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The promising Tintin In America gelding Knockawarwon NZ, a younger brother of champion racemare Shartin, was a very impressive winner at his second start at Menangle on Tuesday (February 23). The four-year-old pinged straight to the front and was never seriously challenged thereafter, scoring untouched in 1:53.6. Watch the race click here! Tintin In America was also represented by The Meadowlands, New Jersey winner God’s Spirit (1:51.8). Yirribee Pacing Stud’s newest addition, Renaissance Man, left a pair of Gloucester Park winners recently. Ourboybart notched his seventh success in runaway fashion in a 1:58.2 rate, while Apologize won for the fourth time. Million Dollar Cam, who has enjoyed a solid start to the year, left winners in three States in Christian Shannon (Tamworth and Newcastle), Camroller (Redcliffe) and Levi Jimmy (Devonport), while world champion Warrawee Needy’s daughter Deprived won again at Northfield Park, Ohio in 1:58.2. Tintin In America, Renaissance Man, Million Dollar Cam and Warrawee Needy are members of the star-studded Yirribee Pacing Stud sire roster.   By Peter Wharton

Stewart, Gath bag another feature on a stellar night IS there anything trainer Emma Stewart and gun driver Kate Gath cannot do? Stewart dominated the heats of the NSW Oaks, winning all three earlier in the night, with Gath winning one of them for her with Tough Tilly. The pair were back in the winners' circle again when they captured one of the night's major features, winning the $50,000 Group 2 Robin Dundee Stakes with another of Stewart's stable stars Maajida. It was something of an upset as Belinda and Luke McCarthy's star mare Bettor Enforce was sent out an odds-on favourite in the 1609m dash but Maajida and Gath dictated terms to score an amazing win in a slick 1:50.2 mile rate. Watch the race replay click here! The surprises were on right from the start of this race when Queenslander Justalittle Torque shot out of the gate from nine and showed any amount of speed to find the front in a quick sprint-off with Maajida, who drew a lot better in five. But Gath would have none of that and no sooner had Leonard Cain settled his charge in front when Gath took her on again and found the front where she could dictate terms with opening splits of 26.5 and 28.2 seconds. In the meantime Luke McCarthy had a quick 'look' for the front with Bettor Enforce before Gath showed she would have none of that and held the front. Rocknroll Angel (Cameron Hart) then appeared on the scene three wide and McCarthy had little choice but to drop back into a one-one trail hoping for a final crack at them in the straight. Yet that was about as close as Bettor Enforce was able to get to them as Maajida held them all off in the run home with a last half of 55.6 seconds (27.5, 28.1) to score by a half head from Rocknroll Angel with Miss McGonagall third and Bettor Enforce a close fourth which was enough to get her through to next week's Ladyship Mile, where she will again have a crack at the three placegetters. Club Menangle

NOTHING was going to rain on the parade of trainer Troy Williams and his young square-gaiter Affaire De Cover at Menangle on Saturday night. The two-year-old surged through a torrential downpour – one of the heaviest seen at Menangle in years - to win the $30,000 TAB Trot NSW final, the third of three trotters’ features and the last race on a star-studded Breeders Challenge program. Williams was soaked to the skin, as was reinsman Rob Morris, but their smiles were like a ray of sunshine after Affaire De Cover mastered the horrendous conditions to score a 1.7m win over odds-on favourite On Advice (Blake Fitzpatrick), with Daimyo a distant third in a 1:59 mile rate in the night’s final feature. The three square-gaiting races were great spectacles with Affaire De Cover’s effort probably the only surprise result of the three. Darren Hancock’s impressive five-year-old trotter Drop The Hammer ($1.35 favourite) won the $30,000 Four and Five-Year-Olds’ final with a dashing display to account for Sobomba and Deneuve Star, scoring by 12metres in a 1:56.3 mile rate. Hancock turned the race into a real staying test, using Drop The Hammer’s great turn of foot to have his rivals chasing hard most of the way . . . and struggling to stay in touch with him. The three-year-old TAB Trot NSW Final saw the consistent Sunny Gee (Cameron Hart) quickly find the front from gate seven and the Russell Commens’-trained son of Majestic Son trotted perfectly all the way to beat Royalebomba and Strong Desire by 3.8m in a 1:57.6 mile rate. Then the rains really came and it was a tribute to the young trotters who handled the conditions with consummate ease with Affaire De Cover taking a trail behind On Advice mid-race before rounding him up in the straight the final time for a win that was impressive as any on a night which saw four $125,000 Group 1s for the two and three-year-old pacers, dominated by a Luke McCarthy hat-trick with Mach Dan (3-y-o colts), Bar Room Banta (2-y-o colts) and Soho Almasi (2-y-o fillies). Queensland-based filly Pelosi won the other rich final (3-y-o fillies) on protest; Blake Hughes took out the Rising Stars race with the Roy Roots Junior-trained Marty Major and Jess Prior won her second J. C. Caffyn Plate, getting Red Reactor home by a nose in the invitation-only race for Indigenous drivers.   Club Menangle

MAYBE Luke McCarthy was smarting from his earlier defeat in the stewards’ room. Because the ace reinsman looked like he had a point to prove with super-slick youngster Bar Room Banta, who scampered to yet another stunning victory for McCarthy when he scored a devastating win in tonight’s two-year-old colts and geldings final of the NSW Breeders Challenge. All the talk before the race was about the equally-talented Tasty Delight, who sat outside Bar Room Banta and almost ran him down in the BC semi-final two weeks’ beforehand. Drawn inside the Craig Cross-trained Bar Room Banta for this $125,000 final, Tasty Delight was backed into favouritism and was expected to hold out Bar Room Banta and possibly outstay him over the flying mile. McCarthy obviously thought otherwise. Bar Room Banta zoomed out of the mobile and found the front before the first turn, meaning reinsman Brian Portelli had little option but to sit outside Bar Room Banta for the duration with Tasty Delight. After an incredible 25.9s first quarter, McCarthy was able to back off the speed a little with a 28.6 second split before putting the foot to the floor and coming home in quarters of 27.6 and 29.2 to score a stunning three and three-quarter metre win over the again-unlucky Tasty Delight, with Electric Eye, who had a nice soft run along the pegs, a half neck further back in third place. The winner rated 1:51.2 and now looks destined to return to Michael Stanley’s Victorian stables to be set for their feature races. The son of A Rocknroll Dance now has the enviable record of five wins from six starts and is a force to be reckoned with in anything he contests.   Club Menangle

SELDOM is a Group 1 decided 20 minutes after the horses are back in their stables. Yet that was the case in tonight’s three-year-old fillies’ final of the $125,000 Breeders Challenge when Queensland filly Pelosi, plagued by bad luck during the race, got some good news in the stewards’ room after reinsman Jim Douglass protested against Keep Rockin being first past the post. Pelosi had finished just a nose away in second place and Douglass had no hesitation firing in an objection after his filly looked like she was forced to veer away from Keep Rockin in the straight as both youngsters fought all the way to the line in the rich final. He’s one of the cleanest reinsman in the business and as they crossed the line it appeared that McCarthy’s champagne night would continue as Keep Rockin, a sister to the former class pacer Vincent hung on for the narrowest of victories. Certainly it was a masterful display as he came from the perfect one-one trail and looked likely to hold off the Queensland filly, who won last year’s two-year-old Breeders Challenge for two-year-old fillies. Luck went Keep Rockin’s way earlier as she managed to avoid an early scrimmage when Smoothe Style, a stablemate of Keep Rockin, galloped in that helter-skelter dash to the first turn. It was just enough to almost cost Pelosi her chance as Douglass had to quickly take some evasive action to avoid interference. Delightful Angel (James Rattray) found the front after the speedy Misdemeanor turned on the afterburners out of the mobile barrier and dashed across to find the lead. The well-backed Eye Can Run was just behind the leaders while the ever-alert McCarthy slotted into the coveted one-out and one-back position. After an opening quarter of 27.7, the speed did back off slightly with a 29.4 second quarter and McCarthy made his move in a 28.1 third quarter and turning for home found the front only to face a massive challenge from Pelosi, who charged down the outside and looked set for victory. Yet Pelosi appeared to baulk the wheel of Keep Rockin and in the charge to the line was beaten by the narrowest of margins, a nose, in a 1:52.5 mile rate. Jenden Strike was third, with outsider Misdemeanour an impressive fourth. Douglass fired in a protest claiming interference in the home straight. It took stewards almost up until the next race to decide to award the Anna Woodmansey filly the race, making it a night to remember for the Queensland trainer. Ironically, Woodmansey had approached McCarthy about driving Pelosi in this series but he was committed to Michael Doltoff’s filly, Keep Rockin. Douglass got the call-up . . . and the rest is history.   Club Menangle

