LOCAL TRAINERS AND DRIVERS DOMINATING PREMIERSHIP
Clayton Harmey is having a super season and has 34 winners to date.
The Thornton based trainer increased his tally by four with a fantastic night at The Paceway last Saturday and will look to further his lead with a strong hand at this week’s meeting.
He is currently running seventh in the NSW Trainers Premiership with 46 wins.
Fellow Hunter trainer Darren Elder is running second in the Newcastle Premiership with 15 winners, with Mark Callaghan rounding off a Hunter trifecta with 14.
In the drivers ranks Brad Elder has booted home an impressive 27 winners, including four at The Paceway last Saturday, eight ahead of Mark Callaghan, Dan Morgan, Nathan Carroll and Josh Osborn all on 19 wins.
Brad is seventh in the State Concession Drivers Premiership while Dan Morgan is 10th.
Both will be in action on Saturday night with Brad having eight drives and Dan seven.
There are still four months remaining in the Premiership so come on over to The Paceway and cheer on our locals. #NHR
LOCALS SHOOTING FOR FEATURE PRIZE
With locals making up half of the eight horse field in the $30,800 race there is a strong chance one could greet the judge.
The Bill Dawson trained Special Albert was the last Hunter trained pacer to take out the prestigious race in 2008.
Local chances this Saturday are the Darren Reay trained Better Than Max, Roy Roots Jnr’s My Chachingchaching, Ultimate Art trained by Michael Formosa and Darren Elder’s Shannonsablast.
The race is the cornerstone of the 2017 Newcastle Carnival of Cups.
Newcastle Mile Night will also see the Somerset Meats Newcastle Derby being contested in the 10 race meeting starting at 7.10pm, along with the annual Bill Chidgey Memorial.
Apart from the prestige and prizemoney associated with Newcastle Harness Racing’s premier race night, there will also be plenty of family fun with a face painter and clown for the kids, live music in Pacers Restaurant and Mini Trotters in action between the main races.
Call 49 561750 for bookings and more info. #NHR
CAREER BEST NIGHT FOR DAN
Talented young driver Dan Morgan had plenty of celebrate after a career best four winners at The Paceway on Saturday night.
The 20-year-old, who has had to overcome plenty of adversity as he forges a career as a harness racing driver, was clearly excited bringing up his fourth win in the last race of the night.
“It’s the first time I’ve driven four and it was a great feeling,” Dan said.
“I’ve been driving for just over three years but spent a fair bit of time out with injury.
“I’ve had three winners on the same night but never four.
“It’s all worthwhile when you get a night like that.”
Dan suffered a bleed to the brain following a fall at The Paceway in June 2015 and had two surgeries before he was able to resume driving in March 2016.
He made a successful return driving two winners on the night.
He was fortunate to escape serious injuries in a subsequent fall on the Newcastle track late last year.
The popular young reinsman showed his determination and love for the sport returning to the track within a couple of weeks.
He is employed as a sheet metal worker but spends most of his free time with the horses.
Dan’s quadie of wins kicked off with Exterminate in the 1609m C4 to C9 for Michael Osborn.
He then partnered with his father Paul to drive one of his favourite horses, Never Know Ozzie to victory, in the 2030m Pacers.
The eight-year-old gave Dan’s his second ever winning drive, when he booted home a double, in July 2013.
His third winner on Saturday night was his own horse Oh Really in the C0 only 1609m.
The mare had her first start for Dan and Paul two weeks ago and finished third at The Paceway.
Dan brought up his fourth win with a race to race double, taking out the last on Immortal Glory for Kristine Jackson.
Congrats to Dan for all at NHRC. #NHR
A SPECIAL WIN FOR SAM
If Fountain Lakes can put together her 10th career win at The Paceway on Saturday night it will make for a special Xmas Eve for stable hand Sam Milton.
The five-year-old mare and the 17-year-old Newcastle High student have formed a special bond since Sam started working with trainer Andrew Doherty earlier this year.
“I found out Sam liked horses and had been riding an ex-pacer. I got him his stable hand licence and he has been helping me on race days,” Andrew said.
“He will give her a wash and a walk and really likes being involved.
“She won at Newcastle on November 19 and that was the first time Sam has been there for a win.
