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Prominent owner-breeder Geoff Easom and harness racing trainer Jill Neilson had a perfect early Christmas present when Force Ten Gale won the Maughan Thiem Ford Xmas Specials Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. The victory was a fitting reward for the time and patience Neilson has put into the Art Major seven-year-old. Force Ten Gale damaged a suspensory after racing in July 2015 – that was only his sixth run back after being sidelined for 10 months. On Saturday night, Force Ten Gale ($12.50) looked beaten but lifted over the final stages under Wayne Hill’s driving, to score a neck win from Justa Working Guy ($16.20) with Arrokeefe ($1.80 fav) a fast finishing third, three metres away. “It has been a long process,” Neilson said. “We’d give him a break and bring him back only to be told he was only 70% right, then another break, and up to 72%, in and out several more times then eventually 100%. “He’s such a relaxed horse and a pleasure to worth with so I’m just as happy for him.” “What just happened?” asked winning reinsman Wayne Hill. Hill took Force Ten Gale to sit parked outside the leader Its Bedlam but his chances looked shot when Ace To Play and Justa Working Guy raced past and he was back to fifth. The reinsman kept working on the seven-year-old and Force Ten Gale lifted and came wide again and raced on strongly to score. Neilson said the gelding was very one-paced but was always a chance when races were run to suit. by Graham Fischer

August 18, Globe Derby Park Saturday preview. A decision by owner Ian Shepherd and harness racing trainer Tyson Linke could return the ultimate dividend in Saturday night’s $10,000 Sweet Lou at Woodlands Stud Mares Classic final (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. Quality mare Reil Quick had been sent for a break after a solid campaign but when the Woodlands Stud series was announced, Mr Shepherd and Linke decided to bring the five-year-old mare back into training with the race in mind as part of the prize is a free service to the exciting young stallion Sweet Lou, valued at $6000. Reil Quick resumed in the Port Pirie heat of the Woodlands Stud series and as an odds-on $1.70 favourite, was taken to the front by reinsman Wayne Hill, and led throughout to score a metre win over stablemates Little Foo and Our Cavort which finished second and third respectively to give Linke the race trifecta. Linke hasn’t had a lot of luck in the final with the draw for his trio with Little Foo coming from gate six, while Reil Quick (11) and Our Cavort (12) have drawn the widest gates on the back row. Wayne Hill is driving in career-best form and is sure to give Reil Quick every chance, and there is no doubt she will be fitter for the Pirie win. The main danger looks sure to be the Les Harding-trained The Stork which has drawn beautifully in gate two and looks the likely leader. Driven by Danielle Hill, The Stork led throughout in the Woodlands Classic heat at Globe Derby Park last Saturday, rating 1:59.1 in scoring a long head win from Cams Victories which came up the sprint lane. The former Victorian-trained mare has looked to be at her best when in front in South Australia and she will give her rivals something to chase. The Les Harding – Danielle Hill combination also have an excellent chance in the $10,000 Woodlands Stud Fillies and Mares final (1800m). They combine with Ricks Shadow, which has won three of her four starts this preparation and since coming into the Harding stable. The mare is owned by fellow trainers Jake Webster and Aaron Bain, who ironically, train the big danger in The Harlem Hammer which will come from gate six on the front row with Ryan Hryhorec to drive. Go to and read form expert Ben Harding’s thoughts on the two Woodlands Stud races along with the other five quality races on the Globe Derby Park program.  Related Links Race programme for Globe Derby Park, Saturday 20 August 2016

