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Veteran Ararat harness racing trainer Terry Young has been enjoying the highs of the sport in recent years with an enviable streak of success – but he’s also recently experienced the lows first hand.   Young, 77, who puts the polish on classy square-gaiter Deltasun (Tennotrump-Deltasu (Elsu NZ), had a fall at his hometown track and dislocated his collarbone.   “I was working a two-year-old named Premonition and he shied and spun back in the opposite direction,” Young explained.   “I just wasn’t ready for it because it’s just not part of his make-up,” he said.   “So while the horse trotted back to the stabling area to my wife Carol, I was sprawled on the track with my arm twisted up around behind my back.   “I popped the collarbone right out. The doctors put it back okay but told me I’m out of action for at least the next six weeks.   Young said he had already been toying with the idea of giving Deltasun, a winner of 17 races and 15 placings for $225,000, a short let-up.   “When I had the track mishap, that made the decision for me to spell him, and I’ve tossed the other three out for a break as well,” he said.   In just three seasons of racing, Deltasun has stamped himself as one of Victoria’s most consistent square-gaiters, winning seven races at TABcorp Park Melton, including the 3YO Vicbred final.   “He’s never far away, because he’s got outstanding manners and he’s very well gaited,” Young said.   “We have had a fantastic time with him because he’s won two Group One races and a few GroupThrees.”   Terry and Carol were especially thrilled to win the Central Victorian Trotters Championship and then the rich Tontine series early last year.   “Even more so because we aimed him specifically for those two events. It doesn’t happen all that often, when everything just goes right, but it’s great when it does!” Young said.   Deltasun with PT Young, Gavin Lang and Terry and Carol Young (Courtesy Tabcorp Park Racing)   He paid tribute to the stable’s main driver Gavin Lang.   “He’s been a major part in making the horse into a true racehorse. He’s outstanding with young ones and he’s taught me how to look after a good horse,” Young said.   “Just little things, like we never work Deltasun against another horse in trackwork because he just fires up and you can’t hold him.”   Deltasun, driven by Gavin Lang (Courtesy Wimmera Mail Times)   Young was a jockey as a youngster, and a respected one at that, landing country winners as well as a city win at Caulfield in 1956 for Jerry Tye, a Chinese trainer.   “The gallops were always hotly contested, and you know I was never thrown off or injured during the years I was involved. But my weight increased, and I was forced to give away race riding,” he said.   Young moved to Ararat in 1960 to be closer to his parents who lived near Port Fairy.   “Dad was a shearer and neither of them had an interest in horses. I worked as a roustabout in the shearing sheds and rode trackwork as well,” he said.   “And that was how I met Carol at an early morning trackwork session. She had ponies and her father Mick King was one of the first harness racing trainers in Ararat.   “Carol was virtually riding ponies before she could walk, and she could have easily carved out a career as a jockey if females were allowed back then.   “She was an excellent rider and had an uncanny way with horses, and she still does to this day. Along with being a hard worker and great support to me.”   Young was introduced to harness racing by Carol’s father Mick and didn’t take long to adjust. He won at the old Horsham showgrounds at his very first drive on Chalambar.   “The horse was probably classes above them, I think, but the gaps just opened up everywhere I went, and I thought how easy is this?!   “I was soon brought back to earth by the head steward, Mr Rowse who gave me a huge lecture, saying I didn’t display much control. I did admit that I was loose reining, but I’ve never forgotten that spray.”   When his interest in harness racing began to wane, Young opted for a break, turning his interest in the 1980s to running.   “I enjoyed that and was lucky enough to win the veterans event (restricted to runners over 40) at the Stawell Gift,” he said.   But his interest in harness racing became rekindled and Young found himself driving to Peter Manning’s place at Great Western to help out.   “I’ve now probably been doing that for the past 20 years or so and I’ve learnt so much from Peter and the team out there. Peter is always ready to give you a hand or some advice,” he said.   “I used to help work Tennotrumps and he was just a lovely horse. I decided to take our mare Deltasu to him when he stood as a stallion and I’m pretty glad I did because the result was Deltasun!”   Young uses the Manning track most days, trucking his small team out there.   And to add to the family flavor, son Peter (PT as he’s known) attends most meetings with his dad.   A talented jockey, PT was lured to Melbourne by astute trainer Jim Moloney.   “He couldn’t hack it in the city, like a lot of country fellas find out, but he had a successful career around the bush,” Young said.   “I asked him to come to the trots with me one day, and he was a bit undecided. Now he’s nearly the first in the car! He drives to the meetings which suits me perfectly,” he said.   “His wife Alison is right into the breeding and ownership side of it, so between the family we’ve got most parts of the industry covered. An old friend in Terry Cahill is also a breeder.”   Young intends to enjoy his enforced short break, despite counting down the days until he’s back doing what he loves.   “I’m still a bit dirty on myself for getting tipped out and hurt,” he laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Bathurst’s own harness racing “war horse” Beetson showed there’s still life in his 11-year-old legs with an awesome win in the $31,800 Group 3 Wagga Pacers Cup on Sunday afternoon. The remarkable pacer, trained at The Lagoon by Peter Trevor-Jones, scored at the lucrative odds of $41 and, in the process, smashed the track record. “I can honestly say that it’s all a bit of a blur.  I’m just so emotional because we didn’t expect him to do so well against some handy horses,” Trevor-Jones said. “I’ve been ribbed by a few of my mates who told me I should have got dressed up a bit more for the occasion,” he laughed. Beetson (Art Major USA-Erin Jean (Classic Garry) scored by a whisker from $2.40 favorite Courtsinsession (Mitch Turnbull), with a further four metres back to Rykov Leis (Ellen Rixon). Trevor-Jones races the pacer in partnership with Rod and Debbie Wenning and said it was a miracle the horse was back at the racetrack, let alone winning. “His two comeback races prior to the Wagga Cup were quite good, although each occasion he arrived at the right time to poke his big head out and get the win,” he said. “And then sure enough he does exactly that again in the Cup – but gee it was a relief when I saw his saddlecloth number nine go up after the photo finish!” Trophy presentation after the cup Beetson took out the Bathurst Gold Crown nine years ago (as a two-year-old) and has a Canola Cup and Carousel to his name. “If I was a punter, I’d be a rich man. He was 33/1 in the Gold Crown and 40/1 in the Carousel. And I’ve been told a few friends got as much as 100/1 in the Wagga Cup. “Those earlier wins were pretty special, but this is among his biggest wins for sure for me “I’m so proud of him.  