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Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile winner James Rattray has made a successful hit and run harness racing mission to the NSW Riverina region. Rattray, based at Exeter in the Southern Highlands, two hours south of Sydney, loaded up three of his stable members last Friday and headed to Wagga Wagga, a three and a half hour road trip. He got the money with two of them, which punters sent out as warm favorites, and later on the program picked up a winning catch drive for fellow trainer David Kennedy. "I've been there a few times in recent years and usually do okay. It's an easy drive down the Hume Highway and the 1000 metre track is pretty good," Rattray said. "We were lucky last season to post a double there in two $50,000 feature races," he said. At his latest visit to Wagga, Rattray won in consecutive events. Rossini (Mach Three-Miss Fantastic (Falcon Seelster) set the tone with an easy win in the Conquest Pools Pace, while Star Major (Art Major-Vertigal (Western Terror) was probably even more impressive with an 18 metre runaway victory in the TAB Odds and Evens Pace. Rossini stopped the clock at 1.53-1 which set a new track record for a four-year-old, while Star Major was super impressive in 1.51-8 which broke the overall track record. "Our other stable runner was Operative Anna who went around in the 3yo fillies heat. She galloped and was out the back, but we are battling a bit of soreness with her at the moment," Rattray said. Rattray, who has a team of 20 horses in work, is well-known through his association with former champion Beautide. The pacer won 49 races and over $2 million including three high profile events in the 2013-14 season-the Inter Dominion Final, the Miracle Mile and the Len Smith Mile. Rattray's Wagga driving treble came courtesy of bay gelding Mammals Prince (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mammals Rocket (Pacific Rocket) in the 3yo colts and geldings' heat for highly respected local trainer David Kennedy. It was Rattray's first drive for Kennedy, who has been amongst the winners regularly again this year. The stable has had 53 victories for the 12-month period ending August 31 and Mammals Rock's win is among another eight for the stable since then. "The horse went super because it was his first-up run from a spell," Rattray said. "He hadn't been to the trials, so David certainly had him forward enough for his race appearance." Rattray said he was thrilled in the way Star Major had come on during this extended season. "He's only been lightly raced because we decided to really look after him. We'll sit down and pick out a few races for him to target," he said. "We've got a few who are VicBred eligible horses and we will more than likely look toward Victoria with Star Major. "He is raced by Dean York and family. They are very good clients who have been with me since I moved to Exeter a few years ago. They also have a lovely horse in Delightful Angel, who won at Penrith last start in a NSWBC fillies heat."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Teenage Junee harness racing driver Miranda McLaughlin is making every post a winner before next weekend, when she will navigate a new path with the Royal Australian Navy. McLaughlin, 19, who says she has always wanted to do a gap year in the armed forces, will be away for at least 12 months. "I just made up my mind that if I don't do it now, I probably won't ever get around to it," she said. "It was a hard decision because I love the horses-but I get to travel around Australia while I'm looking at all the Naval bases. It's one good way to see the country." McLaughlin was seen at her best at the Wagga Cup meeting on Sunday with a winning double-the third time she's achieved the feat. "They are trained by my boss Trevor White and they looked well placed. We gave both of them good chances," she said. Three-year-old gelding Western Style (Western Terror-Takemybreathaway (Life Sign) scored in the opening event, the Maiden Pace. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Two races later, the White/McLaughlin combination struck with the veteran Norms Courage (Courage Under Fire-Rosie Rose (Peace Of Art) in the ITP Pace. To watch the video replay of this race click here. McLaughlin will be keen for further success when she drives at her final two meetings before taking on a new career. "I've got a book of five drives at Wagga on Tuesday and then I'll be back in action again on Friday. Then that's it for at least 12 months," she said. "I'm pretty sure I'll eventually be coming back home to the horses, but I suppose there's a chance I could thoroughly enjoy life in the Navy. I'll be keeping an eye on all the trots results that's for certain." McLaughlin completed her schooling and graduated Year 12, before taking up a full-time job at the stables of astute horseman Trevor White. "I got to know Trevor when we moved into the same street as him. I had a riding horse and used to go in the barrel races at gymkhanas," she said. "I was probably about 14 or 15 and went up to Trevor's place to see if I could get a part-time job. He put me on, and I mainly used to clean out stables and stuff like that. "Then one day he asked me had I ever thought about driving? So, with his encouragement I took it on and have now been driving for two years. He has been such an outstanding mentor and is definitely a person I look up too. "He's already told me there will be a job waiting if I want to come back." White has been a huge influence on many youngsters, who after their early days working with him, have gone on to bigger things. Talented Sydney brother and sister drivers- Cameron and Ashley Hart were taught the ropes by White, while others include Chris Judd and David White, the latter being based in New Zealand. And the latest addition to the stable is youngster Grace Fahy, who is the new inductee to the role of stablehand. Meanwhile McLaughlin is hoping that 3yo Western Style can make it back to back wins at Wagga tonight. "He's the first pacer that I've raced. I own a share in him, and it would be great if we could get the money again," she said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The regional city of Albury in the NSW Riverina region will become party central after two significant harness racing victories within three days. "There's no doubt going to be a fair bit of celebrating going on this week, that's for sure," happy-go-lucky reinsman Thomas Gilligan said. "It's just been a purple patch to remember forever-we all do it on a hobby basis and to have success like this is just so rewarding. It's just unreal," he said. Gilligan of Table Top, an outer suburb of Albury, landed the biggest win of his career when successful on 40/1 shot Rocky Creed (Pet Rock-Miss Toolern Vale (Bettors Delight) in the TAB Riverina Region G1 $100,000 Championship Final at Wagga on Friday. To watch the video replay click on this link And just two days later at the same track, his fiancée Brooke McPherson was the winning owner/trainer of Rusty Crackers (Dawn Ofa New Day-Dilingers Comment (D M Dilinger) in the $9690 Iron Jack Wagga Pacers Cup. To watch the video replay click on this link Gilligan said the victories were real family affairs with Brooke's uncle Chris being the trainer of Rocky Creed, while her brother James was the winning driver of Rusty Crackers. "It was probably a once in a lifetime thing for me. I was just so fortunate to pick up the drive because James wasn't eligible to compete in a Group One-but it all worked out well because he snagged the Wagga Cup!" Gilligan said. An elated Thomas Gilligan after scoring his first Group One success and biggest win on Rocky Creed  (Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser Photo) "It was my first-ever Group one success and yeah I've heard that I'm now known as Group One Gilligan," he said. "I had a nice run and when I hit the front, I was just going for home. The second horse went well too - it kept kicking and was hanging in there. "And Rusty Crackers has been great this season. We've won 12 races with him since he joined our stable, including the Temora and Christmas Cups and runner-up in the Griffith Cup." Brooke said the "musical chairs" on driving engagements was an odd turn of events. "James was replaced by Thomas in the Group One, but then James came out and won the Wagga Cup for us. It probably shows it's a good thing to have more than one driver in the family!" Gilligan is a third-generation horseman in the sport, following in the footsteps of his father Shane, and his late grandfather Ron. "I got my licence when I was 17 and after about 14 drives, I had a break. I went off playing football and doing some other sports," he said. "I came back and decided over the last nine years to have a real go at it. As well as helping out Brooke, I'm also a farrier by trade now. We all train out of a nice complex where we lease the front stables and paddocks and use the 700m jog track. We do our fastwork in at Albury." Gilligan said all the McPhersons combined training and racing the horses with full-time employment including nursing, retail, logging and a car rental business. "Chris has seven in work, while Brooke is doing three or four at the moment. Nearly all of them do shift work, but the horses always get done properly," he said. "I must be honest and say