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He's not even in the big race yet . . . well, not officially! Still two-time Inter Dominion champion Beautide has already been installed as $2.50 harness racing favourite in the TAB's early market for the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile in 17 days time. That suggests Beautide's invitation should be a mere formality, following this weekend's harness racing action at Tabcorp Park Menangle. And following the draw for this weekend's Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint, Beautide looks a special to join Victoria Cup winner Lennytheshark in the field by finishing first or second in the $200,000 sprint over 1609m. He has come up with the ideal draw in gate four, which will get even better following the scratching of first emergency, My General Lee, which gets a run in the Cordina Sprint, enabling Bowie to move down to gate three. From there his trainer-driver James Rattray will probably look for an all-the-way win. With the first two home guaranteed invitations into the $750,000 Miracle Mile, the only thing standing in Beautide's way are Our Sky Major and possibly the Shane Tritton-trained pair of Easy On The Eye and Suave Stuey Lombo. Victorian visitors Cold Major and Major Crocker are also rated outside chances to grab a spot. Earlier in the evening the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint, which also offers two invitations to Australasia's richest sprint, looks to be a lay-down misere for Luke and Belinda McCarthy's speedy Grand Circuit newcomer Bling It On. Bling It On is also perfectly-drawn in gate four, giving champion reinsman Luke McCarthy plenty of options with his son of American Ideal. One of the quickest horses out of the gate in Australian harness racing, Bettor Bet Black looks the likely leader, even from gate seven, which should see him in the firing line turning for home, while West Australian visitor My Hard Copy and Tritton's Mach Beauty are logical dangers. And lying in wait for all of them is Lennytheshark, in the best form of his career and already a Miracle Mile certainty and a $3.20 second-favourite for the Group One on February 28. For further information telephone NSWHRC Racing Manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200. Greg Hayes

This time, no chances will be taken. Because rather waiting on flights to arrive and take off on time, they’re hitting the road less travelled. Grant Dixon, the reigning Australian harness trainer of the year will venture south of the border as he attempts to qualify his pair of talented three-year-olds Get In The Groove and Frankie Rocks for Sydney features in the coming weeks. The Gr.1 $200,000 New South Wales Oaks and Derby are scheduled for Sunday, February 28 at Tabcorp Park Menangle with qualifying heats set to be staged eight days earlier. And after being left stranded on the tarmac last month when preparing for a tilt at the Victoria Derby, Dixon will travel by road and eliminate any potentials risks. “Our travel plans didn’t quite go to plan for Melbourne so we’ve made some subtle changes and we’re keen to get down there and see where we stand on the big stage, both horses have displayed good ability and have current winning form so a trip south is warranted. Obviously we’ll be meeting some outstanding talents but I think both horses will perform well all being equal.” Dixon said. The obvious hurdles for the Dixon duo and all competitors for that matter will be the freakish New Zealand trained performers Our Waikiki Beach and Our Dream About Me. Both remain unbeaten for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. But the Queenslanders are heading south in top shape and boast excellent recent winning form at Albion Park, Get In The Groove has recorded back to back victories while Frankie Rocks is unbeaten in four starts to date this season. While Get In The Groove is no stranger to Our Dream About Me after clashing last season during the Australasian Breeders Crown Fillies Final in Melbourne, Frankie Rocks is yet to race outside of the sunshine state. Frankie Rocks took down talented pacer Catcha Lefty two starts ago in a time of 1:53.7 when leading throughout before cruising to a comfortable victory in 1:53.8 last week. “It’s no surprise I’m a big fan of Frankie and I’m thrilled with the way he’s returned this campaign, he’s finally delivering with the enormous potential he’s always shown from the time he joined my stable. He felt very strong last week at Albion Park and he’s trained on well since so I’m happy with him heading into this series. “We know what to expect with the filly, she’s a tradesman-like performer and a very good racehorse and that was evident in her latest victory because she knows where the line is which is handy. I’m happy with the way she is performing right now, this next challenge is steep but she deserves her chance. “Look, both horses clearly need to step it up a gear to match the unbeaten pair of Waikiki Beach and Dream About Me but this is a great opportunity. We’re heading down later this week (Thursday) and will give them plenty of time to settle into their new surroundings.” Dixon will have his duo based at Cobbity with Luke and Belinda McCarthy. And McCarthy will have first option to drive both horses in the heats with Dixon committed to his big stable. “Yes, Luke will be given the option to drive both horses but if he’s obligated to other runners, I’m likely to head down myself but we’ll worry about that next week. “Both Kevin and Kay (Seymour) are happy with that arrangement.” Dixon finished second in the 2013 NSW Derby aboard Majestic Mach behind Lennytheshark. by Chris Barsby