NOBODY, but nobody drives Tabcorp Park Menangle quite like champion reinsman Luke McCarthy.   The man they’re calling ‘Menangle’s maestro’ did it again at the south-western Sydney circuit again tonight, claiming the first Group 1 of an epic evening, scoring with three-year-old gelding Mach Dan for the Tim Butt stables.   Like so many of these major races, the first 100m is where the race can be won or lost and McCarthy switched on the gelded son of Mach Three to quickly secure the perfect spot behind the leader, Jerulas Grin.   Despite coming from gate four, McCarthy found the pegs and never went around another horse.   The improving Our Money Rocks (Jack Trainor) helped make the race a war of attrition as he darted across from the outside barrier to eyeball Jerulas Grin for much of the 1609m.   McCarthy was happily smoking his pipe behind the speed and made his move when the leader lugged off the pegs as they turned for home.   The well-backed Private Eye (Rob Morris) was about to make a run from near the tail of the field but missed his gait and lost all chance.   Our Money Rocks hung on tenaciously to take second place, with despised outsider Big Black Diamond (Tom Ison) an eye- catching third after coming from near the back of the field.   The winner rated a slick 1:51.7 in scoring by two and a half metres with a last half in 55.3 seconds.   Butt took over the training of Mach Dan from Victoria’s Emma Stewart and McCarthy already had an affiliation with the youngster, winning a heat of the Gold Challice at Bathurst earlier this year.   With Butt in control, Mach Dan put the writing on the wall with two impressive third placings in the heat and then the semi-final of the Breeders Challenge.   Yet his run in the final could not have been more perfect as McCarthy set himself for another big night at the track that has handed him more winners than any venue in the world.     Club Menangle

THERE’S something about Menangle that brings out the best in leading young driver Jess Prior. The softly-spoken young lady ironed out a star-studded field of indigenous drivers to claim her second J.C. Caffyn Plate at the premier track tonight, scoring a last-stride win with five-year-old gelding Red Reactor from the David Thorn stables. This year’s field . . . the 10th running of the race, promised so much for several drivers who have made winning it their annual goal. Experienced reinsmen like Jimmy Brown and David Caffyn have been outstanding ambassadors for this annual race which became “invitation-only” this year due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And another young reinsman, Danny Gatt-Bouquet has made it a personal ambition of his own to win this special race, which boasted a prizemoney boost this year and was worth more than $20,000. And Gatt-Bouquet looked like he was going to pull it off when he dashed clear at the top of the long Menangle straight with the well-backed local pacer Held To Ransom. Just as he was about to be called the winner, Jess Prior and pole-marker Red Reactor emerged from back in the ruck and took off after the runaway leader. Under Prior’s desperate urgings, Red Reactor dived right on the finish line to score an incredible short-half head victory over Held To Ransom with first emergency Masons Delight (Bruce O’Brien) a distant third in a 1:53.1 mile rate. It was an exciting affair with several moves throughout the 1609m race, which made it an exciting spectacle and had many regulars wishing there were more races driven with such enterprise from all involved. Prior first stamped herself as a talented horsewoman when she won the 2015 running of this race and now joins Royce Gregory-Jack as the only multiple winners of an event that has become much sought-after by all involved. Sadly for Brown and Caffyn, they will have to wait for another year to make their mark as Prior celebrated another personal milestone in what is becoming an impressive driving career. “I’ll be back . . . I’ll win one of these one day,” lamented Brown, who had to settle for eighth after driving an almost-perfect race on the Harry Martin-trained I Am Serengeti. “We just weren’t able to go with them when Danny sprinted.”   Club Menangle

