Kelli Dawson with Destreos after winning his 400th start. Picture: Dan Costello
Kelli Dawson with Destreos after winning his 400th start. Picture: Dan Costello

Kelli achieves incredible feat in winning partnership


KELLI Dawson reaches for the stars in the Redcliffe 2yo Feature and grabs one.

The following is from the pen of Duane Ranger.

If someone had forked out another $4000 for Manila Playboy at last year's Redcliffe Yearling Sales, then the biggest night of Shane Fraser and Kelli Dawson's racing careers would never have happened.

The long-time training and driving duo nailed their first Group 1 victories at Redcliffe Paceway on Saturday night when the gifted Pet Rock gelding toughed it out to win the $100,000 Redcliffe Yearling Sales 12th 2YO Series Final.

"I'm 30 now and been driving for half my life (15 seasons) and I've finally achieved my dream, I think it will take a day or two before I realise what I've done though," Dawson said.

"A lot of drivers don't achieve this so I consider myself very fortunate. I just want to thank Shane and his family for putting me on this very nice horse again.

"I've won a Group 3 race behind Destreos in the Be Good Johnny Sprint (2012) before, but nothing beats this - I will never forget tonight."


Harness driver Kelli Dawson. Picture: Jono Searle.
Harness driver Kelli Dawson. Picture: Jono Searle.

Dawson said she had spoken to Fraser before and after the 1,780m mobile and they both knew that Manila Playboy had to be put into the race from his awkward barrier draw of seven.

"We had to make our own luck, he's only had four starts now and hasn't had a decent draw yet (7,6,11, 8) so I had to put him close to the pace or we might have got left behind," Dawson said.

Kelli went and sat parked with Manila Playboy at the 1100 metre mark and he stuck on tenaciously to win by 1.7m from Shes Miss Divine.

He stopped the clock in 2:09.7 (mile rate 1:57.3) with sectionals of 29.8, 30.2, 29.2, and 29.1. Manila Playboy has now won three of his four starts, with a bank balance of $73,045.

There you have it. That was Dawson's reason for chasing a stay of proceedings on another racing incident.

Judgement was right on the button, Manila Playboy was driven to his strengths, and Group One success was the result.

Hewitt one to watch

THIS trainer/driver will be hot in Queensland.

Goulburn horseman Brad Hewitt is just another eyeing off the warm Queensland winter carnival.

The outstanding horseman is keen to head north and take part in the much revised Albion Park features which officially kicks off next week.

The metropolitan club will conduct three quality meetings on July 11, 18 and 25 with a raft of features spread across the three nights. Following the news from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday who outlined the reopening of the state border on July 10, Hewitt is now planning and confirming his team. It's likely it will be a team of 8 to 10.

"I'm keen to get up there but I've been waiting on news regarding the border and when it will reopen, now that we've got a date, it will be all systems go and I'm looking forward to the challenge." Hewitt said.

A likely contender for the Queensland campaign is stable newcomer Nostra Villa, a former Australian Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year when prepared by Emma Stewart in Victoria.

Queenslanders beware, the raiders are at our gates.

Growing support in the north

THE Townsville harness saga proceeds and appears to be gaining support.

There is much input via letters to the Townsville Bulletin.

People in the north are beginning to see the wisdom of a "dual code" harness and greyhound facility at Smiles Stadium, formerly "The Willows".

Proposals put forward by harness spokesman Troy Clive are receiving serious consideration.

A Townsville harness facility is a popular concept here in the South East, and a dual code enterprise is just commercial common sense.

Lottery with four legs

THE late, great race caller, Ken Howard, always said: "The sport of Kings (horse racing) is a chancy business".

Australian author, and harness writer Frank Hardy described it as "a lottery where the tickets have four legs".

So it must have seemed for Deception based trainer Melissa Kendall, struggling along on the rare winner.

Things did change however, and some of the lottery tickets responded to Melissa and her partner Phil Chappenden's training regimes.

