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Country racing in Western Australia this weekend kicked off in the Avon Valley, with Northam hosting an eight-race card on Friday night. With COVID restriction still in full swing, the club unfortunately had to close its doors to patrons, but there was plenty of action on the track throughout the night, with all eight races going to eight different trainers. Hes A Charmer made it two in a row for owner and trainer Chienoa Foster in the first. With two scratchings, the small six horse field saw the four-year-old gelding firm into favouritism and after working to the lead early, Hes A Charmer managed to kick away for a 10m victory for driver Mark Reed. After a lengthy delay in the second due to a fall in their first attempt, race two got under way over an hour past the original start time advertised, with the $34 shot Girlfromdandalup coming from behind to win narrowly by a neck for Kellerberrin trainer Tom Groves and driver Shane Butterworth. With three late scratchings before after the first attempt, all horses were reported as fine, however trainer/driver Garry Sayers was conscious after his fall but was taken to the local hospital. Ross Olivieri and Chris Playle teamed up in race three with the favourite Celebrity Chef getting the job done after working her way to the lead early in the piece from barrier four. Starting first up for the stable since entering WA, the Olivieri trained pacer had not raced since July last year. Dylan Egerton-Green may have been at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but his runner Smooth Rye was in Hayden Hancock’s capable hands, with the four-year-old mare saluting in the fourth. The Allwood Stud owned runner recording her first win since August, in a mile rate of 1:57:1 over the sprint journey. “I expected Aldo’s horse to be a bit too good, but she has been racing well with bad barriers and not much luck. I Knew that I would be a strong chance of not eating this week if I didn’t perform driving first up for Dylan,” Hancock joked. Secret Operation has been impressive at his last two starts, but it was no surprise that the Aldo Cortopassi trained and driven runner started as the short-priced favourite when he drew barrier one on Friday night in race five. Having just his third start for the new stable, the four-year-old sat behind the leader, managing to win by 5.5m in 1:59:1 and a last half of 56.7 seconds over the 2190m. After a five-hour road trip from Albany, The Nathan Dymock trained Just A Smile turned the stables luck around after the stable mate Summer Moon was a late scratching earlier in the night after falling. Just A Smile started off the front line in the stand and was able to lead all the way, staving off rivals by 8.2m in race six. With Donald Harper in the cart, the $9.50 starter broke his maiden status at his 28th start. Hayden Hancock walked away with a driving double, with Farriers Trouble making it two in a row in just five days. The Brent Scott trained four-year-old notched up his second career victory at just his third start at impressive odds; $16, adding some value to the last leg of the quaddie. “He (Farriers Trouble) went really good. Brent said that he is lazy in trackwork and can’t keep up so I’d say that’s a sign that there should be a fair bit of improvement in him. He is really green and learning what racing is about but winning when he has no idea what he is doing is a good sign.” Hancock said. Star Like became the latest maiden graduate when the double west bred four-year-old took out the last race for trainer Sarah Suvaljko and driver Trent Wheeler. Racing will be back in the Avon on Saturday the 29th of May. Ashleigh Paikos

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

The Changeover gelding Rakasinc, who produced a dashing front end display to win at Northam on Saturday night (August 15), promises to make rapid progress through the classes. The five-year-old covered the 2190 metre at a 1:56.7 rate and was untroubled to score by 24 metres. It was his sixth success for the season and his eighth lifetime. Watch the race replay click here.  Bred in New Zealand, Rakasinc is out of the Son Of Afella mare Rakarach, the dam also of the WA Celebrity Mile winner Rakarebel 1:54.1 ($349,605) and the Group 3 Menangle winner Rakarazor 1:52.2 ($140,685). Other recent Changeover winners have been Reflectionsofmylife (1:59.7, Addington, NZ), Endless (1:56.6, Penrith) and a ‘new’ winner in Fleetmaster (Invercargill, NZ). Chnageover, who stands at Burwood Stud in Queensland’s Darling Downs, has left 98 individual winners in Australia and NZ to date this season and progeny earnings of almost $1.9 million.   by Peter Wharton

