Catch up on the week's harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.
It was a successful three days at Albion Park for Trent Dawson whose small barn continues to churn out excellent results.
On Friday, Dawson had the one runner with Hot Rod Harry lining up in the second event on the card, faced with gate seven over the flying mile.
Allowing the gelding to balance up in the early stages, he was never bustled as the mobile pulled clear, eventually being sent forward and allowed to sit at the wheel of the leader.
Put into attack mode with 300 metres to travel, Hot Rod Harry loomed strongly, went past the leader, and was strong to the line to claim an 8.5 metre winning margin.
It was the second win in just four career starts for the gelded son of American Ideal who has been a work in progress.
Dawson holds a healthy opinion of the three-year-old.
Heading back to 'The Creek' on Saturday night, Dawson had his two stable stars engaged, with both returning for their first race starts of 2024.
Four-year-old For Real Life was the first to step out, the imposing entire put into the race soon after the start, pressing his way to the front by the 1200 metre mark and once in control was never in danger.
A steady second quarter was enough respite before dialling up the tempo and pacing an impressive last 800 metres with closing fractions of 27.3 seconds and 26.9 seconds to pace the mile in 1.52.8.
It was an ideal hit out with For Real Life likely to have his next start at Menangle in the Paleface Adios as he chases a start in the Chariots of Fire.
One race later and Future Assured confirmed he will be a worthy travelling companion on the trip south when he resumed from a spell with a dominant victory.
In similar fashion to his stable mate, Dawson allowed the five-year-old time to balance in the early stages before working forward to take control by the 1200 metre mark, after the opening quarter was paced in 27.3 seconds.
Steadying to a 29.6 second split, Future Assured was allowed to slide from the 800 metre mark and ran down the back in a 27.3 second split before finishing them off with nine metres to spare in a closing quarter of 27 seconds.
The win made it six training wins in succession for Dawson - although he did have last start winner Betting Origin in the same race as For Real Life.
Rounding out the successful weekend, Dawson was on hand for Sunday’s Sunshine Stars Sale, where he was able to secure a slot in The Hayden.
By gaining the slot, Dawson puts himself in a perfect position to claim the second running of the event off the back of For Real Life’s impressive return, and early markets would have him at a short quote to take victory and Racing Queensland’s slot in The Eureka.
A recent trip to Tamworth with the speedy Girl From Rosedale did not quite go as planned for the Ryan Veivers-trained mare.
Finishing in the second half of the field in the Gold Nugget, the mare then made a mess of the start in a heat of the Golden Guitar, ending her chances in the series.
Gaining some travelling expenses with a second placing on Guitar Final night in a support race, the daughter of Hurrikane Kingcole returned to Queensland.
Stepping out in a mare’s qualifier on Saturday night in her first appearance back in her home state, Dannielle Veivers took the reins and sent the four-year-old forward and was content to sit at the wheel of the leader, Sheza Cracker.
Despite doing all the work in the run, Girl From Rosedale proved too strong, holding out Vindicate which had gained a late split and was attacking the line.
It was the sixth win for Girl From Rosedale, the mare, who is also owned and bred by the family, showing her liking for the big 1000 metre Albion Park oval.
All six wins have been at 'The Creek', including her best rate of 1.53.6 which was recorded last season.
The win gave Ryan Veivers his ninth win training win this season, while it was the eighth driving success of 2023 for wife Dannielle and added another win for the Team Teal campaign.
A new addition to the Queensland driving and training ranks, Doug Hewitt claimed his first training and driving wins in the Sunshine State when Infinity Beach was successful at Albion Park on Friday.
Making the decision to relocate with wife Casey and their young daughter, Hewitt bought a small team with him, but has quickly managed to fill his stables with a mix of horses in work and yearlings to educate.
Infinity Beach was one of the original team that made the journey and on Friday Hewitt had the mare settled near the rear as Vanity Bay set the tempo in front.
Making his move at the 600 metre mark and flushing out some cover, the mare was the widest runner swinging for home and let down strongly in the stretch to reel in the leaders and claim victory by 3.9 metres.
The Somebeachsomewhere mare has been a consistent performer throughout her career and the latest win was her 20th since making her first race appearance in February of 2020.
It was a drought breaking victory for Errol O’Shea on Friday afternoon when Doc Harvey was able to dart through along the passing lane to take the victory.
Always pottering about with a horse or two, O’Shea has just the one horse currently racing, with Doc Harvey joining his stable in March of last year.
Lining up for his 24th start under Errol’s guidance, the six-year-old was able to hold an early position from barrier one before releasing the speed to take a trail.
Trent Moffat was taking the reins for O’Shea and when the passing lane presented, Moffat angled Doc Harvey to the inside and the gelding responded, sprinting through to claim his first Queensland victory and the third of his career.
It was almost two years to the day since O’Shea last led home a winner, with Naughtyinheaven his last winner when that mare was successful on February 7, 2022.
Doc Harvey was bred in Victoria by Western District vet Dr Greg Hagreaves, with the 1.56.8 victory making Doc Harvey the fastest of the seven winners produced by Devilish Smile.
For O’Shea, the recent efforts of Doc Harvey have been slowly improving and with some winning confidence, can look to build his scorecard.
Another five meeting week in Queensland, with seven races from Albion Park on Tuesday to get the week under way.
Redcliffe will host a 10 race card on Wednesday night before the Thursday afternoon fixture.
Albion Park will host a further two meetings on Friday afternoon and the Saturday night metropolitan fixture.
Friday’s program will see the first round heats of the Jim McNeil Championship, with the trotters to contest two heat rounds before the $27,000 Final will be held on March 2.
The 2024 Team Teal campaign continues after the second week saw another five winners for the female drivers - Alanah Richardson leading the way with two wins, while Gemma Hewitt, Dannielle Veivers and Kelli Dawson all secured one win each on Saturday.