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Luke McCarthy said it’s his best moment yet Bling It On’s breathtaking win first-up from injuries most thought would end his career was one of the best stories our great sport has produced. It was June 17, this year when Bling It On crashed to the track at Albion Park and so badly mangled his knees, the first focus was on just saving the reigning Hunter Cup winner. Weeks later, when the superstar pacer was out of the woods, McCarthy showed me the graphic photos of Bling It On’s front knees. “You saw the photos … how bad the knees were … I didn’t think he’d race again,” McCarthy said. Imagine his emotion when Bling It On, first-up since the fall, unleashed a withering finishing burst from back near last to blow his rivals away in a scorching 1min50.8sec mile at Menangle last night. “It was such a thrill just to get him back to the races. I was quietly confident he could regain his best form in time … his work had been really encouraging at home,” McCarthy said. “I told the owners he’d need a few runs after his time out and that he was carrying a bit too much weight, but then he comes out and does that. You can only shake your head. “Given he’s done that, and felt so sharp doing it, there’s no reason he can’t get back to his Hunter Cup form. He felt like he already was and I know there is a lot of improvement to come.” A defence of his Hunter Cup crown at Melton in early February is the first major target. “He’ll go to another Menangle free-for-all in two weeks, then to the Shirley Turnbull Memorial (Boxing Day) because it’s 2700m and I want to get a staying run into him before going to Melbourne,” McCarthy said. “Then he’ll have another free-for-all run at Menangle in mid-January. He’ll go Melbourne, possibly even for the Ballarat Cup before the Hunter Cup as well.” The extra layer to the Bling It On story is the fact he’s already served or booked to serve over 100 mares this season. “He’s been popular,” McCarthy said. “As Dad (John) said, he’ll probably get another 30 bookings off the back of this comeback win.” McCarthy said Bling It On’s recovery and successful comeback had been a huge team effort. “So many people have played a role,” he said. “I’ve got to give special mentions to Mark McGarry, the Albion Park vet who cleaned him up so well on the night of the fall then the team at Gatton University, who did the most amazing job,” he said. Adam Hamilton

Trainer Shane Tritton believes his former Grand Circuit pacer Mach Beauty might have flown under the radar of some harness racing followers. The Group 1 winning pacer finished third-placed to Charlaval at Tabcorp Park Menangle last week and following that effort, Tritton thinks Mach Beauty is a promising prospect at Menangle tonight. Engaged in race two, the gelding has drawn barrier eight for the 1609m challenge with Tritton’s wife Lauren taking the reins. “He got everyone excited last week with his run and if it was a mile I think he would have won,” said Shane. “He is a horse that I think most punters will underestimate . . . he doesn’t win very often but he is really on his toes at the moment and going by the way he went last week he should go close to winning this race.” Mach Beauty recorded a mile rate of 1:52.3 to produce his latest win back on July 29 and has placed in four of his nine starts since. A win by Mach Beauty or Bettor Ops in race one could set the tone of a successful night for ‘Team Tritton’ who also have the two favourites in the Group 3 Sue Kelly Ladyship Stakes (1609m). Leading the pack as the $3.80 TAB Fixed Odds favourite is Our Classical Art that will be driven by freelance reinsman James Rattray. “James has driven for the stable a few times before and when Lauren can’t drive one we always look for the best available driver,” said Shane. “I’m not worried about the wide draw with this mare as she has enough gate speed to cross. “I’m really happy with both mares.” The other mare is $4.20 second elect Miss Riviera Belle, which will begin from the widest draw. “I’ll have to see what the owners want to do with her in this race and if she comes with one run at them or not, a lot will depend on how the race is panning out,” said Shane. ‘Team Tritton’ also have the second favourite in the following event, with Lombo Kotakinabalu (nine) the $4 hope in the Allied Express Pace (1609m). The $1.90 favourite is Bling It On (12). The stallion is having his first start back since falling in a race at Albion Park last June. “Bling It On is obviously there but we are in a position to be a bit more aggressive,” said Shane of Lombo Kotakinabalu. “We are just starting to get some fitness into him, I probably wrap him up in cotton wool too much, and Lauren said after his win the other week that it was the best he’s ever felt.”  Amanda Rando

When you feel like you are on the best horse in the race it’s a great start. And that’s exactly how harness racing driver McKayler Barnes felt when she drove seven-year-old gelding Gotta Go Artelect at Tabcorp Park Menangle today as the pair made a one-act affair of the Kari J. C. Caffyn Indigenous Drivers Plate. Barnes spurred Gotta Go Artelect out of the gate in a 27.3s opening split and virtually left her rivals gasping for air as the son of Art Major cruised to one of the most impressive wins in the seven years this feature race has been contested. Able to back the speed off slightly with a 30.9s second split, Gotta Go Artelect was never seriously pressured by his rivals and the Wayne Dimech-trained gelding had plenty left in the run home, rating 55.8s for his last half to score by eight metres from Im Twice The Delight (Bruce O’Brien) with Got The Scoop (Jimmy Brown) a fast-finishing third, a further four metres further back. Barnes qualified for this feature when she drove Blackbird Power to finish second in a heat at Parkes to qualify for today’s final. She missed the Wagga and Tamworth heats but had already sealed her spot in the big race. “That was just awesome,” said the excited young lady as she returned. “The horse went to the line super and I didn’t even need to pull the plugs,” she said. “He just felt so strong. “I know Wayne (Dimech, trainer) from when I first began driving. “To be honest they said this horse was a bit mad so I was bit nervous when I first went out. “I just hoped he’d settle a bit.  “Coming around the final bend I gave him one tap with the whip and he just felt super. “I won a lady drivers race at Peak Hill but this certainly compares and is probably my biggest win. “This series is great and more people are getting involved every year. “I also love the colours they presented to us . . . they’re cool.” Michael Court

Few can match harness racing trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick's expertise with square-gaiters. And the Cawdor reinsman's talents handed him not only another feature but a quinella when his horses topped the table at today's Campbell Advisory Jill McGrath Franco Australian Trotters Cup at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Fitzpatrick only had two runners in the 2300m standing start Group Two and both trotted almost faultlessly to fight out the finish of the race. The only problem was that Blake decided to drive Blazing Under Fire ($5.20) in the event while handing the drive on the stable's other starter Mistercool Sea Eyre to in-form young reinsman Jack Trainor. Fitzpatrick looked to have the race in keeping turning for home when he dashed Blazing Under Fire to a commanding lead after setting the pace for most of the race. Unfortunately for Blake that made him a sitting shot for something else in the race and luckily it was the last-start Melton winner Mistercool Sea Eyre ($4.30 favourite) that emerged from the chasing pack to chase down the leader and emerge triumphant. Iona Grinner Robert Morris came off 20m and trotted well to finish a handy third, coming from well back in the field. Still there were hard-luck stories aplenty in the race with several runners galloping away and losing all chance, including Graeme Hartman's in-form pair Later and Luvstuenthral who bombed their chances at the get go. Michael Court

A charmed run behind the leader saw a perfect start to Indigenous Drivers Plate Day at Tabcorp Park Menangle today for local harness racing trainer-driver Jimmy Brown. Aided by a 10 out of 10 drive by Brown, five-year-old gelding Blackbird Power scored an impressive two-and-a-half metre win over Trilight Brigade and Cyclone Charlie in the first of two $20,000 Menangle Where Horses Fly Series finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Brown made good use of Blackbird Power's gate speed to hold the lead for the early part of the race as the field came out humming with an opening 26.8s first split of the mile. Pressured by Lets Katchmeifucan, Brown was content to hand up the lead and bide his time until they turned for home. It was vintage Brown as the man who first hatched the idea for an Indigenous Drivers' Series drew roars from the crowd as he moved Blackbird Power across the path of tiring horses and made his run down the middle of the track to score in a 1:52.7 mile rate. "Now for the big one," grinned the popular reinsman as he returned with the Gavin Kelly-trained pacer. "It would be great to now go out and make it a double. This series has ignited so much interest among not just the indigenous drivers, but everyone in harness racing. "And I'd love to win it . . . and mark my words, if it's not today, then I will one day." Meanwhile no-one knows the Menangle track better than local reinsman Rob Morris and Newcastle trainer Mark Callaghan was quick to call on him to handle his finalist in the second of the $20,000 Menangle Country Series finals. Morris did the rest, steering five-year-old gelding Vega Star to a fighting 1.4m win over Sky Diamond with Plato O Plomo a further 2.5m back in third place with the winner rating 1:52.2 for the flying mile. Morris has a habit of winning Menangle races for Callaghan and the Hunter reinsman has returned the favour many times at Newcastle. Vega Star has now won four in a row for Callaghan who must be looking at a return to Menangle 'Headquarters' with some even-richer races in mind. Amanda Zammit