It's shaping as a match-race between two of the quickest harness racing pacers to race in Australasia. And two of the best reinswomen ever to grace the Tabcorp Park Menangle circuit will be in the ˜hotseats". The $200,000 Form 700 Chariots Of Fire should ensure a big crowd at Menangle on Saturday night as Miracle Mile invitations go on the line. Star New Zealand-based driver Natalie Rasmussen is here to partner one of Mark Purdon's stable stars in Have Faith In Me, who has drawn gate 11 and should come into 10 when the first emergency, Admiral Bronski is withdrawn. And the Kiwi colt may have to break 1:50, or go very close to that mark if he is to come from the wide draw and account for flying four-year-old former Kiwi mare Arms Of An Angel. Arms Of An Angel will be partnered by premier reinswoman Lauren Panella. This daughter of former Inter Dominion champion Elsu is unbeaten since crossing the Tasman to join the Shane Tritton barn, winning seven in succession with ridiculous ease. Indeed Arms Of An Angel is already a triple record holder at Menangle, with two incredible times of 1:50.7 and 1:50.3 among her string of wins. And her winning margins in Australia add up to an even-more-impressive 114.6m. Panella will be looking for a quick getaway when she comes out of the eight barrier on Saturday night and is expected to cross and find the lead. From there it might be catch-me-if-you can – and break 1:50 if you have to – if you want to beat this dynamic duo. While it shapes as a match race, the presence of Tact Tate, Ameretto, Cruz Bromac and several other smart performers ensures it will be a race to remember . . . with an invitation to the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile awaiting the winner. There are at least four other invitations up for grabs on the night with the first two home in the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint as well as the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint guaranteed spots in the Miracle Mile on February 28. For further information telephone NSWHRC Racing Manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200.

The harness racing barrier draws have been conducted for this Saturday night’s Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint and Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  The $200,000 events will be run on night one of the Sky Racing Carnival Of Miracles and both are qualifying events for the $750,000 Miracle Mile on Sunday February 28. COCA-COLA AMATIL SPRINT BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 EASY ON THE EYE SHANE TRITTON 2 MY GENERAL LEE (EM 1)   3 BLAZIN N CULLEN JOHN MCCARTHY 4 BEAUTIDE JAMES RATTRAY 5 COLD MAJOR DAVID AIKEN 6 SUAVE STUEY LOMBO SHANE TRITTON 7 MAJOR CROCKER VINCE VALLELONGA 8 LOUS LAD (EM 2) PAUL FITZPATRICK 9 OUR SKY MAJOR BARRY PURDON 10 OUR HI JINX  ODM BELINDA MCCARTHY   CORDINA CHICKEN FARMS SPRINT   BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 MY GENERAL LEE (EM 1)   2 FIVE STAR ANVIL ADAM KELLY 3 MODERN RULER JAMES RATTRAY 4 BLING IT ON BELINDA MCCARTHY 5 IAM MR BRIGHTSIDE KERRYANN TURNER 6 MACH BEAUTY SHANE TRITTON 7 LOUS LAD  (EM 2) PAUL FITZPATRICK 8 MY HARD COPY GARY HALL SNR 9 BETTOR BET BLACK DARREN MCCALL 10 MONIFIETH JOHN MCCARTHY     Greg Hayes      

