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THE GOOD Sometimes racing is more than just about winning the race. For trainer Graham Dwyer, having Maywyns Best back at the races was enough; the horse that has provided Dwyer and his family so much, did not owe them anything. Yet Dwyer felt he owed it to his mate - ‘Bestie’ - to do give him another opportunity. Having already done a wonderful job throughout his career, Dwyer was effectively given an ultimatum following a scan on the leg of Maywyns Best - surgery or retirement. A bone chip was hampering the gelding and if removed, the prognosis was favourable that he would be able to return to racing. However, the alternative was a retirement paddock as the issue was beginning to affect the performance of Maywyns Best. “It was an easy decision to make because it has already been the best ride,” Dwyer said. Having the surgery to remove the chip proved successful and on Saturday night, the 11-year-old gelding was second-up from a spell and drawn favourably in gate three. His first-up effort was strong, when only tiring in the concluding stages and with great speed from the barrier, hopes were high that he could run a strong race. Driven by Pete McMullen, the pair fired out of the machine in a sizzling 26.2 opening split. Backing it off through the second section, the speed was again raised through the third split of 27.6 seconds before finishing the flying mile with a 27.8-second closing quarter. Stopping the clock in a 1.51.4 mile at just his second run back from a spell, the return showed just how much zest for racing Maywyns Best still has at age 11. Scoring his 11th win for the current owners, it was a moment of pure excitement for the group with Dwyer adding “that win shows what sort of character the horse has.” A tenacity and a will to win have been the trademark of Maywyns Best with Saturday’s victory taking the earnings of the gelding past $100,000 since being claimed for $7,000. “But it’s not about the money, it’s about when hard work sometimes pays off.”   THE BAD Joni Mitchell once famously stated that don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone. That may just well be the most accurate statement to describe the siring deeds of the American import Hurrikane Kingcole. Standing his first season in Queensland in 2016, the stallion unfortunately passed away during his fourth stud season in 2019. During his first season, Cole had 35 live foals, of which 24 are now race winners. Overall, the stallion has produced 67 foals to have raced with 45 of those having won a race. On Saturday night, his legacy was strengthened when Cat King Cole was successful in the Australian Pacing Gold, Fillies Gold Bullion Final. Trained by Darren Weeks and driven by Lady Luck, Kylie Rasmussen, the two-year-old filly demolished her rivals when scoring the easiest of victories in the Group 2 feature. Despite the wide gate, there was never a concern as Rasmussen took the filly straight to the front where they stayed throughout. Cruising home in a 27.7-second closing split, the winning margin was officially 29.7 metres as Cat King Cole scored her third career win from just four starts. Having defeated the same opponents the week prior in the prelude of this race, the daughter of Catwalk Beauty had her strut on, dominating her six rivals. Looking to have plenty more to offer if required, Cat King Cole will be a major player for the upcoming QBRED features. Producing some smart performers in his brief but potent siring career, breeders can only lament what impact Hurrikane Kingcole may have made. His legacy continues and with a full brother to Cat King Cole a current yearling, who knows where the legacy will end.   THE MILESTONE Ben Battle passed a milestone during the week when claiming his 100th career driving success. Partnering the Ron Sallis-trained Hot Embers, it was a barrier-to-box performance with Battle firing Hot Embers out from gate one with the pair never headed thereafter. Hot Embers has now won two races since being under the care of Sallis, with both wins coming at Redcliffe, both when leading throughout and both when being driven by Ben Battle. Running an even tempo through the opening half, Battle stopped the clock with splits of 30.2 and 30.1 before dialling it up through the third panel with a 28.8 third quarter. Keeping the fire stoked up the stretch, Hot Embers held on to claim victory by one-and-a-half metres, the 1.57.5 a whisker outside his career best of 1.57.4 from seven career victories. It has been a big 12 months for Battle, having married wife Tamara in 2020 and the pair moving on to a new property near Mutdapilly. The hard-working pair have been busy adding touches to the property to have the layout what they want to accommodate their team. While happy to share the driving of the horses he trains between himself and other freelance drivers, Battle has been able to pick up plenty of outside drives since arriving in Queensland. But it is not just race driving where Battle finds the most satisfaction. Educating yearlings is one aspect that Battle has been keen to develop further, with Justa Little Bit likely to be a main player in the upcoming three-year-old QBRED Triad Final - a graduate of the Battle education process. Over the past few months, another 20 students have been through the Battle property, with the young horses gaining vital education as they transition towards a career in racing. As Ben and Tamara continue to build their name in Queensland, the quality of horses being sent their way continues to expand. The latest graduates include yearlings by Captaintreacherous and Bettors Delight, with Battle excited by the stock owners and trainers have sent to him this season. The next milestone for Ben could just be seeing a horse he educated tasting Group 1 glory.   THE WILDCARD The McCarthy family really made their mark on the national harness racing stage while based in Queensland before returning to New South Wales almost 10 years ago. Originally from New South Wales, the transition from a Bathurst butcher shop to a dominant force in Queensland and Australian harness racing has been well documented. However, on Saturday a new chapter to the McCarthy story was added when Narelle McCarthy started her first runner at Albion Park. The Creek is the scene of some of the finest moments for the McCarthy family, and Saturday saw Narelle prepare four starters and husband John, one. Taking out a trainer’s licence in 2019, the McCarthys have returned for a Brisbane campaign and Under Worked became the first starter in Narelle McCarthy’s name in Queensland. Finishing near the rear behind Maywyns Best in the opening race on the card, the second of Narelle’s four starters was sent to the post as the favourite in race two. Preparing Taroona Bromac, the gelding found the front early and once in control, held off the challengers to claim a one-metre victory in a new career PB mile-rate of 1.53.0. Taroona Bromac came to the McCarthy stable from Western Australia where his form had tapered, but the change of scenery has seen a return to form, claiming his 15th career victory following Saturday’s success. The McCarthy name dominated Queensland harness in the 2000s, and while they have still been a major player during carnival time, will the famous blue and green checks be seen more regularly in the winner’s enclosure at The Creek?   THIS WEEK The action this week kicks off with a Marburg meeting for the Labour Day long weekend, signalling seven straight days of harness racing in Queensland. Heats of the ever-popular Marburg to Albion Series will be held, with three heats set down for decision with the Final to be held on Saturday night at The Creek. Albion Park will host three meetings for the week, the regular Tuesday afternoon and Saturday night metropolitan fixture complemented with racing on Friday night. Redcliffe will host an additional meeting for the week, rounding out the seven Queensland fixtures with racing across three days. In conjunction with the regular Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon programmes, The Triangle will host a Sunday evening card with all races offering a QBRED cash bonus to the winner.   Darren Clayton

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.   THE GOOD Coming out of a week of torrential rain in the Tamborine region, Easter has proven to be the ideal tonic for the Dixon stable. Kicking off one win behind in the State title, 10 wins for the week and a lean week for the Butler stable has seen the Black & White Army charge back into the premier position. The week was headlined by trebles at three meetings and multiple wins to loyal stable clients. Landing a treble on Tuesday at The Creek, the day started with success when two-year-old Leap To Fame franked his effort in the Changeover Classic with an all-the-way win. The other two legs of the Tuesday treble were recorded with the former Kiwi in Chevron We Trust who was second-up in Queensland, and the speedy mare Nimah Franco. It was a successful week for owners Greg and Sharon Mitchell, with their GSM Racing scoring four victories across the week - including a Tuesday double - all trained by Grant Dixon. Wednesday night saw the stable land another treble, with one win each for the Dixon’s three biggest clients - Solid Earth, GSM Racing and Dr John Mammino. One Off started the night when scoring a gritty win for GSM Racing, driven by Chloe Butler to an eight-metre success. Signor Jujon came next, the Dr Mammino-owned four-year-old overcoming the outside of the front line to score a deserved win after finishing as the runner-up at his past four in succession. The third and final triumph came via three-year-old Captains Pick, a Captaintreacherous gelding for the Seymour-managed Solid Earth. Sir Jujon was the lone winner for the stable at Redcliffe on Thursday, with owner Dr Mammino continuing his great run of recent times with the four-year-old scoring his seventh career win. The winning week for the Dixon stable was rounded out with a metropolitan treble at The Creek on Saturday night. Stompem was the first winner for the night, with the GSM Racing-owned seven-year-old powering home late to claim the veteran’s race and break a winless streak in claiming his first win of the season. Four-year-old mare Fond Memories was returning from a spell in the mare’s qualifier when overcoming gate seven to score a strong victory and pass $100,000 in stakes earnings for owners Solid Earth. Completing the perfect ten for the week - in race ten - was the trotter Musculus. Owned by Arbit Each Wa and managed by Dixon’s Tamborine neighbour Jeroen Nieuwenburg, Musculus charged home in the closing stages for a stylish victory.   THE BAD Heading into Sunday night’s race meeting at Redcliffe, young driver Zac Chappenden was sitting precariously on 99 career race wins. Win number 99 had arrived on Wednesday night at Redcliffe with Risky Buziness when claiming a passing lane victory. With only one other race drive that night, the triple figure milestone would be on-hold. Just like a cricketer in the nervous 90s, the triple figure result seemed an elusive target to wrangle. With six drives at Redcliffe on Thursday, four at Albion Park on Friday and another three at headquarters on Saturday, it seemed to be getting out of reach. After three luckless attempts at Redcliffe on Sunday night for the breakthrough, Chappenden was able to steer Beyond A Shadow first past the post in race six. Finally, the ton was up. Or was it? Following an incident at about the 250-metre point that had checked Rayong Princess who had tried to take a run as Beyond A Shadow drifted up the track, a protest was lodged against the winner. Stewards concurred that Rayong Princess had suffered interference that would have cost her winning the race and the numbers were amended. Stuck on 99 race wins, Chappenden was denied the 100 and to rub some salt into the wound, was issued a suspension for his part in causing the interference.   