He is now the voice of harness racing in New Zealand but Australian homebred racecaller Mark McNamara was the special host at the Harness Breeders New South Wales annual Awards Night last Saturday. Held at Tabcorp Park Menangle, breeder-owner Pat Driscoll received the highest accolade when presented with his HBNSW Life Membership. In the AGM preceding the Awards Night the following long time contributors to the breeding industry were elected as life members: Janet Moore, Peter Neil, Tom Reay and Paul Hurley.  Their achievements will be recognised at the 2017/18 Awards Night. The full list of HBNSW award winners for the 2016/17 season were: DON CLOUGH OAM AWARD - Graham Bullock BROODMARE OF THE YEAR - Miss Brazilian - bred by Sloys Company SIRE OF THE YEAR - Million Dollar Cam USA HORSE WELFARE AWARD - Marie Neil & Joanne Andersen 2YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Ignatius - bred by Rattray Family Trust 2YO FILLY of the Year - Nostra Villa - bred by Patrician Park, Brett Coffee and J Boag 2YO TROTTING COLT/GELDING of the Year - La Grange - bred by Yabby Dam Farms 2YO TROTTING FILLY of the Year - Queen of Clevedon - bred by Danny Rothwell and Christie Rothwell 3YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Vincent - bred by Sloys Company 3YO FILLY of the Year - Tell Me Tales bred by Helen Head  3YO TROTTING FILLY of the Year - Dance Craze - bred by Yabby Dam Farms 4YO+ COLT/GELDING of the Year - Aztec Bromac - bred by Rob McCardle 4YO+ MARE of the Year - Eye See Diamonds - bred by Mary and Jackie Gibson 4YO+ TROTTING COLT/GELDING of the Year - Quillabamba - bred by Kevin Hipkins 4YO+ TROTTING MARE of the Year - Red Hot Tooth - Bred by Graham Bullock NSW BLUE AWARDS: 2YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Lucky Unlucky - bred by Weona Standardbreds 2YO FILLY of the Year - Shes Sporty - bred by Brooklyn Lodge 3YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Jilliby Bandit - bred by John Starr 3YO FILLY of the Year - Elle Yeah - bred by Matthew Nagle AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

High-class kiwi pacer Franco Nelson is moving to Australia. Trainer Shane Tritton confirmed the son of Christian Cullen would arrive at his Menangle stable on Friday. "It's exciting to have a horse of his calibre join the team. I know he's in the twilight of his career, but he raced in great form last season and has been out for a good break," he said. "I'm certainly not thinking he's joining the stable with retirement just around the corner. Quite the opposite, the handicapping system here is great for extending the careers and creating opportunities for horses like him. "And I've got a good record of rejuvenating older horses like him if you take a like through Mach Beauty, Suave Stuey Lombo and others." Tritton said the McKay clan, majority owners of Franco Nelson, initiated the move. "The McKays had horses with my Dad (Peter) and have sent me one already. They have said for a while they are keen to support me," he said. Franco Nelson hasn't raced since a second to Addington on May 12 when trained by Robert and John Dunn. He's battled injuries through his career, but still managed 65 starts for 18 wins, 22 placings and earned $758,127. "He ran some great races last season, including that unlucky fifth in the Inter Dominion final," Tritton said. "He's been out spelling so we are getting him from scratch. The aim is to have him back and primed for the Miracle Mile Carnival." In other stable news, Tritton is focused on a Perth Inter Dominion raid with the speedy Yayas Hot Spot. "I want to time-trial him at Penrith this Thursday night then I think we will go first-up into the Smoken Up (Melton, October 6) then the Victoria Cup (October 14)," he said. "Then it's onto Perth where he will love the tight track. Tritton's star four-year-old of last season Salty Robyn is recovering from surgery following an acute bout of colic. And his former glamour mare Arms Of An Angel is close to a racetrack return. "That's got us all excited. She's only a month away," he said. Adam Hamilton

