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

Marburg relives golden age



ANYONE not working on Monday?

Fill in your afternoon with a trip to the Marburg trots. It's a low profile but all important meeting as the heats of Easter Sunday's major features, to be run six days after will be decided.

There are seven standing start events and one mobile to be decided. That includes a discretionary handicap for the trotters.

It's a chance to re-visit the golden age of harness, when the mobile barrier was only a nightmare to come, and horses had consistent and reliable form lines.

Don't miss it. It's free entry, budget burgers and beers, bookmaker and TAB van, plus a chance to pick a winner for Easter Sunday.

It's a resurrection of Rocklea, on a bigger and better re-surfaced track.

Don't forget the 500 runner, $50 ticket raffle for the Bremer Ford Suzuki Swift.

The first race is at 12.35pm with canteen and bar open from 11.45am.

Couple's new life

IT'S never too late for a sea change, so when the opportunity arises, decisive folk pull up stumps and head off in search of a more satisfying lifestyle.

It doesn't mean that you stop doing what does it for you. It simply means that you go to more amenable surroundings to keep "doing'' it.

For Ray and Janelle Cross, an all consuming love for the traditional trotter has caused the Calvert couple to make a permanent shift to Victoria, where there is endless scope for the "square gaiters".

As you read this, the Cross couple are on the road to a new life, in a place where they have successfully campaigned horses on numerous occasions in the past.

Ray Cross was an icon when I came to Queensland 40 years ago. Horses like Keen Edge, Daphnia and The Emcee kept him up there.

He is 80 years old now, but when he gets out of the truck in the deep south, knowing he can race his trotters every week, he will feel about 50.

We wish that for Ray and Janelle, every post is a winner.

Joy of joys, we can watch it all on Sky Channel.

Unique connection

THIS moving bit is catching on. Craig Rail, who started his career as a race caller here in Queensland over two decades ago, will call his 14th and final Mildura Pacing Cup today ahead of a move to New Zealand.

That will draw the curtain on a distinguished career and unique connection with Sunraysia racing.

"I've called 14 Mildura Cups," Rail told Gait Speed.

"I started off with Sokyola back in 2005. It was Sokyola's third Mildura Cup success in a row.

I suppose it was a lesser scale than a Winx and Black Caviar, but everybody on track - and it was a huge crowd that night - wanted Sokyola to win and it was an amazing feeling that night when he hit the lead on the home turn.

Rail had all the skills, clear, accurate and informative.

Victoria's loss is New Zealand's gain.

If memory serves me correctly, his soft spot for Mildura was also connected to a "deli" on the way from the airfield to the trots.

On the menu were the "double cut" rolls, just about the best thing you can do with a large bread roll and a wide variety of fillings.

Solution needed

THE cone of silence over the Townsville trots issue is deafening.

Like the contentious matters overwhelming the QRIC, it is time for both major parties to pool ideas and come up with a solution.

We all know money is tight, but losing sight of the ball to focus on electoral tactics will shortly render all three codes of racing in Queensland irrelevant.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Box trifecta 1-3-8: Ark Me (G Dixon)-Our Delight (C Turpin)-Timeless Appeal (P McMullen).

R2: E/w 11: Rockn Roll Classic (D McMullen).

R3: Box trifecta 2-6-9: Broken Ark (P Diebert)-Albion Ark (A Sanderson)-Xaviers Hurrikane (L McCarthy).

R4: Box trifecta 6-9-10: Frost En Ice (K Rasmussen)-Mind Of My Own (T Dawson)-Amaya Becomes (P McMullen).

R5: Box trifecta 1-6-9: Left A Terror (A Richardson)-Regulus (R Alchin)-First String (L McCarthy).

R6: Quinella 1-3: Jovial Julie (G Dixon) and Smart As Camm Be (K Rasmussen).

R7: E/w 1: Art Ego (A Sanderson).

R8: Quinella 3-10: Majordoit (T Gillespie) and Colt Thirty One (G Dixon).

R9: Quinella 1-8: Fame Assured (P Diebert) and Red charmer (L McCarthy).

R10: E/w 1: Bronski Macarena (K Rasmussen).

Marburg meeting

Tips and comment for Monday at Marburg by Ben Crosby.