Bradley O’Keefe is trying to forge a career in harness racing and at Globe Derby Park last Saturday night landed his first winner as a trainer. Dark Aly, which O’Keefe also drive, and a despised $42.50 outsider, dashed up the sprint lane to grab a long neck win in the Just Wrecking Toyotas Three-Year-Old Pace (1800m). O’Keefe, 28, is from a strong Victorian harness racing family. “My grandfather Jim was a trainer, my father Laurie is as well, my brother Kieran in a driver and my mum Dianne is the racing manager at the Terang Harness Racing Club,” O’Keefe said. Employment as a fitter and turner at the Australian Submarine Corporation in Adelaide brought O’Keefe to Adelaide and he joined up with Globe Derby trainer Bronte Giorgio to get his ‘fix’ for harness racing. “I have to thank Bronte, and his wife Maxine, for their help – they have been an adopted family for me in AdelaIde.” Dark Aly was O’Keefe’s fourth as a driver, his first being Broadway Harry in a concession/junior drivers race in December last year with the others being Giddy Up Gray and the Bronte Giorgio-trained Saint Lilliana. The three-year-old is a true O’Keefe family affair. “A wonderful friend of the family, Geoffrey Tieman, gave Dark Aly’s dam Jane Isobel to my brothers Jason, Phillip, Kieran and myself to breed from and Dark Aly is her first foal but unfortunately he has passed and isn’t around to see the win. “Aminah, a two-year-old sister, finished unplaced at Melton on Friday night in a Super Series semi-final and she now has a weanling filly to Four Starzzz Shark,” he said. O’Keefe had a positive start on Dark Aly from gate three and he was able to cross behind Hapenny which had led from gate four. “Even though he had the perfect trail for the sprint lane I still wasn’t confident of victory,” O’Keefe said. “Wayne Hill set a slow tempo on the leader and my horse is not the type to sprint quickly off a slow speed but the tempo picked up down the back and once he got into the sprint lane he wound up and was able to grab a win. “It was a great thrill to have my first win as a trainer.” Heavily backed favourite Charissa Tee ($2.10 into $1.60) sat parked outside Hapenny ($10.90) and held on for second two metres in front of the leader who held on for third. Graham Fischer

Reil Quick, a harness racing mare which has basically came back from the grave, scored the biggest win of her career, with a fast finish to win the $10,000 2016 Trotsguide.Com.Au Country Graduation Series final (2230m). On course veterinary surgeon Roger Haensel listed as ‘questionable’ Reil Quick’s future after attending the mare fractured a knee during a race at Globe Derby in May last year. Owner Ian Shephard, himself a tribute to perseverance, and Kadina trainer Tyson Linke, decided to have a second operation to attempt to give the daughter of Elsu the best possible life. “I was a bit hesitant for the second operation but when I was told she would be in discomfort without it decided to go ahead and credit to Tyson and his family for getting her back racing again,” Shephard said. After a long slow build up, Reil Quick resumed at Victor Harbor at Easter, then had sound runs in the heat and semi-final of the Graduation before starting from gate one in the final. Driver Wayne Hill drove hard to keep the lead early before deciding to take a sit behind the favourite Glenferrie Flyer. Second favourite Frostyflyer came around to challenge Glenferrie Bunter and the pair stepped up the pressure down the back straight with a 28.4 third quarter. Hill took Reil Quick ($14.20) to the outside rounding the home turn and the mare sprinted home in 29.6 to score a two metre win from Frostyflyer ($2.90) with Glenferrie Bunter ($1.60 fav) a short half head away third. It was a masterful drive by Hill, and the second leg of a treble on the night. Shephard, a solicitor and former director of Harness Racing South Australia, has been blind for many years but always head to the track when his horses race. He lives at Moonta and has several horses on his property which, despite his blindness, attends to daily. About 12 months ago he had the misfortune to have his wife and life partner Rose pass away but continues to be a passionate supporter of harness racing and the Linke stable. He was able to pick up Reil Quick for just $4000 at a Melbourne sale. Tyson Linke explained the mare had a cut on a leg when offered as a yearling which had turned off prospective buyers. “We spoke with SA vet Toby Ryan and he said he did not see the wound as being a long term problem so we got her with one bid,” Linke said. “While that injury was fine she has had had knee problems but now is probably as sound as she has ever been but it did cost her chances at the Southern Cross series both as a two and three-year-old.” Reil Quick now has 12 wins and 11 placings from just 34 starts for stakes in excess of $46,000. by Graham Fischer

Kadina trainer Tyson Linke gave his two quality three-year-old fillies their final lead up to the South Australian Oaks last weekend. The $20,000 South Australian Oaks (2230m) will be run at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, March 26. Linke took Queen of Sharkz to Globe Derby Park on Saturday night while Badelaide raced at Kapunda on Sunday – both fillies won impressively. Queen of Sharkz ($1.20 fav), Derby Park on Saturday night while Badelaide raced at Kapunda on Sunday – both fillies won impressively. Queen of Sharkz ($1.20 fav), driven by Wayne Hill, scored an eight metre win in the Gowans Homes and Renovations Pace (2230m) beating a likely Oaks rival Perfectly Written ($4.50) with Amightyfinehorse ($20.80), 1-1/2 metres away third. At Kapunda, Badelaide ($1.20 fav), scored by 22 metres from Rays Cadillac ($15.90) with Pat The Pony ($24.60), 6-1/2 metres away third. “It is hard to say you weren’t completely happy when a filly wins rating 1:59.5 but I know Queen of Sharkz can do better,” Linke said. “It was the first time she has backed up having won at Pirie a week earlier, and also I didn’t think she was quite as bright doing trackwork during the week." “Now I have a fortnight to tinker with her work and get her right.” After settling back on Friday night, Hill took Queen of Sharkz around to sit outside Perfectly Written which had led from gate one. The pair really put the pressure on from the 500 metre mark and quickly sprinted away from the rest of the field. Perfectly Written matched the winner until the home straight when Queen of Sharkz asserted her superiority. At Kapunda, Badelaide was certainly just as impressive. The filly also settled back early before driver Ryan Hryhorec asked her to go forward with a lap to go and she sprinted so sharply she went from last to cross to the lead on the fence before the field reached the turn out of the straight. Once in front Badelaide was never challenged and raced away to win easily. Hryhorec was impressed. “She is a nice filly and Tyson is doing a great job with his team,” Hryhorec said. “She sprinted really quickly and has a touch of class.” Linke said Badelaide was improving all the time. “Early on she was still a bit immature and could find her own problems, but she is getting better and better,” Linke said. “At home Queen of Sharkz has had her measure in trackwork but Badelaide is narrowing the gap." “Again, with her, I will keep working with her gear and work to have her right for the Oaks.” Graham Fischer     