It’s just a terrific story that he’s back racing and in super form.” Trevor-Jones said the pacer had a bubble on a tendon as a three-year-old and, realizing he was a horse with loads of ability, didn’t hesitate to give him 12 months off. “When he came back, he won the Canola Cup and there was never an issue with the tendon problem again,” he said. “We raced him here, there and everywhere, winning the $50,000 Carousel in 2014, and last year I thought it would be nice to have him win 40 races in his career. “He was getting close with a couple of wins last March and April at Young and West Wyalong, and then we went to Goulburn and ran second. “He pulled up extremely sore in the back, so we got the vet to check him out. “A tear in a hind suspensory was the diagnosis and the vet recommended a 12-month spell. We thought the injury at the age of 10 would be the end of him, so I took his shoes off and he went to a paddock with some young ones. “We were happy with the decision because he had two Group Two victories to his name.” Trevor-Jones said Beetson had a white foot and it was always getting greasy heel. “I went out and caught him one day to check on it and he was carrying on like a two-year-old, tossing his head around as if to say he wasn’t happy in retirement,” he said. “I rang Rod and told him I was putting shoes back on and we’d see where it took us. He had four weeks jogging and then I worked him against a few of my others who were winning, and the old fella blew them away, without any sign of a back problem. “And then a Bathurst trial win in 1.54 showed us that he still had it. I really didn’t think his old legs could do it. It’s just remarkable.” Trevor-Jones paid tribute to teenage reinsman Cameron Hart who drove a patient race to claim the spoils. “Cameron is a young guy who is going places. He comes from Junee and has pretty good pedigree.  His uncle, Trevor White, is a well-known astute horseman,” he said. “The horses just run for Cameron and we are so pleased he was a big part in the Cup success.” A jubilant Peter Trevor-Jones and driver Cameron Hart after Beetson’s last-stride victory in the Wagga Wagga Pacers Cup Hart settled four back the pegs early, as the leading brigade of Rykos Leis and Courtsinsession set a frenetic pace. With a little over a lap from home, he was able to move off the fence with Beetson into the one-out one-back spot. Turning around the final corner, Hart called upon Beetson for a late challenge and the horse responded nicely, getting there in the last bound to snatch the Cup. The quarters posted were quick— 28.2, 29.6, 27.9 and 28.6. Trevor-Jones admitted “the whole camp had a regroup” yesterday and he hadn’t had a chance to consider what would be next for Beetson. “He’s pulled up brilliantly, eating a big feed so there’s no problem there,” he said. “I really don’t know where he will race next as he certainly threw a massive spanner in the works, but what a pleasant surprise! “I’ll have a close look at things because I’ve spent his whole life trying to place him well.” And that certainly goes without saying as Beetson now has an incredible 42 wins and 63 placings for over $413,000 in stakes. Trevor-Jones has been in harness racing for nearly 40 years.  He learnt the ropes through mentor Ian Mutton, then, as a hobby trainer while he continued working in a Government job, got a group of friends together and bought a yearling. The interest then led to a full-time professional training career.  Trevor-Jones now has a team of nine in work.  Beetson still leads the way, although his half-brother, the talented Ominious Warning, is waiting in the wings to be number one. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Charlton’s Joey Thompson has always been known as a passionate harness racing participant – and now his enthusiasm is spilling over with the building of a $4.2 million multipurpose sport and recreation facility at the town’s trotting headquarters. “This project is going to see a big change in the dynamics at Charlton Park – something that I believe has been missing for a long time,” an excited Thompson, who is club president, said. “From a harness racing point of view, the building being right on the track is going to add heaps more atmosphere and I can only imagine the echo when the bell sounds for a lap to go,” he said. “Fans just enjoy being up close to the action. That’s one thing I’ve noticed when I go to Mildura that being right on the track brings such energy to the racing. “That’s a little something that’s been missing at our meetings I think.” As well as current club president, Thompson is a well-regarded horse breaker and trainer and has been involved in harness racing for nearly 40 years. He is a Charlton person through-and-through, and can barely contain his excitement that electricians, plumbers and builders are now on-site, putting the finishing touches to an impressive-looking complex, with a plan for completion by early July. “We hope to stage our September 29 meeting there so the building will be ‘on show’ for all harness racing people and the community,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be a huge day and it really completes the package for harness racing here at Charlton.” Charlton Harness Racing Club was one of the spearheads for the Multi-Purpose Facility and it’s just one of many major projects this energetic regional club has managed to achieve. In addition to negotiating its 2015 track upgrade, the club successfully established a nearby Charlton Training Complex in 2012.  The community complex is available as a base for local trainers, or those wanting to relocate to the area with tenants having access to individual stabling complexes.  Each has a fully serviced 60 x 30 shed, lock-up harness and feed area, internal yoke up and wash areas, two internal boxes and eight adjoining day yards. They also have unrestricted use of the 820 metre Training Track, 2,000 metre Straight Track and a swimming dam on site. “This puts us in a really good position going forward,” Thompson said. “The new multi-purpose centre is going to take our 12 meetings a year to the next level, which we’re really excited about,” he said. “But there are also eleven tracks within 120 kilometres of Charlton, and they host something like 150 race meetings a year, so the racing opportunities from a base here at Charlton are huge.” As the construction has been underway on the new multi-purpose centre, Charlton meetings have been transferred to Maryborough, and Melton hosted the club’s Pacing Cup. The completed hub will also be home to other sport and recreation clubs with shared administration club rooms for football, netball, hockey, tennis, cricket, golf and fishing as well as the Agricultural and Pastoral Society. It will benefit the whole community with provision of state-of-the-art social and conference facilities with seating for 250 people and event catering, with a commercial kitchen. Thompson said a local fundraising campaign had raised $1.2M from a town of just over 1000 people and the project had been made possible with contributions from the Victorian and Federal Governments, the Buloke Shire, the Charlton and District Community Bank and Harness Racing Victoria.  “Some of the previous buildings on the site were in pretty poor condition being about 70 years old, and they were also badly damaged by floods,” Thompson said. “To be honest they were all disjointed buildings and now they will be all in the one large facility,” he said. “It has been a long time coming.  The community has been working towards this facility for the past 13 years and it’s been an amazing effort.  “There have been some wonderful, big donations and those people are very humble. But that signifies the community spirit of Charlton. Thompson said going forward, he could see increased visitor numbers to the precinct, with an emphasis on RV travelers staying on the nearby river. “Little towns like Charlton live off these people.  