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After 10 months and near 15,000kms later Bendemeer horseman Len Clement will complete the dream of driving at every harness racing track across New South Wales at Tabcorp Park Menangle tomorrow. And while the Wards Accounting Group Pace (1609m) may not seem significant to some, it will be for Clement. At the beginning of the season the retired Clement set himself a bucket list - Len's Bucket List - to drive in a race at all the tracks he had not previously. Having been involved in the sport for more than three decades, the 59-year-old had only driven at 11 tracks before embarking on this trip last September. And now this well documented journey is at the end. "This is the finale!" Clement said. "We finally have a run at Menangle and even though we haven't drawn too well I'm just happy to be going around. "I've been to Menangle a few times as a spectator but have never driven there. "I'm not sure if I'll like the track or not as there aren't enough corners for me . . . I'm used to driving on a much smaller track." From Eugowra, to Albury and even out to Broken Hill, Clement will tick off the 1400m circuit at Menangle behind his pacer Atara Blue Chip, which he acquired along this expedition. However, it is not the easiest test the lightly raced seven-year-old gelding has faced, especially considering his last and only win came more than three years ago. Ironically, Clement's last win in the sulky was also in 2013, behind Lifeslittlesecret at Tamworth in February 6. And this same mare is the horse Clement began Len's Bucket List with at Dubbo on September 13, 2015. After sticking with Clement through the Western Districts, the Riverina, Canberra, Sydney and back to the Riverina, Lifeslittlesecret was forced to the sideline with a potentially career-ending respiratory problem. Clement still determined to fulfil his dream reached out to his fellow horsemen and women and was offered many horses to complete his quest. "I always say it but the people and friends we have met and made along the way has been great," Clement said. "It is something my wife Christine and I will never forget "We have made life-long friends on this trip and it has certainly exceeded our expectations." AMANDA RANDO

Fresh from driving his 201st harness racing winner, young professional reinsman Chris Geary has a strong book of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The 18-year-old, who is only in his third season of driving, has emerged this term as one of New South Wales’ leading drivers. And seven catch drives at a metropolitan meeting, including in the two Group features on the card, supports that. His first drive is with the Darren McCall-trained Ideal Situation who has been a revelation since being claimed in Queensland and relocated to Sydney. “He has been a really good horse to me,” Geary said having won six races on the pacer since May. “He backed up over the 2300m here the other week and it didn’t suit him, he feels like a good miler that can follow speed well and also make his own luck. “Even though he is on the second row this is the closest draw he has had to the pegs for a while and should be in the finish.” Geary is driving a couple of horses for trainer Belinda McCarthy, whom he has worked with since he was 14, which includes the pacer Epaulette. “I was really happy with him first up a fortnight ago,” Geary said. “It was a big job to face 2300m first up, he will strip a lot fitter and back to the mile with this draw he can go close.” Geary is then sitting behind Don Boston in the claiming event. “I’ve never driven the horse before but I’ve driven against him plenty of times,” Geary said. “He seems to relish the 2300m and also a high tempo.” A race later Geary is partnering Takahoa in the Group Three Harness Breeders NSW Go Girlfriend Series Final. “I was really happy with her heat effort . . . it looked as though she was gone but she kept grinding away to finish third,” Geary recalled. “Barrier 12 isn’t a bad draw for her and even though it’s a tough race I’m not counting her out, especially if a few of them end up doing too much work.” Backing up in another Group Three, Geary is driving Dont Be Jealous in the Garrards Horse and Hound Ready2Run Sales Stakes. “It’s a good race and this is a step up for her but she is an honest little filly and anything could happen in a small field,” Geary said. Geary is ending the night in the trot driving the Russell Commens-trained Kip Keino. “He’s an honest horse that usually steps away well . . . he is facing some better trotters in this race but his form has picked up and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finished top four.” Amanda Rando Fields for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 23 July 2016 Form guide for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 23 July 2016

You will not be seeing Bathurst harness racing reinsman Mitch Turnbull's name in a New South Wales formguide for a while. The 19-year-old has decided to spend a stint working in Western Australia. Turnbull had two drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night and the next day was on a flight over to Perth. "When I was on the Rising Stars tour, Stewie McDonald from WA said I should give it a go so I thought I may as well," Turnbull said. "I'll be working with Ross Olivieri for at least a month or so." Olivieri is one of the leading trainers in the western state. And he has not wasted any time putting Turnbull's driving skills to use, nominating the Rising Stars reinsman to drive one of his pacers at Northam on Tuesday night. Turnbull also obtained a drive on the Courtney Burch-trained Nothinbutadream at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. "I'm jumping straight into it," Turnbull said. This is not the first working holiday for the youngest son of Steve Turnbull. He has spent stints working in both Queensland and Victoria. Turnbull began driving in the 2012/13 season and has already steered home 85 winners in his succinct career. AMANDA RANDO