FANS will have to wait at least another week for the first clash of glamour Aussie pacers Ride High and Lochinvar Art. In a surprise late twist, Ride High was nominated, but then pulled-out of Saturday night’s $30,000 Minuteman free-for-all (2240m) at Melton. Connections have remained tight-lipped on the circumstances, but it is now expected Ride High will run in Saturday week’s $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at Melton to sharpen-up for the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup a week later. This week’s race is still a pearler with Lochinvar Art (gate 11) meeting reigning NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac (10) and Australasian 2300m record-holder Zennart (seven). Lochinvar Art has been crunched from $1.80 into $1.60 favourite in the Aussie TAB’s early market, ahead of Zennart ($4.80 to $4.60) and Cruz Bromac ($4.60 to $5). “He’s come through last week’s run really well and it’s definitely brought him on for sure,” Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said. Cruz Bromac, first-up since his fifth in the Auckland Cup last New Year’s Eve, has been sharpened-up for his return with two recent trial wins. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THE excitement around this season’s Aussie juvenile crop gained more momentum with Bar Room Banta’s blistering Menangle win yesterday (Tuesday). The powerfully looking son of A Rocknroll Dance sped to the front for Luke McCarthy from gate seven, cruised through a 57.8sec first half, then scorched home in 54 flat and 26.6sec. Bar Room Banta’s 1min51.8sec mile, at just his third start, was just a half-second outside the Australasian record of 1min51.3sec set by Ignatius back on June 25, 2017. Bar Room Banta is trained by Mick Stanley in Victoria, but loan to Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy to target the NSW Breeders Challenge. The same combination brilliantly won a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge for two-year-old fillies with Soho Almasi a week earlier. Bar Room Banta and Soho Almasi are nominal favourites to win their finals. “I’ve got a fantastic crop of babies this season and these are the pick of them,” Stanley said. “Almasi is the fastest and potentially best filly I’ve had, while ‘Banta’ is something else … he’s just so fast and exciting.”   by Adam Hamilton

The Club Menangle Board has taken the first step in addressing the prizemoney reductions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. From 21 July 2020, the principal club’s Tuesday prizemoney will increase to $8,000 per race. The Club has been heavily impacted by the projected decline in TAB revenue. Whilst recent forecasts are more optimistic, the budgeted revenue for the principal club has gone from $14.1M for the 2020 financial year to only $11.5M for the 2021 financial year, a fall of $2.6M. The Club will carefully monitor activity over the next two months however given the enormity of the funding shortfall will need to see improved results and not just rely upon more favourable conditions. The economic position is still very volatile, which has been exacerbated by the rapidly declining situation in Victoria. There is a significant risk of a negative impact on NSW as evidenced by the outbreaks in south west Sydney reported over the weekend. The Club must therefore proceed with caution. The Club is in the difficult position of setting prizemoney levels based upon a funding projection issued by HRNSW at the beginning of each year. The actual funding received each year is based on the performance of the wagering operators. This is normally within 1-2% of the projection however the COVID-19 crisis has dramatically impacted actual results for FY2020 and projected results for FY2021. For example, as recently reported in the Financial Review, the TAB have projected a 16% decline in earnings for FY2020, which will flow through to the racing industry. The reality is the Club’s revenue for FY2020 will be impacted by as much as $6M. This includes the impact on wagering revenue and the investment portfolio. The Club’s business plan is to use investment earnings to supplement prizemoney. The downturn in financial markets will result in no contribution from the investment fund for the current year. The Club’s investment policy is underpinned by the economic principle of protecting the investment capital to ensure the long term viability of the Club however in times like this the Club is fortunate to be able to draw upon these funds to protect the short term viability of the business. The Club will continue to monitor the performance of our wagering partners and the investment portfolio and as revenue improves the priority will remain the restoration of bread and butter prizemoney on both midweek and metropolitan programs.   For further information relating to this media release please contact Club Menangle Chief Executive, Bruce Christison, on (02) 46 45 2200.   Club Menangle