Harness Racing New South Wales advises that it will utilise HRNSW Retention Facilities for all horses, including emergencies, entered in the following Group 1 races to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 13 February 2016: Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint Form 700 Chariots of Fire Horses entered in the Form 700 Chariots of Fire will be housed within the HRNSW Retention Facility and must be presented at the facility prior to 10am on Friday 12 February 2016. Horses entered in the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint and the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint will be housed in separate barns within the HRNSW Training Facility and must be presented at the facility prior to 12 midday on Friday 12 February 2016. All trainers with horses entered for these races will be notified by HRNSW of the requirements for presentation of their respective horses at the retention facilities. Horses will remain under the supervision of HRNSW until released to the raceday stables 2 hours prior to the race. If you have any questions please contact the Integrity Department of HRNSW. Reid Sanders

The harness racing barrier draw has been conducted for this Saturday night's Form 700 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The $200,000 event will be run on night one of the Sky Racing Carnival Of Miracles. The Cordina Chicken Sprint and Coca-Cola Sprint will also be conducted on Saturday night. The $200,000 races will also be qualifying races for the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile on Sunday February 28.   BARRIER HORSE TRAINER 1 LORD ZIN ZAN JOHN MCCARTHY 2 EXPRESS STRIDE BELINDA MCCARTHY 3 AMERETTO ASHLEE GRIVES 4 CRUZ BROMAC DEAN BRAUN 5 AZTEC BROMAC KERRYANN TURNER 6 ADMIRAL BRONSKI (EM 1) TAHN CAMILLERI 7 LETS CUT LOOSE KEVIN PIZZUTO 8 KILCULLEN JOHN MCCARTHY 9 ARMS OF AN ANGEL SHANE TRITTON 10 TACT TATE AMANDA TURNBULL 11 HAVE FAITH IN ME MARK PURDON 12 WINGARA (EM 2) PETER ROMERO       .                       Greg Hayes

Harness Racing New South Wales advises that all runners, including emergencies, for the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint (Group 1) and Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint (Group 1) to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 13 February 2016 will be stabled in a HRNSW Retention Facility at Menangle. All trainers with horses entered for this race will be required to have their respective horses presented to the facility by 12 midday on Friday 12 February 2016 and will remain under the supervision of HRNSW until released to the raceday stables 2 hours prior to the respective races. HRNSW will announce further integrity strategies for the Carnival of Miracles in the proceeding weeks. HRNSW will notify trainers with horses engaged in these races of their requirements on Monday 8 February 2016. If you have any questions please contact the Integrity Department of HRNSW. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Reid Sanders

A pair of Queenslanders is set to team together and take on Sydney. Following the news that talented young horseperson Narissa McMullen has made the move south of the border, astute harness racing trainer Shane Sanderson left Brisbane today (Tuesday) bound for Menangle. Sanderson will train and operate exclusively from the new state of the art training complex based on course at Tabcorp Park Menangle, in Sydney’s south-west. The move has been on the cards for some time now for Sanderson who left his position in the Queensland mines to become a full-time trainer. And now Sanderson will join forces with McMullen at the state’s premier track. “The barns officially opened across the weekend and I’m looking forward to getting down there and setting up with my team of horses. I have taken a barn that accommodates twenty horses and I have about a dozen to work with while Narissa will have her small team of three or four and just like in Brisbane, she will be my stable driver.” Sanderson said. The combination has combined in recent times at Albion Park with good success and will look to consolidate that partnership once in Sydney together. Sanderson is no stranger to success at the big spacious track after landing the Gr.1 $100,000 Australian Pacing 3yo Colts and Geldings Final at Menangle with Maywyn Jasper back in 2010. “That brings back great memories because he was a very talented horse but he had a lot of issues and unfortunately, we never saw the very best of him. I’m hoping I’ve got the right mix of horses because I need to hit the ground running so hopefully I’ve timed my run to perfection. “I’ve given all my team a blow and trained them back-up again and most are at racing stage now so we’ll be ready to get straight into once we arrive. It’s a mixture of metro class pacers plus some maiden types that have ability including a trio from New Zealand my owners purchased, Mick (Formosa) has looked after them since arriving a few weeks backs and will join my stable. “This is the biggest decision I’ve made and I’m grateful for the support from my wife (Naomi) and family for allowing me to give it a shot, my group of owners have been very supportive and I’m keen to repay the faith they’ve showed me. I want to be a fulltime trainer in Sydney where harness racing is moving in the right direction.” Sanderson is expected to arrive tomorrow (Wednesday) after a convoy of trucks hit the highway today. The Queensland contingent now based at Menangle is growing stronger with Sanderson joining the likes of McMullen, Stuart Hunter and Tahn Camilleri in recent times. by Chris Barsby

