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Taken by and large, 2018 harness racing has been a good year, and tomorrow, the Marburg Pacing Association gives you a great opportunity to shake off the cobwebs and get in the Christmas spirit. Gates open at 11am at the Marburg showground. The first 100 patrons over 18 through the gate get a $5 betting voucher to cash with bookie Stephen Anthony. The TAB van will be on course along with the "funny money" bookmaker. For the kids there will be the animal farm/petting zoo and for all ages, the mini-trotters plus "pat a pony". It's a top class card of harness racing on the up close exciting Marburg circuit. The "Pick the last six winners" is worth $2100 (share) and 20 lucky people will win prizes in the Leukaemia Foundation's monster raffle. It's a great day out with prices that won't erode the Christmas budget. Admission is adults $5, members and pensioners $3, and Race book $3. Welcome presents IT'S starting to feel like Christmas with the Santas at Racing Queensland announcing an expansion of the popular $1000 QBRED Cash bonuses for harness racing, with more than 300 expected to be distributed to participants annually from December. The expansion comes with the support of the Harness Racing Advisory Panel. It is a sign of Racing Queensland's commitment to continue its significant investment in the QBRED scheme. "Bonuses will now be offered on all Queensland TAB races worth $4500 or less and other selected races, commencing at tomorrow's Marburg meet. QBRED cash bonuses are paid when a QBRED-eligible horse wins a race that carries the bonus and helps ensure the benefits of the QBRED scheme are spread evenly throughout the industry. "This enhancement complements recent upgrades to the QBRED scheme, where horses will be 'QBRED for life','' Racing Queensland Harness Development and Strategy Manager David Brick said. Recent prizemoney increases included the introduction of a $10,000 First Win bonus (For horses of any age) and the introduction of a $7500 second-win bonus in any subsequent racing season, providing the race stake value is more than $4,500. Other enhancements to the QBRED scheme for the current season include the introduction of $15,000 Double QBRED Features for 2YO's (for each sex) and a $10,000 QBRED Triad Trot for 2YO's (mixed sex)". Life in harness is full of surprises, a sport where a step back into the past, equates in practical benefits to a "giant leap forward". The positive thinking which has produced this modest bonanza might now be directed back to rummage through the wreckage of what was once a great sport in Queensland. There are, no doubt, other gems well worth restoring. Festive wishes AS Trot Tactics is a believer in the dictum that, "to do good is good", we take the opportunity to wish all folk involved in trotting, fans, punters and participants alike, all the joy of the Festive Season. Next week, we will review the high and low points of the year past. On the strength of the above, and the proposed expansion of TAB racing at Marburg we should head for the dawn of 2019 in a spirit of guarded optimism, mindful that we are, in a great part, responsible for our own destiny, be that success or failure. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 4-9: Its Just Kenny (G Dixon) and Franco Totem (D Graham). R2: Quinella 2-6: Rich virgin (L McCarthy) and Sports Bounty (M Elkins). R3: Quinella 4-6: Nerio (B Barnes) and Shards Halo (E Rixon). R4: Box trifecta 1-3-8: Rory Mach (D Graham)-Ohoka Squire (A Richardson)-Comply Or Die (N McMullen). R5: First four 1-2-5-9: Admiral Bronski (L McCarthy)-Young American (B Barnes )-Watch Pulp Fiction (C Turpin)- Eleniark (G Dixon). R6: E/w 1: Casino Grin (B Barnes). R7: Box trifecta 1-3-4: Somemondosomewhere (G Dixon)-Top Flight Cruize (M Tenardi)-Gotta Good Reason (L McCarthy). R8: Box trifecta 1-4-8: Our Diamond Edition (A Millard)- Invite Only (D Graham)-Caesars Astrum (P McMullen). R9: Box trifecta 1-3-8: Slice Of Heaven (Reece Maguire)-Spike Bromac (T McMullen)-Im The Golden Child (P McMullen). R10: First four 5-6-8-9: Maybe To The Max (H Barnes) -Kyvalley Boomerang (L McCarthy), Mister Gunsen (B Woodsford)-Our Overanova (G Dixon). Marburg selections For tomorrow's meeting. Race 1: 6-2-9. (1) NEWMERELLA MOLLIE: Has terrible draw, but if gets clear will be winning. (2) PERFECT FEELING: 3rd at Albion Park last start, beaten 3m. Likely leader. (3) WHATA STRIDE: Form solid, can work round these. Race 2: 8-2-1. (1) IF YOU BELIEVE: Top stable has been placed at AP and Redliffe in fast time. Did plenty of work in win here October. (2) SUGAR BRICHERS: Resuming, likely leader. Winner this track April in fast time. (3) ACE MONTANA: Learning its trade. May take trail for easy trip. Race 3: 4-7-10. (1) BOURBONONTHEROCKS: Up and coming mare, does everything right. (2) JUST LIKE MUM: Resuming but in strong stable and market is best guide. (3) STONED AGAIN: Marburg specialist with top ability, go well again. Race 4: 2-4-7. (1) JACKS GAMBIT: Not won since May 2017 but recent form very sound. Go close. (2) REDDY FIRE: Last two runs ordinary but goes better. (3) EMARGEE: 2nd at Tamworth at most recent run is good enough to place here. Race 5: 2-7-8. (1) VILLAGE CRUISER: Possible leader. If so would be real chance. (2) EXPRESS PASS: Has great form and gets easy trip. (3) DOMESTIC ART: Marburg specialist, excellent form, top driver and should get a drag into this. Race 6: 2-1-9. (1) DIAMONDS FROM HEAVEN: Goes well here. Midfield last two at AP but were in fast time. (2) OUR CHAMPION: Last four runs not impressive but ace draw helps. (3) LOTS MORE GRINS: Veteran with solid form and can still hoof it here. Race 7: 5-6-2. (1) JUMPING JOLT: Great form and big winner here last meeting. (2) DRIVE THE DREAM: If it gets off the fence early is probable winner. (3) OLIVER WINKLE: Honest pacer, gets cheap trail and can place off that. Race 8: 2-1-8. (1) ROLLING ALONG: Been racing Newcastle and Menangle. Big class drop. (2) PLAYNSERIOUS: Trial winner last Saturday, frontrunner with right draw. (3) SURFACE TO AIR: No worthwhile form for some time. Market best guide. Honour board The geographical abberation of last week has been firmly corrected. Driving and training honours return to the bottom of the Brisbane Valley, with Nathan Dawson