WHEN you think feature Queensland races, you think Grant Dixon. So it’s no surprise Dixon three of the six Qbred Triad final winners at Albion Park last night. The splurge started in the 4YO Mares’ final where Dixon had seven runners and trained the first six home, headed by winner Eternal Promise with Adam Sanderson aboard. Dixon then landed the quinella in the 3YO Fillies’ final when he drove Fond Memories to beat True Stepper, driven by his wife, Trista. The class runner of the night was Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon, who strolled home in the 3YO colts and geldings final. Chantal Turpin had a night to remember when she snared the quinella in the 2YO colts and geldings final. She drove Big Wheels to win with Pete McMullen aboard runner-up Justa Little Bit. ________________________________________________________________________________________ EMOTIONS ran high Friday night when Arts Dash won at Kilmore Friday night. Arts Dash was owned by Graeme Lang, who passed away last Monday, and scored an impressive win for Lang’s son, Chris, with Chris Alford aboard. The Lang legacy also lived on at Shepparton on the same night when emerging pacer Sirletic, formerly by the late Gavin Lang and part-owned by his wife, Meagan, won easily. Sirletic, who is continuing to race in Gavin Lang’s colours, made it two-from-two in the comeback trail and 12 wins from just 19 starts overall. _________________________________________________________________________________________ CHICAGO Bull found a way at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The comeback star lifted off a hard run and when seemingly in trouble to snatch a half-head win in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was a big win after driver Chris Voak rated Vultan Tin superbly in front and Chicago Bull had to run a 55.7sec last half outside the leader to win. Chicago Bull’s had six runs on the comeback trail for three wins, two seconds and a third. Maybe being Chicago Bull’s trackwork partner has helped young former Kiwi mare Balcatherine take the next step, The four-year-old daughter of American Ideal led throughout and toyed with her rivals in the Pure Steel at Gloucester Park last Friday. It was her second win on end and her sixth from just 12 starts. “She’s actually been Chicago Bull’s sparring partner at home because we haven’t had the open-class horses we’ve had in recent years,” driver Gary Hall Jr said. “She’s come back really well and did that easily.” Another eye-catching winner on the night was Greg and Skye Bond’s The Bird Dance, who galloped at the start and added to his 20m backmark, but circled the field to win in stunning style. The former Kiwi has won 11 of his 15 runs since joining Team Bond. ______________________________________________________________________________________ STILL in WA and emerging filly Blockjorg caused a massive a huge upset winning her heat of the 3YO Diamond Classic, but proved it was no fluke by repeating the dose in the $50,000 final last Friday. Most were stunned when Blockjorg came off the back of WA’s best filly Double Expresso and beat her in a heat. Jocelyn Young snared the same run in the final, but this time trailing hot favourite Alta Louisa with Double Expresso sitting parked. Double Expresso powered past Alta Louisa, but Young peeled to the and Colin Reeves-trained Blockjorg unleashed to win by 1.5m in a brisk 1min56.5sec mile rate for 2130m. _________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was a very long, but fruitful day for Kate Gath at Melton yesterday (Saturday). Gath won six of the 13 races run across the morning and night meetings. She started with two of the six winners at the morning meeting, then won four of the seven at night. No doubt the highlight was the winning return of star trotter McLovin, who did all the work, but won strongly in a 1min58.9sec mile rate for 2240m. It was his first run since the Great Southern Star at Melton back on February 1. Gath also confirmed Tornado Valley was just resuming work after a spell. _________________________________________________________________________________________ CASH N Flow continued his recent dominance of the Menangle free-for-alls with a fifth successive win last night. The former All Stars’ pacer loves the mile racing and won as he liked in a 1min50sec flat mile. He’s remarkably consistent with the five wins all coming in times between 1min49.6sec and 1min50.1sec.   by Adam Hamilton

