Trotting fans line the fence watching the runners at last Monday's Marburg Pacing Association TAB meeting.
Trotting fans line the fence watching the runners at last Monday's Marburg Pacing Association TAB meeting. Rob Williams

Marburg track interest growing

THE dust has settled on the Marburg "Queens Birthday'' meeting last Monday.

All in all, it was a satisfactory result for both the Marburg Pacing Association and the Country Women's Association "Farmers Appeal”.

All the key performance indicators were met, with 400+ payers through the gate, nine exciting races were run, and plenty of kids were present, entertained by the mini-trotters, animal farm and "pat a pony”.

Given that a good, mixed crowd of young and not-so-young folk were present with quite a few new faces, the MPA is starting to see their ambitious plan to restore harness racing/trotting to a position of prominence gaining a bit of traction.

There is a long way to go before South East Queensland, and the Ipswich footprint in particular, is the harness paradise for hobbyist and professional alike that it was in the late 1970's.

However, the "Marburg Mob” intend to get fans back on course.

With the help of major sponsors Oakwood Capital, Garrards and feed giant Barastoc, we can do it.

There are still two meetings scheduled for October.

With Barastoc putting up a pallet of top quality feed (960kg), plus a rug and trophy for the month's leading trainer, nominations should be strong.

Next Saturday will be a non-TAB program with the first two rounds of the Garrards-Marburg Young Drivers Series and a lead-in race to the Oakwood Capital Marburg Marathon.

If all goes well, we will be able to add a new dimension to the between race entertainment. Several groups of foot runners, anxious to add on track middle distance events to their normal diet of half marathon to 200 kilometre events will be checking out the venue with a view to promoting the Marburg Mile.

Back on the harness side, club president Scott Neaves and his trainer wife Tess are probably in a happy position in the Barastoc standings having had two winners last Monday.

The Marburg Pacing Association-backed meeting goes TAB again on Sunday, October 21.

Highlights are the $10,000 Marathon (2900m S/S), the traditional Graham Harriott Memorial for the trotters, and three boutique breweries celebrating Oktoberfest.

Surrounded by German sausages, boutique beer and all the kids fun, it will be bigger than Ben Hur.

Inter-Dominion excitement looms

WE are not too far out from the Inter-Dominion Pacing Championship for 2018.

Harness Racing's signature event will be run in Victoria, commencing the first round on December 1.

With heats being conducted in different areas, it will be a great, and lasting promotional exercise, taking the stars of harness to the people across the state.

The grand final will be run at Tabcorp Park at Melton on December 15.

A healthy 104 pacers have been nominated, with five of these trained in Queensland.

The potential Sunshine State runners have impressive credentials but it is a long road to December 1 and 104 will have to be whittled down to something under 40 by the series start.

Alleluia (Grant Dixon) - 135 starts for 33 wins and 49 placings - has come good lately and currently boasts earnings of $516,349.

Ohoka Punter (Grant Dixon) has 83 runs for 25 wins and 35 minors for a massive $1,065,404.

Frankie Rocks (Grant Dixon) has a record of 64-21-12 and $205,499 in the kitty.

Going local, Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen from Patrick Estate are looking to take rising stars Mattgregor and Watch Pulp Fiction to the big one with the view perhaps, if not this year, then certainly next, when they will have had the "inter” experience under their belts, and be the better for it.

Mattgregor has taken only 31 runs to be 14 times a winner with 10 placings, earning $116,016 in the process.

Watch Pulp Fiction, with stats of 64-18-12, and having collected $173,468.

Both have the ability to go on to bigger things.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: E/w2: Our Hi Jinx (A Sanderson).

R2: Quinella 1-8: Miss Kenny (A Richardson) and Always My Mate (P McMullen).

R3: Box trifecta 2-7-10: Jacks At the Beach (S Doherty)-Beau Cishlom (D McMullen)-Sir julian (J Cremin).

R4: Quinella 1-2: Sweet As (A Sanderson) and Grinvil (P McMullen).

R5: Quinella 1-8: Hard To Hear (T Dawson) and Hez Razor Sharp (B Woodsford).

R6: Box trifecta 1-4-8: Ohoka Punter (G Dixon)-Watch Pulp Fiction (H Barnes)-Glenferrie Hood (P McMullen).

R7: Box trifecta 2-6-8: Pompidou (T Moffat)-Invincible Loxton (K Rasmussen)-Somepartysomewhere (L Weidemann).

R8: Box trifecta 6-7-9: Caesars Astrum (P McMullen)-Our Major Day (D March)-Soldier Of Fortune (D McMullen).

R9: Box trifecta 2-6-8: Miracle Rising (T Dixon)-Melpark Royal Son (J Cremin)-Our Overanova (G Dixon).

R10: Quinella 6-7: Novena Rose (A Sanderson) and Stevie Dee (J Wallace).

Honour board

In a quiet week, with one meeting lost to track repairs and Saturday night at "the Park” a washout, Adam Sanderson took driving laurels. He posted three wins for a rate of 150. Hot on his heels were Gary Whitaker, Danielle McMullen and Pete McMullen, all rating 100 with two wins apiece.

Darrell Graham was top trainer with three winners, just ahead of Dale Belford, Tess Neaves and Chantal Turpin all leading in a pair for the four meetings.

Most pleasing was Paul Matis breaking the drought with Light Horse at Marburg. Ipswich factor: 15/33.

Albion Park, September 28: Opononis Bliss (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Ima Morven Lad (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Ann Mattgregor (Nathan Dawson for Dale Belford); Somexcusesomewhere (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).

Albion Park, September 29: Meeting abandoned.

Marburg, October 1: Northern Muscle (Denis Smith); Light Horse (Paul Matis); Riverleigh Jeff (Gary Whitaker for Tess Neaves); For Tony Darrell Graham); Concentration (Gary Whitaker for Tess Neaves); Im Toot (Stacey Weidemann for Dale Belford).

Albion Park, October 2: Much Bettor (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Thats How We Roll (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney).

Albion Park, October 4: For Tony (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Big In America (Danielle McMullen for Stewie Dickson); Lynnsanity (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham).