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When Jess Prior won the J.C Caffyn Plate driving the Blake Fitzpatrick-trained Cilantro at Tabcorp Park Menangle earlier this month, the 25-year-old reinswoman enjoyed the biggest win of her career. Not only was the victory her first drive on the 1400 metre track but in winning the feature Prior became the first female driver to win the J.C Caffyn Plate (formerly known as the Michael Brown Planning Strategies Indigenous Drivers Invitational.) Race sponsor Michael Brown took the opportunity to visit the Blayney Carnival Of Cups meeting on Sunday to make a special presentation to Prior. "I think Jess was a little bit surprised with the special presentation at Blayney but she deserved it and what made it even more special was that there were some family members in attendance too," Brown said. "I got the opportunity to present the previous winners of the Indigenous Drivers Invitational with their respective J.C Caffyn Plates the day Jess won it but obviously it was going to take some time to get the plate for Jess engraved with her name." Brown is keen to see the J.C Caffyn Plate grow annually and will continue to support the race into the future. "Going back a few years I remember talking with John Dumesny who was the boss of Menangle at the time and we discussed the idea of creating a race that could get bigger and bigger. "A race like the Miracle Mile was born and grew from an idea and while the J.C Caffyn Plate is never going to rival the Miracle Mile I would like to see this race become an event that Indigenous Drivers can set their sights and aim at." Prior is keen to defend her title next year and is looking forward to the opportunity. "I told Michael I want to be part of it again next year, it was a big thrill to win it this year and it is something that I will never forget," Prior said. "It was great to be involved in the race and to receive a framed J.C Caffyn Plate is something that I will treasure forever." Greg Hayes

Interstate trips for Caesars Folly have been few and far between. In fact, the talented Queensland harness racing pacer has only chased rich purses south of the border on two previous occasions, both trips made to Melbourne chasing the Australasian Breeders Crown. While he performed well on each trip, he didn’t win the major prize. But the husband and wife combination of Scott Miller and Shannon Price are looking to right that wrong this weekend. Caesars Folly makes his Sydney debut on Saturday night in the Gr.3 $31,800 SEW Eurodrive Open Class at Tabcorp Park Menangle. “He’s battled some injuries and setbacks since his last interstate trip but he deserving of this trip because his current form is first class and this race fits his schedule perfectly. We’re hoping to win this race and then return home to tackle both the Lord Mayors and Christmas Cups at Albion Park next month.” Co-trainer Miller said. The Christian Cullen – Lillian gelding has returned in excellent form this campaign including a narrow defeat in the Grand Circuit opener at Albion Park last month when runner-up to Our Hi Jinx in the Queensland Pacing Championship. Last week, he flashed late when second behind Mach Alert in a time of 1:52.9 while the final 800m was covered in 54.8 seconds. “We’re thrilled with the way he’s returned this campaign; he badly needed the run first-up in the Gold Coast Cup behind Bling It On in track record time while he past two efforts have been really encouraging. We think he’s back to his very best form, he’s a very talented horse and he’s capable of racing against the best opposition. “We think the style of racing at Menangle will suit his racing pattern and you would expect a bit of pressure early in this race looking at the field. The draw looks fair on paper but hopefully we can land a good spot and be close to the action before unleashing his sprint at the finish, he’s handled the road trip really well and settled in nicely at Blake’s (Fitzpatrick) property. “The open class features back home next month will be his next assignment, the Lord Mayors and Christmas Cups but this race came up at the right time so we’re giving it a shot. Having a driver like James Rattray engaged is good because he knows the local form as well as anybody and we think his style will suit Tiny (Caesars Folly).” The $25,000 Lord Mayors Cup is scheduled for December 12 while the $25,000 Christmas is the following week, both are Listed features. The hit/run missions to Sydney have proven fruitful for the Logan Reserve couple in recent times including victories with the likes of American Legend and Chevals Clivesdale quickly coming to mind. by Chris Barsby