ANOTHER week, another sub-1min50sec mile win for Cash N Flow. The former All Stars’ gelding made in it three wins on end and 22 wins from 56 starts when he thrashed his free-for-all rivals again at Menangle last night (Saturday). Driver Luke McCarthy took him to the front and gave nothing else a chance, roaring away to win by 13.6m over stablemate Cruz with My Field Marshal third. Cash N Flow paced a 1min49.7sec mile. He’s broken 1min50sec winning his past three runs. “He’s a dead-set miler and even though he’s that bit below our best horses, he’s so hard to beat at this level,” McCarthy said. “He’s been drawing inside My Field Marshal and it’s probably been the difference. His stakemoney is getting up so, he might be outside him next time and it’ll be much harder. “We’ll certainly just keep him to mile racing from now on.” Cash N Flow was the middle pin of a training treble for Craig Cross, who also won Replaced Eye and Smokin By. Queensland trainer Grant Dixon snared a training double from his Menangle satellite stable with Fame Assured and Makoa scoring. And KerryAnn Turner continued her success with former Barry Purdon-trained mare Havtime, who made it two wins (and a second) from three runs since switching barns. The shock of the night came when Kiwi filly Dr Susan, now in the Sonya Smith barn, was beaten as a $1.15 favourite in the Golden Easter Egg. She worked to the lead, dawdled through a 32.1sec second quarter, but found nothing when challenged and finished third to locals Our Antonio Rose and Vincenzina in a slow 1min54.9sec mile. _______________________________________________________________________________________ MIRACLE Mile winner King Of Swing won’t be back in action until August. And it’s likely to be similar with Craig Cross’ other stable star, Alta Orlando. The pair were being set for Queensland winter raids, but Covid-19 caused most of the Brisbane features to be scrapped. “It gives us a chance to give them a longer break now,” Luke McCarthy said. “It’s hard to know how the rest of the year will play out, but given there’s no big majors in Brisbane, we’ll bring them back to race in August and see if things are back to normal for a Victoria Cup in October.” The obvious target is the Sydney Inter Dominion in November/December. NSW officials have insisted the Inter Dominion will go ahead, but stopped short of confirming full details, which is to be expected given the climate of uncertainty. _______________________________________________________________________________________ THE Hectorjayjay comeback story moves another step closer to reality at the Albion Park trials on Tuesday. Managing owner Matt McClellan said the former superstar would be “asked to do a bit more” in this trial with a view to racing afterwards. “If he does what Jack (Butler, trainer) hopes in this trial and comes through it well, there’s a race about 10 days later for him at Albion Park,” he said. “Even though we’ve come so far, we know with a horse like him, it’s still a day-by-day thing. “It would be so great, especially for Jack, if he could get back to races now we’ve got this close.” _______________________________________________________________________________________ GREG Sugars put on a clinic at Melton last night (Saturday). Sugars is a star in the open market, but the zone racing across Victoria now makes him an absolute standout in his zone, which covers Melton and Ballarat racing. He won five of the eight races at Melton last night, three of them for Emma Stewart (Egodan, Freddy Funk and Two Times Bettor). Young gun Ryan Duffy, really making the most of his increased opportunities in zone racing, snared a double on the card. He won aboard Andy Gath’s former Kiwi pacer The Dude, in a slick 1min53.6sec mile rate for 1720m, and Bettor Be The Bomb.   by Adam Hamilton

IF there's one thing Bathurst pacer Our Uncle Sam can do, it's stay. And he outstayed a quality field of rivals to score his second straight win in tonight's $100,000 Group One Platinum Projex Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Our Uncle Sam beat The Black Prince (Tom Ison) by one and a quarter metres with a head back to Mach Shard (Zach Butcher) in third place. While he was beaten for gate speed when the mobile let them go, Our Uncle Sam's reinsman Anthony Frisby refused to panic when Galactic Star speared across from an outside gate and found the front ahead of the speedy Kiwi Mach Shard. While Our Uncle Sam settled in about sixth position, Frisby knew he had to make things happen with his six-year-old son of Sportswriter. So, with a lap of the big Menangle circuit to go, Frisby and Our Uncle Sam took off, quickly challenged Galactic Star for the front and settled perfectly at the head of proceedings after two identical opening sectionals of 29.2 seconds for a 58.4 first half of the last mile. "The mile is probably not his go but once he found the front 'Sam' relaxed beautifully," said Frisby. "I was a little bit concerned when the third quarter was only run in 29.1 seconds, as I thought that might leave us a sitting shot. "He's not the quickest horse going around but he's pretty brave and halfway down the straight I pretty-much felt we had them. "He fought on really well and that was a terrific effort." Our Uncle Sam is trained by his Chris's father Anthony at Perthville near Bathurst and he was filled with emotion after the win following the death of a close family friend during the week. But as Chris pointed out, all the family were there to witness this win and that's the best part about the whole thing - having them there to share the glory."   Club Menangle

