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GEORGES Plains mentor Bernie Hewitt stamped himself as the ‘King’ of the Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Finals after winning three of the Group Two features at Menangle tonight. Heading into the meeting, Hewitt already had five Breeders Challenge Blue Finals on his winning record. “We counted five Blue Finals and now that makes it six,” Hewitt said after winning the two-year-old fillies edition with Write About Lexy, not knowing he was going to add to that record again. The 56-year-old trainer-driver tasted his first ‘Blue’ success in 2014 with Read About Lexy – a full-sister to Write About Lexy. Both horses are bred and owned by Lex Crosby. “This is the sixth generation of this family that we have been breading with,” Crosby said. “It was 63 years ago that my Dad started breeding from this family line.” It was a similar scenario with the two-year-old boys Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Final that was taken out by Lets Go To Brazil. The Sloys Company have been breeding from this family for almost three decades and Lets Go To Brazil is the third generation of this breed. Driven by Todd McCarthy tonight, Lets Go To Brazil set a new personal best time of 1:53.9 to win the Group Two. In the three-year-old fillies feature the Hewitt-trained-and-driven Cobbity Chic also set a career best mile rate when clocking 1:56.5 to narrowly hold off Brazilian Rocker, a full-sister to Lets Go To Brazil. To top the night off, Hewitt trained the quinella in the three-year-old boys final with Lifes A Jungle causing an upset at odds of $30 and Brads Luck finishing close behind in second. Leading junior driver Chris Geary took the reins on Lifes A Jungle while Hewitt steered the runner up. Lifes A Jungle set a new benchmark when clocking 1:54.6. Thanks to these results, Hewitt has driven 68 winners this season equalling his best season to date in the sulky. Meanwhile, he is on track having his best season on record as a trainer having trained 89 winners for the term and is just one win away from equalling his best result. Bernie Hewitt’s Breeders Challenge Blue Final winners – 2014      Read About Lexy 2015      Pass The Magic 2016      Ima Black Beauty 2017      Our Little Digger 2017      Taylors Reason 2018      Lifes A Jungle 2018      Write About Lexy 2018      Cobbity Chic   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

Ignatius laid to rest any questions over who is the best three-year-old in the land with another scintillating performance on Sunday in the Group 1 New South Wales Breeders Challange Final at Menangle Park. The James Rattray trained and driven superstar staved off an early challenge for the lead from Picard before establishing control at the head of proceedings through the first turn in the $150,000 Feature over 1609-metres. "Todd McCarthy came out quickly from out wide with Picard and drew a metre or two clear so I just allowed Ignatius to muster and he shot through to hold him comfortably and he settled beautifully into his work," said James. "With that brief burn Ignatius recorded 27.1 seconds for the first section and then relaxed into the back with a 29.8 second effort to the 800-metre pole before I started to lift the tempo with a 27.5 third split and they were then struggling to stay with him so I just let him finish off strongly in 26.9 seconds." The Roll With Joe-Ashkakini gelding, owned by Lyrae Graham, strolled away to break the hearts of his rivals, scoring by 12.3-metres in a mile rate of 1:51.3, matching the time mile-rate recorded when winning the two-year-old division of the Breeders Challenge Series last year. "We ran home in 54.4 seconds for the last half and there was plenty left in the tank so its now on to the Breeders Crown Series, he's doing everything asked of him so it will take a good one to stop him," said James looking forward enthusiastically to the future. The Breeders Crown Final, promoted as the 'Race To Royalty' will be staged at Melton in Victoria on Saturday, August 25. To watch Ignatius obliterate his rivals in the Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge Final on Sunday click on the link below. 2018 NSW Breeders Challenge Final  Shane Yates

