Day At The Track
Social Media, harness racing

Reminder – Social Media Policy

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is mindful of the important role social media forums have in relation to engaging in discussion and debate on key harness racing issues. As part of its role in the industry, wherever possible, HRV is increasing the openness and transparency of information using social media and other forums. It is however expected that use of social media is conducted in an appropriate and reasonable manner, and HRV Stewards will take a strong stance on comments which are deemed to be malicious, false or otherwise improper.  The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department have recently became aware of concerning comments made on social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook. Letters will be sent shortly directing a number of licensed participants, including some registered owners, to attend inquiries before the HRV Stewards in early January 2018.    Participants in the Victorian harness racing industry are urged to remain conscious and aware of their obligations in regard to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) and the HRV ‘Social Media Policy for Participants’. The relevant AHRR and Policy applies to all licensed persons and registered owners and is available here:  For any queries in relation to this policy please contact the HRV Integrity Department on 8378 0222. Harness Racing Victoria

Matthew Craven, harness racing

Trainer-driver fined $4,000

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer-driver Matthew Craven.  AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Craven related to a blood sample taken from the horse ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ at the Terang trial meeting on 18 June 2017. The definition of a ‘race’ within the AHRR includes an official trial. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that the analysis of the blood sample revealed it to contain the prohibited substances triamcinolone acetonide and meloxicam. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW confirmed these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant blood sample Mr Craven pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and barrister Damien Sheales, representing Mr Craven. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted Mr Craven’s cooperation throughout the investigation and guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, along with his good record in the industry. The HRV RAD Board also emphasised the purpose of the rules in relation to prohibited substances and the dangers associated with horses competing with these substances in their system.  Mr Craven was subsequently fined $4000, of which $2000 was suspended for a period of 12 months.  ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ was scratched at the track prior to competing in the trial. HRV RAD Board Hearing – Matthew Craven HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Peter Kilduff, Rod Osborne

Stirling Hinchliffe is the new Minister for Racing.

Hinchliffe succeeds Grace as racing minister

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has appointed Stirling Hinchliffe as the Minister for Racing plus Minister for Local Government and Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the new Labor ministry. Mr Hinchliffe succeeds former Racing Minister Grace Grace who has been appointed Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations. Mr Hinchliffe’s Sandgate electorate takes in Racing Queensland’s headquarters at Deagon racecourse and adjoins the Redcliffe electorate – home of the Redcliffe Paceway for harness racing. Racing Queensland CEO, Dr Eliot Forbes, said he looked forward to a positive working relationship with the new Minister. “I want to thank the former Minister, Grace Grace, for her strong support of all codes of racing in Queensland. I worked closely with Minister Grace on the development of both a strategic and infrastructure plan and I look forward to outlining the vision for Racing Queensland to the new Minister,” he said. Dr Forbes said Racing Queensland had been invited to brief the incoming Minister on a range of current and emerging issues from the remediation of Eagle Farm to the impact of the possible Tabcorp combination with Tatts Group. “The racing industry generates $1.2 billion in economic activity, sustains more than 9500 full time equivalent jobs and employs or engages around 42,000 individuals in Queensland. More than 47 percent of the economic value is realised in regional parts of the state,” Dr Forbes said. Born in Dalby, Mr Hinchliffe was elected to the seat of Stafford in the 2006 Queensland state election, which he represented until being defeated in the 2012 Queensland state election. Mr Hinchliffe previously served as a cabinet minister in the Bligh Ministry. Mr Hinchliffe returned to parliament in 2015 as the member for Sandgate. He was sworn in as Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier in the Palaszczuk Ministry and was also nominated as Leader of the House - an appointment confirmed when the Legislative Assembly of Queensland met for the first time following the election. In December 2015, he was elevated to Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games. In February 2017, he resigned as the Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games following an ongoing series of railway passenger services being cancelled due to there being an insufficient number of train drivers. By Phillip Bate Reprinted with permission of Queensland Country Life

