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FORMER star Kiwi stayer Tiger Tara is ready and waiting for Lennytheshark. Tiger Tara arrogantly posted his fifth successive win when he strolled home in the Group 3 Sydney Cup (2140m) at Bankstown last Friday night. In contrast to recent wins where he’s done all the work, this time driver Todd McCarthy found the front and Tiger Tara won as he liked in a 1min57.5sec mile rate for 2140m. He zipped home in 56.3 and 27.7sec. “He’s thriving on the hard racing and I can’t wait to get a crack at Lennytheshark next weekend,” trainer Kevin Pizzuto said. “I know he hasn’t been beating the absolute best in his recent runs, but the way he’s been going means I’m not afraid of taking any horse on.” Miracle Mile winner Lennytheshark hasn’t raced since winning the Cranbourne Cup on March 18, but sharpened-up with a slashing second in a Menangle trial last Tuesday. Lennytheshark and Tiger Tara are set to clash in next Saturday night’s Group 2 Bulli Cup at Menangle. FORMER classy Kiwi pacer Hughie Green was always going to enjoy life in Queensland. It’s started as most expected with two easy wins from as many starts in his new home state for trainer-driver John Cremin. He won first Queensland outing in all-the-way style at Albion Park on April 7, then did exactly the same, but looked even better doing it last Saturday night. The five-year-old cruised through a 62.6sec middle half then ripped home in 55.5 and 27.0sec to win by 11.7m in a 1min57.3sec mile rate for 2138m. Hughie Green is going to have a good grounding at Albion Park ahead of the Winter Carnival up there when the likes of Lennytheshark, Hectorjayjay and Tiger Tara are expected to spice things up. CLASSY Victorian mare Rockstar Angel remains a “big hope” of contesting the Harness Jewels if the invite comes her way. Trainer David Aiken set the four-year-old for the $40,000 Platinum Mares’ Championship three months ago and snared the final with a tough and dominant win last Saturday night. It was a huge effort to come from outside the back row, do the work outside the leader and win in a blazing 1min53sec mile rate for 1720m. Given the lack of Our Dream About Me and probably Golden Goddess, the Jewels’ 4YO Mares’ division looks a good target for Rockstar Angel if Aiken and owner Brendan James opt to give it a crack. Also at Melton, Major Crocker made a one-act affair of the Westburn Grant free-for-all (2240m) by leading throughout in a 1min54.3sec mile rate. And rejuvenated trotter Vincennes caused a minor upset winning the Group 3 Uncle Petrika Trotters’ free-for-all (1720m) in a 1min56.3sec mile rate. The other eye-catching winner on the night was one-time Harness Jewels contestant, Burnaholeinmypocket, who looks to be regaining the sort of form he showed as a three and early four-year-old for Andy and Kate Gath. He sat parked and dug deep for a blisterining 1min53.1sec win over 1720m. ONE of the most stirring battles of last weekend came at Gloucester Park. It was an epic stoush between brothers Clint and Gary Hall Jr and a couple of exciting three-year-old pacers Runrunjimmydunn and El Barcelona. The pair cleared out from the rest of the field with El Barcelona in front and looking the winner on the home bend, but Runrunjimmydunn just kept coming and snatched victory by a nose on the line in a slick 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2130m. Runrunjimmydunn brilliantly won his first Aussie run for trainer Gary Hall Sr then had little go right in the WA Derby before bouncing back last Friday night. At the same meeting, another exciting three-year-old Maczaffair appreciated dropping back from racing the boys when 11th in the WA Derby to thrashing her rivals in a WA Oaks Prelude. Trained by Mike Reed and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, Maczaffair led throughout from the pole to win by 13.2m in a 1min56sec mile rate for 2140m, including closing splits of 56.4 and 27.9. The other highlight of the Gloucester Park card came when Bill Horn – of Village Kid fame – produced his injury-plagued pacer Heez On Fire for a first-up win in the fast-class race. It was the gelding’s first run since a failed tilt at the Perth Inter Dominion late last year. STILL in WA and leading trainer Greg Bond has been charged with behaviour detrimental to the industry from a race held during the Perth Inter Dominion series late last year. After an exhaustive probe, Perth West Australian newspaper reported RWWA had charged Bond in relation a former Kiwi pacer Fifth Edition at Gloucester Park in December. An iquiry was opened straight after the pacer drifted alarmingly in betting, hung badly and wilted to finish last. The inquiry focused on Bond’s comments in Perth radio on the morning of the race and his betting activity on race night. RWWA’s general manager of integrity, Denis Borovica, said Bond initially told RWWA’s former chief steward, Carl Coady, he included Fifth Edition in a “first four bet” on the race, but subsequence evidence showed none his bets did include Fifth Edition. Additionally, Borovica said Bond said on local radio on race morning that Fifth Edition was his “best prospect” that night, neglecting to mention information he had been given by stable foreman Ryan Warwick about the pacer hanging and cross-firing in trackwork the prior Tuesday. The charges are serious and the inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be set. Bond and his wife, Skye, are backbones of the WA industry with a huge stable – mostly Kiwi imports – and have trained almost 150 winners so far this season. LATE last year there was plenty of prepost money around for San Carlo to win the Victoria and/or Hunter Cups. San who may of you might ask? San Carlo is a six-year-old gelding, who, if he could stay sound, would be a Grand Circuit horse. Not long after the money came for him late last year, he had yet another setback and was put out for a spell by trainer Steve O’Donoghue. San Carlo returned to the races with a sparkling win at Kilmore last Friday night. It was his 10th win from just 11 starts. Despite being three-wide and outside the leader, driver Bec Bartley had an armchair ride as he coasted to a 9.8m win in a brisk 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2180m. KIWI pacer Motu Premier gives Mark Purdon another major feature race player at Menangle next Saturday night. The four-year-old made it two wins from as many runs during this NSW raid when he finished strongly to win a heat of the Carousel series at Bankstown last Friday night. Motu Premier looks one of the major players along with the likes of Anything For Love and Lord Zin Zan in the $50,000 Group 2 Carousel final next Saturday night. Lord Zin Zan won an epic battle with Anything For Love in a scorching 1min49.6sec mile at Menangle last Tuesday then backed-up last Saturday night for an easy all-the-way win at the same track in 1min52.1sec. HARNESS Racing Victoria continues to tinker with its pacing races after abolishing standing-start races for pacers at the start of this season. The move came under the microscope most on the country cup circuit where so many of the former standing-start races became mobiles and had short-priced favourites. Overall, HRV revealed betting turnover across all country cups was up 3.9 per cent on last season, but they conceded some races – most notably the Shepparton Cup which was down 24.7 per cent – suffered as a result. Hectorjayjay started $1.20 and dominated at Shepparton. In a quest to combat this, HRV’s CEO David Martin confirmed the country cups of Group 2 and 3 status would switch from free-for-alls to preferential draw races next season. It’s a fair compromise with a marquee Cup, like the Group 1 Ballarat Cup, remaining a random draw. The upside to scrapping stands has been more of stars like Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay in the country cups and the preferential draws should at least make some of those Group 2 and 3 races more competitive. MATTY Craven showed why he is regarded as one of the emerging training forces in Australia with an “on-the-road” treble at Menangle last Saturday night. Craven, who is building a name for rejuvenating trotters, won with two trotters at Menangle – El Paco and Our Dreamlover – who have been both regained form since being switched to his stable. Craven’s other win came with tough pacer Desdon Murruffy, who led throughout in a slick 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2300m.   Adam Hamilton

