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Queensland Harness Racing Wrap - July 8

8 July 2024

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Aroda taking out the 2024 Queensland Sun.

Catch up on the week's harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.



Aroda and Koda Da Moda both secured starts in the Rising Sun and the Great Square respectively following their performances on Saturday night.

The Graham Dwyer-trained Koda Da Moda has been a model of consistency since arriving in Queensland and connections have had this race on the radar for some months with the four-year-old mare.

That plan has now ben realised after Nathan Dawson was able to guide the mare into third placing behind Bet N Win and Rockinwithattitude.

As the first Queensland-trained trotter across the line, connections received The Great Square invite and will go into the race with a mare that has developed a great record at The Creek.

“We probably thought the invite would have come before this race, but it doesn’t matter now, we are there and have a mare that is racing great,” Dwyer said.

“She can follow speed and this race should generate good tempo, I am just so pleased for her owners, they are a great group of people and have been good to our stable.”

The owners are the All In group, headed up by John and Vicky Hancox, with the mare purchased earlier this year, not only for the ability and attributes John recognised but with some sentimental aspects around her name.

John Koda was an extremely talented surfer and windsurfer and a good friend of the Hancox family, who tragically took his own life in early 2022.

His memory is perpetuated with the Koda Classic wind surfing carnival on the Sunshine Coast with the second Classic held earlier this year.

After a second in the McNeil Championship Final behind Gus, Koda da Moda will now face her biggest test in The Great Square.

Grant and Trista Dixon combined for their second feature in successive weeks with four-year-old pacer Aroda which finished best to claim the Queensland Sun and gain his invite to the Rising Sun.

Following his all the way victory in last week’s Redcliffe Cup as a $10 chance, Aroda started a $13 hope on Saturday from barrier nine where Trista was able to position the entire with the prefect one by one trail.

With stablemate Free Thinker sent around from his second line gate to sit parked, the race favourite, Ellis Street kept a genuine tempo over the 2138 metre journey.

Turning for home, Free Thinker loomed strongly but it was Aroda that finished over the top to claim the lion’s share of the $53,000 prizemoney, the win tipping him over $100,000 in earnings this season.

“He is just in a purple patch at the moment,” Dixon said following his latest victory.

“He is a good sit and sprint horse and so we just used that speed at the end.”



Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 8:12 PM


D: Trista Dixon
D: Grant Dixon
D: Pete McMullen


The first of four big nights that encompass the Albion Park component of the Queensland Constellations saw some big performances across the board.

Aroda forced his way into the Rising Sun following his victory in the Queensland Sun, defeating his stablemate Free Thinker which was brave in defeat.

Pandaia caused somewhat of an upset in the Queen of Hearts, the Rickie Alchin four-year-old finishing best to hold off a fast-finishing Tay Tay with race favourite Manhattan finishing fourth.

Victorian mare Ludacrous was game in defeat, while Girl From Rosedale set the tempo from gate five and was under five metres from the winner on the wire.

All are likely to back up for the Fleur De Lil and push on to the Group 1 Golden Girl the following week.

Rocknroll Hammer enhanced his claims for another tilt at The Rising Sun, the now four-year-old which was runner-up in the race last year, scoring a dominant win stamped with a 54.5 closing half.

Leap To Fame stretched his winning streak at The Creek to 10, equalling his best rate around the Breakfast Creek oval of 1.50.2 in claiming the Wondais Mate.

At Menangle, London To A Brick confirmed his Great Square defence is on target following his third successive victory.

Forced to sit parked, fellow Great Square invitee, the Jess Tubbs trained Shes Ruby Roo led and pushed the Rattray trained London To A Brick, with just a neck separating the pair on the wire.

Bluto could not overcome a wide gate when finishing a half-neck behind the winner, his stablemate Taipo suggesting he can be a player following his 1.49.3 victory in the following race.

Earlier in the week on the 1400 metre oval, My Ultimate Sunny finalised his preparations for a run at The Great Square, maintaining his undefeated record in defeating fellow Great Square hopeful Karakajack Tooth.



Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 6:15 PM


D: Grant Dixon
D: Luke McCarthy
D: Jack Callaghan


Bet N Win is flying the flag for New Zealand this carnival as the lone Kiwi trained trotter to venture across the Tasman for the Constellations.

Trained by David and Stacey White, the four-year-old made his first appearance at Albion Park on Saturday night, first up from a freshen in tackling the inaugural Stellar Square.

Arriving with four consecutive wins next to his name, the talented trotter drew wide off the front line, opening an odds-on elect when the markets first went up, eventually starting at $2.30 as Rockinwithattitude started the marginal fav at $2.15.

With many pundits believing Rockinwithattitude would lead from the mobile, Matt Elkins aboard Head Em Up kicked through in the early stages to repel the David Miles-trained mare.

The tempo was strong, and the field spread right out, with Hide And See the first to make a move, sliding up strongly to get to the wheel of the leader.

However, the race changed complexion with 1200 metres to travel as Head Em Up went off stride and angled to the outside, causing Hide And Seek to break gait and the chain reaction saw Rockinwithattitude slide through to lead as Bet N Win then moved up to sit parked.

As the field went through the next 800 metres, there were five runners that were well clear of the field and it looked a race in two approaching the home bend, with the Miles trained mare in front.

Despite Bet N Win looking like he may have run his race, the gelding dug in for the fight and kept grinding, drawing level with 50 metres to travel and pulling clear over the concluding stages.

With quarters of 31 and 29.4 followed by a 28.1 third split, the last panel in 28.8 saw the mile rate on the board at 1.56.3, just 0.1 outside the track record set by Ollivici in a heat of the Inter Dominion last December.

At this stage, Bet N Win will compete in The Great Square, have a week off and then round out his carnival in the Group 1 Queensland Trotters Cup on the last night of the carnival.



Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 6:43 PM


D: David Miles
D: Nathan Dawson


There were records all around following the win of Gus in the Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotters Championship on Saturday night.

The Chantal Turpin-trained, and Pete McMullen-driven, five-year-old claimed the twelfth win of his career when showing a devastating turn of hoof to power home over his rivals, pulling clear to claim the Group 2 feature event.

For McMullen it was his third win in the trotting feature, while for Chantal, it was her second training success, having previously prepared Majestic Simon to win the 2020 edition.

Gus joins Majestic Simon as the only square gaiters to win two of the main features on the Queensland Trotting Calendar, securing the Jim McNeil Memorial and DJA Final, with both securing the double in the same season.

While Gus also becomes just the second trotter to make a clean sweep of both heat rounds and the final, joining the Victorian mare Pink Galahs which was able to secure the feat in 2021.

As Defensive Guy set a strong tempo in Saturday’s Final, McMullen had Gus safely away from the 20-metre handicap and with a number of runners breaking gait, was able to slot into a perfect one out and one back position.

Majestic Harry loomed strongly from the 600 to apply pressure to the leader, allowing Gus to stalk the speed, McMullen easing wider at the top of the stretch and charging down the stretch to pull clear for an 11-metre winning margin.

The 1.57.8 rate shattered the track record, taking two seconds off the previous mark which was shared between Sir Fahrenheit and Royal Dan.

It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Gus, arriving in Queensland as a one-win performer last May, adding 11 further victories, contesting an Inter Dominion, claiming a track record and earning over $100,000 in stakes along the way.

Gus with connections after the Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotters Championship.


The stars will be shining this week for The Queensland Constellations, with The Rising Sun and The Great Square the main races on Saturday, both at Group 1 level.

Barrier Draws for both Group 1 events will be held Monday night at The Story Bridge Hotel, the barriers elected by connections.

The support card will see the rematch of Leap To Fame and Swayzee in the Mr Feelgood, along with the two-year-olds in the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sales Graduate Final.

Jason Grimson will have Tay Tay and Aardies Express in the Fleur De Lil Ladyship, while the South East Oaks and Derby, each at Listed level will be keenly contested, both races boasting large nominations.

Away from the features of Saturday night, The Creek will host a nine-race card on Tuesday and a day meeting on Friday.

Redcliffe will host 10 races on Wednesday night and their other meeting will be a twilight fixture on Thursday, before the week wraps up with a Sunday meeting from Marburg.