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Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD It was another big week for the leading state-based futurity scheme in Australia with over $70,000 in bonus payments reaching the pockets of owners. The week started with a grass track meeting at Kilcoy where three $1,000 QBBRED cash bonus payments were paid to the connections of Montana Pride, Hurrikane Special and Groovy Miss Annie. Golightly claimed victory in the Moonee Valley of the North Pace and in the process also collected the $7,500 second win (subsequent season) bonus when scoring the fifth triumph of his career. Peter Nugent - a board member of HRNSW - was the beneficiary of a second win bonus when his mare Miss Lily May scored victory at Redcliffe on Wednesday night. Nugent has been a long-time stable client of Phil Mitchell who trained the mare to success, with the former Mitchell-owned On Pace Group having had strong success with the maternal family of Miss Lily May. Thursday afternoon at The Triangle proved to be a QBRED bonanza with five bonuses paid to winning connections with two first win and three second win payments. The opening race of the day proved a treasure chest for Darren Ebert who was the breeder, owner and trainer of Brisket, who claimed his first race victory and the $12,000 bonus at just his third career start. Fire Eyes was the other recipient of the first win bonus when claiming the fourth race of the day for trainer Mal Charlton with Steven Doherty taking the reins. Owned and bred by Greg Edwards, the A Rocknroll Dance gelding was finding the first win an elusive prize to capture, having placed in seven of his previous 10 starts before finally landing the breakthrough. Trainer Trent Dawson claimed two victories thanks to Mykindoffeeling for owners Solid Earth and Kissesforyamisses for partner Crystal Towns. Feel The Thunder claimed his third career victory along with the second win QBRED payment with a fast-finishing burst to score for trainer John McMullen and connections. The big week of payouts was wrapped up at Albion Park on Friday afternoon when Betterthanlego claimed her second win bonus. The payments flowed on and off the track, as the next generation of potential QBRED stars went through the sales ring with the first sale of the 2021 season. Australian Pacing Gold held its annual sale at Albion Park on Sunday with some strong results recorded from the 48 lots that went through the ring of the 53 catalogued. The top-priced lot was shared in a three-way split - with two colts and one filly all reaching $60,000. All three are QBRED-eligible and with APG also announcing an increase to the Brisbane Sales Final race to $150,000 for horses to come from this sale, the on-track earning potential looks enticing.   THE MILESTONE Acehigh Fella was a narrow winner when claiming the Parklands Function Centre Pace at Gold Coast on February 4, 2010 for owner Tony Turpin. Never scaling any great heights as a racehorse, the gelding did manage to score six wins in his career, but that win signified the start of what has been a superb training career thus far. The win was the second lifetime win of the then four-year-old, providing fledgling trainer Chantal Turpin with her first career victory as a trainer. Fast forward nearly 11 years to the day - January 30, 2021 - and Chantal reached another milestone when Saucy Dreams provided her 1000th training victory. It was a dominant display to bring up the momentous number, the six-year-old mare crushing her rivals in claiming victory by over 21 metres. With husband Pete McMullen taking the drive, the stable has been in great form in the past week with last week’s quartet of wins backed up with a double on Saturday night thanks to Blacksadance and Saucy Dreams. Breaking through for a century of victories for the first time in the 2013/14 season when leading home 104 triumphs, Turpin has managed to reach triple figures in every season since. The 2015/16 season was the most successful by number of wins for the stable when 149 winners carried the Turpin polish to victory. Season 2019/20 was arguably the best for the stable on several fronts, claiming 120 wins in the extended calendar. Group 1 success with Big Wheels along with multiple feature race wins through the Summer and Winter Carnivals have propelled the team into a strong position to start the 2021 season. Add to that the first win back in September in the mini-trotting ranks with daughter Rylee McMullen, and things in the Chantal Turpin stable look to be ticking along nicely.   THE WILDCARD Mark Belford was back in the Albion Park winner’s enclosure last week thanks to the success of the mare Betterthanlego. It has been a few years between drinks at The Creek for Mark, with son Dean doing the bulk of the driving for the Belford team. The last winner in the gig at Albion Park for Belford was back on June 30, 2017 when successful with Mister Blackjack. Mixing his time between duties as the Redcliffe track curator and preparing a small team, Mark Belford has had the track in superb order - highlighted by the recent Saturday night meeting where it held up to torrential rain. After limited success through the past two seasons, Mark has started the 2021 season in perfect fashion taking his tally to a perfect one from one strike rate. Betterthanlego had signalled that a win was not far away with some eye-catching performances in recent weeks since resuming from a spell. Placed in two of her previous four starts, the four-year-old mare had made an error at the start when second-up which resulted in her being placed as an outside draw runner. Earning her way back into the main draw following two clear starts without error, the daughter of Betterthancheddar started from gate two on Friday. Given time to balance up, the mare settled three back in the running line before making a strong closing challenge to arrive for the victory in a 1.56.2 mile-rate for the 1660-metre trip. Bred and owned by Debra Belford- Mark’s wife, Betterthanlego is out of the mare Jenzajet which Debra also bred and raced through a career of 12 victories. In the breeding barn the mare has produced two winners, the other being the Major Bronski mare Jenuflection, a winner of four races along with 13 placings in her career. Scoring her second career victory, Betterthanlego also claimed the $7,500 QBRED second win bonus for Debra.   THIS WEEK February has normally been the month in recent years that we see the first two-year-old race held, however with the racing season now mirroring the calendar year, that might not be the case in 2021. The racing week will see meeting five race meetings held with the regular schedule in play. Albion Park host a small but quality packed six-race card this Tuesday along with the Friday meeting and the Saturday night metropolitan meeting completing the week from The Creek. Redcliffe host the Wednesday night meeting with 10 races to be held along with the Thursday afternoon meeting. This week will also see the start of the Team Teal campaign. Held for six weeks through February and the first two weeks of March, all female drivers will wear the Teal pants - helping fund the fight against ovarian cancer. For every winner driven by a female during the period, $200 will be donated to the cause, with Racing Queensland, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club funding each donation. Chloe Butler and Taleah McMullen are the 2021 ambassadors and will also wear the Team Teal driving silks for each of their engagements during the six weeks.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Working their large Queensland property Lindsay and Mary Vagg, figured they needed a hobby. After spotting some standardbred fillies for sale, the couple decided harness racing could be the answer. Rather than concentrate on the racetrack, however, the Vaggs’ focus on was breeding, so they purchased some daughters of Fake Left. More than two decades later those two-year-olds have become magnificent foundations mares, with one of their descendants topping last year’s Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale. “It all started out as a hobby,” Lindsay said. “Some Fake Left two-year-olds came on market so we bought them. “Both had tendon problems but were well-bred so we thought give it a go and breed from them. “But the first yearling we took to the sale was a rig which didn’t sell at $5000 so we took him back home again.” Initially disappointed the son of Perfect Art didn’t sell, the Vaggs soon realised it was a blessing in disguised. Racing as I Am Sam, the pacer won the APG Final as a three-year-old before eventually being retired with a bankroll of $531,702. “I Am Sam got us involved a bit more,” Lindsay said.   “A lot of the progeny we have are out of his sisters and are descendants of the foundation mares. “We’ve expanded out broodmare numbers over the years and have some very nicely-bred yearlings in Sunday’s APG Sale in Brisbane.” The first Vagg offering is Lot 10 – a colt by A Rocknroll Dance from Pretentious Lombo, which has a perfect record from three starters. An unraced mare from top producer Mister Maiden, Pretentious Lombo is a half-sister to champion pacer Lombo Pocket Watch. Also by A Rocknroll Dance, Lot 13 is the next Vagg entry – a filly from the same maternal line as Christian Cullen. Moving forward to Lot 38, the Vaggs will be represented by a stunning black colt by Betting Line from Exclusif. “He will make a nice compact two-year-old,” Vagg said. “He is medium size but muscular.” Rounding out the Vagg crew is a trotting bred filly which is by Centurion Atm from Joyces Image and will enter the ring as Lot 47. The couple also prepared Lots 45 and 52 for their daughter Kristie and son-in-law Julian Norrish. This APG Brisbane Sale - set down for Sunday at noon - has a serious pot of gold ($400,000) in local prize money on offer.  On top of this is an amazing incentive scheme for QBRED eligible horses, which sees a first-win bonus set at $12,000 at any age regardless of how many interstate wins they may have had, and a further $7,500 cash bonus for their first Queensland win in a subsequent season. Please contact Linda Graham on 0428 955 998 via email and she’ll be pleased to assist you with your online registrations, pre- bidding sale approvals or to answer any other questions that you may have on your travel and accommodation needs.   RQ Media

The Group 1 Albion Park Gold Final is poised to become the third richest harness race in Queensland after receiving a stakes’ increase to $150,000. Ahead of Sunday’s APG Sale at The Creek, which will see 48 pacing lots go through the ring, Racing Queensland and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club have announced a $50,000 prize money increase for the two-year-old feature from 2022. In recent years, the Brisbane APG Sale has produced some of Australia’s best juveniles, including Muscle Factory and Expensive Ego, and continues to go from strength-to-strength. “There’s never been a better time to purchase Queensland standardbreds,” Racing Queensland EGM Operations Adam Wallish said. “With a further $600,000 per annum being injected into our QBRED scheme, including a rise in the first-win bonus and the continuation of the second-win bonus, it's important that we continue to support our industry. “The uplift in prize money for the Albion Park Gold Final should provide genuine confidence for those purchasing at the Brisbane Sale this week and choosing to race in the Sunshine State.” In addition to today’s announcement, Australian Pacing Gold is poised to become the new partner of the mobile barrier at Albion Park. APHRC CEO Scott Steele said it was an exciting initiative and forecast further enhancements for the APG Sale in 2022. “It’s a fantastic result for yearling purchasers this Sunday, and moving forward, vendors will have the opportunity to maximise their returns in Queensland,” Mr Steele said “The APHRC committee, in partnership with RQ, jumped at the chance to increase the prize money by 50%, providing genuine benefits to the Queensland industry and attracting great interest from inter-state and overseas. “The club will now look to work with APG and RQ in developing a weekend harness spectacular next year. “We’re exploring initiatives such as a sales’ race or a drivers’ invitational to support next year’s APG Sale. “Watch this space.”   RQ Media

Thanks to some outstanding decisions made by Queensland breeders back in the season of 2019/20, APG have been able to assemble 52 distinguished Lots for the APG Brisbane Sale happening at Albion Park Paceway on Sunday 31 January 2021. This acclaimed race series not only has $350,000 of local prize money on offer, but in addition an incentive scheme for QBRED-eligible horses sees a first-win bonus set at $12,000 at any age, regardless of how many interstate wins they may have had. A further $7,500 cash bonus is also on offer for their first Queensland win in a subsequent season, meaning the opportunities for investors in harness racing right now have never been better than in QLD. The next four stallions we would like to highlight are Badlands Hanover, Betterthancheddar, Betting Line and Bettors Delight. Badlands Hanover was a standout Grand Circuit performer, setting a world record at two of 1:50 winning the 1998 Breeders Crown Final. With multiple $1,000,000 winners in both the northern and southern hemispheres, this puts him amongst some of the most successful stallions in the sport. Lot 30 - Badlands Hanover - Bute Sister - Artiscape -  Ms Mac N Cheese $815,427: This impressive looking filly has a dam being a sister to Badlands Bute, and a winner of $328,365 which carries the blood that could get the new owner extremely excited by its prospects. Betterthancheddar went to stud as a Bettor’s Delight’s fastest and richest entire and while his multiple world record holder race career ended tragically, it hasn’t stopped him leaving fast horses in both hemispheres. Lot 28 – Betterthancheddar – Bubby Doll – Jet Laag Wisdom tree (Artsplace) $642,215: The APG Brisbane breeder looks to have nailed his choice of broodmare sire here with Jet Laag.  