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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

YONKERS, N.Y. – Australian import Let It Ride will make his Yonkers Raceway debut in the featured $30,000 open handicap pace on Opening Night (Jan. 11). The move to the Hilltop comes after the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding took a Meadowlands preferred/open handicap in such style as to garner praise like, “he really amazed me,” from harness racing trainer Nifty Norman. In that start Jan. 2, driver Dexter Dunn slotted Let It Ride into seventh after starting from post nine as Harambe Deo ripped an opening quarter in :26.1. Let It Ride followed the second-over cover of Rock Diamonds and drew within 4 lengths of the lead as Harambe Deo blitzed a :53.2 half-mile. Dunn tipped Let It Ride three-deep at the midway point of the final turn and the pacer rocketed into contention.  Under a tight hold, Let It Ride angled into the stretch on even-terms with Harambe Deo. Dunn took a glimpse over his right shoulder and saw rival Hesa Kingslayer, who followed Let It Ride third-over, still 2 lengths behind and under urging. Dunn gave a few whip taps and pulled the plugs at the furlong marker. Let It Ride didn’t let up, extending through the finish line to cap the mile with a :26.1 final quarter and stopping the clock in 1:48.1, just one-fifth of a second of Golden Receiver’s record January mile at the Meadowlands in 2012. “You just don’t see an 8-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven come from Down Under and do this sort of thing,” Norman said. “I was hoping he was a winners over type of horse. He’d been a classy old horse, but he hadn’t been very good for a couple years. He trained down good, he qualified good, every start has been good. But his last race was unbelievable. He just seems like he’s getting better all the time, too.” Bred in New Zealand, Let It Ride won his first four starts at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club for trainer Tim Butt with Dunn in the sulky from Feb. 10, 2017 to March 31, 2017. Over the next year, Let It Ride went unplaced in four Group 1 races in his home country, but found better luck in Australia.  Let It Ride won six straight races at Tabcorp Park Menangle and Albion Park between May 26, 2018 and July 21, 2018, including a pair of Group 1 stakes in the AU$100,000 New South Wales Breeders Challenge Four-Year-Old Entires and Geldings Final, in which he paced the mile in 1:49.4, and the AU$200,540 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship over 2,680 meters with Dunn driving.  After that Blacks A Fake win, which saw Let It Ride explode out of the pocket to win by 5 lengths, the brilliance seemed to fade. Let It Ride won just three of his next 27 starts through Sept. 26, 2020. Tim and Anthony Butt, longtime friends of Norman, thought the horse would benefit from Lasix and a deal was made to export the horse to the U.S. “Basically, I think putting him on Lasix turned him around,” Norman said. “We didn’t do a lot with him. His feet were a little sore, we changed his shoeing, put him on Lasix, and that was that. He’s such a good-winded horse. He must have a big set of lungs because he never seems to get tired. Nothing bothers him.” Let It Ride was cleared to the U.S. Oct. 5, 2020 and made an impression as soon as he arrived in Norman’s stable. Norman says Let It Ride is easy to be around, is a simple horse to train, and describes him as a gentleman. “He’s a grand looking horse. He’s a big, strong fellow. He’s got a great, big hind end on him and he’s in great shape,” Norman said. “He looks after himself really well. He’s got a good coat and always carries lots of weight. He’s a good-looking horse and good-natured, good to be around. He doesn’t do anything wrong. He’s a real nice horse.” Let It Ride was ready to qualify in short order and did so at Harrah’s Philadelphia Nov. 11, 2020 with assistant trainer Scott Petherick in the bike. Off a pocket trip, Let It Ride came home in :27.2 to post a 2-length win in 1:55.1. From there, Let It Ride ran up a five-race win streak culminating with that “amazing” Meadowlands win Jan. 2. Dunn drove in each pari-mutuel start. “Scotty qualified him and he said, ‘jeeze, this is the real deal. He’s strong as hell.’ Once we raced him a couple times – and we just raced him off the pace to see how he would be – Dexter came back and said, ‘this thing is a bull,’ ” Norman recalled. “I said, ‘it would be great if I could get him back to where he used to be.’ He said, ‘I think he’s there already. He feels better than he ever did when I drove him.’ I felt pretty good after he said that.” Let It Ride will start from an assigned post eight in his first start at Yonkers, which will also be his first race on a half-mile, or 800-meter, track. Let It Ride spent most of his time in Australia on the 1,400-meter oval at Tabcorp Park Menangle and got several starts over various tracks measuring approximately 1,000 meters.  Let It Ride got one start each over the 946-meter track at Cranbourne and the 931-meter track at Newcastle, which approximate the U.S. half-mile oval. In addition, Norman trains Let It Ride on the half. Norman opted to come to Yonkers before nominating Let It Ride to the Borgata Pacing Series, which closes Feb. 16, 2021. “We’ll see how he handles a half-mile track. I don’t think that will be a big challenge; I think he’ll get around it fine. We’ll just have to see how it goes,” Norman said. “I really wasn’t worried about what he drew, I just wanted to see how he’ll get around Yonkers. I don’t think he’ll be as well-suited to it, I think he’ll be better-suited to the big track, but I just wanted to see how he got around it before I pay him into the stakes races. “He’s a big horse, big hopple,” Norman continued. “He drives pretty good, but some horses just can’t find their speed on a half-mile track. But he seems to pace the turns really good wherever he goes. I don’t think he’ll have an issue.” With Dunn set to drive again, Let It Ride is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The competition includes Hesa Kingslayer, the Mike Deters trainee who finished second in this open handicap Dec. 12, 2020 and won a preferred handicap from post eight at Freehold Dec. 26, 2020 before finishing second to Let It Ride last out. Hesa Kingslayer and Jim Marohn, Jr. will start from post five and are 3-1 on the morning line. Ron Burke will send out Bettor Memories, who will start from the inside after scoring a 1:50.4 pocket-riding victory in the Meadows $16,200 open handicap Dec. 29, 2020. George Brennan will drive the 3-1 shot.  San Domino overcame post seven to score a 1:52.3, 4 1/2-length victory in this open handicap for trainer Deborah Daguet in his last start Dec. 12, 2020. He will start from post seven again tonight with Jason Bartlett set to drive.  Western Fame won two in a row in the local conditions in late November before getting parked the mile as the 7-5 favorite in his open debut for Shane Tritton. Jordan Stratton will look for a cleaner trip with the 8-year-old tonight. Tookadiveoffdipper and Raukapuka Ruler, third and fourth, respectively, in the invitational pace for Borgata Series eligibles Nov. 28, and Speed Man, 35-1 winner of this open Nov. 21, complete the lineup. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday through Friday with a first post time of 7:15 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.   By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

