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

Friday, 23 December 2011

Star out for a year

The most promising pacer at the present time Bitobliss has gone a miss with a broken back pastern, and has under gone surgery to help it repair. The Scott Steward trained and driven pacer broke his back pastern during the running of last weeks Victorian Cup and is most likely to be away from the race track for over a year.
Steward stated that during the running of the Victorian Cup that Bitobliss put in a rough stride about 1200m from home, and at first he might of jumped a mark on the track, but after the race the horse was found lame in the back pastern.
Bitobliss has been in fantastic form since running second to Lanercost in the Chariots Of Fire, this season he has won the Legends, Kilmore Cup and the Melton Plate, in total Bitobliss has had 25 life time starts for 15 wins, 5 seconds and 2 thirds , with his best winning mile being 1.53.2 and has also banked $235,170 in stakes.
I would like to quote Dr Kenneth P. Seeber, which sums up Bitobliss, " There are the underachievers with raw talent who never live up to expectations, Then there are those who have such low tolerance to pain that they let small injuries get the better of them and refuse to perform. Others go out and give a tremendous effort and shrug off both small and large injuries. Invariably, the great race horses are the ones who want to go out and do it no matter what. "
The last bit of this quote sums up Bitobliss, he still keep going and at one stage looked like he was going to be right in the finish.

Justice Injured

To say that it has been a roller coaster ride for champion trainer/driver Lance Justice this year would be an understatement. Yesterday Justice was seriously injured in at race fall at Tab Corp Park Melton, and has a suspected broken ankle, other drivers that was injured in the fall, was Ross Payne ( wrist ) and Kylie Sugars ( shoulder ), Chris Alford continue on until after the Gold Chalice but then stood himself down for the rest of the nights program.
This will be a shocking blow to Lance, and if he has a broken ankle he could well be out of the bike for some time, and this will mean that he will be looking for a replacement driver for the champion pacer Smoken Up.
Fresh from winning two of the best race in Australia this year, in the Miracle Mile and Victorian Cup, this would be the last thing that he would of liked to happened, just goes to show, harness racing is not an easy sport, if it was every one would be doing it. 
I hope all drivers involved have a speedy recovery. 

Jimmy's Tips,
                        Hobart on Tuesday.

Race 4 Benediction - has the one hole, should find the front end and win.
Race 5 Ark West - hard horse to catch, this could be his race.
Race 7 Hydehurst Boy - take on trust, did trial ok on Wednesday, e/w
Race 9 Guerrero - good run last time, bad post but should be storming home.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Getting It Right

Well i have seen it all now, this morning i picked up the local newspaper, "The Mercury" and as usual went straight to the form guide, to my surprise, the fields for this long weekend harness racing meeting was not available, in stead, they had last weeks meeting published in the form guide!   " You have got to be kidding me "
This is a terrible mistake, as a lot of local punters use the form guide out of the local paper to study the form and to pick out their bets for the weekend.
This is some thing, that Tasmanian harness racing doesn't need at the present time, with Xmas just around the corner and a lot of meetings nation wide, to have last weeks fields published in the paper, will certainly affect the out come of  total pools on local TAB.
There is a major  problem between the " The Mercury" and Tas Racing, communication has broken down somewhere, and the leadership group at Tas Racing needs to get on top of this, so it "Never" happens again.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Stars come out

At Albion Park on Saturday night, top Queensland trainer, Darrel Graham decided to bring his stable stars out to play and they didn't let their fans down.
First to go was the out standing Lanercost , and he didn't disappoint on his return to the race track, winning by 7.1m and rating a very smart 1.59.8 for the 2680m trip, with a final quarter in 27.8
Lanercost was having his first run back from a spell and now has earning of $487,391 from 37 life time starts, which includes 28 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds, for a best winning mile  of 1.52.5.
Next to go was  Courageous Annie, who won with ease, by 14.9m in a 1.57.5 mile rate for the 1660m trip. This 4yo mare has had only 15 life time starts for 11 wins and one second place, with a best winning mile of 1.52.6.
Both of these to stars for the Graham stable are by Courage Under Fire.

Ladies Down Under

Fellow blogger pacingguy has asked a very good question, into reference to my last post, regarding female drivers in Australia, and why there seams to be more of then in the Australia to in the states, and why trainers are prepared to use then?
Well this is a very good question,  firstly Australia has a depth of talent in the female ranks, the likes of Kerryn Manning, Jodi Quinlan, Ashlee Siejka, Erin Hollaway, Amanda Turnbull, Amy Day, the list goes on and i would be here all day if i was to name then all, but the question is why are there so many, mainly that the opportunity is there for then, to competed at top level. Female drivers has really blossomed over the years in Australia and it mainly started when female stable hands ( grooms ) applied for junior drivers licences and was able to take a concession on the drives they had picked up.
This gave then opportunities to show case their skills and a lot of then proved that they could drive just as good as fellow young male drivers. Trainers that employed young ladies in their stables used then as well to drive their horses and it was not long, that some of then was showing a massive amount of talent in the bike.It didn't take long for trainers to start to sit up and take notice that the girls, not only had good horsemanship, that, horse started performing better with a female drivers, some horse where just running for then, and some female drivers started to to pick up some nice drives on top horses .
This lead to group one success and before long ladies drivers where competing on very major track in Australia. Opportunity was the main reason for this, and we all know that if you give some one an opportunity , it can lead to better things.
Owners also helped push this along, as they would indicate to their trainers that they would like to see a female driver on their horses as the believed they where a lot kinder to the horses they drove.