Kyle Marshall has carried on straight from where he left off in the Australasia Young Driving Championships in Perth. Less than a week after driving two winners across the Tasman and finishing fourth – four points behind winner, Todd McCarthy (NSW), Marshall was back in the winner’s circle at the Manawatu Harness Racing Club’s meeting at Palmerston North last night (Tuesday). The 22-year-old Franklin reinsman was the most successful driver at the nine-race meeting, steering the Arna Donnelly trained $2.40 favourite to win race three, and then two races later he drove the Fred Mitchell trained $13.20 seventh favourite Jack Bates to victory. Eldolar was having his second start back for Donnelly in the $7,000 Life Members Maiden Pace after an eight month spell. The Elsu gelding resumed at Cambridge Raceway on December 1 with a close-up second behind Taihape Sunset. It was his first look at Manawatu Raceway and his first start over the 2000m. “He’s still a bit green but he won very well. He’s got a lot to learn but should win at least a couple more. He felt real strong,” Marshall said. Eldolar started from the widest second row draw (12) and Marshall worked the 4-year-old to sit in the lane the second last time. In the home straight Eldolar left his nine opponents to it winning by an increasing three lengths and pacing the 2000m mobile in 2:34.2 (mile rate 2:04 even). His final 800m and 400m sectionals were 60.8 and 28.9. It was his first career win in 16 starts and the way he cruised home it won't be his last. "I think he will be my best drive on Thursday. He’s got the feeling he will go on with it,” said Marshall. Jack Bates (2) was also impressive winning the $7,000 Happy 80th Birthday George Mouldey Mobile for the up to R56 rated pacers. Marshall settled the 8-year-old P Forty Seven gelding in the one-one before looming up three-wide on the turn and then pacing away to win by one-and-quarter lengths. Jack Bates paced the 2500m mobile in 3:15.9 (mile rate 2:06.1) and home in 62.3 and 30.7. It was Jack Bates' third win in 49 starts on the track and his third from 32 attempts over the distance. All up he's now won six of his 131 starts and just under $50,000 in stakes. “He’s an honest little horse who is racing well. He got all the favours in the running and obliged. Fred had him spot on,” said Marshall. Marshall has now driven eight winners from 79 starters this season. This is his first season in the open driving ranks and he’s now driven 81 winners from 952 starters. he’s also placed 165 times and won $571,619 in career stakes. His best season was last year when he reined home 39 winners from 383 starters ($264,717). Meanwhile Marshall said that competing in the recent Australasian Young Drivers Championship was the highlight of his career. “When I first started out as a junior this was my main goal. It was always something I wanted to achieve and I was running out of time. “I’m just grateful to all the owners and trainers who made it all possible for me on their horses in my last year as a junior (2015-2016),” Marshall said. "I'm also grateful for all the drives I'm getting in New Zealand as well, and that includes Manawatu," he added Duane Ranger

