Opening Quarter, is for all harness racing fans, welcome .

Friday, 15 June 2012

Lickyalips Over Palmisano

The Big Park Stud Sweepstakes final for 2yr old colts and gelding, this Sunday night at Hobart, is shaping up as a show down between two of Tasmanian best 2yr old pacers.
Lickyalips and Palmisano will clash in this feature race, and look for an age track record in this one ! Lickyalips has come up with the one hole and will be driven by master reinsman Ricky Duggan, while Palmisano will start right along side of him in gate 2 and will have the services of leading junior driver Todd Rattray.
The Rodney Ashwood trained Lickyalips, is by Royal Mattjesty, out of Strawberry Kisses, and has had 4 starts for 3 wins with a best winning mile of 1.58.9 for $18,437 in stakes. This gelding is build like a battleship, and Ashwood believes that he is the best 2yr old he has trained since the speedy, Cool Bird.
Palmisano, is trained by Brain Stanley from Riverside, this gelding is by American Ideal, out of Lucyna, and has also had 4 starts for 3 wins, with a best winning mile of 1.58.6 for $15,582 in stakes. Palmisano is a speed machine and loves to find the front end , so it will be very interesting to see if Rattray will be looking for a front end trip with Palmisano
The start will be very interesting as both drivers will be looking for front end trips, so if the condition are good and a very nice cushion on the track, an age record is very most likely. Both horses won their heats and it's great to see that both have come up with a good posts and not a back line draw, this will make for an exciting race, and with the speed on up front the action will be on from the get go.
Ashwood will also saddle up two other runners in the race, being Another Dreamer, and I'm Royal Tonite, both of which have each way claims.  Ashwood has had a lot of success in this race, over the years as both a trainer and driver, with Cool Bird being the most memorable, and is hoping that it continues, by Brain Stanley believes that his horse has the making of being a real deal, and is out to spoil the party !!!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Delightful Plan

When Tasmanian leading trainer Barrie Rattray crossed the Tasman well over a year ago, he wasn't going for a family holiday. Rattray had a plan to buy a yearling from the New Zealand yearling sales, something that he had planed well over five years ago. Rattray with the support of Wayne and Wendy McLaughlin, out laid $92,500 for a filly by the almighty Christian Cullen, who was named Delightful Christian.
Last Saturday Delightful Christian repaid her owners with an outstanding win in the $150,000 group one Diamond pace for two year old fillies over the mile trip, in New Zealand.
Trained by Brain Hughes and John Green, and driven by master New Zealand reinsman Maurice McKendry, Delightful Christian began well from the 5 hole and had to do a bit of work 3wide for the first 1/4 until she found the front end, once on the front end, McKendry rated Delightful Christian to perfection, and down the back he let this filly stride and at the final 1/4 pole she always looked the winner. Running the mile in a very smart 1.57.5
Barrie Rattray was full of praise for  Brain Hughes and John Green, for the job they have done and also was very grateful to co owners Wayne and Wendy McLaughlin.
This is something Rattray had always wanted to do, purchase a top class yearling and return to win a major group one, and it might not end there.
There are no concrete plans at the moment but Rattray and Wayne and Wendy McLaughlin have the Breeders Crown in their sights come August
Delightful Christian is now a winner of 3 races from 7 starts and there are more to come.

   Barrie Rattray        Christian Cullen

Where Has The Fans Gone

My harness racing mad mate and i , jumped into the car the other night and headed for the track, to catch up on some live harness racing. All excited that we was going to make a killing and fill our pockets, as we each had a few sure things! As we arrived at the track, parking was not a problem as the car park was, well you could say empty, i will not be that hard, but only a hand full of cars, "your sure there on ?" i asked. We head to the gate and paid our $7 and purchased a race book and walked to the main grandstand. We both had planned to have a great night of punting and catch up with a few of the regular punters, share a joke and a drink and have a great night out!
To our surprise, as we walked into the grandstand, there was hardly any one there ! I said 'what have we done to this great sport ? " the atmosphere was gone, no excitement, no bookmakers, it was dead !
We both looked at each other and started to talking about the days when the race track was full, of punters, trainers, owners, family's and the fans off harness racing, what has gone wrong ?
We both struggled with our bets, had a few drinks, went for a walk down to the paddock, in the end we called it a night and left the track before the meeting was over, all in all it was a boring night at the track.
So when i got home, i started to write down a few things that i believe, has made the race track a lonely place.
Firstly it was Sunday night, this does not work if you want the track to come alive again, need to find away around this .
Secondly, the action is to far away, who ever was the bright spark that decided to put a harness race track on the inside of gallops tracks needs their head examined, plus after the race the winner and place getter's don't come in front of the grandstand, just straight off the track and back to the barn.
Thirdly, where are the club officials, not one committee member any where to be seen, they should be walking about and make sure the fans are having a great time. Even buy then a drink or take then down to meet a top trainer or driver.
Fourthly, there is nothing to do between races, this is one area where clubs can take advantage of the situation, drivers interviews, meet the horses, video replays, iphone apps, poker, ladies clubs, even turn one bar into a entertainment area with live music.
I could go on and on, like a broken record, i don't want to sound like I'm bagging the industry out, there has been some great work done by many people, but if some states don't start to do something, and just sit back and rely on turn over, they will die, and I'm sorry but my home state will be one of then.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Slaters Queen Ready For Cup