Reinsman Luke McCarthy brought up a career milestone on Saturday evening at Tabcorp Park Menangle when he drove his 2000th Australian winner. McCarthy arrived at the track needing two winners to reach the target and after driving a double in the first two races joined a small and select group of Australian drivers to achieve the feat. McCarthy drove his first winner on March 5th 1999 at Redcliffe when Castle Belles scrambled in by a nose and has gone onto drive in 9729 races. "To drive 2000 winners is something you don't think about, you keep working and hope the wins keep coming but I've been lucky enough to have been a part of some very good stables," McCarthy said. "It was great to bring up my 2000th winner in Australia at Menangle, it is the best track in Australasia hands down, the racing is so competitive, it is a good place to race." After driving a treble at Menangle on Saturday night, McCarthy finished the night sitting on 2001 Australian winners with a further 2518 placings. he horses he has driven during his career have won more than $20 million and at the age of 33, McCarthy is set to be involved for decades to come. It took McCarthy 6092 days to record 2000 wins, so at that rate he will record his 4000th winner in July 2032 which will see McCarthy aged 49. "My most memorable win in Australia would be the Victoria Cup with For A Reason, we'd had him since he was a yearling, he was a top three year old that won four derbies but then he broke down and went off to stud for two years. "To get him back after that long to come out and win a race like the Victoria Cup was the biggest thrill for me." McCarthy's association with For A Reason is not over despite the stallion heading to the stables of Greg and Skye Bond for the upcoming Inter Dominion in Western Australia. McCarthy is set to reunite with the stallion as his driver. "Yes I'm going over to drive For A Reason and Our Hi Jinx in the heats of the Inter Dominion, hopefully they can make the final, it will be nice to be part of the final." Greg Hayes

When former New Zealand trained mare Arms Of An Angel recorded a mile rate of 1:50.7 winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon, harness racing trainer Shane Tritton contemplated taking the daughter of Elsu to Western Australia. Tritton will fly out to Perth with Inter Dominion entrants Mach Beauty and Easy On The Eye later this month and considered putting her on the plane also to compete in the feature mares races being run at Gloucester Park during the carnival. After discussing the decision with majority owner Zac Cornell, Arms Of An Angel will remain in New South Wales and will continue to race through her grades. "We had a good long think about taking her to Perth but I think it is in the best interests of the mare that she remains at home and continues to work her way through the grades," Tritton said. "She has obvious ability but she is a handful and still has a lot to learn so I'd like to see her race through to metropolitan company and if she warrants a crack at qualifying for the Ladyship Mile then that is what her target will be." Arms Of An Angel raced 23 times in New Zealand for two victories and Tritton admitted he was surprised at the improvement the mare has shown since arriving. "This is all on Zac, he is the best judge of a horse I know, he found her in New Zealand and flew himself over to drive her then made an offer to buy her. "He didn't pay a lot for her in relation to what some people pay for horses from New Zealand but he has a tremendous eye for a horse, he purchased Mach Beauty and Suave Stuey Lombo after watching them and they are probably the best two horses I've had in my stable." Tritton spent the early part of this week in Perth exploring different training facilities for the upcoming Inter Dominion. "The horses will be stabled at Gary Hall's property, the set-up is very similar to what the horses have at home right down to the track where they will work. "I'm really excited by the Inter Dominion, Mach Beauty was brave on Saturday night at Menangle and I think he has proved that he is getting back to somewhere near his best." Mach Beauty and Easy On The Eye are scheduled to start in Friday week's group two Smoken Up Sprint at Melton before flying to Western Australia two days later. "I'm looking forward to it, I'll spend most of my time in Perth during the Inter Dominion while Lauren (Panella driver) will fly back and forth so she is going to earn plenty of frequent flyers points that's for sure. Greg Hayes

