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Trent Dawson has redemption on his mind for his loyal owners when he chases his maiden Group 1 triumph on Saturday evening at Albion Park. The Clarendon-based trainer, who has around 15 in work at his property, heads to the QBRED TRIAD 3YO Fillies Group 1 (2138m) with two leading chances - Talent To Spare and Kissesforyamisses. The Dawson fillies had mixed fortunes when the barriers were drawn on Tuesday morning; Talent To Spare on the back row in 13, while Kissesforyamisses boosted her chances with a favourable draw in four. While the barrier draws will be key come Saturday night, it is another factor that has driven Dawson’s motivation for the last year. The impressive Talent To Spare broke from her gait just as they were about to jump in the Group 1 2YO edition of the race last year, leaving Dawson and owners Kevin and Kay Seymour devastated. While the Seymours were disappointed to see one of their up-and-coming pacers miss out a feature race opportunity, they were still supportive of the trainer-driver, Dawson, and he is keen to repay them this week. “They have been fantastic to me personally allowing me to train this horse, they have been some of my biggest supporters,” Dawson said of the Seymours. “Last year things did not go right and we were all upset about that, they are great people and great supporters of me and the entire harness racing industry. “I feel like I am trying to repay the faith in them after what happened last year with Talent To Spare in the TRIAD. “I was shattered and they helped me get over it, it will be nice to repay their faith.” Dawson has qualified two for the fillies Final, both of which are out of sire Hurrikane Kingcole. Talent To Spare is owned by the Seymours while Kissesforyamisses is owned by Dawson’s wife Crystal Towns. While Talent To Spare - who has five wins from 11 starts to her name - had to endure an “ugly draw” on Tuesday, Dawson is not giving up hope on his three-year-old just yet, declaring he still has confidence in both his chances. "She got murdered in that, if she had drawn well it would have been nearly shut the gate but it will be very tough from there,” he says. “She will have to be very good and she will have to get a lot of luck. “My other filly, she faired well, that is a positive draw for her and she has a whole lot of options now. “She can lead as she has good gate speed. “There is not too much between them now following the barriers and Kissesforyamisses gets the chance to spring an upset.” In all of Talent To Spare’s wins, she has either led or been just behind the leader, with Dawson keen to eventually show she is not a one-dimensional pacer and can be just as effective off the speed as well. As a trainer, Dawson has been Group 1 placed over the years, but he is yet to break through on the biggest stage of racing. He hopes that will change come Saturday evening. “It would be an exclamation mark, they only come around once a year,” he said. “It is a whole different ball game winning a race like this. “If we were to win, it would not change me or anything I do, but it would just give me the confidence to show we can win races like this. “It would be good to keep doing it after this, if we can.” There will also be a QBRED TRIAD 3YO Colts and Geldings Group 1 (2138m) on Saturday evening at Albion Park.   By Jordan Gerrans for Racing Queensland

The result may have given harness racing trainer Peter Manning his first Group 1 victory in more than a decade but it was not all smooth sailing when Plymouth Chubb won the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic at Melton tonight. Manning has built his illustrious career as a renowned juvenile conditioner and the 76-year-old trained 2700 winners since the 1980/81 season. And even after all that success and experience, nothing prepares you for that feeling when you watch your young trotter gallop and giveaway ground. That is what happened when Plymouth Chubb headed around the first turn tonight in the $50,000 feature. Manning’s daughter Kerryn Manning was in the sulky, a veteran of 4021 wins and even she was “worried”. “He came out quite good and then a gap opened up behind Puppet (Chris Alford) and as I made up my mind to go there, just as I pulled him down he put in a roughie and went off stride,” she said. “I managed to get him down reasonably fast but I had to make the ground back up and he didn’t steer great after that he wanted to hang in all the way. “I was in a bit of trouble at the 800m and once I got him in the middle of the track by himself he made ground. “I was a bit worried but the horse was pretty good.” Despite his mishap, Plymouth Chubb cruised to the line to beat his rivals by more than 17 metres. Clocking 2:00.0, the two-year-old gelded son of Majestic Son and In The Pocket mare Pocket Fantasy extended his record to four wins in five starts. Watch the replay here:   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