Add their son, Zac's natural driving skills to the mix, and we are now looking at a family stable of 12 horses which has produced three $10,000 Q-bred bonuses in the last eight months.

It is one very happy story of determination to succeed, and a great example of the principle that "things can change, and change for the better"

Honour board

AFTER a momentary downturn, Pete McMullen took drivers honours with seven wins for the week, besting sister Taleah McMullen, just two behind notching five victories.

On the trainer's side of the board four stables were locked together when the umpire called time with John McMullen, Ron Sallis, Dan Russell and Alistair Barnes, each leading in two winners.

The many pleasing performances included Kelli' Dawson's big one, Taleah's treble at Marburg, Lachie in the Redcliffe Cup, Dartesian for Trent Hodges, and Jurgen Stroschon getting ever closer to a win with Kid Calvert.

Ipswich factor: 29/54.

Albion Park, June 26: Tommy Under fire (Taleah McMullen); Warner (Zac Chappenden for David Rodger Jnr).

Redcliffe, June 27: Ima Top Tycoon (Taleah McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Weeks End (Pete McMullen for Jarrod Alchin); Havana Moon (Pete McMullen for Richard Hutchinson); Manila Playboy (Kelli Dawson for Shane Fraser); Burmach (Pete McMullen for Ron Sallis); Sole Ambition (Lachie Manzelmann for Donny Smith); Justa Little Bit (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).

Marburg, June 29: Utella (Lachie Manzelmann for John Stariha); Western Showgirl (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig); Forbidden Feelings (Matt Elkins for Narissa McMullen); Rancho Man (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Rowdys Ace (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Karloo Mac (Taleah McMullen for Brett Cargill).

Albion Park, June 30: Chantrey (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers).

Redcliffe, July 1: Aqua Cruiser (Michael Tenardi); I'll Be Watching (Pete McMullen for Stewie Dickson); Tinka Terror (Brittany Graham for Stephanie Graham); Black Jewel (Trent Moffat for John Cockburn); Dartesian (Trent Hodges).

Redciffe, July 2: Champagne Reactor (Pete McMullen for Stewie Dickson); Perfect Feeling (Matt Elkins for Dan Russell); Somebeachsomegift (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Joey Lincoln (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Big in America (Pete McMullen for Stewie Dickson); Bustin Feelz Good (Taleah McMullen for Merv Hieronymus); Burmach (Ben Battle for Ron Sallis); Tulhurst Kate (Matt Elkins for Dan Russell).

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park Saturday night.

R1: Box trifecta 1-6-8: Feeling For A Miracle (K Dawson)-Roll With lachlan (S Graham)-Culture King (C geary).

R2: Box trifecta 7-9-10: With The Band (P Diebert)-Saint Kilda Beach (G Dixon)-Eternal Promise (A Sanderson).

R3: Box trifecta 3-5-10: Maywyns Courage (K Dawson)-El Gran Senor (S Graham)-Sam Is Perfection (B Barnes).

R4: E/w 1: Heza Bromac (C Geary).

R5: E/w 2: Kotare Elite (I Ross).

R6: Box trifecta 7-8-9: Unassuming Champ (L Manzelmann)-Beau Chisholm (R Maguire)-Red Charmer (T Dixon).

R7: Box trifecta 3-4-6: Ali Downunder (S Doherty)-Our Friend (I Ross)-Mister Hart (Z Chappenden).

R8: E/w 5: Mister Diamond (T Moffat).

R9: First four 4-5-6-9: Sole Ambition (L Manzelmann)-Subtle Delight (J Elkins)-Maywyns Best (K Dawson)-Speech Is Silver (K Rasmussen).

R10: Quinella 2-3: Live Atom (M Elkins) and Mohs Em Down (J Alchin).

R11: Box trifecta 1-2-5: Colt Thirty One (G Dixon)-Lilac Frost (K Rasmussen)-Major Cam (A Garrard).