and Pete McMullen each rating 200 for their four winners. Darrell Graham was yet again top trainer, leading in four of the best. Most pleasing was Live In Style for Greg Minns at Redcliffe on Thursday. Nikki Chalk was in the sulky. Albion Park, December 15: Mark Of Integrity (Nathan Dawson for Kerryann Turner); Rory Mach (Jacob Wallace for Darrell Graham); Nui Toc Tien (Matt Elkins for Trevor Lambourn); Im Norma Jean (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig). Albion Park, December 17: Norahs Fling (Denis Smith); Invite Only (Darrell Graham); Roll Ona Rainbow (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Drive The Dream (Darrell Graham); Fiery Blue Chip (Danielle McMullen). Albion Park, December 18: Ole Sun (Hayden Barnes for Mal Charlton); Just Deal It (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Courageous Leo (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith); Lisa Lincoln (Nathan Dawson for Melissa Gillies); The Boys GNP (Pete McMullen for Ron Sallis); Lumos (Pete McMullen for Mitch Faulkner). Redcliffe, December 19: Lynnsanity (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Takitimu Express (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Bob Gage (Nathan Dawson for Ron Sallis). Redcliffe, December 20: Purple Shades (Gary Whitaker for Tayla Gillespie); Live In Style (Nikki Chalk for Greg Minns); The Harlem Hammer (Adam Richardson for Doug Lee); Lincoln Road (Brendan Barnes for Alistair Barnes). by Denis Smith Trot Tactics - Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Racing Queensland has announced an expansion of the popular $1000 QBRED Cash bonuses for harness racing, with more than 300 expected to be distributed to participants annually from December. The expansion comes with the support of the Harness Racing Advisory Panel and is a sign of Racing Queensland’s commitment to continue its significant investment in the QBRED scheme. Bonuses will now be offered on all Queensland TAB races worth $4500 or less and other selected races, commencing at this Sunday’s Marburg meet. QBRED cash bonuses are paid when a QBRED-eligible horse wins a race that carries the bonus and helps ensure the benefits of the QBRED scheme are spread evenly throughout the industry. Racing Queensland Harness Development and Strategy Manager David Brick said: “This enhancement complements recent enhancement to the QBRED scheme, where horses will be ‘QBRED for life’.” Recent prize money increases included the introduction of a $10,000 First Win bonus (For horses of any age) and the introduction of a $7,500 second-win bonus in any subsequent racing season, providing the race stake value is more than $4,500. Other enhancements to the QBRED scheme for the current season include the introduction of $15,000 Double QBRED Features for 2YO’s (for each sex) and a $10,000 QBRED Triad Trot for 2YO’s (mixed sex).   Racing Queensland

It was a fitting result with leading horseman John McCarthy returning in style. The former multiple Albion Park Metropolitan Trainers Premiership winner returned back to his old stomping ground and claimed the Gr.3 $30,660 AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint last night (Saturday), the opening night of the Queensland summer carnival. McCarthy guided giant New Zealand gelding Rakarolla ($9) to victory in the 1660m feature after racing three back against the pegs before sprinting past the Ian Gurney duo of Mach Alert ($3.30) and Our Hi Jinx ($7.50) in a scorching time of 1:51.9. Sectionals of 27.3, 28.4, 28.3 and 27.9 seconds. The winning time is well outside of the track record of 1:50.4 set by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn back in 2014. It is the second time McCarthy has prepared the winner of the feature named in honour of his former champion after Washakie scored back in 2011. Now based at Cobbitty near Menangle, the highly decorated horseman prepares a team of around 20. “It’s great to win a race that’s named after my best ever pacer, I got a good run against the inside and that’s the best place to be when the running that sort of time. He finished off really well and we’ll start in the Christmas and Queensland Cups,” McCarthy said. “Earlier this week, I sat and thought about taking my horses to Newcastle and then thought I should drive a little further north and take in the Brisbane features. So I headed up with a small team and it’s been a good start.” He added. Rakarolla is raced by his New Zealand based breeder, Brendan Fahy. In the other feature, race favourite Mr Kalypso ($1.75) accounted for the Grant Dixon duo of Aqua Miss ($14) and Red Charmer ($7.50) in the AQWA Constructions APHRC Members Cup. The Kylie Rasmussen trained and driven pacer rated a strong 1:57.1 after racing without cover for the bulk of the 2138m event. Mr Kalypso remains unbeaten in seven Queensland starts. The Art Major – Kalypso five-year-old entire looks destined for bigger and better things in the future. Next week, the features include the $20,660 Christmas Cup and the $20,660 Forever Gold Mares Open Pace. RQ Media

Glamorganvale-based harness racing driver Taleah McMullen took out the Garrards-Marburg Young Driver's Series last Sunday. The series, run over two meetings and four rounds, is designed to showcase emerging driving talent in the greater Ipswich footprint. Such events require considerable talent - genuine ability to consistently drive good races throughout the series - and secondly, to be able to establish a viable working arrangement with the horse in the short time allotted for the preliminary. Taleah is a member of the Beryl Dawson harness dynasty. In a short time as a licencee, Taleah has amassed stats of 456 drives, resulting in 31 wins, 96 placings and a bankroll of $172,293. In this instance, however, we should look at Taleah as an individual. In a Driving Championship, there are only three factors: Driver, horse and opposition. Family connections become irrelevant. It was a great effort. Marburg highlights IN a rare day at the "Burg” there was only one "odds-on” favourite, Montana Chief - winner of the first race. On the same program there were four training and or driving doubles achieved. Depending on one's position in the pecking order, a race day double can be a big or insignificant milestone in a harness career. Tony