“She had a couple of other wins before that when he couldn’t be there so it was great he finally got to see it.
“He was so excited and we got him a photo with him holding her after the race.
“It would be great to see her win for him again this Saturday but we’ve got a tough draw.”
Fountain Lakes is raced by Andrew and his sister Katrina, a pharmacist.
The family hail from the Riverina where their father John and brother Tim are heavily involved in harness racing.
“We grew up on a property south of Wagga and horses were always a big part of our lives.
“My dad and brother still train and drive at Albury and since I moved up to Newcastle more than 10 years ago I’ve usually had one in work.
“Normally I sell them after a win but we didn’t get the price for Fountain Lakes so decided to keep her.
“She goes well and we’ve been having a bit of fun and we will probably breed with her when she finishes racing.”
Fountain Lakes, who has had 37 starts for nine wins and 10 placings, lines up in the 1609m C3 Only on Saturday from gate 10.
SPECIAL WIN FOR ADAM
Adam Francis plans to head north to Queensland with Grins Made A Blue if the five-year-old continues the impressive form she showed in breaking her maiden status at Bankstown yesterday.
Driven by Todd McCarthy, the mare put nearly 32 metres on her opposition to win over 2140m.
“She is out of Blue Eyes Wide Open who gave me my first winning drive back in 2007 and Dad’s first ever winner,” Adam said.
“That made yesterday’s win even more special.”
Adam said Grins Made A Blue had eight runs in her first preparation.
“A couple of those were good runs and I always thought she had ability to become a really nice horse.
“Dad wasn’t as confident but he’s starting to come around now.
“She s starting to put things together. It wasn’t a bad time for Bankstown and she didn’t handle the turns that well.
“There is a series in Queensland in February and if she keeps improving we will head up there.” #NHR
(Photos courtesy Kathryn Bell)
HELPING HAND REAPS REWARDS
A kind gesture by trainer Darren Elder has seen a Hunter Valley family fulfil their dream of a winner not once but three times in the last fortnight.
Darren Elder seems to have found the key to Clean River and with the seven-year-old shooting for his fourth successive win at The Paceway this Saturday his success has been a great tonic for owners Warren and Deb Grainger.
Deb has been unwell in recent months and with caring for his wife, Warren opted to temporarily transfer Clean River to the Elder stable.
When he greeted the judge at Newcastle on November 19 it was the first ever win for the Grainger family, who have had around 30 years involvement with harness racing, giving them a well needed lift.
Travelling from their home at Parkville near Scone, they were there again for the second win on November 26 but missed last Friday’s victory.
They plan to be at The Paceway this week to hopefully see the gelding string together his fourth win.
Darren said it feels good to be able to train winners for the Graingers, particularly as they are doing it tough.
“They got one photo on the wall and now they’ve got three,” he said.
“They are really, really happy. I told Warren if he got stuck with the horse I’d give him a hand and I was only too happy to help.
“It has worked out good for all of us. The horse has surprised me. Warren kept telling me he had ability and he’s proved that now.
“Things get a big tougher this week but it was a good strong win last Friday and he is going well.
“He seems to go well for Brad and he’ll drive him again on Saturday.”
Clean River will start in the C3 to C4 LEARN TO SWIM AT FIRST SPLASHES SWIM SCHOOL PACE over 2030m.
Best of luck to the stable and connections. #NHR
ULTIMATE ART CLOSER TO INTER DOMINION FINAL
MEMORABLE NIGHT FOR CLAYTON
Clayton Harmey is enjoying a ‘purple patch’ with possibly his first ever quadrella of wins last Saturday night followed by a victory at Menangle yesterday.
The Cessnock based trainer/driver doesn’t keep records and while he can remember driving four winners at The Paceway he isn’t sure he’s ever trained four.
“If I have it was more than 15 years ago but I can’t really remember,” Clayton said.
“It was a good night Saturday. I had six runners lining up in four races so it was like four from four.
“It really was a great feeling.”
Three of Clayton’s runners, Machsaswinner, Secret Jack and Thatsnotberrynice were driven by Josh Osborn, with the first two winning heats of the Country Series.
His other winner, Riverleigh Dolly, was driven by Mark Callaghan.
Josh and Clayton continued their winning combination at Menangle yesterday when Linyanti scored a narrow win over 1609m.
Clayton said unfortunately his luck hasn’t continued with barrier draws for this Saturday’s finals of the Country Series at Menangle where he has three runners Machsaswinner, Secret Jack and Ma Joi.
“They haven’t drawn well so I’d say my chances of winning are pretty slim but then you never know.
“I will probably back-up Linyanti down there as well depending on how he pulls up over the next few days.
“He has been going really well and it’s great for his owner Chris Miles.”
Clayton will also have three runners at the Newcastle meeting.
KRISTINE HOPING FOR MORE SUCCESS
Kristine Jackson is confident her five-year-old mare Itjusttooktime can perform well in Saturday night’s heat of the AGL ENERGY TABCORP PARK MENANGLE WHERE HORSES FLY COUNTRY SERIES.
Maitland-based Kristine celebrated her first win as a trainer when Itjusttooktime scored a three metre victory at The Paceway on October 31.
“It was pretty exciting and I nearly shed a tear, “Kristine said.
Kristine’s daughter Ashleigh owns the mare, who has improved since joining the small, family-run stable.
“She’s had three starts for us and won a trial last week. Her form is pretty encouraging and I’m hopeful she can perform well on Saturday.
“She has drawn a bit wide in eight. Mitch (Chapple) has driven her before and can hopefully get her across.
“We didn’t celebrate much when she won because we had work to do but that might be different if she can do it again.”
Kristine is a third generation trainer with her father Billy Mordue and grandfather James Mordue both successful trainers.
Her late mother Maureen was heavily involved with the Maitland Harness Racing Club and mini-trots, while her sons Michael Mordue and Matthew Jackson have both had stints as drivers.
“I gave it away for a while but returned about three years ago and we now have three in work plus a yearling.
“They are stabled at Maitland Showground. I work them myself with help from the family.”
Kristine has another runner on Saturday night with Gozo Pearl, having his first start for the stable, in the 2030m C0 to C1. #NHR
ULTIMATE ART PRIMED FOR INTER DOMINION SERIES
Leading Hunter trainer/driver Michael Formosa has never been to Perth and is hoping his maiden visit to the Western Australian capital will be fruitful.
In less than two weeks he will board a plane with his impressive pacer Ultimate Art for a crack at the $1.1m Group 1 Final on December 9.
The seven-year-old, owned by Michael’s wife Kristy, had his last start before heading west at Menangle on Sunday and scored an impressive victory over 1609m.
Michael considers Ultimate Art to be in great form and is hopeful he can perform well in the series.
“It usually takes him four runs to hit form and and he’s clicking over how I expected, ” he said.
“He’s always been a good horse. Every year I think he’ll taper off but he just keeps producing.”
Michael and Ultimate Art leave for Perth on November 13 in preparation for the opening night on November 25.
He plans to give him a trial before the series kicks off.
“He thrives on constant racing so we will trial him leading into the series.
“We will be there for a minimum of five weeks. Kristy and the kids will join me for the middle two weeks.”
There are nine $75,000 heats over two weeks leading up to to the final.
The Inter Dominion Grand Final night, featuring four Group 1 races and the $1.1m final will be held on December 9.
Following the three heat nights, the top ten point scorers will square off in the Inter Dominion Grand Final over 2936 metres. #NHR
INTEREST PEAKS IN INDIGENOUS DRIVER SERIES
The Board and Management of Newcastle Harness Racing Club are excited to be hosting a heat of the Indigenous Drivers Invitational this Saturday night.
Now it it’s fifth year the series features heats at Wagga and Dubbo, with Newcastle included for the first time in 2016.
The first two drivers from each heat will compete in the $15,000 Final at Menangle on Sunday, October 30.
NSW Harness Racing NSW Director Michael Brown said the sport was the first of the racing codes to recognise the indigenous culture.
“We’re the first of the racing sports to have Indigenous recognition and an Indigenous invitational,” Mr Brown said.
He said the idea for an Indigenous drivers invitational race started about five years ago, and since 2011 it had been held at Menangle Park.
He said the concept had been embraced and the race was attracting more and more participants.
NHRC Chairman Jim Bell said it was great for the club to be hosting a heat of the innovative series.
“This is an exciting series and it is growing in strength and recognition,” Jim said.
