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)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Time To Rumble

Gee guys it has been a while since i posted on my blog, to say it was slack , is a bit of an understatement, so it is time to rumble once again.
Lets get cooking, the Inter Dominion final will be ran this Friday night at Gloucester Park in Perth, Western Australia, and what a race we have. For the first time in history, we have 3 horse that have earned maximum points, Smoken Up, Auckland Reactor, and the local hero I'm Themightquinn.
Smoken Up has shown that he is handling the 1/2 mile oval of Gloucester Park ok, with out setting the track on fire, he has made it into the final with out much trouble, but i have to be honest here , i have seen him travel better on the big tracks like Menangle and Melton, if there is going to be one horse that will benefit from a 7 day break from racing, Smoken Up will be the horse. I feel that a little bit of a freshen up will do him the world of good.
Auckland Reactor, well i was one who said that the reactor was not strong enough to take 4 races in 14 days, how wrong was I. This horse has never gone better, he is handling the 1/2 mile oval like a dream, is settling in his races and he has a real chance to take out the final. His bad post of 9 has not helped his chances, but this horse is really racing well and i can see him being in the top 3 as they cross the line.

The Star of the show , has no doubt been the local hero, I'm Themightyquinn, he has just been amazing in his heat wins, and last week heat win, was awesome, he chewed the line and won by 18meters over Raglan, won has also perform well through out the heats. I have sat down and studied the field for the final, I just can't see any way how they are going to beat Quinny !! he is a super star pacer and has really turned it on for the fans of harness racing through out this series, he will win, he can't be beaten, know matter which way you try to look at it.
Of the the other runners, Mr Feelgood has come good at the right time with a track record in his final heat, drawing the pole in the final is a big help and has put him into calculation.

The Field for the 2012 Inter Dominion
1. Mr Feelgood   2. Lombo Navigator   3.Raglan  4. Crombie  5. Mysta Magical Mac  6. Smoken Up  7. I'm Themightyquinn  8.Can Return Fire  9. Auckland Reactor.

My selections are,    1st I'm Themightyquinn, 2nd Mr Feelgood, 3rd Auckland Reactor

All the best to every runner and their connections, have a safe trip drivers.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Group one racing

This weekend we see two Grand Circuit races in two states, firstly we will roll off this Friday night at Gloucester Park in Western Australia with the running of  the group one Eurodrive WA Pacing Cup, where we will see the I'm Themightyquinn racing in his home cup. But it is not going to be easy for him, as he has to come up against the mighty pacer Mr Feelgood.
Mr Feelgood has the gun post of 3, and Luke Mc Carthy will be looking for the front end on his pacer, as I'm Themightyquinn has a horror post of 7, out side the front line, this going to make it very interesting at the start to see what Gary Hall decides at the start, plus to make things a fraction worst for Hall is that the speedy Washakie is in 6 with Raglan in 4.
I believe Luke will lead all the way over the 2506m trip and him and Mr Feelgood will win and take how a big piece of the $400k in stakes, second I'm throwing in Raglan for Anthony Butt, this pacer is really showing that with the right run he can match it at this level, and if he gets a soft trip will be right in this at the finish.
I'm Themightyquinn is returning from what most would say was a disappointing last couple of runs, but he his back home now, and loves the tight track, the only problem is his draw, but look for him to be finishing fast and if he is right could blow then away.
My Tips for the big one 1, Mr Feelgood, 2, Raglan, 3, I'm Themightyquinn.

Then on Saturday night we will move to Globe Derby Park for the running of the South Australian Cup, over the 2645m trip, where we will see a new driver on the champ Smoken Up, as Lance Justice is still recovering from that terrible race fall last month. The new driver for Smoken Up is Greg Sugars and he drove Smoken Up at the trails at Melton last week to get a feel of the champ.
Smoken Up has got the 3 hole at the start and he will get on the front end very early and Greg will let him stride as he will be looking for a really good work out as they prepare for the Interdon.
Hardest to bet should be the local pacer Ohaka Nevada for Mark Billinger, this pace is racing really good at the moment and drawing the 1 will should him and should get a great trip. I was really impressed with the way Heza Trick won the Tassie cup, and this pacer could be one to look out for in major cups thru out the season, don't be surprised if he runs some sort of race in this.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Scandalman breaks $100k

Last night at Maitland outstanding 3yo pacer Scandalman took his life time earnings over the $100k mark with an amazing 23.7m victory. Rating a very good 1.59.6 mile rate on the tight Maitland track, Scandalman showed that he will be a major player in this years 3yo classics.
Settled back at the rear early by his driver Jimmy Douglass, Scandalman made his move at the 1300m mark and went to the front to race away a very easy winner.
By Live Or Die, out of  New Zealand breed mare All In Vain, Scandalman has now race 10 times for 8 win and 2 seconds with a best winning mile of 1.55. This colt is going places, and the way he went about his business last night, there are a lot more wins coming his way this season.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Lanercost to make amends

Star Queensland pacer Lanercost will race this Friday night at Tab Corp park Melton, and will be out to make amends for his mishap in the the New Years Cup.
To be driven by his trainer Darrel Graham, Lanercost has to over come a bad draw of 13, out side the second line, but this pacer is all class and i don't think this will be to much of a problem for him.
Lanercost is one of the most exciting pacers going around at the moment and if there is a pacer to stand up to the likes of Smoken Up, Mr Feelgood and the likes this is horse that could do it as the grand circuit starts to heat up.

Jimmy's tips this week.

Melton Friday night.

Race 3   Bad Cat - inside the second line but has a bit of class .
Race 7  Lanercost - best bet

Hobart Sunday Night.

Race 2  Hes No Saint - fantastic race last week, good post, pity Douglas is not driving him this week.
Race 5  Saturday Night - knocking on the door, should be to good for these
Race 8 Jetson's Blue Jean- take on trust from the stand, if he steps will take some catching

Are the stewards right

It was interesting to read the stewards report from Hobart's meeting on the 1st of January, young reinmans Alex Ashwood was fined $100 for releasing gear with his foot. The gear he released was the ear plugs, in other words he kick the plugs out, this is a common practise in the states and is now being adopted over here in Australia by many drivers.
I believe that this practise should be encourage not penalised, as drivers have more control over their horses when they kick the plugs out, by removing the plugs with their hands can allow a horse to shift in or out at that time.
Darrel Graham removed the plugs on his star pacer Lanercost in the New Year cup on new years eve and when he did Lanercost shift in and contacted the wheel of Mr Feelgood, which in turn resulted in that pacer breaking stride and finishing last.
Stewards need to review this, and encourage drivers to release gear with their foot, as it makes for safer racing and drivers having a lot more control over their horses.
Review both stewards remarks below.
Alex Ashwood (GENUFLECT) was fined the sum of $100 under the provisions of rule 170(1) for releasing gear with his foot resulting in his foot not being in the sulky rest at all times.


The winner of the event MR FEELGOOD USA was subject to a post race urine sample.
Horses LANERCOST NZ and MR FEELGOOD USA were both subject to pre race blood testing.
The all clear for this event was delayed to enable Stewards to view the DVD footage of the run to the finish line in that around the 200 metre mark LANERCOST NZ galloped. After viewing both the lateral and head on DVD it was established that at the 200 metre mark LANERCOST NZ shifted in and simultaneous to this MR FEELGOOD USA which was racing to the inside of LANERCOST NZ shifted out. As a result of this there was a contact to the near hind leg of LANERCOST NZ and through this the horse galloped. In view of both runners contributing to this incident the all clear was given. At a subsequent inquiry warnings were issued against both runners for their contributing parts in the incident.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A-Team Sweeps Tassie

Well now that we all have Xmas and the new year out of the way it's time to get back to racing, and it all started last night at Tattersall's park, Hobart, where the Glenn and Daryl Douglas team made a clean sweep of the feature races in Tasmania.
First to go was the 3yo The Dip in the SEW Eurodive Tasmanian Guineas, taken off the gate at the start by Douglas, Tip Dip made a move for the front end at the mile peg, and took over the running to win very nicely from Willbe Doc, who run a great race and sat out side The Dip for the last 1100m , with Nitro Blue 3rd.
Then was Australia's best mare Make Mine Cullen who took out the SEW Eurodive George Johnson, she won with easy and never looked tested for the punters who took the $1.10.
We moved on to the Hivotech Tasmania Cup, where the A-Team had two runners in the lightly raced Heza Trick and Jukebox Music, with Heza Trick being to good and won with easy from the Tasmanian pacer Thirsty Mach in 2nd place with Jukebox Music running a nice 3rd.
The A-Team took home $45,457 in stake plus rugs and trophies, so they certainly have started the new year off well.
It was great to see Make Mine Cullen down in Tassie and well down to the Douglas team for bring her down so the fans could witness her racing, the crowd was a down on other years, but it still was a great night of harness racing.