This complex will be a great thing for our whole community, so we’re excited and proud that we’re seeing it take shape.” he said. “We are still short of our target to fully complete stage one of the redevelopment, but we’ll get there.” Donations are tax deductible, and people making a donation of $100 or more, can stamp their mark on the building with a $20 purchase of a paver. More information and donations can be made through the Charlton HRC website www.charltonharnessracingclub.com.au Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Stamina and speed were undoubtedly a major factor of former star Kiwi pacer Auckland Reactor’s dominance during his sensational harness racing career – and it’s now emerging through the progeny of the champ. Auckland Reactor sired his 50th individual Australian winner this season at Newcastle last Tuesday night. All up it’s the 87th victory for the “Reactor Factor” (as he was known to rival trainers and fans) for stakes of more than – this is not a misprint – $2.2 million. The pacer notching up the sire’s Oz half century was Stephens Spirit (Auckland Reactor NZ-Big Smiles Please (Grinfromeartoear USA), trained by Clayton Harmey, of Cessnock. “I really like the horse, and he’s only going to get better with more race experience,” Harmey said. “He likes to roll along, particularly with a consistent speed, and he’s got a future,” he said. Stephens Spirit certainly showed his depth, with the three-year-old being pinged out of the gate, then holding off Aspiring Stride (Michael Formosa) and Ultra Bliss (Glenn Bull) at the finish. Harmey said it was fortunate that Stephens Spirit took no harm in a race three days earlier when his driver Will Rixon was dislodged from the sulky. “I actually didn’t see the incident because I was busy with some other horses. But I think Will got tipped out after there was some tightening and locking of wheels. “The clerk of the course was apparently quick to grab our horse so there was no damage done, thankfully. “I gave him the following day off and then bowled him along a bit on the Monday to ensure there weren’t any problems with him.” Harmey said when Stephens Spirit was able to lead at Newcastle and coast along in 28.7, 31.8, 29.5 and 29.4, he thought he would take so catching. “But I wasn’t too sure at the 300-metre mark because he appeared to be under siege. But I was pleased at the way he fought on and held them all off,” he said. Stephens Spirit is the only live foal out of a former handy racemare Big Smile Please, who finished with nine wins and 10 placings for over $37,000. Harmey said before Stephen Sweeney died, he gave some money to his family. “Joel Sweeney and his mum Roslyn bought Big Smile Please. I was training her when she won a heat of the prestigious Inter-City heat at Newcastle, but injuries prevented her from showing her best,” Harmey said. “We all liked Auckland Reactor – we just thought he was an awesome racehorse (winner of his first 17 starts in a row and 24 of his first 27 starts), so it was decided to take Big Smile Please to get in foal to him and the resultant foal was Stephens Spirit.” Harmey said the win was a welcome reward for Joel and Roslyn for their help around the stables. “Joel cleans out all the boxes and helps with feeding up and Roslyn is there to do waters and other jobs,” he said. “Without those two, my life would be hell. They got a big kick out of the win and they deserve it.” Harmey trains at the Cessnock show grounds and despite reducing his numbers to 17 a while ago, there has been a sudden increase in numbers recently, and he’s now back up to a team of 27. He has a large proportion of youngsters, and Harmey has high hopes for a three-year-old Straddie, a winner of two races and five placings from just 10 outings. “He’s a half-brother to millionaire pacer For A Reason (27 wins for $1.1m) so the breeding is certainly there,” he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When harness racing trainer-driver David Murphy and his wife Erin took a young trotter to the sales and it was passed in, they weren’t the slightest disappointed in returning home with it. Murphy, a highly respected trainer-driver based at Ballarat, put a $10,000 reserve on the Yankee Spider-sired filly, but the top bid fell way short, at $6,500. Now the couple are smiling all the way to the bank as Fox Force Five (Yankee Spider-Motu Vee (Yankee Paco) shapes up as a bright prospect for the stable.  Murphy bounced the three-year-old filly to the lead at Ballarat on Tuesday night in the Eureka Lending Group Trot and it was virtually a case of “it’s all over, red rover” from that point. Fox Force Five trotted faultlessly in 33, 32.4, 29 and 28.9 for 2.03-6 (2200m) and won nicely – well, like a warm $1.40 favorite should! Click here for a video replay “I probably didn’t have much to worry about as she felt great and she did it comfortably,” Murphy said. “That was her third win from 17 starts and she is a terrific little earner. I think the worst she has ever finished in her races is fifth spot,” he said. “We are aiming her later on for all the group races. There will be some smart ones in those features, but we won’t be disgraced.” Murphy said he trained Motu Vee, the dam of Yankee Spider, who didn’t make it to the races. “We got her to the trials a few times, but she kept having trouble on the bends.,” he said. “I persevered for a long time because her dam, Motu Avrill was a nine times winner. She won six in New Zealand and then two at Cranbourne and one at Moonee Valley for over $78,000. “When I finally did give up, the owner said he didn’t want her back, so we decided to get her in foal. Yankee Spider was leaving some winners at the time, so that was where she headed.” Murphy was most keen on Fox Force Five when she was being broken in. “I certainly had a bit of an opinion of her, and as a two-year-old, her trials were very good,” he said. “But at the races she would make mistakes which was annoying. But she did show enough ability to keep with them and be up with the best. “Some of those early race starts were at Melton and she was never beaten by huge margins. “After four placings she broke through for a win at Kilmore last August, so we tipped her out. She then got the money when we brought her back to the track at Melton in January and a handful of nice runs led up to the win at Ballarat.” Murphy said he now he is facing a small dilemma regarding the square gaiter. “She is at that awkward growing stage, so we’ll have to sit down and work out if we press on or not,” he said. The Murphy stable has a team of 20 in work at present. Other recent winners include Me Pat Malone (Ballarat) and Ima Showgirl (two wins at Geelong), while some youngsters are bringing smiles of anticipation. “There’s a two-year-old by Village Jolt that goes along okay as well as a couple of others, so things are picking up again,” he said. “We dropped off the pace with a bit of lull there for a while, but the past 18 months have been better, so things are looking up again.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Happy-go-lucky Central Victorian harness racing trainer Tony Berg has every reason to be wearing a bigger smile than usual. Berg, based at Timor West in the Goldfields region, just a stone’s throw from Maryborough, won’t be paying for too many stallion service fees in the near future, thanks to his six-year-old bay mare Rose Cooper (Safari - Eyesign (Stoneridge Scooter USA). “I’m not aiming her specifically for races that carry free service fees, but she’s now won two for us so we’re pretty excited,” Berg said. The latest was at Stawell on Monday afternoon when the mare was driven a treat by Ballarat-based junior driver James Herbertson, who is “going like a house on fire” at the moment. After being eased out of the action at the start from the wide seven alley, Rose Cooper settled at the rear of the field in the Egmont Park Stud Pace for C0 and C1 mares. When $3.20 favorite Real Dutchess (Matt Horsnell) took off three wide with 1100 metres to go, Herbertson wasn’t tempted to follow. In hindsight, it was a great decision as Real Dutchess found itself planted wide for the remainder. Race leaders Aldebaran Jazzi and Power and Torque looked like they had it between them, but the race changed complexion at the 400 metres when fresh horse on-the-scene Rose Cooper launched. Rose Cooper hit the finish line with a 1.8m advantage over Aldebaran Jazzi, with a further six metres back to Abbeydale Road. Berg said the sections of 30.7, 30.1, 30 and 31 (mile rate 1.59-7) suited his horse down to the ground. “With the run she had and the way the race unfolded, she probably should have won quite easily,” he said. “In years gone by, a time of 1.59 was flying, but the reality is, it’s not anymore. The time could be classified as ‘walker’s speed’ these days,  but we got the money and that’s what counts I guess!  “I told our driver James Herbertson to do no work at all in the run...and the rest was up to him. And I must say that it was a great drive; just another gem from James, who is in fine touch.” Berg said Rose Cooper was “a dream horse to train”. “She does everything you ask and hardly wears any gear. Her only hiccup is she sometimes doesn’t have the killer instinct come race days,” he said. Berg, who shifted from Queensland over 30 years ago, is a noted horse breaker and also does pre-race jogging up for a number of stables. “I actually broke in Rose Cooper and she could work the place down. It was then that a mate of mine from Maryborough, Dennis Drury, watched her and decided to buy her,” he said. “We now race her in partnership and there’s been a fair bit of fun.  Apart from wins at Boort and Stawell, she finished fourth at Melton one day at 100/1.” Berg said Drury had enjoyed a fair share of success over the years in the sport. “I remember in the late 80s he had a mare named New York Drive who won 12 races and 14 placings for nearly $50,000.” Following her racing career, New York Drive (New York Motoring-Rothley Meadow (Meadow Vance) produced some well above average performers in Classic Drive (11 wins, 24 places), Big Town Drive (10w, 18p) and lightly raced Danehill Drive (2w, 4p). The Boort victory by Rose Cooper earnt her owners a free service to Hurrikane Kingcole.  They also now have a choice after the Stawell success between Hurrikane Kingcole, Mr Feelgood and Gotta Go Cullect. So while Berg appears to have the breeding side of his operation well in hand (thanks to Rose Cooper), he can now direct his attention to a couple of 3YO colts and two 2YO fillies who are all shaping as bright prospects. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura    

Young Bendigo harness racing reinswoman Michelle Phillips landed her maiden double at the Mildura Pacing Cup Carnival last week -but had to wait two nights to celebrate.   Phillips and her partner, talented horseman Shaun McNaulty, got home from Mildura to their stables at Marong at 3am after the second night of the carnival on Thursday, and, not surprisingly, weren’t in the mood to put their party pants on!   “It sounds crazy, but I suggested to Michelle that we could head back to Mildura for the Cup final on the Saturday night and do some celebrating then!” McNaulty said.   “Michelle decided it was a perfect idea so that’s what we did – and it was a huge night, combined with a few drinks, of course, and the karaoke at the track after the last,” he said.   “We have already booked our accommodation and stabling for the three-night carnival next year!”   The stable double was also momentous for McNaulty, as it was the first time he’d brought his own team to race at Mildura.   “I’d been to the trots there years ago with my brother, and I’d always had an ambition to race during the carnival,” he said.   The McNaulty-Phillips combination landed their winning double in consecutive races, with Gobsmacked (Auckland Reactor-Respected (Art Major) and It’s All Business (Sportswriter USA-In The White House NZ (Presidential Ball USA).   They also ran third in the Mildura Trotters Cup with their consistent square gaiter Fratellino (Monarchy USA-Solar Fire NZ (Yankee Reb USA), the winner being Endsin A Party, driven by Phillips’ boss Chris Svanosio for trainer Brad Stevens.   McNaulty said three-year-old gelding Gobsmacked always had ability, but just wasn’t putting it together.   “He may have just turned the corner now because that’s two wins in his past three starts,” he said.   “I thought the drive was brilliant by Michelle - I’m very proud.”   Phillips comes from a family background with horses, with her grandfather, Max, a Clerk of the Course in Gippsland for many years.   She is a graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre at Warragul and was awarded the inaugural HRV-Community College Gippsland Trots Internship in 2016. The internship gave Phillips 12 months of experience across the industry and in leading stables, which she is now putting into practice.   The runaway win by Its All Business in the 3YO Pace was reward for patience for McNaulty.   “We’ve had our share of problems with him lately, but I have to admit that I’ve got a lot of time for the colt,” he said.   “He showed exceptional ability from day one when he got beaten last season at Bendigo in a 2YO race running a tick over 1.54.   “I would have loved to have contested the Sydney derby with the horse, simply to gain some experience. In hindsight he probably would have been lucky to qualify, but it would have done him the world of good.   “Anyway the timing wasn’t right as he had a bit of a bunged-up knee and I’ve really only just got the swelling down.”   McNaulty has his pair of in-form runners competing at Kilmore on Thursday, while trotter Fratellino will contest the $14,500 Eddie Edison Memorial Trotters Cup at Warragul on Sunday.   “Fratellino is the leader by eight points on the Country Cup Trotters Championship so that’s a big bonus if he could hang and grab that,” McNaulty said.   “We’ll be out there trying our best, that’s for sure!” he said.   But if Fratellino does get the job done, hopefully the pair can find somewhere a little closer to home to celebrate!     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Back in 1971, a single was written and recorded by American musician and actor Jerry Reed that’s been a well-worn catchphrase ever since.   That song was “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”. It provided Reed (1937-2008) with a Grammy in 1972 and it’s become a maxim for card-sharks, punters and athletes.   So our usage of the lyrics won’t come as a surprise in relation to Shepparton superstar pacer San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Gary), known around the stables as “Murray”.   The eight-year-old is ultra-hot at the moment, and connections have indicated they are now headed to the Group Three $35,000 Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup next Sunday afternoon.   San Carlo is described by his reinswoman Bec Bartley as “a once in a lifetime horse”.   He already has a host of cups to his name this season. Last week it was a heat and final of the Mildura Pacing Cup after earlier picking up the Bendigo, Yarra Valley and the Cranbourne Gold Cups during the season.   Long-time Mildura trainer Noel “Lucky” Cameron hosted the San Carlo team during their carnival stay – and got the pre-race “warm up” duties on the cup contender! Bartley said trainer Stephen O’Donoghue, was keen to head to Warragul.   “But the decision hinged on how well the horse pulled up after the Mildura carnival,” she said.   “He didn’t leave a crumb from Sunday night’s tea and the following day was zipping around his paddock full of beans, so the final decision was really pretty easy.”   Bartley said San Carlo was impressive in Saturday’s Mildura Cup, and once he found the lead he relaxed in the race and didn’t knock himself around.   “It was quite the contrary to Tuesday in the qualifying heat when he over-raced and got all wound up,” she said.   That particular event is still being talked about and will be for some time to come. A proud Bartley later described that effort as “probably close to his best performance”.   “If you take the sections into account of 29.3, 29.7, 28.7 and 30.4 for a mile rate of 1.58-5 for 2600 metres on a track just 805m in circumference, it was a monster effort,” she said.   Bec Bartley (Courtesy Cobram Harness Racing Club) San Carlo and Brallos Pass went head and head in a gruelling battle for the final 250 metres with neither “giving an inch”.   San Carlo got the honors after a late dive right on the post.   When you’re hot, you’re hot!   Play it again San Carlo...   Hoofnote: And just for the music buffs who crave a bit of history and context, a little bit more trivia on that 1970s Grammy hit. The song describes an illegal game of craps, in a back alley. The protagonist is on an uncanny winning streak, which ends when a cop arrests all the players and takes the money as evidence. Undeterred, our hero believes his lucky streak will continue and tells the cop: “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”. The third verse describes the court case. The singer is delighted to see the judge is an old fishing buddy, to whom he owes money. But a bribe to pay back the money for a lighter sentence backfires. The judge grins and does the opposite: giving the others small fines, and a 90-day jail sentence for the singer…accompanied by an ironic summation by the Judge: “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”!     