Matthew Howlett, harness racing

Howlett to represent Tasmania

Dual Tasmanian Youngblood's Challenge harness racing champion Matthew Howlett will represent Tasmania at the Garrard's 2017 Australasian Young Driver Championships in Brisbane this week. The best young talent from each state, along with three representatives from New Zealand arrived in Brisbane to tackle the first round of heats at Redcliffe tonight (Wednesday). The AYDC Series, showcasing the star drivers of tomorrow, then moves to Albion Park on Friday, December 15 with the last round of heats conducted on the final night of the Queensland Summer Carnival on December 16. Albion Park's chairman David Fowler said the Australasian Young Drivers Championship provided many benefits for both the drivers and industry. "These are our driving stars for the future and series like these give them a really good shot of being in the national limelight," he said. "The young drivers are chosen for their natural ability, it will be the cream of harness racing's National young talent campaigning so punters won't be afraid to put their money on them," he added. Matthew became the youngest winner of the '60 degrees' Youngblood's Challenge in 2013 at just 16 years of age and repeated his title win again in 2016. Proudly following his father and grandfather's footsteps into harness racing, Matthew first hit the track in pony races at six years of age. Matthew's driving career commenced in November of 2012 and he greeted the winner's circle just two months later, he went on to clinch the 2015/16 Tasmanian Junior Drivers Title and has racked up 60 winners in total including a victory last night with Rockin An Rollin at Luxbet Park. 2107 Australasian Young Drivers Championship - State and New Zealand representatives: Todd McCarthy (NSW - defending champion). Narissa McMullen (QLD). Chris Geary (NSW). Michael Grantham (WA). Jayden Brewin (SA). Jason Lee (VIC). Sheree Tomlinson (NZ). Dylan Ferguson (NZ). Kimberly Butt (NZ). Matthew Howlett (TAS). Peter Staples

Victoria’s trots industry is mourning the loss of a gentleman of the harness racing sport after Bob Conroy died on Tuesday at age 88. The Daylesford trainer and brilliant horseman enjoyed a life dedicated to harness racing, which he shared with his wife Pat and their five children, including Glenn, Anne-Maree and Peter, who themselves have combined to drive more than 800 winners. Renowned as an outstanding trainer of trotters, Mr Conroy spent a life training from Daylesford, having been raised in nearby Korweinguboora before occupying the former Daylesford Trotting Club track, from where he would often venture into neighbouring Hepburn Regional Park to educate his horses. A trots trainer, driver and breeder, Mr Conroy’s training successes include Mary Beverley’s win in the 1973 V. L. Dullard Cup, Lincoln Star's win in the 1978 Bendigo Pacing Cup and 1978 Italian Cup, and the Lightfoot Laurels on four occasions (Lucy Lastic 1997, Miss Universe 1999 and 2001 and False Gem on 2008). His greatest stakes win came when Amazon captured the $30,000 Australasian Trotters Championship final in 1984 and then the same year the E B Cochran Memorial Trotters Cup, while notable triumphs also include Mister Everest in the 1990 Chris E Howe Trotters Cup, two Central Victorian Trotting Championships in 1991 (Omaorio) and 2005 (Sutters Glory), the 1996 Coulter Crown with Lucy Lastic, First Signal's win in the 1999 Cranbourne Trotters Cup and then the R C Freestone Trotters Cup with Miss Universe. Other notable performers he trained throughout his distinguished career included multiple metropolitan winners King’s Pride, Eden’s Return, Magic Madge, Minnesota Fats, Hot And Dry, Kyvalley Duke, Speeding Fine, Baltic Prince and Looks Like Me. Mr Conroy’s trotters Bootleg Bert and Margaret Ruth delivered his last trotting wins. Bootleg Bert won the Decron Trot at Melton on December 4 while driven by Glenn and Margaret Ruth won at Geelong on Saturday night, when Anne-Maree drove her to victory in a heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. Harness Racing Victoria extends sincere condolences to Mr Conroy’s family, colleagues and friends. Harness Racing Victoria      