KIWI star My Field Marshal headlines another big weekend of Victoria Cup and Perth Inter Dominion lead-up racing in Australia. Tim Butt’s stable star looks a class above his rivals in the Group 3 Garrards Horse and Hound Pace (1609m) at Menangle on Saturday night. My Field Marshal is drawn the extreme outside, but the added race fitness of a narrow first-up defeat and the early scratching of Little Rascal – the horse who tipped him out first-up – makes him a stand-out. If he is to be a serious player in the Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion, My Field Marshal really needs to beat a handy field lacking any genuine A-grade stars at Menangle. His most interesting rival is former star Kiwi juvenile Messini, who is not only down to run against My Field Marshal at Menangle, but also to tackle the $20,000 VHRSC Classic (2240m) at Melton 24 hours earlier. Messini certainly looks better suited at Menangle where he will challenge for favouritism in an even field from gate five. His major rivals look to be Flaming Flutter (gate six) and Maximan (seven). Still in Victoria and the state’s buzz pacer, San Carlo, is shooting for his 18th win from just 21 starts in the Alabar Pace (2150m) at Bendigo on Saturday night. San Carlo lost no fans when he dipped in open-class feature racing for the first time when a close third to the flying mare Ameretto in the Group 2 Breeders Crown Graduate free-for-all at Melton at his most recent run on August 25. Trainer Steve O’Donoghue is keen to tackle both the Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion with San Carlo, who has been plagued by injuries through his career. The key Inter Dominion flavour race at Gloucester Park on Friday night is the Spring Pace (race seven) where the Gary Hall Sr four of the 11 runners: Ideal Alice (gate one), American Boy (four), Novic Nightowl (seven) and Beaudiene Boaz (11). And even the Friday night Hobart meeting in Tasmania has some Inter Dominion interest. Father and son combo Barrie and Todd Rattray are considering Perth raids with stable stars Devendra, Pachacuti and Roger Ramjet. The trio all line-up in the free-for-all (race three) at Hobart. The Aussie TAB’s latest Inter Dominion market has Lazarus favourite at $4.50 from Chicago Bull ($5.50), Lennytheshark ($8) then My Field Marshal and Tiger Tara at $12.   Adam Hamilton

A $4000 purchase price resulted in a Group 2 win when Shes Sporty took out an Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Winning the two-year-old fillies’ edition, Shes Sporty climbed to Group success in just 10 starts. The daughter of Sportswriter and the former ‘Race-A-Pacer’ mare Alyceforall was bred at Brooklyn Lodge and purchased by Kylie Kennedy at the Bathurst Gold Yearling Sale last year. In her succinct racing career she has already won three races and placed on two occasions, earning $42,180 in prizemoney along the way. And in her most recent success, secured a personal best winning mile rate of 1:55.3 giving reinsman Blake Jones a significant milestone too. “It was my biggest win,” Jones said. “She is a bit of a handful to drive but she’s been a lot better lately and she’s starting to figure out what it is all about.” This provided Jones his 77th winner for the season his 427 winner overall. Shes Sporty is trained by David Kennedy and provided the Narrandera mentor with his 475th winner. Amanda Rando  

Our Little Digger’s Group 2 Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue win at Menangle last Saturday night was an emotional victory for Clayton family. The gelding was one of the last horses bred by the late John Clayton from Bathurst. Named after the breeder himself, Our Little Digger overcame his wide draw to take out the feature and his saddlecloth number (10) was an omen according to part-owner Mary Clayton. “This horse was bred by my late husband, who hasn’t been gone all that long, and is named after my late husband and he’s wearing his number tonight so we had a bit of help from above,” Mary said when accepting the winning trophy. “It’s been a real journey but it’s something that has kept our family going . . . my son Darren is also a part-owner.” Trained and driven by Bernie Hewitt, Our Little Digger clocked 1:52.8 to win the feature giving the Georges Plain mentor a race-to-race double as he won the following Group 2 with Taylors Reason. Snaring both three-year-old legs of the 2017 Breeders Challenge Blue Finals, Hewitt added to his Breeders Challenge success rate having now won five Breeders Challenge Finals overall and four of those have been Blue Finals. Hewitt’s success in this feature began in 2014 when Read About Lexy won the Breeders Challenge Blue two-year-old fillies final. A year later he won the three-year-old fillies’ edition with Pass The Magic and in 2016 with Ima Black Beauty. However, it was just last month Hewitt obtained his first Group 1 winner when winning the Alabar Breeders Challenge three-year-old fillies’ final with Royal Story. AMANDA RANDO  