I'm sort of glad I didn't have a drive at the Wagga Cup meeting because my Group One celebrations started the previous night and we did give it a bit of a nudge, but it was fantastic night. "We all enjoy doing it and family wins like these are great, but on the back of each other they're pretty special- both horses went super. They've done a top job with them." Hoofnote: The running of the recent three TAB regional championship finals proved to be a graveyard for punters. The Western Region final at Bathurst on Wednesday saw Terryrama win at 81/1. Three nights later Newcastle hosted the Hunter Region final with 17/1 chance Kanye Crusader land first prize. Then it was Rocky Creeds turn to shine at Wagga at 40/1. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

Young Albury reinsman Baily Scott narrowly missed winning at his very first harness racing drive, but it hasn't taken him long to make amends. "I went down by a head at Wagga a month ago. And then last Monday night at the same track, this time the margin was a short half head, but in my favor," an elated Scott said. On both occasions, the enthusiastic youngster handled four-year-old chestnut mare Blissfull Donna (Blissfull Hall-Medusa Cam (Fake Left), prepared by his mother Hellen, for owner Gary Mackay. The pacer was sent out as a 6/1 chance in the Temora Harness Racing Club Pace. After beginning nicely from the wide barrier draw of seven, Scott was three wide for a short distance, before clicking up and zooming to the head of affairs. He zipped through the first quarter in 30.1, but then threw out the anchor to record a dawdling 32.4 in the next split. The third and final quarters were solid in 29.6 and 29.1. "I really wanted a cheap section at some stage and that second one certainly helped big time," Scott said. But the race didn't all quite go to plan. "With a lap to go, I was caught off guard a bit when she suddenly veered outwards. I think she spotted something on the inside and shied. Thankfully, I was able to get back into my position, but I can honestly say my heart sunk for that split second," he said. Scott shot clear on the home corner and while the Todd Day-trained and driven longshot Artistic Trouble sprouted wings over the final stages, he just missed, with Blissfull Donna hanging on. To watch the video replay click here. "I've probably had about six or seven drives now, and another of those was a second placing. It's nice to get that first win on the board," he said. "I'm really enjoying helping mum with the training part. We are working five at the Albury showgrounds, which is great. I was always going to get involved because dad (John) has had horses forever. After school I would always head straight to the stables. Baily and John Scott with Blissfull Donna "I hope to be able to make a career out it and I plan to stick around Albury for a while and get as much experience as I can." Scott, who had his 20th birthday on March 18, said he was looking forward to a few celebrations when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. "I couldn't do much for my birthday and the same applied when I got my first winner, so there'll be two parties!" he said. "The pandemic also interrupted any plans I had of playing Aussie Rules footy this season. I've been involved since my Auskick days when I was about five. I had last season off because of a few injuries and I was looking forward to it this year. "I enjoyed playing in the midfield, but I had a growth spurt so then I was either full back or full forward. Thankfully I'm not the tallest now so hopefully I'll be a deep pocket and crumb like everyone loves to and kick some goals." But while Scott is still hopeful of pulling on the footy boots this season, his focus for the time being is on harness racing and with an ounce of luck he could be looking down the barrel of his second winner. He will partner bay mare The Stunning Nun, a winner of two of her past four starts, in the final event at Wagga on Friday afternoon. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

Philandering Chef broke through for a maiden victory on Saturday at Wagga for Young-based harness racing trainer Todd Day. The promising three-year-old gelding, son of Heston Blue Chip USA, finally enjoyed a win taking out the TAB Odds and Evens Maiden (1740m). He'd finished in the money in eight of 10 prior starts. Day provided the winning drive, much to the punters delight who had Philandering Chef start the race as the $2.15 favourite. Racing returns to Riverina Paceway on Monday night. Day has two pacers, Artistic Trouble and Holy Camp Caprhyse, entered from his stable. Artistic Trouble will trot out in the Temora Harness Racing Club Pace (1740m), while Holy Camp Caprhyse will challenge the Young Harness Racing Club Pace (1740m). Again, a large contingent of trainers from Young and surrounds will feature throughout the Wagga Harness Racing Club's eight race program including David Micallef, Josh Powderly, Rodney Blythe, Michael Prest, Wayne Friend, Allen Smithers and Mark Cullen. Racing begins on Monday at 5.33pm at Wagga. By Peter Guthrie Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness  