The Group Two Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Finals are the main drawcard at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night. And the NSW TAB has supported this offering a $10,000 BIG6 Jackpot for its customers. Menangle tipster, Amanda Rando has made her best bet of the night outside of these features with Popfromthebeach (race four) catching her eye. The gelding was extremely unlucky last week after being checked early, yet found the line well to finish fifth to Freyberg in 1:51.9 and rated his last half in 54.6s to do so. Out of the four main features, Rockn Brushgrove (race five) stands out for Amanda as an each-way chance. The gelding has been extremely unlucky his last two starts and form prior to that was strong. BEST BET - Race 4 No.7 Popfromthebeach NEXT BEST - Race 5 No.4 Rockn Brushgrove AMANDA'S QUADDIE - Race 5 - Thunder Dance (5), Rockn Brushgrove (4), Effronte (7), Keayang Sporty (8) Race 6 - Megs Monaro (6), Our Little Digger (7), Roll With Me (8), The Democrat (9) Race 7 - My Mackenzie (10), Pixies Palour (8) Race 8 - Jovial Rock (4), Im With Lexy (5) iForm best bets for the weekend Young Friday - Race 8 No.8 Percynjack This horse did not much luck last time at Parkes. He finds a soft race and he should be too strong for them late. Menangle Saturday - Race 7 No.7 Ima Mystery Girl Has been getting back in her races of late but hoping for a more aggressive drive here. Did beat Eye See Diamonds four starts back and Can roll the short-priced favourite here. Newcastle Saturday - Race 7 No.12 Tiz A Smokey Grades really well here in a thin race. Can do work at this level and looks a bit strong for his opposition Dubbo Sunday - Race 6 No.6 Spanish Lustre Has a tricky gate but has been racing well in better races and should run well. NSW betting activity this week Largest Winning Bets (Stake) $5000 @ $3 COMPOSED - Menangle 9/7 $2000 @ $2.6 CYCLONE KATE - Menangle 9/7 $1000 @ $6 GLENFERRIE BRONTE - Menangle 9/7 $4000 @ $3 KEPT UNDER WRAPS - Menangle 12/7 Largest Winning Bets (Return) $200 @ $35 JOSEPHINE SHANNON - Bathurst 25/5 $2500 @ $8.5 RAVISHING GIRL - Penrith 7/7 $250 @ $17 BAD BOY MARA - Newcastle 11/7 $300 @ $14 CLANCYS FOBWATCH - Menangle 9/7 Largest Losing Bets (Stakes) $3000 @ $9 LIV LAVISH - Menangle 12/7 $2000 @ $2 IOWNATURBO - Tamworth 7/7 $4000 @ $2.5 CLARRY - Penrith 7/7 $5000 @ $2.6 WRITTEN IN RED - Bathurst 6/7 Largest Losing Bets (Potential Return) $1000 @ $31 WRITTEN IN RED - Menangle 12/7 $350 @ $21 WHY FOUR - Penrith 7/7 $1000 @ $15 SAINT STORMY - Newcastle 11/7 $1000 @ $12 SPORTYGAL - Bathurst 6/7 AMANDA RANDO              

Husband and wife duo Peter and Cindy Rixon have had some success in juvenile futurity races over the years and look set to add to that harness racing record at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The Pheasants Nest conditioners have three of the early fancies in the Group Two Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Finals. In the $50,000 Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Final, the Rixons are dually represented with Rockn Brushgrove (four) and Keayang Spoty (eight). Rockn Brushgrove will be driven by Peter and Cindy's daughter Ellen and is the equal third favourite at $6 with TAB Fixed Odds (New South Wales). Meanwhile, the Victorian-owned Keayang Sporty is the second elect at $4.80 and will be steered by John McCarthy. "Rockn Brushgrove has been extremely unlucky his last two starts and before those couple of blotches his form was quite good and is definitely one of the chances," Peter said. "Keayang Sporty won't be out of it either. "He is a consistent little horse and his runs up here have been promising." Their third hope is Jovial Rock, which has drawn well in barrier four for the Two-Year-Old Fillies Final and is subsequently the $2.10 second elect. The filly had her first start in Peter's name in the Group One Alabar Breeders Challenge Final on June 26 where she finished fifth to Shezallapples. "Jovial Rock is a lovely little filly that's in with a chance as well," Peter said. "She put in a good run in the Final and came through that race well." In recent years Peter and Cindy have tasted success in the Breeders Challenge Regional Finals including in 2012 with Dream Cartier and in 2010 with Sassy Street. They also won a Group 1 Sires' Stakes Final in 2009 with Just Cuddles - the second last year of the Sires' Stakes series as the Breeders Challenge was introduced in NSW in 2008. All were driven by Cindy, who has scaled back her driving now with Ellen taking the reins and has only had one race drive this season. Peter also has reduced his drives having only had seven drives this season, however, will add to that tally on Saturday night driving one of the three horses he has nominated at Newcastle. TAB Fixed Odds for the Alabar NSW Breeders Breeders Challenge Blue Finals 2YO Colts & Geldings Final 1 FRANCO STORM 35.00 2 JUSTANOTHER REASON 12.00 3 HEZA CRACKER 2.40 4 EXPRESS BOMBER 12.00 5 SACKHEIM 26.00 6 MEGS MONARO 31.00 7 OUR LITTLE DIGGER 6.00 8 ROLL WITH ME 6.00 9 THE DEMOCRAT 3.80 10 CLOUDIN UP 51.00 11 GELDOF 21.00   2YO Fillies Final 1 IMA BLACK BEAUTY 51.00 2 MAGIC ARTIST 12.00 3 JOSEPHINE BROOK 18.00 4 JOVIAL ROCK 2.10 5 IM WITH LEXY 1.75 6 FLEUR DE NEIGE 26.00   3YO Colts & Geldings Final 1 EXPRESS PASS 10.00 2 LIMBO LARRY 81.00 3 BIG DANCE 35.00 4 ROCKN BRUSHGROVE 6.00 5 THUNDER DANCE 7.50 6 LEXY CAN WAIT 18.00 7 EFFRONTE 2.80 8 KEAYANG SPORTY 4.80 9 UNCLE PETER 9.00 10 CHUCKY BALBOA 101.00 11 SMITHSTARS LEXUS 6.00   3YO Fillies Final 1 JESSICA AMBER 26.00 2 PERFECT JESSE 16.00 3 CRUSTY 101.00 4 SPORTYGAL 51.00 5 CHERRY MAHONEY 12.00 6 ROCKNROLL ANGEL 8.50 7 IMA MYSTERY GIRL 7.50 8 PIXIES PARLOUR 8.50 9 ALWAYS ANNIE 35.00 10 MY MACKENZIE 1.55 AMANDA RANDO

It was a much needed victory. And it was met with relief too. That’s the way leading Sydney horseman Paul Fitzpatrick summed up the winning effort of his talented harness racing three-year-old Match In Heaven last Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Somebeachsomewhere colt was responsible for a mystifying performance in the Gr.1 Breeders Challenge Final when a lacklustre 9th behind Charlaval on June 26, it was too bad to be true and almost ended his season right there and then. But Fitzpatrick was determined to find answers. “We had a number of tests, scans and scopes carried out on him but we couldn’t actually pinpoint any problem. There was no actual issue diagnosed and we just had to put it down to a bad run, he hasn’t missed a beat since and the win last week confirmed that he was back on track and we’re heading north.” Fitzpatrick said. The respected horseman is yet to taste success in the sunshine state feature, even former champion juvenile Lombo Pocket Watch came up short when beaten by local pacer Arkamigo back in 2007. While Match In Heaven is yet to race outside of his home state, Fitzpatrick believes his colt is ready to take up the challenge. “He’s a horse we’ve liked from the very beginning and we’ve deliberately looked after him, he hasn’t been over raced and the Queensland Derby has been on his radar for some time now. Given the way he bounced back last week, that confirmed he was ready to take on this task. “It’s a very even field, a very good field but no standout like we’ve seen in recent times and I think that sets up a very exciting race. Many of these three-year-olds are yet to race at this distance so it’s unknown territory for many, mine included. “I think the draw is quite ok for my colt, he will have time to settle early and given that so many of the favoured runners are also drawn the second-line, I’m hopeful we can get good cover before letting go with his sprint.” Match In Heaven is no stranger to success this season having claimed the Young Derby back in March where he defeated Charlaval while he is Gr.1 placed after chasing home Our Waikiki Beach last season in the Breeders Challenge Final. A decision on whether Match In Heaven heads to Melbourne next month for the Australasian Breeders Crown will be made following the Queensland Derby. Chris Barsby Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 16 July 2016 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 16 July 2016

Ladyship Mile winner Frith will be having her last start for the season in Saturday night's harness racing Group Three Sky Racing Adore Me Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Having had a spectacular term so far, connections are undecided on what path Frith's career will take on the other side of this spell. Making the decision to continue racing or send her to the breeding barn will not come easy, considering she has just had one of her best seasons to date. Frith has won multiple Group races this season and as a result catapulted her earnings past $1.1million, a feat only four other mares in the Southern Hemisphere have achieved before. And driver Luke McCarthy agrees. "It's hard for the owners to decide what to do with her because her form has been very strong this season," McCarthy said. "She has been up for a long time and will definitely earn this spell after Saturday night." Former trainer-driver Bruce Harpley echoed McCarthy's thoughts. "Frith has just been unbelievable this season," Harpley said. "She started this preparation over in Perth . . . she had a hit-out with me on the Saturday, was on the plane Sunday and won a feature race the following Friday! "You just shake your head with what she is capable of and that's why she has won more than $1million." Frith was bred and is owned by Harpley's mother and father-in-law, Dianne and Bernie Kelly. "Bernie is turning 80 next year so how many foals will he watch race if they don't put Frith in foal soon?" Harpley said. "It's a tough decision to make and luckily there is a bit of time before it comes to making it." Hoping to end her season on a winning note, the daughter of Four Starzzz Shark is one of the early fancies with TAB Fixed Odds for tomorrow night's feature. With the scratching of Ameretto, the John McCarthy-trained Cyclone Kate is the favourite at $1.75. TAB.COM.AU Fixed Odds - Adore Me Stakes DEADLY MERRYWOOD $101.00 ABBEY CULLEN $14 TACT HAYLEYS DELIGHT $12 MILLWOOD LIBERTY $10 BON ACCORD GAL $61 MODERN DANCER $41 CYCLONE KATE $1.75 OCEAN DIVA $31 BETABCOOL $12 FRITH $2.80 Amanda Rando

It is all systems go for Our Waikiki Beach and his Harness Racing Breeders Crown campaign. Despite facing defeat for the first time in his career yesterday at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the star three-year-old is on track to contest a heat of the lucrative series next week. Connections were not at all disappointed with his recent second-placed effort to Ideal Situation and have taken away the positive aspects of the run according to reinsman Luke McCarthy. “We all thought he put up a great race yesterday,” McCarthy said. “He had not raced in almost six weeks and was up against open company. “Horses like Ideal Situation and Macca Kelly are running fast mile rates of 1:51 and 1:52 week-in-week-out so to run second behind one of those seasoned horses is a huge effort for such a young horse. “Our Waikiki Beach will benefit greatly from that experience.” Our Waikiki Beach remained unbeaten in 19 starts and only six other horses in the Southern Hemisphere have surpassed that. The great San Simeon holds the record of the longest winning streak with 29 wins while Lucky Creed, Maori’s Idol and Courage Under Fire each won 24 races in-a-row, with both Lyell Creek and Aachen ended their respective sequence of wins on 20. Our Waikiki Beach shares his unbeaten record in 19 starts with champion pacers Village Kid, Lombo Pocket Watch, Satinover, Hyperstat. Amanda Rando