CHARLTON'S thriving harness racing training complex will soon be home to another new and exciting tenant. Astute Menangle-based trainer Shane Sanderson has confirmed plans to relocate his stable and family to Charlton from either late February or early March. Sanderson becomes the third out-of-town trainer in the last 20 months to establish base in the Buloke Shire town, following on the heels of Greg Norman, who moved to Charlton in mid-2019, and Michael Gadsden and Denbeigh Wade, who arrived midway through 2020. He will bring with him an initial team of about a dozen horses, with the ambition to eventually grow that number to 20 and beyond. Sanderson cited increased opportunities for his children Ryan - a talented young driver - and Abbey as a key factor behind the move to Charlton. Ironically, it was an unfortunate race-injury to Ryan, sustained during a fall at Charlton last October, which opened the channels of communication between Sanderson and Charlton Harness Racing Club president Joey Thompson. "I sort of met Joe when my son had that bad race fall at Charlton and he kept in contact with us and continued to have a bit to do with him," he said. "We discussed that one day we might want to go to Victoria and Joe said, 'well, let me show you Charlton. The rest is history. "Joe really left no stone unturned trying to get us there. We are certainly looking forward to it. "We get our fair share of winners up here (in New South Wales) and have been reasonably successful. We don't have the big numbers like the top stables, but we'll get somewhere around the 40 to 60 winners a year. It's a pretty reasonable strike rate and we hold our own." Sanderson, who started his training career in Queensland about 25 years ago, has been based at Menangle for the past four seasons. He said he was unsure whether the best horse in his stable Whereyabinboppin would make the move south, but other handy types, including the free-for-aller Loorrim Creek - a winner of 20 of 84 starts, including at Group 3 level - and the promising Smokin Shazza would. Two of the team already well-known to central Victorian harness racing enthusiasts are Leigha Miller and Flaming Fives. Both were previously trained at Junortoun by Gary Donaldson and raced by the Bendigo Pacers syndicate, managed by Alan Prentice. Sanderson could not be more impressed by his new location especially in relation to its relative proximity to most other Victorian tracks. "We'd like to get a few more horses and hopefully place them well at some of the country tracks down in Victoria," he said. "We don't have a lot of metro-grade horses, we have a few - maybe two or three - but the majority deserve to be on a country track. "For the metro-grade horses, we can access Melton very easily too; I'd think from Charlton we could easily get to most tracks. "With Greg Norman there (in Charlton) doing well and Mick Gadsden with 15-or-so horses, if we can get up to 20 or 30, it's going to be a busy place." Sanderson will be accompanied to Charlton by his wife Naomi, son Ryan and daughter Abbey, who has only recently gained her trials driving licence. Charlton club president Thompson said the latest influx of horses and personnel as a win-win for the harness racing club and town. "Eighteen to 20 months ago we had no horses down at the training complex, but about 30 in town," he said. "Now, when Shane turns up, he'll start with a minimum of 12 and we'll have about 45, with the potential to go up to about 60. "The great thing is this is not just a win for the club, but it's a win for our community in Charlton with the influx of all these people." He said the club would move quickly to build more facilities at the training complex to accommodate its newest tenants.   By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

After big brother beat the best, Havehorsewilltravel continued his Australian adventure with a third victory from as many attempts and another valued trophy for one of Victoria’s most successful trainer-driver-owner combinations. The five-year-old claimed yesterday’s Central Murray Credit Union Cobram Trotters Cup with an all-the-way win, giving broodmare Winfield Invasion an impressive double after half-brother McLovin won the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile the previous night. The result was a continuation of the extraordinary domination that trainer Andy Gath and reinswoman Kate Gath have had with owner Norm Jenkin, which also includes their star trotting trio Tornado Valley, McLovin and Majestuoso. Havehorsewilltravel arrived with the camp late last year, having won four of 18 starts in New Zealand, and has almost matched that winning record in his new homeland, scoring on debut in a 56-69 rated trot at Ballarat, again in a 70-85 metropolitan-equivalent race at Melton and then in yesterday’s Group 3 long distance standing start. “(McLovin and he) are beautiful horses to work with,” driver Kate Gath told Trots Vision. “They are just a pleasure to handle. We’ve been lucky enough to acquire them thanks to Norm Jenkin … it’s just been a really great ride.” It was smooth sailing at Cobram, which was the first leg of the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship, which encapsulates the country cups season. From gate two, Havehorsewilltravel stepped briskly from the standing start to comfortably lead, with Well Defined tucked on his back and, initially, no pressure on his outside. Second-favourite Sammy Showdown loomed with a tick over a lap to go to sit in the breeze, but the leader had the answers, getting home in a 28.4-sec last quarter to hold off Well Defined’s late challenge and win by 1.7 metres. “Well Defined had really good standing start form, he’s a pretty dangerous horse to have on your back and the fact that he could do what he did then and hold him off is a pretty good guide that he will probably go places. “I’m not sure how far he will go, but he’s got a bit of strength about him and can also rip off a quick quarter. He’s good from the stand, good from the mobile, so fingers crossed he can do a really good job. I’m sure not before long he will have a chance against the better ones.