Tom will be sorely missed
AS YEARS roll by, the more it becomes apparent that the people who love the light harness sport are still the bonds that hold the game together.
Last month we lost a long and devoted supporter in Tom Henry Maher.
Born in Charlton Victoria in 1932, Tom trained and drove his own team in the early 70s all around the Victorian country circuit, including horses like Hillsend Lass, Satin Adios, Eastern Nymph and Golden Kay.
He became another name on the list of southern transplants when moving to St George in south-west Queensland at the end of the 70s, where he and his family would take on the task of farming 13,000 acres of virgin bush.
They would farm wheat and sheep for the next few years before moving to Toowoomba where they could access better high school facilities for their three youngest children.
Whilst in Toowoomba Tom re-ignited his love of harness racing.
An avid breeder of his own horses this is where Tom would have his greatest success in harness racing.
Taking Hillsend Kate through to free for all status with multiple victories at Clifford Park and Albion Park in Brisbane.
Hillsend Kate, a daughter of Kentucky and Hillsend Lass by Kid Scott, won 18 races with 14 seconds and 10 thirds, including a 1984 win rating 1-58.0.
He always said to his wife he would get a special horse and gave it to her for her birthday.
Tom and his son Neal trained a small team from rented stables on the outskirts of Toowoomba.
They enjoyed good success racing horses, including Hillsend Kate, Timtrix and Tarport Tiki.
A move to Redcliffe in the late 80s would see the family continue his love of harness racing.
After purchasing a house and stables in Knight St, Redcliffe, the family raced handy performers such as Ottaba Able, Epping Karamea, First Half, Sandra Golden, Princess Blaze and Tasanka Blossum.
In what esteem was Tom Maher held by his peers, let me quote "Bunger Johnson" who first encountered Tom when chasing pigs on the St George block and commenced an enduring friendship at that point.
"A good family man, a country bloke, honest as the sun, who I held in the highest regard".
We have lost another brick in the wall.
Locals chase NSW dollar
Local trainers Narissa McMullen (Glamorganvale) and Shane Sanderson (Gatton) have decided to make a combined assault on the New South Wales harness dollar.
Following the news talented young horseperson Narissa McMullen had made the move south of the border, astute trainer Shane Sanderson left Brisbane on Tuesday for Menangle.
Sanderson and McMullen will train and operate exclusively from the new state-of-the-art training complex based on course at Menangle, in Sydney's south-west.
The move has been on the cards for some time now for Sanderson, who left his position in the Queensland mines to become a full-time trainer and on the principle that "there is strength in numbers".
The two will join forces at the state's premier track.
"The barns officially opened across the weekend and I'm looking forward to getting down there and setting up with my team of horses," Sanderson said.
"I have taken a barn that accommodates 20 horses and I have about a dozen to work with while Narissa will have her small team of three or four and just like in Brisbane, she will be my stable driver."
The duo have combined in recent times at Albion Park with good strike rate and will look to consolidate that partnership once in Sydney together.
Sanderson is no stranger to success at the big spacious track after landing the Group 1 $100,000 Australian Pacing three-year-old Colts and Geldings Final at Menangle with Maywyn Jasper back in 2010.
Narissa's small yet talented team is headed by recent Tamworth Gold Cup winner Murano.
Come along and enjoy the up-close action on the 700m circuit at Marburg next Saturday.
With a $250 "pick the card" competition (coupon in the race book), bookmaker betting on local trot and major gallops with Sky screen services, it promises to be a great day of country trots.
Top burgers, fish and chips, deserts, hot and cold drinks are available with top bar service all at rock bottom prices.
Adults $5, pensioners $3 and children under 16 are free. Racebooks are $3.
Trials start at 11am with first race about 12.30pm.
Selections for Albion Park tonight.
R1: E/w 1: One Eyed Terror (P. Greig).
R2: Quinella 1-3 Vader (N. Dawson) and Tutu Bene Lombo (B. Barnes).
R3: Box trifecta 1-3-5 Yerrington Bob (S. Graham) - Magic Oats (P. Greig) - Bennys Ace (M. Neilson).
R4: Box trifecta 1-2-8 Long Term Fella (L. Weidemann) - Major Command (T. Lambourn) - Camelot Bay (Madi Dux).
R5: E/w 2 Young Desiree (M. Neilson).
R6: E/w 1 Supaliner (B. Graham).
R7: E/w 6 Franco Nepia (B. Cockburn).
R8: E/w 8 Gallymont Sport (T. Dawson).
R9: Quinella 3-8 Goldplay (B. Cockburn) and Highview Aria (K. Dawson).
R10: Quinella 5-6 Saratoga (A. Sanderson) and Mr Mayfly (P. Greig).
Only one name on the leaderboard this week with Barty Cockburn making a clean sweep, trained three, drove six. The scenic rim strikes back. Pleasing efforts were Ominous Flyer for Dale Chalk and sign of Perfecshon for James Lewin with Michael Johnson in the sulky.
Gold Coast at Albion Park, January 29: Saratoga (Adam Sanderson); Zeda Guy (Pete for Chantal Turpin- McMullen); Blessed Is The Boy (Pete for John McMullen).
Albion Park, January 30: Supaliner (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Maywyns Best (Barty Cockburn for Graham Dwyer); Chevals Clivesdale (Barty Cockburn for Shannon Price); Destreos (Kelli Dawson for Kenny Rattray); Toolija Dawn (Barty Cockburn).
Albion Park, February 2: Drunken Maniac (Barty Cockburn); Glasscutter Spirit (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Destreos (Kelli Dawson for Kenny Rattray); Cougar Oreily (Rob Gorman for Rachel Scott); Bettor Promise (Barty Cockburn for Shannon Price); Montcalm (Chantal Turpin McMullen).
Redcliffe, February 3: Ominous Flyer (Dale Chalk); Sign Of Perfecshon (Michael Johnson for James Lewin); Many Delights (Barty Cockburn).
Gold Coast at Redcliffe, February 4: Hugh (Nathan Dawson for Chris Petroff); Kyms Boy (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins).