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

Value to check out at sales


WITH just eight days to the sale that always produces several above average horses, it is worth considering some of the following points.

More than 70 percent of the dams represented in this year's Redcliffe Yearling Sale, to be conducted by Darren Ebert & Co on Sunday March 31, are race winners.

Of the 76 lots catalogued, 54 are out of race-winning dams with 41 taking a record of 2:00 or better.

Yearlings are out of the Group/Listed winning race mares, such as the Seymour Nursery and QBred 2YO Triad winner Catwalk Beauty ($156,566), Too Smart For You ($149,684, QLD 4YO Breeders Classic), the Paleface Adios Classic winner Bangkok Dancer, Cullen's Jewel (QLD 3YO Breeders Classic and Redcliffe 3YO Sales Classic), Designer Style (Redcliffe 2YO Sales Classic) and the Redcliffe Oaks winner Montana Tess.

Other well performed mares include the dual Queensland Rising Stars Championship winner Ideal Tact ($98,454), Young Desiree ($89,451), Blissfull Kisses ($72,358), Perfection On Ice (1:55.9), Dance Like A Dream (1:55.9), Suki Suki (1:55.3), Riverboat Royce, the Seymour Nursery heat winners Emma Montana and Three Jewels and the Queensland Oaks placegetter Kiana Frances. Close to 50 percent of the dams represented in the catalogue are winner-producing mares.

The above is even more relevant if you believe that the mare brings much more to the breeding equation than the horse.

There are strong foundations for that belief, as the mare brings not only half of the genetic blueprint, but is also the factory in which the foal is produced.

Further, she supplies the all important nutrients to your future champion up to the weaning stage.

What the horse supplies is half the genetic blueprint. Due to the almost universal practice of artificial insemination - using transported semen, either chilled or frozen - that blueprint is not always supported by the best available "tadpole” as a semen sample on any given collection day may be mixed with extender and divided by the number of mares ready for insemination on that day, then transported.

Head over to the Redcliffe Sale, where there will be value for money and a $100,000 race for the following year, and see if you can find an equine mother that will look after you and your race winning hopes.

Handicapping issues

HARNESS racing across Australia, we are told, is about to enter a new era of prosperity, should we adopt yet another handicapping system.

The latest proposed cure for the damage done to our punter base, and by extrapolation to our sport as a whole (given that our punters supply the bulk of our income through "turnover”) by Mobile Conditioned Racing (MCR) over the last 20 years, is a "Ratings Based Handicapping System”.

This is said to be taken from the "universally acclaimed thoroughbred model” introduced in 2006.

Its ideology dictates that "handicapping principles remain fair, consistent, transparent and with the highest level of integrity at all times”.

Given that harness racing's share of turnover across the animal codes of racing just three years back was 18.5% and is now 11% (Harness Racing Australia figures from Eagle Farm presentation 11/03), and given that the MCR factors in Queensland harness have done their bit to nullify the presence of the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, it is obvious that something must be done.

I doubt that this proposal is the answer as, on close examination, it looks like MCR in gallops clothing.

The proposal is a lengthy document, but we will attempt to pick the eyes out of it in the coming weeks.

Maybe, in the process, it will begin to make sense to the recreational punter. He and she are our only hopes at this point.

Track obstacles

THE Townsville saga drags unhappily on in a city where football is the main focus.

Folks should remember that Bob Gibbs removed harness from the Willows complex to create a football stadium. Now megabucks are being poured into yet another venue for gladiatorial contests.

Meanwhile, Racing Queensland continues to put obstacles in the way of a return of harness to the Townsville Showground. They will, no doubt give support to the new ratings system as a means to revive turnover.

If they re-opened Townsville harness they would revive TAB betting in the area as a natural flow-on from currently non-existent media cover.

Easter treat

PUT a big cross on Easter Sunday on the calendar.

The Marburg pacing folk are working towards Marburg's best race day yet.

More details next week.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: E/w 2: Ima Grumpy Possum (N McMullen).

R2: Box trifecta 3-4-5: Jumping Jolt (M Elkins)-Tom Me Gun (N McMullen-Feel The Reign (Pete McMullen.

R3: E/w 9: Misterriodejaniero (A Richardson).

R4: Quinella 1-11: Skyfella Camm (K Rasmussen) and Golden Year (N McMullen).

R5: Box trifecta 1-3-10: Bells Beach house (R Maguire)-Secret Jack (B Battle)-Beau Cishlom (D McMullen).

R6: Quinell 1-2: Watch Pulp Fiction (C Turpin) and Glenferrie Hood (P McMullen).

R7: E/w 9: Clintal Do (N Dawson).

R8: Box trifecta 4-6-7-10: Hellbound (A Sanderson)-Quietly Spoken (N McMullen)-Needle (G Whitaker)-Empire Bay (P McMullen).

R9: E/w 12: Riverleigh William (C Geary).

R10: E/w 3: Call Me Queenbee ( C Geary).

Honour board

A likely record on the driver's side of the leader board with Nathan Dawson ticking up a massive 12 wins for the week, including four at the Inverell meeting on Sunday. The rating was a massive 600. Darrell Graham stayed on top in the training ranks posting three winners at Inverell and one at Albion Park. Most pleasing was Malibu Dream putting Peter Donohoe back in the winner's circle after a lengthy absence.

Albion Park, March 15: Im With Lexy (Pete McMullen for Ben Battle); Trojan Banner (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Our Memphis Mac (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Comply Or Die (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Im Free Falling (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis).

Albion Park, March 16: Spike Bromac (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Call Me Queenbee (Chantal Turpin for Gemma Rue); Slice Of Heaven (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith); Quietly Spoken (Narissa McMulen for Steve Cini).

Inverell, March 17: My Ultimate Romeo (Nathan Dawson for Darrell Graham); Our Major Day (Casey Owen for Richard March); Invite Only (Nathan Dawson for Darrell Graham); Tell The Linesman (Nathan Dawson for Darrell Graham); Clintal Do (Nathan Dawson for Richard Marsh).

Albion Park, March 19: Jiggle N Jive (Nathan Dawson for Aileen Smith); Platinum Roulette (Darrell Graham); The Shady One (Nathan Dawson for Trevor Lambourn); Im Norma Jean (Peter Greig).

Redcliffe, March 20: Getoutnwalk (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Golden Year (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Mach Torque (Chantal Turpin); Presley Be Good (Nathan Dawson for Shawn Grimsey); Vanto Hanover (Nathan Dawson for Aileen Smith); Studleigh Will (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen).

Redcliffe, March 21: Miaclesdoappen (Nathan Dawson for Mark McNee); Alotofcost (Matt Elkins for Donny Smith); Malibu Dream (Darrell Graham for Peter Donohoe); Ima Sea Storm (Nathan Dawson for Graham White); Big In America (Nathan Dawson for Stewie Dickson); Wattlebank Flyer (Gary Whitaker for Bianca Hooper).