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Former New Zealand mare Simple Saver, who was sent to New South Wales trainer Kevin Pizutto by Motueka's Dave Neal on the advice of her former trainers' Peter & Leonne Jones, kept her perfect Australian record intact when notching up her seventh straight victory at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. The five-year-old daughter of Live Or Die and good producer Debbie Duck, was buzzed off the gate by Josh Willick, who has steered the talented mare to all seven of her Australian victories, before dictating terms in front and kicking too strongly in the stretch to post an impressive time of 1-52.9. The mare that possess great gatespeed has continued to step up since arriving across the ditch and is now likely to compete in the $50,000 Robin Dundee Classic next Saturday on a card which will be made up of ten group or listed races, headlined by the $750,000 Miracle Mile. "Peter (Jones) told me that this mare would do a great job in New South Wales, but I'm not sure of either of us thought she would go this good," explained Neal. "Debbie Duck has been a great producer for me over the years and we rate Simple Saver's younger brother who is by Major In Art a fair bit as well," he added. Simple Saver won three races while trained by Peter and Leonne Jones in New Zealand. Her last start in the country resulted in a third in the Nelson Cup Meanwhile, New Zealand mare Elusive Chick disappointed in the same race, fading to finish sixth after racing outside Simple Saver. By Mitchell Robertson

‘The spectacle of trotting races conducted “under saddle” – known as le trot monte – will return to Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway harness racing track next month as part of the historic 30th Anniversary Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial Gala Race Night on Saturday, December 7th, 2013,’ Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender has said. ‘A popular discipline in Europe and Scandinavia, ridden trot races require great skill from both the horse and rider and are a marvel to observe,’ Ms Lavender told Harnesslink. ‘Accordingly, Bankstown Paceway is justifiably proud of our record as the harness racing industry innovator who successfully returned monte racing to New South Wales on Saturday, December 1st, last year, and hosted the southern hemisphere’s very first international trotting saddle race on Friday, May 31st, this year, which featured riders from Australia and Sweden,’ she said. ‘With the support of our race sponsor, Aldebaran Park, the rider who accumulates the most points over the twenty two race nationwide monte series will receive a return airfare to participate in Scandinavia,’ Ms Lavender added. Le trot monte racing, or racing under saddle, will return to Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, on the historic 30th Anniversary Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial Gala Race Night, Saturday, December 7th, 2013. Racecourse entry is free. Gates open at 5.00 pm and the first race starts at 6.10 pm. Bookings for race night dining packages can be made at admin@bankstownpaceway.com.au or on 02 9708 4111. Megan J. Lavender

Restrepo may have pushed his lifetime earnings close to $300,000 by winning the Coca-Cola Sprint at Menangle on Saturday night, but an unexpected bonus is on its way to his owners. On September 1 this year, HRNSW extended the eligibility for a $2,500 Breeders Challenge Owner's Bonus Certificate to all 5YO and older horses for their first career class penalty race win in NSW. Of course this is providing the sustaining payments had been made as a 2YO or 3YO (see full t&c's at www.hrnsw.com.au). Having been conceived in the Equine Influenza year when his sire Art Major was stranded in Victoria and thus had dual state eligibility, Restrepo was eligible for both his 2YO & 3YO seasons. He did not venture north until his only other NSW start earlier this year when finishing third in the G1 Chariots of Fire on Inter Dominion Grand Final day. This makes his owners eligible for the $2,500 bonus certificate despite the horse having saluted the judge 15 times in his home state, Victoria. Harness Racing NSW