Jenkins, who has trained for more years than he might want to remember, led in a career first with Cutmearinhalf and Eulo Flyer. Jack Colley-Presnell drove Eulo Flyer and Springfield Spirit, Kay Crone trained Daveys Gift and Dollarbill, and the David and Andrew Millard combo took out the last two races with Diamonds From Heaven and Our Diamond Edition. It was a day to remember. Marburg races next Sunday, with Sky Channel coverage, and TAB van on course. All the traditional country harness attractions will be offered with a full run-down next Saturday. Paying the price THE following message from Breeders Owners Trainers and Reinspersons puts us in the picture regarding the destination of the $2 million mentioned below. Far be it for Botra to consult with the majority of the sport's participants on this matter. "Dear industry participants, Following on from the Racing Queensland (RQ) decision of yesterday to allocate $2 million to Harness Racing from the Point Of Consumption Tax, the contemplated industrial action is now on hold as further talks with RQ are proceeding regarding prize money allocations from this funding, therefore it is business as usual for now and a further update will be issued in the coming days.” Dan Costello, BOTRA Racing Queensland has revealed how prizemoney increases for harness racing will be distributed to the industry, following the announcement of a $2 million stakes increase on Tuesday. Highlights of the prizemoney increase are listed below. QBRED enhancements: A new look QBRED scheme where horses will be 'QBRED For Life' has been introduced. The offer includes enduring returns for all eligible QBRED horses of any age during their racing career. $10,000 First win bonus in Queensland at any age upon winning a race with a stake value higher than $4,500. $7,500 Second win bonus in Queensland in any subsequent racing season following the First Win bonus being won, providing a race stake value higher than $4,500. Further enhancement to the QBRED Cash component of the scheme. The new scheme will commence from September 1, 2019. However, for the 2018/19 season the 2YO bonus will increase to $10,000 effective immediately. Further details on the mechanics of the new scheme, including sustaining fees, will be discussed with industry prior to implementation. Trainers' Percentages (effective December 1): The trainers stakes percentage will increase by 2.5% (from 5% to 7.5%) to help support the important role trainers play in the industry. Importantly, this increase will be on top of existing stakes levels to ensure owners are not negatively impacted. This will also bring Queensland in line with other states. Trotters' Bonus (effective December 1): A $2,000 first-win bonus will be paid to the owners of any trotter upon its first win in Queensland, subject to the horse being trained by a Queensland trainer. This initiative complements RQ's strategy to grow the active racing population of trotters in the state which in 17/18 resulted in a growth in trotting races of 14%. General Prizemoney Increases (effective December 1): $1,000 increase for all 'Band Penalty' races. Restricted Penalty' races at Redcliffe increased to a minimum $3,500. Career Penalty' Races at Redcliffe and Albion Park lifted to a minimum $5,000. Now the piece that all the participants who provide the base for the Queensland Harness Pyramid have been waiting to hear. "In addition to these initiatives, RQ will continue to convert non-TAB product to TAB where possible and work with stakeholders to expand racing opportunities for hobbyist participants.” Yes, there's nothing for the hobbyists. The roll out of these initiatives (with the exception of the QBRED enhancements) will commence from tonight's Albion Park Race meeting, which features the Group 3 Be Good Johnny Sprint. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 1-6-8: The Diplomat (J. McCarthy)-Dance For Glory (R Morris)-Beau Cishlom (D McMullen). R2: Box trifecta 4-7-9: Mafuta Vautin (D Graham)-Casino Tommy (B Barnes)-Majestic Major (G Dixon). R3: Box trifecta 1-2-5: Everything (G Dixon)-My Ultimate Fella (N Dawson)-Ranfurly Rulz (J McCarthy). R4: Quinella 1-9: The Space Invader (N McMullen) and Under Worked (J McCarthy). R5: Quinella 4-13: Lincoln Road (A Barnes) and Mr Kalypso (K Rasmussen). R6: E/w 7: Lisa Lincoln (T Dawson). R8: Box trifecta 1-8-13: Bohdi Tree (L Cain)-Raka Rolla (J McCarthy)-Frankie Rocks (G Dixon). R9: Box trifecta 1-5-6: Our American Princess (R Morris)-Our Millward Maizie (K Rasmussen)-Elienark (G Dixon). R10: Quinella 1-2: Rich Virgin (T Dawson) and Colt Thirty One (G Dixon). Honour board Nathan Dawson dominated his sulky-sitting rivals this week, posting six wins for a rate of 300. On the hardworking trainer's side of the board, Ron Sallis and Darrell Graham could not be separated, finishing the week on three winners apiece. Most pleasing was Tony Jenkins' training double at the home venue. Ipswich factor: 23/42. Redcliffe, November 23: Springfield Spirit (Sheree Tomlinson for Ron Sallis); Oozinville (Nathan Dawson for Greg Franklin); Rainbow Styling (Nathan Dawson for Tayla Gillespie). Albion Park, November 24: The Space Invader (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Gangster Boy (Taleah McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Dance for Glory (Nathan Dawson for KerryAnn Turner); Opononis Bliss (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Marburg, November 25: Montana Chief (Darrell Graham); Cutmearinhalf (John Cremin for Tony Jenkins); Springfield Spirit (Jack Colley-Presnell for Ron Sallis); Daveys Gift (Adam Richardson for Kay Crone); Eulo Flyer (Jack Colley-Presnell for Tony Jenkins); Dollarbill (Taleah McMullen for For Kay Crone). Albion Park, November 27: Montana Chief (Darrell Graham); Havana Moon (Pete McMullen for Richard Hutchinson); Lethal Star (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); The Boys GNP (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Illawong Dreamtime (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee). Redcliffe, November 28: Mo Jarney (Nathan Dawson for Peter Greig); Tell The Future (Kelli Dawson for Ross Fletcher); Concentration (Gary Whitaker for Tess Neaves); Fortes In Fide (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee); Wee Jimmy (Jack Rees for Mark