Former 2YO Breeders Crown champion Flightpath could be set for a shock return to the racetrack after he returned in a trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday. Flightpath was sent to stud after winning nearly $300,000 in a 36-start career but owner Wayne Honan has decided to give the son of Artsplace another chance at harness racing at the grand old age of eleven. Honan was pleased with Flightpath's performance in the trial after finishing second behind Glenferrie Hood and will reassess his options later in the week. "I was happy with his performance, it was his first major sprint up since being back in work so I will take him home for a couple of days and see how he handled it," Honan said. "If he doesn't make it back then I'm comfortable with that, I had the property on the market and was unsure where to stand him so I thought I would give him a chance to race again." Honan is confident he will attract mares if he returns to stallion duties next season. "He'll get mares if he returns to stud but I'm interested to see how he copes, he has to learn to back off again because he got pretty fired up behind the mobile in the trial but his zest for racing seemed to be there, I guess time will tell. "I took him to the Eugowra Show and I think he went 2:04 there so it didn't really give me any guide where he was at but they went 1:54.8 in the trial and he hasn't done any speed work so I'd expect him to improve off that." After spending several seasons at stud, Flightpath could be excused for carrying extra condition early on in his preparation but Honan is happy with his condition. "He's not too bad, there is a little bit extra there but to look at him he looks pretty athletic for a horse of his age." Flightpath's dam Express Post finished second in the Bathurst Gold Tiara behind Yeronga Songbird and produced two other foals, Petousa and For Dear Life. Some of the 34 winners Flightpath has sired include Alphitonia, Tulhurst Sarsha, Flytomo, Quagmire and Flight Express. Greg Hayes

Two more harness racing drivers will qualify for the Michael Brown Planning Strategies Indigenous Drivers Invitation at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday November 1 after the Wagga meeting this Saturday night. Eight indigenous drivers will compete this weekend with the first two drivers past the post joining reinsmen Andrew Lincoln and James Sutton after they secured invitations in a similar event at Dubbo last month. The $10,000 race on Sunday November 1 will be part of the Fisher's Ghost Meeting and will be for horses assessed C1 to C3. With four drivers qualifying from the Dubbo and Wagga events, the remaining indigenous drivers will be selected by the NSWHRC. The eight drivers competing this Saturday night at Wagga are; Jeff Brown Danny Gibson Jess Prior Royce Gregory-Jack Scott Gregory Bruce O'Brien Mckayler Barnes Nathan Giles Greg Hayes

Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rex Horne has announced a number of significant changes for next year's Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge series. The Breeders Challenge was introduced in 2008 and has grown exponentially with eligible horses competing in heats across the state before travelling to Tabcorp Park Menangle for the Semi Finals and Finals. A number of prize money increases will be well received by the industry with Mr Horne confirming the Breeders Challenge Three Year Old Finals will receive a boost for the first time since being introduced. "The NSW Breeders Challenge Three Year Old Finals will be increased to $150,000, however the Board has ensured the prize money increases are spread further across the series," Mr Horne said. "The Breeders Challenge Regional Finals will also receive an increase and will now be worth $30,000, guaranteeing group three status." With nearly $1.5 million distributed during the Breeders Challenge series in 2015, Mr Horne says the increases should give breeders and owners confidence HRNSW is committed to seeing the local breeding industry continue to thrive. "The Board understands how important the strength of local breeding is to the overall industry therefore it is important HRNSW continues to entice owners to buy locally bred horses. "After consultation with key stakeholders the Board has increased prize money in a number of areas and will also help locally bred trotters by ensuring only NSW Breeders Challenge horses can compete." The full list of changes to the 2016 Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge: Breeders Challenge Three Year Old Finals to increase to $150,000 All Regional Finals to be boosted to $30,000 which will see them run at group three level The Four Year Old Mares Breeders Challenge Semi Finals will increase to $25,000 All Heats, Semi Finals and Finals of the Breeders Challenge will be run over one mile or the nearest distance to a mile at respective tracks. The trotters Finals will be for NSWBC eligible horses only Four Year Old Trotters Prelude and Final to be open to Five Year Old NSWBC eligible trotters Greg Hayes