The Newcastle heat has attracted eight runners with one emergency.
Joining local drive Bevan Pringle (pictured) in the opening heat of the JC CAFFYN PLATE INDIGENOUS DRIVERS INVITATIONAL will be Danny Scanlan, Kylie Barnes, Bruce O’Brien, Bevan Pringle, Jeff Brown, Matthew Coffee, McKayla Barnes and Andrew Lincoln.
The race will be run at 8.47pm
SHANNONSABLAST QUEST FOR GROUP 3
Darren Elder is hoping to claim a Group 3 victory with the consistent Shannonsablast when he start’s in tomorrow night’s 2300m Paul Fitzpatrick Cup at Tabcorp Park Menagle.
The seven-year-old gelding is coming off an impressive last start win at The Paceway on September 17, when resuming from a four month spell.
Shannonsablast has been runner-up in several group races but is yet to break through and Darren is hoping to change that in tomorrow night’s $31,800 race.
The Four Starzz Shark gelding, vying for his 20th career victory, is raced by Rayngold Pty Ltd.
He is building toward another tilt at the Inter Dominion Series having competed in last year’s series in Perth.
Darren Reay has Better Than Max in a $22,260 heat of the Bohemia Crystal Pace, to be driven by Luke McCarthy.
Good luck to both trainers and connections.
FAMILY FIRST FOR FIRENZE
CLAYTON SHOOTING FOR FOUR
The four-year-old Robin Hood gelding (pictured) brought up his third victory last Saturday night, winning by more than 11 metres.
He will again by partnered by Josh Osborn who has driven him at all three wins.
Mark Callaghan is hoping Franco Salisbury can return to winning form following his ninth at Menangle last start.
The six-year-old gelding has had three wins and a second in his last four starts at The Paceway.
He lines up in the 2030m C4 to C5 and will be driven by Mark.
Good luck to all our locals tomorrow night. #NHR
PREMIERSHIPS COME DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sydney-based Shane Tritton with 34 wins, holds a narrow lead but doesn’t have any runners at the meeting.
Darren Elder on 32 has three runners and just one behind is Clayton Harmey who also has three runners.
In the driving ranks Todd McCarthy has 39 wins for the season, with the next closest Josh Osborn on 32.
While Todd isn’t driving at Newcastle on Saturday, Josh would have to win eight races to grab a last minute victory.
Make sure you are trackside at The Paceway on Saturday for an exciting night of harness racing action!
Shane Tritton 34
Darren Elder 32
Clayton Harmey 31
Blake Fitzpatrick 24
Mark Callaghan 22
Michael Formosa 22
Belinda McCarthy 20
Kerry-Ann Turner 20
Todd McCarthy 39
Josh Osborn 32
Brad Elder 31.5
Michael Formosa 31
Mark Callaghan 29
Jason Proctor 26
Chris Geary 23
A LEGEND RETURNS
High Hopes For Better Than Max
Emotional Win For Matt
Matt has been a long time supporter of the Newcastle Harness Race Club sponsoring the Newcastle Derby for several years.
He has raced thoroughbreds for many years but despite his father, the late Bill Chidgey, having been heavily involved in harness racing, Matt has never had a pacer – until now!
Matt’s manager at Somerset Meats, former Knights player Trent Seckold, said they had been thinking about getting a horse for several years.
“We had been talking about it for a while but it wasn’t until earlier this year after the Derby that we got serious,” Trent said.
“We emailed Tony Drew and he put us onto bloodstock agent Darrel Kidd. He organised it all and we ended up with Vega Star.
“Matt wanted him to race in his dad’s colours, red and black squares. He had an old black and white photo so we were able to show them and get a set made.
“We didn’t think they would come in time but they arrived late Friday afternoon so he got to wear them.”
Trent said Darrell Kidd recommended Mark Callaghan to train Vega Star and they were fortunate that he was able to take him.
Matt and Trent were trackside on Saturday night to cheer on Vega Star, driven by Mark, who was impressive in his five metre win over 2030m. Chris Schneider, the other owner, was unable to attend.
“We were very excited especially Matt. It was pretty emotional for him. To have a win with his first ever trotter in his Dad’s colours was very special.
“The three of us have raced thoroughbreds together for a while but this is a our first venture into the trots. We had a great night and hopefully there are more wins to come.”