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Shepparton harness racing trainer-driver Damian “Damo” Wilson was in two minds this week whether to make the demanding road trip to Yarra Valley – but he was glad he did in the end.   “It’s not a big or long trip, probably about 170 Kms, but a major part of it is winding roads and that sort of stuff, so you have to keep your eyes open,” Wilson said.   But Wilson had the last laugh when bay gelding Winkn Nod (Grinfromeartoear-Mull of Kintire (Chandon) impressively took out the Hargreaves Hill Brewery Pace.   Winkn Nod was ignored in betting starting a 20/1 chance. He scored from the Jayne Davies-trained pair Betterman Stride ($2 fav) and British General ($49 chance). The mile rate posted by the winner of 1.55-5 was just 1.4 seconds outside the track record.   “He has turned out to be a good money-spinner for the owners, who are Norm and Joan Visca from Moama,” Wilson said.   Norm Visca       Cobram Harness Racing Club photos   “I reckon I’ve given him 11 starts for two wins and eight placings – the other start he was unplaced after having absolutely no luck at all one day at Cobram,” he said.   “It would be great to have a few more like Winkn Nod because he just gets out there and tries his heart out.”   Wilson said the enthusiastic Viscas were “good people with an unbelievable love for harness racing”.   “They never miss a meeting when I’m racing a horse they own, which is great. And the way they support the industry is really good,” he said.   “Norm has been around horses for years. He usually breeds a few, but, also, if he sees a horse he likes he’ll buy it.   “You would go a long way to find people with more passion than the Viscas, that’s for sure.”   Starting from the outside of the front row, Wilson eased Winkn Nod back at the start. He popped into the one-out, two-back spot, but after a few forward moves by some of his rivals, he was again near last at the bell.   “I wasn’t overly-concerned because they’d set a solid pace up front (quarters of 29.9 and 29.5 for a first half of 57.4) and that suited me. I thought I would have something left in the tank because we hadn’t done much in the run,” Wilson said.   And his assessment was spot on as Winkn Nod worked stylishly around the field down the back straight. The gelding joined Betterman Stride on straightening and the two settled down to a ding- dong battle.   Winkn Nod did best, by a narrow margin, to the cheers of lucky punters who collected $20.90 for a win ticket on the TAB.   View the race replay here   Wilson, who trains on a 50-acre property at Byrneside, near Shepparton, has a team of 10 horses in work.   “I’ve got another racehorse in Miss McManus, who’s also owned by Norm and Joan. She was pretty consistent late last year and early this year,” he said.   “We had two wins and seven placings, but her last few have been a bit below par. They also have a three-year-old and a trotter so hopefully there will be a lot more trips to the races for them.”   Wilson said his trip to Yarra Valley was a rare occurrence.   “I haven’t taken a horse there ever since I’ve had my place at Byrneside, and that’s over two-and-a- half years,” he said.   “I probably shouldn’t leave it that long until my next visit, because the hard drive home didn’t worry me one bit after the win!”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Hard-working Bendigo harness racing freelance driver Neil “Pecker” McCallum has reason to be proud of an impressive record as a motorist criss-crossing the State to compete at meetings. Despite travelling around 100,000 kilometres annually for the past 25 years McCallum had managed to avoid accidents or incidents on country roads or metropolitan highways. But that was until last Sunday week. McCallum suffered a broken back after tangling with a kangaroo while driving at about 8.10 am between his home at Lockwood, on the outskirts of Bendigo, to Maryborough. “I was just poking along the Maldon to Maryborough Road near Baringhup, when a kangaroo came out from near some big rocks at the top of a hill and cleaned me up,” McCallum said. “It was on a Sunday and it’s been a ritual of mine for a long time to go to Maryborough trials,” he said. “There was some light mist about, but that didn’t really matter.  I just reckon the ‘roo was headed somewhere in a big hurry.” McCallum said the front of his 2012 Ford utility was close to destroyed and there was damage to the windscreen and other sections of the vehicle. “I hit the roo and thought I was going to be okay and pull over, but as I shifted over to the edge of the road, my left wheel caught on some rocks and just dragged me in,” he said. “I flew up in the air and bounced around over all the boulders. They caused huge damage to the diff and smashed up underneath the ute. “When we came to rest, I couldn’t get the door open, but I crawled around and found my mobile phone to ring the police and ambulance.” McCallum was wrapped in an ice blanket at the scene before being transferred to Bendigo Hospital after complaining of severe back pain. “I was dosed up with a fair amount of pain killers and sent to Melbourne where I spent the night in hospital. There was barely a mark on my back, but the damage was inside,” he said. “Doctors found that I had broken my T12 vertebrae straight through, so that meant having an operation where two six-inch bolts and eight two-inch rods were inserted around it to keep the vertebrae in line. “I ended up with about a 14-inch cut down my back which they then had to sew up from the inside. Scars left from Neil’s surgery “I think the idea behind that is to fuse up my back and it’s also designed so that when I move, everything shifts in one big block.” While the popular reinsman is out of action at present, he certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humor saying he had a lot of swelling and was “feeling a bit like a humpback whale”. McCallum is now able to stand, but walking is more like a shuffle. “Not that I try to stand a lot because it absolutely kills me to then try and straighten up,” he said. “I’ve got a special bed to help me to rest up, so most of my day is lying about watching television. “I don’t think I’ve ever watched more harness racing meetings than what I have in the past eight or nine days!” On the day of the accident, after driving at the Maryborough trials, McCallum had planned to head to the Horsham Cup meeting where he was engaged to drive talented trotter The Penny Drops, for Ray Harvey, of Stawell. And the three-year-old flying machine, with late call-up driver Grant Campbell aboard, took out the Cheeky Fox Trotters Handicap at a short $1.80 favorite. McCallum had previously driven the horse to four wins and a placing from nine starts. Neil McCallum in action on The Penny Drops in January McCallum said when he was in Bendigo Hospital, he remembers his wife Leanne showing him the race involving The Penny Drops on her phone. “I was in-and-out of it a bit, but I do remember waking up just to see The Penny Drops go over the finish line and win. He’s a classy horse who has made two Group One finals.” McCallum said he hadn’t thought about when he might get back into the action on the harness racing scene. “It could be two months, or it might be six months. Of course, I’m missing it, but more importantly I’ve got to get myself right,” he said. “I know a bit about back problems because I’ve had a few over time. I reckon I’ll be seeing a physio regularly and it’s back to Melbourne in four weeks for a CAT scan.” McCallum said he had been enjoying a reasonable season with a “handful of nice horses” keeping him ticking along. He said he had been thrilled with many calls and cards from harness racing people. “Country harness racing people are a loyal bunch.  