JAMES Rattray can only smile at the thought . . . could he be as good as Beautide. Rattray's superstar three-year-old pacer Ignatius had just blown away his rivals in the NSW Breeders Challenge three-year-old colts and geldings final. Taking his record to 14 wins from 15 starts, the James Rattray trained-and-driven youngster thrashed his rivals with a 1:51.3 mile to score a 12.4m win over Picard with Mackeral one and a quarter metres away third. The first challenge for Ignatius occurred when the starter said go. As predicted, Todd McCarthy and Picard had a dip for the lead and for a fleeting moment looked as if they might actually cross before Rattray got serious and Ignatius held him out before they reached the first corner. Realistically the race was as good as over there and then as Rattray was able to dictate terms to suit himself, after the 27.1 opening split he backed off the speed with a 29.8 sectional leaving plenty of petrol in the tank for the dash home. Ignatius turned for home in front before Rattray lowered the handlebars and Ignatius virtually left them standing as he zoomed home to win as he liked with a 54.4s last half. Picard did it tough and did well to hang on for second while the other eye-catching run of the race was The Bus (Chris Geary) who came from near last to run fourth although nothing could be taken away from the winner . . . who just might turn out to be as good as the Rattray family's champion predecessor Beautide, a winner of two Inter Dominions and a Miracle Mile. That might be a big pair of shoes to fill - but at least Ignatius is trying them on for size. Earlier in the afternoon sensational three-year-old filly Goodtime Heaven earned her stripes with a stunning win in her $100,000 Breeders Challenge three-year-old fillies final. Unbeaten this preparation, Goodtime Heaven did what many thought might be too great a task, she sat outside the plucky Molly Kelly (Chris Alford) for the entire journey and still had enough energy to grab her in the shadows of the post and score a one-and-a-half metre victory. Up and coming Victorian reinsman Glen Craven pointed out that he had been making something of an annual pilgrimage to Menangle to drive in the Breeders Challenge series. Yet this was the first time he would be able to go home with the lion's share of the prizemoney after snaring an elusive Group One for rookie trainer Courtney Slater. And Slater herself, delighted at annexing her first Group One, pointed out that she was starting to miss her husband after being away for three weeks with their stable star. "I can't wait to get back home now but I have to admit Goodtime Heaven is a magnificent filly and hopefully there are plenty of good times ahead for us with her."   Mandy Madern     5 2:47pm VINCENT NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE THREE-YEAR-OLD COLTS & GELDINGS FINAL (GROUP 1) 1609M $150,000 3YO Colts and Geldings. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 IGNATIUS      Fr3 3 James Rattray James Rattray   $ 1.04 fav  PRBT GS L SWAB   BAY GELDING 3 by ROLL WITH JOE USA out of ASHKALINI (ART MAJOR USA)  Owner(s): L J (Lyrae) Graham  Breeder(s): Rattray Family Trust 2 PICARD      Fr8 10 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 12.30 $ 11.60   PRBT GS SWAB 3 MACKERAL      Fr2 2 Bernie Hewitt Bernie Hewitt 13.60 $ 35.60   PRBT SWAB 4 THE BUS      Fr9 11 Mark Jones Chris Geary 14.40 $ 43.60   RAS 5 WAR DAN      Fr6 8 Amanda Turnbull Nathan Jack 15.00 $ 21.50   GS 6 EVERYBODYLOVEDRAY      Fr1 1 David Thorn Jim Douglass 17.40 $ 35.80   PRBT 7 BELLA BALL TERROR      Fr10 12 Dennis Picker Dennis Picker 17.60 $ 62.20   PRBT RAS 8 LEXUS WITH A VIEW      Fr7 9 Paul Fitzpatrick Sean Grayling 19.00 $ 199.60   PRBT RAS 9 BRACKEN SKY      Fr5 7 Blake Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 22.20 $ 117.60     10 AINTNOBETTOR      Fr4 4 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 31.70 $ 97.30     Scratchings   ROCKNLACHLAN 5 ASHARK 6  