Rees). by Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Racing Queensland Chairman Steve Wilson has welcomed a state government decision to make available funds for an immediate 17% prize money increase for the greyhound and harness racing codes. Prize money will increase collectively by $5.5 million per annum co-funded by the government and Racing Queensland, to be distributed according to each code’s revenue market share. Greyhounds will receive an increase of $3.5 million, with $2 million for harness, both of which aim to progress industry viability concerns, boost grassroots participation and improve cash flow for participants and owners. For harness, this is in addition to the increase of $200,000 in drivers’ fees which commenced in August this year. “I would again like to thank the government for its willingness to engage with all three codes to address industry viability and long-term sustainability,” Mr Wilson said. The 17% increase is consistent with the $18 million announced for thoroughbred prize money in October. Racing Queensland CEO, Mr Brendan Parnell, said RQ will now consult with representatives from greyhound and harness racing regarding the prize money allocation with a view to roll-out the increases as soon as possible. “We have made a commitment to government to continue investigating industry reforms and sustainability measures across all codes,” Mr Parnell said. “Once those reform measures are agreed, we will work with the greyhound and harness industries to realise a collective $2.5 million in participant increases, in parallel with the $8 million thoroughbred reform increases in 2019.” Racing Queensland

Victoria Derby-winning three-year-old Colt Thirty One was crowned Queensland Harness Horse of the Year at the 2018 UBET Queensland Harness awards in Brisbane on Sunday.   The award capped a night of accolades for trainer Grant Dixon, who was again recognised as the Queensland Trainer of the Year. The Dixon stable also picked up the Queensland Trotter of the Year title with Our Overanova. Nathan Dawson was crowned Queensland Driver of the Year and Concession Driver of the Year following a highly successful season in which he steered more than 200 winners statewide. Pete McMullen was also recognised for winning his first Metropolitan Drivers’ premiership. The Kevin and Kay Seymour-owned Colt Thirty One also picked up the award for Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year, while Group 1 winning juvenile Smart As Camm Be won Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year and Filly or Mare of the Year. Bodhi Tree capped his remarkable return to the racetrack and to form by winning the Aged Pacer of the Year award. Kevin and Kay Seymour’s Solid Earth Pty Ltd also won the awards for Owner and Breeder of the Year. The dam of Colt Thirty One, Charm Personified, was named Queensland Broodmare of the Year. Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said the awards night was an important opportunity for the industry to join together and celebrate all they had achieved in the past season. “Racing is a 24/7 industry and it’s not often participants get the time to stop and celebrate their achievements, which is why nights like these are so important,” he said. Mr Parnell thanked the night’s major sponsors UBET for their continued support of the harness racing code in Queensland. “Without sponsors such as UBET nights like these would not be possible. We must also thank UBET for their generous $120,000 sponsorship of this year’s Winter Carnival, which allowed Racing Queensland to offer bonuses to attract some of Australia’s best horses and participants to Queensland,” he said. Racing Queensland also wishes to thank individual award sponsors: Albion Park Harness Racing Club, Marburg Pacing Association, Redcliffe Harness Racing Club, Kevin and Kay Seymour, RadioTAB, QRIC, Garrard’s Horse and Hound, Australian Pacing Gold (APG), Ladies In Racing, McGarry Equine Veterinary Services, Seelite Windows and Doors and Sky Racing.   2018 UBET Queensland Harness Award Winners   Albion Park Harness Racing Club Horse of the Year GLENFERRIE HOOD Albion Park Harness Racing Club Metropolitan Drivers Premiership PETE MCMULLEN Albion Park Harness Racing Club Metropolitan Trainers Premiership GRANT DIXON Albion Park Harness Racing Club Owner of the Year SOLID EARTH P/L Albion Park Harness Racing Club Mare of the Year VILLAGE WITCH Redcliffe Harness Racing Club Horse of the Year CALCAVADO Redcliffe Harness Racing Club Drivers Premiership NATHAN DAWSON Redcliffe Harness Racing Club Trainer Premiership GRANT DIXON Redcliffe Harness Racing Club Concession Driver of the Year NATHAN DAWSON Redcliffe Harness Racing Club Mare of the Year SPLASH OF GOLD Marburg Harness Racing Club Horse of the Year LIVING FREE Marburg Harness Racing Club Drivers Premiership MATT ELKINS Marburg Harness Racing Club Trainer of the Year DARREL GRAHAM BOTRA Rising Star – Male MITCHELL DAWSON BOTRA Rising Star – Female ALEX CAIN BOTRA Centurion Medal Trainer GRANT DIXON, DARREL GRAHAM, CHANTAL TURPIN, JACK BUTLER BOTRA Centurion Medal Driver   NATHAN DAWSON, PETE MCMULLEN, GRANT DIXON, ADAM SANDERSON   Kevin and Kay Seymour Queensland Young Achiever Award - Male NATHAN DAWSON Kevin and Kay Seymour Queensland Young Achiever Award –  Female DANNI-ELLE MCMULLEN Redcliffe Pegasus Award presented by Lin and Laurie Feehely NOEL & CHRISTINE DENNING & FAMILY RadioTAB Queensland Concession Driver of the Year NATHAN DAWSON Garrard’s H&H Queensland Owner of the Year SOLID EARTH P/L QRIC Queensland Breeder of the Year SOLID EARTH P/L QRIC Queensland Broodmare of the Year CHARM PERSONIFIED APG Queensland 2YO Pacer of the Year SMART AS CAMM BE Queensland 3YO Pacer of the Year COLT THIRTY ONE Garrard’s H&H Queensland Aged Pacer of the Year BODHI TREE Ladies In Racing Queensland Filly or Mare of the Year SMART AS CAMM BE McGarry Veterinary Services Queensland Driver of the Year NATHAN DAWSON Garrard’s H&H Queensland Trainer of the Year GRANT DIXON Seelite Windows and Doors Queensland Trotter of the Year OUR OVERANOVA UBET Queensland Harness Horse of the Year COLT THIRTY ONE   Racing Queensland