I’ve had a lot of well-wishers and I greatly appreciate it.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Master harness racing trainer Noel Daley, who stamped himself as one of the all-time greats in North America over nearly three decades, has kicked off his Australian career in the best possible way.   Daley, private trainer for leviathan owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, of Sydney, landed a Menangle winner yesterday in three-year-old gelding Typhoon Stride (Bettors Delight-Beach Parade (Beach Towel).   “It was so good to get the monkey off my back,” an elated Daley said.   “The horse won a trial recently and his work since has been first class, so I guess we were hopeful of a good showing,” he said.   After being shot to an early lead, Typhoon Stride was well rated by stable reinsman, former Queenslander Leonard Cain.   Posting a slick first split of 26.1, Cain eased his foot off the accelerator for comfortable 30.6 and 29.7 sections, before cranking it up again with a final quarter of 27.4. He got home by a neck in a mile rate of a 1.53.8.     Daley said he was thrilled by the performance of the youngster who would improve greatly from the first-up race start.   “Typhoon Stride hadn’t started for over 12 months after kicking his career off with two runs in Victoria, and Leonard (driver) told me that he dragged a punctured wheel for the final 600 metres,” he said.   “So, taking all of that into consideration, the pacer went very well.”   While Typhoon Stride did his best, Daley was disappointed with his other starter Paramount Stride, who finished near the tailenders for James Rattray.   “When we worked the two the other day, not much separated them. Probably all I can say is one went very well on race day…and the other not so well,” Daley said.   “It was bad luck for James. I wanted Paramount Stride to go okay for him because we have been good mates for quite some time.   “He spent maybe two years with us in America and drove winners for our stable.”   Daley is renting stables at the Menangle Training Centre, while a state-of-the-art training establishment is being organised by Rosati.   “Emilio has planned every aspect of it, but sometimes these projects take longer to complete than expected,” Daley said.   “But I can say that I can’t wait for it to be finally up and ready to go – it’s going to be a great setup.”   Daley said his numbers at the training centre had increased to 17 horses when he was permitted to have more stables.   “There’s a big bunch of maiden class horses in the team and at least three or four others will be racing soon,” he said.   “A lightly raced four-year-old in Arctic Stride will compete at Penrith this Thursday and then we may have another runner at Menangle next week.   “Arctic Stride has one win and a placing from four starts, but he went nicely in a recent trial.”   Daley said that he had settled into the Sydney environment without a problem. “I’m loving it, and more importantly, so is my six-year-old son Max,” he said.   Daley prepared a remarkable 2570 USA winners, which ranks 20 th among all trainers in harness racing history and his total purse of more than $61 million ranks sixth.   Others to have won more money are Ron Burke, Jimmy Takter, Robert McIntosh, Erv Miller and Mark Ford.   Being based mainly in Bordentown, New Jersey, a little over an hour from New York, Daley prepared such greats as Mr Muscleman (his favorite and his springboard to success), along with Broad Bahn, Cedar Dove, Caviart Alley, My Little Dragon, Explosive Matter and others.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Talented young Queensland harness racing driver Hayden Barnes is hot property at the moment, with recent victories in two States.   A last-stride win at Armidale, NSW, on Sunday afternoon with My Secret Torque (Auckland Reactor- Ella Palms (Speed King) gave the likeable 23-year-old five wins in just four days.   “Yes, it’s certainly been an awesome week. Three of the wins were for the boss (dad/trainer Alastair, of Marburg) so everything is going along nicely,” Barnes said.   “We were happy to get the win at Armidale because it was a 12-hour return trip. Fortunately, My Secret Torque put in a dive at the finish line to score by the narrowest of margins,” he said.   The winning roll started at Redcliffe on Thursday afternoon when Barnes combined with trainer Brett Cargill to score with Grizzly Montana (Lanercost-Pearl Of Montana (Art Major).   On the following day at Albion Park, he posted a winning double for his father Alastair with former Kiwi pair Trojan Banner (Bettors Delight-Caitlin Banner (Washington VC) and Lincolns Girl (Lincoln Royal-Tania Tandias (Falcon Seelster).   And then on Saturday night at Brisbane headquarters again, Barnes was back into it, keeping a smile on his dad’s face, steering four-year-old Lincoln Road (a full brother to Lincoln’s Girl) to victory in the opening event.   The trip to Armidale, with a pair of Chantal Turpin-trained stablemates, saw Barnes making his driving debut on the 770-metre circuit, in a meeting that was another of the NSW harness racing showcase, Carnival of Cups.   “It’s a good set-up and I’ll remember my first visit with the win, that’s for sure,” he said.   “I copped a check in the early bit and found myself last, probably 30 metres off the leaders. But the horse felt enormous and I wasn’t concerned in taking off three wide to make a run because I had to get into it.”   My Secret Torque scooted around the field fairly quickly to join the leaders. Just when it looked like the mare was about to take control, the leader Roll With Tricky (Sam Ison) got a second wind and fought back doggedly.   The pair went head and head down the home straight, with the Queensland visitor grabbing a slim victory.   “We hit the line together, but I thought I’d just won. I think My Secret Torque had one last kick when it counted,” Barnes said.   “The race was worth $7650 and came with a free stallion service donated by the Seymours, which was just perfect because the owner Ian Carazzol is a keen breeder as well.”   Hayden Barnes   Barnes said trainer Chantal Turpin and her partner Pete McMullen were unable to make the 500 km trip to Armidale.   “They had a christening ceremony for their daughter Olivia, but I was happy to take the horses for them,” he said.   “It was a bit disappointing that I had to retire their other runner Bells Beach House in the Armidale Cup, but that’s racing.”   Barnes was forced to pull the horse out of the feature event after getting a flat tyre in the backwash of a scrimmage on the first corner, when driver Andrew Millard was tipped out.   The $10,200 Cup was taken out by a roughie in $31 chance Our Major Day (Major In Art-Diligent Miss (D M Dillinger) for Richard (trainer) and Dayl (driver) March. Stablemate Clintal Do was runner up.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Effervescent young Hamilton harness racing driver Jackie Barker enjoys every winner she can land, but every so often there’s a special one.   One of those memorable moments came at Ararat last Sunday night when Jackie led all the way with 20/1 long shot The Suspect (Safari-Kiriah Keys (Keystone Gondola USA) to take out the Alan Woods & Son Contractors Pace.   It wasn’t the long odds that were notable, but that the winner was trained by Jackie’s pop, legendary horseman 84-year-old Jim Barker.   “Winning a race for my pop means the most to me. It’s very special and we’ve been lucky to get a few winners together this season,” the 23-year-old said.   “This one was awesome because the race panned out the way I thought it would and we didn’t have to burn to get to the top,” Jackie said.   “The horse mostly ruins his chances because he over races very badly. I had a plan to try and lead and then just hope for the best. He still pulled, but not as bad as he can.”   The Suspect is an eight-year-old gelding owned by Michael Lawlor and Barker rated the pacer well at the head of affairs with even quarters of 29.3, 29.9, 30.9 and 32.9.   