A man accused of lying to a Queensland corruption watchdog investigation into harness racing match-fixing has been charged with perjury as the cheating scandal around the industry continues. The 35-year-old, who was charged with match-fixing in November, is accused of lying to the Crime and Corruption Commission about his participation in match- fixing conduct and the release of inside information. His perjury charges come after Queensland’s championship-leading driver and prominent industry identity Shane Robert Graham and another of the state’s top harness racing drivers, Leonard Cain, were charged on Sunday in relation to the long-running sting. Graham has been charged with two counts of disclosing the knowledge to another about a relevant bet, two counts of facilitating match-fixing conduct for a pecuniary benefit and one count of encouraging another person to make a relevant bet. Shane Graham at the Beenleigh watchhouse. Photo Annette Dew The alleged cheating operation was at the time likened by Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett to organised crime. The allegations of match-fixing centre on two races at Albion Park in July and October. On Monday, a 65-year-old man was charged over allegations he knew of a match-fixing arrangement when he put bets on a race. Those charged under the ongoing investigation into major and organised crime around racing circles remain before the courts. “The Queensland racing crime squad will pursue all information received regarding match-fixing and criminal conduct across all codes of racing,” Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said on Tuesday. Reprinted with the permission of The Courier Mail

Harness racing competitors will have put it all together on Wednesday night over 1230 metres to claim the Roadwork Industries Dash For Cash title. The $8,000 dash is the feature race on a nine-event program to be contested as part of the Tamworth Harness Racing Club meeting. It will be game on from the outset and local trainer Richard Williams will be hoping to be in the first three placings. And there’s every chance he can fill those spots. Williams has three runners contesting the 1230-metre race – two being last start winners. “We pencil this race into our plans every year,” Williams said. “It’s a good concept. It’s fantastic. It’s a good race and basically made up of local runners.” Last start winner Coralie Joy will commence from the two barrier with Tom Ison taking the drive. “Tom had the choice of three drives and he chose her [Coralie Joy],” Williams said. “If she [Coralie Joy] can find the pegs it will put her right into the race. She has trained on well since her last start win at Tamworth.” Williams has elected to take the reins behind Comon Howzat, also a last start winner at Maitland. This is race start 162 for the former Tasmanian runner and the gelding is in search of his 10th career win. “He led all the way at Maitland – it was a good drive by Tom – and the horse does burn the gate. We were setting him for this race but the draw has knocked us around a little,” Williams said. Comeon Howzat has scored the nine barrier. “The one in front of us [Armbro Teehee] is quick off the mark,” Williams said. “He [Comeon Howzat] is the easiest of the three runners to drive so I shouldn’t complain.” Midnight Montana will then round up the stables with Sam Ison – older brother to Tom – accepting the drive. Midnight Montana – also known as Monty – has drawn the 10 barrier and the old stager will be contesting his 177th race start. “The draw hasn’t helped Monty either but he is a good free for all horse and it is a drop in class for him,” Williams said. “Hopefully he will be within striking distance – he will be there abouts.” Midnight Montana contested last year’s running of the Dash For Cash where he finished fifth to Culinary Delight who covered the journey with a mile rate of 1.53.6. Besides having three runners in the feature tonight, the Williams’ Stables will be conducting their own ‘dash’ as they have eight runners engaged at the meeting. Gargzdai Girl will open proceedings in the first race of the night at 6.01pm. “I’m pretty happy with where the stables at at the moment – we are going OK – but it would be nice to finish one, two, three in the Dash For Cash,” Williams said.  By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Queensland war horse Destreos moved another step closer to registering 100 wins when he powered home to secure win number 98 in a free-for-all at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. The Ken Rattray-trained gelding was having his 442nd start but the 14-year-old looked as spritely as ever as he stormed around the field with over a lap to go to take up the running. Once in front driver Gareth Rattray ensured a solid tempo and he had a lapful of horse at the bell. The moves from the trailers came thick and fast from the 500-metre peg but the old stalwart had another gear to find. When Rattray called on Destreos to find the gelding dug deep and hit the line with almost two metres to spare over Mister Lennox that had enjoyed a cosy run in the race with Roger Ramjet battling on gamely for third about five metres astern. "It was a clever drive and a solid win which gets him closer to his 100th win," Rattray said. Destreos has notched two wins since the Rattray family arrived in Tasmania from Queensland in April. Rattray left his home state 20 years ago to settle in Queensland but when the industry showed signs of deteriorating in that state he and his partner Sally Stingel, who owns Destreos, made a beeline to Tassie and they says it is the best move they could have made. "Everything is working out as we had hoped and the horses are thriving, including Destreos." Destreos will line up in a discretionary handicap in Launceston on Sunday and will start off a back mark of 30 metres. "He is good from a stand so he won't be far off them soon after the start and I expect him to be very competitive next Sunday." Rattray says Destreos will head to Carrick, a country track in the north of the state, on New Year's Eve where he will be a special guest of the club and patrons are welcome to have their photograph taken with the horse which would be a marvellous keepsake if or when the horse has amassed 100 wins.  Peter Staples

Redbelly Jack will be strongly fancied to complete a clean-sweep of this year‘s Soldiers Saddle Series in Friday’s $15,000 final at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway, after another outstanding win in last week’s semi-finals. Driver Nathan Xuereb, for father Michael, again allowed the Rock N Roll Heaven four-year-old  to settle at the tail of the field from his second-row draw, and he was still last passing the 600 metres before setting the horse alight at that point. Four and five wide around the final turn is not the best place to be at Bathurst, as the leaders often kick at that point, but he again showed an exceptional brand of speed to range up to a gallant Double Encounter, which had led up the three-wide train, to score narrowly but easily. While the tactics might have appeared very different to the last lap “go for broke” charge in the previous week’s heat, in reality they were very similar, reliant on that high speed that enables Redbelly Jack to come from virtually anywhere in the field if he enjoys clear running. Double Encounter was brave in edging death-seater Might And Main for second, and Studleigh Kristen ran on well for fourth to qualify for the final, along with Eliza Dushku and Hez All Courage. John O’Shea handled the driving duties for Amanda Turnbull with the second semi-final winner Dream To Share NZ, sprinting well from mid-field to easily account for Zaras Choice and Sonny Studleigh, rating 1:57.7 for the sprint distance with a 58.7 final half. He’s hopeful of retaining the final drive with the Kenneth J five-year-old, a horse he’s formed a good association with, winning twice this season and placing at every other run. “He’s a lovely horse to drive, with no bad habits and a real genuine attitude. I really like him,” was J.T’s post-race assessment. Others to make it through to the final from this race were Little Bit Dusty and Taylors Reason, from the Bernie Hewitt stable which will have four runners, and Presidential Dude. O’Shea backed up for a driving double in the following C2 race when leading throughout on What A Jolt, for Lester Hewitt, a previous UDR trainer in the Bathurst premiership and very successful with his small team. The Village Jolt four-year-old maintained a strong tempo, with all quarters sub-30s for a 1:57.3 mile rate, in taking his record to six wins from 12 career starts, four of those wins coming in his last six starts. Lucy Lamb (Mat Rue for father Ken) came with a wet sail to score running away in a C3-C5 sprint, after some anxious moments for her driver who opted for a spot four back on the pegs, and who was in some danger of not finding clear room after working into the running line around the final turn. Fortunately the run did come after straightening, and the Flightpath daughter did the rest, easily putting away leader What A Curtainraiser and death-seating Smithstars Lexus for her second success in what had been a rather mixed season. “We’ve been teaching her to race from off the speed,” Mat Rue commented, “ and she seems to be getting the hang of it now. I’ve got to admit, that decision to head to the pegs after the start wasn’t looking too clever when I got held up between runners on the bend, and I wasn’t looking forward to explaining to Dad after, but now I won’t have to! An orphan foal, she was raised among a paddock of lambs at the Lambs - Wayne and Anne’s Golden Gait Stud, that is - and was christened “Lucy the lamb” as a consequence. That became her racing name after Ken Rue acquired her from the stud. The resilience that enabled her to overcome a tough start in life has also helped her cope with a lung disease and very brittle front feet, necessitating being shod every second week. Little wonder that she’s one of the more popular horses racing in the western districts at the moment. If she settles in her races, there will be many more wins, and fans, in the future. Other winners at this meeting were Always Mysterious in C0-C1 grade, driver Justin Reynolds repeating the successful tactics of Nathan Xuereb in the previous race by coming with one late run to score easily, and Steve Turnbull’s all-the-way effort with Shadow Hunter  in C0 class, the maiden win after a string of places for the half to Tiara winner Pixies Parlour. The Bathurst RSL-sponsored Soldiers Saddle Final will be the highlight of a strong card at this Friday’s Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway meeting. Terry Neil