Doc makes it 4

Willbe Doc. made it 4 wins in row at Hobart last night, with an outstanding last to first run to win by 7.8m with Tasmanian leading female driver Erin Hollaway in the bike. Trained by well known trainer Doc Gillie, was having his first run on the Hobart track and settled down last just after the start from his bad draw. Once the field settled down, Hollaway started her move at the 1200m mark going 3wide around the field to sit outside the leaders at the half, that is when she started to applied some more pressure to the leaders and went on to win very comfortable.
Willbe Doc by Peace Of Art out of Victoria Street, has now had 8 starts for 4 wins, 1 second and 2 thirds, and is showing signs that he will develop in to a very smart horse. His trainer Doc Gillie also owns him so the perforamce makes it ever more sweeter.
Doc Gillie has only being training for short period, and during the winter months can be found cheering on his beloved Natone magpies, but the way Willbe Doc is going most of the cheering will be done track side this year .

Erin Hollaway

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Smoken Sets Track Alight.

Well i rushed home from work last night, after what you could say was a more then busy day, grabbed a nice cold drink and sat back to take in all the action of the Victorian Cup, live from Tabcorp Park Melton. I knew it was going to be one fantastic race, but i got more then just that.
Smoken Up , a gelding by Tinted Cloud, having his 103rd start, was starting favourite for the Victorian Cup, and he didn't let is supporters down, leading all the way in a track record time for the 2240m trip, ( mile and 3/8s ).
Smoken Up rated an amazing 1.53.3 taking nearly a second off the track record. When the green light came on Lance Justice put the handle bars down and didn't let his opposition come up for air. Mr Feelgood just float across from his 4 post to sit out side Smoken Up, with I'm Themighty quinn, one out and two back. Smoken Up ran his last mile in quarters of 29.4, 29.8, 27.6, and 27.5, to go on to win by a neck from Mr Feelgood and a neck back in 3rd place was Raglan, who had a beautiful trip 3 back the peg line. I'm Themightyquinn didn't really fire a shoot, and ran below his best to finish second last, no doubt the Hall stable would be disappointed.
Let me get back to Smoken Up, 9yo horse that is breaking track records, is more then likely unheard of in other parts of the world, this great war horse, is getting better with age, the same could be said about Mr Feelgood as well, who is 9 also, and sat first over for the whole trip last night. Smoken Up now has stamped himself as one of the best pacers Australia has seen, since the dominance of Blacks A Fake. It does matter where he draws in a big race he is always the horse to beat, he has gate speed, he can stay, he can be on the front end, and he can sit parked for a trip and still win, a truly great race horse.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Tony Macarony Returns

Sundays night harness racing meeting at Hobart will see the return of promising 3yo pacer Tony Macarony, the Michael Laugher trained youngster has not raced since, finishing 2nd to last seasons 2yo Tasmanian pacer of the year, Lombo Leonardo, when only beaten by 2.5m.
The bay gelding will once again be driven by the ever so cool Rohan Hadley, but will need all his skill in the bike to over come the bad post of 8, inside the second line to get Tony Macarony over the line.
The hardest to beat for the Sealed N Delivered gelding will be Ponderosa Gamble, who has the gun, one post for Paul Williams, and the Rod Ashwood trained Broadband who has to over come a wide post in 7, but was a nice effort when first up 3 weeks ago.

                          for Hobart Sunday Night
Race 2  Drifting West  - nice type and could develop into a top class pacer.
Race 4 Tony Macarony.
Race 6 Sakwi Zn - ran a nice race last week in open company, will get a pocket trip.
Race 8 Willbe Doc -  a real fighter, could get out to better than $4 .

Tears of Joy

Harness racing can some times throw every thing life has to offer at you, it, at times can rip your heart out from your chest and other times you can feel like the king of the race track.
Friday night at Alexandra Park in New Zealand, Brent Mangos had a tear in his eye as he returned to the winners enclosure with his 4yo mare Better Cover Lover.
Last April after winning the Victorian Oaks in fantastic fashion, the then 3yo filly was injured when being loaded onto the plane for the flight back home, the cut she sustained to her back leg had cut right down to the coffin bone, and she was fighting for her life, not just her race track career. Fast forward to Friday night and this mighty mare produced an amazing come back run to win the Group one Queen of Hearts, a $100k race. Not only that she won the race she also beat the great mare Carabella, who Ricky May says is one of the best horses he has driven.
This is a truly an amazing effort by all connected to the mare, she promised the world at 3 and then looked like losing her life, so you can fully understand why Brent Mangos was glassy eyed last night.

For more details on this an amazing effort click on the link.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Vic Cup Live

This years Victorian Cup will be live on the Internet, so for all you harness racing fans around the world don't forget to log in, and enjoy a great night of action packed racing.
Click on the link below.

Major Stake Cut For Tassie Cup

This years Tasmanian pacing cup has had a major stakes cuts as the industry in Tasmania is in a bad way at the moment. The Cup has been cut from $100k to $40k a difference of $60k, this race has now lost its grand circuit status and also it's group one status.
To cut this race by so much is a crying shame and now leaves Tasmanian harness racing with out one, group one race . The race over the years has been won by some of the greats in the industry, including, Jack Morris, Shakermaker, Golden Reign, and the list goes on, and now we could see a claimer come into the race and win it, as all the major player have taken this race off their radar.
Tasmanian harness racing was booming 6 years ago, with betfair coming on line in the state and the labour party putting massive amount of money into racing it the state, the Tasmanian Pacing Club hosted the richest pacing series in the world in 2006 with the Interdon being worth a total of $1.5million, now we see their major race reduced to to $40k, something is wrong!!
Last years  Tasmanian cup was a fantastic result for the TPC, with a massive crowd on track to cheer local heroes, turn over was up, and on course takings broke all records, but Tas Racing still decided to reduce stakes on feature races.
So from 2006 to now the industry in Tasmania has gone from being rich to tatters, nearly over night. Betfair promised the world, and to be honest has not delivered, Tote Tasmania, was poorly managed and now has been sold to Tatts, and the state government is in a mesh, with no leadership and struggling to make money.
With the sale of Tote, this will mean more hard ship is still to come in the apple isle, as Tasmanian harness racing will no longer belong to Super Tab, and pools will reduce, and we could even see Tasmanian racing taken off Sky as well.
The industry needs to get proactive, and directors need to be accountable for their action, and not be allowed to walk away when the industry goes belly up, there needs a complete over haul of who is running the industry in Tasmania and a new leadership group put together with direction.
Tasmania harness racing fans need to have a group one race, to help show case their industry, not a race where an over price claimer could win, they need top grand circuit horse racing to get the fans back to the track.
Trainers of the top line horse have already  looked away from Tasmania, as the stakes level is getting very poor, and you can not blame then from staying away, when there can race in their home state for a country cup that is worth just as much as the Tasmanian Cup, and not have to travel across the water to Tassie

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Quinn draws 2 - Good or Bad

All eyes will be on I'm Themightyquinn as he scores up for this years Victorian Cup on Saturday night at Tabcorp park Melton, he has the 2 hole, could this be good or bad for the Quinn?
Drawing a good post in a major race is all ways the first step to success, but in this case it could be the undoing of  I'm Themightyquinn.
What will Gary Hall do ? Go forward and try to cross Smoken Up or just roll out and hold his position and try to get some cover from Mr Feelgood, I'm tipping just that, Gary will not want to get into a speed battle early with Smoken Up, he will want to save him for one last go at then and hopefully out sprint then at the end.
All this will depend on Smoken  Up holding the front end and not being crossed by Mr Feelgood, if  Smoken Up gets crossed by Mr Feelgood , Lance will just pop back out and take control again giving Mr Feelgood the gun run behind the leaders and await the sprint lane. So does this leave Quinn with out cover ? it could do, there will not be to many other drivers willing to go and death seat Smoken Up.
The draw has made this race action packed early, we all know that it Lance puts the handle bars down at the start that there is not too many horse that will be able to cross him, but i believe that Mr Feelgood will be looking for a pocket trip on the back of Smoken Up and the only way for him to do this is to cross him at the start.
This race is shaping up to be one of the best cups we have seen for awhile, with the 3 big guns drawing so well, there will be moves early if Quinn is caught with out cover, but no one will really pressure Smoken Up , they will just come around and try to put their horses into the race.
So where will Quinn be at the bell ? one out two back, but he could be in a bit of a jam. Lets hope he has a clear run and unleashes that sprint, and i believe that Quinn really runs for Gary Hall, I'm not taken nothing away from Jack, he drove him fantastic last week, but some horse just turn it on for certain drivers and I'm Themightyquinn and Hall do turn it on when they pair up.

Welcome to Opening Quarter

Firstly i would like to welcome you all to Opening Quarter, this blog will mainly focus on harness racing in Australia, and from time to time i will do my best to touch on subjects that arise from over seas as well, i will try to cover a whole range of subjects, from the Little guys in the industry to the major players.
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