Queensland's premier trainer Grant Dixon finds himself in familiar territory a month into the new harness racing season.  As of 11 October the talented horseman sat on 30 wins nationwide for the season, five clear of Victoria's Emma Stewart.  Dixon has won Queensland's state premiership every year since taking over the reins from his father, Bill Dixon, in the 2011/12 season.  If he continues on his winning ways in 2018/19, the Victorian Derby winning trainer will also crack the 2000 career wins mark. He would then join the likes of Darrel Graham, Gary Hall Sr, Andy Gath and Steve Turnbull as trainers inside the current top-20 national standings to have achieved the mark.  Trainer Milestone report here.  Driver Milestone report here.    Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland will step in to assist Queensland’s standardbred breeding industry, which is one of many across the state feeling the crippling effects of drought. Following feedback from breeders via an industry survey, Racing Queensland found the rising cost of feed and agistment due to drought would likely accelerate a decline in breeding by up to 30%.   To shore up breeding numbers Racing Queensland will introduce an in-foal rebate of $500 payable to the breeder of any mare – inseminated between 1 August 2018 and 31 January 2019 – that receives a positive 42-day pregnancy test. The fee will be made available to the breeder if the mare in-foal meets QBRED eligibility criteria (i.e., the mare is inseminated and agisted in Queensland). Payment of the Rebate will be capped at 4 mares per breeder.   Racing Queensland COO Adam Wallish said the organisation recognised the importance of the breeding industry to the ongoing viability of harness racing in Queensland. “Without urgent action the harness industry will face significant challenges with reduced foal crops and field sizes in future years,” Mr Wallish said. The rebate is expected to cost between $90,000 to $110,000 dependent on the level of breeder uptake. Mr Wallish said it was a sound investment to provide some short-term security to the breeding industry and harness racing in Queensland. “A vibrant breeding industry is crucial to the ongoing viability of harness racing in Queensland, with QBRED horses making up 30% of the active racing population,” he said. “One-third of respondents to this recent survey indicated they would increase their breeding activity this season if they were provided short-term assistance to mitigate the increased costs in breeding as a result of the drought.” The survey also revealed 50% of breeders cited a low return on investment by way of sales and prize money as part of the reason for a decline in breeding in recent years. Mr Wallish said: “Racing Queensland will continue to work with the government and our commercial partners for a plan to improve the viability of our industry, particularly in comparison to NSW and Victorian industries that continue to announce significant prize money increases.”   Racing Queensland

Queensland harness participants have thrown their support behind Racing Queensland’s drought relief effort, with drivers and trainers offering to donate a portion or all of their driving fees and percentages at Saturday night’s Albion Park meeting. Recently crowned metropolitan premier driver Pete McMullen has led the charge, contacting Racing Queensland last week to get the initiative started. It comes as Queensland clubs from across the three codes get behind the #BetOnBirdsville campaign, with Racing Queensland to donate 50% of wagering revenue raised on the Birdsville Carnival (Friday and Saturday) to the QCWA Drought Appeal. Racing Queensland Harness Development and Strategy manager David Brick said it was another example of the generosity that exists within the entire racing industry. “Forms to donate part or all of drivers’ fees or training percentages will be on offer at the Albion Park Raceday office on Saturday,” Mr Brick said. “I would encourage all participants to give what they can to assist people who are doing it tough in regional areas.” A number of industry participants have thrown their support behind the drought appeal in recent weeks. Thoroughbred participants Desleigh Forster and Emma Smith raised close to $40,000 at a charity fund raising event last weekend, while South Australian trainer Michael Hickmott auctioned  5% share in his Birdsville Cup runner Unbreakable. The auction facilitated by Magic Millions raised $2000 for the QCWA appeal.   Racing Queensland

Queensland’s John Cremin will attempt to become the first Australian to win the World Amateur Drivers Championship when he takes the reins for the biennial series in Belgium on July 28-29. The championship takes place at the Tongeron and Waregem tracks, where Cremin will take on drivers from 12 countries across the world in a six-race series, of which he’ll compete in four. “I don’t know anything about the form of the horses but I’ve drawn barriers 1, 2, 2 and 3. Who knows? It’s probably back-to-front there so I will arrive and discover they are the widest barriers,” Cremin joked.   The championship is designed to put the spotlight on drivers across the world who don’t derive their main source of income from driving. Australia’s best finish at the championship came in 2005 in Austria, when fellow Queenslander Denis Smith placed fourth. Barbara Barry continued the proud tradition of Queenslanders representing Australia in the series, when she competed in Hungary in 2016. “Barbara rang and asked whether I would be willing to take up and invitation to do it,” Cremin said. “To keep Australia’s participation alive they needed somebody to travel. As I work as a farrier for a living I am considered an amateur when it comes to driving. Me and my wife spoke about it and thought it was something we’ve never done and will probably never do again, so we accepted and here we are.” Racing Queensland Harness Development and Strategy Manager David Brick presented Cremin with his green and gold colours last month. He said the whole Queensland harness racing industry would be behind Mr Cremin during the championship. “This series represents a golden opportunity to put another Queensland harness participant in the spotlight on the world stage,” he said. “On behalf of Racing Queensland I wish John all the best during the championship.” Cremin enjoyed some feature successes over the 2018 UBET Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival. He prepared Lady Drivers Invitational winner Psychedelic to score at huge odds, and drove Hughie Green to his Queensland comeback victory in June, before the pair finished third in the Listed Mr Feelgood in July.   Alex Nolan