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Co-trainers Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith took giant strides into the new Trots Country Cups Championship season with a picture perfect weekend, sweeping the Bendigo and Cobram double-header that signalled the launch to the great race series. Wolf Stride burst past an even field to claim the Garrards Horse & Hound Bendigo Pacing Cup on Saturday night and then, on Sunday, Perfect Stride won an eventful Jim Phillips Memorial Pacing Cup, with Butt emerging from the fray at the bend to win by a head. The Melton driver’s success was also a memorable double for key backer, owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, who swept the respectively $70,000 and $35,000 cups, with more riches to come as the season continues with this weekend’s Shepparton-Hamilton double-header. “(Bendigo’s) a great race,” Butt told Trots Vision on Saturday night. “I’ve been coming here for quite a few years, especially when I was back in New Zealand, trying to win it. I think I’ve run second a few times. It’s taken a while, but I finally got there.” He had to be patient to get his hands on the cup, with Wolf Stride’s sitting at the rear or the field from his poor draw while leader Forty Thieves and second-favourite Our Uncle Sam dictated terms at the front of affairs. When Greg Sugars began three-wide on Im Anothermasterpiece before the bell it provided Butt the perfect arm chair ride into the race, and then he advanced four-wide at the final turn off a 28sec third quarter. While Emma Stewart’s pair Fourbigmen (second) and Somewhere Secret (fourth) boxed on and Sirletic (third) flashed home, Wolf Stride was quickest to the line in the 28sec final quarter to register his 1.5-metre win. “Good fields, very even, and when he drew out the back like that he was always going to need a bit of luck, but he’s progressing really well,” Butt said. “He’s going to have to keep improving to take on the big boys, but he’s heading in the right direction at the moment.” Butt outlined an ambitious path for the five-year-old, who will now be directed towards the January 23 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, a $110,000 classic that’s likely to lure some of Australia’s leading pacers. “This year won’t be easy for him, he will probably go to the Ballarat Cup now and the Hunter Cup, if he’s good enough for them I wouldn’t mind taking him up to Sydney for the Miracle Mile carnival,” Butt said. “I think this year will stand him in good stead for next season – it’s always good to have a year on the Grand Circuit against the big boys. It toughens them up and if they’re good enough they step up and put in a really good year next year. “It’s going to be a step up to Lochinvar Art, King Of Swing and those sorts of horses. He’s at that grade now where you’ve got to take them on and he’ll let us know if he’s good enough.” There are also lofty aims for Perfect Stride, who reminded of his class with victory in Sunday’s Cobram Pacing Cup, the 11th of the just-turned four-year-old’s career. Like his stablemate, he wouldn’t find the front until the closing strides of what was a terrifically run Group 3 race, which was turned on its head when $1.60 favourite Western Sonador broke in the score up. That left driver/co-trainer Rebecca Bartley playing catch-up from the back of the field, but with a mid-race moved she advanced to the lead ahead of Alpine Stride (leader) and tiring A Fair Ol Dance (breeze). Butt had camped on Greg Sugars (Malcolms Rhythm) back in the running line and when an opening emerged at the final bend he pounced, grabbing lengths in the 28sec last quarter to win in a blanket finish. Second-placed Malcolms Rhythm and third-placed Western Sonador finished within a half-neck while Always Fast flashed home for fourth and continues to look on the cusp of something special. “I was keen to get on (Malcolms Rhythm)’s back early and just play it by ear, we ended up getting a really good run through sitting pretty close,” Butt told Trots Vision post-race. “(Perfect Stride)’s one of those horses who can follow speed, he’s always raced well in good races. When he gets a better class of opposition it doesn’t worry him, he’s still got that fast quarter. “He’s a bit of an opportunist, needs things to go his way. First step up to this grade this year and he did a great job.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Burwood Stud’s flagship stallion Changeover has ushered in the new year with a spate of harness racing winners – in both hemispheres. La Bella Vita, a New Zealand bred daughter of Changeover, made it two for two on Australian soil with a 1:52.8 winning effort at Goulburn, while Dress Sense NZ opened his Australian campaign in winnin g style at Melton. Our Georgina Rose, a late blooming mare by the former Kiwi champion, scored her third win from four starts with a career-best 1:55.9 at Ballarat and the three-year-old Nick’s Pick posted his first win at Albion Park, rating 1:56.4. Other fast Changeover winners were Jaccka Ted NZ (1:56.1, Globe Derby Park), Islas Joy NZ (1:56.2, Newcastle) and the 1:58.9 Port Pirie victor Rudi Sarnel, who won for the sixth time from only 12 starts. In America, Changeover was represented by a pair of former En Zedders in Darkershadeofpale, a 1:51.8 winner at The Meadowlands, and Sudden Change, who won in 1:54.2 at Dover Downs , Delaware.   By Peter Wharton

THE resurrection of classy former Kiwi trotter McLovin has created a “good” problem for Kate Gath. With a string of major trotting races looming, most notably the Great Southern Star on February 6, Gath will inevitably have to choose between McLovin, rising star Majestuoso and long-time stable star Tornado Valley as her drive. McLovin showed he was right when he sat parked and scored arguably the best win of his career in the Group 1 Maori Mile at Bendigo on Saturday night. Despite doing all the work outside the leader, McLovin clocked a 1min54.2sec mile – just 0.1sec outside Tornado Valley’s race and track record. McLovin ran past star mare Red Hot Tooth who led and held-off another glamour mare, Dance Craze, along the sprint lane, to win by a head in closing splits of 55.7 and 27.6sec. The win gave Team Gath their third successive win in the Maori Mile with Tornado Valley having won the past two. “It was a huge run, his form over the short trip is super. I won’t say I was confident of winning knowing we’d have to sit parked, but I was confident he’d run a great race,” Kate Gath said. “He’s really in the zone at the moment, his work at home this time in has been fantastic.” Majestuoso was scratched from the race after hanging in trackwork and not pleasing the stable during the week, but he’s got time on his side of the upcoming features. Kate Gath confirmed Tornado Valley was close to a return. “He’s almost ready. He’s getting older and time will tell if he’s still right up with the very best of