Multiple Group-winning reinsman John McCarthy strengthened his feature race strike rate when landing a dream drive in an Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Final last Saturday night. McCarthy was handed the reins on the Craig Cross-trained Lucky Unlucky in the feature at Tabcorp Park Menangle as usual driver Luke McCarthy had commitments in Queensland. This drive gave McCarthy yet another Group win to his name as Lucky Unlucky took out the Group 2 two-year-old colts and geldings’ edition. McCarthy, who just earlier this season trained his 2000th winner, has now won more than 60 Group races as a driver. And a change of tactics to drive the gelding proved to be the winning move according to McCarthy. “He’s been, hence his name, a bit unlucky and been going back in the field and doesn’t seem to try so hard when he goes back,” McCarthy claimed. “I spoke to Craig and Luke before the race and they said see if you can go forward and try and find the front or sit outside the leader, he might try a lot harder for you and he certainly did.” Lucky Unlucky worked forward from gate six, led, and went on to record a personal best mile rate of 1:54.0. He was purchased at the Sydney Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sale for $20,000 by owner Vicki Rasmussen and has won $47,829 in prizemoney after 11 starts, two wins and five placings. The son of Roll With Joe is out of the Artsplace mare Specialize, who is a daughter of the former Grand Circuit mare Sabilize.   Amanda Rando  

Injury has brought a sudden end to Spanish Armada’s champion season. The multiple group one winner has a suspected hairline fracture and will miss the rest of this term, including her final major aim for the season, the Breeders Crown in Victoria in August. Spanish Armada was slightly lame on Wednesday after running on strongly in a trial at Menangle on Tuesday and was immediately examined by a vet. “The x-rays haven’t found anything conclusive yet but they suspect a hairline fracture,” said co-trainer Mark Purdon. “Obviously she is too good to take any risks with so that is her done for the season. “If that is all it is then I am confident we can get her back to the track in time, but even if she never raced again she has nothing left to prove, she has had an amazing year.” Spanish Armada dominated the three-year-old filly features at Auckland at Christmas but her reign looked threatened by then unbeaten stablemate Partyon when she returned from Australia and beat her in the Northern Oaks. But Spanish Armada extracted her revenge three times, all at group one level, winning the Nevele R Final, NZ Oaks and Harness Jewels, with her Oaks victory one of the great modern-day performances by a New Zealand pacing filly. The All Stars still have Partyon, who races in the Queensland Oaks on Saturday, being aimed at the Breeders Crown. “She is coming back to her best, as we saw with her win over there last week,” said Purdon. Most of the stables open class superstars as pleasing the boss in their work, with Dream About Me and Smolda doing hoppled work while the enigmatic Have Faith In Me is looking happy and sound at this early stage. And the news is all good with Horse of the Year in waiting Lazarus. “He has just started jogging again and he looks wonderful,” enthuses Purdon. “He hasn’t gotten any taller but he has thickened out in the shoulder and hind quarters. “So I couldn’t be happier with him and while the New Zealand Cup is his main aim the Inter Dominions in Perth are a very realistic option this time around.”  Michael Guerin