New Zealand harness racing junior driver Robbie Close is still tied for the lead in the Australiasan Young Drivers Championships with one race left in the series.  Brad Williamson managed to get a win yesterday at  Narrogin after several placings in the earlier heats. Brad won aboard All About The Cash when he led all the way from barrier two with Robbie Close second driving Mon Alisa Jet. After yesterdays Narrogin heat Robbie Close is tied in the lead with Todd McCarthy (NSW) on 69 points with a further six points back to another kiwi Kyle Marshall on 63 points. In the event of a tie, the driver with the most victories shall be declared winner. If still tied, the greater number of seconds and so on until the winner is declared. Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship Points Table: Robbie Close (NZ)            69 Todd McCarthy (NSW)   69 Kyle Marshall (NZ)           63 Matt Anderson (NZ)       62 Nathan Dawson (QLD)    60 Brad Williamson (NZ)     60 Jayson Finnis (SA)            49 Jason Lee (VIC)                40 Stuart McDonald (WA)   29 Wade Rattray (TAS)         27   Harnesslink Media

Last season’s leading New South Wales harness racing driver Todd McCarthy has been forced to the sideline after breaking his collarbone in a race fall at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. The 23-year-old Group one winning reinsman crashed to the track when driving Karmic Fire, a pacer trained by his father John McCarthy, and luckily sustained no other injuries.  “I’m feeling alright,” McCarthy said. “Judging by my other one (collarbone) I could be out for a few weeks.” McCarthy has broken his collarbone twice before, once in another horse related incident and the other on a bike. McCarthy is also hoping he bounces back in time to represent NSW in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship which is just five weeks away. The series will be held in conjunction with the 2016 Inter Dominion Series in Perth, Western Australia, from December 2 to December 9. McCarthy represented the state last weekend in the Australian Drivers Championship which took place at Globe Derby on Saturday night. After nabbing a win in the opening heat, McCarthy finished fourth overall. The young reinsman is fresh from experiencing his best season to date having dominated all the major driving premierships in NSW. Click here to watch a replay of race five at Menangle yesterday Amanda Rando

A New South Wales representative is yet to win the Australian Drivers Championship, however, two of the state's leading harness racing drivers are hoping to reverse this trend at the 2016 Championship on October 22 at Globe Derby, South Australia. The pair given this task is last season's leading State Driver Todd McCarthy and multiple Group winning reinswoman Amanda Turnbull. The selection process was very "black and white" according to Harness Racing NSW chief executive John Dumesny. "Todd McCarthy was the state's leading driver last season while Amanda Turnbull was the leading reinswoman in the state," Dumesny said. "By selecting a representative from each gender HRNSW is a leader in equality and naturally they both deserve their selection." It will be the first time McCarthy represents NSW in this Championship, however, the same cannot be said for Turnbull who has competed in this series in 2014 and finished 10th. AMANDA RANDO