Did Hanress Racing owner Neil Pilcher have a wee inkling or was it yet another smart business move by Trevor Casey? A few days prior to Our Waikiki Beach’s first defeat in 20 starts at Menangle yesterday (Tuesday) Casey bought out Pilcher’s third share in the gifted 3-year-old. Casey now owns two thirds of Our Waikiki Beach with the remaining third owned by Cheryl Rasmussen of Australia. “Neil doesn’t want to travel around as much as he used to and I’m the opposite when I work allows. He’s had a lot of success in racing and I made an offer to him. “I wanted to keep the major shareholding in New Zealand,” Casey told Harness Racing New Zealand a few hours before Our Waikiki Beach’s shock 1.4 metre second behind outsider Ideal Situation in the $9,000 C91.3 FM Mobile for the C5-plus pacers. The $1.10 hot favourite and Luke McCarthy led into the straight but was overhauled 50m out. The winning time for the mile was 1:52.8 with 28.3, 28.9, 27.9, and 27.7 sectionals. It was also the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained bay’s first defeat in 13 starts on the track. He has recorded a 1:50.6 mile at Menangle. But Casey who travelled to Sydney to watch his pride and joy run, rated the Somebeachsomewhere gelding right up there with Lazarus and Stent as the best horses he has owned. “Mark and Natalie have always had a high opinion of this horse and he has reinforced that on the racetrack. He could be anything. People have told me he could easily go a sub 1:50 mile. There’s not much between him and Lazarus but just now I’d probably rate him second just behind Lazarus,” Casey said. “It’s amazing to think that I part-own two of the best 3-year-olds going around in Australasia,” he added. Casey and his co-owners paid $70,000 for Our Waikiki Beach at the Melbourne Sales, simply because they wanted to buy a well-bred Somebeachsomewhere gelding. The 55-year-old Christchurch businessman said the horse nicknamed ‘Barney’ would line up in a Breeder’s Crown heat in Sydney next week before heading to Melton for the Finals next month. Thereafter Casey said Our Waikiki Beach would spell for six weeks and then come back and tackle the big 4-year-old races in both Australia and at Alexandra Park. “The Chariots Of Fire, the Taylor Mile and the Messenger are races I’d like to see him start in but as always Mark and Natalie will make the final call. “They are very astute trainers and I back them in all they do. I’m guided by them,” said Casey. He said Our Waikiki Beach would not start in this year’s New Zealand Cup but fellow 3-year-old Lazarus would. “No we will be concentrating on the 4-year-old races with him next season. He will line up in a Cup one day but not next year. That is Lazarus’s target and at this stage of their respective careers he’s more the Cup horse,” said Casey. As for records Casey said enjoy them while you can. “They all get broken eventually. I just love seeing my horses win and if they happen to break records or run quick times, then that’s a bonus,” he said. Our Waikiki Beach has won four Group 1 races. As a 2-year-old he won the Australian Pacing Gold, the New South Wales Breeders Challenge and the Australasian Breeders Crown. This season he took out the rich New South Wales Derby. The gelding has won $674,221 in his career and there has never been a faster three year old in the Southern Hemisphere. Our Waikiki Beach equalled the time set by Border Control of 1:50.6 when he won a race at Menangle in February. Only six standardbreds have won more than 19 consecutive races in Australasia. San Simeon holds the record with a winning streak of 29. Lucky Creed, Maori’s Idol and Courage Under Fire won 24 races in a row while Aachen and Lyell Creek won 20. With his second placing on Tuesday Our Waikiki Beach joined Satinover, Hyperstat, Village Kid and Lombo Pocket Watch with 19 consecutive wins. Auckland Reactor won his first 17 races in a row. Duane Ranger

Each week, Queensland Harness Racing commentator Chris Barsby does a ring around and gets the inside info on a big list of Australasian based runners. Queensland trainer/driver Darrell Graham heads back to a specialist on Monday, his broken leg is healing well. Champion Perth trainer Gary Hall headed for operation on his hand next Monday. Has constant swelling. He will be out of action for a couple of weeks Talented Sydney trotter Cyclone Lucky Seven headed to Menangle trials next week for trainer Alex Alchin. - Last start was mid march. Star pacers for Shane Tritton, Arms Of An Angel & Salty Robyn both back doing pace work. No set plans for either speed machine. Last start Group 1 runner Three Of The Best is back in Queensland, starts Friday week in Breeders crown heat, decisions to be made after that. In-form couple Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull arrive in Queensland next week with 3 runners. Fcee, Neon Sky & Eye See Diamonds. Reigning Australian Driver of the Year Shane Graham, already has over 200 winners this season and celebrates his 52nd birthday today. Millionaire mare Frith will have one more start before a well-deserved break. Starts Saturday week in the Adore Me mares event at Menangle. Top Goulburn horseman Brad Hewitt arrives in Brisbane today with his winter carnival team headed by Spare Me Days. Talented 3yo Stanley Ross Robyn has also made the trek north and will start in both the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby classics. Victorian trainer Andy Gath will make final decision on Three Ways & possible Queensland Derby trip after he starts next Tuesday at Bendigo. Birthday celebrations today for Gareth Hall – he's planning a big party in Brisbane next week when he cheers home Hectorjayjay. Good race tomorrow at Albion Park when Queensland Derby aspirants Kimani (Matt Craven) & Mattgregor (Chantal Turpin) clash. Smart pacer My Kiwi Mate is headed to the Winter Championship series next week at Melton. Good trial this week after NZ Campaign. Despite an impressive trial this week, former Kiwi 3yo He Can Fly will remain in Sydney. Connections were eyeing Queensland Derby Last start Group 2 Breeders Classic winner Maestro Bellini is bang on target for Qbred triad Final on July 16. Starts new week. North American speedster Hurrikane Kingcole is facing a battle to make a successful comeback down under. Team McCarthy working overtime. Plans remain intact for SA Derby winner Brallos Pass to head north for Queensland Derby on July 16. Faces poor draw in Group 1 Vicbred Final this week Chris Barsby