Harness Racing New South Wales officials will welcome all interested parties to the Menangle Training Centre this Sunday between 11am and 1pm for a tour of the new facility. When completed the new centre will be world class and HRNSW CEO John Dumesny is encouraging anyone interested in having horses stabled at Menangle in the future to come out and have a look at the recent developments. "Sunday will give trainers and owners an early indication of what is out there because once it is finished it will be absolutely brilliant," Mr Dumesny said. "I invite everyone along, there will be a barbeque put on and people only have to stay for half an hour or so to have a look around." HRNSW Board Members will be attendance as will members of the controlling body's Executive. "Reid Sanders, Adam Fairley and I will be on hand to show everyone around the entire setup which will give people a chance to have a look at the new exercise track and one of the barns that has been completed. "Trainers will be able to take the agreement away that with them and see the conditions, HRNSW has worked with the Principal Club to ensure trainers will be able to use the three tracks on the property - the racetrack, the sand track and the new 1000 metres exercise track that has been established." The Construction of a water walker is to commence in December while HRNSW will be calling for Expressions of Interest for the establishment of a produce store, veterinary practice and farrier shop early next year. Greg Hayes

Plans to take Tasmanian-owned pacer Modern Ruler to Queensland for two major races remain unchanged despite the gelding’s shock loss at the harness racing meeting at Menangle last Saturday night. Modern Ruler was attempting to win his fourth Group 3 event in succession on Saturday night but in a small field he was unable to achieve the feat and had to settle for third behind Iam Mr Brightside and Shannonsablast in the Zilco Free For All over 2300 metres. Modern Ruler is trained in NSW by Tasmanian James Rattray and raced on lease by Tasmanians Steve and Marnie Davis who will head to Sydney next week to collect the horse and some travelling companions for the trip to Queensland “We are having Modern Ruler’s bloods done as a precautionary measure but both James and I are confident the race was not run to suit and that is what brought about his downfall on Saturday night, “ Davis said. “We have made plans to take the whole family, kids and all, to Queensland for two weeks so we will fly out next Tuesday and go to James’ stables and float the horse and a couple of stablemates to Queensland.” “We plan to do it in stages so it won’t be too taxing on the horses,” he said. Modern Ruler was sent to Rattray earlier this year after he won a race at Melton in Victoria and after a trial at Goulburn the seven-year-old lined up at Menangle and won by 20 metres which convinced Rattray he had a future. Modern Ruler has won six times from nine starts fo4r Rattray and leading up to last Saturday night’s minor placing he had won four in succession of which three carried Group 3 status. The gelded son of Modern Art will be aimed at the Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park on October 17 and then on to the Group 1 Queensland Pacing Championship a week later. Peter Staples

Interested in what Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman of Stewards Graham Loch thought of last Saturday’s meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle?  Catch up with all of the important information in the new Trots TV segment What the Stewards’ saw.  A full recap of the metropolitan meeting each week will be available and to watch this week’s segment please click here HRNSW CEO John Dumesny presents the CEO Blog every week on Trots TV and this week he discusses the Carnival of Cups Toyota Yaris promotion, the announcements from the state’s principal club NSWHRC regarding midweek prize money and breeding initiatives and also talks about the recent trip to the Riverina made by the Board of HRNSW to meet with different Clubs.  To watch the CEO’s Blog click here News Flash is a new segment introduced this week with HRNSW’s Greg Hayes and Amanda Rando chatting about different news items from around the state.  To watch News Flash click here On Trial is back as Greg Hayes attempts to highlight upcoming winners from the trials across the state.  Each week there are three horses nominated as ones to watch.  To watch On Trial click here     