Race 1 selections: 5-7-6.

Skyflyer: Good run Albion Park last time, FFA trot winnner SA, looks the testing material.

Stoned Again: Never runs a bad race here. Winner off 50m here last time.

Greg the Great: Class drop on recent outings, first look at track but can figure.

Race 2 selections: 1-3-8.

Village Cruiser: Winner here and last run solid at AP in good time. Big hope.

Mach Torque: Talented type when on song, raced twice here for two 2nds, keep safe.

Brian Who: Good effort racing tough last start, can be right in the mix despite bad draw.

Race 3 selections: 3-5-1.

Escalera: Classy 3yo blessed with high speed, clearly looks the top pick in this heat.

Sports Story: Another talented 3yo building a good record.

Grizzly Montana: Last start winner, should look to trail leader and can fill a placing.

Race 4 selections: 7-8-1.

Recipe For Dreaming: Racing ultra consistent in higher grade. Only needs luck, top hope.

Goalkicker: Racing well for stable that is flying. Can do work so consider.

Domestic Art: 16-time winner eight times this track. Must include from good draw.

Race 5 selections: 2-3-1.

My Secret Torque: Good win Armidale last start and three wins from three starts at track, winner.

Topnotch Mach: Four-time winner this season and has won twice from a standing start.

Red Luck: Terrific record this track. From good draw will be in the finish.

Race 6 selections: 5-7-1.

Argyle Beach: Talented mare racing in great heart. Will finish hard and be tough to beat.

Gangster Boy: Terrific old campaigner racing super. Proven from standing start. Top hope.

Proficient: First-up here but has ability and can run a cheeky race.

Race 7 selections: 6-7-8.

Sir Julian: Racing tough lately, can make his own luck and look for the win.

Franco Totem: Returned to best form winning last start in solid sectionals. Must include.

The Shady One: Classy performer who can fly when right. Big chance.

Race 8 selections: 2-1-4.

Elms Creek: Big class drop on recent efforts at AP. Can look to lead and go all the way.

Underthekilt: Always runs a good race from a good draw. Keep safe.

Newmerella Sharkie: Looking to regain top form, good record here.

Honour board

Hayden Barnes and Narissa McMullen shared top billing on the driver's side of the leader board this week, both scoring on five occasions for rates of 250. Close up on four was Adam Richardson, rating 200.

Trainers again were split with Greg Elkins, Alistair Barnes and Chantal Turpin leading in three apiece. Most pleasing was Mitchell Dawson's double at Redcliffe on Wednesday night. Ipswich factor: 33/53.

Albion Park, April 5: Trojan Banner (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Miss Invasion (Narissa McMullen for Don Hancock); Lincolns Girl (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Paravani (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); God Sake (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Only In Rome (Trent Dawson); Comply Or Die (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis).

Albion Park, April 6: Lincoln Road (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Jumping Jolt (Justin Elkins for Greg Elkins); Franco Totem (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Platinum Roulette (Kylie Rasmussen for Darrell Graham); Crowning Glory (Narissa McMullen for Greg Elkins); Majordoit (Tim Gillespie).

Armidale, April 7: My Secret Torque (Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin).

Albion Park, April 9: Pats Delight (Adam Sanderson for Jay Edmunds); Watch Pulp Fiction (Chantal Turpin); Polished Rocks (Danielle McMullen for Steve Cini); Tuesdays Fella (Kelli Dawson).

Redcliffe, April 10: Nerio (Adam Richardson); Sonny Orlando (Narissa McMullen for Julie Mason); Unassuming Champ (Adam Richardson for Mitchell Dawson); Ritchie Bee (Adam Richardson for Mitchell Dawson); Swaffham Water (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); RocknRoll Classic (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); My Precious Yankee (Pete McMullen for Lisa Bahr).

Redcliffe, April 11: Tearaway Diamond Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Our Buscemi (Hayden Barnes for Kay Crone); Wattlebank Flyer (Adam Richardson for Bianca Hooper); Elms Creek (Taleah McMullen for Ron Sallis); Subtle Advice (Narissa McMullen for Terry Hancock); Gotothemoon (Matt Elkins for Donny Smith).