Keeping Pace: Tapitalee trainer Gavin Kelly labels Blackbird Power 'best I've had' after Menangle victory

Top job: McKayler Barnes and Club Menangle board director Michael Brown after the JC Caffyn Indigenous Drivers Plate at Menangle.

Top job: McKayler Barnes and Club Menangle board director Michael Brown after the JC Caffyn Indigenous Drivers Plate at Menangle.

Last Sunday Blackbird Power was in the opening event at Menangle as part of the Fishers Ghost meeting and he was a winner.

Trained by Gavin Kelly at Tapitalee, Blackbird Power gained entry to the $20,000 Crown Electrical Menangle Where Horses Flys Series final after winning at Tamworth.

Indigenous reinsman Jimmy Brown was in the spider at Tamworth and again at Menangle.

Gavin Kelly – who has only had his trainer’s licence for six months – gained his first win at headquarters in taking out the final, with Blackbird Power producing a mile rate of 1:52.7 for 1609 metres.

“The horse deserved to win a race like that. He is a really nice horse. He has taught me a lot since taking up my trainers licence,” Kelly said. “He pulled up super. He is the best I have ever had.”

And Kelly’s verdict on the drive by Brown?

“He drove him like the best horse. He summed up the start perfectly,” Kelly said. “There is none better than Jimmy. He did everything right today. It was a fantastic drive.”

THE JC Caffyn Indigenous driver’s series also culminated at the Menangle meeting and was taken out by Western districts reinswoman McKayler Barnes after she drove Gotta Go Artelect, from the Wayne Dimech stables, for an all-the-way win.

Gotta Go Artelect was never headed and went on to record an eight metre win over I’m Twice The Delight, which was driven by Tamworth winner Bruce O’Brien. Got The Scoop, with Jimmy Barnes in the spider, was four metres away in third.

Barnes qualified for the final courtesy of finishing second at Parkes behind Blackbird Power.

“I won a lady’s driver race at Peak Hill but this certainly compares and is probably my biggest win,” Barnes said. “This series is great and more people are getting involved.”

THE Harness Racing NSW awards night in Sydney over the weekend saw 40 awards handed out and it was pleasing to see Wayne Smith pick up the distinguished HRNSW Don Clough Award for his services – or should we say hard work – that he carries out for the Maitland and Newcastle clubs.

Wayne was surprised with the award but very proud.

Another Hunter recipient, Brad Elder, received the Daily Form Service Junior Driver Encouragement Award (country) and will head to New Zealand for two weeks to pick up some more skills.

That award was topped off by driving a winner at Menangle on Sunday afternoon, steering Shannonsablast to victory in the final event of the day. The horse clocked 1:51.8 for 1609m.

Former secretary/treasurer at Inverell Jon Watts received the HRNSW Club Volunteer Award.

THERE is a new member on the Harness Racing NSW board in Marissa Dimarco, who will take the place of Chris Edwards.

Edwards will retire as chairperson on December 4.

Marissa is from a harness racing family based in the Hunter Valley and is a well-respected solicitor in Newcastle.

MAITLAND HRC will be in the spotlight on Saturday night with a nine-race program, and a strong contingent from Tamworth are heading down to compete. We wish them well.