With six of Betterthanchedddar’s best 16 coming from the Adios line (through Abercrombie) broodmares sires, this stylish looking grey has the potential to bring joy to her new connections. At three-years-old, Betting Line won 14 of 15 starts  and with wins in the North American Cup, the Carl Milstein Memorial and the Battle of the Brandywine (where he posted his career best time of 1:47.2f) it helped him to go on to be crowned 2016 Canadian All-age Horse of the Year and North American 3YO Pacing Colt of the Year. Betting Line’s top four progeny (all have won north of $100,000 as 2YOs) so far have come from Meadow Skipper (through Western Hanover) and Adios (through Abercrombie) which is a point not lost on the canny APG Brisbane breeders, with five of the six lots matched to those successful lines. The sixth was bred on the Direct Scooter line, which most people would understand shows how amazing Bettors Delight has been with Cullen mares. Both Lazarus - the super star winner of $4,125,988 - and Chicago Bull - winner of $2,308,843 - are out of Cullen mares. Three great examples of Betting Lines Lots are: Lot 1 - Betting Line - October Original - Perfect Art - Tall Dark Stranger $1,941,999 (Bettors Delight – Art Major): What a great filly to kick off the sale; fillies have really ran in this family and please don’t forget that the very handy Lovers Delight (by Bettors Delight) winner of $555,473 was out of the same N4 family. This lot is being prepared by the team at Monarch farms and it’s sure to present well. Lot 4 - Betting Line - Ourark - Rocknroll Hanover - Abuckabett Hanover $172,434. This colt is from U306 and it’s done a wonderful job here in Australia. While Betting Line’s highest earner is from a Rocknroll Hanover Broodmare, his father produced Bettors Wish from a mare by Rocknroll Hanover’s sire Western Ideal. Lot 38 - Betting Line - Exclusif - Perfect Art - Tall Dark Stranger $1,941,999 (Bettors Delight – Art Major): What is of particular note here is how good the Bettor’s Delight blood has already worked with this dam who has produced the $455,809 winner Bettor Bet Black. The Vaggs have a reputation of producing big strong yearlings to the sale and this Lot will be no different - a must view colt. Bettor’s Delight is being promoted as harness racing’s relentless juggernaut in the breeding shed, with no stallion having cast a bigger shadow over the breeding scene. Age has not diminished his influence on the racetrack and in the breeding barn as his progeny continue to break records and he is now impacting as a broodmare sire. Lot 25 – Bettors Delight – Wandary Splash – Blissfull Hall – Bettor Than You $543,628: With an incredible five offspring bred on this cross so far with earnings of more than $100,000, from just nine progeny of racing age - this cross has ticked so many boxes.  With the additional bonus of being prepared at Burwood, this QBRED Filly should have a massive day. Please come and celebrate the exciting opportunities now available in Queensland with us and support the efforts of the breeders and consignors in this state.  We invite you to join us at Albion Park on Sunday January 31 from 8am for a complimentary breakfast, followed by free beverages from 11am to 12:05pm. We will have online and telephone bidding options available if you are unable to attend. John Coffey will be inspecting all of the Brisbane yearlings on sales day, and will be pleased to answer any questions that you may have on the individuals featuring in the sale, or to bid on your behalf.  John can be contacted on 0418 500 211. Please contact Linda Graham on 0428 955 998 via email and she’ll be pleased to assist you with your online registrations, pre- bidding sale approvals or to answer any other questions that you may have on your travel and accommodation needs.   RQ Media

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Leonard Cain made a successful homecoming last week, steering seven winners in two days at Albion Park. All seven winners were trained by Craig Cross, with the stable landing a treble on Friday before striking with a quartet of winners on Saturday night. Friday’s winners were Franco Hampton, Oaxacan Dream and Lets Katchmeifucan. The stable dominated Saturday night with Cruz, Balraj and No Win No Feed all claiming feature races, capped off by Mister Donald, who was successful in a Band 5 event. Cruz picked up where he left off from his winter campaign, taking out the Group 2 Queensland Cup when leading throughout over a gallant Colt Thirty One, claiming his sixth victory at The Creek with the win. Sent straight to the front, Cain dictated the pace perfectly and was able to sprint home the closing quarter in a slippery 26.9 seconds, making it almost impossible for the chasers. Stablemate Balraj landed an off the canvas victory when successful in the Ted & Edna Badcock Memorial 4YO Championship. Sitting outside the leader L L Cool J, he was under pressure swinging for home where Cain had to get busy on the gelding. Responding to Cain’s urgings, Balraj was able to lift himself and arrive in time to claim victory by a head margin over Escalera, with L L Cool J hanging on for third. The third of the feature races to go the way of the Cain/Cross combo was the Forever Gold Mares with No Win No Feed. Fresh from her victory in the Group 2 Breeders Crown Final at Melton, the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance was never in danger in scoring an all the way two-metre victory over Georgie Martin. All three winners will be nominated for the Blacks A Fake, where they will face a showdown against the number one seed from their own barn. King Of Swing will be heading north this week for the Grand Circuit event, with the reigning Miracle Mile champion likely to prove extremely hard to beat. Cain will likely stick with Cruz for the Blacks A Fake, with Luke McCarthy also set for a homecoming of sorts to partner King Of Swing. The Cross stable will be set for another big night, with Franco Hampton tackling the No Band Final and Lets Katchmeifucan in the Band 5 Final looking well-placed for successive wins. Ranger Bomb - who was an eye-catcher after a massive run when third to Governor Jujon - will look for redemption in what will be a cracking 3YO contest. It will be hard to top seven winners in two days, but the Cain Plane is airborne.   THE BAD The Dux stable is in good form at present and would have been keen on the chances of one of their two runners on Saturday night at The Creek. The two runners were at opposite ends of the night, with Riverleigh Rocket landing barrier 10 in the opening event, while Key Largo was barrier two in the final race of the evening. It can be a long time waiting with such a big gap between runners, yet trainer Mark Dux would have been buoyed by the chances of landing a rare Saturday night double following the success of Riverleigh Rocket in the opening race. The gelded son of Courage Under Fire has been a great bread-and-butter performer for his connections, who are long time clients of the Dux stable. Claiming the 17th victory of his career to go with his 40 minor placings, Dux always felt he could win a qualifier, yet it has proven elusive - with over 30 attempts prior to claiming the breakthrough. With Saturday night’s race over his less-preferred 2138-metre distance, drawn the second line and starting an outsider according to punters, it appeared that it might be a case of not this time once again. However, after settling at the rear of the field, driver Paul Diebert was able to secure a three-wide trail from the 800 metres. Approaching the 400-metre pole, he was left exposed three-wide but continued to surge forward and claim victory with a winning margin of three-and-a-half metres. With the long wait until race ten, the stable would have been quietly confident of snaring the double, especially when the field swung for home. Last start winner Key Largo was fired off the gate to find the front and after running the field through a steady middle-half, hit the stretch in front and travelling. Despite setting a 27.1 closing quarter, Key Largo could not hold off the challenge of Mister Donald, grabbed in the closing strides to be a neck away in second. Second place is still a great result - especially backing up from his smart win on Monday - yet it looked like it was the one that got away in an attempt to claim a rare bookend double.   THE WILDCARD ‘Hollywood’ John McMullen created a wonderful legacy in Queensland harness racing and Albion Park recognised those achievements on Saturday with the running of the JC McMullen. A pioneer ahead of his time, John McMullen had success with many horses, as well as both imported and exported racehorses and stallions over the years. JC McMullen trained his last winner on February 25 2012, when Riverboat Star was successful for the last time in his career, driven to success on that occasion by Pete McMullen. Yet one of his proudest moments came in 2009 when Riverboat Star, which he also owned, contested the 2009 Inter Dominion. It was a special moment with three generations of the McMullen clan coming together with son John (Jnr) training the gelding and grandson Pete taking the reins as a fresh-faced seventeen-year-old. Fast forward to 2020 and the second running of the JC McMullen, it was a fitting victory to Will The Wizard who came with a powerful finishing surge. Driving the winner was Pete McMullen, wearing the silks of his grandfather - red with a white sash - to claim an emotional victory. It was a poignant win with the gravity of the moment evident when McMullen raised his whip for a celebratory salute. Narissa McMullen added to the moment when finishing second with Colby, securing the quinella for the family. As for Will The Wizard, he has been a six-time winner this season and connections could only dream he can make the rise in his four-year-old season the same way the inaugural winner of the JC McMullen did. That winner was Self Assured.   THE MILESTONE Allman Park at Warwick played host to an eight-race card on Sunday with the country track providing a great spectacle of grass trotting action. It was local trainer and driver Dayl March who was able to steal the show, landing a treble - including the big one of the day - the Warwick Pacing Cup. Used to travelling upwards of five hours for a return trip to Redcliffe or Albion Park, the chance to race in their hometown proved welcome and rewarding outing for the March stable. With just six harness horses in the barn at present, March had four of those entered for the Warwick meeting - Atomic Pete, Artful Maid, Our Major Day and Timenpatience. On paper, March looked to have a strong book of runners, but after his first runner he may have been left thinking luck was not with the team after Atomic Pete bombed the start at his maiden race outing. But it was the only hiccup of the day, with the remaining three runners all scoring decisive victories. Artful Maid was next onto the track with the mare returning from a spell while Big Bang Leonard was sent out a white-hot favourite to claim the race. March chanced his arm and sent the mare straight to the front and from there was never headed in a comfortable victory. The highlight of the treble was without doubt the gritty win of Our Major Day in the Warwick Pacing Cup, with the six-year-old scoring in smart time on the grass surface. Our Major Day has now landed successive wins, adding to his last start Albion Park victory when successful on November 24. Timenpatience also made it successive wins when claiming the last race of the day. Breaking her maiden status at Redcliffe at just her third career start, the Warwick victory takes her figures to two wins in four starts. The trip home from the races is always shorter after good success, and the best bit of the March treble is that Dayl only had ten minutes to travel home.   THIS WEEK Five race meetings will be held in Queensland this week, kicking off at Albion Park on on Tuesday and Friday afternoon, before the mammoth night of action on Saturday. Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon will be the regular fixtures from Redcliffe. All eyes will be fixed on The Creek this Saturday with the running of the Group 1 TAB Blacks A Fake, which will also be featured on free-to-air television via 7Mate. The crescendo of the Summer Carnival arrives with the running of the Grand Circuit event over the long trip of 2680 metres. Colt Thirty One will be out to defend his title after winning the last running of the Blacks A Fake back in July of 2019. The trotters will do battle in the Group 2 Trotters Sprint, while Ultimate Tools sponsor two-year-old and three- year-old feature events, as well as finals of the No Band and Band 5 following heats and a prelude held last Friday. Hall of Fame Horseman Bill Dixon will also be honoured with the second running of the Bill Dixon, and Virgil looks a top chance to go back-to-back.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

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

Racing Queensland’s $500 ‘In Foal’ rebate initiative for standardbred mares will return in the 2020/21 Standardbred Breeding Season (1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021) to help support breeders with the financial impacts of COVID-19. First introduced in 2018 to assist breeders with the impacts of the drought, the ‘In Foal’ rebate can be claimed for up to six mares per breeder as an industry response to the rising cost of feed and agistment and, more recently, the financial impacts of COVID-19. Over the past two years, RQ has distributed over $200,000 to more than 150 breeders across the state as a result of the ‘In Foal’ rebate initiative. “The breeding industry is critical to the Queensland racing industry, nurturing and raising the QBRED stars of tomorrow,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said. “COVID-19 has had an impact society wide, and while racing has continued, many owners and breeders will have been impacted financially.  “The ‘In Foal’ rebate is designed to assist breeders through this period so as they can continue their important involvement in the industry.” In order to be eligible, breeders must meet the following criteria: the mare must be a standardbred registered with Harness Racing Australia (the Mare); the breeder must evidence a 42-day live pregnancy test for the Mare; the Mare must be inseminated in Queensland by a standardbred stallion registered with Harness Racing Australia; and the Mare must be located in Queensland throughout the breeding season. To make a claim, breeders have two options: Complete the online form – click here to do so; or  Complete the downloadable form – click here to access. The form must be lodged by 11.59pm on March 31, 2021.  Earlier this month, RQ also announced the introduction of the ‘Transitional QBRED’ eligibility as part of the QBRED Incentive Scheme for the upcoming racing season (commencing 1 January 2021), to complement the existing scheme and replace what is currently the ‘International QBRED’. The ‘Transitional QBRED’ eligibility will allow a mare once in her lifetime to foal a QBRED-eligible horse in Queensland, despite being inseminated interstate or overseas by a stallion not registered with QRIC. Click here to learn more about ‘Transitional QBRED’ eligibility which will be included in the QBRED Incentive Scheme for the 2020/21 Racing Season.   Racing Queensland