At just the age of 23 harness racing reinsman Todd McCarthy is undoubtedly having his best season to date. He achieved the feat of driving 500 winners last night at Penrith (August 18) and this milestone was reached when the two-year-old Western Stride broke through for his first victory. This season alone Todd has driven 186 winners, which includes his first Group One winner, and looks set to take out the New South Wales Drivers Premiership. The talented reinsman is also the leading concession driver in the state and is in front in the Metropolitan Drivers Premiership too, just two wins ahead of his older brother Luke. Here are some more Todd McCarthy stats: ·         First started driving in 2010 ·         His first race drive was at Albion Park on March 2, 2010, on Count The Cards – they finished second ·         It took Todd 13 drives to land his first winner ·         His first winner was Count The Cards at the Gold Coast on April 23, 2010 ·         Todd’s first double was at Albion Park on October 26, 2010, with Beef City Beau and Braveheart Stride ·         At the age of 21 Todd drove five winners in one program which was at Newcastle on May 3, 2014. The wins came courtesy of Fellas R Trouble, Howdy        Dazz, Marble Halls, Emerging Art and Bettorbeastar ·         Todd’s drives has collected over $4.6million in prizemoney ·         His first Group One win was with Frith in the 2016 Ladyship Mile ·         The fastest win Todd has had was when Frith rated 1:50.1 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 16, 2016 ·         He has trained 17 winners  - more than half of them were thanks to the pacer Seel N Print ·         Todd also finished second in the 2014 Inter Dominion Grand Final with Seel N Print AMANDA RANDO

Honours and dollars were shared although there were hardly any great surprises after the three Group Two Trotters Finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. Harness Racing Trainer/Driver Blake Fitzpatrick kicked off the big Breeders Challenge Finals Day in typical fashion when he took Empire Bay to victory in the opening event, the Two-Year-Old Trotters Final. Sent out a prohibitive $1.50 favourite, Empire Bay was a comfortable winner over his only two rivals Shang Fang Sword and Nanas Eyes. While he was expected to dominate the trotters’ races, Fitzpatrick could only fill the minor places with his following two entries with Seven Secrets running fourth in the three-year-old final and short-priced favourite Glenferrie Burn leaving its run too late and ending up second with a late burst in the four and five-year-old Trotters’ Final. Zac Phillips guided Red Hot Tooth to victory to deny Fitzpatrick of making it two from two while Todd McCarthy held on from a fast-finishing Fitzpatrick with Glenferrie Burn in the third race. Fitzpatrick was delighted to draw first blood: “He (Empire Bay) went great, he’s been a really smart horse and he’s made mistakes in the wrong races,” he said. “His record really should be better than it is. “I was happy to follow Shang Fang Sword as my bloke has really good speed and he picked the leader up quickly and finished the race right off. “He’ll have a short break now and then head to Victoria for the Redwood and then the Breeders Crown.” The Three-Year-Old Trotters Final could almost be considered a Bathurst victory as Red Hot Tooth was bred by Geoff Bullock from Bathurst. He sent the horse to Kari Males, who trains out of Bolinda in Victoria but is originally a Bathurst girl. Young Victorian-based reinsman Zac Phillips, 20, caught a plane this morning to drive the horse and then headed straight back to drive at Shepparton tonight. “I’ve been up here a few times but this is the first time I’ve driven a winner here,” he grinned. “She’s been a revelation this horse and came down around six months ago. She wasn’t much to look at but has had six starts and kept improving. “Once she began to race the better horses she just acquitted herself well. “I thought I’d be hard to beat if could lead and we had such a great run I was really confident. “If she’s in front she runs her best races. “I think she could have gone quicker had she needed to. It’s a terrific story the owners are lovely people and it’s really good to see people win on a big day like today.” Michael Howard

A quick update re the 2016 Harness Jewels. Kevin Pizzuto and his stand out pacer Heza Bromac are heading to the 2016 Cambridge Jewels. Today Pizzuto and owner Danny Zavitsanos accepted an invitation from HRNZ to complete in the Sweet Lou at Woodlands 3yo Emerald on the 4th of June. When Kevin spoke to Greg Hayes of HRNSW last week about his stable star, he was quoted as saying "“He by far and away is the best horse I have ever had in my stable, I’ve had some nice horses over the years but there is daylight between Heza Bromac and the rest,”  Regular driver Todd McCarthy will come over to drive the son of Rob Roy Mattgregor, and by the looks of his latest twitter update where he described Heza Bromac as an "Awesome horse with a ton of speed and power" he is obviously excited for the challenge. Heza Bromac joins Shane Tritton trained mare Arms Of An Angel as the only official jewels invites at this stage. Andrew Fitzgerald