Jackie Barker and The Suspect           photo- Ararat Harness Racing Club   Jackie said there was excitement and jubilation after the race about the pacer’s first win from 39 attempts — the only disappointment was pop, Jim, wasn’t at the track.   “He was at home watching it on television. He hurt his back on the farm a while ago and it’s causing him a fair bit of pain. And I can tell you that he’s so sick of it,” Jackie said.   “The Suspect is so frustrating because he works brilliantly at home and can run so well. Nothing we’ve got beats him and in every other way he’s such a happy horse.   “We’ve tried heaps of pulling gear on him, but if he doesn’t appreciate it, he gets the sulks and that’s it.”   The Suspect was the first leg of a winning double for Jackie, with the second winner coming courtesy of the Barry Finnis-trained Beat The Drums (Modern Art USA-Highview Congo (McArdle USA) in the Latus Jewellers Ararat Pace.   Jackie Barker and Beat The Drums                        photo- Ararat Harness Racing Club   Starting a short-priced favorite, the four-year-old mare coasted along out in front and recorded an easy five-metre win over Okanes Devil, with a further six metres back to Flaming Lucky.   “There were a few others in the race that I was worried about, but Beat The Drums did it nicely,” Jackie said.   “I enjoy driving for the Finnis stable because they don’t put any pressure on me and virtually just send me out there knowing that I’ll be doing my very best,” she said.   “I started driving for them at Mt Gambier, and I did okay so they now use me as their second string driver, which is awesome. “I also get to use my junior concessional claim as well.”   The double has Jackie well within striking distance of a career 100 wins.   “I think I’m now up to 93, so fingers crossed that I land a few more soon and get to that century milestone.”   The Barker stable operates from Jim’s 100-acre property, with a team of 20 in work.   “Many of them are young ones and I think dad may have broken in eight or nine this season, so we are really looking at finding a few good horses for the future,” Jackie said.   “Thankfully I don’t have to battle with dad for the drives because he gives me most of the opportunities. I have found it awfully hard to pick up many outside drives, but really appreciate the trainers who stick with me.”   A harness racing career was always on the cards for Jackie, who was desperate to follow in the footsteps of pop, Jim, and her father Rod, who is also well-known in harness racing circles, not only for his breaking-in of youngsters, but also as a handy freelance reinsman.   “I was wanting to get stuck into the horses as soon as possible, but mum stood firm and wouldn’t let me until after I’d finished Year 12,” Jackie said.   “I had actually done all my trials drives in readiness to get my driver’s licence by the time school ended.   “There was a university spot for me in animal science which would have eventually led to becoming a veterinary surgeon. I was half-hearted about it and had a gap year...then another!   “When I was into harness racing, I deferred. I may have enjoyed being a vet, but the costs and years of university study to get there were daunting.   “Besides I’m really a country girl, who loves just being around family in Hamilton.”   But if enthusiasm and hard work is the recipe to get near the top of her chosen sport, Jackie Barker is a certainty to do that in years to come.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

MILDURA harness racing trainer David Vozlic couldn’t believe his luck when he was offered not one, but two former Broken Hill horses to train.   “Both my partner Naomi and I used to keep asking owner Darren Pollard, who has a pet shop in the town, to send down his C1 pacer Euston Flyer to us when the (10-meeting summer) Broken Hill season finished,” Vozlic said.   “We’d noticed that Euston Flyer had heaps of ability and we thought he would certainly be suited down in Mildura,” he said.   “So when Darren relented, not only did we get Euston Flyer, but probably a much nicer other horse he owned in Goodboy Cowboy.   “We honestly didn’t think for a minute that we’d be lucky enough to get the “cowboy” – he was a nice tagalong surprise.”   So when Vozlic scanned the Mildura programs and couldn’t find a suitable race for Goodboy Cowboy, a trip south to Maryborough (again hosting a Charlton meeting) was pencilled in last Thursday afternoon.   “The bottom line was the horse would have drawn the back row at our home track, and he and Somedan (a stablemate who also made the trip) were going to be close in off the front line at Maryborough,” Vozlic said.   And after starting from the favorable three alley, Goodboy Cowboy (Tell All USA-Miss Nightowl (Our Sir Vancelot NZ), driven a treat by Jack Laugher, caused a boilover to claim the Thank You Bendigo Bank Pace in a slick 1.55-7.   After slotting across beautifully Goodboy Cowboy settled in the one out line and two back. Laugher would have later had a wry smile as one of the leaders galloped approaching the bell and he moved up one spot to the perfect one-one.   Stablemate Somedan (Matt Horsnell), who started from the two-alley, was then in the death-seat, but travelling well.   Into the home stretch, favorite punters were happy with themselves as leader and $1.60 favorite Micrometeor (Grant Campbell) looked like an all- the-way winner.   However, Goodboy Cowboy sprinted hard to score a narrow neck win over the favorite, with Somedan three metres away in third spot. The winner was 50/1 on fixed odds and paid $37 on the tote. “I gave Goodboy Cowboy and Euston Flyer a week off after they arrived as they were super fit,” Vozlic said.   “After we decided on the Maryborough run, we opted to trial them both at Mildura four days before the race and we’re glad we did, because they needed the hit out,” he said.   David and Naomi with Goodboy Cowboy “Goodboy Cowboy caught our eye a few times. He beat one of ours in Headmaster when he won his CO at Mildura a good while ago and then at last year’s Cup Carnival he went huge when he led and scorched home in 28.2 and 27.4, beating a smart one in King Solomon.   “Then this season at Broken Hill he won two races and went super both times.”   Vozlic himself had a sensational time at the ‘Hill, claiming both the trainers’ and drivers’ premierships. His stable faced the starter on 39 occasions to post 14 wins and 16 placings.   “We were at every meeting, but my owners were happy to race up there,” he said.   “If you are going to run a professional stable from here, you just have to be prepared to travel and find races that suit.”   Vozlic said his interest in harness racing stemmed from following his older brother Andrew to the Mildura region.   “We used to find ourselves around horses, but there was not really any family involvement in the sport. We grew up at Gisborne and used to share farm in tobacco at Myrtleford, and then sugar cane in Cairns,” he said.   “Later I spent time working for Ron ‘Tubby’ Peace, who was probably the greatest influence, although there were also good times with Kevin Murray, Lance Justice and Mildura trainers (the late) Brian Cumming and Greg Pardo.   “When I was with Justice it was during the exciting era of superstar Sokyola.   “But Tubby was really old school and at that time he was flying. He won both the Melbourne and Sydney Premierships in the early ‘90s, which would be just about unthinkable these days.   “I was lucky he showed a huge amount of confidence in me when I was really only just learning. I had to take out my licence so that I could spend the last three months of the season based at Bankstown with a team of four and that contributed to him winning the training title.”   Vozlic, who has 17 in work, is enjoying a successful season.   “It’s hard work, but when the results come it makes it so much easier for both of us,” he said.   “We’re lucky to get great help from the kids because when you’re training a full team it’s a big commitment. “   David with partner Naomi and children  Lola (11) and Olivia (7), with Muffy the stable dog!   