QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith.
QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith. David Nielsen

Elkins quality on show in deserved treble



THIS week has put the seal of approval on a driving talent which some of us have thought was about to surface for some time.

Surface it did, in most impressive fashion at headquarters on Wednesday night. Justin Elkins drove a treble for three different trainers.

This was another rung on the ladder for Elkins, who commenced in modest fashion in the 2015/16 season with a total of six drives and miniscule earnings of $613 from one second and one fourth placing.

We are now pretty much three quarters of the way through the 2018/19 term and the current stats are: 84 starts, eight wins, 11 seconds, 14 thirds and six fourths, with earnings of $52,510 so far.

On the lifetime page, the record shows 222 drives for 20-38-19-19. The bankroll $194,577.

Elkins has ignition and the rocket has left the launch pad.

Taleah's lucky escape

THE Marburg Labour Day trot meeting was run under fine skies an pleasant conditions.

Racing was keen and the club would like to thank co-sponsors on the day - John and Chrissie Turner, who are great community workers in the Rosewood district, and their mates from the Queensland Taxi Bowls Club. They seemed to be having a good day in the hospitality area.

Most remarkable event on the day was Taleah McMullen's lucky escape from serious injury in a fall on the home turn with a lap to go in race six.

From the sidelines close-up it looked like Monday afternoon in a front loader washing machine as three runners went over the fallen driver.

Again, the value of the modern day fibre glass skull cap and the safety vest was proven.

Fifty years ago, Monday's bruising could well have resulted in brain damage.

Imbalance of power

THE following is a reply from the Racing Minister's Acting Chief of Staff, to our group of harness folk who are trying to re-invent harness racing in far north Queensland. It clearly shuts the door in the face of harness aspirants who are trying to promote the sport.

"I would like to acknowledge your continued support to re-introduce harness racing in the region. The financial performance of Racing Queensland (RQ), and each code of racing, has been transparently presented by RQ in each of its recent Annual Reports and is a key issue for the Queensland Government and RQ.

"In recent years, RQ has provided Commercial and Strategic Plans to address the challenges facing the industry. In March 2019, the Minister hosted a forum of key industry stakeholders to develop a shared agenda to reform the industry. The Minister will publish the outcome of this discussion shortly.

"I understand that wagering on harness racing continues to experience a more positive trend. This growth has been delivered through steps that have included conversion of Marburg non-TAB to TAB, improved promotion and enhancing Winter and Summer carnivals. These are helping to deliver stability and a foundation for participants to invest.

"This has been possible by building on the existing assets of the industry, rather than expansion and creation of new centres at significant distance from current participant base. The functions of RQ and the Minister for Racing are clearly defined within Racing Act 2002 (the Act). The Act explicitly sets out that the Minister is unable to issue a direction about the allocation of race days, and the provision of funding to licensed clubs to hold race meetings.

"I have been advised by RQ that it does not consider your revised proposal is a substantive change, and that it has significant reservations about the impact on participants. RQ is committed to delivering a viable and sustainable industry and it has indicated that reducing the prize money will not support this outcome as it will not attract new participants and some participants may find it difficult to sustain operations on this lower level of prize money."

The above appears to be the end result of presenting the animal codes of racing in Queensland with an ultimate decision-making body, in which the major code outnumbers the two minor codes by three votes to two.

The only real hope for harness is to be returned to a separate entity, or in a partnership with the greyhounds.

While the current imbalance of power exists, the minor codes have two chances of going forward. Buckleys and none.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Box trifecta 1-4-8: Trilight Brigade (G Dixon)-Annika Magic (Taleah McMullen)-Jumping Jolt (M Elkins).

R2: Box trifecta 1-2-5: Celtic Cruza (M Elkins)-The Golden Cross (G Dixon)-Theresachance (B Barnes).

R3: E/w 5: Kinetic Kate (D Hewitt).

R4: E/w 2: Idealagain (A Sanderson).

R5: Quinella 2-4: Macheasy (G Dixon) and Tulhurst Ace (L McCarthy).

R6: Box trifecta 2-3-6: Jilliby Nitro (J Lee)-Fifteen Aces (N Xuereb)-Bee Happy Mach (C Alford).

R7: Quinella 1-7: Bells Beach House (P McMullen) and Colt Thirty One (G Dixon).

R8: Box trifecta 2-5-6: Pelosi (J Cremin)-Lightning Lana (J Lee)-Jemstone (C Alford).

R9: Quinella 2-8: Sir Julian (J Cremin) and Alleluia (G Dixon).

R10: Box trifecta 3-6-7: Spud (A Sanderson)-Mr Gunsen (T Moffat)-Our Overanova (G Dixon).

Honour board

One stable dominated the leader board this week, with Pete McMullen taking driver's laurels on six wins for a 300 rating from the very consistent Adam Richardson, who found the winning post on four occasions for a rating of 200.

On the trainer's side, Chantal Turpin led ins five winners, a good week at the Patrick Estate office.

Most pleasing was Justin Elkins who starred on Wednesday night at Albion Park with a treble. Ipswich factor: 25/42.

Albion Park, May 3: Grizzly Montana (Hayden Barnes for Brett Cargill); Soulwriter (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Musculous (Adam Sanderson for Brad Connelly; Our Memphis Mac (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Lincolns Girl (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Only In Rome (Trent Dawson); Theresachance (Adam Richardson for Graham White).

Albion Park May 4: Divas Delight (Kylie Rasmussen for Trent Dawson); Sur Le Feu (Kylie Rasmussen for Ron Sallis); The Shady One (Kelli Dawson for Trevor Lambourn); Innocent Crocker (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Beaver (Kylie Rassmussen for Melissa Gillies).

Albion Park, May 7: Saloon Passage (Adam Richardson for Chris Monte).

Albion Park, May 8: Alpha Styx (Justin Elkins for Mal Charlton); Proficient (Justin Elkins for Trevor Lambourn); Tactfilly Magic (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Three Mugs In (Justin Elkins for Merv Hieronymous); Tearaway Diamond (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Mister Rebilly (Adam Richardson for Chris Monte); Grizzly Montana (Hayden Barnes for Brett Cargill).

Albion Park, May 9: Our Delight (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Devouged (Adam Richardson for Doug Lee); Our Memphis Mac (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Bee Gees Bandit (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Top Notch Mach (Pete McMullen forRon Sallis).