The 2018 Racing Queensland Winter Carnival officially kicks off tonight (Friday) at the Redcliffe Paceway. Over the next eight weeks, the Sunshine State will play host to 14 Group features, 4 of which carry Group One status and includes the jewel in the crown, the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 21. That event is the final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season. But the rookie pacers take centre stage tonight with the running of the Gr.1 $100,450 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series Final over the 1780m. First staged back in 2009, the $30,000 final was won by Abbey Tiara, the concept has grown at a rapid rate ever since. The Redcliffe Harness Racing Club has increased prizemoney from the inaugural amount of $30,000 to $50,000 then $60,000 and then to $80,000 before reaching the current amount of $100,000. Club Patron Chris Garrard and former President Kerry Ebert have been the driving force in reaching its current level. Last year, the final carried Gr.1 status with the $100,000 prizemoney amount for the first time and Gold Reactor, trained by Kylie Rasmussen and Darren Weeks, stormed to victory with Chris Petroff taking the winning drive. Heats were staged Wednesday week ago and the winners were Just Won More, Regulus and Ark Me. Earlier this week, pre-post favourite Minted Montana was scratched owing to injury. The race looks loaded with winning chances and betting markets reflect that with Regulus the current elect at $3.50 with UBET. But the Rickie Alchin prepared pacer must overcome gate 11, the outside of the second-line. Under the conditions, fillies gain preferential treatment with the barrier draw and several are rated solid chances. And the prices the finalists brought at last year’s sale make for interesting reading, ranging from a mere $1250 to $28,000. Mucho Guapa - $28,000 – by Rock N Roll Heaven Signorina Jujon - $10,000 – by Mr Feelgood Ginatiano - $3000 – by Alta Christiano Ark Me - $9000 – by Mr Feelgood Just Won More - $2000 – by Pet Rock Cupcakesnwhipcream - $1250 – by South Park Hanover Riverboat Myrtle - $3000 – by Cammibest My Ultimate Sport - $3000 – by Sportswriter Rocknroll Classic - $10,000 – by A Rocknroll Dance Regulus - $18,000 – by Christian Cullen The other highlight tonight is the Comfort Inn & Suites Northgate Redcliffe Derby which features brilliant performer Colt Thirty One. Prepared by Grant Dixon, the Victoria Derby winner is ideally drawn in gate two and is quoted at $1.05 with UBET. The Mach Three colt is having his first start at the track.    

Racing Queensland has launched the 2018 UBET Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival at Albion Park, with the first Group 1 of the season to be run at Redcliffe on Friday night. The 2018 UBET Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival features four Group 1 classics, across 10 weeks, at Redcliffe and Albion Park, with more than $1.1 million in feature prize money on offer. Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said he looked forward to enjoying his first carnival in the role, and thanked UBET for their generous support of the carnival by way of the new UBET Grand Slam bonuses. “This year’s carnival has a great air of expectation, with some of the best horses both Queensland and Australia has to offer eyeing-off feature success in the Sunshine State,” Mr Parnell said. “UBET’s major sponsorship of the 2018 Winter Racing Carnival has allowed Racing Queensland to offer up to $120,000 in bonuses set across a series of races, which are aimed at keeping some of the best horses here for an extended period during the carnival.” The launch, held at the Albion Park Harness Racing Club on Thursday, also offered a sneak-peek at a new promotion that will give punters the chance to win a lap around Albion Park or Redcliffe, with the help of an experienced driver and harness horse, over eight feature nights of the Carnival. Channel 7 Creek To Coast presenter Roger Vickery, RadioTAB presenter Peter Psaltis and The Courier-Mail’s chief sportswriter Robert ‘Crash’ Craddock, were the first to give the new thrilling experience a test-run. Mr Psaltis said: “It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. It’s great that people have the opportunity to do it during the carnival.” Attendees also heard from the CEO of Albion Park Harness Racing Club, Damian Raedler, and President of the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club, Bernie Ring, about their upcoming feature events and promotions set to attract more punters trackside this winter. Racing Queensland’s campaign  to attract interest from punters across the country also began this week, with new program ‘The Driver’s Seat’ premiering on popular social media channel ‘Puntersland’. Hosted by harness racing media expert Jason Bonnington, the show will give punters an inside look at each of the feature meetings during the carnival, with form analysis from RQ and UBET harness expert Darren Clayton. For your chance to put yourself in the driver’s seat this Winter Carnival, enter the competition at www.racingqueensland.com.au. About the $120,000 UBET Grand Slam Bonuses UBET’s generous sponsorship of the 2018 Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival has allowed Racing Queensland to offer up to $120,000 in bonuses, including: $50,000 UBET Grand Slam Bonus  - Offered to the connections of any horses that can win both the Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint (July 14) and the UBET Blacks A Fake (July 21). $15,000 UBET Slam Bonus – Available to the connections of any horse that can place in both the Blacks A Fake and Sunshine Sprint, or, win one and place in the other. $20,000 Trainers’ Slam Bonus – Available to any trainer who wins two or more of the following feature races: Queensland Derby UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Oaks Queensland Trotters Cup For more information please contact Racing Queensland Corporate Affair Coordinator Alex Nolan on 0412 156 517 or email anolan@racingqueensland.com.au.