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) conducted an inquiry yesterday into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that Chlorpheniramine and Desmethyl Chlorpheniramine were detected in the urine sample taken from ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG following race 7, the BULLI HRC NSW TROTTERS DERBY (GROUP 1) (2400 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 30 May 2015. Ms Quinlan appeared at the inquiry and on submission Stewards permitted representation by Mr Hammond, a solicitor.  Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio were presented. Evidence was also taken from Ms Quinlan regarding the training of ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG, her husbandry practices and circumstances leading up to the race.  Mr Hammond provided evidence from veterinarian, Dr Andrew Clarke, on behalf of Ms Quinlan. Ms Quinlan pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG to race not free of a prohibited substance. Ms Quinlan was disqualified for a period of 3 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Ms Quinlan’s 1st offence for a Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s guilty plea;Class 3 Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s unblemished disciplinary record in twenty-five years as a licensed person and other personal subjective facts, including ambassadorial roles. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG was disqualified from the abovementioned race. The race in question 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.

There is just over two months until the Ready2Run Sale on Sunday December 6 at Tabcorp Park Menangle and the catalogue is starting to take shape. Sales Co-ordinator John Coffey has confirmed 42 entries have been received and encouraged potential vendors to contact him within the next fortnight if they are interested in selling a horse at the sale. “A number of the big stallions are represented including Courage Under Fire, Rocknroll Hanover, Art Major, Mach Three, Sportswriter, Bettors Delight, Somebeachsomewhere and Roll With Joe,” Coffey said. “If there is anyone interested in having a horse included in the sale they would need to contact me in the next two weeks because the sale is just around the corner.” With a number of sale graduates performing exceptionally well on the racetrack, Coffey is encouraging buyers to get to Menangle on the first Sunday in December. “Perfectly Written won a group two race at Melton earlier this month and took her career earnings over $30,000 in the process while Iam Mr Brightside won at Menangle two weeks ago in 1:50.8 and has now won more than $175,000. “Other well performed horses include Zee Dana and Nathans Courage, both came out of last year’s sale and I think it shows that if owners are looking for horses that are ready to go to the races then this sale is the place to buy.” The sale has attracted strong sponsorship from Garrard’s Horse & Hound, Wollondilly Equine, Gow-Gates Insurance, IRT, Chips Lett Photography, Coromandel Agistment & Spelling, Alabar Farms and has received great support from HRNSW and the NSWHRC. The NSW Standardbred Owners Association is behind the Ready2Run sale and Treasurer Peter Green is looking forward to the event. “The Association is going to be busy before the end of the year, we’re expecting a big sale and looking at the breeding of some of the horses that have been nominated I know it is going to be successful,” Green said. “We also have our Annual General Meeting and Awards Night on Saturday October 10 and we are looking forward to a big turnout at Menangle that night.” The AGM will start at 5pm while the Awards Night will follow at 6pm. “Both will be held in the Directors’ Lounge at Menangle and the Awards Night is free for all members and their partners. “One lucky member will win a trip for two to Paris and the holiday includes return airfares and accommodation for seven nights.” There will also be an auction on the night with a service to Passmaster Hanover on offer, while a 50% share in a well bred, broken in two year old eligible for the Bathurst Gold Crown and Breeders Challenge, donated by Peter and Marie Neil will also be available. Greg Hayes

The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) has advised HRNSW that Chlorpheniramine and Desmethyl Chlorpheniramine have been detected in the urine sample taken from Illawong Armstrong following race 7, the Bulli HRC NSW Trotters Derby (GROUP 1) (2400 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 30 May 2015.   The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria.   Trainer Ms J. Quinlan has been advised. An Inquiry has been scheduled for 11am on Wednesday 30 September 2015.    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.   Reid Sanders

