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Top harness racing trainer Emma Stewart has carried all before her in Victoria this year with a string of major wins. Yet even Stewart could not have expected to come to Sydney and bag the trifecta in one of Sydney's biggest plums, the APG New South Wales Derby. Aided by a masterly drive by Chris 'The Puppet' Alford, the Derby went to Victorian Derby runner-up Poster Boy, who raced with a one-one trail for most of the 2300m journey before Alford expertly extricated him from a pocket turning for home and made a flashing run to take the Derby by one and a half-metres from surprise packet Tam Major (Todd McCarthy) with the other stablemate, Major Times (Mark Pitt) a half neck back in third place. Vic Derby winner Colt Thirty One was sent out a short-priced favourite for Grant Dixon after drawing gate one and the race looked his for the taking when he led easily and was able to get away with a 30.9 first quarter and a 29.6 second split in the final mile. But he never got much peace in front and was eyeballed by Maraetai for much of the final lap. Enter Poster Boy and Alford later admitted the last half lap hadn't quite worked out how he had planed it to. "Thankfully he was good enough to cover them when he got clear," said the champion reinsman. With a last half of 53 seconds (splits of 26.7 and 26.3s), Poster Boy made up for his narrow defeat in the Victorian equivalent with a one and a half metre victory in 1:56.7 mile rate. Stewart admitted eh loves coming to Sydney and would be back whenever there were feature races on. "We're big supporters of APG and buy a lot of our horses there so it is fitting they should sponsor a race like this." Poster Boy Video coming   5 8:20pm APG NSW DERBY (GROUP 1) 2400M $200,000 3YO Colts and Geldings. RBD. Mobile Final Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 POSTER BOY  $120,000   Fr3 4 Emma Stewart Chris Alford   $ 3.50       BAY COLT 3 by SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE USA out of ASTON VILLA USA (ARTSPLACE (US))  Owner(s): Lauriston Bloodstock Pty Ltd  Breeder(s): Lauriston Bloodstock Pty Ltd 2 TAM MAJOR  $ 30,000   Fr8 10 Emma Stewart Todd McCarthy 1.50 $ 149.30     3 MAJOR TIMES  $ 20,000   Fr2 2 Emma Stewart Mark Pitt 2.20 $ 12.50     4 THE BLACK PRINCE NZ  $ 10,000   Fr6 8 Roy Roots Jnr Chris Geary 2.90 $ 41.80     5 COLT THIRTY ONE  $ 5,000   Fr1 1 Grant Dixon Grant Dixon 3.10 $ 2.60 fav    6 LITTLE PEANUT  $ 3,000   Fr10 12 Jess Tubbs Greg Sugars 7.50 $ 19.60     7 CODE BAILEY NZ  $ 3,000   Fr7 9 Margaret Lee Glen Craven 9.70 $ 50.40     8 THE DEVILS OWN NZ  $ 3,000   Fr9 11 Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen 13.40 $ 18.50     9 MARAETAI  $ 3,000   Fr4 5 Emma Stewart Luke McCarthy 14.10 $ 3.90     10 HIGHERTHANANEAGLE  $ 3,000   Fr5 6 David Aiken Darren Hancock 14.30 $ 39.20   (L) Scratchings   DIVINE STATE 3 ALL U NEED IS FAITH NZ 7 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:54:0 Mile Rate: 1:56:7 Lead Time: 60.5 First Quarter: 30.9 Second Quarter: 29.6 Third Quarter: 26.7 Fourth Quarter: 26.3 Margins: 1.5m x HFNK   Sean Vella    