THE MILESTONE The elusive 100-race win milestone may have been denied in race six, however young reinsman Zac Chappenden was able to dust off the disappointment to re-scale the heights of success just two races later. Almost exactly two years to the day following his first race drive, Chappenden chalked up his 100th race win when successful aboard the Lacey Hinze-trained Risky Buziness. Having his first race start on April 10, 2019 aboard Aroona when finishing third, fast forward to April 11, 2021, Zac was able to reach triple figures with an all-the way victory. The win ensured Zac was maintained a perfect 100% winning strike-rate aboard Risky Buziness, with two wins from two starts aboard the gelding. With a steady opening season in the sulky, season 19/20 was the breakout season for Chappenden, reaching several highlights for the term. That included victory in the 2020 BOTRA Young Drivers Championship at just his first attempt, where he scored a decisive 20-point victory in the Series. That Series also signalled the first Saturday night success at Albion Park for Chappenden when steering Sam Is Perfection to victory. Another highlight was his maiden Group 1 race drive when taking the reins behind Jaziah in the QBRED Triad Final for two-year-old fillies - finishing a game 3rd behind Jasper after a tough run. It has been a solid start to the current season for Zac, with his latest victory taking his tally to 29 winners. That has him in third place in the Concession Drivers Title and ninth in the open State Drivers Title. As the opportunities continue to expand for the young reinsman, more milestones will be on the horizon as Zac continues to forge his own path as a harness racing driver.   THE WILDCARD The 2021 yearling sales may have been completed in Queensland, but the last big yearling sale for the season was conducted in Victoria across the weekend. The inaugural Nutrien Standardbred Yearling Sale held at Melbourne’s Oaklands Junction saw 294 lots catalogued with 269 offered for sale. After returning to the training ranks in mid-2020, Shannon Price was active at the sale under the banner of Raboki. Purchasing three lots from the sale, Raboki purchased two pacing colts and a trotting colt. A sum of $100,000 was required to take home lot 88, a Captaintreacherous colt out of the Group 1-winning mare Musical Delight. A 100% producer at stud, her second foal - Beach Music - placed third in the NSW Oaks back in February. The other pacing colt secured by Raboki was by American Ideal out of the six-time winner Flying Mcpocket with $46,000 the winning bid. Picking up the only Dreamcatcher trotting colt in the sale, $10,000 was the required bid to secure the first foal of the dam Bigonluck. While the Raboki team have not had many starters step out thus far in season 2021, they continue to build strongly for the future.   THIS WEEK Following on from the six race meetings held last week, five TAB meetings will be complemented with show racing this coming week. Albion Park will host meetings on Tuesday and Friday afternoons alongside the Saturday night metropolitan fixture. Redcliffe will race in the Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon timeslots, with the Wednesday meeting a strong ten-race card. Show racing will also be a highlight with the Toowoomba Show on Friday and Saturday. Friday will see the heats and Final of the Glenvale Cup, and Saturday hosting the heats and Final of the Toowoomba Cup, with another opportunity to progress to the Showcase Finals at Redcliffe in June. At The Creek, Tuesday will see heats of the Australian Pacing Gold for the three-year-old colts and geldings as well as for the fillies. There are two heats for the boys and one for the girls, and for the eventual winner, a spot in the $350,000 National Final at Melton on May 29 awaits. Those that do not progress to the big Final can still chase the riches locally, with a $50,000 mixed sex consolation to be held at Albion Park on the same night. Saturday night will be the first of the Ultimate Tools sponsored two-year-old events for the season. Popular last season for the juveniles, Ultimate Tools will provide a rug and trophy to the winning connections and $250 to the winning trainer and driver. Winning trainers also receive a $500 voucher.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD I Am Sparta became the first two-year-old winner for the new season in Queensland after scoring an impressive victory at his race debut on February 16. Trained and driven by Darrel Graham, the colt franked some impressive trial performances when defeating the older horses to open his account. The new National Rating system was in his favour after the previous system was not conducive for the young horses to compete against their older rivals early in their career. Those changes meant that I Am Sparta was able to get to the races and land that first victory despite a lack of two-year-olds qualified and ready to race at this stage of the season in Queensland. Starting a hot favourite, Darrel Graham sent the son of Shadow Play straight to the front to take any unforeseen circumstances out of play and make his own luck. Luck was not required however, as the colt proved too classy for his older rivals when cruising home to an untouched victory by 20.1 metres. The 1.56.2 mile-rate was smart with the last mile covered in splits of 28.4, 30.3, 29.2 and 28.4 to make it an impressive debut for owner Shane Grice. A graduate of the 2020 Brisbane APG Sale, the colt is eligible for the Brisbane Group 1 Sale Series as well as the QBRED race features. The $18,000 purchase price was quickly offset after his victory secured the $12,000 QBRED first win bonus on top of the race prizemoney. Bred by Greg Mitchell and Burwood Stud, I am Sparta is the ninth foal of his dam Dontdrinkthendrive and the fifth winner the daughter of In The Pocket has produced to date. The compact colt looked the ultimate professional in his victory and has been displaying ability through his educational and qualifying trials. The next appearance for I am Sparta will likely depend on whether he can find a two-year-old race, with plenty of targets throughout the season on the radar following his debut.   THE BAD The Newcastle Mile was shaping as a great spectacle with connections of Lochinvar Art looking to make the most of the opportunity on their path to the Miracle Mile. His scratching from the race then looked to provide the Queensland-trained Turn It Up with the prime opportunity to force his way into the famous mile, and punters reacted to send the gelding to the post as an odds-on favourite. However, it was not to be, and the Vicki Rasmussen-trained gelding will now have to regroup and try to win his way through one of the sprint qualifiers this weekend to stamp his ticket to the big dance. Starting from gate 6 in the field of 7, Shane Graham was eager in the early stages to get across the field and after a brief challenge, restrained as The Black Prince kicked through to lead. Making another challenge, Turn It Up was able to press to the front with a lap to travel after the opening quarter was set down in a slick 26.4. Running the field through quarters of 29.5 and 27.7, Graham was trying to stave them off as they swung into the stretch, but they were unable to raise the effort to fight off the challengers, finishing in fifth place. While victory and the two-week break into the Miracle Mile was the ideal path, all is not lost and Turn It Up still has an opportunity to earn entry to the $1million event.   THE MILESTONE Bertil Olsson has owned horses over an extended period, and last Thursday at Redcliffe was able to secure a double as an owner from his small team. Placing his horses with different trainers to suit the horse, the Redcliffe double came through trainers John Kerr and Lola Weidemann. The first win came via the four-year-old Bertils Watch Me; a gelding by Hes Watching that was also bred by Olsson out of the Fake Left mare Pinoshea. Trained and driven by Lola Weidemann, the gelding was second-up from a spell at just his seventh career start when he was able to finish over the top of them in the closing stages. The maiden-breaking win was made even sweeter with the gelding securing the $12,000 first win QBRED bonus. Just two races later, John Kerr partnered Bertils Firefox to an all the way victory, with the five-year-old gelding claiming the third win of his career. Another bred by Olsson, Bertils Firefox is by Rock N Roll Heaven out of the six-win Bertils Wildfire, a mare that has had four foals to race and all four are winners. The win of Bertils Firefox completed the breeding/owning double, with Olsson having claimed an ownership double just once previous. That came back in 2015 at Hobart when Vander Jenkins and Bertils Bliss were successful with both horses trained by Heath Szcyzpka and driven by Gareth Rattray. In claiming victory, Bertils Firefox also added another milestone in the ownership history for Bertil Olsson; 100 lifetime wins as an owner was reached as Firefox crossed the line, a proud moment as an owner to reach triple figures. Congratulations Bertil!   THE WILDCARD Narissa McMullen was stuck on 999 wins for 20 days waiting to breakthrough to 1000 career wins, but it has been full steam ahead ever since the four figures were raised on February 5. Driving in great touch, McMullen completed a treble at Albion Park on February 13 and bettered that on Saturday night when steering home four winners. From six drives on the night, not only did Narissa claim four victories, but she also finished second with the other two drives. It was the fourth quartet of her career and the second at Albion Park, with the other two coming at Redcliffe and Gold Coast. However, the achievement was the first time at a Metropolitan meeting for McMullen. The night started with a dominant and deserved win to Ideal World, a pacer she also trains that had finished second at each of his previous three starts. The second win came courtesy of a pick-up drive aboard the classy Blacksadance when he was able to outstay his rivals in a tough victory. Win three came aboard the Stephen Cini trained trotter Garland Greene - overcoming a 40-metre handicap - and the quartet was completed when Clarry claimed victory in the ninth event, also providing Cini with a double. Very few female drivers have been able to score four or more wins at a Brisbane Metropolitan Staked card, with McMullen joining Kylie Rasmussen, Natalie Rasmussen, and Trista Dixon in the elite club. Dixon stands alone with her five wins on January 21, 2017, the only time a female has driven five winners at a Queensland Metropolitan meeting. Kylie Rasmussen has achieved four metro winners on four occasions, to lead the way for frequency amongst her female rivals. Meanwhile Lola Weidemann is in a league of her own, having driven four winners on a card on 32 occasions and five winners on 6 occasions.   