With an easy win over Our Virtuoso and Baron Jujon at last Tuesday’s Northam meeting Valbonne joined Dreamy Nights, Marquisard and Naval Aviator at the top of the Northam Harness Racing Club’s leaderboard for leading pacer this season with each of the quartet having recorded three wins at Burwood Park this season. Valbonne is a 3yo gelding by Mach Three and is trained by Mike Reed and driven by Mark Reed for Walmsley Developments. That combination nearly took out the State’s biggest race last Friday night when Maczaffair finished third behind Rocknroll Lincoln and El Jacko in the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park. Valbonne was the second leg of a winning double for Walmsley Developments and the Reeds who took out the second race last Tuesday courtesy of another smart 3yo in Its Set In Stone. The win of Valbonne completed a remarkable run for the horse at Northam as he had also won at the December 22 and 29 meetings at Burwood Park – his only three starts at the track in his career. Not to be left behind, the Aldo Cortopassi trained and driven Naval Aviator won the eighth race last Tuesday to bring up his third win in four starts this season at Burwood Park join the leaders in the Horse of the Year Award. Scott pair back in form just in time for the 2019 Grafton Electrics Northam Cup Also a winner at Northam last Tuesday was the Matthew Scott trained Another Ayjay which came off the 40 metre mark to down Billy Mack and Donegal Chokin in a standing start race. Another Ayjay finished fifth behind Tas Man Bromac, Major Catastrophe, Major Rush and Assassinator in last year’s Northam Cup and is set for another tilt at the 2019 edition on February 2. The Scott stable secured a second consecutive city double last Friday night with Always Arjay and Jaxon Fella. Always Arjay finished sixth in last year’s Northam Cup and like his stablemate is in peak form for this year’s race. Matthew Scott is currently in third place on the Northam Trainers Premiership this season with his 24 starters for the season producing four winners and five thirds for a total of 21 points under the 4,2,1 system used to calculate the winner. Mike Reed heads the Trainers List with five winners and two seconds from his 10 starters for 24 points. Locally based trainers Nathan Dymock and Ray Williams have each trained three winners at Northam this season. Big week in Northam Local harness fans will be spoilt next week with a big programme set for Tuesday, January 29, followed by the Grafton Electrics Northam Cup meeting on Saturday, February 2, so mark the two dates in the diary. By Alan Parker Reprinted with permission of the The Advocate

Emily Suvaljko will be the toast of Byford Secondary College tomorrow after she drove her first winner at last night’s Northam harness racing meeting. Emily was having just her second race drive behind the Eric Chabros trained mare Undercover Art when she manoeuvred the mare off the fence turning for home and went to the line clear of Win And Grin and Tahara’s Desire. As a full-time student Emily, who turned 17 last October, is only able to compete on weekends and she had her first race-drive the week before behind Erskine Range which came from a 70 metre handicap mark to finish fifth at Bunbury on February 10th. Emily has been helping Banjup trainer Colin Brown on weekends for the past 12 months to satisfy her passion for horses while completing her studies. Also based at Brown’s stables is Dylan Egerton-Green who drove last night’s runner-up Win And Grin. Egerton-Green has spent considerable time teaching Emily the finer points of race-driving and he can expect some banter in the coming week for getting beaten by his student. Emily’s father Shannon Suvaljko drove his 1500th winner last night behind the Kat Warwick trained Princess Major which brought up a winning treble for Suvaljko at the meeting. Emily’s uncles Callan and Joe Suvaljko also drove at the meeting. Alan Parker