It didn't take champion reinsman Luke McCarthy long to get back into the harness racing spotlight at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. McCarthy picked up the plum drive on four-year-old Victorian mare Carlas Pixel from ace Victorian trainer Emma Stewart a couple of weeks ago. Carlas Pixel qualified for the Ladyship Mile at Menangle two weeks ago when successful in the Canadian Club Sprint and it paid dividends tonight when McCarthy brought the daughter of Courage Under Fire with a flashing finish from well back in the field for an impressive victory - breaking the magical 1:50 mile rate in the process, rating 1:49.5 to score a one a quarter metre win over Delishka (Blake Fitzpatrick) with Rocker Band (Ash Grives) five and a half metres further back in third place. The stunning time was made possible by bold front-runner My Rona Gold (Lauren Tritton) who surged out of the gate in a slashing 25.5 seconds for the opening quarter. The flashy grey then ran them along in fine style with a 28.1 second split before fading in the straight the finish fifth as the pace began to tell and the first two placegetters emerged from well back in the field. Stewart later paid tribute to the McCarthys - Luke and Belinda for making Cobbity a home away from home for them when they come to Sydney. "I was quite nervous when I got her because she's a super mare and you never know how you are going to go when you get a good horse like that," said Stewart. "But full marks to Luke, he drove her superbly tonight." Luke added: I've been lucky enough to win this twice and its a huge thrill. She went so well last week we had a lot of confidence going into tonight's race. "Dean Braun picked this horse from the yearling sales and deserves some of the credit to as he did a great job with her."   Carlas Pixel       4 7:46pm MACARTHUR SQUARE LADYSHIP MILE (GROUP 1) 1609M $200,000 Mares. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 CARLAS PIXEL      Fr5 6 Emma Stewart Luke McCarthy   $ 7.20       BAY MARE 4 by COURAGE UNDER FIRE NZ out of PIXEL PERFECT (ART MAJOR USA)  Owner(s): S J Nixon, M E Denyer  Breeder(s): R J (Robert) Watson 2 DELISHKA NZ      Fr9 11 Brad Mowbray Blake Fitzpatrick 1.3m $ 23.80     3 ROCKER BAND NZ      Fr1 1 Mark Jones Ashlee Grives 6.7m $ 14.70     4 A PICCADILLY PRINCESS NZ      Fr8 9 Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen 11.2m $ 8.70     5 MY RONA GOLD NZ      Fr7 8 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 11.2m $ 24.50     6 IMA MYSTERY GIRL      Fr4 5 Jarrod Alchin Jarrod Alchin 11.8m $ 71.00     7 SHAKAHARI      Fr10 12 Stephen O'Donoghue Rebecca Bartley 13.4m $ 139.30     8 AMERETTO      Fr2 2 Kerryn Manning Kerryn Manning 14.8m $ 1.80 fav    9 MISS RIVIERA BELLE NZ      Fr6 7 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Chris Geary 16.8m $ 69.10     10 OUR GOLDEN GODDESS      Fr3 4 Kerryn Manning James Rattray 21.6m $ 5.40     Scratchings   PARTYON NZ 3 BERISARI 10 Track Rating:   Gross Time: 1:49:5 Mile Rate: 1:49:5 First Quarter: 25.5 Second Quarter: 28.1 Third Quarter: 28 Fourth Quarter: 27.9 Margins: 1.3m x 5.4m     Sean Vella    

Young Victorian reins man Mark Pitt gave a salute to the stars as he scored an amazing harness racing win in tonight's John Gibson Memorial New South Wales Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Shepparton reinsman brought Shez All Rock with a burst of speed up the inside running to win by three metres from Soho Burning Love (Greg Sugars) in a world record equalling time of 2:50.4 with the plucky Nostra Villa (Chris Alford) clinging on for third. Pitt drove a patient race with the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, settling in about seventh spot and biding his time until the field hit the home running. The charges looked to be coming from out wide and just as it looked as if Soho Burning Love and Nostra Villa would fight out the finish Pitt and Shez All Rock appeared from nowhere up the pegs for an amazing win. Now Victorian-based, Pitt showed his delight to be back in his former home state with a mighty flourish of the whip as he crossed the line for a win he rated among the best of his career. "This was always going to be a tricky race but she had a good trip tonight and god the job done," said Pitt. "It's always good when you come away from home and win a race like this and go home with a trophy, it's really special. "I have to thank Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin for all the help they have given me with this horse and I also think Mum and Dad deserve some of the credit too. Without them none of this would be possible.       3 7:17pm JOHN GIBSON MEMORIAL NSW OAKS (GROUP 1) 2400M $200,000 3YO Fillies. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SHEZ ALL ROCK      Fr4 5 Mark Pitt Mark Pitt   $ 4.80       BROWN FILLY 3 by ROCK N ROLL HEAVEN USA out of JUST IRISH LOCH NZ (MACH THREE CA)  Owner(s): I D Pitt, L M Pitt  Breeder(s): G F (George) Tennent 2 SOHO BURNING LOVE      Fr10 11 Michael Stanley Greg Sugars 3.2m $ 13.20     3 NOSTRA VILLA      Fr7 8 Emma Stewart Chris Alford 7.5m $ 2.70 fav    4 CALLMEQUEENBEE      Fr8 9 Gemma Rue Mat Rue 9.1m $ 95.30     5 MY SWEETCHILLIPHILLY NZ      Fr6 7 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 9.3m $ 35.70     6 WAR DAN BAD GIRL      Fr5 6 Steve Turnbull Nathan Jack 9.5m $ 42.30     7 FAME ASSURED      Fr3 4 Grant Dixon Grant Dixon 10.4m $ 4.60     8 IMPRINCESSGEMMA      Fr1 2 Emma Stewart Luke McCarthy 21.7m $ 6.30     9 IDEAL PLEASURE NZ      Fr2 3 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Natalie Rasmussen 22.5m $ 16.10     10 MACEY JAYDE      Fr9 10 Michael Stanley Michael Stanley 29.8m $ 46.20     Scratchings   REDBANK ADDI 1 PROPHESY 12 Track Rating: Gross Time: 2:50:4 Mile Rate: 1:54:3 Lead Time: 54.9 First Quarter: 29.3 Second Quarter: 30.1 Third Quarter: 27.8 Fourth Quarter: 28.3 Margins: 3.2m x 4.3m   Sean Vella  