It was a night for the favourites at Albion Park, with both Big Wheels and Jasper justifying their short-price quote by taking out the respective Group 1 BRED Triad Finals at the weekend. The driving rain did nothing to deter the masses, with a strong crowd on hand for the feature night.   Big Wheels keep on turning Big Wheels kept on turning after taking out the $100,000 Group 1 QBRED Triad Final for Colts & Geldings. The triumph adds to his last-start win in the Listed QBRED Breeders Classic Final, and made it a third win from seven starts - including three minor placings. Drawn on the inside of the first row, the race mapped perfectly for the Turpin-trained two-year-old, who was taken straight to the lead by driver Peter McMullen. McMullen steadied the tempo on the $2.20 favourite at the bell, and held a comfortable lead for the majority of the 1660-metre pace. The only challenge came late in the form of the Grant Dixon-trained Dynamic Dan, who found a run in the sprint lane after box seating the majority of the trip. The half-metre win was a first Triad Final success for Turpin, husband McMullen and owner John Polson.   Dixon adds to his stellar season The nation’s leading trainer in Grant Dixon added another Group 1 to his cabinet behind Jasper in the $100,000 Group 1 QBRED Triad Final for Fillies. Dixon – who also did the driving behind the $2.60 favourite – took a leaf out of McMullen’s earlier drive and ensured he got the lead from a wide front row barrier. It was as easy as you like from there, who led the entirety of the 1660-metre pace, bursting clear down the straight to claim a near-seven metre win from Shes Miss Devine. “You can never get too confident, plus it was a wet night so things could have played out a lot differently – but I felt I had them covered,” Dixon told National Trotguide post-race. “I liked her chances and wouldn’t have swapped her for anything else in the race. “She felt really strong up the straight and found the line quite well.” The win was Dixon’s 262nd of the 2019/20 season, putting him 51 clear of Emma Stewart who sits second on the Harness Racing Australia National Trainers Premiership. The two-year-old will now be set for the $100,000 APG Final at Albion Park on August 15, with heats kicking off the week prior. “She’s a neat little filly; the APG series will be harder against the colts but all things even she will let them know she is there,” Dixon said. “I will give her a few days off now then get her ready for the hearts in a fortnight.”   Ladies claim the remaining features Il Pirata sprung a massive surprise late on the card to take out the Group 3 Queensland Trotters Cup. The nine-year-old enjoyed a near-perfect drive from Shane Graham, who patiently sat off the pace before winding up at the top of the straight to claim a half-metre victory. It was a first Group victory for trainer Stephanie Graham, and a 13th career win from 104 starts for the gelding, in what was only his second start in Queensland after the being sold to the Grahams from Victoria. “We are all proud of Pirate’s effort to take out last night’s G3 Qld Trotters Cup,” Team Graham Racing said on Twitter. “At only his second start for the stable, he trotted faultlessly to snatch a narrow victory. “Under horrendous conditions, Shane Graham executed the perfect drive. “As our first racehorse syndicate, it is a dream come true to have such success for our owners so quickly. “We must also thank Kate and Andy Gath for sending this horse up to us in such good condition, and our staff for working hard to get him spot on.” Earlier in the evening, Lola Weidemann once again showed why she is one of the state’s top horsewomen, with an expert drive behind Kid Montana to take out the Listed Lucky Creed Open Pace. Sitting second-last at the bell, Weidemann followed the Chris Frisby-trained Our Uncle Sam into the race down the back of the final lap, and before she knew it was near-level with the leaders at the top of the straight.   Race favourite Colt Thirty One struggled to find room in the sprint lane, allowing the four-year-old Kid Montana to capitalise on his growing momentum over the final 200 metres. It was a rollercoaster week for Weidemann, who was forced to scratch her entire team at Thursday’s meet after suffering severe back pain. Weidemann recently surpassed 3000 career victories, and sits clearly atop the list of female drivers in the state. Only Kerryn Manning has more wins in the country, closing in on 4000 career triumphs.   Andrew Adermann

The barrier draw for Saturday night’s Group 2 Changeover South East Oaks has thrown a spanner in the works for Pelosi. Earlier today, the Anna Woodmansey-trained superstar drew barrier seven for the $50,000 feature – the outside of the front row – with Jiggle And Jive (six) and Fond Memories (five) inside her. The highly-fancied Jenden Strike will start from the second row for Chris Frisby after drawing 10. Despite the draw, Woodmansey remained upbeat, hoping Pelosi’s versatility will prove telling in the finish. “I didn’t want to draw one or eight,” Woodmansey said. “She can slot in somewhere from there – she’s got so much speed – so she should be ok to just slot in somewhere. “And she doesn’t know that she’s drawn seven, she just gets out there and runs.” A dual Group 1 winner, Pelosi was crowned the Queensland 2YO Pacer of the Year – and the Queensland Filly or Mare of the Year – in 2019 after winning all but two of her first eight starts and more than $250,000 in stakes. A leg injury she sustained whilst kicking a rail or fence may have stymied her NSW Oaks hopes, but after making a successful return to the track, Pelosi has captured three of five starts this campaign including back-to-back wins to be peaking ahead of the winter features. “Her biggest asset is she’s just so versatile,” Woodmansey said. “She can win in the death, she can win in front, she can come from behind, she’s done it all. “She’s not a big girl, she just loves to race. She’s the best horse I’ll ever have…she’s just a beautiful pacer.” Having narrowly held off Fond Memories last start, Woodmansey is well aware of the threat she poses, but is also mindful of a number of others including Miss Ruby Sunshine. “She’s got a really nice turn of speed,” Woodmansey said of Miss Ruby Sunshine. “It should be a great race.” In addition to the Oaks, the Wondais Mate (Open) will be staged on Saturday night along with the Queen of Heats Pace.   RQ Media

Queensland harness racing participants are set to be boosted next month with the state’s base driving fee set to rise to $60 per drive. Since 2017, Racing Queensland has lifted the base driving fee from $45 for all races worth $3000 or more, an initiative that was included in a plan to support and sustain industry participation A further increase will be delivered in 2021 as part of the third and final year of an agreement with the Breeders Owners Trainers and Reins-persons Association of Queensland. The increased driving fee will now be applicable at Albion Park, Redcliffe and Marburg, with drivers previously receiving $25 per drive at the latter. While COVID-19 recently forced the abandonment of the TAB Queensland Constellations, a number of feature races will still proceed this year including the Group 1 Garrards Yearling Sale Graduate 2YO Final and Redcliffe Gold Cup this Saturday. RQ recently announced in conjunction with the Albion Park Harness Racing Club that the Changeover South East Oaks and Garrards South East Derby would be elevated to Group 2 status this year, with prize money rising to $50,000 apiece. While the state’s biggest race, the Group 1 TAB Blacks A Fake, will headline the new-look Summer Carnival this year alongside the Group 2 Queensland Cup and the Group 3 The Be Good Johnny Sprint. “There is no doubt it has been a challenging period for the Queensland racing industry and we’re grateful for the manner in which our participants have taken this in their stride,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said. “But there’s a lot to look forward to. We have a number of feature races on the horizon and we expect to announce more in the near future. “Our wagering performance has been solid, with turnover set to eclipse $500 million for the first time and innovations including the inaugural Trot Rods series have been warmly received.” Meanwhile, RQ has today published its race dates for the next 12 months with 295 meetings scheduled including four dual code meetings. Following its recent success and positive industry feedback, Kilcoy will stage two standalone grass meetings during the summer holiday period, while Redcliffe will stage an additional Saturday night meeting in January to capitalise on the tourist numbers visiting the Peninsula during school holidays. Click here to see the latest RQ harness racing calendar.   Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland has advised that maximum field sizes for all 1660m mobile races at Albion Park will be reduced from 12 to 10 from next week. Over the past year, BOTRA raised concerns via RQ’s Harness Racing Advisory Panel with respect to the competitiveness of horses that settle back in the field over the 1660m distance. As a result, RQ and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club agreed to undertake consultation – and data analysis – prior to making a decision on any prospective field reduction. Having consulted with industry stakeholders including the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, TAB and participants, analysis of historical wagering data showed similar per race wagering on 10 and 12 horse races at Albion Park over the 1660m distance. Furthermore, a review of the metropolitan harness racing venues in Victoria and NSW also identified a maximum field size of 10 at both venues for their short-course races over 1720m and 1609m respectively. Accordingly, maximum field sizes for all 1660m mobile races at Albion Park will be reduced to 10 and will come into effect from Tuesday, March 3. A six-month review, including further consultation and wagering analysis, will also be conducted.   Racing Queensland

Racing will resume at Redcliffe Paceway on Wednesday following the completion of a $300,000 track upgrade. Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Attorney-General and Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath inspected the venue after stewards approved the return to racing. Mr Hinchliffe said it was terrific news for the region, as it was the most significant Racing Queensland investment in the venue this decade. “Add to that the fact that new economic data has revealed that harness racing is responsible for generating $21.7 million to the Moreton Bay economy each year,” he said. “More than 18,000 people come to harness racing meetings here, and there are more than 600 participants, including 65 trainers. “Most significantly, however, is that it provides more than 180 full-time jobs right here in Moreton Bay, which is why the Palaszczuk Government supports racing in the Sunshine State.” Mrs D’Ath said that the paceway played an important role across the region and the State. “There’s no doubting that it’s a significant contributor to the Queensland harness racing industry,” Mrs D’Ath. “With more than 100 race meetings each year, it will provide participants with a new and improved racing surface and upgraded training facilities. “I’m really looking forward to seeing it back in action next week.” Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said the unique 800-metre track was expected to be better than new when it reopens next week. “This is the first time the track has been resurfaced in 10 years,” Mr Ring said. “I’ve been down to look at it a couple of time and it looks great. “In time I think we will see faster and perhaps some records broken once the track has settled in.”   Racing Queensland

Narissa McMullen knows that she wouldn’t be both the Australasian Junior and Australian Lady Drivers champion, had it not been for her late grandfather, John McMullen. That is why the 24-year-old said she was enormously proud to be the only member of the McMullen family to line up in the inaugural Group Three $31,000 J.C. McMullen Pace at Albion Park on Saturday night. The race was formerly known as the Premier's Cup. The man known as ‘Hollywood’ McMullen, and was renowned for his familiar red jacket and white-sashed silks, died on September 20 last year aged 81. McMullen Senior was an original ‘Queensland Harness Racing Hall-of-Fame’ inductee, who won multiple metropolitan training and driving premierships at Albion Park. His grand-daughter said he made a huge impact on harness racing in the Sunshine State for more than half a century. As well as being an astute trainer and driver, Mr McMullen was also an active exporter of horses to the United States. “We owe it all to him really. He got Dad (John) involved in the sport and now Dad has four children who all drive. It was really sad to see my grandfather pass away last year. “I remember Dad and I used to go and see him and look at all his amazing photos and listen to all of his racing nostalgia when he lived close to Albion Park. It’s such an honour to drive in this race, even more so lining up the first time it will be run, McMullen (Narissa) said. McMullen, who has three drives on Saturday, has commented about the trio below. She said she got to drive the Mark Jones and Aaron Goadsby trained Barrett through Alberton trainer, Stephen Cini. “Stephen and Aaron are good friends and I managed to get on Barrett through Stephen. I’m very grateful for that because he’s a nice horse who has huge speed over 200 metres. “It’s just the second time I will have driven him. I know he went well in New Zealand for Mark Jones, so I’m very fortunate to be able to sit behind him. “Like I said it means a lot to be there for my grandfather in what will be a very special race. I will certainly be thinking of him when I’m out there,” McMullen said. Her grandfather campaigned many good horses over the years including Viking Reign, Alba Wings, and Toliver Bye Bye. All-up he trained 734 winners form 4,952 starters ($2.3m). He also saluted the judge 509 times ($1.5m) as a driver. The ‘J C McMullen’, for the C2 to C5 pacers, which is race seven, will be run over the 2,138m mobile at 7.40pm. Here’s what McMullen had to say about her three drives (with trainer, draw, and opening odds): Race 1: The Narissa McMullen trained and driven TOM ME GUN (12) $5.50 – "He’s going really well after his last win (Albion Park - June 28). I gave him a lil freshener and he trialled real well last week finishing just behind the talented Princess Tiffany, who won in 1:51. I am real happy with the way he is going, but I really wanted a front-row draw. Twelve is not ideal, but some of his best races have been when he’s saved for one last go at them. That’s what I’ll probably have to do. Save him and wait.” Race 6: The Stephen Cini trained AIR TIME (8) $5: "His run last start was unbelievable. He was last at the 800m and then was forced to travel four-wide when they came home in 55 and quicker. He hit the line real strong and another metre or two I think he might have won. He would be the unluckiest horse in Queensland in his last few starts. I hope the one horse holds up, which I think he can, because this horse will go well in the trail. There is speed in the race though. I still definitely think he can win. He would be my best winning chance of the three on Saturday.” Race 7: The Mark Jones & Aaron Goadsby trained BARRETT (3) $14 – "He’s a really nice drive. He’s a lovely sit-and-sprint type horse, who didn’t get a drag into the race last time when they ran a quick time. He has a lethal sprint if saved for the right run. This is just my second time behind him, and I think he will be better for that Redcliffe run. Albion Park suits him better, because he did win first-up on the track last month. If he gets a nice trip he should figure right in the finish."   Racing Queensland