Micheal Ferguson is keeping the family name dominant within the harness racing industry with 105 winners from 952 drives, 16 of them being this season thus far including a driving double at Northam last night. To start off his night of success, Ferguson saluted for the second week in a row with Boy O Boy trained and prepared out of Serpentine by young trainer Caris Hamilton-Smith. "I’m really happy with how he went last night, he has definitely enjoyed the good draws of late.” – said Hamilton-Smith.  “He travelled strongly throughout the run and came back with the plugs in, he’s pulled up super.”            After being sidelined due to a wrist injury and having driven the Dream Away gelding for nine out of his thirteen starts for Hamilton-Smith, she passed the reins over to Ferguson. “Micheal has been doing a great job driving him for the last few starts with me being injured, he’s helped me a lot in the past six months at the races and on the track.  The horse as always run for him so I’ve been more than happy to put him on.” Fergusons’ double came with sentimental value driving Fergies Son to victory for his father Brian. “It’s a good feeling getting a winner but an even better one when it’s for the family!  I know the time that get’s put into this horse, he deserves all of the success he gets.” – said Ferguson. His breeder gave Fergies Son to Brian after Brian broke the pacer in.   Although he showed potential as a two and three-year-old, they had trouble teaching the son of Northern Luck to pace.  Brian found himself asking, what do you do with a horse that has a heart of gold but is not suited for racing?    He was given to a lady whose daughter, like many wanted a pony.   For three years he posed as the little girls hack and was treated like he was part of the family, however at the start of this year was returned back to Brian for a second chance at life on the track.  Having three years to mature, in January he returned to Brian to start work from the Byford Trotting Complex and in March commenced trials. Fergies Son has been out of the money on only one out of six occasions since returning to the track including three winning victories. ANOTHER up and coming trainer who enjoyed success last night was Kayla Trewenack. Having only had her trainers licence for just less than twelve months, Trewenack had her first taste of winning success when Excuse Me Sir, driven brilliantly by Dean Miller and also owned by Trewenack saluted in the last at Northam. “I’ve only had seven starters, I thought it would take a lot longer than thiw to get my first winner.  It is an unreal and rewarding feeling.” by Ashlea Brennan

Harness racing owners John and Debbie Padberg paid $11,500 for Lot 83 at the 2014 Gloucester Standardbreds WA Yearling Sale. The then colt by Changeover from the Parsons Den mare Im Yours is now a gelding and named My Papa Bear. My Papa Bear, trained by Mrs Padberg and driven by Michael Tenardi, won its first race at its fourth start at Northam last night at a 1:56.7 rate over the 1780 metres earning a first place cheque for $4,550. In addition the Padbergs received a Westbred Bonus of $2,550 plus a Westbred First Win Owners Bonus of $2,000 giving the Wanneroo couple a gross cheque of $9,100. In addition the gelding’s breeders Kevin and Annette Charles received a $2,000 Breeders First Win Bonus and a 12.5% Westbred Breeders Bonus of $318.75. Mr and Mrs Charles have 12 yearlings entered for the 2016 Gloucester Standardbreds Yearling Sale on February 21st while their son Kody has a further nine yearlings entered under his KTC Bloodstock banner. Both of the Charles drafts feature yearlings by Changeover who is quickly establishing himself as one of the risings stars in Southern Hemisphere siring ranks and, with his oldest progeny just four-years-olds, he is already the sire of 78 individual winners including the standouts Run Oneover 1:53.4 $161,253 and Nuala 1:55.6 $132,448. Alan Parker