THIS WEEK Six meetings are scheduled for decision this week with a Sunday afternoon fixture from Marburg the addition. Heats of the always popular Marburg to Albion Series will be held for the NR 47-52 rated performers doing battle to secure a spot in the $11,030 Final to be held at Albion Park on March 6. Marburg will also be joining the Team Teal campaign, hosting a female driver invitation race. Always a great day of country racing, QBRED cash bonuses will apply to all races on top of the regular prizemoney. Action from Albion Park this week will be the regular Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday timeslots. Friday’s meeting will play host to the second round of heats of the Jim McNeil Memorial, where Orlando Jolt and Unknown Son gained maximum points when winning their respective round one heats. Saturday Night sees a 3YO pace programmed for $14,060, another of the Ultimate Tools sponsored events with the winner to receive a rug along with vouchers to Ultimate Tools presented to the winning trainer and driver. Redcliffe will host the other two meetings in their regular Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon slots.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Major Cam has faced his share of battles throughout his career but on Saturday night he produced one of his finest victories. In a career littered with issues and layoffs, the giant nine-year-old showed he still has the desire and instinct with a breathtaking last-to-first victory in the Remembering Atomic Ark Pace. Settling at the rear of the field as Mattgregor set the tempo in front, a steady early pace over the 2138-metre distance was making it look a difficult assignment for those back in the field. Still at the rear of the pack as the third split was put down in a sizzling 26.8 seconds, driver Kylie Rasmussen made her move. Angling across runners as they turned for home, Major Cam was soon the widest runner and shaken up to give chase, and give chase he did. Charging home down the outside of the track, he picked them up and put them away in the blink of an eye in claiming a two-metre victory. The win was astounding, with horses just not winning in free for all company in that manner. Trained by Darren Weeks, driven by Kylie Rasmussen and owned by her mother Cheryl, the win took Major Cam’s record to 59 starts for 26 wins and 13 minor placings and earnings of $235,000. Starting his career with a Redcliffe victory as a three-year-old in December 2014, Major Cam has been sidelined for periods of nine months or longer on three separate occasions. Following two wins from six starts in his first campaign, he was away from the track for 12 months, returning as a four-year-old with a first-up victory at Albion Park. It was to be a successful four-year-old term that returned 7 wins and 3 minors from 12 outings. Included were a pair of Group victories - the Group 2 Four-Year-Old Triad Final and the Group 3 Four-Year-Old Championship. The 4YO Championship victory would be his last in that season, with two more starts before another 11-month stint on the sidelines. Returning as a five-year-old, he showed no effects of the long break when scoring a gritty win first-up from outside the leader to claim his tenth career victory. A further six wins that season were followed with his progression to open company early in the new season as a six-year-old. Major Cam announced himself to the Free For All ranks with a dominant victory at his second start of the 2017/18 season in a field that included battle-hardened open class performers Alleluia and Mach Alert. Apart from a half-head second in the 2017 Redcliffe Patron’s Purse behind Bettorthanspecial, all his racing has been at Albion Park. His latest victory has elevated him into the ’25 Club’ for horses that have achieved 25 victories at The Creek. That victory indicating there is still film left to be added to the Major Cam highlight reel.   THE BAD George Michael is an owner, breeder and trainer that has put huge amounts of money and hard work into the sport of harness racing. With many of the horses owned by Michael bred by his own stallions in recent times, in 2016, he opted to send a mare by the name of Melton Bonny Bye to the court of Hurrikane Kingcole. The resultant foal was a filly, and that filly was then entered in the 2019 Redcliffe Yearling Sale. Entering the sales ring, the filly could not attract a solitary bid and was knocked down as a buyback to Michael for the paltry figure of $200. Naming his horses with the moniker of Melton as either a suffix or prefix in their name referring to Melton Stud - which is owned and operated by Michael - this filly would race as Melton Insulted. Given the name owing to how George Michael was feeling after his filly could not even secure a solitary bid at that 2019 sale. Fast forward to her two-year-old season and Melton Insulted - now prepared by John McMullen - progressed through to the Redcliffe Sales Series Final following a placing in her heat. There was to be no fairy tale in the $100,000 Group 1 Final, however the filly ended the extended season with 8 minor placings from 16 attempts. Stepping out as a three-year-old on January 7 at Redcliffe in her first start for the new season, Melton Insulted was able to land a maiden-breaking victory. Every cloud has a silver lining and the lining on this occasion was for Michael’s pockets. In claiming victory, the filly also pocketed the $12,000 QBRED first win bonus. Not bad for a horse that no one wanted!   THE MILESTONE Breeding is a character-building part of racing that can test the toughest of people and assess their resilience. Keith Croft has been lucky enough with his mare Versace Woman, on the most part, to experience the highs that breeding brings. On Saturday night at Albion Park, Versace Woman was able to land a metropolitan double when Just Joshin and Jiggle And Jive were both successful. Full siblings by the champion sire Bettors Delight, both pacers are trained out of Redcliffe by Aileen Smith and owned by Croft. Just Joshin was the first and perhaps unexpected of the double when claiming victory in a Qualifying Pace. Securing a perfect trip in behind the leader after starting from barrier one, Lachie Manzelmann was able to steer the six-year-old to victory via the passing lane. Securing a last stride victory by the barest possible margin, the winning rate of 1.55.3 also set a new benchmark for the gelding in landing his ninth career win. Less than 90 minutes later and the winning double for Croft, Smith and Versace Woman was completed when Jiggle And Jive triumphed. Already a Group 1 winner after claiming the 2019 2YO Fillies Triad Final, the four-year-old mare was able to break a winless streak when scoring a narrow victory in a mare’s event. After returning as a three-year-old with three successive victories, Jiggle And Jive just lost her way somewhat and after a steep rise in class that saw her meeting experienced rivals. A string of bad gates did not aid her cause, and after landing gate 1 on Saturday night, driver Shane Graham made the most of the advantage. Leading throughout, the mare was able to hold on for a narrow victory as Tuapeka Light made one last bid to get within a half-head of the winner. With a team of four in work - three of those full siblings out of Versace Woman - it has been a successful fortnight for Smith landing a pair of doubles. Joy To All - the third of the Bettors Delight x Versace Woman in Aileen’s team - was able to break through for her first victory at Redcliffe on December 30. Also successful on that night in completing a double for Smith was Regalia, the four-year-old claiming his second career victory. Owned and bred by Aileen along with her father Cliff Gassman, the gelding is out of the mare Idontneedluck that Smith raced to 12 career wins. Season 2021 has certainly started the best way possible.   THE WILDCARD Daroobalgie is a small hamlet just off the Newel Highway between Forbes and Parkes in the Lachlan Valley of New South Wales. It is also the name given to a handy pacer that raced in the early to mid-2000s for owner/breeder Carol Wood and her husband Bruce, who was also the trainer of the stallion. In an impressive career that netted 21 victories, the highlight was a Group 1 success when claiming the 2001 3YO NSW Sires Stakes. As a four-year-old, he was able to progress through to the 2002 Inter Dominion Final won by Smooth Satin. In a four-start Queensland campaign in 2003 as a five-year-old, he finished unplaced each time, including an eighth in the Winter Cup won by Sokyola and down the line in the Redcliffe Cup. At stud - with limited opportunities - Daroobalgie has been able to sire five winners from 11 starters. Of those five, three have been successful at Redcliffe - Gargarra, Ceear Rail and Aroona. Last Thursday, 15 years to the day since Daroobalgie contested the Shepparton Cup, Aroona claimed his fifth career victory. Trained by Melissa Kendall and driven to victory by her son Zac Chappenden, Kendall has been patient with the now eight-year-old. Repaying that patience has seen the gelding claim five victories and place on a further 22 occasions under her care after taking on Aroona as a 15-start maiden. The win of Aroona provided mother and son team of Melissa and Zac with the first leg of a race-to-race double. Wild About Town was the second leg when the seven-year-old was able to lead all the way in scoring his sixth victory for Kendall. Scoring a double with a pair of pacers that entered her barn as maidens and virtual cast-offs, they have started the latest season in perfect fashion.   THIS WEEK This coming week will again see five race meetings held in Queensland. Albion Park kicks off the week with an eight-race card followed by Redcliffe on Wednesday night with ten races to be decided. Redcliffe on Thursday afternoon will be followed by Albion Park Friday afternoon. The week will be rounded out with something a little different to the normal schedule, with Redcliffe hosting the metropolitan staked meeting. Highlighting the card will be a Trotters Cup race offering total stakes of $22,210, run over the 2613-metre distance with conditions of discretionary handicap. There will also be the final of the Hustler Raptor Series following two heats last Wednesday. For the 47-52 rated performers with a random barrier draw, heat winners were Headwin and Pacific Coin. All participants and stakeholders are requested to keep pace with the latest advice from Racing Queensland to ensure COVID-19 protocols are met.   by Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Grand Circuit champion King Of Swing capped the 2020 Albion Park Harness Racing Club Summer Carnival in great style. Under rain-soaked skies, King Of Swing thrilled local fans with a breathtaking display in the Gr.1 $175,660 TAB Blacks A Fake when easily accounting for Colt Thirty One and Turn It Up in the 2680m feature. Prepared by Craig Cross and handled by brilliant reinsman Luke McCarthy, the $1.50 favourite rated 1:58.5 while ripping his final 400m in a stunning 26.2 seconds. For McCarthy, it was his ninth victory in the state’s biggest event. It was a cause for double celebration for connections with the victory confirming him as the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit champion. King Of Swing is raced by Beth Richardson, Mark Congerton, Go Racing (Mick Harvey), Karen Hall, Glen Moore, Sylvie Macgregor plus Rob & Frank Patriarca. Fittingly, the field was led out by the recently retired and 2017 Blacks A Fake winner Hectorjayjay. The Gr.2 $30,660 TAB Trotters Sprint also went the way of the Cross/McCarthy combination with the Queensland owned Arnold leading throughout in a time of 1:55.8 – just outside of the track record held by Greg The Great at 1:55.1. Arnold is raced by Jeroen Nieuwenburg. In total, the Cobbitty Equine team of Cross and McCarthy scored a quartet of victories with Lets Katchmeifucan (TAB Venue Mode Final) and Franco Hampton (Jack Waltisbuhl Memorial Final) also proving successful. The $21,160 Bill Dixon was taken out by the beautifully bred Straddie for Charlie Cini and Shane Graham, the half-brother to millionaire pacer For A Reason defeated race favourite Bomb Suit in a time of 1:55.0. The Cini/Graham duo also scored with in-form mare Chevrons Reward later in the program. Despite the inclement weather throughout the night, the highly anticipated Jockeys and Drivers Challenge Final was taken out by Baylee Nothdurft after sailing down the outside to defeat Georgina Cartwright. Nothdurft donated a winner’s cheque of $1000 to his charity of choice, Beyond Blue. NOVA 106.9FM Radio personality and breakfast show host David ‘Luttsy’ Lutteral was again trackside and joined oncourse broadcaster Chris Barsby to ‘call’ the Jockeys/Drivers Final. Club officials were thrilled with crowd numbers, turnover figures and race night coverage provided by Radio TAB, SKY Channel and the Seven Network throughout the carnival. Racing returns next Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Chris Barsby Australian Harness Racing

