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    Blake up for a busy night at Newcastle Blake up for a busy night at Newcastle

    WINNERS APLENTY:: Blake Hughes

    IT LOOMS as an exciting time for harness racing in New South Wales on the eve of the prestigious Inter Dominion series for the... Blake up for a busy night at Newcastle

    IT LOOMS as an exciting time for harness racing in New South Wales on the eve of the prestigious Inter Dominion series for the pacers and trotters.

    The series returns to this state for the first time in more than five years, last run at Tabcorp Park Menangle in March, 2015 when Beautide and James Rattray made it back-to-back wins in Australasia’s greatest contest.

    Unfortunately, the great race was not run last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who last held the Gold Cup aloft on home soil in Auckland, 2019 when they combined to win with Ultimate Sniper.

    This year’s series kicks off at Tabcorp Park Menangle on November 27 and Harness Racing NSW has opted to take round two and three heats to the regions, with Bathurst hosting round two on December 1 and Newcastle the final round on December 5.

    Saturday night, December 11 will be a huge night for the principal club, who will host the Grand Finals for the pacers and trotters, the Pacers Consolation, and the time-honoured Carousel.

    The Newcastle Club, headed by popular President, Daryl Rodgers and CEO, Wayne Smith is ecstatic to be running heats of the Inter Dominion, which will be supported by four $30,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Eastern Region Finals.

    But while the team at Newcastle is looking forward to that night, their immediate focus is on the strong nine-race program this evening.

    At just 19-years of age, Blake Hughes has driven 189 winners and is etching an imposing record in the gig and tonight will again be kept busy with eight drives.

    Hughes has moved back to Newcastle after a brief stint in Tamworth and is making the most of his opportunities with trainers taking advantage of his concession claim.

    “I really like Kayla Maguire, who I am driving in the second race tonight,” said Hughes.

    “Her first race start in Australia was promising as she relished the 2030m trip to win so she should be able to repeat that effort tonight.

    “I also have a lot of time for Miss Lilliromar, who ran a nice fourth on debut.

    “She has the ability to overcome her wide draw.

    “Most of my other drives have each-way claims, so I am hoping to finish the night with a few winners.”

    • MICK DUMESNY

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