Irish pacer Meadowbranch DJ has no time for celebrating St Patrick's Day on Thursday with new trainer John McCarthy confirming the Inter Dominion competitor is ready to resume after two solid trials at Tabcorp Park Menangle. McCarthy has been pleased with both efforts and will now sit down and look for a suitable race. Meadowbranch DJ last raced on December 4 at Gloucester Park when he finished behind Devendra, however on resumption the son of Real Artist will be racing much weaker opposition. Although he has won 23 races in the United Kingdom, Meadowbranch DJ is assessed as a C1 pacer in Australia. "I think he is going to do a good job in Sydney, he is lowly assessed and I think he will be best suited to Menangle because he really likes racing over the mile," McCarthy said. "I've been really happy with his two trials, he just knocked up late in his first trial, the winner broke 1:53 and he wasn't too far away." "On Tuesday I told Todd (McCarthy) to go around 1:54 and let him run through the line which is exactly what happened." McCarthy keeps in contact with former trainer Willie Flanagan and confirmed he had received a text message prior to Meadowbranch DJ's trial on Tuesday. "I spent some time with the Irish boys in Western Australia and they're all good guys, Willie sent me a message asking what I expected from the trial on Tuesday and they're obviously keeping a close eye on what he is doing here in Sydney." "On the times he is running in the trials he is going to get through to metropolitan class, he can get a bit keen in his races but if I can keep a lid on him between runs I think he should do a really good job." Meanwhile stablemate Cyclone Kate is back in work and will be aimed towards the upcoming Carousel series. Cyclone Kate won the Group 2 Carnival Stakes on Miracle Mile afternoon and McCarthy admits he will be forced to keep her away from the races prior to a Carousel heat. "If she wins another race she won't be eligible to compete in the Carousel so I'll have to get her fit at the trials, she didn't have long off so she didn't lose too much condition." "It looks a pretty good series for her but I know Belinda and Luke are aiming Kept Under Wraps at the Carousel so like always there will be plenty of depth." Lord Zin Zan is still spelling after his encouraging campaign. The four-year-old pacer finished second behind Have Faith In Me in the Chariots Of Fire and MCCarthy has now set his sights on the Breeders Crown. "I never ask too much of my horses at four, all of the good horses I've had success with previously I've been patient with at four, I think if you give them an easy season and they have the ability, it helps them develop into a Grand Circuit performer." "I was mindful Lord Zin Zan had suffered from a leg injury and while everything was fine with him during this campaign, I thought if I gave him some time off now it would ensure that the leg doesn't become an issue later on." Greg Hayes

The darling of Tabcorp Park Menangle withstood the best mares in Australia to stamp herself as one of our greatest ever at Menangle today. Champion harness racing mare Frith show acceleration and courage to wallop a field of the best mares in Australasia as she scored a one and a half metre win over plucky Kiwi mare Our Willow with Victorian mare Nike Franco a flashing third. Victory in this $200,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Ladyship Mile was perhaps the biggest victory in young reinsman Todd McCarthy’s short career as Frith rated 1:51.9 to surge past the $1m mark in earnings. Todd declared he had the best horse in the race as soon as the mobile let them go as Frith burned across the face of the field from gate 11 to clear them easily and hold a two-length lead by the time they passed the post the first time. McCarthy knew that after a 27.8s opening split that Frith would love a tiny breather and was able to back off the speed with a 30.1s second split before putting the foot down and letting his rivals do the chasing. Turning for home after a 27.6s third quarter, Frith showed her dazzling speed when she sizzled home in 26.4 seconds to hold off the fast-finish of My Willow, who had the drop on her all the way after holding the back of the leader from gate one. Despite the urgings of Mark Purdon, the tiny My Willow, tried her hardest to catch Frith before settling for second while Nike Franco held off the other quick-finisher Berisari to run third. McCarthy, the son of two-time Miracle Mile winner John McCarthy later commented: “She’s something else and will go down in history as a special mare. “I wasn’t too sure, it’s a big ask to cross all the good ones but she has that much speed and showed it today. “She felt strong in the straight. I knew there were a couple behind with plenty of speed. But we hit the line at top speed and did enough to hold them off. “She’s so tough and she never lays down. When you drive her you get a really special feel and I actually got goose bumps as we crossed the line.”  