It was the perfect warm-up drive for the Miracle Mile later in the evening. Yet even birthday boy Todd McCarthy could hardly have expected to set an Australasian harness racing record with a stunning all-the-way win on Maori Time rating 1:51.5 in the Access Group Solutions Trotters Mile. Todd, who turns 25 today, took Maori Time straight to the front in the Group One and basically just made them chase him all the way, breaking Flying Isa's record of 1:53.2 in scoring by five and a quarter metres from Daryl Boko with War Dan Destroyer a fast-finishing third. It makes Maori Time the fastest square-gaiter this country has ever seen. "He ran a fantastic race and I couldn't ask for anything more than setting a record like this . . . it's pretty special," said Todd. Ironically the previous record was set by Todd's big brother Luke but nothing could be taken away from the Brent Lilley-trained Victorian visitor who got out of the mobile in a 26.8 split before Todd was able to back the speed off slightly with a 29.4 second quarter. Then Todd put the handlebars down and came away from his rivals with splits of 27s and 28.3 for a win that the legions of square-gaiting fans could only have dreamt about a few years ago. Menangle was on fire and Todd admitted he was champing at the bit for a repeat performance when he hops behind Tiger Tara later in the night in the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile.   2 6:50pm ACCESS GROUP SOLUTIONS TROTTERS MILE (GROUP 1) 1609M $50,000 RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 MAORI TIME      Fr4 4 Brent Lilley Todd McCarthy   $ 10.00       BAY MARE 8 by PEGASUS SPUR CA out of SUNDONNA (SUNDON USA)  Owner(s): F (Fredrick) Crews  Breeder(s): F (Fredrick) Crews 2 DARYL BOKO FIN      Fr1 1 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 5.3m $ 2.20 fav    3 WAR DAN DESTROYER      Fr2 2 Michael Doltoff Luke McCarthy 14.6m $ 33.00     4 KYVALLEY BLUR USA      Fr8 9 Brent Lilley Chris Alford 20.8m $ 4.70     5 IONA GRINNER      Fr6 6 Troy Williams Robert Morris 27.6m $ 91.60     6 ROMPERS MONARCHY NZ      Fr5 5 J A Rando, M J Rando David Morris 27.7m $ 108.10     7 VINCENNES      Fr10 12 Anton Golino Jason Lee 28.2m $ 12.30     8 MY TRIBECA ITA      Fr7 7 Anton Golino Nathan Jack 46.3m $ 8.40     9 ON THUNDER ROAD NZ      Fr3 3 Darren Hancock Darren Hancock 51.2m $ 6.80     10 BLAZING UNDER FIRE NZ      Fr9 11 Blake Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 343.4m $ 95.70     Scratchings   MICHAEL THOMAS 8 SHETLAND 10 Track Rating:   Gross Time: 1:51:5 Mile Rate: 1:51:5 First Quarter: 26.8 Second Quarter: 29.4 Third Quarter: 27 Fourth Quarter: 28.3 Margins: 5.3m x 9.3m   Sean Vella

He’s the forgotten horse of Saturday night’s $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Yet veteran Lennytheshark, the oldest horse in the race, cannot be completely written off, despite being listed as a $21 shot in the eight-horse harness racing field. He is the defending champion and his trainer David Aiken wouldn’t swap his stable star for any other horse in the race and issued a reminder ‘Lenny’ was going as well as ever. “He is meeting the new kids on the block this season, but he is feeling terrific and is ready to do it all again,” Aiken said. “I still wouldn't swap him for any other runner. “I just finished working him an hour ago and he is going as well as ever.” Despite his defeat last week, Lennytheshark earned an invitation into the Grand Circuit event as the defending champion, with Aiken confident the son of Four Starzzz Shark could still join a select group of consecutive Miracle Mile winners. Victory will see Lennytheshark become just the seventh titleholder to successfully defend his crown since the prestigious sprint began in 1967. Westburn Grant led the way win consecutive wins in 1989 and 90, followed by Chokin (1993 and ‘94), Holmes D G (1999 and 2000), Sokyola (2003 and ‘04), Be Good Johnny (2005 and ‘06) and Smoken Up (2010 and ‘11). Lennytheshark has drawn barrier seven, but moves into six when the emergency comes out. “I was just looking at the sectionals from last week again and he got home in 53 seconds after doing a bit of work early,” Aiken said. “He went quicker last week than he did the year before when he won.” Aiken agreed that the draw hadn’t helped but suggested punters would leave him out at their peril as he was in good enough shape to win. The former Sydney premiership-winning trainer cited Soho Tribeca as the horse to beat, but said he also rated My Field Marshal as one who could spring an upset. Soho Tribeca has drawn gate seven while My Field Marshal will come from four. Soho Tribeca is a $3.20 second elect, while My Field Marshal is sitting on $10. Lazarus heads the betting market at $2.40 despite drawing the outside of the front row. “Soho Tribeca should be favourite as I reckon he is the one to beat,” Aiken said. “That said, I can see My Field Marshal getting a really good run from the draw, which brings him right into it.” Michael Court

