Picture: Rob Williams
Picture: Rob Williams

Pleasing series for ‘battlers’


THE “TROT RODZ” series of weekly one lap dashes (race six on eight Wednesday nights at Redcliffe and an eight dash program last Sunday) has been run.

The series was won by With The Band, trained by Donny Smith. High profile driver Paul Diebert had the steer.

The daughter of Changeover recorded an extrapolated “mile rate” of 1-50.2 over the 947 metres jorney.

Whatever your views on the whole concept, it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

A number of smaller and/or hobbyist trainers were able to win dashes.

Phil Keats (Prenzlau) with Living Free, Ricky Gordon (Haigslea), Risky Buziness with Narissa McMullen in the cart, Clint Petroff (Patrick Estate ) and Lachie Manzelmann (Wanora) managed a win apiece with the aptly named Dashing Hannah which changed stables at some point in the series.

Other smaller trainers, outside the footprint, were Alan Sanders with Downtown Lucca, Charlie Chiang (Patchwork Jet and Barboo), Mark McNee (Lifes Black), and Rob Gorman (Artful Jinks).

That the battlers were able to snag 50% of the heats, is pleasing indeed.

Next week: Who is “Quality Cam”?

Clubs need crowds

WHERE do we go when the COVID-19 pandemic ceases to be a disruptive factor in Queensland harness racing’s daily life?

Will we return to what participants viewed as “normal”, or will we be left with significant alterations to the status quo?

The first factor is that we have managed to survive so far without on-course patronage (if our current performance figures equate to “survival”).

It is very likely that there are people in the harness halls of power who are considering the option of no people on course ever again. It has been mooted in the past, commencing with the genesis of Sky Channel, that “we don’t need a crowd at the track, every one will get pay TV’’.

They didn’t but the seed was sown.

From a similar line of thought came the the statement that: “We don’t need ordinary people on course, we have the professional punters”.

They went as well, possibly from one of two causes:

(a) The consistent refusal of the control body to supply a punter friendly racing product, or (b) A refusal of clubs to supply “cashback” incentives to the “pros”, this being illegal, combined with the relentless march of technology, making a home-based operation not only feasible, but easily attainable.

Given the above hypothesis, it might be reassuring to the base of the pyramid for Racing Queensland to issue a statement to the effect that, when the dust settles, not only will trots fans be welcome back at the track, but clubs will be positively encouraged to see that this is the case.

Clubs must also ensure that a reasonable entry fee be charged ($5) and food and beverage charges be kept at budget prices. We have been drifting away from the exiting, spectacular, family entertainment that harness racing was in Queensland.

We must accept that the “elite sport” experiment has been a dismal failure for all but those who were already getting the cream, and retrace our steps.

The sooner the on-track participants understand that there is a crying need for everybody to put something back into the game other than turning up and taking out, the sooner the sport will regain a healthy image.

The blueprint for our future is most definitely in our past.

Honour board

NO changes to the premier spots on the leader board this week. Pete McMullen still the leading driver on six wins for the week with sister Narissa again clocking up four of the best. On the training side, Chantal Turpin still hanging in there with four winners, hotly pursued by Dave Russell and Stephanie Graham on three apiece.

Most pleasing again was the all the way with Danny Gatt-Bouquet and Lettucefirestar. Another to shine was Darren Ebert, thanks to Chump Chop and Whately.

Ipswich factor: 31/54.

Albion Park, May 8: Laughing Emoji (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Talent To Spare (Trent Dawson); Aurora (Narissa McMullen for Terry Hancock).

Albion Park, May 9: Dream To Share (Brittany Graham for Stephanie Graham); Lettucefirestar (Danny Gatt-Bouquet for Ryan Veivers); Feelingforarainbow (Matt Elkins for Dave Russell); Havana Moon (Narissa McMullen for Richard Hutchinson); Ultimate Ad (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Chump Chop (Chris Geary for Darren Ebert); Garland Greene (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini).

Redcliffe, May 10: Risky Buziness (Narissa McMullen for Ricky Gordon); Living Free (Pete McMullen for Phil Keats); Patchwork Jet (Pete McMullen for Charlie Chiang); Dont Call Me (Adam Sanderson for Greg Elkins); Dashing Hannah (Adam Sanderson for Lachie Manzelmann).

Albion Park, May 12: Just A Little Bit (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Big Wheels (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Tiz A Sizzler (Brittany Graham for Stephanie Graham); Fearless Faith (Adam Sanderson for Grant Dixon); Left A Hurrikane (Lachie Manzelmann for Chris Monte); Arthur Lowe (Lachie Manzelmann for Ron Sallis).

Redcliffe, May 13: Sword And Shield (Brittany Graham for Stephany Graham); Whately (Taleah McMullen for Darren Ebert); Torque Is Trending (Hayden Barnes for Wayne Graham); Perfect Feeling (Matt Elkins for Dave Russell).

Redcliffe, May 14: Gretels Girl (Lachie Manzelmann for Chantal Turpin); Voodoo Fella (Matt Elkins for Dave Russell); Ritchie Bee (Chloe Butler for Mitchell Dawson); Hes Novak (Hayden Barnes for Lola Weidemann).

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Box trifecta 3-6-7: Dark Energy (G Dixon)-Feelingforarainbow (M Elkins)-Big Bang Leonard (T Lethaby).

R2: E/w 1: Ghost Gum (L Weidemann).

R3: Box trifecta 1-4-8: Slippery Jade (N Chalk)-Goddess Jujon (G Dixon)-Red Charmer (T Dixon).

R4: Box trifecta 1-7-8: Kotare Elite (L Manzelmann)-Cautivar (J Elkins)-B Mac C (T lethaby).

R5: Box trifecta 11-12-13: Clintal Do (L weidemann)-Glenferrie Hood (P McMullen)-Colt Thirty One (G Dixon).

R6: Box trifecta 1-2-6: Hes Okey Dokey (M Elkins)-Sam Is Perfection (Z Chappenden)- Sherrif Jujon (A Garrard).

R7: Quinella 1-2: Chinook Winds (T Moffat) and Lethal Star (T McMullen).

R8: First four 2-5-6-7: Sir Fahrenheit (C Geary)-Garland Greene (N McMullen)-Majestic Simon (C Turpin)-Wee Man Trouble (A Sanderson).

R9: Quinella 2-7: The Hummer (J Cremin) and Governor Jujon (G Dixon).

R10: Quinella 6-10: Headwin (P McMullen) and Mister Diamond (T Moffat).