What a way to cap the year. King Of Swing is the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit champion following his brilliant display in the final leg of the harness racing season, the Gr.1 $175,660 TAB Blacks A Fake at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). Following victories in the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile earlier this year, the star pacer held an insurmountable lead going into the Queensland feature, but connections were keen to put an exclamation mark against his name. And that they did. Starting as a dominant favourite, King Of Swing ($1.50) completely dominated his rivals when racing clear of Colt Thirty One ($7.50) and Turn It Up ($12) in the 2680m feature under a rain-soaked skyline. King Of Swing is prepared by Sydney horseman Craig Cross and was again handled by regular reinsman Luke McCarthy. Allowed to float off the arm at release point, King Of Swing raced wide early before obtaining the position outside the leader at the 2200m mark. Former New Zealand pacer Turn It Up showed blinding gate speed to lead from his outside draw while his stablemate One Change landed the trail on his back. The lead time was covered in 80.6 seconds. With a moderate speed being set, McCarthy chased hard for the lead and secured it from Turn It Up as the field raced off the back straight. The first quarter of the final mile was timed in 29.7 seconds. As King Of Swing settled into the lead role, local hero Colt Thirty One made his move three-wide and swept around the field before parking outside the favourite. The second split was timed in 31.7 seconds. Effectively, the race was all but over from that point. Heading down the back straight, King Of Swing traveled sweetly as his rivals faced an incredible challenge of trying to run him down. The third quarter was a sedate 29.1 seconds. At the home turn, McCarthy allowed King Of Swing to stride and he responded by shooting clear of his rivals while scoring by a widening margin of 12.4 metres over Colt Thirty One who finished a half head in front of Turn It Up. The final 400m metres was timed in a blistering 26.2 seconds. The winning time was 3:17.3 with the winning mile rate being 1:58.5. To watch this race click on this link “It’s a great way to be crowned Grand Circuit champion, he’s been awesome all year and winning this title as a stallion is a big thing for connections,” McCarthy said. “He’s such a smart horse, he’s part human and has a great demeanor. He handled the trip up really well and took in the new surroundings like he’d been here before, it’s a real thrill to be part of his team.” McCarthy, who commenced his driving career in the Sunshine State almost twenty years ago, has now won the state’s signature event nine times. He rates Albion Park as his favourite track. His list of previous winners includes Cobbity Classic, Slipnslide (x 2), Mr Feelgood (x 2), Washakie, Ideal Scott and For A Reason. King Of Swing ended the APG Grand Circuit season with 360 points, well clear of nearest rivals Cruz Bromac (175) and Lochinvar Art (164). Since transferring from the Perth stables of Gary Hall Snr, King Of Swing has raced 13 times for the Cobbitty Equine outfit for 10 wins while being the runner-up in the other three starts. The Rocknroll Hanover entire has banked more than $1 million this year. King Of Swing is raced by Beth Richardson, Mark Congerton, Go Racing (Mick Harvey), Karen Hall, Glen Moore, Sylvie Macgregor plus Rob & Frank Patriarca. Chris Barsby Australian Harness Racing

“There is no pressure, it’s a privilege.” This is the belief of Perth based owner Mark Congerton leading into tomorrow night’s (Saturday) feature at Albion Park, the Gr.1 $175,660 TAB Blacks A Fake. It’s the final night of the 2020 Queensland summer carnival. And it coincides as the final leg of the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season, and King Of Swing will be crowned the champion pacer – win lose or draw. His lead is so big he cannot be overthrown and Congerton is embracing the honour for his star performer. “It’s great to be part of the Queensland carnival and to be installed as such a warm favourite is very pleasing but the highlight of being crowned Grand Circuit champion is very special and rewarding for all involved with the horse, he’s a special talent that has proven himself many times over unlike others.” Congerton said. And Congerton knows plenty about sharing in the ownership of a pacer crowned Grand Circuit champion having shared in the spoils with Im Themightyquinn ($4.5 million). King Of Swing is raced by several members of the Im Themightyquinn ownership group while Congerton also shared in the ownership of Baltic Eagle, the winner of the 2003 Inter Dominion in Christchurch. Originally purchased and placed in the care of brilliant horseman Gary Hall Snr in Perth following feature race glory with Auckland horseman Ray Green, King Of Swing added the WA Derby to his trophy cabinet which already included the Breeders Crown 2yo Final. But a flat-spot as a four-year-old sparked a decision to change trainers and King Of Swing headed east and joined the stables of Cobbitty Equine under the banner of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy. From 12 starts to date, the Rocknroll Hanover entire has won nine times while being the runner-up in the other three starts. His haul of Gr.1 features includes the Miracle Mile, Hunter Cup and Allied Express Sprint which has netted more than $1 million in stakes this year. “It was a spur of the moment decision to change trainers and it’s the mark of Gary Hall Snr to recommend the change, everyone over there have really taken to him and Luke has a wonderful rapport with the horse. “Pound for pound, he’s the best horse going around in this country and he hasn’t missed any of the big dances and this will be his third state that he’s raced in this year. It’s a thoroughly deserving title of being crowned Grand Circuit champion. “I’m super proud and I still believe the best is yet to come, ultimately he will stand at stud once his racing days are behind him and to have a Grand Circuit champion title beside his name is awesome. If successful on the weekend, that will be his sixth Gr.1 victory.” King Of Swing is expected to win and is currently listed as a $1.55 favourite in the 2680m feature. For McCarthy, he’s chasing his ninth victory in the Sunshine State feature. McCarthy has 64 Gr.1 victories with 14 coming at Grand Circuit level. Only Chris Alford and the late great Gavin Lang have more Gr.1 wins. The Tab Blacks A Fake is race 8 on the 10-race program and is listed to start at 9.12pm local time.   Chris Barsby

The 2020 Albion Park Harness Racing Club Summer Carnival is officially off to a flying start. The metropolitan club hosted a 10-race program which included seven feature events and the action was fast and furious. Under clear skies with a warm temperature, punters were treated to a great night’s entertainment, both on and off track including four lucky fans who each collected $5000 cash courtesy of the very generous support from major sponsor, Garrards Horse & Hound. The Gr.2 $30,880 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final was taken out by classy performer Majestic Simon following his brilliant beginning from his 10m handicap in the 2647m stand-start feature. Prepared by Chantal Turpin and handled by her husband, Pete McMullen, the five-year-old completed the rare double of the Jim McNeil/DJA features in the same calendar year. Raced by Pam Hopper and Ross Patrick, the Majestic Son gelding has now won 12 races with earnings edging closer to $100,000. The main pacing event, the Gr.3 $30,660 Garrards Be Good Johnny Sprint was taken out by crowd favourite Colt Thirty One after sitting outside punters elect Turn It Up in the 1660m mobile start feature in a time of 1:51.9. Trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon, Colt Thirty One proved too strong for One Change and Turn It Up in a thrilling finish. The Mach Three entire has won his past six starts and looks on target to defend his crown in the Gr.1 $175,660 TAB Blacks A Fake on Saturday week. Raced by his breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour, his earnings are getting closer to $1 million. Colt Thirty One has now won 46 races with 41 of those coming via Albion Park. The Gr.3 $30,660 Garrards QBRED For Life 3yo Features were taken out by Governor Jujon (Colts & Geldings) and Torque Onetwothree (Fillies). Both winners were expertly handled by their respective reinsmen. Governor Jujon (by Cammibest) is prepared by Grant Dixon while Wayne and Shane Graham combined with Torque Onetwothree (by Hurrikane Kingcole). Both pacers are raced by long-time breeders and loyal owners, John Mammino and Ian Corazzol. The Listed $25,660 Changeover Queen of the Creek was won in brilliant style by Chevrons Reward who finished stoutly to beat Rubies For Tash and Fame Assured in a time of 1:52.8. Raced by Rob Jones, the Rocknroll Hanover mare is prepared by Charlie Cini and was handled by young Lachie Manzelmann. The $21,160 The Creek 2yo Feature, New Zealand bred filly Dance In The Sun scored a decisive victory easily defeating Jasper and Frontliner in a time of 1:55.9. The victory provided Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen with a double for the opening night of the carnival. Boasting three wins from four starts, the filly by A Rocknroll Dance looks set for a bright future. And in the $21,270 AQWA Constructions APHRC Members Cup, former Newcastle pacer Always A Secret finished best to beat Virgil and Having The Faith in the 2138m feature. Prepared by Cristina Monte and driven by Shane Graham, Always A Secret appreciated the solid speed throughout before racing clear from his rivals over the concluding stages. Throughout the evening, APHRC Chairman David Fowler awarded Chris Garrard with life membership of the club following years of loyal support and sponsorship. Congratulations CJ, thoroughly deserved. Next week, features include the Gr.2 $50,660 Badcock Group of Companies Queensland Cup, Gr.3 $30,660 Prydes Easifeed Forever Gold Mares, Gr.3 $30,770 Ted & Edna Badcock Memorial 4yo Championship, $21,270 J.C McMullen, Listed $25,660 2yo Feature plus the Gr.3 AQWA Constructions $30,660 3yo Classics (Fillies plus Colts & Geldings). Fields for next week will be released Tuesday afternoon.  