Young gun Aussie driver Todd McCarthy has already started doing homework. McCarthy is still pinching himself after confirmation he will take the reins on flying Aussie mare Maori Time against the world’s best trotters in the iconic Elitlopp Trot in Stockholm, Sweden later this month. “It’s an amazing opportunity. I follow the big international races and I’ve always been in awe of how incredible the Elitlopp looks. Now I’m going to be part of it,” he said. “I took some time over the weekend to go back and loo at some replays of the heats and finals. I can’t wait to get there.” Owner Fred Crews and trainer Brent Lilley opted for McCarthy as the driver thanks to his one and only steer on Maori Time at Menangle. It resulted in a breathtaking front-running win in a record-smashing 1min51.5sec mile in the Group 1 Trotters’ Mile back on February 24. “We got along well that day and she showed the sort of time she can run. She felt magic,” McCarthy said. “I know how hard a challenge this will be. These are the best trotters in the world, many of them in their own backyard, and in one of the great races. “Every horse in the series has to be a star in its own right just to make it that far. “Realistically, if she can finish top four in her heat and make the final she will have done an amazing job.” The Elitlopp is somewhat unique in that two heats are held early in the day and the first four home in each heat contest the final just two hours later. “If she arrives there safe and sound and can show the form she did at Menangle, running the two races in a day won’t bother her,” McCarthy said. Maori Time showed she was over a bout of atrial fibrillation when she sparkled in a Maryborough trial last Sunday. “The trial was brilliant. She went her last mile in 1min55.9sec and home in 56sec. She’s off to Sweden,” Crews beamed. The Elitlopp is run at Stockholm’s Solvalla track on Sunday, May 25.   Adam Hamilton

He started the Gold Crown Carnival by driving to victory in the quickest mile rate ever seen at the Bathurst Paceway, but harness racing driver Todd McCarthy finished it in even better fashion. He finished it with a Group 2 Gold Chalice trophy. It was not the first time the Bathurst native had tasted success at Group level, but when Lifeonthebeach snatched victory in the three-year-old colts and geldings decider, it marked his first major Gold Crown Carnival win. “It’s a good one to get,” McCarthy said. Nine days earlier McCarthy had picked up victory in the second race of the carnival with Mista Lombo in a scorching 1:52.4 mile rate. Saturday night’s win with the gelding his father John McCarthy trains at Cobbitty was not quite as quick, but Lifeonthebeach’s 1:55.5 winning mile rate was only just outside the three-year-old record for the 2,260 metres trip. It was Bernie Hewitt’s Mackeral who set the pace early in the Gold Chalice final as he used his barrier one draw to advantage and took the lead. Mackeral had beaten Lifeonthebeach by a comfortable 13.1m in their heat earlier in the week, so McCarthy knew he had to be wary. On the bell McCarthy had his $17.80 chance in fifth – three back on the pegs – before peeling out of the trail following a hot 27.7 seconds third quarter. He came five wide down the home straight and grabbed victory by a head over War Dan ($20.40, Nathan Jack). It was the fifth win from 16 starts for Lifeonthebeach. Todd McCarthy’s older brother Luke claimed third aboard $2.60 favourite Code Bailey for Lemnos trainer Ross Pike. “We had a little bit of luck and the draw [barrier 10] panned out perfect for us,” McCarthy said. “Just being able to show him daylight at the top of the straight there, he’s got a great 200 metres and he found the line terrific. “Around the turn he was labouring a little bit and I wasn’t too sure how he was travelling, but he’s one that always gives you everything he’s got and he sure did that tonight.” By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

The $55,000 Australian record for a trotting yearling sold at auction is expected to be surpassed at this year's Pryde's EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale to be held at Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday March 11. A full-brother to the new Australasian mile record holder, Maori Time (Tr 1:51.5), Aldebaran Stephan will go under the hammer as Lot 55. Maori Time blitzed her rivals in the weekend's Group 1 Trotters Mile at Menangle for Brent Lilley and Todd McCarthy, taking her stake earnings to $419,801 and delivering connections a third Group 1. Lot 55 is the lynchpin of a 12-strong Aldebaran Park consignment, of Duncan McPherson, Nagambie. The grand looking colt is out of 2016-17 Victorian Broodmare of the Year Sundonna, a member of the famous Maori Miss tribe. Read the full story on the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale at<> Get the latest on all the yearlings in the catalogue by visiting the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed APTS website<> today   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