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards have concluded an inquiry that commenced on Thursday February 24, 2017, into matters relating to the treatment of OUR DREAM ABOUT ME NZ and that horse being presented for an official trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. Various evidence had been taken by Stewards through interviews with trainer Mark Purdon and foreman M Bowden as well as HRNSW Veterinarian Dr D Colantonio.  M Purdon and stable representatives have cooperated fully with the Stewards’ investigations. Subsequently, Stewards (by letter dated March 29, 2017) charged M Purdon with offences under the Rules which included; 1 - Charge pursuant to HRR 196B (1) and 4) - The particulars of the charge were “Mr Purdon, being a licensed trainer had on Monday, February 13, 2017, and without the permission of the Stewards, administered or caused to have administered to the registered horse OUR DREAM ABOUT ME serum, by way of an injection, being within one clear day prior to that horse contesting an official trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle, being contrary to the Rule” 2 - Charge pursuant to HRR 193. The particulars of the charge were “Mr Purdon, being the licensed trainer of the registered horse OUR DREAM ABOUT ME, had on Monday, February 13, 2017, caused to have an atomiser used to administer a serum to the horse and within forty-eight hours of that horse contesting an official trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle the following day, being contrary to part (2) of the Rule.” 3 - Charge pursuant to HRR 194.  The particulars of the charge were “Mr Purdon, being the licensed trainer of the registered horse OUR DREAM ABOUT ME NZ and others, had prior to Monday, February 13, 2017, procured a veterinary product which was not registered in accord with legislation and at various times between Monday, February 13, 2017, and Friday, February 24, 2017, had the said product stored at premises under your control.” By email dated May 22, 2017, Counsel for M Purdon advised the trainer pleaded guilty to all charges and made detailed written submissions in regards to penalty. HRNSW Stewards have now convened to fully consider the submission provided on the trainer’s behalf and the options available to Stewards in regards to penalty. Having considered the circumstances and the submission of Counsel, Stewards have determined the appropriate penalties in the circumstances as follows; In regards to the charge pursuant to HRR 196B(1) and 4) - to be a fine of $6000; In regards to the charge pursuant to HRR 193 - to be a fine of $6000; In regards to the charge pursuant to HRR 194 - to be a fine of $3000. In determining these penalties Stewards have acknowledged M Purdon’s guilty pleas, his disciplinary record over a long period and the subjective facts. Having regard to the totality principle in sentencing the Stewards having fully considered the total effect of the penalties announced are satisfied they are appropriate to that principle and the circumstances which prevailed. Mr Purdon was advised of his right to appeal these decisions. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gloch@hrnsw.com.au

You won’t see Australia’s buzz juvenile Lumineer again this season.  Trainer Ange McDowall today confirmed the unbeaten Australian Gold final winner would not be returning for the rich Breeders Crown at Melton in August.  “I’m sure we’re doing the right thing benching him for the rest of the season,” McDowall said.  Lumineer had a minor setback after his sparkling Australian Gold win at Menangle on April 29 and has not been seen since.  “He’s really well. We had him checked over at the Ballarat clinic last Friday and all looks good,” McDowall said. “It’s extremely tempting to go again, but I think it’s best to give some extra time out now.  “This way he can return to work in August and have a long, slow build-up to a big three-year-old season.  “The plan is to start taking him to the beach again in August. I don’t like to rush their preparations, so it’ll be good to have time on our side before the major (3YO) races.”  Lumineer has won all five starts by an aggregate of 50m and run some staggering times seemingly with ease, including his 1.52.5 at Menangle in a semi-final in the Australian Gold.  His brilliance has prompted discussions around being the best juvenile since the mighty Lombo Pocket Watch, who won 17 of his 18 starts in the 2005/06 season. Adam Hamilton