The pressure is on. And that can be expected given your colt is favourite to claim his second blue riband harness racing classic, the Gr.1 $200,000 APG New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle tomorrow night (Saturday). Fresh from his brilliant victory in the Gr.1 Victoria Derby last month, Queensland pacer Colt Thirty One is looking to become the first three-year-old since Captain Joy (2009) to win both features in the same season. No Queensland trained pacer has ever collected both features in the same season. “It’s very exciting and he keeps improving each and every time he steps out, we thought he was very good last week. We’ve booked our flights this time; we’ll definitely be trackside cheering the team on.” Owner/breeder Kevin Seymour said. Surprisingly, both Kevin and Kay Seymour were absent when their star colt took glory in Melbourne on January 27. The New South Wales Derby feature would hold mixed feelings for the leviathan couple, back in 2013 their star pacer Majestic Mach tasted defeat for the first time in his career when a runner-up behind Lennytheshark. Majestic Mach won his first 12 starts including three Gr.1 features. But the similarities between the past and the present are like chalk and cheese. Colt Thirty One oozes class and his mannerisms are far superior to his former stablemate. And that was evident last week when the Grant Dixon trained and driven colt scored comfortably when leading throughout in his qualifier, his time of 1:56.3 was significantly quicker than fellow heat winners Poster Boy and Maraetai. Colt Thirty One has drawn the coveted inside gate tomorrow night. In the Victoria Derby, Colt Thirty One came from behind Poster Boy to win the 2240m feature. “I think Colt Thirty One is actually better than Majestic Mach and will go much further in his career, winning the New South Wales Derby would be a magnificent achievement but it certainly won’t come easy because it’s a very good field with quality rivals. “I’m hoping he can win all three east coast Derby classics, I’m anticipating he could become a great sire in time because he’s a beautifully bred being a son of a champion sire, the ill-fated Mach Three while his maternal pedigree is very strong. “Like all owners, we’re dreamers but you must aim for the stars. It would be wonderful to see Queensland back up in bright lights again and producing quality performers, a triple Derby winner would be a great step forward.” If successful in all three Derbies, Colt Thirty One would join the incomparable Courage Under Fire who achieved the feat back in 1999. Dixon is aiming for his second triumph in the New South Wales Derby after scoring back in 1994 with Jeremy Lee. Colt Thirty One is quoted at $2 with UBET for the 2400m event. The Seymour/Dixon combination is also chasing success in the Gr.1 $200,000 John Gibson Memorial New South Wales Oaks with classy filly Fame Assured looming as a solid chance following her qualifying victory last week. Like Colt Thirty One, Fame Assured (1:54.8) rated a much quicker time in comparison to fellow heat winners in Shez All Rock and Imprincessgemma. “All credit belongs to Grant, to win a heat of the Derby and the Oaks is a special achievement, he just keeps creating records. We’ve always held this filly in high regard and she has continued to improve which is particularly exciting,” Seymour stated. “At the start of the season, I thought this filly could do as big a job as the colt and she’s got an excellent chance of claiming her first feature. It would be an unbelievable feeling to win both classics.” Fame Assured is rated a $4.20 chance with UBET and will carry saddlecloth number four in the 2400m fillies feature. Queensland trained fillies that have won the New South Wales Oaks include Courageous Annie (2011), Don’t Fall For Me (2008) and Armada Miss (1991). Chris Barsby

Grant Dixon might have one hand on the 2018 NSW Derby with the exciting Colt Thirty One, but the champion Queensland trainer knows his opponents will be lining up to loosen the grip in Saturday night’s harness racing final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Dixon had a night to remember in Sydney after he booked his chance at a second derby victory with Colt Thirty one in the space of a month, before earning a spot in the NSW Oaks with Fame Assured. Colt Thirty One was rated a $1.90 with UBET after he drew barrier one at Monday’s draw, which following a stunning all-the-way win in Heat 3 at the weekend. There, he was able to hold off the Jess Tubbs-prepared Little Peanut and odds-on pop The Devils Own (NZ) to record a seemingly comfortable 2.8m win. “He knew he’d been around but he hit the line really nicely,” Dixon said. “He has always been a good eater and he has pulled up well.” Double Derby glory now seems well within reach for the Kevin and Kay Seymour-owned pacer, after he claimed a thrilling come-from-behind win in January’s $200,000 Victoria Derby at Melton. “Derbies are particularly hard to win,” Dixon said. “He had a bad draw (in Melbourne) but they went hard early and he was able to finish over the top. This weekend (from barrier 1) the shoe will be on the other foot.” The three-year-old by Mach Three out of the once-raced mare Charm Personified has built an ultra-impressive record since his last-to-first debut win at Albion Park in February 2017. In 17 starts the colt has been unplaced just twice. However, it was his 20m demolition job of some smart rivals in the Group 1 QBRED Triad at Albion Park in July last year that really got tongues wagging. “Even when he was being broken in they had a massive opinion of him,” Dixon said. Dixon said Fame Assured, currently rated a $4 chance to win the Oaks with UBET, had really pleased him this time in. “She’s really stepped up since her two-year-old campaign,” he said. Fame Assured has seven wins and one placing from nine starts and will be out to secure her first Group 1 victory after running a narrow second to Arts Treasure in the QBRED 2YO Triad (Fillies) in July. “I think we have two genuine chances going into this weekend,” Dixon said.  Alex Nolan