He may not have been the favourite but that did not stop Caveman from claiming last night’s Group 2 Australian Pacing Gold Consolation at harness racing’s home in Western Australia, Gloucester Park. Causing an upset at starting odds of $17 when bursting past the favourite Mirragon around the home turn, Caveman lowered his personal best time by more than three seconds when rating 1:55.4. Trained by Mike Reed and driven by his son Mark, Caveman was positioned behind the leader after beginning from barrier two. The tempo in front was dictated by the second elect Poisedtopounce and in the back straight for the final time Mark Reed steered Caveman into clear running. That move proved costly with the reinsman receiving a 13-day suspension after he checked Valentines Brook in the process. That was Caveman’s 10th win in 24 starts. The four-year-old is by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Art Major mare Our Copper Art. Watch the replay below:   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

For the second week in a row Group 1 racing will staged at harness racing headquarters in Victoria. Tabcorp Park Melton will host the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Homegrown Classic finals for two-year-old trotters over the sprint trip.   In the colts and geldings division, only 10 runners contested the lone heat at Maryborough, with all starters progressing through to the final. The fillies' division did host two heats with a total of 15 fillies competing therefore the top five in each heat improve through to their rich final.   This occurrence begs the question, are there too many Group 1 races on the Australian calendar?  Everybody strives to reach the elite level in this sport, which requires a great deal of hard work, patience, perseverance and talent and each participant's success in certainly deserved. However, after a quick count, I noted 91 pacing Group 1 events programmed for this year across Australia and a further 34 for the trotting gait. That is 125 Group 1 opportunities this year alone.   Does having this many elite level ‘graded’ races somewhat take away from the prestige of winning a Group 1? I am sure those who win them would no doubt disagree, and this is a great marketing tool to promote ownership opportunities in the sport, however, my opinion is that there are simply too many.   The current requirements are purely prizemoney based - $50,000 for trotters and $100,000 for pacers qualify a race to be deemed a Group 1.  There is so much more to a race’s stature including prestige, history and who is in fact even eligible to contest such events.   Maybe I am barking up the wrong tree, and I guess the argument would be that there is no distinct negative to having so many Group 1 events available to be won, though I think we need to fiercely protect such a prestigous honour to the elite level it deserves.   Arguments on Group 1s aside, it is great to see the juvenile squaregaiters starting to step out as the search begins for the next Tornado Valley or Sundees Son. In the colts division, the beautifully bred Kyvalley Pierro has drawn perfectly in gate one for Brent Lilley and Chris Alford. A son of Muscle Hill, his three starts to date have proven that he has good ability and good manners, which are so important at this stage of the season. He was beaten in the heat by Plymouth Chubb after that professional two-year-old was able to lead and dictate.  How good would it be to see Peter and Kerryn Manning combine for another feature juvenile race victory together?  The girls will line up later in the evening as race eight on the 10-race card, where the event is far more open.   Aldebaran Misty was able to make amends for a debut mistake when she ran a slick 1:59.7 mile rate in her heat last Friday when leading.   Brad Angrove is well represented with Stingofawasp who chased the above mentioned gamely into second in the first heat, whereas Ebonys Avenger secured her second victory in the following heat.   Tornado Valley will also have another crack at entry into the millionaire’s club in the eighth event on the program, the Vulcan Trotters FFA, when he will be forced to overcome the second row once more.   Can Aldebaran Ursula complete the big double?  After saluting in last week’s NSW Trotters Oaks when aided by a super Robert Morris drive, the local filly will be looking for further feature race success when lining up from the inside gate against the boys.  Again, a wave of Victorian invaders are traipsing north, including the likes of Have No Fear and Kyvalley Hotspur, who will no doubt be ultra-competitive on their exposed feature race form to date.   Watts Up Majestic will also be trying to keep the trophy in New South Wales after a decisive victory 10 days ago placed him right into contention for his trainer/driver Rickie Alchin.   The open class event also looks to be a highlight over the mile trip, where Cash N Flow will return off a freshen.   Scratched a fortnight ago, he will start from his regular outside gate position, whereas his new stablemate, Major Roll, certainly creates plenty of interest first up for Belinda McCarthy and has been kept safe in the TAB market.   The Queensland Winter Carnival, or TAB Constellations as it will be known, is gaining more momentum by the day. With invitations already accepted by Expensive Ego, Patsbeachstorm, Krug and Copy That, The Rising Sun is shaping as a superb showcase of three and four-year-old talent.   Add to that King Of Swing on track to defend his Blacks A Fake title, alongside a swarm of his well performed stablemates and several other key stables targeting the carnival, it is shaping as a blockbuster.   This week Spankem made an early arrival in the sunshine state, joining the stables of Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen to no doubt chase all the open class riches upcoming. The 2019 Miracle Mile champion is currently a $9 chance in the TAB market for the Blacks A Fake Grand Circuit event come July 24.  Best Bet of the Weekend: Menangle, Saturday, R2 N6 Kingmaker   Best Value of the Weekend: Albion Park, Saturday, R2 N10 Clarry   Sky Racing - Brittany Graham