South Australian harness racing reinsman Wayne Hill joined an illustrious group of drivers after recording six winners at Victor Harbor on Monday, 28 December 2015.   Hill has become the 18th Australian driver to drive six winners at a single meeting.   Kerryn Manning has achieved the rare feat on three occasions while Gary Hall Jnr, Bill Martin and Barrie Rattray have notched up the feat on two occasions.   Victor Harbor hosted a seven-race program on Monday as Hill landed the first six winners before falling short of becoming the first driver to land seven winners at a single meeting.   Leading from start to finish on Windburnt ($6.80) in the opening event for trainer Jill Neilson, Hill followed it up by driving the Andrew Kearney-trained Machtwister ($22.20) in the 1 out 1 back position at the bell and holding off Cillas Boy in the home straight.   His third victory came when Queen Of Sharkz ($5.60) faced the breeze and crushed rivals by 21.4m for trainer Tyson Linke.   Hill’s shortest priced winner would come in Race 4 as he drove another Andrew Kearney pacer to victory; 10-year-old entire Silver Ranger ($2.60) was the second elect and he sat parked outside favourite Star Brutus in a stirring duel up the home straight.   Danamite Lass ($10.50) was Hill’s fifth winner in a row as the Waylon Hornhardt-trained mare sat behind Strike On Command in the run and moved to the outside to score by 3m.   Joining the record books in Race 6, Hill drove Wills ($4.80) for Wayne Brodie three back on the pegs for the majority of the race. He got off the pegs approaching the top of the home straight and moved three wide to give chase. Wills would score by a short half-head in a tight finish that deceived racecaller Jimmy Jacques who thought Little Tweek may have clung on to victory.   Chasing a place in history as the first Australian driver to land seven winners at a single meeting, Hill finally partnered a favourite, Franco Talon ($3.40), but the fairytale and record books would not be re-written after Franco Talon expended plenty of energy to find the lead and wilted in the straight to run 10th.   Reflecting upon his record-equalling achievement, Hill said it was unbelievable and he thanked the trainers that had booked him to drive their horses. “It is unbelievable,” Hill told Harness Racing SA. “I am really proud of the effort because I don’t have my own horses and have to rely on picking up outside drives. Also, none of the drives were favourite which also is amazing – I didn’t have any short priced horses which could have been ‘sure things.’ “I am lucky to have a group of trainers who use my services and I thank them for their continued support.” Hill admitted that he hadn’t gone through the form properly for Monday’s meeting due to his 12-month-old son Noah being in the hospital. “Noah has been in hospital for two weeks and I have been with him each day,” he said.  “He is slowly on the improve but I am still going in to be with him.” Hill becomes the first driver in more than two years to drive six winners on the program with Hall Jnr the most recent before him having achieved the feat at Gloucester Park on 18 October 2013.   By Trent Orwin   Reprinted with permission of the site