Byford harness racing trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi has Showstopper racing in sparkling form and the six-year-old mare has sound prospects of notching her seventh win from her past eight starts when  she starts from the No. 3 barrier on the front line in the Ross North Homes Pathway Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Showstopper was most impressive at Northam last Saturday night when she started out wide at barrier seven and did all the work when she raced in the breeze, some three to four lengths back from the tearaway pacemaker All About Pink. She revealed excellent fighting qualities when she finished determinedly to hit the front in the final 25m to win by a length from Nightwatch Lady and Donegal Kahlum, rating 1.55.5 over the 1780m trip. She also started out wide at barrier seven in a 1780m event at Northam nine nights earlier when she raced four and three wide in the early stages and then in the breeze before winning from Jasper Whitby. Showstopper is sure to receive plenty of opposition from the John Oldroyd-trained Mynameskenny, a smart four-year-old who has won at nine of his 21 starts. Mynameskenny faces a stern test from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. He was gallant in defeat over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he pulled hard in the breeze for much of the way and fought on grandly to finish a head second to the speedy Bhagwan at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m. Others with each-way claims include the polemarker Loaded Aussie, who has been placed at four of her past six starts for Byford trainer Linda Hamilton, and Luminosa, who scored an impressive all-the-way win at a 1.57.1 rate over 1780m at Northam for trainer-driver Kristian Hawkins last Saturday night. by Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 22 January 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 22 January 2016

Ireland’s Inter-Dominion entry, Meadowbranch DJ, has his first run on Australian soil on Tuesday, contesting the final race at the provincial track of Northam in Western Australia. Since “DJ”, as he is more affectionately known, was declared the British and Irish representative for this year’s $1.8 million Australasian Inter Dominion, he has travelled half way around the world. After quarantine in Newmarket, he flew to Sydney for a further three weeks of quarantine before he began the domestic journey via Melbourne to Perth, home of this year’s Inter Dominion and his temporary base at leading Australian trainer Greg Bond’s property. DJ will run for the first time since he secured his Inter-Dominion ticket at Portmarnock in August by contesting the AV-Sec Security MS Pace, a C2 event at Northam on Tuesday 10th November. With a maximum of eleven possible opponents, DJ will start from the second row (draw 10) with his regular driver, John Richardson, doing the steering. The local race time is 19:40 AWST, so British and Irish fans can expect him to start at 11:40 GMT. The race can be heard live on a number of Australian Racing Radio Internet stations including He was moved up the Inter-Dominion rankings last month, following a few withdrawals including reigning champion Beautide, with the Irish pacer now sitting at rank 17. The first heat starts on 27th November at Gloucester Park with the second at Bunbury before they return to the ancestral home for the third heat and the final itself on 13th December. Connections are pleased with the way ‘DJ’ has acclimatised to the warmer temperatures of Perth with his training regime including visits to the beach and a swim in the Indian Ocean. Keep updated with the latest DJ news on Twitter and Facebook: and By Michael Andrews, for the Irish Harness Racing Association