Major In Art entire Black Ops ($3.20 fav) continued his excellent form in Hobart's harness racing track on Friday night when the pacer recorded his 18th career victory in a rating 55 to 64 event. Trained and driven by Mark Yole, the nine-year-old settled one-out and six-back before gaining a three-wide cart up over the final 1100 metres of the race. Yole asked the pacer for the supreme effort at the 350-metre point, and the entire responded with a fast-finishing burst to record a narrow victory over the early leader Kiavino Stride in a mile rate of 2m 2.2s for the 2090 metre distance. The win put Yole into third spot on the states drivers title with 19 wins for the 2021 season. Mark’s brother Ben extended his lead on the state trainers title with a training quartet on the six-race card. Keep Playing ($7.00) kicked off Ben’s winning night, when Conor Crook drove the gelding to a 1.8-metre victory in a rating 30 to 44 event where Ben prepared the first four placegetters. Ben was always going to train the winner of race three as he prepared all nine runners in the rating 40 or better standing start event. It was the Sands A Flyin gelding Heza Rummage defying a betting drift ($4.80 out to $8.00) to score eased down by 11.2 metres after putting the race beyond doubt at the 400-metre point. The win sees Bronte Miller take a one-win lead on the states Junior Drivers Premiership with seven wins for the season with Samantha Gangell (six wins) in second spot. Five-year-old mare Coveffe Hustler ($4.80 into $4.00) registered her third win of the season utilising the sprint lane to score in a time of 1m 58.9s for the mile trip, while the Bettors Delight gelding Border Cross ($4.00) ended a run of outs to score in the last race on the programme. Troy McDonald drove both Coveffe Hustler and Border Cross. The driving double took his season total to 38 wins, 11 clear of his nearest rival on the states drivers title. The leading female trainer in the state is Brighton based trainer Tammy Langley who now sits two wins clear after Big Bang Raj ($3.30 out to $5.50) registered an overdue win in the nights opening race. Dylan Ford drove a patient race behind the leader before utilising the sprint lane for the victory. Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Victorian harness racing trainer David Aiken is no stranger to feature race success at Tabcorp Park Menangle. It is safe to say he knows what it takes to win at the spacious 1400m circuit after claiming some of Australia’s major races there. When it came to his trotting mare Aldebaran Crescent making her debut at Menangle tonight after 37 starts, the daughter was safe under Aiken’s guidance. So much so, the daughter of Majestic Son cruised to an effortless victory in the Group 3 Up And Quick @ Trump Bloodstock La Coocaracha (1609m). Driven by James Rattray, who has won the Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile at Menangle, Aldebaran Crescent raced outside the leader most of the way to rate a personal best 1:56.3. The favourite Monaro Mia missed the start as Aldebaran Crescent worked three-wide before settling outside the leader, Peregrine Phoenix. With the first two quarters clocked in 28.3 and 30.5 seconds, the third quarter of 29.8 secured the victory for Aldebaran Crescent. All she had to do was sprint up the long straight 27.7 to record win number 11. Aiken won the 2014 edition of Menangle’s La Coocaracha with Spidergirl. He has also won some of Australasia’s biggest races there such as the 2017 Miracle Mile with Lennytheshark and the 2016 Len Smith Mile with Hectorjayjay. Aiken had previously made his mark on the trot feature races at Menangle too, winning the Trotters Mile back-to-back in 2019 and 2020 with Big Jack Hammer. According the Australian Harness Racing records tonight’s victory was Aiken’s 2499 training success.   Watch Aldebaran Crescent's La Coocaracha's victory below:   By Amanda Rando for Hanesslink