The name Slater is not what you would call well known in harness racing circles, but young trainer/ driver Zeke Slater is surly starting to make a name for himself in harness racing in Tasmania.
On Sunday night Slater will be looking for his first major cup, with the nice mare Queen Of Fire, who will be driven by leading driver Ricky Duggan as they try to bring home the 2012 Bullock Consulting Devonport Cup over the long trip of 3020m.
Queen Of Fire has the top draw of 3 from the standing start, and if Duggan can get on the front end, with this bold front running mare she will be very hard to run down on the tight Devenport track.
Queen Of Fire is by boom sire Courage Under Fire, out of a What's Next mare, Penultimate, she has started 54 times for 12 wins, 14 seconds and 6 thirds and has banked just under $135k in stakes.
Slater horses are firing at the moment, and he puts this down to the fact that they are a lot more settled, in routine, now that he has his own barn at the Brighton Training facility

Harness Racing Returns @ New Norfolk

There is a great card of harness racing at New Norfolk this Saturday, with a 8 card meeting . The gruelling 1/2 mile track at New Norfolk has always been known to throw up some rough results and i think tomorrows meeting we will see some bolters get up at good odds.
I inspected the track this morning and i must say, it is in the best condition for some time, with a nice cushion thanks to the over night rain.

I think punters can get off to a good start in race 2 with Margin Girl, has to over come a bad draw of inside the second line, but this should not be to much of a problem for drive Paul Ashwood.
In race 3 there could be a nice smokey at odds, Miss Stately has draw the one hole and trainer/driver Paul Hill know this track like the back off his hand.
Zeke Slater will saddle up Camivell Rock in race 5, and i have got the mail that this horse is ready to win, the 40m handicap will make his job a bit tough, but the 2500m trip will suit.
Move on to the next race the Ripper Maddox Memorial and another interesting runner in Earl Of Highview, could surprise, very bad draw, but did trail nicely on Wednesday.
The lucky last race i think Bettors Express can win again after his nice win last start.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Sugars To Drive @ Hobart

Harness racing fans of Tasmania are in for a sweet treat tonight at Hobart, as top Victorian driver Greg Sugars will be in action.

Sugars main mission for the night will be to drive the Dean Braun trained Mr Nickel in the Tasmanian Derby $30,000 group one, which is race six on the 9 card program.
Sugars will also drive Imperial Majesty in race 1, Thelastof race 2, Mckenzie Madness race 5, and Cosmic Under Fire race 7.
Tonight's program all races except the Tasmanian derby will be ran over the mile, and i know that track curator Wally Regett has been working over time on the track to have it lighting fast, but as always mother nature has it's way and the forecast is for about and inch of rain !!!

Quinny So Smooooooth !

This is why i love harness racing, I'm Themightyquinny, has excited us all so many times but Friday night was just some thing special, the 2012 Inter Dominion will be remembered for many things, firstly it was the first time in history that 3 horses had made the final with maxium points after 3 rounds of heats, Lance Justice tried to get a doctors clearance to drive Smoken Up in the final after the final rounds of heats, and lastly it is the last time we will see the Inter Dominion ran under this format for some time, which is a real shame.  (CLICK TO VIEW)

Come race night the race had it all, Smoken Up charged out of the gate looking for the front end, but it was not there as Mr Feelgood held the front end, John Justice, pushed the issue and the champ Smoken Up went off stride as they hit the bend at high speed, Mr Feelgood also mix gait for a few strides as Smoken Up made slight contact. This mishap ended Smoken Up chances, it has been revealed that Smoken Up made contact with his hind leg and bike.
At this stage it looked like Mr Feelgood was going to have his own way on the front end, but Butt had different ideas and made a first over move with Auckland Reactor to sit there for the last 1200m of the race, Quinny was still second last as Smoken Up tacked on to the field, the 15,000 fans track side was all asking the same question?, when will Hall make a move on the local hero, but Gary Hall had it under control, he was having faith in Quinny's sprint.
At the bell Smoken Up made another move from the rear and Hall tack on to his back, but he quickly went back to his inside as Smoken Up again went rough on the bend, Quinny was in trouble with 700m to go ! Or was he !
At the 1/4 pole Hall released I'm Themightyquinn and he came 5 wide around the final bend with a wing on every foot, but the fight was not quiet over with, Mysta Magical Mach and Lombo Navigator starting to run on after their good trips, but like top horses do Quinny stuck his neck out for Hall and got on top, to win the final by 1.5meters.
There is a champion horse in the states called Put On A Show, and that is what Gary Hall Jr did after he crossed the line. He gave Quinny to the crowd and the fans loved it, it made the hair on the back of your neck stand up, like Glenn Boss did with the Diva , Hall took Quinny along the out side fence so the fans could interact with the champ. With the reins hanging loose on the bike Hall signalled that Quinny is number 1 !

I'm Themightyquinn, has now stamped him self as one of the most exciting pacers of the new century, purchased at 3 for a reported sum of $180k, Quinny has returned $3.3m for his connection from 84 starts for 39 wins and 27 placings.
The other two local horse that fill the minor price, was Mysta Magical Mach and Lombo Navigator, both horses drivers need to be congratulated on a fantastic drive, they both drove their horses to the condition of the race and was reward for it.
Finally this Inter Dominion, has shown that Gary Hall Jr is now in the top 5 drivers in Australia, drives not just on Quinny but other runner have been faultless, i have all ways had a big opinion of Hall Jr,  now I'm sure i have been right !
William Crabb photo (CLICK TO VIEW)