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

Kiwi champion Lazarus looks set to have to sit parked to win Saturday night’s $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup (2760m) at Melton. That’s because rival trainer-driver Kevin Pizzuto quickly dismissed speculation he may opt for “softer” tactics and ask driver Todd McCarthy to take a sit with Tiger Tara from the pole. “We got outsprinted in the Inters. This time we’re going to try and outstay them. My boy will stay all day. He’s tough,” boomed Pizzuto when asked about tactics. Talk off Tiger Tara potentially taking a sit stemmed from the fact Lazarus sat outside and comfortably beat Tiger Tara in Perth. “Toddy went to slow in that Inters final. It didn’t help our horse,” Pizzuto said. It’s worth noting Tiger Tara did lead and beat Lazarus in the second round of Perth Inter Dominion heats, albeit in a stop-star affair over a shorter 2100m trip. The stretch to 2760m doesn’t faze Pizzuto. “My horse is a great stayer. He showed that again at Goulburn the other day and that was his trial. We’re ready for this.” Despite Pizzuto’s declaration, Tiger Tara has continued to drift ($7.50 to $9) since Tuesday night’s barrier draw, while Lazarus has firmed from $1.40 to $1.35 and now $1.33 on the Aussie TAB. One horse who many thought would be in the early speed burn, but won’t be is Shane and Lauren Tritton’s Yayas Hot Spot from gate six. “There’s too much speed underneath him and we learnt from the Perth trip we can really knock him around if we burn early and don’t get across,” Shane Tritton said. “We just have to go back and drive for luck from that draw. “We can’t risk leaving everything out on the track this week with a Miracle Mile qualifier and hopefully the Miracle Mile itself just around the corner.” The expectation Tiger Tara will lead boosts the chances of ageing Victorian champion Lennytheshark, who is drawn inside the back row (gate eight), will most likely be right on his back and awaiting the sprint lane in the home straight. “That’s my best chance,” Lennytheshark’s driver Chris Alford said. “As good as he’s gone in front and outside the leader, David (Aiken, trainer) and I have always felt he’s lethal with a sit on them. He might the chance to show that this week.” Alford said Lennytheshark felt “like he was absolutely flying” when he won last week’s Casey Classic at Melton. “The official timing didn’t work for the race, but I’ve had some clockers tell me broke the track record Lazarus set winning the Victoria Cup last year for the 2240m,” Alford said. “He’ll definitely be fitter again for the run and if the race is truly run and we get the last shot at them, I’m sure he’ll be hard to hold out.” Lennytheshark has also eased from $7.50 to $9 since Tuesday night’s draw. Lazarus’ stablemate, Heaven Rocks, is the $6 second favourite with the Aussie TAB from two-out on the back row with Natalie Rasmussen aboard. Australia’s top harness racecaller Dan Mielicki, who will call the Hunter Cup, is tipping Heaven Rocks to upset Lazarus. “He’s got so much talent and amazing speed. I thought there was a real arrogance about his Ballarat Cup win and, if Lazarus does plenty of work, Heaven Rocks is good enough to beat him,” he said. Adam Hamilton