Young harness racing trainer Rick Burnett collected the chocolates with Uroc Skinny Jeans winning at Wagga on Easter Sunday. The three-year-old filly proved too good in the Daily Advertiser Pace (2270m) registering a thumping 19.1m margin victory over second placed Smokin Tally ($23). Driver Jessica Prior worked Uroc Skinny Jeans across from the outside gate to lead early and it's where she stayed for the entire journey. She opened up a huge margin between her and the opponents at the top of the bend ahead of the final straight. The battle for the minor placings was far behind as Uroc Skinny Jeans passed the post to clock an impressive winner's mile rate of 1:56.7. It was just the filly's third career win and second win this season after victory at Canberra during February, however she was backed heavily by punters and started as the $1.30 race favourite. The daughter of Mach Three made amends for galloping at the start and costing herself any chance last time out coming off a fifth in the group one Gold Bracelet at Bathurst last month. She's had 25 starts after debuting the heats of the MIA Breeders Plate at Leeton last year. It made the trip to Wagga on Easter Sunday worthwhile for Burnett who only had Uroc Skinny Jeans entered in the eight race meeting. To watch the replay click here. Monteagle-based trainer David Micallef returned a minor placing with Our Sams Home running third in the TAB Odds and Evens Pace (1740m). The chocolates were shared across participants who entered horses in the Wagga Easter Sunday meeting with no trainer or driver collecting more than one win. Racing at Wagga returns on Friday this week, while racing is also at Bathurst on Wednesday and Friday. Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness  

Leading reinsman Blake Jones says harness racing drivers and trainers are chasing prizemoney wherever they can as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring uncertainty to the racing scene. Wagga's Riverina Paceway held its third meeting in the space of six days on Sunday night, with Jones guiding $3.10 favourite Legends Last to an all-the-way win in the Southern Central Engineering Pace (1740m). With Tasmania racing suspended for a few weeks, Jones said it's important to capitalise on chances in case NSW eventually follows suit. "It's a bit weird when you go down the street and no one's there, but for racing it's pretty normal at the moment," he said. "We're working the team and everything's going ahead, but you don't know when it's going to stop. We're just trying to make the most of it while we can. "It was good this week that we had a fair few meetings, you just don't know when they'll shut us down. "Tasmania's been shut down for a month and we don't know whether that will happen to us soon." Legends Last finished second to Roll A Dream at Wagga's Tuesday meeting before going one better six days later. "He's better suited when he can get to the front and the draw (from gate two) helped us get there," he said. "We copped some pressure early but got a breather around the second quarter, and I knew after we got that he'd be pretty hard to run down." Trevor Rutland's Ace In Our Pocket ($45.90) stormed home late from well back in the field to cause an upset in the TAB Odds and Evens Ladyship Pace (1740m). The race was thrown wide open when raging favourite Uroc Skinny Jeans ($1.30) ended its chances by galloping before the start. With plenty of speed on early in the opening race of the meeting, Rutland eased Ace In Our Pocket back in the field before coming over the top of the tiring leaders. "When the favourite galloped I thought about taking a slightly closer position, but when the others out wide attacked I decided to sit back and go to the fence," he said. "With horses like this you have to try for some luck. "There was a lot of pace early and they burned up front which opened up the chance for her to come home." It was Ace In Our Pocket's second win in her last three starts after also prevailing at Wagga in late February. "I thought she might have been running up to her limit in races after winning that," Rutland said. "The race suited tonight, she came off the pace and ran home. On these sort of horses you have to ride for luck." Rutland only keeps a handful of horses in work these days as wife Judith battles cancer. His grandson Reece is his right-hand man as he keeps involved in the industry "for a hobby". "I've only got a couple of average horses these days, and my grandson comes and helps me every now and then," he said. "We just race three or four for fun, to keep our finger in the pie." By Jon Tuxworth Reprinted with permission of The Daily Advertiser