Mighty mare Frith bounced back to her brilliant best with an all-the-way win to take out the first feature of a stellar night's harness racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight, the $50,000 Group Two Therese Cordina Sibelia Stakes. Blessed with the gate speed to easily cross and find the front from gate three for star young reinsman Todd McCarthy, Frith reeled off a 27.7s first quarter of the mile to ensure nothing was going to challenge the six-year-old mare for the lead. After a 29.5s second split, the race was always going to be Frith's for the taking, so McCarthy lowered the handlebars and the daughter of Four Starzzz Shark posted a 27.8 third split to test her rivals to the max. Frith saved her best for last as she romped home the last quarter in an even 27 seconds to score by 1.5m from Nike Franco (Luke McCarthy) with $1.80 favourite Fight For Glory a fighting third. Natalie Rasmussen angled Fight For Glory away from the pegs turning for home and she had ever chance in the long Menangle straight to run down Frith, while Nike Franco came from three-back on the pegs to surge up the inside and briefly looked a chance of getting to Frith before pacing roughly about 50m from the finish. Still all honours were with Frith with the mighty mare now guaranteed a berth in the $200,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Ladyship Mile, one of many features to be run on Miracle Mile Day, February 28. While owner Diane Kelly was trackside to acknowledge her great mare, reinsman Todd McCarthy, one of the form drivers at Menangle in recent months, said hopping behind a horse of the calibre of Frith made the big nights like these memorable ones. Trainer Belinda McCarthy commented that the real Frith stood up tonight after she had finished a close and unlucky fourth to Easy On The Eye a week ago at the same track. Belinda will no doubt put the great mare on ice now as she edges towards that magic million dollars in earnings. Tonight's success put Frith a mere $25,000 short of the historic mark. Michael Court            

The Ashlee Grives trained Lochinver is aiming to become just the third horse to win Bankstown's Treuer Memorial on multiple occasions. Our Sir Vancelot won it twice in 1996/97 and Washakie recorded five consecutive victories from 2009 to 2013. While the race no longer carries Grand Circuit status, Grives is hoping to join the select group by winning Friday night's feature event. "Lochniver has been a great horse for me, he started racing as a two year old and he is still racing the top horses many years later," Grives said. "I'm really happy with how he is going, it has taken me awhile to get him back to his best but I think his last two victories have proved that he is in the best form of his career and if everything goes right on Friday night then he can win the Treuer." Grives confirmed Lochniver had a couple of niggling issues last season but she believes his improvement could be a change in routine. "As he has gotten older I have had to back off his work a little bit, he just can't cop as much work as he previously could because of the wear and tear on his body. "I've changed things up a bit with his training and he has really blossomed." Lochinver will relish getting back to the half mile circuit on Friday night. "He handles any size track, it is a good asset to have because some horses prefer the bigger tracks like Menangle but with Lochinver he is just as much at home at Bankstown. "Because he is racing so well I'll look to target a few of the country cups coming up in New South Wales and Bathurst's Shirley Turnbull Memorial would be a logical target at Christmas time." While Grives will drive Lochinver at Bankstown she has been using the services of reinsman Todd McCarthy on a regular basis. "Todd is the leading driver at the moment and to me it makes sense to use him, it also allows me to step back for the time being and watch the horses from the sidelines. "I'm really enjoying the training side of things these days and Todd has been winning races for me so it is something that I am going to keep on doing." McCarthy will drive Platinum Roulette for Grives in the Sydney Cup at Bankstown. "Platinum Roulette has drawn well and I think he is going to be extremely hard to beat, I'm driving Mister Chow in the same race but he has drawn the back row and will need plenty of speed on if he is going to get into the race. "Platinum Roulette has come back from injury really well, he's only had the two runs back but he was forced to sit outside Yayas Hot Spot last time out at Bathurst and did a great job to finish as close as he did." Greg Hayes