John Yeomans is no stranger to Australian Pacing Gold success, but does need to stretch his memory a fair way to recall his one previous triumph in harness racing's rich national series. The Doreen-based trainer prepared youngster Etoile to win the APG two-year-old final all the way back in 1994, a victory that proved one of just four in the horse's career which ended just over a year later. Now, Yeomans is looking to a pair of stablemates to help him lift Group 1 silverware once again. This time it will be in the APG four-year-old division, for horses that missed the abandoned three-year-old series due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yeomans and his wife Christine bred, own and prepare the exciting Its Ebonynivory and Its Beaujolais, who ran the quinella in the Australian Pacing Gold 4YO Mares Heat at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday. Some tricky draws - Its Ebonynivory has nine and Its Beaujolais seven - will make the job tough against a quality field, which includes the well-fancied Pelosi, who won the New South Wales heat last week. "I think Beaujolais is probably the better of the two, not that there is much between either one of them," Yeomans told Trots Talk. "It's a pity that we have drawn where we have - two of the worst draws - but we won this race 27 years ago with a horse called Etoile. She drew barrier nine, she was one of the longest priced horses in the race, Trevor Dove drove her and she got up and won for us." Its Ebonynivory and Its Beaujolais are both descendants of a horse the Yeomans previously raced by the name of Indigenous. After winning 14 of 21 career starts, she had the well-performed Life Inthefastlane - the mother of Its Beaujolais - and The Dreamtime - the mother of Its Ebonynivory. "Indigenous has been a great producing mare and has had over eight or nine winners. She's in foal again to Sweet Lou. She's getting an old girl, this will probably be the last foal," Yeomans said. The $210,000 APG 4YO Mares Final (1720m) will come two races after the clash between the entires and geldings, where another NSW campaigner looks awfully hard to beat. Luke and Belinda McCarthy's star Expensive Ego - the 2021 Chariots of Fire champion and Miracle Mile runner-up - cruised through his heat at Menangle last week and has come up with barrier four - three if emergency Jawbreaker doesn't gain a start - for the feature. He will take on some key Victorian-based rivals, but has the early advantage over local heat winners Pacifico Dream (Andy Gath) and Mach Dan (Emma Stewart), who have barriers six and nine respectively. The Australian Pacing Gold 4YO Consolation will be run at Group 2 level early in the night, with a field of six to do battle over 1720m, while plenty of attention will be on the Mick Chircop-trained General Dodge, who is back at the races after a blistering first-up win at Geelong two weeks ago. He will start from barrier seven in the TAB Golden Reign Free For All, where he will come up against NSW raider Star Galleria, who last ventured to Melton for February’s Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup. Saturday night’s meeting kicks off from 5.04pm AEST.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

As we head towards nomination time for next year’s Australian Pacing Gold’s (APG) Yearling Sales, Chairman of APG, Robert Marshall, reflected on the contribution the sales company has made to Australian standardbred breeding and  harness racing. “APG is Australian focussed, always has been, always will be”, Marshall said. “Our mission is to provide the opportunity for standardbred breeders to offer their yearlings for sale in a market and for a Futurity event, where only Australian bred horses are offered and compete.” APG’s Futurity Series acknowledges the importance of the purchaser in the equation. While APG’s model originally focussed on a National 2YO Final, it now looks to provide the purchaser with the opportunity to earn across the States and for more than just the 2YO season. Marshall noted that, with the pressure on wagering revenues, impacted even more by the outbreak of COVID-19, owners will be looking to purchase a yearling where the likelihood of a return is enhanced by greater opportunity. The investment in a yearling is, for most purchasers, a leap into the unknown. Clearly some will not make it to the racetrack and some may not make it as a 2YO. APG’s Futurity Series provides the purchaser with a lot more in the way of opportunity than was available under the previous format. The purchaser is no longer competing for one pot of money - the State-based series provides Group racing in all east coast states as well as WA for 2yo and 3yo Colts and Fillies. Given the reduced prizemoney available across Australia, purchasers will have a keen eye on where they spend the discretionary dollar in 2021 and the likelihood of a return. On the suggestion that APG might open its books to NZ-Bred yearlings as is the case with Nutrien Ag’s proposed sale in 2021, Marshall was adamant: “APG is Australian owned for Australian bred.”  

INTER Dominion-winning trainer Kevin Pizzuto thinks he can win the first $1 million Miracle Mile. But it’s not with Tiger Tara, who gave him the biggest win of his career last Saturday in the Inter Dominion final at Melton. Pizzuto is priming one of Australia’s fastest pacers, Majordan, for the newly boosted $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile – up from $750,000 last year – at Menangle on March 2. “I’m sure he can go at least at 1min47sec,” Pizzuto said. “He’s a genuine speedster and that’s his focus. “We left him at home instead of going to the Inter Dominion so we could keep him to mile racing.” Majordan has won eight of his 14 starts since being bought by US-based owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks. Two of those wins have been in 1min49.3sec and his career-best 1min49.2sec miles at Menangle. “He’s had a couple of weeks off since he made it three wins on end (December 8, Menangle) and will be back racing towards the end of January,” Pizzuto said. A logical target is another boosted race, the $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile on February 8, where the winner is guaranteed a spot in the Miracle Mile. Majordan’s one Newcastle start saw him smash the track record winning the Group 3 Ross Gigg Mile in a 1min51.4sec mile back on May 26, this year. Pizzuto revealed Tiger Tara may not even chase the Miracle Mile. “He can’t go in everything and the sprint races don’t suit him as much, he’s a stayer,” he said. “If we go to Perth for their big races, which is looking likely, and back for the Hunter Cup in Melbourne then I’ll probably give him a break after that.” Meanwhile, reigning Miracle Mile champ My Field Marshal has settled well in Perth since arriving in the early hours of Thursday morning. Trainer Tim Butt confirmed My Field Marshal would open his Perth raid in the $50,000 Group 2 Village Kid Pace (1730m) at Gloucester Park next Friday night (December 28). Then comes the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup on January 11 and the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup a week later.   Adam Hamilton