Despite tasting defeat, talented young harness racing horseman Nathan Purdon walked away from last Sunday’s Sydney feature meeting a content person. Purdon prepared Ohoka Punter for the Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Menangle and the star pacer produced a courageous effort to fill third placing behind the David Aiken duo of Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark in a time of 1:50.5. Following two brilliant victories at Albion Park, connections decided to take at throw at the stumps and head south for the sprint feature rather than stay and wait in Brisbane for the upcoming winter carnival features. And the two start campaign proved very successful. “He performed at a very high level in both starts, his first-up win was very impressive and I thought his effort in the Len Smith was very commendable given how much work he did and the time they posted. The top two finishes are wee nice horses.” Purdon said. The New Zealand horseman has returned to Brisbane and Ohoka Punter is due back tomorrow (Thursday) in readiness for next week’s Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint followed by the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake the following week. The open class features during the carnival are loaded with stars including Hectorjayjay, Christen Me, Avonnova and Ultimate Art but Ohoka Punter is right there with them and Purdon is just hoping for some luck. “The Brisbane style of racing is very hard and a little unforgiving so we need to be at our best and have lady luck on our side in both events. The barrier draw for each race will go a long way in determining who gains the advantage. “The best part about last Sunday was the way he came through the race, I couldn’t be happier with the way he pulled up and his recovery was great so that’s very pleasing as we head into the Brisbane features.” Champion reinsman Anthony Butt handled the dual Group One winner in Sydney but Purdon will take the lines himself in both Albion Park features. The barrier draw for the Sunshine Sprint will be conducted next Tuesday (July 5). Chris Barsby

In-form Goulburn harness racing horseman Brad Hewitt has quickly turned the page on last week. Heading into last Sunday’s feature race day at Menangle, Hewitt was hopeful with stable star Spare Me Days and emerging talent Arma The Gun in their respective Gr.1 Breeders Challenge Finals but came home short. Both pacers ran the punters elect but both missed the place. Hewitt has already switched his focus to his next target, the Brisbane winter carnival which starts this weekend at Albion Park and runs over three consecutive weekends. On Saturday night, Hewitt starts Spare Me Days in the Gr.3 $30,000 Horsepower Nutrition 4yo Championship. “The Brisbane campaign will wrap up his season; he goes straight to the paddock after the Blacks A Fake on July 16 for a well-deserved break because he’s done a super job this season. He’s really stepped it up this season and he’s proven that he’s going to be competitive in the open class arena, his win in the Bulli Cup proved that when he beat some nice horses in very good time at Menangle.” Hewitt said. Spare Me Days has drawn the second-line in the 2138m mobile start feature and meets talented types Major Cam, Birdy Mach and Major Coup among others. But Hewitt knows he’s got the form horse of the race. “I was very happy with his effort last Sunday because he had a poor draw and was forced to do plenty of work while they were running strong time; he kept fighting all the way up the straight. On a positive note, he’s taken no harm from the race and he seems in good order. “Barrier draws haven’t been kind to him lately and again this weekend we’ve got some work in front of us but the draws will hopefully turn around in the coming weeks. Obviously Birdy Mach is a talented type while the likes of Major Cam and Major Coup are still on the way up so it should be a competitive race. “We’re definitely going to start in the Blacks A Fake but a decision on the Sunshine Sprint won’t be made until after this weekend, it’s probably a little unlikely given the recent racing he’s had. I think the genuine speed in the Blacks A Fake which will be generated by the open class stars will suit him nicely.” Hewitt’s father Dave is considering sending talented three-year-old Stanley Ross Robyn north for the Gr.1 $75,000 Sure Duz Mosquito Candle Queensland Derby on July 16. The former New Zealand gelding continues to improve and was narrowly beaten yesterday (Tuesday) at Menangle when third behind Miss Riviera Belle and Look And Listen in a time of 1:52.7. A decision is expected soon. Chris Barsby

