Monthly Archives: September 2019

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Quiet achiever Bel Sprinter gets ready to chime in Singapore

Singapore: Jason Warren could not be happier with KrisFlyer International Sprint hope Bel Sprinter but the group 1 winner has attracted little fanfare in the lead-up to Sunday’s $S1 million ($816,000) fourth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.

The gelding has ticked all the boxes according to his trainer yet locals Mr Big and Super Easy, Hong Kong’s four-time winner at group 1 level Lucky Nine, Dubai-based Kavanagh and Japan’s sole representative Dasher Go Go have all been spruiked more than the son of Bel Esprit.

Stablemates Super Easy and Mr Big have drawn barriers seven and eight respectively with most considering Super Easy to have a slight edge on Mr Big.

Mr Big’s navigation is in the hands of Corey Brown and the gelding is out to atone for his game second to Ato in last year’s Krisflyer. The four-year-old won his first race on this day in 2011 at start two and has never missed a place in 20 starts on home soil. It’s a compelling resume.

Super Easy’s local credentials are equally impressive, however. He arrived in the Michael Freedman yard after winning once (from five starts) in New Zealand and quickly turned heads at the start of his three-year-old season. The son of Darci Brahma saluted in each of his first 12 starts at Kranji and his record at 1200 metres is outstanding. Adding to his hype is that Brazilian wizard Joao Moreira is aboard.

Last time out on April 28, he won the Lion City Cup at group 1 level at Kranji with stablemate Mr Big a battling second after leading to the 200m mark.

As parochial as the locals might be, Hong Kong raider Lucky Nine (barrier three) is proven at the elite level. He snared the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin in December 2011 and many consider he will improve sharply on recent results on home turf.

The ”dark horse” in the field is Mike de Kock’s Kavanagh.

The South African-bred gelding has been sneaking around on outside tracks on trial mornings and will come in for support at odds. De Kock knows what it takes to get the job done.

And then there is Dasher Go Go. He’s not won for about 18 months, yet has been a consistent placegetter in good company at Nakayama, Kyoto and Sapporo in recent starts.

Italian Umberto Rispoli will partner Dasher Go Go for the first time and trainer Takayuki Yasuda has had a tremendous record in feature races. Last December, Lord Kanaloa snared the Hong Kong Sprint for Yasuda while Grape Brandy scored in the group 1 February Stakes at Tokyo.

So where does that leave Bel Sprinter? The back-room whisperers have found reason to tip away from the Aussie raider but he’s ready to run the race of his life.

Hugh Bowman is the right man, in the right place at the right time.

Despite the naysayers, it’s Bel Sprinter’s time to shine.

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Missy Longstocking books ticket for Sires

Missed by that much: Hot favourite Missy Longstocking (right) gets up to win for jockey Damian Browne from outsider Hallside Rose (Jim Byrne) at Doomben on Saturday. Photo: Tertius PickardThe Liam Birchley-trained Missy Longstocking will back up in next Saturday’s $250,000 Sires Produce Stakes after winning the Lancaster Stakes at Doomben. ”We were concerned at not having too hard a run with next week’s Sires in mind,” Birchley said. ”We’ve been playing catch-up with the filly. She’s exactly where we want her now. She’s switching off really well in her races.” Missy Longstocking got up in the shadows of the post as the $1.65 favourite. Jockey Damian Browne said although he was forced to race three wide the filly had cover. ”She relaxed really well, there is more development in her yet.” Birchley will decide after the Sires if Missy Longstocking goes on to the $500,000 J.J.Atkins.


Brisbane trainer Birchley made his annual trip to Scone and left a winner after Trajet broke the 2200m track record on Saturday. The seven-year-old was rated perfectly in front by James McDonald and will return home and target cup races during the winter carnival. ”I think I might even throw in a nom for the Brisbane Cup after that,” Birchley said. ”He is a promising stayer and there are a good range of races for him, and the plan is keep him going until the Queensland Cup over two miles in July.” Birchley opted to be in Scone rather than Brisbane where his smart filly Missy Longstocking won the Lancaster Stakes. ”I always try to come here because it is good for business,” Birchley said. ”I come and see some clients and the studs and will go to the sales [on Sunday].”


Grahame Begg pinpointed the Woodlands Stakes for Tweet at the beginning of her preparation, and after four winless runs, she delivered on the listed stage. Peter Robl got his timing right to score from Mineko and Northern Glory. ”I rode her two runs back and she went outstanding,” Robl said. ”I think there have been a few winners come out of that race. She didn’t handle the track at Gosford. It was just a forgive run. She really enjoyed getting to the big track and it completed a plan Grahame had had all the way along.”