Former New Zealand trotter Tornado Valley signaled his class with a stunning all-the-way harness racing victory in the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight (Saturday). Aided by a brilliant front-running drive from Kate Gath, the richly talented Skyvalley gelding defied race favourite Sparkling Success and Sky Petite in the 2240 mobile start feature. Having his third local start, Tornado Valley went one better than his effort last week when a runner-up behind Red Hot Tooth in the Knight Pistol at Cranbourne. Showing good gate speed to lead from his handy draw, Tornado Valley controlled the tempo of the event while Sparkling Success was forced to work hard without cover. The lead time was covered in 45.2 seconds. Tornado Valley traveled strongly throughout; the first half of the final mile was covered in splits of 30.9 and 30.7 seconds. The first move in the race came via Vincennes who eased three-deep passing the 1000m mark. Entering the back straight, Gath allowed Tornado Valley to stride boldly while Sparkling Success chased gamely on his outside. The third quarter was covered in 28.7 seconds. At the top of the straight, Tornado Valley and Sparkling Success were set for an epic stretch battle but Tornado Valley failed to yield while Sparkling Success tried valiantly. Tornado Valley held Sparkling Success by 1.9m while Sky Petite was further 11.3m away in third after sitting one out/one back throughout. The final split was covered in a very slick 27.7 seconds. The winning mile rate was 1:57.2 – well outside of the track and race record of 1:56 held by Keystone Del when successful in 2016. Tornado Valley is raced by Queensland based owner Norm Jenkin (of Flashing Red fame). It is the second time Andy Gath has prepared the winner of the Grand Prix after scoring with inaugural winner, former star trotting mare La Coocaracha back in 2001. An obvious long term target will be the recently re-introduced Inter Dominion series which will be staged in Victoria later this year. Tornado Valley joins Amaretto Sun (Dominion) and Sparkling Success (Great Southern Star) as winners of an Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters event this season, the final two legs will be staged in Auckland next month. And the race to be crowned the 2017/18 APG Trotting Master is very much alive. The $100,000 H R Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup is scheduled for April 20 while the $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup will take place the following week, both events held at Alexandra Park. 7 9:30pm SEELITE WINDOWS & DOORS AUSTRALIAN TROTTING GRAND PRIX (GROUP 1) 2240M $100,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TORNADO VALLEY NZ      Fr4 4 Andy Gath Kate Gath   $ 12.20   GS L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by SKYVALLEY NZ out of BEGIN (NZ) ()  Owner(s): Jenkscraft Pty Ltd  Breeder(s): P L Gaugler, T M McMillan 2 SPARKLING SUCCESS      Fr6 7 John Meade Chris Svanosio 1.9m $ 1.50 fav  PRU 3WE OLM 2 3 SKY PETITE      Fr5 6 Dean Pattison Michael Stanley 13.2m $ 23.80   PRS GS 4 4 SAVANNAH JAY JAY      Fr3 3 Stan Cameron Neil McCallum 14.3m $ 60.20   PRS GS 3 5 REGAL PEPPERELL      Fr1 1 Michael Barby Anne-Maree Conroy 15.0m $ 36.10   PRS BB ODM 5 PH RR HUE USL 6 VINCENNES      Sr2 9 Anton Golino Jason Lee 16.6m $ 18.80   8 3WL 7 MAORI TIME      Sr1 8 Brent Lilley Gavin Lang 19.9m $ 12.60   PRS 12 3WLT 8 MY TRIBECA ITA      Fr2 2 Anton Golino Nathan Jack 21.7m $ 9.30   6 9 KYVALLEY BLUR USA      Sr3 10 Brent Lilley Chris Alford 22.6m $ 10.30   10 3WLT Scratchings   THE BOSS MAN 5 Track Rating: Gross Time: 2:43:2 Mile Rate: 1:57:2 Lead Time: 45.2 First Quarter: 30.9 Second Quarter: 30.7 Third Quarter: 28.7 Fourth Quarter: 27.7 Margins: 1.9m x 11.3m   Chris Barsby

Australia's fastest pacer Hectorjyayjay is primed to smash the clock. Driver Josh Aiken just hopes that’s quick enough to win Saturday night’s Miracle Mile. Aiken has cast aside the initial disappointment of yet another bad barrier to focus on the main positive – Hectorjayjay is as good as he can possibly be for the most suitable feature race on the calendar for him. “Of course we’d have loved a better draw, but it is what it is and at least he’s off the front row this time so he can use his gate speed,” Aiken said. “I don’t think it’s a given he’s the leader, but if the form plays out like last week, Yayas Hot Spot should be across those inside really quickly and I’ll come across with him. “Hector did get off the gate really quickly last week and he’s shown before he can muster lots of speed from those wider draws.” Aiken was thrilled with Hectorjayjay’s qualifying win last week and said the fact it was really just a 400m dash home actually suited his preparation. “He had a hard run in the Victoria Cup after finding the early trouble so we spent a lot of time freshening him up after that. It meant he needed the run last week,” he said. “I know it was a $100,000 Group 1 race last week, but we were all so focused on this week it felt like a heat and so it was about get as easy a run as possible, which is why I drove him so conservatively and was happy to let it be a dash down the home straight. “If I find the front this week it will be different, not just for me, but for everyone else. You can sure there won’t be any slow quarters. “But Hector is ready now. That run topped him off. I think he can get down to that 1min47sec zone and I base that on the fact he’s gone 1min51sec for the sprint trip at Melton and 1min53sec around Gloucester Park. Menangle is so much quicker. “If I find the front, I know I have to make those away from the markers really work hard, especially around that final bend. “This has always been the race we’ve thought best suits him of all the really big races and we’ve got him right where we want for it.” Hectorjayjay remains a $3.80 second favourite on the Aussie TAB behind Lazarus at $2.60. Next come Bling It On and Lennytheshark at $6 and Smolda at $6.50. Adam Hamilton