When your luck runs out, it’s out. But it will change in time. This is the conundrum with talented Queensland trotter Our Overanova who was primed to tackle the nation’s best during the Victorian Summer of Glory harness racing carnival which is currently underway. After being left grounded in Brisbane when his flight was cancelled at the last minute, he’s now battling a low-grade virus. “What’s the old saying, that’s racing or something to that effect? It’s very unfortunate the timing but it’s not all doom and gloom and he is showing signs of improvement. We’re pulling another blood at the end of this week and that will paint a clearer picture and determine what path we take for our southern ventures.” Owner Greg Mitchell said. After resuming from a short let-up, the Monarchy gelding looked set to tackle the Victorian features at Melton after scoring two impressive victories at Albion Park in solid time under mobile conditions. The Grant Dixon prepared trotter was set to tackle a raft of feature events in Melbourne culminating with the Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Melton on March 12. While the aim remains with the March 12 heat/final feature, a revised route to Melbourne appears likely. “All going to plan and with a clean bill of health later this week, I intend on racing him in Sydney at Tabcorp Park Menangle in the Gr.1 Trotters Cup over the marathon distance at the end of the month and then hopefully we head further south straight after that race. “Obviously the depth around is the deepest it’s been for a long time but my horse deserves his chance and I’m keen to give him that shot against the best. I have no doubt he can handle the format of the Great Southern Star with the heat/final on the same night. “We will give him a start at Albion Park before heading to Sydney, he was very fit before the setback so I’m sure he’ll come to hand quickly once he’s up and going again. We should know exactly where we’re at by Friday afternoon and that gives us time to be fully fit before heading south.” The Gr.1 $50,000 TAB Trotters Cup over 3009m is scheduled for Sunday, February 28. And the Dixon stable will be looking at having representation on the feature day of racing with talented three-year-olds Get In The Groove and Frankie Rocks also being considered for the Gr.1 $200,000 Oaks and Derby respectively. The main event that day will be the $750,000 Miracle Mile, the final leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit for 2015/16. by Chris Barsby

Lennytheshark has become the first horse into the 2016 SEW Eurodrive $750,000 Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle, thanks to his masterful harness racing win in Saturday night's Victoria Cup at Melton. Connections were delighted to accept the invitation, even though it means they cannot contest either of the traditional lead-up sprints the Coca-Cola Amatil or Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint on February 13, two weeks before the Miracle Mile. No problem, we'll just come for the one race and hopefully win the one that matters, said Lennytheshark's trainer David Aiken, in Sydney today to inspect Menangle Park's new Training Centre, which officially opened on Saturday. We're taking 10 boxes at the Training Centre, and that's where Lennytheshark will be stabled when he makes the trip, Aiken said. The remaining spots in the eight-horse Miracle Mile field are well and truly up for grabs and will be filled by horses that must contest any of the three $200,000 lead-up features at Menangle. The two Sprints and the Chariots of Fire will decide the rest of the field, said NSWHRC chief executive Bruce Christison. The winner and the runner-up in the Coca-Cola and Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint will automatically qualify for an invitation to the Miracle Mile as will the winner of the Chariots Of Fire run the same night [February 13]. The last two spots and the two emergencies will come from those that contested any of those three races mentioned. Christison confirmed a second runner from the $200,000 Form 700 Chariots of Fire could certainly be invited into the $750,000 Miracle Mile if the club's directors felt he or she should be there. For further information telephone NSWHRC Racing Manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200.  