Tiger Tara, trained by Kevin Pizzuto and driven by Todd McCarthy, edged out Yayas Hot Spot to win the Goulburn Soldiers Club’s Frank and Edna Day Goulburn Cup on Sunday afternoon. The race was the feature of an action-packed Carnival of Cups program at the Goulburn Recreation Area Paceway, which was witnessed by a considerable sized crowd. The first three placed horses in the Goulburn feature were all from New Zealand, as was the fifth finisher. In fourth place was Brad Hewitt’s Spare Me Days. Shane and Lauren Tritton had to settle for second and third places in the class field of pacers. Franco Nelson, which won the Walla Walla Stakes in Goulburn on January 14 over the same 2240 metre distance, placed third, 6.6 metres back from the winner. At the presentation by Soldiers Club president Michael Donnelly, members of the Day family gathered beside the winner. The Day family has been synonymous with harness racing in Goulburn, with multi-generation involvement in the sport, inspired by Frank and Edna Day. Many of the family are still actively involved today. In the final race on Sunday the win, was claimed by another New Zealand pacer, Delightful Memphis, trained by Mark Jones and driven by Ashlee Grives. It finished 4.3 metres in front of the Amanda Turnbull-trained and driven Dream to Share, also of New Zealand breeding. In third place was the Neil Day-trained and driven That’s Ideal, which started as a long shot. The Australia Day weekend meeting was a fundraiser for the Goulburn Base Hospital, with several staff from the hospital among the official guests at the luncheon in the Grace-Millsom Function Centre. Also among the guests were officials from Harness Racing NSW, including chairman Rod Smith. The race meeting was one for the visitors, with out-of-town trained pacers taking all the major prize money. In race three the RMS Accountants and TAB Corp pace trainer Bernie Hewitt from Bathurst had success with I’m With Lexy ,driven by Douglas Hewitt. The Brad Hewitt-trained and driven I’m All Courage was second, and David Hewitt’s Spike Robyn was third. Darryl Fernance Reprinted with permission of The Goulburn Post

Perth Inter Dominion placegetter Tiger Tara is warming-up for another stoush with Lazarus. The $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup (2760m) is Tiger Tara’s next major target and Lazarus is headed the same way after his two Group 1 assignments in Perth this month. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto is weighing-up whether to make a hit-and-run raid on the Hunter Cup or go their via the $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup on January 20. “I haven’t decided whether to keep him here until the Hunter for a run or two at Menangle or go down for Ballarat,” Pizzuto said. “I guess any $100,000 race without Lazarus in it is tempting, but I’ll decide over the next few days. “He’s almost set to go. In fact, He could race at Menangle next Saturday night if I go that way. Pizzuto said Tiger Tara had thrived during his let-up after Perth. “He deserved it after a busy couple of months,” he said. “He seems really well and he’s ready to go again now.” Some felt Tiger Tara’s third in the final after leading was slightly below the stellar form he showed during the heats of the Inter Dominion. But Pizzuto laments the fact driver Todd McCarthy tried to “rate” Tiger Tara in front rather than cutting him loose. “I wanted him to just roll along in front, instead I think Todd was too worried about Chicago Bull sitting on his back,” he said. “He turned the race into a sprint home and that played into Lazarus’ hands more so than ours. “Lazarus is a freak, an amazing horse, but Bunbury showed he can be beaten when Toddy let our guy roll along in front and get Lazarus off the bit and chasing. He didn’t do that in the final.” More broadly, Pizzuto confirmed he is still seriously considering a move from NSW to Victoria. “Everyone knows how frustrated I am by the (NSW) handicapping system. My property is on the market here and when it sells, there’s a big chance I could head to Victoria with the team,” he said. Adam Hamilton

They have driven more than 1000 winners between them and now Todd McCarthy and Chris Geary will fly the flag for New South Wales in the Garrards Australasian Young Drivers Championship. The AYDC begins at Redcliffe on Wednesday and wraps up at Albion Park this Saturday where 10 leading young drivers from Australia and New Zealand will compete for the title of being Australasia's top driver. McCarthy is the defending champion of the series having won the AYDC in Western Australia last year and his word of advice for winning such a championship is "consistency". "Consistency certainly pays off and most of all drive each horse as best as you can," McCarthy said. "Sometimes you might not have the best chance in the race but know the horse and try and get the best position possible and you might finish one spot closer . . . it's all about getting as many points as you can." As for Geary, the Group 1 winning reinsman is fresh from competing in the Australian Drivers Championship in Tasmania where he finished third to top Victorian reinsman Chris Alford and leading WA driver Chris Lewis. "It was a great experience and I'm honoured to representing NSW again in this series," Geary said.   Todd McCarthy stats (as of December 11) Started driving: March 2010 Drives: 3799 Wins: 657 Places: 969 Prizemoney: $6,488,193.16   Chris Geary stats (as of December 11) Started driving: November 2013 Drives: 3012 Wins: 404 Places: 729 Prizemoney: $3,369,230.19   AMANDA RANDO  