them,” she said. Asked if she had a preference to drive when they clash, Gath said: “Hopefully they are all going well at the time and then it’ll be a matter of choosing then, but McLovin is right there with them at the moment.” _________________________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING star Wolf Stride bounced-back from a couple of costly defeats to impressively win the Group 2 Bendigo Cup and effectively snare a Hunter Cup berth in the process. And the win in Saturday night’s feature was the first “major” in Victoria for the training partnership of Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith. Butt touted Wolf Stride as a budding Grand Circuit player early last year and it’s all starting to come together. It was a big effort to come from an outside back row draw, three (albeit with cover) for the last 1300m and still power home to win. Wolf Stride enjoyed the genuinely run affair with a mile rate of 1min55.8sec for the long 2650m trip, just 0.9sec outside the record Cody Bailey set in the Cup last year. The rejuvenated Fourbigmen ran a fantastic race for second for Emma Stewart and Kate Gath and his run served to underline the strength of the form around Lochinvar Art. Fourbigmen’s previous run was second to Lochinvar Art – beaten 30.5m – in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final on New Year’s Eve. _________________________________________________________________________________________ GIFTED pacer Bletchley Park is starting to emerge in his own right. Long known as the baby brother of superstar performer Bling It On, Bletchley Park blazed his way to a 16th career win, this time at Group 2 level in the $50,000 Village Kid Sprint at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It took his earnings past $310,000 and underlined the training genius of hobbyis Stephen Reed, who took on Bletchley Park from his father Mike at the end of 2019. Stephen Reed is best known for rejuvenating Lovers Delight to run second to Lennytheshark in a Perth Inter Dominion final, but Bletchley Park represents the best opportunity he’s had yet given he is still just a five-year-old. Bletchley Park had to burn through a 26.6sec opening quarter to hold the lead from gate two for Lindsay Harper and a scocrging 54.8sec first half, but kept finding to beat WA Cup hero Vultan Tin by 3.3m in a 1min52.4sec mile rate for 1720m. The 1min52.4sec mile rate was just 0.8sec outside Chicago Bull’s track record. Owner Albert Walmsley praised Reed’s work with Bletchley Park. “All credit to Stephen Reed for improving Bletchley Park with beach work at Bunbury. He has blossomed since we transferred to Stephen las year,” Walmsley told the West Australian newspaper. “He thrives on being kept in a paddock most of the time.” Walmsley ruled-out a Hunter Cup or Miracle Mile tilt in coming weeks,. “We’ll keep him racing in Perth racing even if the border restrictions are lifted. He’s suited at Gloucester Park and can continue winning here.” Bletchley Park’s dam, Alldatglittersisgold, has had eight foals to race, all winners with Bling It On (49 wins and $1.88mil) and Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling (21 wins, $854,490) being star performers. _________________________________________________________________________________________ RECENT Kiwi import The Croupier snared a Group 3 win for Craig Cross, but upstaged one of his stable “glamour boys” in the process. Chariots Of Fire favourite Expensive Ego was $1.25 favourite to make it four wins from as many starts for Cross, but did a power of work from a wide draw and was nosed-out by The Croupier right on the wire. It was an improved effort by the $61 outsider who could only manage fourth in his heat of the Group 3 Agnes Bank Equine series a week earlier. The son of Roll With Joe, who won four of his 25 NZ runs, has raced five times in NSW for Cross for two wins, a second and a third. Expensive Ego lost no admirers after working three-wide from the outside draw then eventually sitting parked and fighting hard late in a slick 1min50.9sec mile.   by Adam Hamilton

Australia's pacing big guns are trading blows from afar at the moment. Just over a week ago, Lochinvar Art blazed his way to a 30-metre win in he Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final at Melton. This week it was King Of Swing’s turn to return from a freshen-up and scorch closing splits of 52.9 and 25.7sec to win as he liked by 9.6m over classy stablemate Alta Orlando at Menangle on Saturday night. King Of Swing, who hadn’t raced since winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on December 12, looks bigger and better than ever. But so does Lochinvar Art. The pair will meet again in the $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 6. King Of Swing holds a 2-1 edge through wins in last year’s Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile, but Lochinvar Art did win their last clash emphatically in the Victoria Cup on October 10. It’s Lochinvar Art’s turn to strut his stuff again next weekend when he heads to his hometown the $70,000 Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup. “He had a couple of quiet days after the Vicbred, but he’s on target for Shepparton and then it’s on to Ballarat (January 23),” Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said. Luke McCarthy was thrilled with how King Of Swing felt Saturday night and confirmed he would have just one more lead-up run before the Hunter Cup. “He did that so well. I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s as good or maybe even better than we’ve ever had him,” he said. “There’s another Menangle race for him on Saturday week (January 23) and that’ll top him off nicely.” So both King Of Swing and Lochinvar Art will run on January 23, but in different states with Lochinvar Art at the Ballarat Cup. With the Kiwi stars out of the Hunter Cup, it looks a two-horse race with the Aussie TAB having Lochinvar Art a surprisingly short $1.70 favourite and King Of Swing at $3. WA’s best pacer Chicago Bull is $9 third elect, but he’s far from certain to come. “He won’t be going unless these (Covid) travel restrictions are lifted in time,” trainer Gary Hall Sr said.   by Adam Hamilton