Who will drive the Mark Purdon trained runners during the Miracle Mile carnival at Tabcorp Park Menangle? With an artillery including Have Faith In Me, Our Waikiki Beach and Fight For Glory the harness racing stable is set to be represented in a number of the big races later this month. Last year Purdon left the race driving to Natalie Rasmussen on Inter Dominion Grand Final day at Menangle and she didn't let the stable down winning the Ladyship Mile with Adore Me in Australasian record time and the NSW Oaks. Rasmussen returned to Sydney in April last year to drive Our Waikiki Beach in the APG 2 year old final and Smolda in the Len Smith Mile and won both of the group one events. When asked on Sydney radio over the weekend who will drive the horses in Sydney during the Miracle Mile carnival, Rasmussen gave no clear indication on who would sit behind the Purdon runners. "We don't even know, two weeks in horse racing is a long time so we have to actually get there first," Rasmussen said. "We don't worry about that too much - we'll work it out when the time comes." Rasmussen's record at Menangle is mind blowing. In only 44 drives on the 1400 metre circuit since it opened in 2008, Natalie has won 17 races and been placed on a further 15 occasions meaning she finishes in the top three 72.72% of the time she drives in a race on the track. In her last 18 drives at Menangle, Rasmussen has won ten races and run a further four placings. What is more astounding is her group one record at Menangle. Rasmussen has driven in 16 group one races on the track for eight wins and six placings. The two horses that failed to place at the highest level when driven by Rasmussen at Menangle were Western Cam in the 2010 Len Smith Mile when fourth behind Smoken Up and Blacks A Fake after finishing seventh in the 2009 Miracle Mile. Greg Hayes

Harness Racing New South Wales will deliver on its promise of a world-class training facility with the grand opening of the Menangle Training Centre this Saturday morning.  Horses will move into the new facility over the next two weeks and HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny is welcoming all interested parties to the official opening ceremony this Saturday morning from 11am. “The Menangle Training Centre will play an important role in the future of harness racing in the state of New South Wales and there has been great interest in the development even before construction began on the facility,” Mr Dumesny said. “The incumbent Board of HRNSW has been behind the massive infrastructure planning development around the state.” Adverse weather conditions in the Macarthur region over the past three months has not forced the opening of the Menangle Training Centre to be delayed however it has caused issues with parts of the project. “Whilst not all parts of the facility are absolute, the centre is ready to accommodate horses and with the opening proceeding this Saturday it is important to recognise the work of the current HRNSW Chairman Rex Horne and his predecessor Graeme Campbell and the Board Members Rod Smith, Alex Smith, Graham Kelly and Chris Edwards. “As a group these gentlemen have facilitated the successful development and opening of the Bathurst track, pushed the development application at Wagga across the line, have been working steadfastly on the Tamworth project and delivered on the Menangle Training Centre.” The concept for the Menangle Training Centre was first presented to local council ten years ago and to witness the development and construction has been exciting. “This has been a vision since it was first presented to the Campbelltown Council in 2006, the first stage has now been completed and some work will continue over the next twelve months to finish the project entirely. “I would like to single out some people who have been working on the site putting the finishing touches on it for this weekend - Rex Horne, Alex Smith, HRNSW Chief Operating Officer Reid Sanders, Racing Manager Adam Fairley, Dan Westwood and some of the staff from Tabcorp Park Menangle have all been working under trying circumstances but have finished the task.” A morning tea will be served on Saturday morning from 10:30am with the official opening ceremony set to begin at 11. Greg Hayes