These are the barrier draws for the Big 4 harness racing Group One races at Club Menangle on Saturday night, 24th February. $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile 1: Tiger Tara by Bettor's Delight 2: Atomic Red (2Em) by Rocknroll Hanover 3: Anything For Love by Rock N Roll Heaven 4: My Field Marshal by Art Major 5: Jilliby Kung Fu by Four Stazzz Shark 6: Soho Tribeca by American Ideal 7: Lennytheshark by Four Starzzz Shark 8: Charlaval by Four Starzzz Shark 9: Let It Ride (1Em) by Rock N Roll Heaven 10: Lazarus by Bettor's Delight   Macarthur Square Ladyship Mile 1: Rocker Band by Rocknroll Hanover 2: Ameretto by Million Dollar Cam 3: Partyon by Bettor's Delight 4: Our Golden Goddess by Art Major 5: Ima Mystery Girl (1Em) by Village Jasper 6: Carlas Pixel by Courage Under Fire 7: Miss Riviera Belle by Bettor's Delight 8: My Rona Gold by Klondike Kid 9: A Piccadilly Princess by Bettor's Delight 10: Berisari (2Em) by Safari 11: Delishka by Bettor's Delight 12: Shakahari by Courage Under Fire   John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks 1: Redbank Addi (1Em) by Rock N Roll Heaven 2: Imprincessgemma by Village Jolt 3: Ideal Pleasure by Bettor's Delight 4: Fame Assured by Mach Three 5: Shez All Rock by Rock N Roll Heaven 6: War Dan Bad Girl by Bettor's Delight 7: My Sweetchilliphilly by Betterthancheddar 8: Nostra Villa by Art Major 9: Callmequeenbee by Shadow Play 10: Macey jayde by Shadow Play 11: Soho Burning Love by Auckland Reactor 12: Prophesy (2Em) by Somebeachsomewhere   APG NSW Derby 1: Colt Thirty One by Mach Three 2: Major Times by Art Major 3: Divine State (1Em) by Tintin In America 4: Poster Boy by Somebeachsomewhere 5: Maraetai by Somebeachsomewhere 6: Higherthananeagle by Mach Three 7: All U Need Is Faith (2Em) by Art Major 8: The Black Prince by Bettor's Delight 9: Code Bailey by Christian Cullen 10: Tam Major by Art Major 11: The Devils Own by Art Major 12: Little Peanut by Blissfull Hall For further information contact Club Menangle Racing Manager David Wonson (02) 4645 2200 *Em = Emergency Mandy Madern

Sydney's greatest harness racing spectacle was thrown wide open by a crazy qualifying night at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday, leaving plenty of questions over next Saturday's $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile. Both Australasia's best pacer Lazarus and defending Mile champion Lennytheshark were beaten in their $100,000 preludes, needing the discretion of the New South Wales Harness Racing Club committee to secure their Mile invites. The early second favourite for Mile in Heaven Rocks didn't qualify at all while Hunter Cup runner-up Soho Tribeca was beaten by Anything For Love in the 1:48.7 first prelude. The intrigue started when Anything For Love led as Team Tritton suggested he would and held out Soho Tribeca by a nose, with bolter Charlaval third in the first prelude, the $100,000 Allied Express Transport Sprint. All three got invites to the Miracle Mile, as did Lennytheshark who finished fifth, with club officials saying the champion pacer's career record as well as his status as defending champion aiding his cause. But the biggest shock of the night came when Lazarus struggled bravely into third in the $100,000 Canadian Club Sprint won by local hero Tiger Tara over My Field Marshal. Tiger Tara was expertly driven by Todd McCarthy early to keep Lazarus in a pocket and press on to the lead and he was never extended to win in a far slower 1:51.5, with My Field Marshal storming home from the tail of the field for second. Lazarus was clearly below his best and looked gone at the 400m mark but picked himself up to finish third, giving a huge scare to one TAB punter who had bet $50,000 a place on him at $1.04. His trainer-driver Mark Purdon said the Inter Dominion champion was below his best after a slight blood complaint during the week, which his vet had informed stewards of. "I thought he was over it but the way the race panned out and him having to race parked after being crossed it affected him," said Purdon. "So we have a week to get him right and I am just glad he gets into the Mile." The NSWHRC directors said they found the final field decision relatively straight forward, with the first three home in both preludes joined by the defending champion and last Saturday's Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu. The all-important draw for the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile will be held at Club Menangle around 1.30pm on Sunday. The field field for the great race is.-- Anything For Love, Soho Tribeca, Charlaval, Tiger Tara, My Field Marshal, Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Jilliby Kung Fu. Emergencies: Let It Ride, Atomic Red. Anything For Love Tiger Tara Mandy Madern