The harness racing fans turned out in force to see what was hailed as a match-race. But feature-race specialists Tim Butt and Anthony Butt spoiled the party when five-year-old My Field Marshall scored a race-record win in today's $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The son of former champion mare Foreal, by Art Major scored an amazing win in the Group One feature, nailing another surprise packet Mach Doro near the line to score in 1:50.2, breaking Hectorjayjay's race record set last year. The plucky Lennytheshark raced outside the leader Hectorjayjay and held on manfully to take third place, but had no answer to the sprint of the first two placegetters in the straight. Part-owner of My Field Marshall Syd Brown said he had looked at the list of previous winners including the likes of Smoken Up (four times), Changeover, Beautide, Smolda and Hectorjayjay and said he dreamt of just having a horse good enough to compete against the Grand Circuit stars. The rest was left to the Butt brothers . . trainer Tim has been in Sydney for almost a month preparing the Christchurch pacer for his shot at glory while Anthony, who is now domiciled in Melbourne, he has become one of that state's leading reinsman with a string of winners. But Anthony admitted this might be his biggest win on the Menangle circuit and was certainly something special against some of the best horses in Australasia. Hectorjayjay (Josh Aiken) showed his normal extraordinary turn of foot to easily find the front in the 1609m sprint while Lennytheshark (Chris Alford) never shirked the task and gradually made his way around the field to sit outside of his stablemate for most of the race. Turning for home it became obvious 'Hector' couldn't shake off his stablemate, but that didn't matter as first Mach Doro and then My Field Marshall made their moves out wide. Butt had something in hand as he easily picked up his rivals to score in 1:50.2 after sectionals of 26.9s, 29.4s, 26.8 and home in 27.1 for a win that stunned most of those present - except the Butts, who knew they had a horse that was up to the task. . . . and one whose name will look quite at home in the record books beside some of the greats of the sport. Amanda Zammit  

No instructions, no regrets and one of his biggest thrills. That was the only way young harness racing trainer Todd Rattray could explain a massive win in securing today's Breeders Challenge for two-year-old colts with Ignatius at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Ignatius set a new track record two-year-old rating 1:51.3 to beat outsider Little Peanut and the well-backed Sicario in the Group One classic. The Tasmanian youngster by Roll With Joe has improved with every step since crossing Bass Strait and Todd was more than happy to hand the reins to big brother James when Ignatius hit Sydney a month or so ago. "James has done a terrific job today and to come up here and beat the likes of Mark Purdon and Shane Tritton's stables is pretty special," said Todd. "No, I'm not sorry I wasn't driving him . . . it's just a thrill to see him win. To be honest we never dreamt he could improve this much and be this good when we decided to send him up here. "Yes, this is just great for Tasmanian harness racing too. "We haven't had any really smart two-year-olds down there this season until this bloke came along and it's good to see he might be something special." Ignatius With the retirement of Beautide a few weeks ago, the arrival of Ignatius what just what the state . . . and the Rattrays needed. In a fast-run affair Divine State quickly took the front and reinsman Chris Geary showed his intention was to keep them running. He did that with a 26.9s first split and a 28.2 second quarter. But turning for home Divine State was looking almost spent while Sicario and Ignatius were quickly putting themselves into the race. No sooner had Sicario (Mark Purdon) hit the front and Ignatius came at him and quickly put the issue beyond doubt as it was left to outsider Little Peanut to issue a late challenge. After a 29.9s third quarter, they came home in 28.3s to become the state's fastest two-year-old this season. * Earlier in the day owner-breeder Diane Kelly admits she still had to pinch herself when she watched star two-year-old filly Molly Kelly race. "We had so much fun with Frith when she raced, we never dreamt that we'd get another horse as good as Molly Kelly," said Diane as she accepted the trophy for her youngster winning the Breeders Challenge two-year-old fillies' final at Menangle this afternoon. "This is just amazing." Dianne had just watched the full sister to frith blow away a class field to win the Group One for trainer Emma Stewart and champion reinsman Chris Alford. Taken straight to the front by Alford, the master reinsman found he had to stoke the filly up going up the back straight with a few taps with the whip as she looked to relax mid-race, which only allowed a few challengers to suspect they might be a chance. Turning for home Molly Kelly (Four Starzzz Shark) wandered away from the pegs and for an all-too-brief moment it appeared that the Craig Cross-trained and Luke McCarthy driven Love My Sister might sneak up on the pegs and blouse her. Tassini also made a dash out wide but like her sister Frith, Molly Kelly was just keeping them interested as she held them out all the way down the straight to score a three-metre win in 1:55.3. Love My Sister stayed on for second ahead of outsider Tassini and the fast-finishing War Dan Bad Girl, who flashed home when the race was all but decided. Alford later commented that it had always been a long-term goal of his to come up from Victoria and win a Breeders Challenge final. "Thanks to Di and Bernie Kelly, I've been able to do that today. I'm so glad they send this horse down to Emma [Stewart] and Clayton [Tonkin] to train. "They are the best owners and hopefully our association will continue for many years to come." Molly Kelly Amanda Zammit  

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