Young harness racing participants will feature at Wagga on Tuesday. Rick Burnett, Allen Smithers and Todd Day have all entered pacers from their respective stables, while the stable of Monteagle-based trainer David Micallef is also among the nominations. Burnett is set to run with last start winner and veteran pacer Irish Shenanigans in the Sky Racing Active Pace (2270m) and he's selected Todd Day to feature in gig. The pair combined for victory with Irish Shenanigans on March 20 at the Riverina Paceway, setting a slick winner's mile rate of 1:57.2. This will be the 123rd start for Irish Shenanigans - an eight-year-old gelding. Irish Shenanigans will leave gate six in the front row and is expected to find a challenge from Dancing Chick for Neil Day, Yourockanna for Helen Scott. Day will be looking to continue the impressive form Philandering Chef in the Cleanaway Three Year Old Pace (1740m). Day trains the promising gelding and he's enjoyed five minor placings in his last five starts. Racing starts 6pm. Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness

New South Wales central west based harness racing caller Michael Dumsney was right on the money at Wagga Wagga earlier this week. As the leading bunch in the Riverina Security Solutions Ladyship Pace hit the line, Dumsney declared "this is close - these three have hit the line completely locked together." From the naked eye it appeared a triple dead heat could have been on the cards in what was the closest finish seen at the track in the past 12 months. Dumsney further added: "This is an absolute rib tickler." After some deliberation, the judges were unable to separate long shots Majoress Jujon ($51) who flashed home down the outside, and Shes Courageous ($26) aided by a sprint lane passage. Those pair were just millimetres (the official margin being a nose) In front of third placegetter Seattle Trace ($26). And just a further neck away was $4 chance Florist in fourth spot. One of the favored runners in Dancing Chick (Neil Day) looked set to take the lead halfway down the straight and get the job done. But she galloped and put herself out of contention. Gerard Cooper, trainer-driver of Majoress Jujon, said he didn't think he was going to be in it until Dancing Chick blew her chances. "We wouldn't have won if that didn't happen - it's the first dead-heat I've been in and I actually thought I'd gone down," Cooper said later. Shes Courageous, who raced behind the leader before darting up the sprint lane, continued a successful run for Junee based connections winning her seventh race for owner Sarah White and her uncle, well-known trainer Trevor White. Driver Miranda McLaughlin has formed a great combination with Shes Courageous, with three recent wins and four placings from seven starts. Dumsney, who recently took over from longtime Riverina race calling legend Allan Hull, was kept on his toes with just a half neck separating the first two horses in both races two and five. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Former 2YO and 3YO of the Year Lombo Pocket Watch, who is part of the select Yirribee Pacing Stud roster, has made a solid start to the new harness racing season. Lombo Pocket Watch sired a winning double at Wagga on Saturday night (September 7) with the Yirribee Stud owned Mighty Moke Lombo (1:56.2) and The Clock Winder. The champion grey was also represented by the runaway Yarra Valley victor Montenero (1:59.2) and the Cowra winner Watchoutnexttime. Million Dollar Cam, whose stock has been firing on all cylinders recently, took the siring honours at Bathurst with a winning double - Bill Shannon (1:58.6) and Enk Spot Shannon (1:58.9). He also left the Wagga winner Wongalea Charli. Hudsen and Mad Robber, a pair of pacers bred by Yirribee Pacing Stud, won on either side of the country last week. Hudsen made it seven out of 12 with his career-best 1:58 effort at Ballarat, while Mad Robber posted win No 14 at Gloucester Park on Friday (September 6). Lombo Pocket Watch and Million Dollar Cam will be joined by champion Australasian bred pacers Lazarus, Lennytheshark and Caribbean Blaster and the brilliantly performed Americans Warrawee Needy and Fear The Dragon at Yirribee Pacing Stud in the 2019/20 stud season.   By Peter Wharton