Prominent Tasmanian standardbred breeders Fred and Pauline Barker celebrated another harness racing feature race win when a filly they bred, Shezallapples, scored an impressive victory in the Group 1 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies final over 1609 metres at Menangle last Sunday. Shezallapples started as one of the rank outsiders ($91.30) but she proved too good for her rivals scoring by almost three metres from Rocknroll Emma ($6.60) with Im with Lexy a close-up third and well ahead of the $1.50 favourite Don't Think Twice. The win gave driver Jim Douglass his first Group 1 success in his home state and the win also delighted the filly's trainer David Thorn who rated the daughter of Sportswriter-Apple Sorbet a top winning chance going into the race. Shezallapples clocked a mile rate of 1.53.3 to suggest she has a bright future. The Barkers have slowly but surely eased out of standardbred breeding with Apple Sorbet now residing with Ricky Hinds who put the mare to Modern Art which resulted in a filly foal born on Christmas Eve last year. Peter Staples

Modern Maestro has had a stellar start to his harness racing career. The son of Modern Art has won eleven of his fifteen career starts and with the season over in Canberra, the gelding's trainer Michael Hawke will look to target racing at Menangle in the short term. After racing through the season at Canberra undefeated in seven starts, Modern Maestro was declared the Horse Of The Year in the nation's capital. The seven wins also helped secure Hawke's second trainers' title and Melissa Hawke her first drivers premiership. "At Canberra they have a local premiership for the leading trainer and driver and they also have an overall leading trainer and driver," Hawke said. "It was great to win the overall leading trainer for a second consecutive season but I was immensely proud of my daughter Melissa when she won the overall leading driver. Liss has won local premierships before but to win the overall driver's title is a great achievement and a good reward for all of her hard work." Modern Maestro finished second in the Group 2 Carousel earlier in the season and Hawke believes it was during that series he realised he had a nice horse. "He won nine of his first ten starts but his wins had been at Canberra, Wagga and Bathurst so there were a few question marks on the form. I think his run in the heat of the Carousel at Penrith when he led and Kept Under Wraps only picked him up in the shadows of the post proved to me that his record was legitimate. "Off the back of that run, Modern Maestro finished second in the Carousel final behind Hez A Dude and he fought right to the line on that occasion as well." Saturday night's assignment at Tabcorp Park Menangle will not be an easy one with several well performed runners engaged in race four. Runner up in Sunday's Group 1 4YO Breeders Challenge final Egodan has drawn the second row while Tact Hayleys Delight will start from barrier three. "I haven't done the form yet and only glanced at the fields when they first came out but my initial thought was Darren's (Binskin) mare was well placed. Those C3 to C5 races are very strong at Menangle every week so I'll keep bringing him back until he can snare one. "Most of the horses around Canberra go for a spell at the end of the local season but I've kept a few of mine in. I might even bring a horse like Huge Attitude to Menangle at some stage." Despite wrapping up their respective premierships at the Canberra meeting last weekend it has been a tough week for the stable. Rookie Error died after suffering from colic last weekend. "She was no star but she won seven races in her career and she tried her heart out every time she stepped onto the track. She was one of Melissa's favourites so she has been a little bit upset." "Hopefully Modern Maestro can pull out a good run on Saturday night and help Liss feel a little bit better." Greg Hayes