We can’t believe the time has come already – the Pinjarra Paceway’s annual Sponsorship Raffle for Naming Rights to our premier harness racing pacing event the $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup is here again!   This season, the Pinjarra Pacing Cup race day is on Monday 6th March and it will be a spectacular day of action packed harness racing, fun and entertainment for the whole family and we’re expecting a huge crowd on-course.  As per previous years, there are strictly limited 50 tickets available; tickets are priced at $400 each and ALL ticketholders win a PRIZE! The Sponsorship Raffle prize details are: 1st Prize - Exclusive Naming Rights to the $50,000 2017 Pinjarra Pacing Cup          Naming Rights to one supporting race on Cup Day.          A 15m x 1.2m permanent Track Sign on-course for 1 entire year.          Your Company logo placement in all Cup Day advertising and promotional material.          Full Page, colour race book advertisement.          Promotional activities, PA Announcements and temporary signage displays on Cup Day.          Hospitality trackside for 20 guests – including a delicious buffet lunch & beverages on Cup Day. 2nd to 8th Prize          Naming rights to one supporting race on Cup Day.          Half page, colour race book advertisement.          Opportunity to display your temporary signage on Cup Day.          Hospitality for 4 guests on Cup Day – including a delicious buffet lunch & beverages. 9th to 50th Prize          Hospitality for 2 guests on Cup Day – including a delicious buffet lunch & beverages. Ticketholders will also be invited to a special cocktail function for drawing of the Sponsorship Raffle, in early February 2017. Please find attached a brochure with full details of this year’s Sponsorship Raffle – and don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions at all. If you’d like to purchase a Raffle ticket please just return to me the final page of the PDF document here, and I’ll arrange an invoice for you. Thanks very much once again, I look forward to hearing from you.   Kathleen Howse Marketing & Administration

There is not much of Chicago Bull but it didn't stop the talented harness racing four-year-old beating the older horses in the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand bred son of Bettor's Delight  is set to step into Grand Circuit company in next Friday's Western Australian Pacing Cup as favourite after rating 1.56.7 in his Fremantle Cup victory, which had trainer Gary Hall snr singing his praises "Chicago Bull is probably the smallest horse I've trained," Hall told the West Australian. "He's a little more than pony-sized. But he's a dynamic powerhouse."      

Despite tasting defeat, talented young harness racing horseman Nathan Purdon walked away from last Sunday’s Sydney feature meeting a content person. Purdon prepared Ohoka Punter for the Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Menangle and the star pacer produced a courageous effort to fill third placing behind the David Aiken duo of Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark in a time of 1:50.5. Following two brilliant victories at Albion Park, connections decided to take at throw at the stumps and head south for the sprint feature rather than stay and wait in Brisbane for the upcoming winter carnival features. And the two start campaign proved very successful. “He performed at a very high level in both starts, his first-up win was very impressive and I thought his effort in the Len Smith was very commendable given how much work he did and the time they posted. The top two finishes are wee nice horses.” Purdon said. The New Zealand horseman has returned to Brisbane and Ohoka Punter is due back tomorrow (Thursday) in readiness for next week’s Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint followed by the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake the following week. The open class features during the carnival are loaded with stars including Hectorjayjay, Christen Me, Avonnova and Ultimate Art but Ohoka Punter is right there with them and Purdon is just hoping for some luck. “The Brisbane style of racing is very hard and a little unforgiving so we need to be at our best and have lady luck on our side in both events. The barrier draw for each race will go a long way in determining who gains the advantage. “The best part about last Sunday was the way he came through the race, I couldn’t be happier with the way he pulled up and his recovery was great so that’s very pleasing as we head into the Brisbane features.” Champion reinsman Anthony Butt handled the dual Group One winner in Sydney but Purdon will take the lines himself in both Albion Park features. The barrier draw for the Sunshine Sprint will be conducted next Tuesday (July 5). Chris Barsby

