Marburg trots
Marburg trots

Training hat-trick caps successful Marburg feature meeting


Denis Smith

THE Oktoberfest at Marburg was a pleasing result for the Marburg Pacing Association.

Given the downpour prior to last Sunday's first race, there was a healthy crowd, which built significantly once the rain eased.

The racing was competitive and only one trainer led in more than one winner on the program. Greenbank based Graham Dwyer pulled off a hat-trick training successive winners in races 6-7-8. That was a great effort.

The recent track resurface proved its quality by handling the bad weather. It will only improve thanks to the heavy watering, which would have taken the last of the air from the base level. The Garrards Young Drivers Series went to Marburg-based Hayden Barnes, who partnered three of the four winners through the series. Second and third placings went to talented "claim" drivers Angus Garrard, and Chloe Butler, both of whom will be eligible for this event for some years yet.

The Garrards Group got behind the Marburg Pacing Association, providing $100 vouchers for the competing drivers and further vouchers for connections of every horse nominated in the series.

Further to this, the Marburg Drivers Premiership will carry a Rio Cobra Sulky. That's tangible and much appreciated support.

As usual, an average of the winning prices over the day was attractive at $3.12, making Marburg a track where the punter gets value for his bet.

There's also exciting small track racing at the course where you can pick the colours out going down the back straight.

As to the family bit, the water slide was still going strong after the last race. Keep the kids happy and we are halfway there.

Talented young driver ponders future

THEY say that everyone has "their day" if they are involved in competitive sport.

Sometimes this involves a long wait, as you will see.

Marburg based (Paragon Park) Hayden Barnes, who will turn 25 next month, was successful in three of the four heats of the Garrards Young Drivers Series, which concluded at the Oktoberfest meeting.

Barnes finished ahead of "claim" drivers Angus Garrard and Chloe Butler who will be in future series for some years to come as both are only in their second season of driving.

Barnes, who has done only harness racing since leaving school was contesting his first such series, and was more than a bit pleased with the result.

Surprisingly, Barnes does not see a long-term future for himself in the light harness sport.

"I've nearly left harness racing a few times in the past few years,'' he said.

"I took a month off about two-and-a-half years ago and even then, I was a bit unsure if I was that keen to come back.

"It's a great sport to be involved in and we're happy to be around horses. But to tell the truth, it's pretty much full-on and it's constant, and you can get a bit run-down.

"We are both at the point where we're looking for a change because we've honestly become a little bit stale."

Barnes admitted that he hadn't even intended to renew his driver's licence but a recent run of success caused him to change his plans.

"I landed five winners in a week, got a metro double and posted my 400th career win so I guess that was enough reason to have a temporary change of heart," he laughed.

Hayden, 24, and his younger brother Brendan, 23, will swap their driving silks for overalls and steel capped boots next February and take up positions in the mining industry.

"We plan to be away for at least 12 months,'' Hayden said.

"We'll be working in an open cut coal mine near Mackay and it's a one-week-on, one-week-off arrangement.''

That's strange for a young man with excellent hands who can sum up developments in a race and turn them to his own advantage.

Hayden has all the attributes of a top driver. Keeping him in the sport at this time are the fast class trotter Gee Up Neddy and the pacer, Lexus On The Beach, both of which he owns. Harness racing in the Sunshine State is not so overburdened with talent, that we can afford to lose Hayden Barnes.

As support for the above opinion, here's Hayden Barnes' resume.

Lifetime driver starts: 4410 - Wins 415, Seconds 465, Thirds 454; $1,419,950.

This season driver starts: 974-W 85-S 104-T 95; $622233.

Lifetime trainer starters: 286-W 27-S 37-T 37; $220,985.

This season trainer starts: 72-W 10-S 10-6; $78,447.

Attractive Mutdapilly operation for owners

ON a totally different course are Ben and Tamara Battle, who are busily setting up on 116 acre block in Goebbels Road, Mutdapilly.

The proposed operation will include the training and racing end of the harness spectrum. Integrated with this will be a breaking and education system with a target it seems, of as many yearlings as can be fitted in with a projected race team of 10-15.

With the available acreage, the Battles will be able to offer spelling in the gaps between breaking and subsequent "preps".

This assembly line system should be attractive to owners, as important decisions as to a racing future or not, can be taken in house.

Ben Battle hails from Lyndhurst, a hamlet some 40 minutes from Bathurst NSW. He began his harness involvement with local trainer Peter Reid after a family outing to Bathurst trots with administrator Ken Davis.

Our man went straight into the harness game from school, spending three and a half years with top trainer/driver Bernie Hewitt, who Battles describes as a totally professional, and extremely talented gentleman, and a great teacher.