After crossing the line in third in Friday night’s Inter Dominion grand final, Bathurst product Todd McCarthy was the first to shake the hand of harness racing trainer-driver Mark Purdon. While McCarthy did all he could to see Tiger Tara win the $1.1 million classic at Gloucester Park, he knew he was beaten by a special horse in Purdon’s Lazarus. Starting as the $1.90 favourite, Lazarus was one out and two back early before making a move to sit in the death outside Tiger Tara ($7.20) with just over two laps to go. McCarthy had pinched a 99.9 seconds lead time in the 2,963 metres contest and had the Kevin Pizzuto trained horse travelling well after securing the lead from barrier one. Tiger Tara had beaten Purdon’s champion five-year-old in the heats of the series and McCarthy was looking to repeat that success. But through the final bend Lazarus drew level with McCarthy’s chance and then ran away from the field down the straight. Clocking 27.4 and 27.2 splits in the run home, Lazarus picked up his 14th Group 1 win. “He is the best horse I have ever trained”, Purdon said post-race.  He finished 4.1m clear of Chicago Bull ($4.60) who was able to get past a tiring Tiger Tara after spending a bulk of the journey in the trail. Tiger Tara did well to hold on for third, a further 1.6m back, to give McCarthy his second top-three finish in the biggest race on the Australasian Harness Racing calendar. He previously Seel N Print to second in 2014. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

