Day At The Track

It paid to be QBRED this week

11:00 PM 01 Feb 2021 NZDT
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racing Queensland, Harness racing
Dan Costello photo

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.

THE GOOD

It was another big week for the leading state-based futurity scheme in Australia with over $70,000 in bonus payments reaching the pockets of owners.

The week started with a grass track meeting at Kilcoy where three $1,000 QBBRED cash bonus payments were paid to the connections of Montana Pride, Hurrikane Special and Groovy Miss Annie.

Golightly claimed victory in the Moonee Valley of the North Pace and in the process also collected the $7,500 second win (subsequent season) bonus when scoring the fifth triumph of his career.

Peter Nugent - a board member of HRNSW - was the beneficiary of a second win bonus when his mare Miss Lily May scored victory at Redcliffe on Wednesday night.

Nugent has been a long-time stable client of Phil Mitchell who trained the mare to success, with the former Mitchell-owned On Pace Group having had strong success with the maternal family of Miss Lily May.

Thursday afternoon at The Triangle proved to be a QBRED bonanza with five bonuses paid to winning connections with two first win and three second win payments.

The opening race of the day proved a treasure chest for Darren Ebert who was the breeder, owner and trainer of Brisket, who claimed his first race victory and the $12,000 bonus at just his third career start.

Fire Eyes was the other recipient of the first win bonus when claiming the fourth race of the day for trainer Mal Charlton with Steven Doherty taking the reins.

Owned and bred by Greg Edwards, the A Rocknroll Dance gelding was finding the first win an elusive prize to capture, having placed in seven of his previous 10 starts before finally landing the breakthrough.

Trainer Trent Dawson claimed two victories thanks to Mykindoffeeling for owners Solid Earth and Kissesforyamisses for partner Crystal Towns.

Feel The Thunder claimed his third career victory along with the second win QBRED payment with a fast-finishing burst to score for trainer John McMullen and connections.

The big week of payouts was wrapped up at Albion Park on Friday afternoon when Betterthanlego claimed her second win bonus.

The payments flowed on and off the track, as the next generation of potential QBRED stars went through the sales ring with the first sale of the 2021 season.

Australian Pacing Gold held its annual sale at Albion Park on Sunday with some strong results recorded from the 48 lots that went through the ring of the 53 catalogued.

The top-priced lot was shared in a three-way split - with two colts and one filly all reaching $60,000.

All three are QBRED-eligible and with APG also announcing an increase to the Brisbane Sales Final race to $150,000 for horses to come from this sale, the on-track earning potential looks enticing.

 

THE MILESTONE

Acehigh Fella was a narrow winner when claiming the Parklands Function Centre Pace at Gold Coast on February 4, 2010 for owner Tony Turpin.

Never scaling any great heights as a racehorse, the gelding did manage to score six wins in his career, but that win signified the start of what has been a superb training career thus far.

The win was the second lifetime win of the then four-year-old, providing fledgling trainer Chantal Turpin with her first career victory as a trainer.

Fast forward nearly 11 years to the day - January 30, 2021 - and Chantal reached another milestone when Saucy Dreams provided her 1000th training victory.

It was a dominant display to bring up the momentous number, the six-year-old mare crushing her rivals in claiming victory by over 21 metres.

With husband Pete McMullen taking the drive, the stable has been in great form in the past week with last week’s quartet of wins backed up with a double on Saturday night thanks to Blacksadance and Saucy Dreams.

Breaking through for a century of victories for the first time in the 2013/14 season when leading home 104 triumphs, Turpin has managed to reach triple figures in every season since.

The 2015/16 season was the most successful by number of wins for the stable when 149 winners carried the Turpin polish to victory.

Season 2019/20 was arguably the best for the stable on several fronts, claiming 120 wins in the extended calendar.

Group 1 success with Big Wheels along with multiple feature race wins through the Summer and Winter Carnivals have propelled the team into a strong position to start the 2021 season.

Add to that the first win back in September in the mini-trotting ranks with daughter Rylee McMullen, and things in the Chantal Turpin stable look to be ticking along nicely.

 

THE WILDCARD

Mark Belford was back in the Albion Park winner’s enclosure last week thanks to the success of the mare Betterthanlego.

It has been a few years between drinks at The Creek for Mark, with son Dean doing the bulk of the driving for the Belford team.

The last winner in the gig at Albion Park for Belford was back on June 30, 2017 when successful with Mister Blackjack.

Mixing his time between duties as the Redcliffe track curator and preparing a small team, Mark Belford has had the track in superb order - highlighted by the recent Saturday night meeting where it held up to torrential rain.

After limited success through the past two seasons, Mark has started the 2021 season in perfect fashion taking his tally to a perfect one from one strike rate.

Betterthanlego had signalled that a win was not far away with some eye-catching performances in recent weeks since resuming from a spell.

Placed in two of her previous four starts, the four-year-old mare had made an error at the start when second-up which resulted in her being placed as an outside draw runner.

Earning her way back into the main draw following two clear starts without error, the daughter of Betterthancheddar started from gate two on Friday.

Given time to balance up, the mare settled three back in the running line before making a strong closing challenge to arrive for the victory in a 1.56.2 mile-rate for the 1660-metre trip.

Bred and owned by Debra Belford- Mark’s wife, Betterthanlego is out of the mare Jenzajet which Debra also bred and raced through a career of 12 victories.

In the breeding barn the mare has produced two winners, the other being the Major Bronski mare Jenuflection, a winner of four races along with 13 placings in her career.

Scoring her second career victory, Betterthanlego also claimed the $7,500 QBRED second win bonus for Debra.

 

THIS WEEK

February has normally been the month in recent years that we see the first two-year-old race held, however with the racing season now mirroring the calendar year, that might not be the case in 2021.

The racing week will see meeting five race meetings held with the regular schedule in play.

Albion Park host a small but quality packed six-race card this Tuesday along with the Friday meeting and the Saturday night metropolitan meeting completing the week from The Creek.

Redcliffe host the Wednesday night meeting with 10 races to be held along with the Thursday afternoon meeting.

This week will also see the start of the Team Teal campaign.

Held for six weeks through February and the first two weeks of March, all female drivers will wear the Teal pants - helping fund the fight against ovarian cancer.

For every winner driven by a female during the period, $200 will be donated to the cause, with Racing Queensland, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club funding each donation.

Chloe Butler and Taleah McMullen are the 2021 ambassadors and will also wear the Team Teal driving silks for each of their engagements during the six weeks.

 

Darren Clayton

for Racing Queensland

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