Harness racing trainer Emma Stewart is set to dominate the $200,000 APG New South Wales Derby after qualifying four for next Saturday's classic at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Victorian trainer won two of the heats on Saturday night with Maraetai in the opening heat and hot favourite Poster Boy in the second, the latter beating his own stablemate Major Times. Stewart snuck her fourth contender into the classic when Tam Major was the fastest fourth placegetter of the three heats, joining the nine automatic qualifiers who finished placed in the three heats. He was fourth to Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One, who led throughout in the final heat. "It is a special thrill to qualify four for the Derby, it is the race the owners want to be in," said Stewart. Stewart says while Poster Boy is her personal favourite, that won't affect champion driver Chris Alford's choice of who he partners in the final after he reined both of Stewart's heat winners. "I don't need to make a decision now so I will probably wait until after the barrier draw," says Alford. The barrier draw for the Derby will be held on Monday morning, with two emergencies to be drawn in the field. The acceptors for the Derby are: Code Bailey, Colt Thirty One, Higherthananeagle, Little Peanut, Major Times, Maraetai, Poster Boy, Tam Major, The Black Prince, The Devils Own. Emergencies: Divine State, All U Need Is Faith. Derby Heat 1 Derby Heat 2 Derby Heat 3 Mandy Madern

The barrier draw is set to be crucial to the outcome on this year’s $200,000 New South Wales Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Because the three preludes at NSW’s home of harness racing didn’t throw up a definitive favourite in what shapes as one of the strongest Oaks fields in a decade. Queensland visitor Fame Assured might be the pre-draw favourite after sustaining  a sudden mid-race surge to claim the lead down the back straight to win like a high class filly in the last of Saturday night’s heats. It was the second win for the night for her trainer-driver Grant Dixon after he also won a NSW Derby heat with Colt Thirty One, giving him a great shot at both classics. Another trainer to taste success in both Oaks and Derby heats was Victoria’s Emma Stewart who won two Derby heats then trained Imprincessgemma to down the luckless Soho Burning Love in the second Oaks heat. The opening heat of the Oaks went to young trainer Mark Pitt, who also drove Shez All Rock to a stunning victory. With so many of the 10 starters for the final impressing both bookies and punters will be eagerly awaiting the barrier draw on Monday morning to shed some more light on the 2400m classic. The field for the NSW Oaks is.-- Callmequeenbee, Fame Assured, Ideal Pleasure, Imprincessgemma, Macey Jayde, My Sweetchillyphilly, Nostra Villa, Shez All Rock, Soho Burning Love, War Dan Bad Girl. Emergencies: Redbank Addi, Prophesy. Mandy Madern New South Wales Oaks Heat 1 New South Wales Oaks Heat 2 New South Wales Oaks Heat 3    

Mark Purdon isn’t expecting his rivals to simply give champion pacer Lazarus his $100,000 Miracle Mile prelude at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. But he would also still be surprised if his harness racing superstar was beaten. Lazarus is rated a $1.20 chance after drawing the ace in the second of the two preludes which will decide the remaining seven invitations to next Saturday’s $750,000 Mile. After dominant wins in the Inter Dominion, New Zealand and Hunter Cups this summer, Lazarus should win again but Purdon has resigned himself to his rival drivers generally making it tactically tricky for the five-year-old. And with Lazarus not blessed with the same blazing gate speed of some of his Australian rivals, Saturday night’s mile may not simply be a case of lead and win. “Obviously I’d love to be in front from the draw but they can leave the gate very quickly here in Sydney so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of them have a look,” says Purdon. “I think we should be able to hold Tiger Tara, who we have seen quite a bit of this summer, but a horse like Mach Doro could come off hard. “But if we get crossed I think they will have to go so fast to do it we can come off the markers straight away.” Considering Lazarus has sat parked in his two biggest Australian wins this season, he should be able to do so again if needed. Purdon will be in for a very different experience with Heaven Rocks in the first prelude where he could settle near last in a race Soho Tribeca should be able to control either in front or parked, making him the best bet. Saturday night’s meeting also sees heats of the NSW Oaks and Derby, with the barrier draw for the Miracle Mile to be held on Sunday around 1pm.  Michael Guerin