Leading into tonights harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the $50,000 Hondo Grattan Stakes was all the talk amongst the pundits with the Chariots Of Fire looming large on the horizon. It was a field chock full of some of the best four year old colts and geldings in Australia but in the end it was left to the brilliant mare Arms Of An Angel to give them a start and a beating in the group two feature Lauren Panella pushed the go button from barrier ten with Arms Of An Angel and they blazed to the front in a blistering 25.6 which is low flying at any stage of a race. Allowed a second quarter of 30 seconds, Panella let arms Of An Angel stride through the third quarter in 27.7 before unleashing another smart quarter in 27.4 to stop the clock in a brilliant 1:50.7. Amaretto held on for second to complete the domination by the mares while Aztec Bromac finished well late for third to be the first male home. Hot favourite Cruz Bromac flashed late for fifth but put in a few fancy steps near the 400 metres which cost him any winning chance. While Arms Of An Angel was the winner of just two from twenty three in New Zealand, the daughter of Elsu has been a revelation since crossing the Tasman and joining the Shane Tritton barn. The winner of her last five for Tritton, Arms Of An Angel has recorded three miles in 1:50 and change in those five wins and is without doubt the best mare racing in Australia at the moment. To blaze an opening quarter in 25.6 from barrier ten and still go on and win the race in 1:50.7 is an outstanding run and brings her right into contention for races such as the Chariots Of Fire  The big question now is can she take the step up in a race such as the Chariots Of Fire against the likes of Have Faith In Me? Have Faith In Me had an easy time of it later in the night in the FFA Pace in 1:52 but ran home in a very quick 54 and 26.2 and still looked to have something in reserve at the finish. Whatever happens, Arms Of An Angel has certainly proved a bargin purchase for her new owners in Australia. Harnesslink Media 

Premiership winning harness racing couple Shane Tritton and Lauren Panella will be relocating from Keinbah to Menangle early next month. Tritton and Panella have clocked up almost 1000 winners out of the property during the best part of the last decade but an offer to move to Sydney’s harness racing headquarters was tough to knock back despite family ties in the Hunter region. “It’s all happening in the first week of February,” Tritton said. “We’ve trained 921 winners out of here during the last seven or so years and the family would have trained another 1000 before that so there is a lot of history there. “But the travel has been tough and they are building whole new training facilities down at Menangle with stables, water walkers and paddock space. “They approached us to go down and although it was a tough decision to leave here we would be silly not to go.” Tritton has gradually expanded his operation since his days as a maths tutor training on the side. He had been based at Metford, Ashtonfield and Rutherford but always trained out of Keinbah. Clayton Harmey was there the five years prior to Tritton. Previously it was Tritton’s step-father Clarrie Sweeney, partner of Tritton’s mother Marlene, who operated the farm.  In more recent times Tritton has been running the show and it has been a successful period, including group 1 victories and runners in both Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile finals. He has notched up six consecutive trainer’s premierships at Newcastle, which included becoming the first to reach 100 winners in a single season. In 2013-2014 he was the first country trainer to win a NSW Metropolitan premiership. Three times he has finished runner-up in the state premiership race, which included a NSW trainer’s national record of 222 wins in 2014-2015. This prolific period has also coincided with Panella arriving on the scene and during the past three years she has been kicking goals as a driver. This has included two Newcastle premierships, a reigning state title and a historic NSW Metropolitan crown, becoming the first female to clinch the prize in 2013-2014. Together, the couple are currently working about 50 horses but that looks set to change in the near future. “I think we will cut down a fair bit from there,” Tritton said. “We will probably have a smaller team and aim for ­quality. “Hopefully we can kick on to get some better results with some better horses.” Tritton has both Katy Perry and Silver Back in the Golden Guitar final at Tamworth on Friday night and said one last triumph would be ideal. “A Golden Guitar would be a good way to go out,” Tritton said. “Katy Perry has a good chance, she is a good horse and will go onto bigger things from here.” Katy Perry, to be steered by Panella from barrier six in the $25,500 decider, will face tough opposition from the next gate in fastest qualifier and track record holder Cyclone Kate (barrier five). Silver Back will start the 1980 metre journey from the outside of the back row in barrier 10 with Joe Pace on board. One inside that will be Tiz A Smokey (barrier nine) for Kitchener trainer Michael Osborn and Morisset driver Mark Callaghan. Elsewhere and Arms Of An Angel will contest the Chariots Of Fire heats at Menangle on Saturday for Tritton and Panella while on the same night Newcastle International Paceway will host a nine-race meeting from 6.10pm.  By Josh Callinan Reprinted with permission of The Maitland Mercury news site  