It was a big week for Matt with his galloper Pacific Reign winning on the Beaumont Track the previous Saturday.
Vega Star, a three-year-old gelding, had raced 17 times in New Zealand for a win and four placings. He will have his second start at the Paceway this Monday.
Bill Chidgey (pictured below) was a prominent trainer driver in the early night trotting era.
One of his best horses was the big grey pacer Snow Gum. He was one of the first secretaries of the Hunter Valley Owners and Trainers Association and a was a foundation member of the Caduceus Club of Newcastle.
The Bill Chidgey Memorial race has been run at the Paceway for the past seven years. #NHR
Sibling Rivalry On Track
The race is part of the great entertainment throughout our huge Group 3 Alabar Breeders Challenge Regional finals afternoon meeting.
Dan, 19, who has impressed since progressing to the senior ranks, will drive in a dual sulky while his sixteen-year-old sister Abbey, will be behind a mini-trotter.
Abbey, who is one of the leading drivers in the mini-trots, will have an 800m start and it should be an exciting finish with Dan assured to be powering home. Their proud parents Paul, a Hunter trainer, and Sue will be part of the big crowd cheering them on.
And one lucky racegoers will also be part of the ‘Sibling Stakes’ with a name to be drawn out of the barrel winning a seat alongside Dan in the dual sulky.
On Saturday night children will also have a chance to ride in the dual sulky as part of a mini-trot promotion.
Don’t miss out on all the fun on and off the track this Saturday and Sunday. #NHR
Winning Thrill For Lily
The fact that she dead-heated for first didn’t spoil the excitement as she drove Lively Lily to victory for her pop, well-known local trainer Robin Hosking.
The six-year-old mare was named after Lily making the win even more special.
“It was very exciting. I thought I might of just got there on the line but just to get my first winner was great,” Lily said.
“I almost won with Lily about a month ago when she finished second. She’s a pretty consistent horse and tries her heart out. It was special getting my first win on her.
“Pop was there to cheer me on. He’s been teaching me to drive since I was in nappies so he was pretty happy too.”
Robin Hosking and the late Garry Cameron, a close friend of the family, named the horse Lively Lily as a surprise.
“I remember coming home from school and Dad and Garry telling me there was another Lily. I was so happy and I’ve loved her ever since. She is a half sister to Pop’s champion Lively Exit.”
Lily, who has lived with her grandparents Robin and Christine since she was 11 months old, would love to build a full-time career in driving when she finishes school.
Now in Year 11 at Maitland Grossman High School she took a day off to ride Lively Lily to victory.
“I’ve driven mini-trotters since I was five and started my trials as soon as I was 16. I couldn’t wait to be a senior driver and I’ve had around 15 drives now.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to do it full-time and hopefully that will happen. I’m going to concentrate on school for the next 12 months, just driving when I can, and then start to put more time into it.”
Around school and driving Lily helps her grandparents who have around 12 pacers at their East Maitland property.
Miss Riviera Belle, owned by David and trained by Shane Tritton, took out the $31,800 Group 3 final of the Harness NSW Go Girlfriend Series.
The win continues a great run for David, our Newcastle Harness Racing Club finance director, who earlier this month celebrated his first Group 1 victory when another of his horses, the Tritton trained Tingira Beach, won the 2YO Colts and Geldings Vicbred Super Series at Melton. #NHR
IT WAS an emotional win for David Grant last night when he claimed the 2016 Glenn Tomlin Memorial with his promising colt Captain Rockey driven by Josh Osborn.
David knew Glenn, an up and coming trainer who died tragically in 1997 aged 22, and described the win as “awesome.”
“It’s something you don’t forget. Glenn was a terrific bloke and his death a big shock. I know his parents Bill and Pam so to win the race last night was an honour.”
David’s brother Darren received the inaugural Glenn Tomlin Memorial, when it was presented as an achievement award.
Over the years David has had several runners in the race but the closest he came was with Pixabrett who finished second.
While Captain Rockey started favourite in the race David said he was always worried about him being “a boy up against the men.”
“He’s only a three-year-old but his last two starts he ran away from them. Even so I knew we had a tough race ahead of us. I think taking him to the Breeders Challenge heats at Menangle improved him. Even though he was beaten in the heat he recored the fastest last 600m.”