His nickname, “The Voice”, is on his license plate. His signature harness racing announcer voice is known by everyone in North America and throughout the world who has ever listened to harness racing. And most recently he called his 165,000th race. He’s Roger Huston, the voice of The Meadows Racetrack in Washington, PA., and today is the 30th anniversary of The Meadows going live with its television broadcast show. And Roger has been there and hosted the show in nearly every performance since its inception. “It was on Wednesday, October 16,” Huston said, “My 165,000th race call was the third race and it was won by Tomasso and driver Mike Wilder in 1:58.3. It was an $11,000 Claiming Trot.” Most people would not be able to recall such data in a moment’s notice. That’s not the case for Roger Huston. His memory of racing dates, events, horse names, drivers, trainers, records, the whole nine yards, is part of his trait as one of the best racetrack announcers of any horse breed in history. But where does keeping all those statistics both horse related and personal come in? “I have always been a stats person,” Huston explained. “It started from my teenage days watching the Cleveland Browns. I then started keeping stats during the game for the Sports Information Director at Wilmington College and the Mid Ohio Conference. Keeping Wilmington and League stats and writing stories for newspapers and the schools in Wilmington, Cedarville, Ashland, Defiance, Bluffton, Ohio Northern and Findlay. “So when I started announcing,” Huston added, “I also started keeping track of the races and time trials and a complete itinerary for each year. 128 different venues I have called races at and 165,128 races going into today’s card at The Meadows.” Huston is also very proud of his records as an announcer. Records that will most likely never be broken as Huston, age 71, has no plans on retiring any time soon. He has also called races at 37 different locations for remote broadcasts of the Meadows races. At these venues Huston actually called the races at the Meadows from the other tracks, watching them on television. “My first remote broadcast was pretty unique,” Huston said. “I called the races at the Meadows from my parent’s house in Xenia, Ohio. It was their 50th wedding anniversary. It was covered by two newspapers and three Dayton TV stations. “I once called a race from a viewer’s swimming pool.” Huston recalled. “We did a remote from the residence of horse owner Jim Schamming. They had a party that night with about 35 people and we did the whole TV show from his living room and the swimming pool.” I asked Roger if that was the most unique venue to have called a race from, but he shook his head, laughed and said no way. “Aside from horse races,” Roger said, “I have called actual baby races, pig races, turtle races, you name it but one of the most unique races I called was from 2,000 feet above the Three Rivers in a Medivac helicopter and it was broadcast by a Pittsburgh radio station. The race was between the inclines of Mt. Washington and Duquesne. It was trolley cars racing down the incline.” When it comes to different racing venues, Huston has done most of them. He has called at 37 different county fairgrounds in Ohio alone. Then there are the fairs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota and more. But Roger, you forgot New Jersey! Only because this reporter was there, working at Freehold Raceway and I got to co-host the show that night with Roger Huston. It was great. We were set up in the hallway at the restaurant entrance, an eight foot table, head sets, one 19” TV monitor, broadcast equipment and tons of Roger’s stat books and race programs. People stayed and watched us all night. They wanted to personally meet Roger and get his picks for the night. But most exciting was to see Roger call the Meadows races on TV yet it sounded just like he was at his home track. As for calling races outside the USA, Roger has done that too. He has called at tracks all over Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Wales and even in Australia. “And to this day I still keep records each year,” Huston said. “I use them for the TV show which I am so proud is celebrating its 30th anniversary today! Our first show was Tuesday, November 1, 1983. Jerry Connors was my co-host for the first two shows and then we had various drivers, trainers, owners and caretakers on the show.” It is an amazing feat for Roger Huston and he never tires from traveling to remote fairs and events to call races. It’s what he lives for and enjoys. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com

Former New South Wales state parliamentary chief of staff Geoff Grasso is the new general manager of Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway harness racing club, Bankstown Paceway president Les Bentley has announced. Bankstown Paceway’s committee, members and staff are delighted to welcome the former senior advisor to East Hills MP Glenn Brookes to assume the stewardship of our harness racing club, showgrounds, markets and function centres, the president said. ‘With an invaluable breadth and wealth of experience at senior levels over many years in government, business and the community sectors – as well as a great passion for the Trots – Geoff Grasso will ensure that Bankstown Paceway remains on the right track as the heart of Australian harness racing,’ Mr Bentley said. Photo: (Left to Right): New Bankstown Paceway general manager Geoff Grasso with Hughes federal MP Craig Kelly and former Sutherland Shire mayor Kent Johns at Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway. For additional information or comment, please contact: Megan J. Lavender Director Bankstown Paceway  

To celebrate the release of the new Harness Racing Australia “We Will Trot You” promotional advertisements – set to the iconic Queen rock anthem “We Will Rock You” – racecourse patrons at Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway trotting track will be treated to a live performance of the song by internationally acclaimed Freddie Mercury impersonator Chris Price on Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial Gala Race Night, Saturday, December 7th, 2013,’ Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender has told Harnesslink. ‘Bankstown Paceway is elated to support this sensational video clip, which has literally gone viral overnight and features Condell Park’s very own Trots champion Lauren Panella – now the leading harness racing driver in the great state of New South Wales – who can be seen training her horses with her family at Bankstown Paceway each and every day,’ Ms Lavender added. To view the Australian harness racing promotional advertisements, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GsYfhO9Pbc&feature=youtu.be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wriqk7O00ks&feature=youtu.be The historic 30th Anniversary Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial Gala Race Night will be held on Saturday, December 7th, 2013, at the heart of Australian harness racing, Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway. Racecourse gates open at 5.00 pm and the first race starts at 6.30 pm. Bookings for race night dining packages can be made by calling 1300 843 564 or 1300 THE LOG. Bankstown Paceway racecourse theatre restaurant celebrates first anniversary ‘Tomorrow (Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013), Australia’s longest running theatre restaurant, The Burning Log Comedy Theatre Restaurant, celebrates its first anniversary at Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway harness racing track following its relocation from Dural where it had operated for almost sixty years,’ Bankstown Paceway director Andrew Ho has told Harnesslink.   ‘In 2012, The Burning Log Comedy Theatre Restaurant relocated to Bankstown Paceway to create a new entertainment, cultural and sporting hub for south western Sydney,’ Mr Ho said.   Announcing the move last year, the New South Wales Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing, and Minister for the Arts, the Honourable George Souris MP, said: ‘This is a great initiative that will give a welcome boost to the local economy.’ ‘This partnership [between Bankstown Paceway and The Burning Log Comedy Theatre Restaurant] will benefit both harness racing and the arts,’ Mr Souris said. Joining the Minister, the State Member for East Hills, Glenn Brookes MP, said: ‘Where else in Sydney can you see a theatre show, grab a bargain from the markets, take the kids to a carnival, sit down for a relaxing lunch and watch horses race live at the track!’ ‘This initiative is testament to the forward thinking of Bankstown Paceway and The Burning Log Comedy Theatre Restaurant – it is a win for businesses and families in south western Sydney,’ Mr Brookes added. Megan J. Lavender  

‘Champion Bankstown Paceway harness racing reinswoman Lauren Panella has received one of the best twentieth birthday presents you can imagine – with the triple Group 1 race winner attaining a commanding lead in the coveted New South Wales state drivers premiership,’ Bankstown Paceway harness racing club president Les Bentley has told Harnesslink. ‘Contesting fifty five races in the last three weeks, the 29th Schweppes Sydney Cup winner has notched up an impressive eighteen wins, ten second placings, seven thirds and eight fourths – taking her stakes prizemoney to $126,273 in just twenty one days – and placing her well on track to become Driver of the Year in NSW, if not Australia, by the end of the season,’ the president said. ‘Affectionately dubbed the “Equine Empress” by her fans, Miss Panella was recently honoured with the 2013 Serenade Beverly Hills Jack and J. E. Binskin Harness Racing Achievement Award at Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway,’ Mr Bentley added. Photo; Bankstown Paceway trainer-driver and now the leading NSW harness racing reinswoman Lauren Panella, 20, receiving the 2013 Serenade Beverly Hills Jack and J. E. Binskin Harness Racing Achievement Award from Serenade Beverly Hills managing director John Li at Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway. Megan J. Lavender  