IT may well have been leading trainer David Aiken's birthday, but it was his son Josh who was giggling the most during the running of the first Group One on a big night at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the Aquagait Trotters Mile. Josh partnered 'defending champion' Big Jack Hammer in the $50,000 1609m trotting sprint and his rivals played right into his hands when polemarker and local favourite Tough Monarch was able to hold the lead from gate one. Despite plenty of pressure from the race favourite Dance Craze, Tough Monarch wouldn't hand up the front and Aiken was quick to drop in straight behind him from gate two - and that's where the race was won and lost. Big Jack Hammer then enjoyed the run of the race just off the speed and when Tough Monarch kicked on the home turn, it gave Big Jack Hammer an easy run into the race as he angled clear and raced to the front before holding on to score by a half neck from the fast-finishing Red Hot Tooth with another Victorian visitor Sammy Showdown a head away in third place in a 1:54.7 mile rate. "I was really happy when Ricky (Alchin) was able to hold the front and we had a perfect run into the race and when we got out on the home corner I thought the horses outside of us were doing it a bit tougher than we were, so off we went," said Aiken. "He's a special horse, this bloke and he really deserved this win. "The fact that it's also the old man's birthday just makes it even more special." While nothing could be taken away from the winner, there were several outstanding runs in the race; Dance Craze did it tough racing without cover and dropped out on the home turn while Red Hot Tooth, who settled in about eighth spot finished full of running to grab second place while Sammy Showdown (Kylie Sugars) was also finishing fast out wide, just ahead of Kowhai Monarch.   Club Menangle

Harness racing trainer Clayton Harmey will look to Chevrons Reward as a winning chance when two from his stable jump in class at Menangle on Saturday night. The Nulkaba trainer has Golden Guitar champion Wet My Whistle in the Hondo Grattan Stakes and Chevrons Reward in a mares race. Wet My Whistle is unbeaten in six starts since coming to Harmey from New Zealand and the four-year-old's last run was an all-the-way win in the group 2 Golden Guitar at Tamworth on January 23. Owner Allan McColl is chasing a group 1 Chariots of Fire start with Wet My Whistle, which has gate two for the qualifier. Although another group 2 race, the Hondo Grattan is a much tougher task given the presence of Self Assured and Balraj. "We've got a good draw but we're jumping up in grade," Harmey said. "We've got it against us big time, but Allan said he's got nothing to lose. The horse hasn't got to prove anything to us. "He's there because he deserves a chance and as long as he comes out the other side on Sunday morning with nothing wrong with him, we'll be happy. There's other races for him. "I'm not expecting him to do anything, but I didn't expect him to be in the Golden Guitar, let alone win it, six weeks beforehand. "He keeps stepping up and proving to me that he can do things, but tomorrow is a pretty big jump." Owner Rob Jones is also eyeing bigger prizes with Chevrons Reward. Harmey believes she needs to win to make the Sibelia Stakes field. That race is a qualifier for the group 1 Ladyship Mile. "I don't think she's good enough to get in [the Ladyship Mile] but while she's racing so well, we'll give it a crack," he said. "She does have to step up but it's every owners' dream to get into those races. "She's going very good. We're driving her different to how we used to. We always pushed her forward but she seems to like coming from behind. "She's had only one try from behind at Menangle and she won in 1:51, and her last half and quarter were good." Singleton trainer Aaron Goadsby has Immortal Change in gate one of the same race. He also has Takara Truffle in the 10th. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