Battle said of the Hewitt family, that they know their horses well and turn them out in splendid condition.

A further stint with gallops trainer Doug Williams at Goulburn and some more horse breaking with Sam Hewitt rounded out the education.

Ben and Tamara Battle will follow several positive principles on their road to a secure future: "Success follows Success" and "Feed well, and work to the individual horse's requirements". Ben Battle has already tasted success with the first horse that he owned.

Whiskey Blaze, a son of Kenneth J, won in excess of $100,000. He was, as he said, the catalyst that fed the ambition to make it all happen.

There you have it. A young couple, about to give harness in Queensland a serious go.

Even better, the venture is underpinned by the breakers, the income from which will help to level out the peaks and troughs inherent in the racing side. Better still, Ben and Tamara will be assets in the greater Ipswich footprint.

With his feet planted firmly on the rainbow, and it all in front of him, 26 year old Ben Battle boasts stats as follows. Lifetime trainer starters: 507-W 56-S 57-T 51. $330,888..

Lifetime driver starts: 929-W 81-S 81-85. $522,912.

Integrity issues

INTEGRITY is a word much used in racing these days.

Former Chief Commissioner of Victorian Police Graham Ashton appears to have taken "control" out of the equation and replaced it with a short "homily" which puts the ball in the participants "moral" court.

What does integrity mean to you?

Here is Ashton's statement.

It should be the cornerstone of what you do. You should have established behaviours and standards that you model and don't compromise on.

You should be able to speak about that what they are. People who know you will value that. Some people might criticise your integrity but if you maintain the standards you set you will be fine.

I see dignity and integrity as going hand-in-hand. They are both similar in that you control them. For example others may criticise you but they can't take your dignity.

You can only forfeit your dignity. The same goes for integrity in my view.

Honour board

Predictable leaderboard this week with Pete McMullen leading driver, saluting on six occasions with Hayden Barnes starting to show up with four.

Chantal Turpin was leading trainer again with another solid performance, leading in four winners.

Most pleasing was Justin Elkins steering home three and Clint Sneddon claiming The Harriott Memorial for Team Bennett aboard Malabar Spur.

Ipswich factor: 25/54.

Albion Park, October 23: B Mac C (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Fire Me Up (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Larry Lincoln (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Fire And Ice (Justi Elkins for Vic Frost); Destiny Joe (Ben Battle).

Albion Park, October 24: Dance In The Sun (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Majestic Simon (Chantal Turpin).

Marburg, October 25: Malabar Spur (Clint Sneddon for Karen Bennett); My Ultimate Hell (Hayden Barnes for Wayne Davis); Major Fernco (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Cannan (Hayden Barnes for Lachie Manzelmann); Six Penny Red (Hayden Barnes for Graham Dwyer); Gotta moment (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer); Montana Chief (Darrell Graham).

Albion Park, October 27: Office Bad Boy (Alan Donohoe for Peter Donohoe); Nurburgring (Narissa McMullen for Steve Borg); Matau Jess (Pete McMullen for Steve Borg).

Redcliffe, October 28: Blue Moon Rising ( Angus Garrard for Darrell Graham); Montana Chief (Darrell Graham); Archilles (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer); Lord Denzel (Ricky Gordon).

Redcliffe, October 29: Rowdys Ace (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Rock The House (Ben Battle for Tanya Gillespie); Ali Downunder (Justin Elkins for Mal Charlton); Jerosh (Justin Elkins for Mal Charlton).

Handy tips

Selections for on Saturday night.

R1: E/w 11 - Casino Tommy (N Dawson).

R2: Quinella 1-7: Midnight Man (T McMullen) and Handsome Hero (C Butler).

R3: Quinella 1-8: Colonel Joy (P McMullen) and Courageous Saint (D Graham).

R4: Box trifecta 1-8-11: Bumper (A Garrard)-Smithstar Lexus (S Graham)-Tactical Response (N McMullen).

R5: E/w 3: Ideal World (N McMullen).

R6: E/w 3: King Of The Stars (P McMullen).

R7: E/w 4: Power Surge (G Dixon).

R8: First four 4-5-6-7: Jeradas Delight (C Butler)-With The Band (P Diebert)-Hunza Valley (N Dawson)-Feel Like Dancin (S Graham).

R9: Quinella 2-5: Fame Assured (T Dixon) and Colt Thirty One (G Dixon).

R10: Quinella 1-9: Jewel Of Peak (M Elkins) and Major Fernco (P McMullen).

R11: Box trifecta 1-5-7: God of Thunder (N McMullen)-Gee Up Neddy (H Barnes)-Our Overanova (G Dixon).

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