Last season's top Tasmanian two-year-old harness racing filly Ideal Bliss returned to racing with an effortless win in a 3YO event over 1609 metres in Hobart on Sunday. With Rohan Hillier in the sulky, the American Ideal filly sped straight to the lead from the pole position and gave noting else a chance as she burst clear of the opposition at the top of the home straight. She hit the line over five metres clear of Vouvray Beach that enjoyed the cosy one-out-one-back spot throughout while Ideal Karalta scurried home along the sprint lane to grab third two metres away. Ideal Bliss, prepared at Old Beach by Paul Hill, won three and was place second twice from her five starts last season with her best win recorded in the $20,000 Evicus final in Hobart. Vouvray Beach was gallant in defeat and no doubt she has more improvement to come as does Ideal Bliss. Peter Staples

Warragul Harness Racing Club will spread early Christmas cheer to some local disadvantaged families next weekend. The club's Lend A Hand Christmas Lunch is being staged at the trots meeting on Sunday afternoon, December 24, with nominations currently being taken from members of the community who may know someone who has been doing it tough during 2017. Those nominations, which can be made through the Warragul Trots website, will be offered a three-course meal and complimentary soft drink at the Christmas Eve race meeting. The initiative, a first for the local trotting club, is being supported by the Victorian State Government's Victorian Racing Industry Fund, and Harness Racing Victoria. WHRC Manager Tara Kiker confirmed that there are already over 60 people expected to participate in the lunch, with more names expected to be added to the list before the day. The lunch will be held in the club's Dannys The Venue rooms, which will be decorated in a festive theme. Several local charities are also working with the trots club to nominate locals that they know are in need, so as many as possible can enjoy the best Christmas they can. All members of the public are welcome to attend the raceday itself, which will be a relaxed lead-in to the big Christmas occasion itself. It is the first Christmas Eve trots meeting run at Warragul, and Santa will of course make an appearance, while he will also attend in a horse and cart and patrons will be able to have rides during the day. A strong local race meeting will be conducted, and is expected to contain eight races. Full TAB and bookmaker betting will be available on all local and interstate races, which will be telecast on the club's big screen. The air-conditioned facilities also boast a full bistro restaurant and take away food for hungry punters. Racing is expected to get underway at around 1:00pm.          