Diamond Earth started her career as a tearaway youngster but now she is more crafty. The Choisir filly banked two Inglis bonus races as a two-year-old with sheer speed but in the Denise’s Joy Stakes, Diamond Earth got a sit before coming with a well-timed run to win. ”She always had the ability to do that, but as a young horse she would jump and run, so there was no need to settle her,” Robl said. ”She has been a great horse to me and now we can ride her a bit quieter. She is not a different horse, she’s just doing things a bit differently.”


Clarry Conners was doing it tough at Scone during the Doomben Roses protest. He watched on in the weighing-in room without sound. Conners was on the phone as soon as they came out of the stewards’ room in Brisbane trying to work out Dear Demi’s chances. He knew the protest result before anyone at Scone with another call giving him the good news.


The owner of the first winner of the Scone carnival on Friday, Jason McKay, died shortly after his filly saluted. ”He was as fit as a fiddle. He had played polo for Australia,” Southern Girl’s trainer Darren Smith said. ”The horse won and five minutes later he had a massive heart attack.”


Trainer Robert Heathcote was all smiles after Solzhenitsyn won his second successive $115,000 Lord Mayor’s Cup at Doomben. Heathcote made headlines last week when he forgot to nominate Solzhenitsyn for the $500,000 Doomben Cup. In a two-horse war from the 700m, Solzhenitsyn ($2.40) prevailed over Transporter ($3.70) with Epic third. ”That’s what people come to the races for,” Heathcote said. ”At the end of the day, you’ve got a couple of group 1 jockeys on group 1 horses battling it out. I’m glad it’s over. It was a bit exciting.” Heathcote said he would have preferred to run Solzhenitsyn in the Doomben Cup, but added: ”We’ll freshen him up now for the Stradbroke.”


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Panthers reopen old wounds for Elliot

Bad day at the office: Simon Mannering of the Warriors is tackled. Photo: Matt King Adam Docker of the Panthers puts on a fend. Photo: Matt King


It was those who once were Warriors that haunted their former club as the Panthers racked up 62 points to send Matt Elliott from Penrith with an all-too-familiar headache.

In a lesson to the Wests Tigers in how to overcome adversity, the part Windsor Wolves, part Penrith Holden Cup and part first-grade team looked pretty in pink as they celebrated a 62-6 thumping of the Warriors. It was almost the greatest night in the club’s 46-year history history, falling four points short of breaking the record for the biggest winning margin set back in 2004 when the Panthers smashed Manly 72-12.

If it wasn’t bad enough the Warriors suffered the biggest loss in the club’s history, the defeat was compounded by the fact it was their former teammates, Isaac John and Lewis Brown, who led the Ivan Cleary-coached side to an emphatic victory.

John bagged a hat-trick while Brown nabbed a double as the Panthers racked up consecutive victories for the first time since rounds 24 and 25 last year. They may lack the marquee players to pack Centrebet Stadium on a weekly basis and are only using $2.5 million of their salary cap, but Cleary appears to finally have his recently gathered football team on the same page.

Spare a thought for Elliott, who must be wondering why he even bothered turning up to the ground that has provided him with so much heartache over the years.

He was dumped by the Panthers at the end of 2011 after failing to win one of 10 finals matches. And on his first trip back to the foot of the mountains as a head coach, Elliott left with that same underwhelming feeling as he witnessed his side produce a performance capable of challenging the Tigers for worst of the season.

They failed to find touch from a penalty, were offside from a kick-off, conceded two tries from dummy half, dropped enough ball to lose three games of football and somehow found the head of the touch judge with a cut-out pass.

Even halfback Shaun Johnson was pulled from the field early in the second half to watch the train wreck unravel from the bench.

While many put Penrith’s shock victory against premiers Melbourne last week down to a bad night at the office from the Storm, the Panthers went a long way on Saturday night to proving they won’t be easybeats. They did it without Lachlan Coote, Sam McKendry, Josh Mansour, Blake Austin, Cameron Ciraldo, Wes Naiqama, Tom Humble and Jeremy Latimore – all in the club’s crowded rehabilitation ward.

There has been criticism of halfback Luke Walsh and his inability to challenge the line, but even he was putting his body on the line. His goal-kicking was first class, kicking 11 from 11, and his general kicking game was equally impressive, putting in a pin-point accurate kick to send David Simmons into the corner.

The 9386 fans at Centrebet Stadium were even booing when Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei broke his side’s duck with two minutes remaining. Vatuvei’s try ruined what would have been Penrith’s biggest victory, but Ben Henry’s missed conversion ensured it was New Zealand’s worst loss.

Their previous biggest losing margin was recorded back in round 14 of 2000 in Wollongong when St George Illawarra ran riot 54-0.