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Queensland’s signature event for square gaiters - the Darrell Alexander Memorial - will be run this coming Saturday night; with the 14 finalists decided after six heats. There were five winners of the six heats - Our Overanova, BD Khaosan, Musculus and Majestic Simon, with Gee Up Neddy the only finalist to claim victory in both heats he contested. However, if Neddy is to claim victory in the Group 2 Final, he will need to overcome history. The 2020 edition will be the 14th running of the DJA and in the previous 13 renewals, no trotter has been able to win both heat rounds and the Final. But this year has been a year like no other in so many ways, so will this be the year that a trotter can sweep the series? Gee Up Neddy has certainly found form at the right time to make it a reality, and from the 10-metre handicap combined with his great manners, has the chance to re-write history. In in the fifth heat on Saturday night, Gee Up Neddy was safely away to settle closer to the rear as Godofthunder moved up outside the leader Im The Commando to ensure an even tempo throughout. BD Khaosan had the one-by- one trail and looked poised to strike as the field swung for home, however, Gee Up Neddy kept coming down the outside to claim victory by a half-neck. That pair had broken away with the third placed Havana Magic a further 14 metres astern. Owner, trainer, and driver Hayden Barnes will be hoping that he can go one better than the 2019 Final. In last year’s series, Gee Up Neddy was a narrow 2nd in the Final after looming up strongly, only to be grabbed in the closing strides along the passing lane behind Wee Man Trouble. Versatility could be the key to victory in 2020, with Gee Up Neddy possessing that attribute. Clean manners from the tapes along with the ability to work or be saved for a closing sprint will hold the nine-year-old in good stead. Back in August, Barnes listed his season highlight as bringing up his 400th career victory aboard Gee Up Neddy. That statement may be up for debate later this Saturday night if Barnes can become the first to sweep the DJA Series. If by some bad luck Gee Up Neddy is runner-up again, there is probably only one horse that Hayden hopes can beat him home - Needabacardi. To be driven by his brother Brendan, the chestnut has been runner-up in both rounds of heats. Trained by Jack Butler, listed as a part owner - Hayden Barnes, it would certainly be a season highlight. THE BAD American politician Frank A. Clark once quipped “It’s hard to detect good luck — it looks so much like something you’ve earned.” That is a statement that certainly would resonate with owner Mick Andreadis. Owning horses in several states spread across various trainers, Andreadis has certainly had his resilience tested, and here in Queensland, the trotter I Asked Nicely is one such test. Starting just nine times since arriving in Brisbane with trainer Travis Mackay back in March, the eight-year-old has won two races. Yet such are his problems, he has trialled on 15 occasions in that same period under enforced embargos to correct his manners. Another horse owned by Andreadis is Major Mucha, a horse that has been plagued by bad luck in landing a good barrier in recent months. Joining the Mackay stable back in July, the four-year-old Art Major gelding has started on 20 occasions. Heading into his latest assignment, Major Mucha had started from gate 4 or wider in 17 successive starts. From gate one on Saturday, he made his own luck when leading throughout to claim victory with Dannielle Veivers taking the reins. Luck may be turning for Andreadis, with another of his pacers scoring at Mildura on Thursday. Laser Major - now a 10-year-old - was successful in the opening race, ending a win drought that had extended back to 2016 and over 50 race starts. With that sort of drought, it is fair to say that any luck has certainly been earnt.   THE MILESTONE There were three age track records at Marburg on Sunday, with the warm weather and settling track proving ideal for fast times. The first of those records came in the opening event of the day when the Peter Greig-trained Straytothepoolroom was successful. Marburg does not tend to have a great deal of two-year-old events on their programmes, however on Sunday a mixed age event was the catalyst of the new record. Driven by Angus Garrard, the Cammibest gelding was put on the front-end early and once in control, held on to take the victory and surpass a record that has stood since 2008. Maywyn Gold, trained and driven by Shane Sanderson, has held the record for 12 years, with the win of Straytothepoolroom taking 0.9 seconds off the old mark. Two weeks ago, Voodoo Fella provided Jordan Topping with her first victory as a driver and with his latest victory, Jordan can also boast the three-year-old colts and geldings record. Twice within a month this record has been bettered - Major Fernco setting a new mark on October 25, with Voodoo Fella eclipsing that mark with his victory at the weekend. Wide in the closing stages, it was a well-timed drive by Topping, arriving to claim a half-head margin and set a record of 1.58.4 with the win. It also provided the Russell family with a quinella - David training the winner with son Dan training the runner-up - Abercrombie Tab. The third and final record was the victory of Gina Tarantella, setting a new benchmark for the aged mares of 1.57.8, taking 0.3 seconds off the previous mark held by Ale Ale Kai.   THE WILDCARD Gina Tarantella was having her first start for Jonah Hutchinson after joining his stables from New South Wales. The four-year-old Million Dollar Cam mare arrived in Queensland after 20 starts that had failed to net a return down south. After a sound trial at Menangle in mid-October, she was on the move North where Hutchinson opted to send her straight to the races on Sunday at Marburg - without a further trial. Powering out of the pack from the start, Hutchinson had the mare freewheeling in front, running the opening splits in close to even time with identical 30.1 second quarters. Dialling it up down the back, Gina Tarantella put up a big margin on her rivals when running through the third split in 28.3 seconds. With the race shot to bits, Hutchinson had not moved on the mare, cruising home in 29.8 seconds for the last 400 metres, setting the 1.57.8 mile-rate for the 1850-metre trip and establishing a new aged mare track record. In the demolition process, the winning margin could likely be a new record for the Marburg track - the 73.2 metre margin back to second also close to a Queensland record. Searching through mountains of results, the victory could possibly be the second biggest in Queensland behind the 77-metre debut win of Viking Reign back in 1987. Stablemates Greg The Great and Archilles - trained by Graham Dwyer - both won races by 55.3 metres last season but hitting into 70+ metres looks rarefied air. That is not the only big win in recent weeks for the Hutchinson stable, with the arrival of some new horses to the barn bringing some good success. Rousey claimed victory by 51.7 metres at her first outing for the stable, the mare remaining undefeated in Queensland after four starts. With the manner of the win by Gina Tarantella, Jonah Hutchinson and connections could have some fun times ahead.   THIS WEEK The TAB Queensland Harness Racing Summer Carnival officially starts on Saturday at Albion Park with the night jam-packed with feature racing. Headlining the on-track excitement is the Group 3 Be Good Johnny Sprint where Colt Thirty One and Turn It Up look set to do battle. After two rounds of heats, the Darrel Alexander Memorial Trot at Group 2 level will see a capacity field of square gaiters look to secure Queensland’s biggest trotting event. QBRED three-year-olds are set to do battle, with a pair of Group 3 races - for the colts and geldings and for the fillies - in the new QBRED for Life race to be conducted at 2138 metres. Support races on the card include the APHRC Members Cup, the Changeover Queen of the Creek for mares and a two-year-old feature. The racing week will include the regular schedule of Tuesday through Saturday, with Albion Park on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday along with Redcliffe hosting Wednesday and Thursday. Sunday will see grass track action from Kilcoy where three races will be conducted alongside the gallops meeting at the track known as Moonee Valley of the North.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

SO far, so good for the Turn It Up experiment in Queensland. The former budding star of the sport showed serious glimpses of the sort of form that won him an Auckland Cup among other features when he blitzed his rivals at Albion Park last night. It was just his second run back from ongoing and serious feet issues which sidelined him after his Harness Jewels 4YO win back on June 1, last year. Now leased and trained by Vicki Rasmussen, Turn It Up grabbed the eye at his first run back when a late-closing third to Colt Thirty One two weeks back. Fitter and drawn the front row, driver Shane Graham drove with aggression and confidence by blasting across the field from gate seven to lead and that was effectively the end of the race. Turn It Up cruised home in a 1min53sec mile rate for 1660m, running home in 55.4 and 27.9sec. He’s been given a long, slow build-up by Rasmussen and looks to be shaping nicely for the Queensland Summer Carnival, headed by the rescheduled Group 1 Blacks A Fake on December 12. Turn It Up’s won 12 of his 17 starts with four second and a third for earnings of $446,724. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE rampaging Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable flexed its muscle big time at Melton’s stellar card last Friday night. As usual, they dominated the juveniles features by winning both Edgar Tatlow finals for fillies and colts and geldings. Mach Three filly Ladies In Red confirmed her ranking as the best of the crop by sitting parked and dominantly winning her final where Stewart trained the first six placegetters. Ladies In Red, driven by David Moran, zoomed clear and the top of the straight in a 55.3sec last half to win easily by 5.4m over the exciting Treachery with Beach Music third in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for 2240m. Stewart had to settle for just the win the colts and geldings final when the powerhouse leader Act Now continued his hot form this campaign and won by 3.8m for driver Jodi Quinlan in a 1min55.1sec mile rate. Anthony Butt’s former Kiwi Vanquish Stride dashed home late for second and is on the up at the right time. Stewart’s star juvenile of last season, Maajida, looks primed for the Breeders Crown and Vicbred judging by barnstorming to victory in the strong Argent 3YO Fillies’ classic. Kiwi interest was in Victoria Oaks winner Dr Susan, but she drew poorly and was never a hope back in ninth spot, 32m from the winner. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE girls continue to dominate Australia’s open-class trotting races. Just two weeks after three-year-old filly Pink Galahs created history beating Australia’s best trotters in the Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint, one of the beaten brigade, Red Hot Tooth, bounced-back in the best possible way last Friday night. Red Hot Tooth, already a multiple Group 1 winner, pounced on the lead from gate five in the True Roman free-for-all (2240m) and produced arguably the best win of her career for driver Kerryn Manning. She cleared out to win by 19.5m in a 1min56.8sec mile rate, closing in 56.8 and 28.2sec. It was her 24th win from 80 starts and edged Red Hot Tooth close to $500,000 in earnings. Glamour mare Dance Craze got well back, was pushed deep and ran home fairly well for third. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ STILL on the stellar Melton card where Wolf Stride and Catch A Moment looks serious stars on the rise. Already a Group 1 winner, Wolf Stride looked awesome clearing out to win the opening race by 9.1m in a slick 1min52.1sec mile rate for 1720m. “He’ll make a Grand Circuit horse in time,” trainer-driver Anthony Butt said. Catch A Moment looks Amanda Turnbull’s next star judging by his breathtaking Melton win. The four-year-old led throughout, but it was the way he kept going further in front without being asked by driver James Herbertson to score by almost 35m in a 1min53sec mile rate for the longer 2240m trip. By comparison, Lochinvar Art went a track record 1min51.4sec for 2240m winning the Victoria Cup two weeks ago. “He could’ve gone much quicker,” Herbertson said. “I was trying to give him as easy a run as possible knowing he’s got the final of this race next week.” It was a big night for Turnbull, who also trained and drove Speak No Evil to a minor upset win in the Group 3 Angelique Club Pace (2240m) for mares’. NZ’s best mare Our Princess Tiffany was sent out a commanding $1.60 favourite, but couldn’t repeat her sparkling win in the Make Mine Cullen the previous week and disappointed in fourth spot. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ EVERGREEN Galactic Star upstaged his more glamour stablemates to win the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The younger Vampiro was sent out a $1.30 favourite, led as expected from the pole, dictated terms, but couldn’t hold-off Galactic Star’s finishing burst from the one-one trail. Maybe Team Bond’s stable driver Ryan Warwick gave punters the tip when he elected to drive Galactic Star of their six runners in the eight-horse field. Galactic Star powered home to win by 1.6m from Vampiro with Stroke Of Luck third. Reigning WA Pacing Cup winner Mighty Conqueror sat parked, never looked a winning hope and just battled on fairly for fourth. Being blunt, the race just reinforced Chicago Bull and Shockwave had a fair gap on their nearest rivals right now in the countdown to the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in late November/early December. The other star performer of the night was classy mare Balcatherine, who resumed from a spell to brilliantly win the mares’ race by 12.3m in a slick 1min55.1sec mile rate for 2130m. She led and dashed home in 55.3 and 27.7sec. The disappointment was former Kiwi mare Wainui Creek, who did some work and sat parked, but tired very badly to finish almost 30m from the winner in second-last spot. Balcatherine’s win quickly stamped her as the testing material for the upcoming Group 1 Mares’ Classic at Gloucester Park on November 27. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ KIMA Frenning’s focus on training just got more exciting. Frenning unveiled her recent Kiwi import Russley Rush for a sparkling Ballarat win last Thursday night. The four-year-old son of Art Major led and won as he liked by 10.6m in a 1min57sec mile rate for 1710m, zipping home in 27.5sec for driver Chris Alford. Russley Rush raced 15 times in NZ for Tony Herlihy for a win and six placings.   By Adam Hamilton

As well-known Bathurst horseman Chris Frisby prepares to wind down another successful Queensland harness racing campaign, he can't help but have a chuckle about a real surprise packet he unearthed. Frisby is the first to admit that he purchased bay mare Fast Is Bettor (Bettors Delight-Fast And Flighty (Classic Garry) as an ideal broodmare prospect. "Her family line traces back to brilliant Victorian pacer San Carlo- and he's a pacer I've seen a fair bit of in recent years when we've tackled some of the big feature events!" he said. But Fast Is Bettor now has Frisby in two minds about plans for the breeding barn, as the mare has so far registered four wins and five placings ($15,000 in stakes) in a pleasing few months of racing at Redcliffe and Albion Park. And tomorrow night could just see the icing on the cake with the pacer one of the top chances in the $10,900 Sky Racing Marburg to Albion Park Final at the Brisbane track. Frisby saw Fast Is Bettor racing around the Tamworth area and an offer of $3000 was accepted by the owners. "Her dam is the Classic Garry-sired Fast And Flighty, who is a full sister to Bridge Player (six times winner), both being out of Ailsa. And Bridge Player produced San Carlo," he said. Bridge Player earned over $32,000 back in the late 1990s with wins at Yarra Glen, Kilmore, Stawell, Shepparton and a 2yo sires heat and 3yo event at Melbourne's Moonee Valley circuit. But it's been in the breeding barn where she has excelled. Bridge Player produced Cullens Ace (11 wins) and Jerada Ace (four), both by Christian Cullen NZ; and Magic Spark (10), by Holmes Hanover USA. The next one to get to the races was superstar San Carlo, who has won 30 of his 60 starts for stakemoney of more than $570,000. Fast Is Bettor was trialled about a month after she joined the Frisby stable, but always one to call it as he sees it, the trainer described the performance as "not real good". "She got beaten by 90 metres! We went back a week later and this time she was about 40 metres behind them," he said. "At that point our son Anthony, who drove her, thought she wasn't worth taking on the campaign up north. But we backed right off on her workload and she improved out of sight." Fast is Bettor is owned by Chris and his wife Judy, with Anthony and his wife Cait. The mare had dropped back through the handicap grades, which Frisby said had been a bonus. "She's just a pleasure to have around, and Shane Graham who has been driving her recently, just loves that she tries her heart out," he said. "Shane is adamant that she will make a nice broodmare too, though, so perhaps he's trying to give me a little push in that direction! I will probably end up leaving her here and get her foals eligible for QBred - those horses are getting to be more expensive to buy now." The Frisby stable, based for the winter at Coolangatta near the Qld/NSW border, has registered 17 wins since arriving in mid-June. "We started off with about a dozen horses, but had a bad run early days with infections and other minor issues. We had a slow start and the first four or five weeks were very trying," he said. "Anthony was up here then as well as Judy. Things gradually turned around with Jenden Strike winning the South East Oaks and Aunty Bella taking out the $21,000 Qbred Triad consolation for 2yo fillies as well as the Burwood Stud event." He Aint Fakin also impressed with two wins from two starts, including a $21,000 feature race for two-year-olds. "And our bargain buy Fast Is Bettor just kept doing a job," Frisby laughed. A frequent annual visitor to Queensland since the 1980s, the popular horseman said his best record over the years of campaigning would be about 20 winners. "I remember it well because we couldn't stay all that long, but everything went right from the beginning," he said. Frisby also operates two outlets of Bedwells Feed Barn in the Central Tablelands and said he hoped to be able to stay up north for a few more weeks. "I was ready to go home, but Anthony is happy for me to stay while the horses are showing form. He'd be going flat out at home because he's training 16 as well as working in one of the shops," Frisby said. "I'm hoping one of our old favorites in Our Uncle Sam can regain some consistent form before we go. He was good early, but then went off the boil with a foot abscess. "He's had two wins and two placings and his last start third to Ashley Locaz and Colt Thirty One, when they got him in the shadows of the post, was solid." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Catch up on the weekend’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.   THE GOOD The recently married Ben and Tamara Battle are putting their faith in Queensland harness racing, with the young couple recently purchasing a property at Peak Crossing. Originally from the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Battle spent a long period learning the ropes from Bathurst-based Bernie Hewitt, picking up plenty of skills and opportunities. Branching out from Bernie and Cath Hewitt’s stable to start his own team in the 2015/16 season, Battle set up a stable from Goulburn. With moderate success in those early years, two of the better horses in the team were sent north to the stables of Grant Dixon, with Whiskey Blaze and Soho Shanghai seemingly reaching their ‘mark’ in New South Wales. “I own both of those and it was becoming harder to find suitable races for them so thought I would send them to Grant to see how they would perform in Queensland,” Ben Battle said.  Whiskey Blaze proved that he could still be a force, with the gelding claiming five victories when prepared out of the State’s leading stable. Soho Shanghai also proved more than capable, securing three victories in his time with the Dixon stable. That led to a conundrum for Ben and Tamara in what to do looking to the future. Goulburn is home to some big stables and being an easy commute from Menangle sees the big stables often making the trek down the Hume to compete there on race day. “I had a few horses in the team who needed to head to Queensland,” Battle said. “Tamara and I had a chat and said ‘do we just send them up here to other trainers or do we make the move and bring them ourselves’. “So, we flew up one weekend and had a look at the property we knew was available and made the decision we would relocate.” After originally setting up the stable at Toorbul, the Battles had to make a financial decision to move again to Caboolture. All the time though, the pair have been on the lookout for a property to purchase and call their own. That search came to fruition recently with a property coming to market at Peak Crossing and after negotiating a deal, Ben and Tamara have settled and will move to their new home in October. The 116-acre property already has a 16-box stable block, stallion yards and a deep swim, something that Ben is looking forward to being able to utilise. “I had access to a swim when we were in Goulburn, but you could only use it half the year - the other half you had to break through the ice if you needed it,” Battle said. “The swim will be really good, it will just add another option to our training and is something that is so beneficial to the horses, particularly the older horses in looking after them”. The property size will also allow Battle to focus on another area that he is keen to build on - the education of yearlings. New to Queensland in early 2019, he completed the early education of just two yearlings, however that jumped to 11 in 2020 and the goal is to get that number to 20 in the new year. “It is something that I get a lot of enjoyment from and that first year, Justa Little Bit was one of them,” Battle said. That current two-year-old had a strong debut season, registering three wins from his six starts and was second in the QBRED Breeders Classic behind subsequent Triad winner Big Wheels. With an astute mentor of the ‘babies’ in Bernie Hewitt, Battle is looking forward to what the new year may bring from his Peak Crossing stable. “When I was with Bern there was plenty to learn, if I didn’t learn something it would have been a waste of time being there,” Battle said.   THE BAD The COVID pandemic has had an effect in most facets of life and for Tamara and Ben, it has been no different. Originally scheduled to be married in April, the couple postponed the nuptials along with a honeymoon booked for Singapore and The Maldives. Weddings are stressful at the best of times; throw in a Global Pandemic into the mix and it certainly becomes a trying time. Rescheduling the date of the big day to late August, the dreaded C word would again play another part in becoming the Battles. An imminent border closure was again put forward by the Queensland Government, throwing the rescheduled plans into disarray once again. Not to be deterred, Ben and Tamara, just like their move North, put faith in themselves and decided the wedding would be brought forward - immediately. Having only earlier that week signed the contract on the new property, now they were planning a wedding in three days. “On the Wednesday they said the border would be closing, so we got on the phone, rang everyone and said the wedding would be on the Saturday,” Battle said.  “It was great, but I certainly would not recommend it that’s for sure.” True testament to the regard that the young couple are held in, they had over 50 people make the trek north from New South Wales to attend their wedding with three days’ notice and an impending border closure. The Maldives may have been ruled out, but the young couple did manage to squeeze in a brief trip to Hamilton Island before heading back to the day-to-day of running a harness racing stable. If the past season results are anything to go by, the pair look set to capitalise on the move, preparing more winners. This latest season has been their best yet, preparing 25 winners with Ben also taking the opportunity to pick up outside drives, landing 37 wins for the season. Whiskey Blaze, one of those that probably has a lot to do with the move north is still racing and is still competitive. In-fact the gelding has scored another five victories since re-joining the Battle barn and is a last-start placegetter. Starting to build the numbers, they have six two-year-olds that will be ready to come into work once they move onto the new property. With most of the horses in the barn arriving from New South Wales, either with or since they moved, Ben is looking forward to having some QBRED-eligible horses in his barn. Add to that his goal of working with more young stock and expanding the racing team, be ready for the Battles to make their mark.   THE MILESTONE Mafuta Vautin claimed the 30th victory of his career on Saturday night at Albion Park, equalling the number of wins of his sire Rollon Bigred in the process. The chestnut is named after Rugby League legend Paul Vautin, Mafuta being a Swahili word that translated to English means ‘fat’. Trained by Darrel Graham, Mafuta Vautin was driven patiently by Angus Garrard who utilised the passing lane to perfection, claiming victory by a head. Garrard became the fifth driver to rein the gelding to victory, joining Darrel, Brittany Graham, Adam Sanderson and Grant Dixon who have all recorded a victory behind Mafuta Vautin. Rollon Bigred was prepared by Darrel Graham in all bar two starts throughout his career, taking the stable all through the eastern states chasing feature race glory. Highlights from his 30 career wins were victories in the two and four-year-old QBRED Triad Finals, the two and three-year-old QBRED Breeders Classic Finals, the Hamilton Cup and the Paleface Adios Stakes. Mafuta Vautin reached his 30th career victory at start 130, while it took his sire only 76 starts to reach the same feat. While Rollon Bigred achieved his career wins across eight different venues, Mafuta Vautin has been successful at just 3 tracks - Albion Park, Redcliffe and on two occasions, Gympie. Ashleysplace, the dam of Mafuta Vautin was also raced by the Grahams, with Darrel steering the mare to one victory prior to being retired to breeding duties. Highlighting the real family involvement, Mafuta Vautin is owned and was bred by Darrel’s wife, Linda. With Steph Graham having also trained the gelding to one victory, all members of the Graham family have been involved in some part of the success - areal Team Graham performance.   THE WILDCARD Kiwis Are Flying franked his trial performance when making a successful start to his Australian career last Tuesday at Albion Park. Finding the one x one trail from the second line, the Narissa McMullen-trained gelding powered home in a strong 55.3 second closing 800-metre split. The gelding is impeccably bred, out of the former star mare Kiwi Ingenuity, a winner of eleven races - four of those at Group 1 level - and over $500,000 in stakes. The win by Kiwis Are Flying was the perfect way to start a new association for McMullen, entrusted with the gelding via a recommendation from her mortgage broker. With Narissa and partner Matt Elkins having recently purchased a new property, the couple are in the process of developing the infrastructure to have a full training facility. In the process of acquiring the property, McMullen has also taken on some new horses that are starting to hit the track. Joining Kiwis Are Flying are Lets Go Better and The Fortunate Son as recent arrivals to Queensland. With Elkins recently having success with Paravani, the couple have plenty of hard work ahead in establishing their property, but they have the horse flesh behind them to capitalise upon. With success flowing season on season in recent years, they look set to entrench themselves in the Queensland harness scene for years to come.   THIS WEEK Tuesday’s Albion Park meeting will see the return of top filly Pelosi. Drawing awkwardly in barrier 7 and taking on older and experienced campaigners will make it tough for the dual Group 1 winner. The Anna Woodmansey-trained filly has been to the trials three times to prepare for her return, after struggling to find an ideal return race for Pelosi. Targeting the NSW Breeders Challenge for three-year-old fillies, Pelosi will be aiming to go back-to-back following her victory in the Group 1 two-year-old edition back in 2019. Elsewhere, track resurfacing has been completed at Marburg and Redcliffe that will see racing return to those venues. After forgoing racing at ‘The Triangle’ last week owing to the works, normal transmission will resume with Redcliffe hosting their regular Wednesday night timeslot. Consequently, this week’s schedule will see racing at Albion Park on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, with Redcliffe hosting meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. Saturday night at Albion Park will see the second of the Ultimate Tools sponsored age events. After the initial race was held for the two-year-olds, the three-year-olds will be catered for on this occasion. With no performance restrictions, the race carries stakes of $12,880, along with a rug and trophy to the winning connections and $250 to the winning trainer and driver thanks to Ultimate Tools. The winning trainer will also receive a $500 voucher.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

A new-look TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival is poised to finish the 2019/20 season in style after being released today. As announced earlier this year, the Group 1 Blacks A Fake - Queensland’s only Grand Circuit event for pacers – will headline the Summer Carnival with features to be held at Albion Park and Redcliffe throughout November and December. In total, 11 Group races will be staged across the Summer Carnival, including the $175,000 Blacks A Fake, with opportunities for pacers and trotters alike. While COVID-19 has significantly impacted this year’s racing calendar, RQ COO Adam Wallish said all roads would lead to Queensland to conclude 2019/20. “It’s a genuinely exciting TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival that we’ve been able to pull together,” Mr Wallish said. “The presence of the Group 1 Blacks A Fake elevates this year’s carnival and provides one final opportunity for Australasia’s premier pacers to snare a Grand Circuit victory. “With the talent on display at the moment, it promises to be a must-watch affair. “Given the extension of the season to the end of the calendar year, we’ve made a concerted decision to programme opportunities for two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds, as well as our open-class horses.” Having originally been slated for the TAB Queensland Constellations, the Group 2 DJA Trotting Championship returns to summer with the Final to be held at Albion Park on November 28. The new Trotters Sprint, staged over the flying 1660m, will be held a fortnight later. On the same night as the DJA, the Group 3 The Be Good Johnny Sprint will provide the perfect lead into the Group 2 Queensland Cup (December 5) and the Blacks A Fake (December 12). Albion Park Harness Racing Club Executive Manager Scott Steele said they were thrilled with this year’s carnival. “What an outstanding collection of feature races we have for our Summer Carnival,” Mr Steele said. “With the quality of horses that will be on display during the Carnival, I have no doubt Albion Park will be a sell out with the  corporate industry  taking the opportunity to host their Christmas parties at this ideal time. “Hopefully COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed further by carnival time allowing us to showcase our industry to as many people as can be safely permitted.” In addition to the Group events, Redcliffe Harness Racing Club will round out the carnival, with the open class Christmas Cup to be joined by feature races for both two and three-year-olds. "The Redcliffe Christmas Cup is a great to finish off what has been a very trying racing season," Mr Ring said. "With no Derby or Oaks this year, it's pleasing to see the Northgate Comfort n Suites Redcliffe Guineas and a further $10,000 Open feature." Click here to see the full programme for the 2020 TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Carnival.   Racing Queensland