Any weanling that can survive a deadly disease, and then not long after, rebound from almost being drowned in the wake of Cyclone Debbie deserves his place in Saturday’s Group One event at Redcliffe Paceway. Gold Coast trainer Shawn Grimsey said it was a miracle that Storm Gilbert was still alive. After fighting back from the brink of death on three or four occasions, the Roll With Joe gelding will now line up from gate five in the $100,000 Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Two-Year-Old Pace. The 1780m mobile is the first Group One event of 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Harness Carnival. Nathan Dawson will drive Storm Gilbert. Grimsey co-owns and bred the strong-willed bay with his wife, Michelle. He said trainer (himself) and horse were only now just starting to get on, after a tumultuous relationship. “He’s been through so much and shouldn’t be here. I love his fighting spirit and he’s finally developing into a nice pacer. He has been a stroppy buggar though. He took a while to learn how to pace,” he said. “We have never really got on. We did not have much mutual respect for each other early on, but he’s warmed to me a bit more now – and vice versa. “He does get on well with Michelle though. I blame the horse and she blames me. I’ve learnt to keep a bit more calmer with him these days.” Storm Gilbert is the youngest of two foals out of the Grimseys’ seven-win Real Desire mare, Vitesse Heiress. Abut eight weeks after being foaled at the Grimseys’ Littlehaven property in Tamborine (November 8, 2016), Storm Gilbert’s troubles started. Firstly, he suffered from a case of the ‘rattles’. “It took almost a month of treatment and on a couple of occasions he should have died, but instead he showed an amazing will to live,” Grimsey said. “Then when the Queensland floods came through in March 2017 he was barely four months old and we put him in the driest paddock we had. As it got worse he became trapped and had to swim to survive. The water was so deep it was well over our walker. “To survive that was quite amazing especially after what he had been through. We all thought he would have been a weak horse after all his medication, but he has displayed great resilience and a will to live.” Fast forward just over two years and the 46-year-old horseman said he was just pleased to have his     horse fit and ready to line up in a big race, after earlier losing the services of another 2-year-old, the talented Xaviers Hurrikane “He’d won two of his four starts and placed in two others before breaking down in April. That was more bad luck. He will come back a better 3-year-old,” Grimsey said. Storm Gilbert has recorded a fifth, third, and fourth in three stars in May and June. Grimsey reckons he’s now developed enough to run a place. “I can’t see the one outside us (Governor Jujon) getting beaten. He’s a very nice colt. That pacer aside, I don’t think there’s any other horse in the race with any more ability than my fella,” he said. “Surprisingly he’s not a weak horse. I thought his immune system might have suffered a bit, but he’s bounced back well and is as strong as ever. “He’ still leaning though and will also make a better 3-year-old. It’s just a great honour to have a horse that you own, bred and train start in a Group One race, so early in his career.”   Duane Ranger  for Racing Queensland

Harness racing folk have long memories and there are plenty of people around today who would remember the closing years of the track at Ipswich showgrounds. They would also remember a trainer/driver who learnt his craft under the strict eye of the "Queen of Rocklea” Molly Bryant. There could be no better school, and our man was seen to advantage with Chipani, Kinta Lad and the well travelled and consistently successful Phosphor Bronze towards the end of his career. The family duly moved to a property at Amberley flat with a big barn which still stands some 40 years on. From this barn came the breadwinner Battle Brigade and his half brother First Storm, the sisters Southern Splash and Splash Again and, arguably, one of the biggest horses ever to negotiate the tight Ipswich track, the 18 hand monster Moobie Zae. In this era, when show racing was a significant part of the Queensland scene, our man teamed with the Nita Zahnow trained Hammersley to take the "Top horse and Driver” at the EKKA. His career tapered down after a bad fall at Ipswich resulted in severe facial injuries, as our man put family first. His colours were purple with gold Maltese cross and gold striped sleeves, and his name was Lionel Atkinson. Lionel would have been 77 years of age next month, but sadly, he passed recently after a short battle with lung cancer. A lot of us who saw Lionel in action in the sulky remember him as a decent bloke, one of those who held up the base of the pyramid in those times. He raced for the love of the sport, pure and simple. He was one of an army, which is now only a platoon. He will be sorely missed. Dramatic change WHO said there was nothing new under the sun? History was made in our local world of harness when Minden-based trainer/driver Tim Gillespie, and his Q bred filly "Shegotsass” took out the first 2yo trotters handicap ever run in Queensland. While there have been a number of traditional trotters which raced against pacers in the Sunshine State since day dot, including the 30 year hiatus of the 1930's and 40's when "Show” racing was the only form of light harness contest available north of the NSW border, recognition of the diagonal gait as a distinct form of harness racing, occurred only as recently as 1998. A number of representations to previous Racing Queensland harness control bodies, to run low prize money non-betting races for 2yos at TAB meetings were rejected out of hand. There has been a dramatic change in mindset at RQ, and the square trotting folk will no doubt be delighted. The current program, which culminates in a two heat $30,000 Final series, is just the plan of attack. It's likely to trigger an influx of Victorian juveniles which, although trotting soundly, just lack that smidgin of extra speed to be consistent earners at home. If I'm any judge, this first 2yo series will ensure that we are programming 3yo races in their own right in the 2019/20 season to come. For the breeding buffs, or someone looking at a dabble in that direction, Shegotsass is by the Vicbred Downunder Muscles from a daughter of Majestic Son, and can be said to have "it'' on both sides of her pedigree. As a spectacle, the three horse race did our image no harm. Apart from a short gallop on the part of third place- getter First Offence, the runners trotted well. They will go ahead on the back of this experience. Parklands 'scandal' THE following is an excerpt from last Monday's Courier Mail. It is taken from a piece by top sports journo Peter Gleeson and possibly mirrors the prevailing mindset of many current and recently departed participants. It is not what the administration is telling us, as we are continually told that turnover is way up and