Next month's Miracle Mile has had an injection of speed with connections confirming WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy will head to Sydney after the conclusion of his Victorian campaign. Harness racing driver Clint Hall is excited to be heading across to the eastern states to drive the son of American Ideal and believes Tabcorp Park Menangle would be a perfect track to unleash his top speed. "His recent mile record is pretty good and when he won a heat of the Inter Dominion at Bunbury he became WA's fastest pacer so with the right run I think he would be competitive in anything he contested," Hall said. "He will fly to Melbourne on Thursday week before getting ready for the Victoria and Hunter Cups and the only thing that will stop us going onto Sydney is poor form or bad health." My Hard Copy finished fourth behind Alta Christiano in the 2013 WA Derby and competed in the Golden Nugget as a four year old but was forced to undergo throat surgery last year after breathing difficulties. "I think the operation has taken him to the next level and he has really grown in confidence since then, we suspected there were some breathing problems and then one night I heard them in the warm-up. "It is hard to describe, I guess the best way to describe it is that he sounded like a vacuum cleaner that had something stuck in its pipe, you could hear him whistling." Three or four different operations were suggested but connections opted for the least intrusive - a tie-forward operation. "He went for a break in July last year and it was while he was off that he had the operation, it is something that you have to be aware of and something that you need to keep listening out for. "He did make the sound once or twice after he resumed but the more racing he has had since the operation, the better he has been." Hall has only driven at Menangle previously on one occasion when he drove Livingontheinterest in the 2014 Inter Dominion. The qualifiers for the 2016 Miracle Mile will be conducted at Menangle on Saturday February 13. Greg Hayes

IForm was well and truly on target last week as all of the selections over the weekend were successful.  While this weekend, the harness racing meetings look tougher iForm has again passed on the best bet for each of the NSW TAB meetings on Saturday and Sunday. Tabcorp Park Menangle – Saturday – Race 2 Number 11 Ive Gottalife Ive Gottalife has been placed in all ten of his starts this season and despite the second row draw does look to find a winnable race.  In his last two starts over the 2300 metres he has been defeated by Mac The Finn and Kilcullen but in Saturday night’s race Hancock does have the option of leaving the marker pegs in the early stages so he can put the son of Bettors Delight into the race once the speed drops. Junee – Saturday – Race 3 Number 2 Royal Canvas Royal Canvas was disappointing last start at Temora when finishing last but iForm has suggested the gelding deserves another chance.  Since resuming from a long break, the six year old had performed strongly at Albury and Junee and should enjoy racing against this week’s opposition.  From the good draw, David Kennedy will be aggressive in the early stages and with a comfortable run in front Royal Canvas should be very hard to run down. Tamworth – Sunday – Race 8 Number 4 Sams Cam Trainer/driver Nathan Xuereb has Sams Cam racing consistently recently and he looks well placed in a heat of the Golden Guitar.  The four year old last raced in a heat of the Inter City Pace at Maitland and was forced to chase home eventual series winner Kept Under Wraps.  Prior to that Sams Cam had been racing against strong fields at Bathurst and Penrith and from the front row draw expect Xuereb to be aggressive in the early stages. Greg Hayes  

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