Harness racing driver Todd McCarthy has long been noted for his ability to get horses off the gate quickly, and in his recent visits to Group One Feeds Paceway, he's put that to good use by handing up to take advantage of Bathurst's sprint lane. Two of his three winners at last Wednesday's all-sprint meeting, both for in-form trainer Ashlee Grives, came in this manner. Limitation NZ ($15.10, in C2-C4 grade) got up in the last stride of a very busy finish, over Mattjestic Star and leader Inception NZ, with favourite Cruisinonthe Big Ern, which eventually finished fourth, also labelled the winner at one stage in the straight. It was just the third career win, in 74 starts, but the second in succession, for the Live Or Die daughter who has reached a new peak of form at age seven. "I was happy to hand up on her, and take my chances. On the home bend I was hopeful, rather than confident, which was pretty much the same feeling I had about the photo finish," McCarthy commented when his number came up. The combination scored their second win of the night in the final event, for three-year-olds, when Summer Money ($4.00) showed a brilliant turn of foot to scoot along the sprint lane for an impressive win over Taylah Studleigh, which had death-seated throughout.  It was a maiden win for the well named Million Dollar Cam youngster, at his ninth start, but indicative of further success in coming starts. Todd's third winner, for Sydney trainer Wayne Dimech in a C3 conditioned class, was Merrywood Duke, and after enjoying a one-one trail throughout, the $2.30 favourite outsprinted Abbey Cullen and leader Puffnstuff, with a smart last half of 56.5 responsible for the 1:55.7 mile rate. This was mid-range in the night's speed catalogue, with three sub- 1:55 runs, a further three below 1:58.0, and a 1:58.4 victory - which would have drawn rave reviews on the old Bathurst track - the slowest of the meeting. Emma Turnbull, one of the contenders for Bathurst driving honours this season, took out the fastest and the slowest, with De Santa Anna and Skirmish. De Santa Anna ($3.30, for Steve Conroy) staged a thrilling battle the entire length of the home straight with favourite Mister Jogalong in the C1 opening race, with just a neck separating them at the finish and the chasing pack some thirty metres astern. The mile rate of 1:54.8 set the standard for the night, as did the 27.5 final quarter. The performance of both the winner and runner-up drew plenty of praise from seasoned observers. Both four year olds are top class, and the future clashes between them as they work through the grades will be awaited with real anticipation. Skirmish NZ ($2.60 favourite, Peter Bullock) might have rated the slowest time but, ironically, his win from inside the second line in a C0 class, was as tough and meritorious as any at the meeting. Emma Turnbull was intent on getting him away from the markers as soon as she was able, and he was forced to work hard around the field to the death seat, during a first half in 59 seconds. He applied plenty of pressure to leader Time To Share Lombo down the back, forged to the front on the bend and showed true grit in fighting off his challengers for the win, his fourth in five starts. Other winners at the meeting included: Star Singer ($8.20) , in the second of the C1 events, Nathan Hurst earning a " drive of the night " award for his mid-race sprint which took his opponents by surprise, and himself to the lead, and eventual victory; So Kool Harry ($12.40, Steve/ Nathan Turnbull), enjoying a nice trail behind race favourite Yayas Hot Spot before pulling out a big sprint to take out the fast class, with a last half in 56.8 , and edging ever closer to the coveted $200,000 in earnings; Sonny Studleigh ($4.10, Leigh/ Jake Davis) , working clear into a three-wide trail up the back, and finishing off strongly to win a C0 grade, to remain the "cream of the crop" for the dairy farmers from Browns Creek. Greg Hayes

As the youngest of three McCarthy brothers it is understandable Todd felt the pressure to succeed in the sport of harness racing. With a father that trained dual Miracle Mile winner Be Good Johnny and two successful brothers driving winner after winner, expectations were high. Surprisingly Todd waited nearly a year to apply for his licence to drive in races despite being eligible to do so. "I knew harness racing was where I would end up but I was still competing on the dirt bikes and there definitely was pressure because Luke and Andy were doing so well but once I finally got my licence I loved it," Todd McCarthy said. "There was no pressure from Mum and Dad or anyone else in the family but it was very daunting when I first started and while it worried me early in my career I quickly learned that I had to put thoughts like that out of my mind." When Todd drove Whitershadeofpale to win at Albion Park on Friday afternoon he brought up his 100th Australian winner for the season, the first time the 22-year old had achieved the feat. He added to that when Bling It On won on Saturday evening taking his season tally to 101 and his career total to 295. By the time Luke and Andy McCarthy had turned 21 the pair had each driven more than 300 winners. However Todd is set to become the quickest of the McCarthy family to reach the mark. Luke drove his 300th winner after 2017 drives, while Andy needed 1896 races. Todd has driven in only 1871 events and needs just five winners in his next 24 races to surpass his brothers. Todd's career started in Queensland and he drove only for his father. His claim was very valuable but when he was unable use to his junior concession he was the stable's fourth option. Owners wanted Luke, Andy or John and Todd was happy to accept the situation. "When I first started in Brisbane, juniors got 40 concession wins each season and Dad wanted to use the claim just for his stable but when owners wanted to use Luke or Andy I understood why, I didn't have much experience and they wanted the best driver on their horse. "It is hard for a junior to get going because you need success to attract more opportunities and you're still learning what to do." Todd made the move to Sydney but it took him a while to settle into his new surroundings. "I love the style of racing at Menangle but it is different from Albion Park and it takes time to become accustomed to the differences. "When I arrived Mat Rue was doing a lot of the concession driving for Luke but I picked up a few drives and slowly things started to improve." The improvement in Todd's driving has been evident in the past couple of seasons with a number of stables now using his services. "There have been a lot of changes for me over the past two years but I think the biggest one has been maturity. "Two years ago I was only thinking about my horse and where it had to be in the race, I had a set plan and if things didn't work out how I thought, I had nothing to fall back on but now I think a lot more in races, I know where my main dangers are and I have worked out what I'm going to do if certain things happen." Todd also credits pacer Seel N Print for helping with his development. "Seel N Print really put me on the map, he gave me the confidence to compete against the top drivers and helped me pick up outside drives too." With less than two months of the season remaining Todd has a slender lead in the Metropolitan Drivers' premiership. "The metro premiership is something that I would really like to win, I have a one win lead and that made the decision to go to Albion Park over the weekend difficult because I am getting a lot of drives at Menangle at the moment. "I won a strike rate premiership in my first season of driving in Queensland but have never won anything else so it would be nice to win it this season." What does the future hold for Todd? Will he follow in the footsteps of his brother Luke and remain in Sydney or will he head to the USA and emulate Andy? "I want to be a driver, I work for Dad in the mornings helping him and working Seel N Print but I really like the driving side of the industry. "At some stage I would like to head to North America for a short stint but my future is in Sydney." Greg Hayes