Two absolute superstars of harness racing have joined the field for the prestigious Lexus of Macarthur Lady Drivers' Invitational Race at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Miracle Mile night, Saturday, February 24. Natalie Rasmussen and Kerryn Manning will be driving in this annual event, which has a history of showcasing the best lady drivers from all around Australasia. Many of the stars are based in New South Wales these days, which gives the locals a great chance of matching their skills with two of the most decorated women drivers the sport has ever had. Club Menangle and Lexus of Macarthur today announced the field for this year's race would consist of: Amanda Turnbull Lauren Tritton Ashlee Grives Martelle Maguire Ellen Rixon KerryAnn Turner Angela Hedges Emma Turnbull Kerryn Manning Nat Rasmussen While Rasmussen and Manning confirmed their attendance, the NSW-based drivers were selected from last season's premiership, except for Martelle Maguire, who is the reigning champion from last year's feature. Of course, if one of the drivers does have a horse engaged as a trainer, there are three more enthusiastic young drivers waiting to step into the spotlight and take their places. They are: Madi Young, Mckaylar Barnes and Laura Spencer. On a star-studded night's harness racing, featuring the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile and an incredible five more Group One features, the $25,000 Lexus Lady Drivers Invitational will attract plenty of interest as our best women drivers battle for supremacy. Michael Court

An Australasian equal record run of 1:48.8 threw Jilliby Kung Fu right into the mix for the harness racing Ainsworth Miracle Mile in a fortnight following a fabulous win in tonight’s $200,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire. It could be said the race was over in a flash at Tabcorp Park Menangle when this sensational Victorian pacer made light of his wide No 7 barrier and fired off the arm in stunning fashion to burn to the front with the polemarker, second favourite Let It Ride, having no choice but to surrender the front to the barnstorming Jilliby Kung Fu. Yet this was a race that had to be earned and there was no way Amanda Turnbull and Atomic Red were going to hand the race to ‘Jilliby’ on a platter as they were quick to whip up outside the leader and make it a serious staying test. With a first half of 55.6s (quarters of 27.4 and 28.2s) it was certainly no place for the faint-hearted. Yet a third quarter of 26.6 did little to shake off his rivals and it was only in the closing stages that Let It Ride extricated himself from behind the leader and made a three-wide attack on the leader with Atomic Red wilting only slightly into third place after his hard run. But the final split of 26.6 for a closing half of 53.2s told the story as Jilly Kung Fu equalled the track record of 1:48.8 set by Have Faith In Me in the 2016 Miracle Mile, defeating Let It Ride by 1.3m with Atomic Red 7.3m further back in third spot, just ahead of outsider Whittaker . With a run like that there is little doubt Jilliby Kung Fu and his young reinsman Jason Lee have earned their berth against Australasia’s best pacers in the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile to be run on Saturday night, February 24. That decision, according to Jason, is entirely up to ‘mum’, trainer Marg Lee. “Opportunities like this may only come along once in a lifetime and if it is up to me and the horse pulls up OK, we’d be taking that invitation for sure,” he said. “The son of Four Starzzz Shark has matured so much as a four-year-old from the young horse that just refused to run past other horses. Now he’s the full package.” Jilliby Kung Fu 8 9:44pm CORDINA CHICKEN FARMS CHARIOTS OF FIRE (GROUP 1) 1609M $200,000 4YO. RBD. Mobile Final Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 JILLIBY KUNG FU  $120,000   Fr7 9 Margaret Lee Jason Lee   $ 2.10 fav  GS L SWAB   BAY HORSE 4 by FOUR STARZZZ SHARK CA out of SLIP SLOP SLAP (PERFECT ART USA)  Owner(s): Levarg Racing Group  Breeder(s): D J Poole, S B Poole 2 LET IT RIDE NZ  $ 30,000   Fr1 1 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 1.30 $ 3.50   GS D/F$400 UW SWAB 3 ATOMIC RED  $ 20,000   Fr8 10 Steve Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 8.60 $ 5.60   WF FT SWAB 4 WHITTAKER NZ  $ 10,000   Fr3 4 Mark Jones Ashlee Grives 11.20 $ 21.40     5 PAY ME SAM  $ 5,000   Fr5 7 Paul Fitzpatrick Gavin Fitzpatrick 11.80 $ 21.90     6 GOTTA GO YA HU NZ  $ 3,000   Fr10 12 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 13.40 $ 29.10   COTFB RAS 7 ANGEL IN WHITE NZ  $ 3,000   Fr9 11 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Andy McCarthy 17.10 $ 45.50   COTFB RAS 8 CONVICTION  $ 3,000   Fr6 8 Steve Turnbull Mitch Turnbull 18.00 $ 57.60   RAS 9 JOES STAR OF MIA  $ 3,000   Fr2 3 Steve Turnbull Steve Turnbull 19.50 $ 58.60     10 OUR UNCLE SAM  $ 3,000   Fr4 6 Chris Frisby Anthony Frisby 23.40 $ 17.50   (L) Scratchings   COWBOYS N ALIENS NZ 2 OUR TRIPLE PLAY NZ 5 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:48:8 Mile Rate: 1:48:8 First Quarter: 27.4 Second Quarter: 28.2 Third Quarter: 26.6 Fourth Quarter: 26.6 Margins: 1.3m x 7.3m   Michael Court