In-form Goulburn harness racing horseman Brad Hewitt has quickly turned the page on last week. Heading into last Sunday’s feature race day at Menangle, Hewitt was hopeful with stable star Spare Me Days and emerging talent Arma The Gun in their respective Gr.1 Breeders Challenge Finals but came home short. Both pacers ran the punters elect but both missed the place. Hewitt has already switched his focus to his next target, the Brisbane winter carnival which starts this weekend at Albion Park and runs over three consecutive weekends. On Saturday night, Hewitt starts Spare Me Days in the Gr.3 $30,000 Horsepower Nutrition 4yo Championship. “The Brisbane campaign will wrap up his season; he goes straight to the paddock after the Blacks A Fake on July 16 for a well-deserved break because he’s done a super job this season. He’s really stepped it up this season and he’s proven that he’s going to be competitive in the open class arena, his win in the Bulli Cup proved that when he beat some nice horses in very good time at Menangle.” Hewitt said. Spare Me Days has drawn the second-line in the 2138m mobile start feature and meets talented types Major Cam, Birdy Mach and Major Coup among others. But Hewitt knows he’s got the form horse of the race. “I was very happy with his effort last Sunday because he had a poor draw and was forced to do plenty of work while they were running strong time; he kept fighting all the way up the straight. On a positive note, he’s taken no harm from the race and he seems in good order. “Barrier draws haven’t been kind to him lately and again this weekend we’ve got some work in front of us but the draws will hopefully turn around in the coming weeks. Obviously Birdy Mach is a talented type while the likes of Major Cam and Major Coup are still on the way up so it should be a competitive race. “We’re definitely going to start in the Blacks A Fake but a decision on the Sunshine Sprint won’t be made until after this weekend, it’s probably a little unlikely given the recent racing he’s had. I think the genuine speed in the Blacks A Fake which will be generated by the open class stars will suit him nicely.” Hewitt’s father Dave is considering sending talented three-year-old Stanley Ross Robyn north for the Gr.1 $75,000 Sure Duz Mosquito Candle Queensland Derby on July 16. The former New Zealand gelding continues to improve and was narrowly beaten yesterday (Tuesday) at Menangle when third behind Miss Riviera Belle and Look And Listen in a time of 1:52.7. A decision is expected soon. Chris Barsby

Prominent Tasmanian standardbred breeders Fred and Pauline Barker celebrated another harness racing feature race win when a filly they bred, Shezallapples, scored an impressive victory in the Group 1 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies final over 1609 metres at Menangle last Sunday. Shezallapples started as one of the rank outsiders ($91.30) but she proved too good for her rivals scoring by almost three metres from Rocknroll Emma ($6.60) with Im with Lexy a close-up third and well ahead of the $1.50 favourite Don't Think Twice. The win gave driver Jim Douglass his first Group 1 success in his home state and the win also delighted the filly's trainer David Thorn who rated the daughter of Sportswriter-Apple Sorbet a top winning chance going into the race. Shezallapples clocked a mile rate of 1.53.3 to suggest she has a bright future. The Barkers have slowly but surely eased out of standardbred breeding with Apple Sorbet now residing with Ricky Hinds who put the mare to Modern Art which resulted in a filly foal born on Christmas Eve last year. Peter Staples

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