A new weekly harness racing segement on, Around the Traps will, each Tuesday, put together happenings from around New Zealand and Australia over the weekend just been. NEK TIME TRIALS IMPRESSIVELY Speedy Canterbury 3-year-old filly, Nek Time, was an impressive winner of a trial at Albion Park on Friday night as she readies herself for the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trainer filly, who is based at the stable of Ian Gurney, paced her 1660 metre trial in 1:58.9 which equates to a 1.55 mile rate. The Southland Oaks winner, will kick off her campaign in the Gold Coast Oaks this weekend before tackling the Queensland Oaks a week later. Dexter Dunn has been booked to drive the filly during her Australian campaign. TELFER/GARLICK TEAM DRAW LEVEL North Island trainers, Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick drew level with their best ever season tally of 37 with a winning double at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The Papkura Stable won on Friday with River Emperor and First Home to take them to 37 and continue what has been a great season. Just inside the Top 10 trainers on the national premiership, the partnership have produced 16 individual winners this season with Better B Amazed (5 wins), Prince Of Pops and Ashton K (4 wins) and Superimposed, No Doctor Needed, American Flybye and Ideal Flybye (3 wins) their best performers. MAINLAND BANNER’S PERFECT RECORD The win of Glenferrie Classic on Friday at Blenheim kept former New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner’s strike rate perfect. Of the five foals the daughter of Christian Cullen has produced, all five have now been winners with Glenferrie Classic the latest. Aside from Stunin Banner (13 wins) her other four foals; Peruvian Banner (1 win), Return To Sender (8 wins), Rocker Band (9 wins) and Glenferrie Classic (1 win) have all been embryo transfer foals. Incidentally, Stunin Banner will race this weekend at Alexandra Park in a claimers event carrying a price tag of $9,000. He is currently domiciled with Todd Mitchell. GILL SUSPENDED Marlborough horsewoman, Kendra Gill has her licence suspended until the middle of August on the opening, and only, day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Friday. Gill, the daughter of local trainer, Mark, was suspended for careless driving after her charge, Gotta Ticket was shifted into a position in which there is was insufficient room to allow it to happen. Gill’s suspension ends on the 14th of August. OUR WAIKIKI BEACH TRIALS TODAY Embattled 3-year-old pacer, (Our) Waikiki Beach will trial today (Tuesday) at Menangle as he continues his preparations for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown. In the care of leading Australian stable, Belinda McCarthy, the unbeaten pacer, who has won all 20 of his career starts, is earmarked to return to the race next Tuesday in a C3-C5 pace before tackling a heat of the Breeders Crown seven days later. VOTING CLOSED Voting for the annual Harness Racing New Zealand Awards, which are to be held in the Mashina Lounge at Christchurch Casino on Saturday, July 30, closed on Friday. There has been plenty of speculation around the Awards this year - in particular the battle for Horse of the Year between freakish pacer Have Faith In Me and superstar trotter, Monbet. 29 votes are allocated for each of the categories, which this year include the return of the 5-year-old and older categories. The voting panel is made up largely of members of the harness racing media in New Zealand which also includes commentators and Trackside presenters. BREEDERS CROWN HEATS KICK OFF The first round of heats for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown will be held this week. Addington plays host to heats for the 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings as well as the 3YO Trotting fillies. Three horses will go around in the male event; Blood And Whiskey, Conon Bridge and My Armour while the fillies race will be contested by Oona and Wilma’s Mate. Further heats will be held at Addington on the 8th, the 15th and the 22nd of July and at Cambridge on July 10 and 21. By Matt Markham

Harness Racing Trainer David Aiken was expected to capture the Group 1 Len Smith Mile (1609m) at Menangle on Sunday. However, it would be his second-seed that would be victorious as five-year-old gelding Hectorjayjay ran down stablemate Lennytheshark to score in 1:50.5.   Lennytheshark was involved in a flying 25.7 opening quarter as Bettor Bet Black scorched over before Lennytheshark was able to find the top in the back straight in a 55-second first half.   Champion reinsman Gavin Lang took three-wide cover with Hectorjayjay before peeling to the outside to give chase to Lennytheshark. The third quarter was run through in 28.3 followed by a 27.2 final quarter as Lennytheshark’s early work took its toll.    Hectorjayjay would defeat Lennytheshark by 1.2m with a further 5.9m back to Ohoka Punter in third place.   “That’s one thing about drawing 14, you need those type of quick sectionals early to bring you into the race and that’s how it turned out,” Lang told Michael Court. “That early burn gives you a chance. Over a mile if they go slowly early then you are left to do your share of work to get into the race and chasing quality horses, well, you just won’t catch them.”   Aiken had originally planned for Hectorjayjay to contest a couple of Queensland features and now that he has claimed the Len Smith Mile, there is no reason not to continue on the original path; later in the year Lennytheshark will defend his Inter Dominion Championship crown in Perth with Hectorjayjay looking to take the coveted title away from his stablemate.   “The plan all along was to take him up to Queensland for the winter features,” Aiken told  “So that’s the way he will keep going.”   The Group 2 Sunshine Sprint (1660m) will be held at Albion Park on July 9 followed by the Group 1 The Blacks A Fake (2680m) at the same venue on July 16.   Former Miracle Mile winner Christen Me is in Queensland to contest both features while Ohoka Punter will return to his home state to tackle both events.    Reprinted with permission

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