The win of Barrow Street at Globe Derby Park on Saturday was another tick for Port Pirie trainer Waylon Hornhardt as he attempts to build his training career. Sent out at $12.90, Barrow Street, driven by Wayne Hill, scored a one metre win in the O’Brien’s Meats ‘Hotshots Night’ Claiming Pace (1385m) beating Maywyns Zephyr ($6.20) with stablemate Bobby Fabulous ($2.80 fav), 5-1/2 metres away third. Hornhardt was retrenched earlier in the year so decided to have a shot at becoming a professional trainer. From a team of one or two, he now has 10 horses in work. Hornhardt said he had been reluctant to take over Barrow Street but owner Chis Neilson had been very persistent. “I was getting too many horses which were about the same class, so it was very hard to place them without having clashes as was the case tonight with Barrow Street and Bobby Fabulous,” Hornhardt said. “Wayne drove him beautifully tonight, trailing the leader then coming off around the home turn and he proved too strong. “When I first took him over I thought Barrow Street might struggle as his work was poor, but Chris kept saying not to despair because the horse did have plenty of talent, and he was right. “A week later he really picked up and tonight’s win was not unexpected.” Hornhardt said Bobby Fabulous also had run well and was another in-form pacer. “He is a bit one-paced and always was going to have a tough job from gate 10 but kept coming.” Neilson was a bit worried that having put a $5000 claiming price on Barrow Street, the nine-year-old might have been picked up and was relieved he wasn’t. He hopes to have the gelding racing for the country cups circuit in the new year. “Barrow Street loves the stand starts and will be well suited,” he said. Graham Fischer

South Australia’s leading trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec is flying. Hryhorec opened December with a driving treble and training a winning double at Globe Derby Park, then a week later repeated the effort on ‘Hotshots Night’. He started the night with a win on Addarichone for trainer Errol Johnson, then trained and drove Doubledipofheaven and Hellfire Pass to victory. The wins saw him leading the SA Drivers premiership with 37 wins, three clear of Wayne Hill, and also at the head of the SA Trainers premiership with 17 wins, three clear of the now defunct partnership of Jake Webster and Aaron Bain. The trainer believes both Doubledipofheaven and Hellfire Pass can continue their winning form. A well backed $2.40 favourite, Doubledipofheaven sprinted strongly to win the Adelaide Equine Salt Therapy Pace (1385m) by a metre from Make Mine Joe ($2.90) with Sallywynda ($5.60), 4-1/2 metres away third. The victory was the result of a classic drive by Hryhorec. He came out quickly from gate three on Doubledipofheaven but found Sallywynda pushing through from gate one. With Make Mine Joe in gate eight failing to hold the back of the leader, Hryhorec dropped his drive into the fence to have the perfect trail. As the field sprinted up past the 600 metre mark, he came off the back of Sallywynda rather than wait for the sprint lane. “I did think about staying inside because I knew it would be holding Make Mine Joe up on my back,” Hryhorec said. “But I backed myself to be able to outsprint him and it proved a good decision.” Hryhorec said he was very happy with the five-year-old which is owned by his partner Kerri Stauwer. “His form was okay earlier in the year, but I didn’t think he was really running through the line. “However, his last two wins have been an improvement and now he is hitting the line strongly. “There is no doubt he is best when not used up early because he has a super sprint.” Hellfire Pass ($2.90) led throughout from gate four in the Equissage Pace (1385m) to score by four metres from That Said ($1.70 fav) with Starzzz Princess ($5.80), eight metres away third. Despite the fact the race was over a short trip, Hryhorec was able to get away with a pedestrian 32 second first quarter before coming home in 29.7 and 28.1 to win comfortably. “I think he is going to be a nice horse,” Hryhorec said. “He was one of Paul’s (Brumby) dear buys – he cost $3000.” Hellfire Pass has now won three races from just nine starts earning just under $10,000. Graham Fischer