Racing Queensland has a new Chief Executive Officer – experienced media, wagering and sports executive Brendan Parnell. Announcing the appointment on Friday, April 20, Racing Queensland chair, Steve Wilson said Mr Parnell was well qualified to lead Racing Queensland into a new era of prosperity and growth. “We engaged the best executive recruitment specialists to find candidates for this important role and Brendan Parnell stood out as offering a diverse set of skills and capabilities that we feel will benefit racing across all three codes. We welcome him to the role. Officially the new CEO will start on May 14 and we will be liaising with him between now and his official start date,” Mr Wilson said. Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said he looked forward to working with Mr Parnell and the team at Racing Queensland to grow and prosper racing throughout the State. “Under the Palaszczuk Government, Racing Queensland has become more financially resilient and the organisation now has a stronger commercial focus. This has resulted in the allocation of $15 million in extra prizemoney and RQ is forging ahead with major investments in new racing infrastructure,” the Minister said. Mr Parnell has substantial experience in racing and wagering and was most recently the Chief Operating Officer, Wagering, of Tatts Group, which operated UBET prior to Tatts Group’s merger with Tabcorp in December 2017. He also held senior roles at Tabcorp and Sky Channel and has undertaken a Senior Executive Program at Stanford University.  Mr Parnell said he was honoured to be selected to head-up racing in Queensland. “Racing in Queensland is a massive sport and business which impacts almost every town and community across the sunshine state. How we connect and enhance racing is critical for its more than 41,000 participants. I'm excited by that challenge and the many opportunities in coming years," he said. Mr Wilson said the new CEO will have a number of focus-points for his first three months in the role including the Queensland Winter and Summer Racing Carnivals, growing revenue and increasing returns to participants after the previously announced $15 million annual boost to prize money. “The incoming CEO will also be acutely aware of the importance of Racing Queensland’s delivery of our infrastructure projects across the state including the return to racing of our premier thoroughbred venue Eagle Farm,” he said. Mr Wilson also nominated infrastructure projects in country and regional areas, the Ipswich Turf Club and the Gold Coast Turf Club as being key priorities. The search is also continuing for land for possible new or replacement sites for greyhound and harness racing to the south and west of Brisbane. Mr Parnell will relocate from Sydney to Brisbane for the new role. Mr Wilson thanked Racing Queensland’s General Manager of Racing Simon Stout for acting in the CEO role until Mr Parnell arrives. UBET $595,000 sponsorship NORTH and central Queensland are major beneficiaries of a new $595,000 UBET sponsorship deal across all three codes of racing for this year’s Queensland Winter Racing Carnival. Racing Queensland and UBET announced the deal at the Channel 7 Brisbane Racing Carnival Launch which began with three listed races at the Brisbane Racing Club (Doomben) on Saturday, April 21. The significant sponsorship deal showcases Tabcorp’s commitment to enhance its sponsorship and promotion of Queensland racing, following its merger with Tatts Group in late 2017. The bonus money across the three codes includes: $350,000 UBET ‘Northern Crowns Series’ for North Queensland Thoroughbreds $125,000 UBET ‘Origin Greyhound Series’ for Albion Park in July $120,000 UBET ‘Grand Slam’ for the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake in July Racing Queensland acting CEO Simon Stout said the generous sponsorship from UBET and Tabcorp will ensure horses aimed at the North Queensland Winter Racing Carnival will race for up to $2.29 million across seven feature race days beginning at Rockhampton on July 6 and ending at Cairns on September 8.   Bonuses of $150,000 (Stayers) and $100,000 (Sprinters) will be offered to any horse, which can win three of the five nominated UBET Northern Crown races across feature meetings at Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and the FNQ Amateurs. The bonuses will be split between the winning owner (80 percent) and trainer (20 percent). The bonus will rise to $200,000 for stayers, and $150,000 for sprinters if any of the three wins includes races on Far North Queensland Amateurs day at Cairns on September 8, 2018. Tabcorp’s Adam Rytenskild, Managing Director – Wagering and Media said the new bonuses came at an important time for both RQ and Tabcorp with the major Queensland carnivals looming and the racing spotlight on the Sunshine State. “UBET sponsors the headline event in each code - the Stradbroke, the Blacks A Fake and the Gold Cup. These new sponsorships provide additional incentives for connections to chase lucrative prize money in Queensland and will enhance interest from punters. “Through our partnership with Racing Queensland, Tabcorp will continue to support the industry through funding commitments, sponsorships and wagering initiatives, which help secure a sustainable future for the thousands employed in racing,” he said. Details for the $350,000 UBET Northern Crowns, UBET Origin Greyhounds and UBET Grand Slam are available at www.racingqueensland.com.au. By Phillip Bate Reprinted with permission of The North Queensland Register

