots Of Fire and casting doubts over whether he will race again. While recent Kiwi import Funatthebeach, who Tritton felt could be a Grand Circuit player, has been sent to the USA by connections. He raced just twice for Tritton after leaving the All Stars barn for a win and a third at Menangle.   Adam Hamilton

Master New South Wales trainer Tim Butt has mapped out an ambitious and exciting program over the next few months for his millionaire harness racing campaigner My Field Marshal. And it'll be a three-State "blitz" for the pacer, who made a promising return to the racetrack at the weekend. "I'm still smiling about his first-up run after being away from the races for over eight months," Menangle-based Butt said. "There are some nice races on offer and he's at the stage of his career where we're going to take off the gloves-so that means competing in West Australia, Victoria and then back home in Sydney," he said. My Field Marshal (Art Major-Foreal (Washington VC), is nicknamed "Monty" after Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, considered one of history's great military commanders. Retired in the $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle back in early March, "Monty" ran an eye-catching second to Alta Orlando at Menangle in the McLaren Real Estate Alf Phillis Group Three Free For All on Saturday night. "He's been in work probably four months after he went amiss - then we had to go back to the trials and requalify because he got stood down in the mile," Butt said. "That was about 12 days ago and we'd done a few private trials at home, including one when he stopped the clock at 1.52 which is close to race speed. "He's been doing a fair bit in the water walker at the Aquagait Equine Centre, generally after his hopple-up runs. He enjoys that. He's really more like a thoroughbred because he's athletic, fine and good winded." See Our Field Marshal taking it easy in the Aquagait water walker here: My Field Marshal heading out to work at home at Menangle   With Tim's brother Anthony in NZ with Inter Dominion duties, substitute reinsman Jack Trainor did a splendid job. "We know Jack from back home in New Zealand where he worked for Cran Dalgety and he looked after the horse nicely. He drove a really good race and 'Monty' will improve on that run," Butt said. The trip west will be nothing new for "Monty" - a similar trip last December and January saw him take out the $50,000 Village Kid Pace and $300,000 Fremantle Pacing Cup. He then ran a gallant fourth (beaten 3.3m) to Rocknroll Lincoln in the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup. Butt said he planned to target just the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups this time. "Then he will be flown back to Melbourne and aimed at the A.G Hunter Cup. Then, all going well, we'll head back home for another crack at the Miracle Mile," he said. My Field Marshal has 26 wins and 22 placings for $1.3M in stakes - and one of these wins was in the $750,000 G1 Miracle Mile in February 2018. "If we stick around home, he's more than likely going to keep drawing the outside at Menangle which makes it extremely difficult," Butt said. "In saying that, it's still tough to win over in WA," he said. "And fingers crossed that the Purdon-Rasmussen All Stars team doesn't show up or we'll all be in trouble!" Another comeback kid in Tiger Tara (trained by Kevin Pizzuto) certainly didn't go unnoticed, either, in the same race. "Tiger" was a strong third placing after leading up. He was resuming from a short let-up following a fourth in the $30,000 G3 BP Narella Pace nearly three months ago.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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