World renowned operatic tenor Rosario La Spina had every reason to be hitting the high notes in Brisbane earlier this week! La Spina, along with his father Alf and family, are passionate harness racing owners and they would have been applauding the performance of their talented pacer Crunch Time (Somebeachsomewhere-The Arch Nemesis (Jeremes Jet) at Albion Park on Tuesday. The youngster, prepared by astute Menangle horseman Rickie Alchin, set a new track record for three-year-olds at Albion Park, stopping the clock at 1.51-1 for the 1660 metre trip with Nathan Dawson in the sulky. His time shaved a second off the previous record held jointly by Jiggle And Jive (January 24 this year) and Burnaholeinmypocket (July 4, 2015). To watch the replay of Crunch Time click here. The victory added to a highly rewarding northern campaign for Alchin, who has recorded 26 winners since making Redcliffe his base about five weeks ago. "This is the third year we've done the trip and this time we've rotated 12 horses through. It's been great because we've won with every horse with the exception of Puma Road, who has one more chance before we head back home," Alchin said. "I think we've got five more runners and then it's a case of pack up our suitcases on Sunday and that's it until next time," he said. Alchin said Crunch Time had the potential to develop into one of his best and would now be aimed at the Breeders Challenge in three weeks at Penrith. Crunch Time set a new 3yo track record at Albion Park this week  "He's a very nice horse and now a very fast one-he deserved that win because his previous start was great when he finished runner-up," he said. "We've had Crunch Time all along and he's contested every Group One series from the Gold Crown, APG heats and finals, the Gold Chalice and both NSW and Qld Derbies. "I drove him at his first few starts during this trip, but then decided to stick with Nathan (Dawson) who developed a good affinity with him. Let's just say the horse can be quirky, but Nathan knows all of his tricks!" Annual pilgrimages to the Sunshine State are now a fixture on the winter calendar of Alchin and his partner Nikki Pagan, thanks to their partnership with Crunch Time's owner Rosario La Spina and family. Brisbane born and raised, Rosario was a bricklayer in his family's business until a work accident when he was 23 gave him time to take singing lessons. The rest is history. Rosario was recommended to attend the conservatorium to study voice and gain stage experience and his career snowballed rapidly from the year 2000, leading him to roles with leading opera houses and orchestras all over the world. La Spina's wife is mezzo-soprano Milijana Nikolic, while his singer/songwriter sister is Anna-Maria La Spina. Although opera and harness racing might seem poles apart, Alchin said the La Spina family had an absolute love for the sport. "They have stables in Redcliffe near the track and we've got a holiday unit about five minutes away, so it all works out nicely," Alchin said. "They are fantastic owners - so loyal and passionate. All of them thoroughly enjoy the sport and it's great to see." Alchin said the northern trip this year was more about work than holiday. "But it's been great because Nikki got up here for a while and I did get to do a little bit of fishing," he said. "Our stable workers in Tom Downey and Ricky Hunt were supposed to come up, but the coronavirus situation prevented that. We couldn't have done it without them, though, because they kept the team of around 20 horses ticking over at home. "Nikki's loved it because she's continuing to show me up as a driver! She's been licensed for three years and doesn't do all that much race driving back home, but she's been on fire up here with nine wins and a second from 13 goes. "I think she saves herself for the winter trip in Queensland because she seems to drive with so much more confidence up here. But her overall strike-rate would be awesome-way better than mine!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Tact Bess, a New Zealand-bred daughter of Auckland Reactor, posted a new lifetime mark of 1:54.5 when she outsprinted a smart field at Albion Park on Saturday night (August 22). Starting from the No. 2 gate, the five-year-old enjoyed a saloon passage behind the leader before being switched down onto the passing lane. She won by 1.7 metres. Driven by Isobel Ross for trainer Grant Dixon, Tact Bess clocked 55.9 for the last 800 metres. To watch the video replay click here Out of a mare by New York Motoring, Tact Bess has now won 11 races and $65,233 in stakes. Auckland Reactor sired a winning double at Bunbury two nights earlier with Nuclear Power (1:58.9) and Madam Of Mischief (2:00). Auckland Reactor, who stands at Tony Peacock’s St Fort stud, Moama (NSW), has left 87 individual winners in Australia this season and they have won 193 races and $1.36 million in stakes. Peter Wharton

THE GOOD The Marburg to Albion Park Series’ are always popular and the latest running culminated with the Final held at Albion Park on Saturday night. With five heats held at Marburg on the preceding Sunday, the first two placed runners in each heat progressed through to Saturday’s Final, run over the Albion Park 1660-metre trip. The Dudley Warburton-trained ten-year-old Bukthsystem claimed the race, using the passing lane to arrive for victory in a new career best of 1.55.5. In another superb advertisement for the longevity of the standardbred, the PB came at start number 203, recording the 14th win of his career for the rising eleven-year-old. It was a well-deserved victory, with Bukthsystem having been in great form in recent times and backed up his heat win at Marburg. In a superb training feat, Bukthsystem has raced at least three times every month consecutively since July 2018. However, it has not always been smooth sailing with the gelding for his trainer. “When he was younger, he threw me out of the cart when he was playing up and I fractured two vertebrae in the accident, that’s why we gave him the name Buk,” Warburton said. “Even now he will pull hard and is keen in the preliminary, yet when he races, he never seems to pull that much.” And it was at the instruction of his driver Nathan Dawson that some gear adjustments in recent times seem to be paying dividends. Dawson also may have provided punters with a lead in opting to drive Bukthsystem in Saturday night’s final after having the choice of drives. “Nathan said to me on Wednesday night with a cheeky grin, by the way, I will be driving Buk on Saturday night because only a bad driver will get him beat,” the trainer said. That left Dudley with some nerves to overcome as he began to feel a little bit of pressure in breaking a Saturday night victory drought. Some light-hearted banter between trainers on the night added to the mix. With trainer Graham White stabled next to Warburton on Saturday, he had a light-hearted jibe with Dawson with regards to how many winners the leading driver had reined home until that point of the evening. “Nathan replied ‘no worries Whitey, I’m about to get my first’ which then made me feel some more nerves because after what he had said Wednesday as well,” Warburton said. Dawson delivered on the promise, with a perfect drive to score victory up the passing lane. It was the first Saturday night success for Warburton since the win of Itzallinthetimin back in 2012 and a win that he won’t forget in a hurry. “It will take a while for this happiness to wear off that’s for sure,” quipped Warburton. “I hope it’s not another eight years for my next Saturday night winner.” Asked as to what sort of regime keeps Bukthsytem racing so well and consistently for such a long period now, Warburton was more than happy to reveal his secret. “Old Buk is just such a beautiful horse, my wife has him looking superb all the time - she looks after that,” he said. “I mostly let the racing keep him fit and I think when I threatened him a while back when he wasn’t going so well, it got him back into form. “You see he was racing a bit flat and so I pulled Buk aside and threatened him with retirement! “That was just what he needed and he turned the corner.” The entire Warburton family is involved in equine pursuits of some form, with a son involved in rodeo and a daughter in quarter horses. Buk even has a miniature pony in the yard next to him at the stables and all the family both two and four-legged having a contribution to Bukthsytem and his journey. “Buk is such a great horse, he even picks his hay up and will carry it to the fence so the pony can share it with him - that’s just him, he is such a great character,” Warburton said. The next race for Bukthsystem now provides Warburton with another challenge, a dilemma that he is quite happy to be faced with!   THE BAD Happiness was quickly replaced with despair at Redcliffe on Thursday following the ‘win’ of Inciter in Race 3 - the Dan Costello Photography Pace. Owned and trained by Greg Elkins and driven by his son Matt, Inciter had been winless since December 9, 2018 heading into the race. Running down the straight, Inciter was first across the line, with Doolittle Dandy using the passing lane second over the line and Major Grandeur third. Delaying the all-clear to view the patrol film, connections of the third-placed Major Grandeur lodged a protest feeling they were hampered in the run to the finish by Inciter. Following the hearing, the stewards deemed the interference greater than the winning margin, amending the official results to Doolittle Dandy first, Major Grandeur second, and Inciter in third position. Not the best day for Elkins, who had two runners in for the day; his other Tearaway Diamond also facing the ire of the stewards, banished to the trials for breaking in running.   THE WILDCARD Some people enjoy a stiff drink as a pick-me-up, and for Gail Geeson Scotch En Ice would have been the ideal tonic, with the two-year-old claiming a maiden breaking victory last Tuesday. With Geeson battling ill-health, Scotch En Ice was sent to Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen to prepare. With Gail and husband Vic Frost cutting back on the workload, the COVID situation also became a factor with their stables based in Northern New South Wales at Sleepy Hollow. Scotch En Ice - a gelded son of Hurrikane Kingcole - had shown a win was not far away, having placed in two of his previous three starts. The victory last Tuesday came at his fifth career start, leading all the way in scoring a 10.8m victory in a slick 1.55.9 mile rate. With a QBRED first win bonus for Scotch En Ice, he became the seventh winner from nine foals to race for his dam Frostiness. In some bittersweet symmetry, it was also the first winner ranking Frost’s champion Westburn Grant as the sire or damsire since the dual Inter Dominion winner passed away back in late June.   THE MILESTONE The boutique stable of Stephen Cini ticked off a milestone at last Tuesday’s Albion Park meeting with the victory of Mymatepog. Scoring victory in a new personal best over the mile of 1.53.9, the win saw Cini notch up a half-century of winners for the season. Last reaching 50 winners in a term back in the 2009/10 Season with 71, the 2019/20 Season results have been returned at an impressive strike-rate. Following the win on Tuesday, Cini’s figures were 50 wins and 75 placings from 335 starters, equating to a 14.9% win and 37% place strike-rate. With only a small team, the Season has been highlighted by multiple wins from the stable including Garland Greene (seven wins), The Cruise Missile (six), The Doorman (five), The Money Ball (five), Quietly Spoken (five) and no doubt the source of tremendous frustration, Macey Jayde (four).   THIS WEEK Following the two heats of the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sales Graduates, this Saturday night will see the $100,000 Group 1 Final take place. The first five across the line from each heat have progressed to the Final, with heat one winner Jasper looking mighty impressive and every bit an Oaks filly for next season. In the second heat, Chamonix made it a double for Dixon/GSM Racing trainer/owner combination and will be hoping to draw a good barrier for Saturday’s Final to challenge his stablemate. Friday’s card at Albion Park will also see the inaugural running of the QBRED Trotting Finals; a $10,000 event for the two-year-olds and a $10,000 event for the three-year-olds will be held, confirming the commitment at growing the square gait population in Queensland following on from the Springboard Series. Next Monday (August 17) will see a meeting conducted at Redcliffe, with nominations closing on Wednesday August 12. Races are programmed at $3,499 with all races also carrying a QBRED cash bonus should the winner be an eligible QBRED horse.   by Darren Clayton

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