Brown believes Saturday night’s win was a result of the confidence the side gained from the upset win against Melbourne six days earlier. “Last week was a big game for us and we took a lot of confidence out of it,” Brown said after the game. “Hopefully we can continue it.”

PENRITH 62 (I John 3 L Brown 2 K Kingston T Robinson M Robinson J Segeyaro D Simmons tries L Walsh 11 goals) bt WARRIORS 6 (M Vatuvei try B Henry goal) at Centrebet Stadium. Referee: Gerard Sutton, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 9,386.

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Members get chance to land $1000 in bonus scheme

The NSW Standardbred Owners Association has announced a series where its members can earn $1000 bonuses in races around the state.

The cost of membership is only $50 and as long as the managing owner is a member at acceptance time, the NSWSOA bonus is $500, made in proportions by the association and the club.

If the horse is payed up for the Breeders Challenge there is another $500 bonus available from Harness Racing NSW.

The Young meeting on Friday offered the bonuses and Bankstown on May 31 will be the next meeting in the series. Membership can be purchased at where a list of the meetings at which the bonuses will be available can be viewed.

Luke McCarthy has lost his appeal to be awarded costs after the HRNSW had to drop charges arising from Mach Wiper recording a level of boldenone higher than the threshold in the Australian harness racing rules after winning the 2011 Newcastle Cup.

The swab was shown to be contaminated, with the level of boldenone increasing each time Mach Wiper’s sample was tested. This was most likely caused by enzymatic activity, in turn caused by microbial contamination.

McCarthy battled to clear his name for six months after stewards originally found him guilty of a breach under the rules and disqualified him for nine months.

However, the racing appeals tribunal found there were no factors in the way in which the appeal had been run by the HRNSW respondent that required such a compensation order to be made and there were no exceptional circumstances.

Meanwhile, Neil Day leaves for France to contest the World Drivers Championships this week.

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Hernia upsets Ryan’s tilt for titles

Champion country jockey Greg Ryan will undergo a hernia operation on July 1, putting into jeopardy his quest to win the Australian, NSW and country riding titles. Ryan expects to be sidelined for up to six weeks. ”I had a mishap riding a horse a few months back and I’ve just been putting up with the injury,” Ryan said. ”It’s been uncomfortable. Not the sort of pain you’d throw yourself down on the ground with, but I’ve managed to cope. I can’t do anything at all for two weeks after the operation and it will probably take another month to get back to fitness. The time off won’t hurt me. It will be a bit of a freshen-up in the paddock.” Ryan is a prolific premiership winner but his time recuperating will give rivals the chance to overhaul his lead in the three riding categories.


Former jockey and accomplished trainer Pat Webster is relishing his role as a Racing NSW mentor to apprentices in the field of drug and alcohol counselling. Webster turned up at Grafton races on Tuesday and, along with Malcolm Fitzgerald, spoke to a group of local apprentices on Wednesday. Webster, who was born and raised in Inverell, completed his drug and alcohol accreditation through a TAFE NSW course. ”I normally sit the kids down and talk about my personal family experiences and the dangers involved with drugs and alcohol,” Webster said. ”If I can help one or two kids out in life, that’s beneficial. It’s surprising how many young apprentices have had dealings with dads with drug and alcohol problems. I know in my own heart, this counselling is working and helping kids out. I’m mainly in the city and provincial areas but I love getting around the country. Kids in the country need this just as much as those in the city.”


Bookmakers operating at last Saturday’s Cobar Cup meeting copped a pasting. Nearly 3000 people turned up and miner Wayne Prisk, the only trainer at Cobar, was the star of the show. Prisk saddled up three winners – El Ponderosa at $8, Teraset at $7 in the $7000 Cobar Cup, and Ziazan ($4). ”The locals had a field day following Wayne,” race caller Col Hodges said. ”Every one of his horses was well backed.” Parkes jockey Michael Hackett rode the three winners. Hackett partners Street Ride for Gary Colvin in Sunday’s $22,000 Parkes Cup. To make matters worse for the bagmen, Fallon Street, owned by long-serving Cobar mayor Lilliane Brady and trained by Rodney Robb at Forbes, won as a heavily backed $2 favourite. Then Narromine trainer Catherine Chapman saddled up Scar Tissue, which scored on the dirt track after being backed from $2.20 in to $1.80. Before the first race, Sydney-based Bradley Woods won a $4000 foot race named ”the Golden Mile”, for the third successive year.


Sunday – Parkes. Monday – Tamworth, Port Macquarie. Tuesday – Cessnock. Friday – Canberra, Casino. Saturday – Wagga.

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