The Chairman of Club Menangle, Mr Robert Marshall has advised that the harness racing 2020 Miracle Mile Carnival will undergo some exciting changes for 2020. The revised program provides a calendar of events which will add a new level of excitement in the lead-up to Ainsworth Miracle Mile night on Saturday 7 March 2020. The Calendar commences on Friday 21 February with the running of the Group 1 Newcastle Mile. The winner of the Newcastle mile will receive an automatic invitation into the Miracle Mile. The opening night of the Carnival on 22 February at Tabcorp Park Menangle will see: The Group 1 Cordina Chicken Farms “Chariots of Fire”, with a purse of $200,000; The Group 2 Robin Dundee Stakes (mares), with a purse of $50,000; Heats of the NSW Oaks, with heats at $20,000; The Keystone Del Trotters FFA, with a purse of $20,000; and Three Divisions of the Divided Pace     As the Carnival moves to its second night on 29 February, the focus will move to “Ladies Night”. Club Menangle will host “Fashions on the Field” on this night. The key Miracle Mile qualifying races (the Group 1 Allied Express Sprint and the Group 1 Schweppes Sprint – both worth $100,000) will be held on Night Two, presenting an outstanding opportunity for the fillies and mares with: The Group 2 Pink Bonnet for two-year old fillies at $50,000;  The Group 1 NSW Oaks at $200,000; and  The time-honoured Ladyship Mile at $200,000 Night Two will also include the heats of the NSW Derby at $20,000. As the Carnival moves to its third night and climax on 7 March, some mouth-watering racing events head the program. The Group 1 $1m Miracle Mile; The Group 1 NSW Derby at $200,000; A Group 1 FFA at $100,000; The Group 2 Sapling Stakes at $50,000; A Group 1 Trotters Mile at $50,000; and The Tanya Harris, a new Group 3 race for four-year old mares at $30,000.  In the 2020 Miracle Mile Carnival, Club Menangle has programmed over a third of the Group races for fillies and mares. An added incentive to purchase fillies at the forthcoming sales. With ten Group 1 races, three Group 2 races and a Group 3 race programmed, we have a bonanza of racing with a baker’s dozen, plus one for good measure. Fourteen Group races over the 2020 Miracle Mile Carnival. All leading to the $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile. Then all eyes turn to the Sydney APG Sales to be held the next day on Sunday, 8 March. A mouth- watering month saluting the standardbred in New South Wales.  

The "go" button has been pressed on a harness racing $10 million project to completely transform a once popular Macarthur watering hole. A lengthy process to obtain all necessary development approvals has been finalised and tomorrow morning, weather permitting, builders and a bevy of construction workers will descend on the Horse and Jockey Inn site at Menangle Park. If all goes to plan, former patrons, other locals and Sydney day-trippers alike will be able to enjoy a beer at the new-look venue by the end of September. The makeover is stage one of Club Menangle's ambitious plan to build a large entertainment precinct from the Inn all the way back to Tabcorp Park.    The wait is almost over: The site of the old Horse and Jockey Inn which was bought by Club Menangle. Picture: Chris Lane   Eventually, the precinct will contain a second club, hotel, movie theatre, bowling alleys and an indoor sporting complex. The pub has not traded since 2015 when NSW Harness Racing bought the site. Club Menangle chief executive Bruce Christison said much effort had gone into ensuring the revamped venue would have broad appeal, with multiple dining and bar facilities able to cater for casual and formal gatherings. The kitchen will be set up to cater for 500 sit-down diners across a 200-seat function room, a formal restaurant and casual dining areas on the upper and lower terraces. "We've been focused on creating a destination venue without losing the country pub feel," he said. "In the past, the inn was weather challenged and if the weather was wet or cold people didn't come." Mr Christison said inclement weather wouldn't be a problem in the future with louvred roofs covering the outside terraced areas. Menangle Park is home now to just 257 people but planned housing development will bring thousands of people to the area within a few years, a detail not lost on Mr Christison who expects the new complex will be popular with new residents. "We will be there when the first houses in the new estates are built," he said. " Usually something like this comes a long time after residents move in." Mr Christison said historic Menangle House, located at the front of the site, would remain untouched and protected during construction works. He said possible future uses for Menangle House were being considered but no decision was likely for some time. "We will be guided by what our patrons and local residents want us to do," he said. "There are lots of ideas being thrown about, it could be a wine or whiskey bar, a day spa even a wonderful entrance to our function centre. Watch the videos below to experience a virtual walk though showing what the revamped venue will look like once complete. The Horse and Jockey Inn - new-look exterior   Horse and Jockey Inn - new-look interiors   By Roma Dickins   Reprinted with permission of The Camden Advertiser

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