that good times are just around the corner, when the expected punting bonanza resulting from the switch to a "ratings” programming system, modelled on the gallops, kicks in. What is fact is that harness is trying to peddle a product, which has little or no appeal to the recreational punter. Get over that hurdle and we might make it to the next one. "The code that is wallowing in mediocrity is harness racing and it's no coincidence that its poor performance came off the back of the closure of Parklands in 2013 to make way for the Commonwealth Games. "Since the closure of Parkl-ands, there has been a vacuum in harness racing leadership in the Sunshine State. This lack of vision has manifested itself into a tired, cumbersome industry that has consistently had to fight off integrity and welfare scrutiny. "The lack of foresight and planning has resulted in harness turnover plummeting, prizemoney declining and a breeding industry in free fall. "The closure of Parklands is a scandal. "Parklands was the brainchild of former Bjelke-Petersen Racing Minister Russ Hinze, a dual harness and greyhound facility that was regarded as the best of its type.” Handy tips FOR Albion Park tonight (by Ben Crosby). Race 1: 4 Its Just Kenny. Race 2: 4 Holy Camp Clive. Race 3: 8 Our Memphis Mac. Race 4: 8 Lucky Lyla. Race 5: 1 Spike Bromac. Race 6: 4 Colt Thirty One. Race 7: 3 Vasari. Race 8: 2 Im Rocknroll Magic. Race 9: 9 Elle Yeah. Race 10: 1 Empire Bay. Race 11: 6 Soldier Of Fortune. Honour board As we batten down to face the Winter Carnival assault, it's well-tried faces on the leader board this week. Top driver is Pete McMullen, with a solid six wins. His wife Chantal Turpin headed up the trainers, producing four of the best. Most pleasing was Mitchell Dawson and Banny Gatt-Bouquet combining to land Unassuming Champ on two occasions in the seven day period. Ipswich factor: 24/46. Redcliffe, June 7: Unassuming Champ (Danny Gatt-Bouquet for Mitchell Dawson); Escalera (Darrell Graham). Albion Park, June 8: Clarry (Danielle McMullen for Steve Cini); Getoutnwalk (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Tom Me Gun (Narissa McMullen); Karinya Mully (Narissa McMullen for Mark Rees); Maybe To The Max (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Slippery Jade (Pete McMullen for Bill Crosby). Albion Park, June 11: Shegotsass (Tim Gillespie); Northern Muscle (Adam Richardson for Denis Smith); Greg The Great (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer); Devouged (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee); Ima Birubi Boy (Adam Richardson for Chris Monte); Cardles From Heaven). Redcliffe, June 12: Unassuming Champ (Danny Gatt-Bouquet for Mitchell Dawson); My Secret Torque (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Signor Jujon (Adam Sanderson for Grant Dixon); Mach Torque (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Just Joshin (Nathan Dawson for Aileen Smith); Trojan Banner (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes). Redcliffe, June 13: Impetuoso (Nathan Dawson for Ken Belford); Torque With Esteem (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Heavens Hurricane (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Invite Only (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham). Trot Tactics by Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Prolific Queensland owner-breeder, Kevin Seymour, described Colt Thirty One’s gutsy 1:52.9 mile rate victory at Albion Park on Saturday as the best of his 28 wins. It was also a personal best time, and in doing so the reigning Queensland Horse-of-the-Year went past $500,000 in stake money. Then immediately after watching the C6 and faster $13,000 pace with Seymour and his wife Kay, the Brisbane couple announced that the tough son of Mach Three and Charm Personified (by Perfect Art) would stand at Egmont Park Stud when he retires. “He’s only four, but that is the plan when he does eventually end his racing career. That was a phenomenal win, the best I’ve seen from him. Even better than his Victoria Derby win at Melton last year. “I always thought he would make a decent 5-year-old open class pacer, but he’s now doing things at four I never expected him to do. I think he will hold his own against the guns here at the Winter Carnival. “He’s going as good as he ever has and Grant’s got him in the best condition of his life. He’s come back extra this time in so retirement is still a wee way off yet,” Seymour said. The Grant Dixon trained and driven Colt Thirty One had to be good to win on Saturday. Even though he was a hot $1.30 favourite Dixon still had to sit back and bide his time from the widest second row draw over the 1,660m mobile. “To sit near last and then make a move two-wide and then three-wide without cover for most of the last lap was astounding. He did it all on his own. “And over the mile and he was still running on at the end. That’s the toughest performance I have seen from him. He’s really starting to come back to form now. This is his first year in open company and we are so proud of him. We now just have to be careful not to break his heart.” Colt Thirty One had 3.8m to spare over Lincoln Road and Hayden Barnes in Saturday’s Silks Trackside Marquee Pace. He stopped the clock in 1:56.5 with 27.2, 30.5, 28.3, and 27.4 sectionals. The talented bay entire has now won 28 of his 41 starts and placed in eight others for $500,592 in purses. “He’s now doing things as a late 4-year-old that I never expected. He’s the best horse we’ve had with Grant,” Seymour stressed. Seymour said he would race through until next month’s Winter Carnival and then the Seymours and Dixon would get together to discuss the horse’s racing future. “I don’t want to look too far beyond the Winter Carnival, but he’s proved he can win down south and the way he’s going he would be a worthy Queensland representative no matter where he races. “Grant’s a family man and doesn’t like to travel away too much, however I think this horse could persuade him to campaign him outside of Queensland. “Grant told me he was still giving at the line. He was quite ecstatic really – really delighted with the win.” Seymour believed that being a son of Mach Three would help Colt Thirty immensely when it was eventually time for the entire to stand at stud. “He will make a great sire. My objective is to stand a high quality son of Mach Three at stud (him), and a top-line son of Bettor’s Delight. We will announce the latter one later. “Regardless of what’s in store for Colt Thirty One on the racetrack, his progeny will be around for many years to come,” Seymour said. “I think he will put Queensland on the map as a stallion as well,” he added. Meanwhile, it was a night for the McMullen family at ‘The Creek’ on Saturday. Siblings Narissa, Dannielle and Peter drove six winners on the 10-race programme. Narissa won behind the horse she owns, trains and drives in race five – Tom Me Gun. She also saluted behind the Mark Rees trained Karinya Mully and the Ron Sallis trained Maybetothemax in races seven and nine. Younger sister, Dannielle, was successful behind the Stephen Cini trained Clarry in race two, and then half an hour later triumphed behind the 4-year-old mare her partner Ryan Veivers trains – Getoutnwalk. Older brother Peter, aka ‘Leader Peter’ won the last race thanks to a perfect front-running steer behind the Bill Crosby trained Slippery Jade from the two gate.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

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