Last week’s withdrawal of the Yatala Harness Racing proposal could lead to legal action between harness industry heavyweights and Racing Queensland on the future of Albion Park. The Yatala proposal included the gift of land at Yatala by harness benefactor Kevin Seymour and his wife Kay, estimated to be worth $3 million, and a business proposal with forecast non-core business revenue of $8 million a year. However, Yatala Harness Racing Club president Greg Mitchell wrote to participants last week informing them the proposal had been withdrawn. “There has been no appetite from the RQ chairman Steve Wilson or the board to engage and make the project work,” Mitchell said. “With the latest paltry prizemoney distribution of $400,000 to harness racing and the complete lack of vigour from this board, does it really want harness racing to survive?” Seymour said the site had full approvals from Gold Coast City Council for a harness racing facility, but RQ failed to take up the offer. “It is disappointing, however life goes on and I’m hopeful Racing Queensland will fund another site with a similar cost base and the ability to earn significant revenue from non-harness racing operations,” he said. It had been proposed Yatala would replace the former Gold Coast harness facility, which was closed, with no compensation to this point, to build the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village. The Albion Park venue has been the home of harness racing in Brisbane for decades. At the same time, Seymour and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club are threatening legal action over the promised $15 million grandstand redevelopment at the facility. The standoff got ugly last year when RQ proposed redeveloping Albion Park and moving harness racing to another facility. Seymour countered with a proposal of his own to develop Albion Park, but with harness to remain at the venue. Wilson accepted the Albion Park issue needed to be resolved before harness’ future could be determined. “It’s not our desire (to end up in court). I have always said we will honour all our legal obligations. Sometimes that means if you have to discover what those obligations are in court, so be it,” Wilson said. “The value of that entire site is an asset of all three codes of racing. There’s no dispute over who owns it. It’s owned by Racing Queensland and Racing Queensland’s charter is to achieve the best outcome for all three codes. “We’ve never said we would sell Albion Park. Our research shows it’s not the best place for the long-term future of either greyhounds or harness.” Racing Queensland has promised two greyhound tracks, but Wilson said the project was delayed because “it’s taken longer than we thought to get the right land, but we’re still fully committed to it”. The Albion Park development dispute continues to drag on. Nathan Exelby, The Courier-Mail Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail

As the former Parklands harness track plays host to athletes for the Commonwealth Games in its new guise this week, the plans for a replacement track at Yatala have been shelved. The proposal for a track and commercial centre in the growing heart of south-east Queensland have been withdrawn by the Yatala club, which has been frustrated in a two–year process. “The club has now been advised by RQ [Racing Queensland] the only way that Yatala would proceed is if the industry agree to the Albion Park disposal and that RQ own the Yatala facility when built,” club president Greg Mitchell said in an open letter to the industry. “That is right, RQ want the club to gift it the land so it can own the asset. In fairness the club can see none of these conditions attached to other racing infrastructure projects. This is totally unacceptable to the club as this was a development to future proof the harness industry in Queensland.” The Yatala club had been gifted the land, valued at $3 million, for the track and commercial zone by harness racing benefactor Kevin Seymour, but in two years no progress had been made on building a track. Since the Gold Coast track was closed Queensland has been left with only two TAB harness tracks in recent years: Albion Park and Redcliffe. “The club has invested a huge amount of time and money in this project in an endeavour to make it a reality, it has met all criteria along the way and has a significant non-core revenue stream of up to $8 million per annum attached to the submission that is in stark contrast to other racing infrastructure funding submissions,” Mitchell said in his letter. “There has been no appetite from the RQ chairman Steve Wilson or the board to engage and make the project work and you would have to start to ask yourself with the latest paltry prizemoney distribution of $400K to harness racing and the complete lack of vigour from this board, does it really want harness racing to survive?” By Chris Roots Reprinted with permission of The Sydney Morning Herald

Harness racing: The Marburg trots will hit a major milestone on the weekend at their annual Easter Sunday meet. The 2018 event will mark the first time the club has hosted a TAB race meeting in conjunction with Racing Queensland, UBet and Sky Channel. Marburg Pacing Association president Scott Neaves said there was plenty of excitement heading into the weekend. "It's a real opportunity for us to showcase what we have to offer in terms of country racing and to demonstrate to Racing Queensland the value of country racing,” Neaves said. "At the moment we race about once a month; hopefully by doing a good job we can encourage some additional funding (to have more regular meets).” Neaves said the action on the track was guaranteed to be fierce, with $25,000 on the line in the final of the Oakwood Capital Goldstrike Series. "One of the biggest things about Marburg is it's a track where you can be really close to the action,” he said. "It's an opportunity to get close to the horses, enough to essentially feel the ground move. "We always get a good crowd of local friendly people. It's just a very friendly country racing environment.” Gates open at 11am on Sunday, races kick off at midday and the day will also include Fashions on the Field, kids' entertainment, a special appearance from the Easter Bunny and plenty more. by Lachlan Mcivor Reprinted with permission of The Gatton Star

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