Twenty-three year old harness racing driver Caris Hamilton-Smith is drawn to bring up her second win in the 2014/15 Garrard’s Concession Drivers Challenge when she takes the reins behind the David Thompson trained Lombo Supremo at Northam tomorrow night. Hamilton-Smith will be having just her 28th drive for the season and eight of her previous 27 drives have come in Garrard’s Challenge races. The Garrard’s Challenge is designed to provide greater driving opportunities for the next generation of reinsmen and reinswomen. Lombo Supremo is ideally drawn in barrier three and at his only previous start at Northam earlier this season he led throughout from barrier two and won by the best part of 15 metres over the 2190 metre distance of tomorrow’s race. Hamilton-Smith’s only race win came behind Themightynadal in a heat of the Garrard’s Challenge at Pinjarra on January 5th. The fourth and final leg of the 2014/15 Garrard’s Concession Drivers Challenge Series Three will be run at Bunbury on Saturday night and last season’s winner Kristy Sheehy (61 points), Maddison Brown (59 points) and Cody Wallrodt (55 points) appear to have the title race to themselves. There are ten points available for a win, eight for second and seven for third and the leading trio’s closest rival has 38 points. Kristy Sheehy will drive the Ross Olivieri trained Awesome Desire at Northam and Art Of Illusion for Steve DeCampo at Bunbury. Maddison Brown will drive Blissntheblack for trainer Merv Jupp at Northam and the Terry Atkins trained Helushka at Bunbury. Cody Wallrodt doesn’t have a drive at Northam after his drive Ya Dreamin was scratched and he will receive four points for this missed drive, unless Jocelyn Young fails to obtain a medical clearance tomorrow morning following her fall at Pinjarra on Monday in which case he would pick up the drive on Hez The Artisan. Wallrodt will drive pole-marker Jasper Rox for trainer Kevin Egerton-Green in the race at Bunbury. The winner of Series Three will receive a $500 Garrard’s voucher plus a trophy while the overall Challenge winner will receive $2,000 cash plus trophy and the opportunity to represent Western Australian in the NSW Rising Stars Series next month. POINTS SERIES THREE 2014/15 GARRARD’S CONCESSION DRIVERS CHALLENGE   BUNBURY PINJARRA Total McDonough, B L (Bailey) 6 8 14 Sheehy, K S (Kristy) 4 10 14 Wallrodt, C L (Cody) 10 3 13 McDonald, S A (Stuart) 3 7 10 Chabros, B A (Bronson) 5 4 9 Ferguson, M B (Micheal) 7 2 9 Miller, M C (Mitchell) 8 1 9 Jones, L C (Lauren) 1 6 7 Brown, M K (Maddison) 1 5 6 Hamilton-Smith, C M (Caris) 2 1 3 Green, B E (Brayden) 1 1 2 Justins, J R (Jack) 1 0 1 OVERALL POINTS 2014/15 GARRARDS CONCESSION DRIVERS CHALLENGE   SERIES 1 SERIES 2 SERIES 3 Total Sheehy, K S (Kristy) 23 24 14 61 Brown, M K (Maddison) 29 24 6 59 Wallrodt, C L (Cody) 18 24 13 55 Grantham, M P (Michael) 26 12 0 38 Ferguson, M B (Micheal) 10 17 9 36 Barron, L (Letitia) 17 18 0 35 Jones, L C (Lauren) 22 4 7 33 McDonald, S A (Stuart) 20 0 10 30 Hamilton-Smith, C M (Caris) 8 18 3 29 Justins, J R (Jack) 14 12 1 27 McDonough, B L (Bailey) 0 12 14 26 Chabros, B A (Bronson) 13 0 9 22 King-Davies, C P (Cheyenne) 0 17 0 17 Green, B E (Brayden) 6 8 2 16 Miller, M C (Mitchell) 0 3 9 12 Foster, C L (Chienoa) 0 9 0 9 Matthew, H J (Harley) 7 0 0 7 by Alan Parker

Shane Butcher led the charge of the Rising Stars at last night's Northam meeting with three of the current leaders each winning races at the meeting.

New Zealand champion Simon McMullan staged a form reversal with an all the way win on the $2.50 chance Life Boat for harness racing trainer Amanda Suvaljko in the first of tonight's heats of the Australasian Young Drivers Championships at Northam.

At its monthly meeting yesterday (Monday November 28) the Harness Racing New South Wales Board nominated Kerry Ann Turner as the state's representative for the 2012 Australasian Young Drivers Championship in Perth.

Matty White has no regrets about leaving his homeland for a new harness racing life in Western Australia. In fact the 26-year-old Kiwi has no intentions of returning home - except to visit family and friends.

The Gloucester Park harness racing meeting on Monday August 1 will see the commencement of the new start format of 7x5 for all meetings at tracks which previously utilised a 9x3 format. The change affects meetings at Gloucester Park, Pinjarra and Bunbury tracks while the tracks at Northam and Harvey will continue to use the 7x5 format which has proved so successful.

Next Tuesday's meeting at Northam will mark the 50th Anniversary of running of the first race meeting by the revamped Northam Harness Racing Club. Northam club manager Verna Freind has named next Tuesday's (september 14) races after the five Presidents of the Club and is planning celebrations on-course to mark the milestone for the Avon Valley club.

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