The annual Central Victorian Young Harness Racing Drivers' Challenge will take place across five races next month from July 8-9. Horses will be randomly allocated to a driver from the following list of invitees - Josh Aiken, Aaron Bain (SA), Josh Duggan, Dylan Egerton-Green (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Haydon Gray, Jason Lee, Todd McCarthy (NSW), Zac Phillips and Amy Rees (Qld). The series kicks off with two races at Shepparton on July 8 and continues the following day with two races at Maryborough and one at Ballarat. Shepparton Harness Racing Club racing and operations manager Ian McDonald is looking forward to the series of races. "The quality of participants is the key. To have not only the five leading young drivers in Victoria but the five best from outside Victoria is fantastic," he said. "To have them all in the one forum is a real bonus." Horses which win races involved in the series will not incur a handicapping penalty. CODY WINNELL 

Harness racing trainer Anton Golino had his first runner in a race in October 2013. After spending years travelling overseas and gaining international experience with various horsemen, Golino returned to Australia and took out a training licence. Since then the 34-year old has had 48 runners for 16 winners and 18 placings but his trotting strike rate is even better. Golino trained trotters have won nine of the 15 races they have competed in with a further three finishing second. Arboe won Saturday night's Gr. 3 La Cooaracha at Tabcorp Park Menangle while stablemate My Tribeca finished second in the NSW Trotters Oaks. "It was a great night for the stable, Arboe is a really good horse, she is only lightly raced but she was a little difficult to get going when she first arrived," said Golino. "The daughter of french stallion Love You has a mind of her own but she's starting to put it all together now and I think she has got a bright future." Arboe defeated classy mare Claudys Princess on Saturday night but Golino is not getting too carried away. "The La Coocaracha was a very good field, I thought if she found the front she would be very hard to beat, Claudys Princess was very good in defeat, it was a huge run and if you reverse the draws it probably would have been a different result. "Arboe is really tough so over a mile we had to go forward from the draw but I think she'll get over distance and the further the race is the better she will be." Golino will now take Arboe to Victoria in a fortnight and driver Todd McCarthy will be offered the drive. "Todd will get the option to come if he wants, he's definitely going to retain the drive on Arboe and My Tribeca that's for sure." Arboe is raced by Pat Driscoll's Yabby Dam Farms Pty Ltd and Golino was full of praise for him. "Pat is an unbelievable guy, he is really passionate about trotters and I really think he can change the sport down here in Australia. "He puts a lot of time, money and research into his breeding, he has imported some really nice horses but it is just the beginning because in five years time he will have had a massive impact on the sport." My Tribeca ran an impressive race when finishing second in the NSW Trotters Oaks despite galloping soon after the start and will now also head to Victoria. "The filly by another French stallion called Goetmals Wood was a little unlucky, she got flattened at the start, hit a wheel and galloped but she put in a massive run for a horse having her second lifetime run. "She's a big filly physically, I think she would weigh close to 500 kilos now, I am tipping when she is fully grown she'll be 16 hands plus." Greg Hayes

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