ULTIMATE Machete’s powerhouse NZ free-for-all looks to have given him stranglehold on the major four-year-old races during the Perth Inter Dominion Carnival. But there are two locals who are showing enough to say they will make the emerging Purdon/Rasmussen superstar really earn the prize. Former Kiwi entire Rocknroll Lincoln, now in the Justin Prentice barn, made it two wins (and a close second) from just three WA runs when he led throughout in slick times to win the Golden Nugget prelude at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The effort of Gary Hall Sr’s Herrick Roosevelt to work early, sit parked and run a close second in a 1min55.8sec mile rate and 55.2sec last half was outstanding. Another eye-catching was former Victorian Wrappers Delight, who had no luck in third spot for new trainer Ross Olivieri. Throw in classy former Kiwi and now Victorian-based Motu Meteor and at least there will be some competition for Ultimate Machete in the three four-year-old features, the first of them this Friday night. _________________________________________________________________________________________ MOST thought Tim Butt would take advantage of Lennytheshark’s time in Perth and grab what he can in Victoria with My Field Marshal. Instead, Butt is thinking longer term and has given his stable star a freshen-up. “He’s having a couple of weeks out and will be back for the sprint at Ballarat on Boxing night,” Butt said. “Perth wasn’t going to suit him, so we decided to keep him hear and target the big races in the New Year. “I think he’s shown in a couple of his recent runs he can really match it with Lenny, but we haven’t had any luck in the barrier draws.” _________________________________________________________________________________________ THE problem child has found winning form again just at the right time. Gifted but headstrong and enigmatic WA pacer Run Oneover broke a long run of outs and looked quite good doing in in a free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Gary Hall Jr worked him to the front and let him roll over the 1730m sprint trip and Run Oneover scored quite well in a 1min54.1sec mile rate. It’s worth noting though he beat the B and C-graders and would need to lift again to be a serious player like he was during last year’s Inter Dominion heats. Remember it was Run Oneover who led, took charge and then choked-down in the back straight of last year’s Inter Dominion final. Another win of note at the Gloucester Park meeting came from exciting three-year-old filly Cott Beach, who won by 30m in a 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2130m. It was the daughter of Advance Attack’s eighth win from just 12 starts. _________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE isn’t much young Queensland trainer-driver Brittany Graham can’t do. Graham, daughter of decorated trainer-driver Darrel, has carved out a successful training and driving career in her own right. She added another credit when she won the Seymour Group Lady Drivers Invitation Series at Albion Park last Saturday night. Graham beat megastar Kerryn Manning in a close finish with SA’s Danielle Hill in third spot. The series included other big names like Amanda Turnbull, Kate Gath and Trista Dixon. In recent times, Graham has also been making waves by dabbling in some media work for Sky Racing. _________________________________________________________________________________________ HOW can you not be in awe of the story around the pacer Love Ina Chevy. Remember back to January, last year and he’s the horse Lance Justice, his staff and friends cared for around the clock, day-after-day just to save him after a suspected snake bite. It was half a miracle he survived because he was so sick. The fact he’s made it back to races was incredible, let alone the success the six-year-old has enjoyed. Love Ina Chevy posted his seventh and by far most important win – albeit in a dead-heat – at Melton last Friday night. The gelding surged along the sprint lane as the $36 outsider of the field to split the prize with leader, It Is Billy, in the Markovina free-for-all. It was a race where Victorian buzz pacer Tee Cee Bee Macray – third to Lennytheshark and My Field Marshal in the Yarra Valley Cup at his previous run – was expected to dominate, but instead flopped back in second-last spot at $1.40. _________________________________________________________________________________________ FRESH back from enjoying NZ Cup Week, top young driver Todd McCarthy snared the feature race at Menangle last Saturday night. McCarthy partnered Tiger Tara to a monster third in the NZ Cup then second to Ultimate Machete in last Friday’s NZ FFA. Back home, he teamed with trainer Mark Callaghan and veteran mare Cullinary Delight to win the Group 3 Sue Kelly Ladyship Stakes in a 1min51.4sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________________________ IT might have been a ho-hum Cranbourne meeting, but debutante War Dan’s win provided a real highlight. The Amanda Turnbull-trained gelding carried a buzz into the race being a brother to former Victoria Cup winner Caribbean Blaster and turning heads in some recent trials. And he didn’t disappoint. Sent out a $1.20 favourite, driver Nathan Jack took War Dan to the lead, but he copped plenty of pressure in front and still won as he liked in a 1min58.6sec mile rate for 2080m. Adam Hamilton

Jack's Legend gets the perfect chance to replicate the richest win of his career on an even bigger stage at Addington Raceway in Christchurch today. A driving masterclass from Zachary Butcher helped Jack's Legend cause a huge upset at the Harness Jewels in June when he blasted across to a shock early lead before trailing Ultimate Machete and waiting until late in the straight to surge past him via the passing lane. He meets Ultimate Machete again in the $260,000 NZ Free-For-All today but if Butcher wants to try those lead-then-trail tactics again he will probably end up following a different rival, Australian visitor Tiger Tara. The pair chased home Lazarus, who is absent today as he travels to the Perth Inter Dominions, in the New Zealand Cup on Tuesday and while Jack's Legend was impressive in second, Tiger Tara was the run of the race outside Lazarus. He was parked for much of the race before galloping and losing four lengths at the 800m mark when he jumped a mark left on the track by the Seal The Deal/Dream About Me meelee at the start of the race. Tiger Tara has developed high gate speed since being sold to Australia and driver Todd McCarthy says he will be using it today. "He gets off the gate well and loves to lead and run along so that will be the plan," he says. "And I think most of the other drivers would be keen to follow him because he will give whoever is in the trail their chance," says McCarthy. "I was thrilled with him in the Cup and he has come through it really well." For all the talent of Ultimate Machete and Dream About Me, if Tiger Tara leads with Jack's Legend trailing they have a huge advantage. The question of the $260,000 may be whether Jack's Legend has enough change up speed to slingshot Tiger Tara. Ultimate Machete can win but will have to do it the hard way while Dream About Me's nightmare week continues with her wide draw. The draws have been kind to Great Things Happen, though, in the $300,000 Dominion Trot as he secured the front line while key rival Bordeaux will have to start from the second line. There is little between the pair on raw ability but Bordeaux is at his most potent when able to lead and roll even sectionals, which now looks unlikely. Great Things Happen was awesome winning the Trot Free-For-All on Tuesday. Trainer-driver Gavin Smith says he has pulled up perfectly. "I got a blood [sample] done and it is even better than it was going into Tuesday," says Smith. "I have been thinking for a while it is a race in two between us and Bordeaux so to draw in front of him is a big advantage and I'll be keen to get to the front." Smith says punters concerned about Great Things Happen returning to standing start after the hustle and bustle of two recent mobile starts need not worry. "I can't remember the last time he galloped away. "In fact, I'd love the start to be a long one with some waiting around because he will just relax and then perk up when I ask him to go," says Smith. If Smith is right and Great Things Happen is able to lead, it is hard to see him getting beaten. Michael Guerin  