Brilliant pacer Official Art raced his way into the record book at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Sent out the $2.10 favourite, Official Art gave his rivals a speed lesson leading throughout to win the O’Brien’s Meats Pace (1385m) rating a sizzling 1.53.0 to take 0.1 off the previous best recorded by Metro Mike on May 21, 2016. Trained by Jon Kingston-Mayne, Official Art was driven dashingly by Ken Rogers to score a 9-1/2 metre win from former stablemate Big Spook ($18.10) with Lookofalegend ($8.70), 2-1/2 metres away third. From gate three, the five-year-old came out quickly from gate three but Big Spook began brilliantly from gate five and tried to cross and lead but just couldn’t quite clear the inside runner as they ran a 28.9 quarter. Rogers kept Official Art running for a 28 second, second quarter and came home in 28.5 for the track record. Just five days earlier, as a $1.10 favourite, Official Art had been beaten running last to Hez The One over 2230 metres. “It was my fault,” Kingston-Mayne said. “I wasn’t definitive with my game plan. Because he was a query at the trip I did consider going back but didn’t and Kenny, trying not to fire him up didn’t come out quick enough to lead and as a result he got caught outside the leader and faded. “I’m sure he could run 2230 metres if he was trained for it but because we have so many sprint races at Globe Derby Park I have been preparing him for shorter races.” Kingston-Mayne would love to take Official Art to Melbourne for an M0 at Melton but is finding it too hard to get away with his training operation at Angle Vale. “With horses and children to take care of, it is just too hard.” Official Art joins currently spelling stablemate Some Kinda Tactics as a track record holder with the latter holding the 1609 metre record at Port Pirie at 1:53.3.   Graham Fischer  

Respected harness racing participant Kevin Harding has passed away. Harding, 68, passed away on Sunday, December 3 after a long battle with cancer. A twin brother of top South Australian trainer Les, Kevin Harding was involved in harness racing from the 1970s. He is the father of current trainer-driver Michael Harding. A trainer-driver from the Wayville days, Harding held a licence until 1992. When Michael took up his trainer’s licence, he obtained a stablehand licence and helped in the stables. “Dad loved harness racing,” Michael Harding said. “He enjoyed nothing more than helping out around my stables and feeding up. “Unfortunately, the illness caught up and he had to stop in June this year but still wanted to know what was happening with the horses. He still watched the trots on television.” Harding’s funeral is on Tuesday, December 12 at 11am conducted by Taylor & Forgie Funeral Directors on Adelaide Road, Gawler South.   Graham Fischer