Former talented Melbourne basketballer Hellen Scott is now shooting the lights out in the harness racing world. Scott, who has a team of 10 pacers in work at Albury, produced 80/1 longshot Grinning Punter to score a last-stride victory (a “buzzer-beater” in basketball parlance) at Wagga’s Riverina Paceway last Friday afternoon. Grinning Punter (Grinfromeartoear-Lucy Lynne (Christian Cullen) upset his more fancied rivals in the $6890 Pace for horses with a national rating up to 69. The gelding was driven a treat by concession driver Chris Judd, with the pair going wide on the home turn and arriving just in time in a blanket finish. Scott played for the Melbourne Tigers back in the 1980s under her maiden name Hellen Fewkes and had an awesome career representing Victoria in the sport. Hellen’s mum didn’t have a car licence, so public transport was the only option to get to training sessions.  The devoted youngster would travel by train from the family home at Faulkner to Melbourne, and then make her way to Albert Park. Hellen and her husband John left city life behind and made Albury their home in 1993, but Hellen was not lost to basketball, staying involved through coaching at schools up until this year when funding was cut. While John works with a landscape business, Hellen and their 19-year-old son Baily take care of horse training duties. John said seven-year-old gelding Grinning Punter had promised “to be anything” when he was purchased a few years ago from New Zealand by a group of keen owners. “The times he was capable of doing were just crazy.  He showed his potential at the old Wagga track by winning in 1.57 with a last half of 56.6 seconds. I thought he could win a city race without any problems,” John said. “But unfortunately, he ran into a patch of bad luck, firstly developing a heart murmur (an abnormal sound that originates from the heart valves), then fracturing a cannon bone when we sent him up to Sydney to be trained, which meant a long spell. “We’ve had him checked by vets and the heart is normal now, but he’s not going anywhere near like he was two-and-a-half years ago.” John said however Grinning Punter had been showing pleasing form leading up to his boil-over victory. “There’s no way the horse should have been those odds. He’d been quite good with a few placings and then wasn’t comfortable on the Albury track,” he said. “One of the owners Sandy Taylor was in the United States and somehow had some money on each way at 40/1, so she was very excited. Sandy and her husband Price and his brother go to the races and watch the horse whenever they can because it’s their first venture into the sport. “The other owners are Craig English, Glenn Teesdale and his son Jarman, and successful jockey Simon Miller and they’re also keen supporters.” The Scott team plans to keep racing Grinning Punter in suitable races at country tracks on a regular basis over the next few months. “He has never adjusted to the Australian heat and always goes better in winter and spring,” John said. “Baily is just busting to get his driver’s licence after doing a lengthy apprenticeship at the stables at home. Let’s hope when that time comes, he clicks with Grinning Punter and there’s some more longshot winners!” *Hoofnote: Grinning Punter finished a close-up second at Wagga yesterday paying a healthy place dividend of $3.60.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A PICTURE perfect day greeted nearly 3,000 racegoers in Wagga Wagga as the Riverina Paceway was officially opened last Sunday. The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a great day of harness racing with some excellent performances on track highlighted by Tuapeka Glory setting a new track record in the best finish of the day.  The seven-year-old made use of the new sprint lane to defeat Pocket Of Terror by a short half -head, with the first four placegetters separated by less than one and a half metres. In the first race of the day Anthony Frisby drove Mistery Road to victory claiming a historic double. Frisby took out the first race at the grand opening of the new Bathurst track in October 2014 aboard Uncle Paul. Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny was delighted with the new track and the crowd that had come to enjoy the day. “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m thrilled that the Riverina now has this wonderful facility where trainers and drivers can really demonstrate how talented their horses are,” Dumesny said. “It really is exciting to see such a great crowd here and we’ve been blessed with perfect weather. It’s a wonderful day for people to experience harness racing for the first time, or even reconnect with the sport after many years.” The opening ceremony included Rod Smith (Chairman of HRNSW), Michael McCormack MP (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Riverina) and Paul Toole MP (NSW Minister for Racing) who all spoke about the importance of this facility for the Riverina and for harness racing in NSW. McCormack was thoroughly impressed with the facility. “This facility will be the jewel in the crown for harness racing track across all of country Australia,” he said. Meanwhile, Toole commended HRNSW on its foresight and perseverance. “There have been a number of people involved over this journey that is about making sure that this industry is going to go from strength to strength.” Leading reinsman Luke McCarthy doesn’t make too many trips to Wagga but was impressed by what he saw. “I don’t often come to Wagga but with a track and facility like this I can certainly see it attracting trainers from Sydney more often, especially for the club’s feature races which they wouldn’t have travelled to in the past,” McCarthy commented. The next feature meeting at Riverina Paceway will be Wagga’s Carnival of Cups event on Sunday 21 April (Easter Sunday) which includes the Wagga Cup.   Kyle Maher

FINALLY . . . that was the only way to sum up the breakthrough victory by teenager Molly Turton at Wagga on Friday night. Driving her own horse that she races with her mother Monique, the 19-year-old drove the perfect race to crack it after 43 drives. A graduate of the mini trotting ranks, Molly gave Spooky Dreams every chance behind the leader from a favourable barrier one draw. With her father Glen, mother and sister Eliza cheering her on, Molly got the result she desired in a race where there was an additional $1000 from the NSW Standardbred Owners Association for eligible members. On top of the extra prizemoney of $4200 it was a nice pay day for the Turton’s who have been right by their daughter’s side from the time she started out. She has been nurtured by her parents and trainer Bruce Harpley who were delighted to see her win. As was Molly. “I have had more than 40 drives and this (win) is more than I could have hoped for,” the beaming Turton said. “It has taken a while, but I finally did it.” Spooky Dreams won at Wagga in April with Turton as the trainer and Harpley as the driver. This time it was all hers and you could hardly wipe the smile off her face. Spooky Dreams has won six of his 57 starts and earned over $33,000. Meanwhile, the bonus money continued when Me Mate Les won his second race in the space of a week for his new connections. Me Mate Les raced for the first time for his new owners winning at is first start for Ellen Bartley and Blake Jones and did it again with an additional $800 rolling over as the jackpot horse. Me Mate Les is the first horse his owner Brayden Scarr has raced. GRAEME WHITE

The trip back to Hay was made a lot easier after harness racing driver Alanah Pitt scored her first win at Wagga on Friday. Pitt has been driving since January and brought up her first win with Lancelot Hall. It was her only drive on the eight-race card and the 21-year-old was pleased to get the monkey off her back. “It was really good,” Pitt said. “Especially now that I own him it was real good.” Lancelot Hall had to overcome a horror draw but Pitt swooped around the outside to take out the Palm & Pawn Motor Inn & Tavern Pace (1755m) by 2.1 metres. The pair went within a nose of break through at Junee last month, but they were able to run down leader Presidential Ball this time around. Pitt is no stranger to harness racing after following parents Darryl and Rose into the sport. However she was a relatively late bloomer to driving. A lack of confidence held her back, before receiving plenty of encouragement from Shane Hillier to give it ago. Hillier trains Lancelot Hall and Pitt gave him plenty of credit for her breakthrough.     +6       “I didn’t have enough confidence in my really,” she said. “I have Shane to thank for that and it is all on him. “If it wasn’t for him I don’t think I would be here now to be honest with you.” Pitt grew up in Leeton but moved to Hay last year. It means plenty more kilometres to get to the races but Pitt didn’t mind after getting the win. The win was also a breakthrough for Lancelot Hall who scored just his second win at start 65. By Courtney Rees Reprinted with permission of The Daily Advertiser