Local authorities have today made an appeal to the public for help in the search for what they are describing as a well schooled perpetrator who may have be involved in unlawful activity in and around the greater Nelson area recently. The following details have been released… Name of suspect: Ned Kelly Information as to the nature of any offending: Kelly is likely to be spoken to in regards to the stealing of silverware along with an amount of cash on the date of Friday the 8th of January from Richmond Park. While it appears that this is Kelly’s first offense the brazen nature of it convinces authorities that it may well not be his last and the public are encouraged to stay vigilant in the hope that their knowledge can lead to the apprehension of the suspect.     Information as to the suspects physical appearance. Brown complexion, wears his hair long at the back of his head, has the peculiar trait of walking on all fours, fleet-footed, carries an identifying brand / tattoo upon his neck,owns a variety of shoes that are replaced consistently, is known to sweat and prance around a bit.       Information as to the suspect’s family. Mother: Name: Kelly Maguire Occupation: Homemaker Comment: Kelly is known to be a loving mother of seven. While Ned might be the problem child she has reportedly been an outstanding mother to son Positano who now resides in Australia. Father: Name: Art Occupation:Major in the armed forces. Comment: Self made millionaire. Ladies man. Known to be conducting hundreds of affairs every year with female acquaintances. Very good athlete in his day being a star of the track and field scene in America.        Known whereabouts: Ned Kelly has been seen in and around the Epsom region of Auckland in the past and is known to frequent the area of Pukekohe. He has connections within Christchurch and indeed the greater Canterbury region while a residence in the Woodend area north of Christchurch City is also likely to be a property of interest. Ned is known to travel in a large van / trailer.   Known acquaintances   Mr Robert J Dunn and Mr John Dunn (father and son) have been known to travel with Ned and may be offering both aid and shelter to him at this point in time. It isn’t known if these men are armed although there have been sightings of both men in possession of whips in the past. A new man has also recently come to the attention of authorities and may be an accomplice,possibly, surprisingly, with the surname Newman!   Known character traits of acquaintances   R J Dunn (Robert): Easy to approach, both jovial and talkative. He has been known to find work with animals although most will know him through his work as a master musician. Just what instrument he plays is yet to be determined.   John Dunn: Known leader, likely to leave middle-aged woman spellbound with his good looks, astute, hangs out with a small group of friends namely Robbie Burns, Henry Hubert and a girl he lovingly calls Miss Daisy.   What to do if you do see Ned Kelly: Ned Kelly isn’t currently regarded as dangerous. If you do see him you might want to talk to him regarding his next heist in order to get the inside word on where he’ll target next. If you have any information at all that may assist in this enquiry then please do not hesitate to call and give your much needed help, you can ring our hotline on 0800 GLENROWAN that’s 0800 GLENROWAN. Alternatively you can donate money to help with recovering the costs of the investigation by depositing funds into the “Kelly Account” at the bank of Euroa. PS: Video footage of the suspect has been acquired and the public has been asked to review the tape in the view that it may well lead to the arrest of the individual in question. Video Link Provided here  (click to view footage of the crime) Ben McMillan

Jason Bonnington and Kirsten Graham preview the big Garrards Horse & Hound Bendigo Pacing Cup card in this week’s harness racing Digital Show.   They were joined by trainers Kate Hargreaves, David Miles and Paul Males to get some insights into their chances as the Trots Country Cups Championship gets under way. For the full fields for the Bendigo card click here. More from thetrots.com.au Turnover up: HRV reports strong results for Vicbred NYE, Breeders Crown

It was a North Eastern Pacing Cup with a difference being held at Carrick Park on Friday, but just like last year, it was harness racing driver Mark Yole putting his name on the honour roll once again when Tisu Spirit led all the way to score in the 2650-metre standing start event. “I’m absolutely stoked,” said Yole after his third driving win in the race, and his first as a trainer. After stepping away cleanly, Yole had to fight standing start specialist Goggo Gee Gee for the lead in the run into the first turn. Once finding the lead Yole set a handy tempo on Tisu Spirit and the American Ideal gelding dug deep when challenged hard by the $2.80 favourite Kardesler and Be Major Threat over the concluding stages. “We had to do a little bit of work to find the front running into the first corner, but once we got there, I wanted to keep him rolling a little bit as he tends to wait for them late, but he seemed to do it alright and kept fighting late when the others got to him,” explained Yole about the one-metre win. The mile rate was recorded in 2m 3.1s, which was only 0.6s outside of the track record. It was the sixth outing for the pacer in Yole’s care since being purchased by clients of the Yole stable. “I chased him a couple of times, it was before I purchased Salvator Mundi that I had a few owners that put a syndicate together, but he wasn’t for sale,” explained Yole. “We ended up buying Salvator Mundi and the same group of owners were keen for a country cup horse, so I put in another offer which was accepted,” added the winning trainer-driver. There are plenty of options for Yole with the gelded son of American Ideal going forward. “I will see how he pulls up as it was a tough run tonight, so I will wait and see if we go to the Devonport Pacing Cup next week or wait and go to the Burnie Cup at the end of the week,” said the Carrick based trainer. Tisu Spirit’s win was the last leg of a driving double for Yole who scored on the Geoff Smith trained Devil Of Tyne earlier in the night. For complete results of the nights racing click here. Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Hard copy catalogues for the 2021 Tasmanian Harness Yearling Sale, to be held at Carrick Park on Saturday, February 13, are now available from Tasracing and all tracks around the State. The online version of the catalogue can be found on the Tasracing website tasracingcorporate.com.au The sale has attracted youngsters by established sires such as Sportswriter, Pet Rock, Stonebridge Regal and Lincoln Royal as well as emerging young sires in Sweet Lou, Hes Watching, A Rocknroll Dance and Betting Line. A feature of the sale will be the offering of yearlings from the first crop of USA 3YO of the Year Downbytheseaside and Australian 3YO of the Year Vincent. There’s colts and fillies closely related to a host of top performers such as Beautide, Ignatius, Devendra, Lombo Pocket Watch, Hez The One, Astral Francais, Quastor Centurion, Purple Haze, Strezlecki Lady, Idengood Time and Tisu Holly. Horses sold at the sale will be eligible for a $5,000 bonus for their first win as a two-year-old as well as Tasbred Bonuses of up to $10,000 paid for the maiden successes of horses two-years-old and older. As a further incentive for buyers, Tasracing will contribute $500 towards the cost of breaking in any yearling sold at the 2021 sale. To order a catalogue and for further information contact Tasracing’s harness code lead Angela Barrett on phone (03) 6212 9307 or email a.barrett@tasracing.com.au Peter Wharton

The Vicbred Super Series two-year-old harness racing fillies’ winner, Tough Tilly, is a Captaintreacherous half-sister to the brilliant but ill-fated Centenario 1:53.4 ($332,520), who won the two-year-old colts’ final in 2018. Their dam, Beninjurd, an unraced Art Major mare, ranks as a sister to an earlier Vicbred champion in Philadelphia Man 1:52.6 ($559,135), who won the three-year-old series in 2012 and is now at the stud in NSW. Beninjurd, who was bred by Benstud Standardbreds, the breeder-owners of Tough Tilly, is also the dam of the top Tasmanian pacer Somedan 1:55.9 ($121,373).  The grand-dam, My Liberty Belle (1:57.5), won 19 races and $185,333 in stakes and was one of the best daughters of a champion sire and broodmare sire in Fake Left. She was a sister to the Albion Park winners Sunvale and Stage Door Johnny, being out of a fine racemare in Sweet Liberty 1:57.9 ($102,706), by Gatwick from the Jerry Adios mare Sue Adios, a NSW Ladyship Mile winner who founded a great winning family in Queensland. It includes the QBred Triad winners Expensive Ego (1:50.6), Art’s Treasure (1:50.9) and Smarty Jones and others such as Sweet Clementine (Queensland Oaks), Stage Coach Kid (1:56.5), Lagoon Stride, Rockyourbaby (1:56), Who Said What (1:54.2) and Gran Chico. Tough Tilly Star Galleria is cups material Star Galleria, who won the $30,600 P. J. Free-for-all at Menangle and is regarded as Grand Circuit material of the highest order, is a seven-year-old gelding by Art Major from Starlitnight. He is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by the winner of last year’s NZ Cup winner Self Assured and the Fremantle Cup winner Caviar Star. Starlitnight was a Tuapeka Knight mare from Star Of Bethlehem, by Soky’s Atom from Tabella Beth (1:55.6), a mare by Able Bye Bye. Tabella Beth was the dam of a high class pacer in Spirit Of Zeus 1:57.8 ($243,472), the NZ Kindergarten Stakes winner Karmic Reward (1:58.6) and of Spirit Of Beth, who left Victory Spirit 1:53 ($242,808) and United We Stand 1:56.7 ($135,186) and the unraced Bethany, the dam of Lazarus 1:48.8 ($4.1 million). Soky’s Sunday, a Soky’s Atom mare from Tabella Beth, left New York On Sunday (by New York Motoring) and Miley Maguire (by Christian Cullen), both of whom founded good winning families. New York On Sunday became the dam of Asoka 1:53.4 ($205,008), Yellow Taxi (1:58.8) and Boy From Ipanema (1:59.8), while Miley Maguire left the WA Golden Slipper winner Mitch Maguire 1:50.4 ($336,828) and Benjamin Button (1:57.5). Spirit Of Bethlehem, a sister to Soky’s Sunday, was responsible for a most successful branch of this family including Our Bettor Spirits 1:50.2 ($329,624), the NSW Tatlow winner Our Crown Law 1:51.4 ($208,885), Spirit And Desire 1:55.9 ($131,891), Dracarys 1:51.2 (WA Solid Gold Bracelet) and God’s Spirit (1:50.2). Star Galleria ranks as a half-sister to Night Of The Stars 1:55.5 ($114,982), now at the stud in Victoria, and to Star Venus (TT1:53), the dam of Self Assured 1:50.3 ($736,419), Caviar Star 1:54.2 ($357,112), Vega Star (1:51), Star Of Memphis (1:52.9) and Star Of Dionysis (1:53.6). Maajida top three-year-old filly There was never much doubt that Maajida was the season’s top rating three-year-old filly as she was the previous season at two years, and she duly confirmed her class by winning the Vicbred Super Series Final at Melton. It was her fourth success on end, and she downed the best fillies in the State after being required to overcome a difficult barrier draw and a wide passage.  In 23 starts Maajida has now won 17 and been three times placed for $457,300 in stakes for breeders Les, Gary, Ian and Steve Johnson, of Atworthy Park, The Rock (NSW), who also race her. Maajida is by the Mach Three horse Somebeachsomewhere (sire of Poster Boy, etc.), from Arterial Way, who took a record of 1:55.8. She produced earlier winners in Lifeonthebeach 1:50.2 ($178,282), a winner of 22 races including the Bathurst Gold Chalice, We Salute You (1:51.3) and Manuela (1:57.9). Arterial Way was by Art Major from a fine racemare in Better Motoring (1:58), by New York Motoring from Better Yet, a half-sister by Nat Lobell to a NZ Oaks winner in Preferred and to others in Marc Bohan 1:59.4 ($179,260) and Queen To Be, a successful broodmare in NZ. This is a long established NZ family and an earlier top three-year-old filly belonging to it was Toliver Bright, who numbered the NSW Princess Mile, Southern Cross and O’Shea Guineas among her four successes at that age. Maajida Vicbred winner by Western Terror The Vicbred Super Series Final, for two-year-old colts and geldings, one of the features of the New Year’s Eve meeting at Melton, was won by Kimble, a little fancied gelding by Western Terror from Im Wrongly Accused. Western Terror, a son of Western Hanover, has been among the top bracket of Australasian sires for many years. He has sired such winners as Terror To Love, the winner of three NZ Cups, Baby Bling 1:50.5 (Miracle Mile), the ‘Cups King’ Im Corzin Terror (1:52.2), Terrorway 1:52.6 (Qld. Blacks A Fake), the Queen of the Pacific winner Pistol Abbey and Terror Time (1:49.2). Im Wrongly Accused (1:58.5), the dam of Kimble, was by Bettor’s Delight from the Mach Three mare Gross Misconduct (1:59.4), who proved a very successful broodmare. Besides Im Wrongly Accused, a Victoria Oaks heat winner, she is also the dam of the Menangle winner Southern GNP 1:52.6 ($162,013), Prosecution Witness (1:59.6) and Crime Scene. This has been a most successful family, as Marriedtothemob, a half-sister to Gross Misconduct, was the dam of the top Tasmanian pacers Im Jaks Teller (1:53.1) and Angela De Marco. Kimble was bred and is raced by Chris O’Connor, of Terang, and is the first foal of his dam. Kimble Harness Million winner Aladdin, a three-year-old by Sweet Lou from Pacing Delight, by Bettor’s Delight from Pacing Grace (1:57.7), by In The Pocket, finished third at his only attempt as a two-year-old last season. But the Sweet Lou gelding has proved himself to some purpose in his three-year-old racing, winning the $200,000 NZB Harness Million at the Auckland Cup meeting, downing a star-studded field, and prior to that running a close third in the NZ Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington. He has won three races with five placings from 12 starts for $145,994. Bred by Woodlands Stud, Aladdin ranks as a brother to a former smart youngster in Virgil 1:52.3 ($137,405), who won the Group 2 Diamond Creek Farm Classic at Invercargill, and a half-brother to Mason’s Delight (1:55.6), a winner of four races at Menangle. Their dam, Pacing Delight, was a half-sister to the thrice Group winning juvenile Pacing Major 1:52 ($621,436), now competing successfully in America, the NZ Junior Free-for-all winner All U Need Is Faith 1:49.8 ($376,657), Our Amazing Art 1:57.4 ($165,363), Symphony In Motion (1:59.4) and the Dream Away mare Grace Way (1:56.8), dam of the VHRC 3YO Cup winner Three Ways 1:54.1 ($229,329), Make Way 1:51.7 (Redcliffe Derby) and Forgotten Highway 1:55.6 ($148,975) and recent Menangle winner Shanway (1:55.7). Maddison’s Delight, an unraced sister to Pacing Delight, is the dam of the talented WA filly Sweet Maddison (1:57.5, 8 wins to date) and American Dealer 1:53.3 ($177,105), who finished third in the Harness Million. Pacifico Dream – champion 3YO The Mach Three colt, Pacifico Dream, firmly established himself as the top Victorian three-year-old pacer of the season when he won the Vicbred Super Series Final at Melton. Earlier in the season, he captured the Caduceus Club Cup and the Victoria Sires Classic and from 17 starts he won 10 and was three times placed for $213,630 in stakes. Pacifico Dream has a background of blood to back up his claims to further promotion, being by Mach Three from Mint Julep, by Presidential Ball from Australia’s first ever sub 1:50 mare Jadah Rose 1:49.6 ($465,424), the dam of the dual Vicbred champion and four-time Group 1 winner Guaranteed 1:50.4 ($856,316), now at the stud in Victoria, and Jadahson 1:53.9 ($277,390). Jadah Rose was a half-sister to the Tasmanian Derby winner Scooterwillrev 1:55.8 ($196,585), the exported Timeseel 1:52.7 ($169,530) and Karalta Shine 1:52.6 ($168,973) and others in Hes Real (1:57.1), Lies (1:58) and Elegant Outlook, the dam of the recent King Island Cup winner Karalta Kruise. Other members of this family, which was founded in America by the thoroughbred mare Esther, were the Moonee Valley winners Clickety Clix (1:59.5) and Karamea Temptation, Splash Some Cash and Classic Cavalier (1:59.1). Pacifico Dream, who was bred by Melbourne identity Harvey Kaplan, ranks as a half-brother to the promising filly Momentslikethese, a finalist in the Vicbred 2YO on the same night. That’s Perfect impresses That’s Perfect, who won his first race in Western Australia at the New Year’s Eve meeting at Gloucester Park, after commencing his career in Victoria, is an Art Major gelding from the same family as that which produced the champion Victorian pacer Ride High. That’s Perfect, who was a Southern Cross winner at two and three, has only been sparingly raced, but he has shown up as a very useful pacer, and it was a strong field he beat at Gloucester Park. The winner of 15 races and $139,455 in stakes, the five-year-old gelding is out of a handy racemare in Perfect Life (1:58), a Live Or Die mare who has produced others in Perfect Major 1:55.3 ($157,648), Perfect Look (1:53) and the two-year-old Rogue Wave, who was placed in the Vicbred Final at Melton on the same night as That’s Perfect won. Perfect Life was out of Secret Life (1:58.6), a noted producer by Safely Kept from Lifeline, by Classic Garry from the racing and breeding influence Larrakeyah Lady. Secret Life produced two high class pacers in Major Secret 1:55.1, a winner of 22 races and $464,872 including the NSW Derby and Vicbred 2YO Final and now at the stud in South Australia, and Beauty Secret 1:52.4 ($425,921), the winner of 24 races including the Victoria Oaks. Others from Secret Life were a promising stayer in Somewhere Secret 1:53.8 ($124,047), Vanderley (1:54.2) and the Presidential Ball mare Play Ball, the dam of the Vicbred 3YO champion Out To Play 1:53.3 ($236,927), a Listed placegetter in Paintball, and so on. That’s Perfect was the first leg of a winning double for Art Major, being also the sire of The Kraken, an impressive end-to-end winner over 2130 metres and a stayer of some real potential. APTS trotting sale graduate When Keayang Livana won the $100,000 Vicbred Super Series Final, for four-year-old mares, at Melton recently, she became the 10th Vicbred champion which had been sold at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale.  Keayang Livana was sold for $8,500 at the 2017 sales to Paddy Lee, of Terang.  Bred by Kevin Newbound, she was got by Imperial Count (son of Angus Hall) from the Sundon mare, Poignant, whose dam, Be Positive, was by Game Pride from Hayley Patricia, by Tuft.  Be Positive, who won 11 races, became the dam of the cups winning trotters Posimistic 2:01 ($136,043), Exuberant 2:06.4 ($108,205) and Got It Show It. She was a half-sister to a capable trotter in Thunder Thighs (10 wins), who, in turn, left Gluteus Maximus 1:59.6 (winner of 14 races and $104,855). Endsino, Aldebaran Eve, Needabacardi, Cruisin Around, Kyvalley Clichy, Is That A Bid, Majestic Belle, Dont Care and Banglez were other Vicbred champions from the sales. Keayang Livana By Peter Wharton

Hard working West Australian harness racing trainer Tracy Reay has been rewarded for her persistence with 11-year-old gelding Betabeeasy. The lightly-raced pacer was well backed to get the money at Northam harness racing club on Tuesday-and he showed he still has a spring in his aging legs with an impressive all-the-way victory. Betabeeasy (Bettors Delight-Easy As (Midshipman) had been out of the winner's circle for four-and-a-half years. His previous win was at Brisbane's Albion Park on June 21, 2016 (1.55-1) with Pete McMullen taking the reins. "He ran a great third and fourth at Gloucester Park last month and a few of his other runs were good from awkward draws. He was always going to lead from the number three barrier at Northam and he does like it out in front," Reay said. "To be fair, it was a drop back in class. But he was well handled by Kyle (Harper) who rated him to perfection," she said. "My partner John Jelf was a bit keener on him than I was. I've learnt over the years not to go to the races full of confidence because if you go down, you're not so disappointed! "But I was rapt for the win because the horse is my little mate. You can do anything with him, and I just love him. He hasn't got a vice in the world, although he can be a bit of a pest at the trot meetings." To watch Betabeeasy win at Northam click here. Betabeeasy combines with driver Kyle Harper to score at Northam Reay, who is based at Pinjarra, still smiles about how Betabeeasy came to be in her stable. "I'd bought another one from Sydney from Kevin Pizzuto, who used to have Tiger Tara. When I went to collect it, Kevin just happened to have put Betabeeasy on the float as well," she laughed. "He was only a cheapie, but he was also then an eight-year-old! He's had a slight suspensory issue in the past but there's no problems with the old fella now. "We've got an estuary not far away, which is an inlet off the ocean, and the first time I hopped on his back to ride him down there I was a bit worried, but he wasn't concerned al all. I walk him in the shallows quite a bit, but