Day At The Track
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The barrier draws for the Alabar Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Finals were conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. Semi-Finals for this age group were held earlier in the evening with reinsman Luke McCarthy winning three of the deciders. This included both colts and geldings Semi-Finals with Lochinvar Art and Hardhitter while McCarthy also drove Rollin With Holly to victory in one of the fillies Semi-Finals. The Wayne Sullivan trained and driven Cee Cee Armbro won the other fillies Semi-Final. The $125,000 Group 1 Alabar Breeders Challenge Finals will be held at Menangle on Sunday July 1.   Alabar Breeders Challenge 2YO Colts & Geldings Final   1 Leonidas 2 Make Mine Memphis 3 Mach Le More 4 Lochinvar Art 5 Hardhitter 6 Shoobee Doo 7 Tsunami Charlie (EM2) 8 First String (EM1) 9 Animal 10 Hurricane Roy 11 Muscle Factory 12 Rainbow Comet       Alabar Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies Final   1 Belongtolou 2 Kept In Play 3 Delightful Jackie 4 Miss Halfpenny 5 Taylors Mill 6 Kiamasrosie (EM1) 7 Casuarina Belmer 8 Ally Rogan (EM2) 9 Cee Cee Ambro 10 Lady Swiss 11 Rollin With Holly 12 Sheeza Malteeza     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Riverina trainer Wayne Sullivan has reluctantly launched ground-breaking legal action against Harness Racing New South Wales to recover rehabilitation costs and damages from potential lost earnings over a shocking incident involving his filly Jovial Rock in last year's Leeton Breeders Plate final. More than 18 months after Sullivan's filly crashed to the track as an odds-on favourite when a false start was belatedly called, a case has been brought before the courts against the state regulator. It featured at Wagga Wagga's District Court on Friday. Jovial Rock made contact with the mobile and landed on her head, fracturing her upper jaw, which required teeth to be removed as she spent up to five days at Wagga's Charles Sturt University veterinary clinic. Sullivan maintained he received an apology on the night about the circumstances leading up to Jovial Rock's fall from starter Jamie Hogan, who was stood down for the remainder of the meeting. A stewards report from the card said the starting lights were accidentally activated instead of those to signify a false start as the mobile lost speed, triggering Jovial Rock to collide with its arm. Despite Jovial Rock going on to run credible races in the group 1 Australian Pacing Gold and NSW Breeders Challenge two-year-old fillies finals later in the season, Sullivan is adamant the horse is now a nervous wreck every time she goes to the races. He forfeited nominations fees that had been paid in advance for major races when she spent three months on the sidelines and believes Jovial Rock has never reached her potential since. He is unsure whether he plans to retire the five-race winner, which has won a tick over $45,000 and hasn't raced since mid-July. First prize in the 2016 Breeders Plate final, run on New Year's Day, was worth $24,000 alone. "I was left with no option," Sullivan said of the legal action. "Why should the race be taken away from a $1.50 favourite and she be denied a start? It was bloody horrific. When I got to her I thought she might have been dead, but she was just knocked out. I haven't seen anything like it. It's had an effect on her. "She didn't compete at Bathurst last year because of her injuries and we only just made the [Australian] Pacing Gold [series] by the skin of our teeth." But Sullivan's biggest disappointment is the fact Jovial Rock's temperament has completely changed as a result of the fall, which has rendered her a mess every time she is put on a float. And he wonders how much better her race record would be if not for the Leeton incident. "She really doesn't travel well and she sweats up and gets nervous," Sullivan said. "It's just changed her whole attitude. At home she couldn't be better, but it's when you travel and go to the races she's just a mess. She just works herself up. "I took her to the races on a winter's day at Menangle a couple of months ago and I only had a little sheet on her with all the vents open and it was like I had hosed her [she sweated up that badly]. They can't finish off their races like that. It's pretty sad." By Adam Pengilly Reprinted with permission of the WAtoday

Leeton harness racing horseman Wayne Sullivan has targeted the Breeders Plate for as long as he can remember. It is a race that his grandfather won but has so far eluded Sullivan despite qualifying a number of competitors in the two-year-old feature previously. Sullivan decided to try something different this year and rather than drive his runners himself, he booked leading Victorian reinsman Nathan Jack to drive his two fillies in the series. The move paid immediate dividends with Jovial Rock winning a heat on Saturday night after a calculated drive from Jack. "I've lost count how many times I have had a drive in the Leeton Breeders Plate, but for some reason in the big one I tend to go left when I should have gone right or go right when I should have gone left," Sullivan said. "It is a race I would really like to win and with the prizemoney for the race now being $40,000, it makes it even more attractive." Sullivan was pleased with the barrier draw after Jovial Rock drew barrier one in the final. "I think she needed to draw there to have a realistic winning chance, it is a big ask to take on the better colts and geldings from a wide draw but from gate one she looks set to get a really nice run." The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven raced behind the leader in her heat before pulling to the outside in the straight and hitting the lead in the shadows of the post. "I told Nathan not to get too aggressive on her because she is still learning and he did what he was asked, he didn't get too excited when he got into the clear and let her chase down the leader without being bustled too much. "I got her by accident, she didn't make her reserve at the yearling sales and Andrew Daniels sent her to me with an option to buy and six weeks later I made the decision to take her." While in recent years there has been a standout going into the final, Sullivan believes this year is a wide open event. "It is fair to say there are probably four or five chances going into Friday night and with the right run I think my filly is one of the hopes." The Leeton Breeders Plate is race five on Friday night's program and is scheduled to begin at 8:40pm. Greg Hayes

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