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Harness racing owner Kevin Riseley confirmed last week that Lennytheshark is out of Breeders Crown contention this year, owners preferring to give the classy four-year-old a spell before chasing summer riches. But Riseley and fellow connections of two-year-old Bettors Delight colt Kept Under Wraps have a serious live Crown chance after the Brent Lilley-trained youngster upstaged boom Sydneysider Birdy Mach in the $50,505 Garrards Horse and Hound Tatlow Stakes for colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Kept Under Wraps, driven by Greg Sugars, raced one-out, one-back for the bulk of the journey while Birdy Mach ran along in front for Todd McCarthy in the 2240m race. The Sydney colt, which started $1.60 favourite after two blistering wins to start its career at Menangle, found the lead easily early with no one willing to challenge. This allowed last-start Vicbred Super Series winner Feeling Arty to dash to the death chair for Cameron Maggs, which gave the eventual winner cover in the running line. When Birdy Mach pinched a 10m lead coming off the back straight Sugars sent Kept Under Wraps out after him, while Iceobar, from the Brent Lilley yard with Mark Purdon in the spider, followed into the race stylishly. In the straight Birdy Mach led, Iceobar used the sprint lane and Kept Under Wraps came down the outside. Birdy Mach kept on kicking but Kept Under Wraps had more in the tank and nailed the early leader on the line to win by 1.1m, while Iceobar was a further 3.5m away in third place. The winning mile rate was 1:57.1 with a fourth quarter of 29.3secs and a last half of 58.3. Kept Under Wraps now boasts four wins from six starts. Kept Under Wraps The $50,505 Group 2 fillies’ Tatlow Stakes went to New Zealand star Katy Perry, who scored by 2.5m over Michael Stanley-trained Soho Tokyo, while Read About Lexy was third for Bernie Hewitt. Katy Perry, who started from the back row, whipped around the field early for reinsman Dexter Dunn before taking the lead and holding off all comers late. Katy Perry clocked a winning mile rate of 1:59.4 with a last half of 57.2. Katy Perry Earlier on the program Messini continued his dominance of the Victorian three-year-old ranks with a 5.5m win over Epaulette in the A Rocknroll Dance The Graduate. Despite starting from gate 13, Chris Alford guided the Brent Lilley-trained son of Art Major home in a mile rate of 1:56.5. Bettor Rock On remained unbeaten in five Australian runs with victory in Race 8, the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final for in-form father-son combo Ross and Greg Sugars. Bettor Rock On scored by 3.5m over the 1720m trip in a rate of 1:54.4 (last half 56.2) to defeat Essbee Doubleyou in second and Tandias Bromac in third. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18   By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media

Todd McCarthy dominated the driving ranks at Newcastle last Saturday night bringing up his first five winner haul in his career. He drove five of the first six winners on Derby night in a brilliant display. Marble Halls started the ball rolling in race one for trainer Glen Tippet, Fellas r Trouble in race three for trainer Peter Rixon, Howdy Dazz in race four for trainer Kevin Pizutto, Bettorbeastar in race five for Kevin Pizutto and Emerging Art in race six for Peter Rixon. Older brother Luke added to the night when champion three year old Bling It On won the feature event, the Mark Colin Packaging Newcastle Derby. Bling It On started at $1.10 on the NSW TAB and even though he was crossed at the start Luke was able to ease out into the running line and take off to hit the lead with two laps to go. He rated the son of American Ideal beautifully in front with a 69.4 lead time then strong sectionals of 30.1, 28.9, 28.6 and 29.8. Runners were faced with a very strong head wind in the home straight all night. Bling It On looked under a good hold in the run home and was never in danger, he record a 7 metre victory over El Feugo who stuck on very well for second and Mister Jay Cee who was a further 1.5 metres back in third. Bling It On stopped the clock at 3.06.8 for the 2550 metre journey with a mile rate of 1.57.9 which was only 3/10ths of a second outside the track record held jointly by Excel Stride and Suave Stuey Lombo. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |          