THE Modern Ruler juggernaut kept rolling last Saturday night with the James Rattray-trained gelding scoring his fourth successive harness racing free-for-all victory on the spacious Menangle track. It was his third Group 3 success in succession and a win that now has Rattray champing at the bit to get the Tasmanian-owned gelding to his first Group 1 assignment. Modern Ruler is raced on lease by Tasmanian harness and thoroughbred trainer Steve Davis and his wife Marnie. He joined the Rattray stable in May and last Saturday night's victory was his sixth from eight starts for the talented Tasmanian mentor who left the state just over two years ago to try and make on the mainland. Last Saturday night Modern Ruler left from gate eight and settled midfield before Rattray circumnavigated the field to cross to the front and he went on to score an emphatic win over Iam Mr Brightside and Spirit and Desire. The gelded son of Modern Art clocked a mile rate of 1.55.4 over the 2300-metres but he has clocked a rate of 1.526 over the flying mile (1609m). Rattray confirmed he will take Modern Ruler to Queensland next month for two races during the Queensland Grand Circuit carnival. "Modern Ruler will head to the $100,000 Gold Coast Cup on October 17 and a week later he'll go to the Group 1 Queensland Pacing Championship ($200,000)," Rattray said. "I am confident he's up to Group 1 level but I hope to know for sure after the QPC," he said. Modern Ruler won his way through to free-for-all grade in Tasmania but after missing a place in the Devonport Cup his Tasmanian owner-trainer Steve Davis took him to Melbourne where at his second start at Melton he won an M0 after which he was sent to Rattray in late May. Modern Ruler Peter Staples  

Our Waikiki Beach has dominated two year old racing in Australia this year and is the clear favourite for NSW 2yo colt/gelding of the year. The son of Somebeachsomewhere won eight races in New South Wales for his New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon including two group one events at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the Australian Pacing Gold Final and the Breeders Challenge. With the horse being trained by Purdon, only the gelding's performances in New South Wales can be considered however his dominance has not been seen since Lombo Pocket Watch racked up 17 wins as a two year old in 2005/06. The other nominations for this year's NSW 2yo colt/gelding of the year are: Bettermatch - Dominated the early season 2yo racing scoring in a blistering 1:55.8 on debut. Also won the Leeton Breeders Plate and produced a huge win at Tabcorp Park Menangle to win in 1:53.6. Born To Rocknroll - Raced 16 times as a two year old and recorded seven victories. Won nearly $175,000 in the season and only had his first start in a race on February 7. Salty Robyn - Performed well in New South Wales and then took on the best in New Zealand representing Australia at the Harness Jewels. Banked more than $60,000 and recorded a season best of 1:53.9 Shadow Runner - Sam Dimarco, his daughter Marissa and Shadow Runner were the stars of the Bathurst Gold Crown carnival. The Shadow Play youngster won four straight early in the season before finishing fourth in the Breeders Challenge. The NSW 2yo of the year award will be presented at the HRNSW Awards Night at Doltone House, Darling Harbour on September 19. For tickets contact Nancy O'Grady on 9722 6600. Greg Hayes

Tintin In America, a harness racing Group winner as a two, three and four-year-old in New Zealand, was represented by his first Group winner from his initial crop when Zee Dana captured the Group 3 $30,600 Garrards Horse and Hound Ready To Run Graduate Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night (August 15). A dominant favourite, the NZ bred youngster began like a rocket from the No 6 gate to assume role from the outset. After a leisurely middle half, Zee Dana peeled off fractions of 27.6 and 27.6 to easily keep his rivals at bay. The mile rate for the 2300 metres was 1:59.3. The win extended the gelding’s record to five starts for four wins and a second for $38,293 in stakes. He holds a mark of 1:57.3. Zee Dana was the fastest triallist at the Ready To Run Trialling Sale last December and changed hands for a super $71,000. Bred by David Kennedy, Zee Dana is out of the winning Dream Away mare Zwish (2:02.4), who left earlier winners in Phil Monty (1:54.6), a winner of nine races in Victoria, and Dana Dawn 2:01.1. He is a member of the noted Black Watch family whose descendants include Arden Rooney, Katy Perry, Reba Lord, Sovereign Hill, Laurella, Alta Christiano and The Unicorn. Tintin In America has already sired five individual two-year-old winners from his first small crop including the South Australian Kindergarten Stakes winner Just Wantano (2:00.7) and the Group placegetters Dame Puissant (1:59.6) and Aussie Vista (2:01.1). Zee Dana By Peter Wharton

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