It might have been just a humble R 0 class event, but there were “right royal” celebrations following the Aussie debut win of Smokin Bopper NZ at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting.  It was the first race starter for a number of the owners, a dream result that explained the excited handshakes and backslaps for trainer-driver Nathan Hurst and syndicate manager Mark Johnston, the on-course bookmaker at the Bathurst meetings. Back at the Royal Hotel in nearby Orange, where the syndicate was formed, there was a similar reaction, from patrons  who’d strongly supported the horse into $1.50 favoritism  in anticipation of such a performance. Hurst settled the five-year-old midfield before taking the lead mid-race. A 59.0 seconds last half was enough to easily hold off trailer Call Me Anytime and stablemate Blacks A Buzzin. The 2:00.8 rate for the 1730 metres was impressive for this grade, and suggestive of further success. Mark Johnston indicated that the immediate goal for the new horse was the upcoming Canola Cup at Eugowra, Australia’s richest C 0 series. Along with his bookmaker father Alan and bagman Heath Cubbin, he won a consolation race at last year’s carnival with the Hurst-trained Ignite Ted, and would love to go one better this time around. Hurst’s earlier winner at the meeting, Reservation Road NZ ($4.30 ), was equally impressive.  Racing outside the lead in an R4 and better 2130 metres event, he showed stamina and determination to grit out a win from Karinya Hando, which had a three-wide trail from the bell, and leader Hes Magic Red.The 57.7 last half was the quickest at Bathurst in quite a while. The other double from the meeting went to driver Amanda Turnbull, with stable runner Whispering Lass and catch drive Aunty Olive. Whispering Lass ($2.40 favourite) appeared well graded but was the undoubted omen selection for the Alabar-sponsored C1-C2 mares In A Whisper Stakes, named after her illustrious dam, one of our best juvenile fillies in the modern era. The drive was so good it looked simple. From the inside of the second row, Turnbull obtained the trail on leader Express Jet and bided her time until straightening for home before coming out of the trail to record an easy win. Miss Ponder ran on well from the rear for second, and Express Jet held on strongly after pulling very hard in the lead. The overall mile rate for the 2130 metres was 2:00.6, with 30.7 the slowest quarter. Aunty Olive ($2.00 fav.) showed blistering gate speed to lead easily in an R0 sprint event, and the Mike Watson-trained four-year-old got away with comfortable sections to run out comfortably from peg runners Charlottes Delight and Imposing Molly, in a 2:04.9 mile rate. Turnbull was re-united with the mare for the first time in almost two years, but she recalled the juvenile filly’s gate speed, and put it to good use on this occasion. Aunty Olive, Reservation Road and Smokin Bopper provided an Elsu siring trifecta at the meeting, which would have been very pleasing for Alabar’s John Coffey, who will be in attendance on Friday, to conduct a breeding seminar on behalf of Harness racing New South Wales. Elsu will certainly rate a mention. Other winners at the meeting were: Laughing Game ($3.90), a tough effort outside the lead in R1-R2 class, for Amy Day and trainer Mark Rawsthorne. The win continued the exceptional strike rate for the driver in the first race at Bathurst. That’s putting the pressure on! Leigh’s Delight  ($3.70) , backing up after a win two weeks ago at the track for Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris, who brought the Bettors four-year-old three-wide from the bell. The Menangle couple have enjoyed good success with their Bathurst runners in recent months. Stevie Wander ($3.10), all the way in C0-C1 class for Jack Butler and driver John O’Shea.  The Mach Three gelding hasn’t had much luck with barrier draws recently, and was always going to hold the lead from his inside draw. Smack Dab Shannon ($4.50), for Michael Munro and trainer Peter Bullock in 3YO class, backing up after a win in the final 2YO race of last season. Not regarded by his stable as mentally strong, he fought back after being headed close to the post, so he might be starting to show some of the tenacity of his classy dam Veloce Cavallo. Bathurst race again this Friday night (Tier One meeting), followed by next Wednesday night, and the annual Awards Night function will be held on Friday September 27 at Rydges Mount Panorama. by Marianne Donnelly

Monday 19th August 2013 is a day that young trainer Tiarn McElhinney will never forget. Tiarn is the daughter of prominent driver Glenn McElhinney and trained the first winner of her short career when Vintage Cullen won race five at Tabcorp Park Menangle with her father in the sulky. "It was a big thrill, it is something I will never forget and when Vintage Cullen hit the line I was screaming like I had just won a Gr. 1 race not a race at Menangle on a Monday," Tiarn said. "I have only had about four or five starters so far in my career but it was great to get a winner so early on and what made it even more special was that Dad drove the horse because he has been such a big part of my life in the sport." Tiarn began studying about two years ago to become a licensed trainer and admits to wanting to be part of the industry on a full-time basis. "I did the Wagga TAFE course by correspondence a couple of years ago but I have always been around horses and actually had one in the backyard until I was five, I've done a couple of other courses so I have something to fall back on as well but I would love to be training full-time with a really supportive group of owners." "I really have been bitten by the harness bug, I have just got my trial drivers' licence as well and once the new season starts I hope to get a few drives and then hopefully from there I will progress to the races, I just really enjoy it." Monday's victory was made even more special because of the family connection in the ownership of Vintage Cullen. "Our family has got Vintage Cullen on lease, it's great because I get help at the stable from my dad, cousins and uncles, it really is a family thing and we all enjoy getting in and having a go." "My favourite horse Major Bad died recently and it hasn't been easy but Vintage Cullen is a horse that I will remember forever." Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Talented two-year-old pacer Mickwillrev stamped himself as a horse with a future following his game win in the $10,000 Tasmanian Premier’s Breeders Plate over 2090 metres at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart tonight (Sunday). Mickwillrev faced the breeze outside of the well-backed Victorian youngster Hand Of The King for almost the entire race but he made light of the task. Premier reinsman Gareth Rattray looked to be working overtime on Mickwillrev turning for home but the bay gelding dug deep at the business end of the race to go on and score by a metre from Rusty Red Comet that trailed the leader and had to be eased back to make his run three-wide. Hand Of The King hung on for third ahead of the fast-finishing Vande Velde and Who Is Hardeen. It was Mickwillrev’s third win from only five starts this season and he was second at his other two outings. The Craig Hayes-trained gelding is by Live Or Die from the Fake Left mare Midnight Sapphire that has had two foals to race and bother are winners with the other being Cantiscape that won eight and was placed 14 times from 60 starts in New South Wales. by Peter Staples