Bathburst harness racing horseman Peter Trevor-Jones took a trip back in time as he prepared to head for Tabcorp Park Menangle today to watch his classy six-year-old Beetson contest the $50,000 Lands Legal Carousel. “You wouldn’t believe it, but I won this race 10 years ago,” Trevor-Jones commented. That brought a laugh from his wife: “Try 20 years ago Peter,” she said. And Trevor-Jones was happy to recall getting a horse named Perfect Finish from John McCarthy all those years ago which he trained to win the Carousel. “Here I am, all these later, sending a horse I own to John’s son Luke to train and we are winning another Carousel. This is fantastic,” said Trevor-Jones. Still it was former Tasmanian reinsman  James Rattray who turned in another faultless drive to score with Beetson, coming with a perfectly-timed run to account for Arma Legend (Todd McCarthy) by four and a  half metres, with Three Over Three (Gavin Fitzpatrick) two and a quarter metres further  back in third spot in a quick 1:57.1 mile rate over the 2400m journey. Rattray has been one of the form drivers at Menangle due to his all-conquering run with Beautide, winning a Miracle Mile and an Inter Dominion in recent months. Still he settled Beetson perfectly in the running line and didn’t make his move until well into the straight as he and Arma Legend settled down to fight out the finish. Rattray has become close friends with Todd McCarthy since taking up residence at John McCarthy’s Cobbitty stables. But Todd must be getting sick of the sight of him. Every time he threatens to win a feature race, Rattray appears from nowhere and takes it away from him. No doubt Todd’s day in the sun will come sooner rather than later. David Wonson Harness Racing New South Wales

The talk around the track was that the inside was soft but Mach Beauty blew this theory out of the water when winning Heat Four of the Inter Dominion at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. Driven to perfection by Lauren Panella, the five-year-old showed his customary gate speed to lead. When the $1.50 favourite For A Reason came around, Panella elected to 'hand up' which proved to be a winning move. With For A Reason drifting up the track in the home straight, Panella was able to steer her horse into the clear and seal a spot in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final. The last two quarters of 27.8 and 28.1 seconds, saw For A Reason finish a head away in second with Franco Nelson gallant in third after racing outside the leader. Panella and Todd McCarthy, who won the earlier heat of the night at Menangle, are both concession drivers. Mach Beauty and For A Reason are now both guaranteed spots in the Inter Dominion Final Harness Racing NSW  

It was the biggest moment of his career and the smile on Todd McCarthy's face after winning the second Inter Dominion Heat showed it. He is heading to the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Final! The young horseman caused the biggest upset of the night so far at Tabcorp Park Menangle when his horse Seel N Print beat the favourite Beautide in the second Inter Dominion Qualifying Heat of the night. At juicy odds of $38.80 (NSW TAB), Seel N Print showed his usual dash when sprinting past the $1.20 favourite Beautide and The Gold Ace. Beautide worked to the lead from barrier seven and fought back in the home straight to be beaten just over a metre as Seel N Print came from back in the field. The sectionals were unavailable at the time but were later posted up in 30.5, 28.5, 28.8 and 28.9 seconds. Seel N Print and Beautide will head straight into the Grand Final on March 2. They join Terror To Love and Smolda, who finished first and second respectively in the first heat of the Inter Dominion at Addington. Harness Racing NSW  

Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway harness racing club has dominated last Saturday night’s (October 26th, 2013) Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Industry Awards. ‘This is most number of award wins ever claimed by Bankstown Paceway – or, probably, by any other race club ever – in the time since state based awards began being given out,’ Bankstown Paceway president and former HRNSW board member Les Bentley told Harnesslink. ‘It is the dawn of a new golden age of harness racing for Bankstown – with our horses, our drivers and even our club administrators and volunteers lauded as the very best in the whole of New South Wales,’ Mr Bentley added. 2012/13 Harness Racing New South Wales Industry Awards wins by Bankstown Paceway were: a.. New South Wales Centurion: Bankstown Paceway champion driver Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, was inducted as a New South Wales Centurion for 100 or more race wins in New South Wales during the 2012/2013 season; and a.. South Wales Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metropolitan): Bankstown Paceway champion driver Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metropolitan) – beating Alex Alchin, Kylie Barnes and Todd McCarthy (for this award, drivers are selected on a number of criteria including general behaviour, conduct in the Stewards Room, driving record, performance statistics and professionalism); and a.. New South Wales Volunteer Award: Bankstown Paceway committeeman Andrew Ho claimed the New South Wales Volunteer Award (for the second year in a row, an award was made to each nominee); and a.. New South Wales Volunteer Award: Bankstown Paceway committeewoman Megan Lavender claimed the New South Wales Volunteer Award (for the second year in a row, an award was made to each nominee); and a.. New South Wales Volunteer Award: Bankstown Paceway veteran horseman Bert Read of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Volunteer Award (for the second year in a row, an award was made to each nominee); and a.. New South Wales Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding Pacer of the Year: Three-year-old bay gelding, Home of the Brave, owned by Bankstown Paceway patrons and honorary life members Colin and Cheryl McDowell of Ellis Street, Condell Park, and trained by their son Dean McDowell, claimed the New South Wales Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding Pacer of the Year – defeating champion three-year-old standardbred horses Be Brave, Caesar Augustus, Ee And Em Stride, Sir Eric NZ and Ultimate Art (for this award, a horse from any jurisdiction may be considered for nomination; however there are two separate criteria for voting – horses trained in NSW can be judged on all performances that season, while horses trained outside of New South Wales can only be judged on those performances in New South Wales during the 2012/2013 season); and a.. New South Wales Aged Entire or Gelding Pacer of the Year: Six-year-old bay gelding, Gaius Caesar NZ, trained by third generation Bankstown Paceway member Darren Binskin of Ellis Street, Condell Park, and driven by Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Aged Entire or Gelding Pacer of the Year – defeating champion aged standardbred horses Chariot King, Excel Stride, Ideal Scott NZ, Mach Alert NZ, Mach Beauty and even four-time Treuer Memorial winner Washakie NZ (for this award, a horse from any jurisdiction may be considered for nomination; however there are two separate criteria for voting – horses trained in NSW can be judged on all performances that season, while horses trained outside of New South Wales can only be judged on those performances in New South Wales during the 2012/2013 season); and a.. New South Wales Aged Horse of the Year: Six-year-old bay gelding, Gaius Caesar NZ, trained by third generation Bankstown Paceway member Darren Binskin of Ellis Street, Condell Park, and driven by Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Aged Horse of the Year – defeating NSW Aged Trotter of the Year, Keystone Del NZ, and NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year, Baby Bling NZ, to receive one of the most coveted accolades in Australian harness racing. The 2012/13 Harness Racing New South Wales Industry Awards were presented at a gala awards dinner at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel last Saturday night (October 26th, 2013).  