And while Goodboy Cowboy has vindicated Vozlic’s sharp eye for a winner, the pressure will be on lightly-raced gelding Euston Flyer (Gotta Go Cullect-Second Best Friend (Albert Albert) when he lines up in the Female Drivers Challenge event at Mildura on Thursday night.   Hoofnote: Euston Flyer was a nice trial winner at the track on Sunday morning.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Young Shepparton harness racing driver Bec Bartley is looking forward to renewing fond memories of her early days in the sport during next week’s Mildura Pacing Cup carnival. Bartley, 27, was a regular competitor at Mildura for a two-year period from November 2011 as trainers sought her services, particularly because she was a junior concession driver obtaining a one class lift. Next week the determined and hardworking horsewoman will be in the spotlight at the 2019 carnival with boom pacer San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Garry). “I certainly did a big number of 10-hour return road trips to the top end of the State, but I got valuable experience through it all,” Bartley said. “The racing is always competitive at Mildura and a few of the trainers were willing to give me a go when I was just starting out,” she said. “I was lucky to persuade my parents David and Chris to do the long trip with me for a while, and other times I would meet up with drivers, like Ellen Tormey and Nigel Milne, along the way and we’d car pool and do some of the journey together. “There are a few sharp bends and bumps on the road, and I reckon I could still remember them all!” Bartley has drawn the eight alley with San Carlo in the second heat of the Tasco Petroleum Mildura Pacing Cup on Tuesday night. The format of qualifying divisions leading into a $60,000 Group Two final is the only one of its kind in the State. The three-night carnival, comprising Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night racing, has been a favourite on the racing and social calendar for harness fans for many years. “We finished runner-up with Shakahari last year behind Im The Boss (Kima Frenning) so naturally we are hoping to go one better this time,” Bartley said. “San Carlo had a trial a while ago at Kilmore and I wasn’t all that excited with him, so we gave him another hit-out at Shepparton trials two nights ago and he was a lot better – he felt sharper and switched on.” Bartley said trainer Steve O’Donoghue, of Morley Park Stud, always had the Mildura feature event in the back of his mind. “We were here for the Italian Cup last October and the horse won well after doing all the work in the death-seat, clocking in at 1.55-9,” she said. “He felt quite at home, so we know he is suited by the smaller (805 metre) track.” It would be a fair bet to say that Bartley and O’Donoghue can now look back with irony at the considerable time they took to get San Carlo to the racetrack. After O’Donoghue broke in the pacer, there were more than a few frustrations. “He was very spooky and just difficult to do much with.  Even getting a bridle on was a major task,” Bartley said. “And then in his work on the track he had this habit of going around and around past things without any worries, and then he’d shy on the last time as if it was something new!” she said. O’Donoghue gave the horse a number of preparations, finally managing to get him to stay in his gear and not gallop. “I think he was an early three-year-old when we headed off to the trials. But he was back to his old tricks, so Steve gelded him, and he was turned out,” Bartley said. “When he returned as a four-year-old he had a different attitude with improved manners, but he was still touchy.” Two trials, nothing too spectacular, preceded a race debut at Bendigo in June, 2015. Bartley crossed from a wide draw to the death seat and San Carlo showed he’d “turned the corner” with a 10-metre victory in 1.58-6 (last quarter 27.8). He then posted five consecutive wins, before the honeymoon ended with a luckless fifth behind the brilliant Hector Jay Jay in a Group Two feature at Melton. But Bartley was far from disappointed, as she knew from that day they had a well-above average horse. Another spell was followed by a winning six-race sequence. And San Carlo – named after Rome’s 17th century church of San Carlo alle Quatro Fontane – has risen to star status with Herculean performances in such prestigious events as the Inter Dominion series, the Bohemia Crystal FFA Group One and country cups. His record speaks for itself with 25 wins and nine placings from just 45 outings for more than $400,000 in the bank. Bartley said much of Morley Park’s success was due to “very good team” and facilities, including a swimming pool, allowing a balanced workload for a handy team of racehorses and youngsters. “Steve and his wife Anne are both hands-on, as well as their sons Jono and Corey, who are always helping out whenever they can. We also have a few other stable helpers,” she said. “We have a team of about 25 horses in work at the moment so there’s always plenty to do.” San Carlo will come up against last start Ouyen Cup winner Brallos Pass (Ellen Tormey) in the second heat, while Emain Macha (Wayne Hill), Murranji Track (John Caldow), and Lucky Lombo will have admirers. The first qualifying heat sees well-credentialed Reciprocity (Kerryn Manning) do battle with Perspective, Resurgent Spirit and local hope Rocknroll Eyes. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Experienced Melbourne harness racing trainer Shane Gallagher could be forgiven for thinking that his wife may just be the lucky charm he’s needed around horses.   Gallagher, who is head-trainer at the picturesque Doreen property Homestead Farm, owned by John and Christine Yeomans, has his wife Rachael Benns as owner of two square gaiters.   “I don’t know if it’s beginner’s luck or what it is, but the horses have seven wins between them, and they’re the first two that Rachael has ever owned,” Gallagher said.   “My wife has a love for buying shoes, so needless-to-say she has been adding to her collection with each racetrack victory - she will probably kill me, but there’s about 100 pairs in her collection.”   Six-year-old bay mare Whattalottafray (Armbro Invasion USA-Whatta Tussle (Brioso Hanover USA) gave Rachael another reason to go shopping with an all-the-way win at Maryborough on Thursday afternoon.   After beginning nicely from the standing start tapes, the mare assumed control in front and was then rated in typically brilliant fashion by master reinsman Chris Alford.   With comfortable splits of 31.2, 31.3, 28.6 and 29.6, Whattalottafray had an eight-metre advantage up her sleeve at the finish over Surbiton Armistice, and a further four metres back to Allens Delight.   Gallagher said he had put the trotter up for sale a few weeks ago. “I couldn’t believe it, but I didn’t get a single call. It was quite surprising, but perhaps I might get one now because she’s still on the market,” he said.   “I’m actually enjoying training a few trotters because I haven’t had any for many years.”   The other square gaiter in the Gallagher team is brilliant three-year-old Fear The Yankee (Yankee Spider USA-Whatta Tussle (Brioso Hanover USA), a half-sister to Whattalottafray.   Fear The Yankee has three wins and two placings for $79,000.   Her victories were in the $50,000 Platinum Home Grown Classic Group One final in May and then the $90,000 Super Series Group One final for trotting fillies two months later. On both occasions, Anthony Butt was the winning driver.   “A friend told me about Whattalottafray, suggesting it was well worth a try,” Gallagher said.   “Then we later had the chance to purchase Fear The Yankee so we’ve been a bit fortunate.   “I only work two at a time, while John (Yeomans), who I’ve been with for probably 30 years, usually has a few more with six or seven in training.”   Gallagher said all jokes aside, he didn’t have a problem with wife Rachael having a full rack of footwear.   “She is a big shoe buyer and providing her horses keep up their form, I haven’t got a problem in the world!”     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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