I also take him into a few deep spots where he has to swim." Reay and Jelf are currently training about 18 horses at their property near the Pinjarra trotting track. "At this time of year, we normally start at 4.30am, because you have to do them early when it's hot," she said. "John and I don't mind putting in the time and effort because 90 percent of our team are usually rejects, cast-offs or on their last chance. We're having fun and we pick up winners here and there on the outer tracks." Reay, who has held an A Class trainer's licence for nearly 30 years, said when she was growing up, her parents were involved in the sport. "I was probably only 14 when I started doing trackwork for dad. I used to also ride a lot and mum and dad bought me a horse-it turned out to be an ex-pacer!" she said. "I also spent time working at a gallops stud where I would ride them. My partner John would one day like to train a galloper-I'm not keen, I just love the standardbred, because they're just so straight forward. You throw a rope over their neck to put them on a float." Reay said her godfather the late Les Marriott was also a big influence when he was located at Pinjarra at the end of his career. Known as 'The Rifleman', Les was a great horseman and a leading driver for many years. "I also learnt heaps while I was working with Aiden Warwick, Gary Elson and others. John also learnt the game from doing pony trots before he graduated to the senior driving ranks. His grandfather John Blackburn loved the horses and raced a quite a few nice ones including Magic Miss." Reay said her favorite win was with a pacer named Kobiashi Maru about 10 years ago. "It was at Gloucester Park on a Friday night. It was New Year's Eve and the win was totally unexpected," she laughed. "John was the winning driver. The horse won a few for me and he was always double figure odds. There's nothing like a surprise win." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Sadly there was no blockbuster Elvis meeting but that didn't mean the Parkes Harness Racing Club didn't put on another cracker of an evening for participants and supporters of pacing. Track curator Brett Hutchings did a great job to get the track up to scratch following the huge storm, and after a brief early shower punters were treated to a meeting that saw plenty of big value winners. The TAB.com.au Elvis Championship headlined the meeting, and Blayney trainer Phil Bourke took out the $10,550 race with his eight-year-old gelding Mister Haywood ($2.70), with talented concession reinsman Tom Pay aboard. After securing the gun draw, Pay was relatively untroubled as the gelding showed good gate speed, leading the whole race to eventually win by a comfortable six metres. Jack Rocks ($4 place) is now proving himself to be a good value expert of sorts, winning his last start at the track at the astounding odds of $61 before securing second in the Championship after being one back on the pegs at the healthy place odds of $4. It was a concession driver treble, with Parkes' William Cassell piloting Jumping Jack Jimmy home ($1.85 fixed place) from three wide down the straight, with the first three all comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. The most impressive win of the night belonged to Semi Sensation ($1.45) who was previously racing in stronger company at Menangle and Penrith before switching to the Bathurst-based Michael Muscat stable. The mare rolled forward from three wide and led for the rest of the race; streaking away on the back straight to record a dominant 26 metre win with the experienced Doug Hewitt aboard. It was Hewitt's second win for the evening, with the in-form Amanda Turnbull also driving a double aboard Lucky Ava ($2.60) and Ideologist ($1.22). The next meeting at the Parkes Harness Racing Club is the Australia Day meeting, which is sure to be a fun and exciting affair for the whole family. By Kristy Williams Reprinted with permission of The Parkes Champion Post

Graeme Hando for Harness Racing is nominated for his Long Service and Dedication. The Parkes Shire Council recently announced the nominees for the 2021 Parkes Shire Australia Day Sport Awards, ahead of Australia Day on Tuesday 26 January 2021. Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM was full of praise for all the nominees in what has been a difficult year. "This year it is particularly important to recognise the outstanding people and groups in our community who have positively contributed to the local culture, community and environment during the current pandemic," said Cr Keith. "These awards give us the opportunity to publicly acknowledge and reward the marvellous contributions these citizens and groups make at a local level and encourage others to follow their lead. "Congratulations to all the nominees - information regarding the annual celebrations will be available in the coming weeks, as the Parkes Shire Australia Day committee review the NSW Health COVID-19 event restrictions," Cr Keith added.   The Sportsperson of the Year is set to be a tough one to pick once again, with two Australian hockey representatives, two NRL players, a New Holland Cup star and a local golfing stalwart. Junior Sportsperson of the Year will be an even tighter race, highlighting Parkes' proud history of producing talented athletes across a range of sports. Cricket, hockey and rugby league feature heavily across the nominations; a testament to the wonderful work of coaches, officials, volunteers and players to create elite environments in a country town. Full list of nominations: Sportsperson of the Year: Luke Bevan (Rugby Union), Mariah Williams (Hockey), Kurt Lovett (Hockey), John Green (Golf), Billy Burns (Rugby League), Darby Medlyn (Rugby League) Junior Sportsperson of the Year: Jack Milne (All Sports), Harry Yelland (Cricket), Maddie Spence (Cricket), Matty Price (Swimming), Abigail Simpson (Hockey, Cricket), Jorja Simpson (Rugby League, League Tag), Bayden Moran (Rugby League), Lockie Miller (Squash), Henry Kross (Squash), Koby Johnstone (Hockey) Team of the Year: Parkes Boars First Grade Rugby Union, Parkes First XI Cricket, Parkes High School Girls Tennis, Parkes High School Girls Cricket, Parkes Panthers AFL Senior Sportsperson or Team: Nil Referee, Umpire or Official of the Year: Jay Kross (Squash), Glenn Pepper (Cricket) Coach, Trainer or Manager of the Year: Jodie Turner (Swimming), Josh Miles (Rugby Union), Meghan Kempson (Soccer) Administrator of the Year: Jay Kross (Squash), David Cooper (Touch), Andrew Thomas (Junior Rugby League), Denise Gersbach (Senior Hockey), Dan Wilson (Hockey), Wayne Osbourne (Soccer), Adam Parker (Soccer) Long Service and Dedication: Alan Ryan (Rugby), Graeme Hando (Harness Racing) Good luck to all involved! By Kristy Williams Reprinted with permission of Parkes Champion Post

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