Goulburn trainer-driver Dennis Day hopes Harry Day can measure up at Menangle after an impressive harness racing victory at Wagga on Sunday. Wagga Harness Racing Club hosted an Easter meeting on Sunday with a good crowd turning out for the nine-race card. Dennis Day made the three-hour trip from Goulburn and it proved worthwhile as Harry Day justified his short price with a strong win in the $10,000 Kevin & Kay Seymour Evolution Series 3YO Colts and Geldings Heat (1755m). Harry Day ($1.80) worked early but still had enough in reserve to hold off Run Business Run ($6.70) by five metres. $3.70 chance Miracle Marcus was a further 10 metres back in third place. “I thought he would go pretty good,” Day said. “This track suited him, going forward, but he’s pretty versatile. “The final is in a fortnight at Menangle so we’ll see how we go there.” The win qualified Harry Day for the $20,000 Evolution Series Final (1609m) at Menangle on April 14, where he will meet horses from the other heats held at Dubbo, Penrith and Newcastle. Harry Day ran sixth in an Evolution Series Final at Menangle in February, beaten only seven metres.     +9      Wagga trots - April 1 Pictures by Les Smith Day hopes he can go closer this time. “We’ve sorted him out a bit,” he said. “He’s had a few little issues, only minor things, just a few little niggles but I’m happy with him at the moment.” Day used Harry Day out of the gate, but was unable to cross Mastablasta ($18.40) as they ran 29.4 seconds for the first quarter. After sitting outside the leader, Day worked to the front rounding the home turn and then held his rivals at bay to score in a slick mile rate of 1:57.3. “He was still strong on the line, which was good,” Day said. It was Harry Day’s fourth win from 12 career starts. Meantime, the Shane Hillier-trained Resounding ($5.20) took out the Terry Hinchcliffe Surveyors Easter Cup (2165m) at Wagga. Resounding gradually worked to the lead as $3.30 favourite Miss Gold Fortune broke as they came out from the gate. The four-year-old mare kicked strongly at the top of the straight to hold off the fast-finishing Our American Princess ($7.30) by a head. It was the second leg of a winning double for Mitchell Reese, who won earlier in the day on the Wayne Potter-trained Itsadanceoff ($1.70). Leeton trainer-driver Wayne Sullivan won the Rules Club Harness Breeders NSW Bonus Scheme 2YO Pace (1755m) with Cee Cee Ambro ($2.50). After running second on debut at Wagga last Tuesday, Cee Cee Ambro went one better on Sunday, outlasting Western Secret ($5.40) by a head. By Matt Malone Reprinted with permission of The Daily Advertiser

Coleambally reinsman Blake Jones hopes a late pick up drive can add to a big night at Wagga on Tuesday. The leading Riverina driver has nine drives on Wagga’s bumper 10-race card. Harness Racing NSW has him on five favourites but Jones says he will be happy to come away with a couple of wins. “At the moment, I’d be happy with one,” Jones said with a laugh. “I thought I could get one but then I picked up the drive on Heart Of Cooper and it’s not a bad chance either. “A couple would be nice.” Temora’s Steve Pike bred and owns promising two-year-old Heart Of Cooper, who finished second behind Major Roll in the $40,000 MIA Breeders Plate at Leeton in January. The son of Sportswriter has three starts to his name for three minor placings. He has drawn the outside of the front row for the Wayne Milgate Videos 2YO Pace (1755m), the last race at Wagga on Tuesday night. “He’s a pretty nice horse,” Jones said. “He was meant to go to Bathurst but there was a mix up and it might be a blessing because this looks a winnable race and then he can pick up his bonus. “He ran second to Major Roll in the heat and final of the Plate, and then went to Young and ran third behind a couple of not bad ones. Both of them went to Bathurst and went well so it’s not bad form.” Jones does not plan to send Heart Of Cooper spearing out of the gate. “I’d say I’ll let him settle and see what happens,” he said. “Darren Hancock’s horse (Hellofalass) has had one trial at Menangle and didn’t go overly well but it’s hard to measure up. Wayne Sullivan’s horses (Cee Cee Ambro) are always well educated and have a bit of speed so I’d say he will end up leading.” Jones rates his best chance as the Ellen Bartley-trained Prince Potter in the Ron Crouch Transport 3YO Pace (2165m). “He trialled at Wagga last week and went pretty good,” he said. “He’s a little bit one-paced but if he can get to the front then he should roll along and take a fair bit of catching. “I thought that was my best of the night originally.” For every winner Jones drives in March, he raises about $750 for mental health charity Good Talk. His five winners already have raised more than $3000. He hopes he can add to that tally before the end of the month, at Wagga on Tuesday night and potentially West Wyalong and Bathurst on Saturday. Matt Malone Reprinted with permission of The Daily Advertiser

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