The 2012/13 HRNSW Industry Awards night was held at the Hilton Hotel Sydney on Saturday night where the feats of both humans and equines were recognised. Exciting filly Frith was unanimously named NSW Horse of The Year after a scintillating three-year-old season which included the NSW Breeders Challenge, Victorian Breeders Crown, WA and Victorian Oaks. The 3YO of the year was also taken out by Frith whilst Bling It On took the honours in the 2YO category. The Nicole Molander-trained Keystone Del was named Trotter of The Year and Gaius Caesar won the open aged horse division. The Board and staff of HRNSW would like to congratulate the following award winners:   Award Nominees Winner McLachlan Thorpe & Partners Carnival of Cups - Leading Trotting Trainer   Blake Fitzpatrick   Blake Fitzpatrick   Goulburn HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   NSW Standardbred Owners Association Carnival of Cups - Leading Trainer   Steve Turnbull   Steve Turnbull   Albury HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Horse   Make Some Magic NZ   Make Some Magic NZ   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 1 Meeting   Coolamon HRC Maitland HRC Penrith HRC   Maitland HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 2 Meeting   Eugowra HRC Fairfield HRC Orange HRC Orange HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 3 Meeting   Blayney HRC Broken Hill HRC Griffith HRC   Broken Hill HRC   Tabcorp Centurions   Amanda Turnbull Lauren Panella Blake Fitzpatrick Luke McCarthy Robert Morris Steve Turnbull Shane Tritton Belinda McCarthy   All   Daily Form Service Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Country)   Andrew Pitt Ashleigh Camilleri Grace Grant Paul Diebert Sam Hewitt   Paul Diebert   Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metro)   Alex Alchin Kylie Barnes Lauren Panella Todd McCarthy   Lauren Panella   OAMPS Champion Junior Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   OAMPS Champion Driver   Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull OAMPS Champion Trainer   Steve Turnbull Steve Turnbull   National Trotguide Best Coverage by a Regional Newspaper   The Daily Advertiser - Wagga The Irrigator - Leeton The Maitland - Mercury   The Daily Advertiser Wagga   PMG Media Best Coverage by a Regional Television Station   Harbor Television Productions NBN Newcastle Prime 7 Wagga   NBN Newcastle   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Volunteer Appreciation Awards                         Stephen Hunt Cootamundra HRC Greg Maxwell Young HRC John Den Eugowra HRC  Robert Chew Bathurst HRC Megan Lavender Bankstown HRC Andrew Ho Bankstown HRC Bert Read Bankstown HRC   All Penrith HRC Don Clough Appreciation Award   Richard Earnshaw   Richard Earnshaw   Harness Breeders NSW Broodmare of the Year   Falcon Black Beauty NZ Jackie Kelly Left For Me Full Pleasure Rochelle Hanover   Left For Me   Pepper Tree Farm NSW Sire of the Year   Presidential Ball USA Tinted Cloud USA Pacific Rocket Ifihadyourluck USA John Street North USA   Presidential Ball USA   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar Outstanding Service to the Breeding Industry   Pepper Tree Farm Pepper Tree Farm   Breckon Farm NSW 2YO Trotter of the Year   My Valerie NZ Swishbye Verbier   My Valerie NZ   Addington Raceway NSW 2YO Filly Pacer of the Year   Denises Legacy Distant Memory Majestic Amy Ocean Diva Spicy Stride   Distant Memory   House of Brook NSW 2YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Allblack Stride NZ All Eyes On Us Bling It On Business In Motion Lettucerockthem   Bling It On   Sky Racing NSW 2YO of the Year   My Valerie NZ Distant Memory Bling It On   Bling It On   Bulli HRC NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year   Duchess Ella Nickys Invasion Vincennes   Duchess Ella   Sir Lincoln NSW 3YO Filly Pacer of the Year                 Frith Gypsy Babe Im Tondelayo Laaganoosh Tarelle   Frith   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar NSW 3YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Be Brave Caesar Augustus Ee And Em Stride Home Of The Brave Sir Eric NZ Ultimate Art   Home Of The Brave   Tabcorp NSW 3YO of the Year   Duchess Ella Frith Home Of The Brave Frith   NSWHRC NSW Aged Trotter of the Year   Keystone Del NZ King Of Strathfield NZ Neville Vaughan NZ   Keystone Del NZ   Cordina Farms NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year   Baby Bling NZ Forever Gold Obahma Joy Our Sixpence NZ   Baby Bling NZ   Harness Racing Travelworld NSW Aged E&G Pacer of the Year   Chariot King Excel Stride Gaius Caesar NZ Ideal Scott NZ Mach Alert NZ Mach Beauty Washakie NZ   Gaius Caesar   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Aged Horse of the Year   Keystone Del NZ Baby Bling NZ Gaius Caesar   Gaius Caesar   OAMPS - NSW Horse of The Year   Bling It On Frith Gaius Caesar   Frith        

Queensland teenager Todd McCarthy answered an SOS from Forrestdale harness racing trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he became the fourth member of his family to drive a winner at Gloucester Park when he guided Hilarious Life to an all-the-way success in the Find Thirty Cycling Young Drivers Pace on Friday night.

When Eastwood Fire, a pacer who has been plagued by troublesome hooves for most of his career, scored an easy victory in the Find Thirty Running Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night it gave the Forrestdale training team of Greg and Skye Bond their fifth winner on the ten-event harness racing program.

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