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Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is mindful of the important role social media forums have in relation to engaging in discussion and debate on key harness racing issues. As part of its role in the industry, wherever possible, HRV is increasing the openness and transparency of information using social media and other forums. It is however expected that use of social media is conducted in an appropriate and reasonable manner, and HRV Stewards will take a strong stance on comments which are deemed to be malicious, false or otherwise improper.  The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department have recently became aware of concerning comments made on social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook. Letters will be sent shortly directing a number of licensed participants, including some registered owners, to attend inquiries before the HRV Stewards in early January 2018.    Participants in the Victorian harness racing industry are urged to remain conscious and aware of their obligations in regard to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) and the HRV ‘Social Media Policy for Participants’. The relevant AHRR and Policy applies to all licensed persons and registered owners and is available here:  For any queries in relation to this policy please contact the HRV Integrity Department on 8378 0222. Harness Racing Victoria
The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer-driver Matthew Craven.  AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Craven related to a blood sample taken from the horse ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ at the Terang trial meeting on 18 June 2017. The definition of a ‘race’ within the AHRR includes an official trial. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that the analysis of the blood sample revealed it to contain the prohibited substances triamcinolone acetonide and meloxicam. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW confirmed these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant blood sample Mr Craven pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and barrister Damien Sheales, representing Mr Craven. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted Mr Craven’s cooperation throughout the investigation and guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, along with his good record in the industry. The HRV RAD Board also emphasised the purpose of the rules in relation to prohibited substances and the dangers associated with horses competing with these substances in their system.  Mr Craven was subsequently fined $4000, of which $2000 was suspended for a period of 12 months.  ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ was scratched at the track prior to competing in the trial. HRV RAD Board Hearing – Matthew Craven HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Peter Kilduff, Rod Osborne
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has appointed Stirling Hinchliffe as the Minister for Racing plus Minister for Local Government and Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the new Labor ministry. Mr Hinchliffe succeeds former Racing Minister Grace Grace who has been appointed Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations. Mr Hinchliffe’s Sandgate electorate takes in Racing Queensland’s headquarters at Deagon racecourse and adjoins the Redcliffe electorate – home of the Redcliffe Paceway for harness racing. Racing Queensland CEO, Dr Eliot Forbes, said he looked forward to a positive working relationship with the new Minister. “I want to thank the former Minister, Grace Grace, for her strong support of all codes of racing in Queensland. I worked closely with Minister Grace on the development of both a strategic and infrastructure plan and I look forward to outlining the vision for Racing Queensland to the new Minister,” he said. Dr Forbes said Racing Queensland had been invited to brief the incoming Minister on a range of current and emerging issues from the remediation of Eagle Farm to the impact of the possible Tabcorp combination with Tatts Group. “The racing industry generates $1.2 billion in economic activity, sustains more than 9500 full time equivalent jobs and employs or engages around 42,000 individuals in Queensland. More than 47 percent of the economic value is realised in regional parts of the state,” Dr Forbes said. Born in Dalby, Mr Hinchliffe was elected to the seat of Stafford in the 2006 Queensland state election, which he represented until being defeated in the 2012 Queensland state election. Mr Hinchliffe previously served as a cabinet minister in the Bligh Ministry. Mr Hinchliffe returned to parliament in 2015 as the member for Sandgate. He was sworn in as Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier in the Palaszczuk Ministry and was also nominated as Leader of the House - an appointment confirmed when the Legislative Assembly of Queensland met for the first time following the election. In December 2015, he was elevated to Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games. In February 2017, he resigned as the Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games following an ongoing series of railway passenger services being cancelled due to there being an insufficient number of train drivers. By Phillip Bate Reprinted with permission of Queensland Country Life
Dual Tasmanian Youngblood's Challenge harness racing champion Matthew Howlett will represent Tasmania at the Garrard's 2017 Australasian Young Driver Championships in Brisbane this week. The best young talent from each state, along with three representatives from New Zealand arrived in Brisbane to tackle the first round of heats at Redcliffe tonight (Wednesday). The AYDC Series, showcasing the star drivers of tomorrow, then moves to Albion Park on Friday, December 15 with the last round of heats conducted on the final night of the Queensland Summer Carnival on December 16. Albion Park's chairman David Fowler said the Australasian Young Drivers Championship provided many benefits for both the drivers and industry. "These are our driving stars for the future and series like these give them a really good shot of being in the national limelight," he said. "The young drivers are chosen for their natural ability, it will be the cream of harness racing's National young talent campaigning so punters won't be afraid to put their money on them," he added. Matthew became the youngest winner of the '60 degrees' Youngblood's Challenge in 2013 at just 16 years of age and repeated his title win again in 2016. Proudly following his father and grandfather's footsteps into harness racing, Matthew first hit the track in pony races at six years of age. Matthew's driving career commenced in November of 2012 and he greeted the winner's circle just two months later, he went on to clinch the 2015/16 Tasmanian Junior Drivers Title and has racked up 60 winners in total including a victory last night with Rockin An Rollin at Luxbet Park. 2107 Australasian Young Drivers Championship - State and New Zealand representatives: Todd McCarthy (NSW - defending champion). Narissa McMullen (QLD). Chris Geary (NSW). Michael Grantham (WA). Jayden Brewin (SA). Jason Lee (VIC). Sheree Tomlinson (NZ). Dylan Ferguson (NZ). Kimberly Butt (NZ). Matthew Howlett (TAS). Peter Staples
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