Due to the unavailability of a number of trainers who have Breeders Crown engagements in Victoria, please note that the Menangle Park Training Centre Meeting set down for this Sunday (August 11) has been postponed to a date yet to be determined. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an update on the Menangle Park Training Centre, including the design, and to seek feedback from participants. HRNSW will advise a new date in the near future. by Nancy O'Grady    

For some elite athletes, when one door closes another often opens and this is now the case for six year old stallion Lanercost. The welcome banner has gone up at the picturesque Yirribee Pacing Stud at Wagga Wagga NSW for the wickedly fast, and handsome son of Courage Under Fire, who stands at an impressive 16hh. The owner Dean Shannon's Montana Park and trainer Darrell Graham made the decision to bring the curtain down on a glorious career - a career that was hampered in recent times by recurring hamstring problems. His race career commenced on 3rd April 2009 with a bold statement for a 2year old - a 1.56.3 victory at the Gold Coast. This performance was certainly not a fluke - a career resume' that read, 43 starts 29 wins and a bankroll of $506,324 was proof of that. Lanercost was a pacer that fitted the company of "Royalty" with ease. His biggest assets were his blistering speed, especially off the gate, and his lovely fluent and efficient gait. These two weapons were used to the max on 30th April 2011 in the $200,000 Chariots of Fire. After blasting off the gate in 27.7, Lanercost controlled the race and with a record 26.5 record closing quarter, recorded a stunning victory in 1.52.5. Left in his wake that day were Bitobliss, Motu Crusader, For A Reason & Chariot King. Hamstring problems hampered his racing career not long after his chariots victory, so now a new chapter begins in the life of Lanercost. He has a pedigree to match his good looks and stunning race career. His sire, Courage Under Fire, needs little introduction to breeders of Australasia. He is arguably the greatest juvenile pacer in the history of harness racing in the Southern Hemisphere. His 24 successive wins including 6 Derbies and a World record in the Australian Derby are testament to that. Courage Under Fire is now one of the leading four or five stallions in the Southern Hemisphere having sired Smolda 1.52.1, Franco Jamar 1.51.9, Courage to Rule 1.52.9, Glengowan 1.52.2, Glenferrie Alexis 1.55.9 etc. His Dam - Lanoch by New York Motoring has now produced 8 individual winners, 3 in better than 1.55 and 5 winners in 2.00. The female line of Lanercost does not contain any weak links - it abounds in stallions that have been to the forefront of breeding in New Zealand namely New York Motoring, Vance Hanover, Scottish Hanover, Garrison Hanover and Grattan Loyal. Lanercost is now at his new home - the picturesque Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga. His debut season service fee is $2970 including GST with usual discounts to apply. LANERCOST RACE RECORD AGE     STARTS    1ST       2ND      3RD    EARNINGS        TIME 2           10               8          2           -        $109,224         1.56.3 3           14             9            1          3        $163,564          1.57.2 4           12             10          1          1        $202,704          1.52.5 5             3              1             -          -          $12,620          1.59.8 6             4              1            1          -          $18,212          1.59.1               43            29           5         4       $506,324 Race Highlights At Two - won Heats Kevin Seymour Pace, Australasian Breeders Crown, Semi Final Aust Breeders Crown, Big 6 2yo Pace (defeating Smiling Shard). 2nd in Kevin Seymour Final & Australasian Breeders Crown (Beaten ½ neck) At Three - Won Australian Derby (Gr1), Tasmanian Derby (Gr1), Caduceus Club Cup, Heat VIC Derby (3rd in Final) At Four - Won Chariots of Fire (Gr1) (Last Half in 54.2 last ¼ in 26.5), QLD 4yo Championship, Heat of Aust Breeders Crown (scratched from Final) At Five and Six - Won QLD Christmas Cup For more information, please call Joanne Andersen on 0414 936663. A video of Lanercost winning the Chariots Of Fire is attached with the photos Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |

To the layman, it might seem unbelievable that James Haythornthwaite should give up rugby league - he played for Keighley Cougars - and take up the relatively low-profile sport of harness racing.

What was supposed to be the highlight of the harness racing calendar, the Tregaron three day festival was due to take place over the weekend, however heavy down pours left committee members with no option but to re-locate to the all-weather track at Amman Valley to save the meeting.

Respected Australian commentator Matt Hill will call at the Tregaron three-day festival in Wales from August 24-26. He will work alongside Darren Owen who has been part of the BBC's Grand National team for the past eight years and is a Tregaron harness racing regular.

A fabulous day was had by all at Taycastell on Sunday last August the 5th. It was brilliant weather, a fantastic atmosphere and superb harness racing throughout the day.

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