Star Kiwi mare Delishka led the charge at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight as the three of Australasia's best harness racing mares earned spots in one of Club Menangle's biggest features races. Delishka ($5.80) scored an exciting 1.5m win over fellow New Zealand mare A Piccadilly Princess (Luke McCarthy) with outsider Miss Riviera Belle (Chris Geary) third in a 1:51.1 mile rate. Trainer Brad Mowbray offered the drive to Blake Fitzpatrick in the Group 3 Cordina Family Sibelia Stakes and must have been thrilled with the leading Sydney horseman's effort. Fitzpatrick timed his run to perfection and Mowbray may now find it difficult to hand the drive to anyone else in the $200,000 Ladyship Mile to be run at Menangle on Miracle Mile night, February 24. Club Menangle Racing Manager David Wonson was quick to announce that all three placegetters would now be invited into the Ladyship Mile, joining two other qualifiers from previous feature races run in New Zealand and Victoria. Partyon, which led and compounded to finish last in the Sibelia Stakes tonight had already earned her spot in the Ladyship thanks to an earlier win at Alexandra Park in Auckland while Our Golden Goddess also guaranteed her invitation with an impressive win over Partyon in the Group 1 Alabar Ladyship Club at Melton last month. That gave Club Menangle five certain starters with at least three more to be decided next week when the club hosts the $40,800 Group 3 Garrards Robin Dundee Stakes. The end result will make it one of the most exciting features of Miracle Mile night with all the top mares likely to be there for what is bound to be a stunning clash of some mighty mares. Delishka 5 8:20pm CORDINA FAMILY SIBELIA STAKES (GROUP 3) 1609M $40,800 Mares. RBD. Mobile Final Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 DELISHKA NZ  $ 24,000   Fr1 1 Brad Mowbray Blake Fitzpatrick   $ 5.80   DFTR GM SWAB   BAY MARE 4 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of BALISHKA (NZ) (BADLANDS HANOVER USA)  Owner(s): J G Knight, M J Mowbray, B K Mowbray  Breeder(s): E W Knight, B K Mowbray 2 A PICCADILLY PRINCESS NZ  $ 6,000   Fr3 3 Mark Purdon Luke McCarthy 1.50 $ 2.50 fav  PRBT 3 MISS RIVIERA BELLE NZ  $ 4,000   Fr5 5 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Chris Geary 2.70 $ 41.90     4 MY RONA GOLD NZ  $ 2,000   Fr4 4 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 4.80 $ 4.80   GS 5 IMA MYSTERY GIRL  $ 800   Fr7 8 Jarrod Alchin Jarrod Alchin 5.00 $ 72.50   PRBT COTFB RAS 6 EYE SEE DIAMONDS  $ 800   Fr6 7 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 5.40 $ 23.30   RRSU RES HU QDT 7 MY LUCKY BELLE NZ  $ 800   Fr9 10 Ashlee Grives Ashlee Grives 5.90 $ 117.20   RAS 8 CULINARY DELIGHT NZ  $ 800   Fr8 9 Mark Callaghan Todd McCarthy 9.80 $ 58.60   RES 9 ROCKER BAND NZ  $ 800   Fr10 11 Mark Jones Anthony Butt 10.00 $ 85.40   HOSU HOAS WI RAS 10 PARTYON NZ  $ 800   Fr2 2 Mark Purdon Andy McCarthy 11.20 $ 3.50   GS L QUER VXAR NAR (L) Scratchings   BETTORTHANSPECIAL 6 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:51:1 Mile Rate: 1:51:1 First Quarter: 26.6 Second Quarter: 29.3 Third Quarter: 27.8 Fourth Quarter: 27.4 Margins: 1.5m x 1.2m   Mandy Madern  

Raging Bull's first winner is now his first Group Race winner. Bare Knuckle put a month's worth of unlucky runs behind her when she made her Australian harness racing debut a winning one at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Sent out favourite in the #30,000 J L Raith Memorial, Bare Knuckle won the Group 3 mile event in quite sensational fashion because she paced roughly for a brief period at the start and gave away any advantage she'd had by drawing three behind the mobile. Settling last of the eight-horse field after that, Bare Knuckle remained there until well inside the 600m point when Natalie Rasmussen pulled off a piece of pure driving genius - shooting up the inside to a position three-deep, then using the camber of the final bend to come through between her rivals swinging for home. It meant Bare Knuckle was quickly into a position to pounce from, and that she did, steaming home centre track to win the event 'going away' by nearly four metres. With the four sectionals of the mile zipping by in 26.9, 29.5, 27.6 and 27.5, Bare Knuckle stopped the clock at a sizzling 1:51.5 - but with how much of a start she was giving her rivals as the halfway point came and went, Bare Knuckle must've also paced her final 800 metres in close to 54 seconds to get home. It was an emphatic example of the Raging Bull filly's sheer speed, something which Rasmussen and co-trainer Mark Purdon have always rated about her. Bare Knuckle's 1:51.5 mile was just two-tenths of a second outside the fastest mile recorded by a 3-year-old filly on Australian soil, an honour which just happens to belong to her illustrious stablemate Partyon who achieved the accolade in the exact same event last season.

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