Franco Talon returned from a Mildura campaign with a first-up win for trainer Chris Neilson at Globe Derby Park. “I had hoped he might have been a bit better odds,” Neilson said. “He had been working really well since coming home and I thought he would be a really good chance. But I have to say he has always been a really good track worker but often didn’t take that the racetrack. However I thought he was really well suited tonight and with average luck would be hard to beat.” A $6.70 chance, Franco Talon was beautifully driven by Wayne Hill from gate nine, to sprint home strongly and scored and eight metre win in the All Transport Industries Pace (1800m). He beat Saint Liliana ($42.60) with Whata Diamond ($30.60) three metres away third. Hill drove aggressively early and was able to drop onto the back of the leader Spriggs Bromac when pole marker Santanna Rhythm showed no early speed. He was able to ease the gelding one wide coming from the back and Franco Talon outsprinted his rivals up the home straight. “Credit has to go to Kate Attard who had him at Mildura, she had him going quite well when he came back and I just had to keep him going,” Neilson said. “I bought him from Queensland early last year and won a couple of races but felt he was a bit on his mark with me. “I had a few horses and felt it might be better to send him to Kate and give him some runs in Mildura. “But with the work closing down Mildura track and me turning out a few of my team for a spell there was room for him to come back and tonight’s result was the perfect return.” Graham Fischer   

Port Pirie 2015 Elders Invitation Drivers Series Saturday night 20th June is one of the feature harness racing meetings in South Australia where five of the best drivers from Victoria challenge six drivers from South Australia. The series is run over four races on the night with the driver with the most points winning the title. This series has been going now for forty years and has brought together a good line up of drivers as you can see by their profiles. Ex Port Pirie driver Kate Gath is making a return, while local driver Brad Sims will be aiming to again win the series as he did in 2006 Victorians Lance Justice: Driven 2865 winners, started his career here in SA and was great supporter of Northern harness racing when he was here. Has had lots of success over the years here and in Victoria with many good horses with the best being Sokyola and Smokem up. Always loves coming back here, won this series back in the ninety’s, won the trainers and drivers premiership here in 2000 the year the new track was opened, loves talking with the locals. Anthony Butt: Formerly from New Zealand where he drove 1609 winners and now situated in Victoria where he has driven another 694 winners while coming to and fro. This is Anthony’s first time at Port Pirie and he would really like to increase on his winning tally. Will be a good draw card having someone very approachable from NZ come here Michael Bellman: Has driven 952 winners in his career, participated in this series in 2011 where he was runner up to Lisa Miles. Is currently having a great year, being fifth on the Victorian State driver’s premiership having driven ninety winners. Is prepared to travel all over the state, having had over 1000 drives in Victoria this season, and we welcome him back Kate Gath: Has driven 942 winners so far in her career, Born and raised here in Port Pirie where she won the Port Pirie Drivers Premiership in 2004. Currently having a very good season, driving 83 winners so far and sits sixth on the Victorian State Drivers Premiership. Has been a regular competitor in this series over the last ten years where she tied in first place in 2013. Family and friends are sure to cheer on Kate help increase the crowd. Lisa Miles: Has driven 498 winners in her career always puts her hand up to come here for the series where she has had good success winning in 2011where she came at a days notice and 2013. Does really well training her small team of horses but is a great who competitor and would really love win her third series going back to back. SA Drivers Ryan Hryhorec: Has currently driven 1380 winners, is a regular here at Port Pirie having won the Drivers Premiership in 2008, 2011, 2014 and currently well in front this season in the drivers premiership. Tied in first in this series in 2012 and 2013 and has driven 130 winners in SA and Victoria this coming season. Tough competitor and is sure to account himself well Mark Billinger: One of the state’s top drivers has had 1014 career driving wins has had 62 wins this season and is currently fourth on the states leading driving premiership table. Always gives his horses a great run and has a good strike rate in the sulky. Wayne Hill: He is another regular driver here at Port Pirie has had 768 career wins, is currently fifth on the state driving premiership having driven 52 winners for the season. Wayne has come through the junior ranks and is a good competitor who has been in the series before and will account himself well. Leah Harvey: Has had 666 career wins, now getting towards the veteran stage having won this series in 2002 and 2010. Was the leading driver here at Port Pirie in 2001 and 2012 so she well and truly knows her way around the track here. She has represented the region well over the years on and off the track and it would not surprise if Leah won her third series. Scott Ewen: Has driven has  660 winners throughout his career and has been a regular here at nearly every meeting over the past five years, winning the Port Pirie driving premiership in 2013. Is currently having a good season having driven 45 winners, has competed in the series for the last three years without much luck but this could be his year. Brad Sims: Has driven 86 winners in his career, was the leading young driver in 2005 here at Port Pirie and had good success in winning this Drivers Series in 2006. Has also driven many placing throughout his career, has taken a trainers licence out this season and has had success with that. With limited opportunity he has always given his drives every chance. Good luck to all the drivers competing and also to David Harding who would have been here if it was not for nasty fall that he had at Globe Derby on 8th June. by Neville Thomson, Port Pirie Harness Racing Club Related Links Fields for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015

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