Captain Rockey will line up in the Group 3 Alabar Breeders Challenge at the Newcastle Paceway next Sunday.
“He has had three wins on the track so to be able to race here for such good money is a real advantage. I’ve spoken to his owner Kevin Bates and we think we might give him a let up after Sunday and get him ready for the Maitland Inner City Pace in January.
“Kevin has been a great supporter of mine. He bought Captain Rockey at the APG sales and has just paid $20,000 for another colt that I’ll train.”
David, who works as a Dispatch Supervisor for Ultrafloor at Rutherford, said Captain Rockey’s success was a good reward for the early mornings and nights training him around work.
“Everyone in the family is involved. My wife Sally and boys Tom and Jack really love him and treat him like a pet. My nephew Matthew is keen to get involved in the industry and helps me a lot as well.
“I’m excited about the prospects of Rockey given what he has done already.”
Josh Osborn left Tamworth on Thursday with a track record to his name after Idle Hands super win over 2730m.
It is Josh’s first track record and he rated the winner excellently over the staying distance.
It was a double bonus for Josh with Dean Germon, who trains Idle Hands, deciding to take a break from training and handing the six-year-old and two others into Josh’s care.
Race Sponsorship, Affordable and Effective
Luck Stays With Carpenters
Lightning Scooter continued the winning run of late for the ‘Carpenter Clan’ with an impressive victory in the opening race at the Newcastle Paceway on Monday.
The colt, (pictured), having his 20th race start, is owned by NHRC Director Lawrence Carpenter.
Starting $1.50 favorite, the Mark Callaghan trained and driven three-year-old, blitzed his opposition in the TAB Pace to score a 4.5 metre victory clocking a mile rate of 1.57.2.
The win by Lightning Scooter follows on from recent outstanding victories by Tingira Beach in the Group 1 Vic Breed Super Series Final at Melton and Miss Riviera Belle, who won impressively at the Paceway on Saturday night.
The pair are owned by Lawrence’s son and fellow NHRC Director David.
Another prominent racing couple, Newcastle Jockey Club Chairman Geoff Barnett and his wife Maureen, where also in the winner’s circle on Monday.
The Barnett’s, who are part-owners in a number of thoroughbreds including 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist, took out the TAB Rewards Pace with Bad Boy Mara.
The Darren Elder trained gelding won by an impressive 5.2 metres, bringing up his fifth win.
The victory was the first leg of a, race to race double for the Elder stable with Jasper Dollar winning the McGuigan Wines Pace by a commanding 11 metres.
Jack Trainer took out the driving honors on the day with a winning treble.
The Menangle based driver, a former Rising Star victor, won on Second Major, Warner and Macca Kelly.
Mark Callaghan and Chris Geary both bagged winning doubles.
The Newcastle Paceway continues to produce fast times with Macca Kelly recording 2.25.8 for the 2030m distance in the Coca Cola Pace on Monday. The mile rate was an incredible 1.55.6.
It was a two horse race in the final lap between the winner and runner-up Mabrook. Both horses gave their all with Macca Kelly gaining the upper hand down the straight. The pair were too strong for their opposition, with the third horse, Charli Dollar, 26m behind.
The fast time follows on from Saturday night when despite heavy rain in the days leading up to the meeting, some blistering times were recorded.
Miss Riviera Bell ran 1.52.5 for 1609m, falling just short of Avonova’s 1.52.2 track record set in the 2014 Newcastle Mile. She now heads to Menangle for the final of the Go Girlfriend Series on July 23.
YaYas Hot Spot also recorded the very smart time of 1.52.9 in the Newcastle City Holden Pace, with all five winners of the mile races breaking one minute 55.5.
Broodmare Second Dollar achieved a rare feat at the Monday meeting with two of her progeny, Jasper Dollar and Second Major, both winning.
The Darren Elder trained Jasper Dollar won the McGuigan Wines Pace and Second Major, trained by Ray Roots Jnr, took out the TAB App Pace.
In a further twist, Darren Elder’s father Brian trained Second Dollar.
The Unveiling of the Ross Gigg Lounge.
Guests included Ross’s son Jason seen here surrounded by many of his fathers friends.