The official start to the TAB Carnival of Cups for the 2017/18 harness racing season gets underway, as it traditionally does, at Eugowra this Monday. The eight-race card is highlighted by the Lexus of Parramatta Canola Cup, which some experts have claimed it to be the strongest edition ever of Group 3 feature. Trainers and drivers from all over the state have qualified for their spot in the $30,000 final including premiership winning reinsman Todd McCarthy who is driving Miss Patriot. The Kevin Pizzuto-trained mare has remained unbeaten in her two Australian starts. Exported from New Zealand on September 15, the American Ideal mare made her Australian debut six days later at Penrith and won. Just three days after this, Miss Patriot won her Canola Cup heat. She produced the fastest of the five qualifiers in the process, leading throughout in a mile rate of 2:00.1. "In the heat I didn't want to push her too hard into the first turn but once she found the top she won comfortably," McCarthy said. "She's a pretty handy mare. "I'll talk to Kevin and go through the race but I'd like her to be up there nice and handy . . . Kevin's horses usually race that way and it's key to be close to the action on these smaller tracks." Miss Patriot will most likely start favourite in the lucrative feature after drawing barrier five but may come out of barrier four with the removal of the first emergency. The only other heat winner drawn on the front row is Im With Lexy (one), who rated 2:00.7 to win her heat. The three other heat winners Eliza Dushku, Pay Me Sam and Inner Light have drawn 10, 11 and 12 respectively. AMANDA RANDO

Bathurst native and one of New South Wales’ leading harness racing drivers Todd McCarthy is risking his premiership lead for an experience of a life time. The defending champion currently holds the lead in the Harness Racing NSW metropolitan drivers’ premiership narrowly over his older brother Luke McCarthy and young gun reinsman Chris Geary. In the overall premiership, he is third behind The Lagoon’s Amanda Turnbull and Geary. However, on Wednesday McCarthy is leaving the country for a couple of weeks. “I’m heading to Canada for a fortnight for the World Drivers Championship,” McCarthy said. “I’m heading over with Shane Graham, who is representing Australia, as his plus one. “Harness Racing Australia have organised a licence for me so I can drive over there. I have also had help from Darren McCall, who has connections there, to help me get a few drives. “I’m planning to drive at Mohawk Racetrack.” Both of McCarthy’s older brothers have experienced driving in North America. Luke spent a stint driving in the United States and drove superstar trotter Muscle Hill to victory in the World Trotting Derby in 2009 while Andy was amongst the top 50 drivers in the US last season. McCarthy won all drivers’ premierships last season and is happy with what he has achieved this term so far. “I’ve spent a bit of time not driving this season after going on a holiday and then breaking my collarbone so have done well,” he said. Amanda Rando Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

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