Avonnova

Redcliffe Gold Cup continues rich history

When you think of Paleface Adios and Don’t Retreat you recall two of the greats of harness racing.    It’s fitting that both of these champion pacers from the seventies share pride of place with many other top notch interstate and local horses in race chronicles from years gone by as winners of Queensland’s Redcliffe Gold Cup. The $50,000 Redcliffe Gold Cup, to be raced at the Redcliffe Paceway on Saturday night, for the first time will be raced as a Group 2 event and has certainly come a long way in the 51 years since Fairy Armagh won the 1964 edition. It was a big year for Redcliffe that year with the Club staging Queensland’s first ever harness race for one thousand pounds. One of the big supporters of this race and the Redcliffe Club was the late Chicka Charlwood. Two of Charlwood’s best were 1976 Gold Cup winner Neena Again and River Ike, the winner in 1979. Clarrie Sweeney won the Cup with the great Roma Hanover in 1976, Kevin Robinson with Spike in 1974 and Brian Pelling with Thunder Imp in 1973. Down the years it’s been a provincial Cup that has been won by very good horses. In 1982 a dead heat was recorded for the first and only time with the Cup shared by Tolvan (Stewart Dickson) and Paka Star (Kevin Thomas) and in more recent times Redcliffe specialist Shipps Fire won for Julie Weidemann in 1996. This century the race has also captured a couple of stars -- Hexus and I Am Sam stand out. The Danny Gallagher-trained Hexus went back to back for Luke McCarthy in 2003 and 2004 and Natalie Rasmussen steered home the Bill Dixon trained I Am Sam in 2008. Roll forward to 2015 and there’s a chance that the finish of the 2014 Gold Cup could be replayed. Last year Grant Dixon’s Majestic Major defeated Forever Gold and Supreme Mach. That trio will again race in the Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup and are in great form. Also included in this year’s field is Grant Dixon's 2013 winner Only The Brave. The Dixon stable has five of the 13 horses in the field in the 2613 metre Discretionary Handicap with classy four-year-old Alleluia and Magical Mel, the first emergency, also drawn in the race. Alleluia will go from the front row in the stand start feature and is sure to be prominent from start to finish. Sharing the 10 metre back mark with defending champ Majestic Major is the race’s firepower, Forever Gold, Avonnova and Caesar Folly. The Darren Weeks trained Forever Gold is looking to take its earnings to over the $700,000 mark in this race. This month the outstanding mare took out the Group 3 Ladyship Stakes at Albion Park then beat all bar Philadelphia Man in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake on the Albion Park carnival feature night. Queensland’s current horse of the year, the free-legged Avonnova will also push his lifetime earnings over $700,000 with a victory. The Ian Gurney trained Avonnova won the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park before finishing third behind Philadelphia Man and Forever Gold in the Blacks A Fake. Trainer Shannon Price and driver Brad Cowen team together with Caesars Folly. Like Majestic Major, who won last week’s Group 3 Patrons Purse at Redcliffe, Forever Gold and Avonnova, Caesars Folly is already proven on the Redcliffe track and wasn’t far away when sixth in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park at his last start. Redcliffe Club president Kerry Ebert said it’s a credit to everyone involved that this race is the race it is today and that, for the last couple of years, the Cup has featured as Queensland’s main event on a Saturday night. “It’s a great race and it deserves to be the main attraction on a Saturday night,” Ebert said. “A lot of good people have ensured it’s prominence including past president’s Austin McGuckin, who unfortunately passed away earlier this month and without the efforts of Chris Garrard and Brad Steele in the chair we may not have been able to elevate the race to the caliber of event it is now. “This is a super field that we have for the Cup this year, it’s a Group 2 race for the first time and the prizemoney is the best we have ever had, it’s hard to find a negative as we take the Club into the next fifty years of racing at Redcliffe.” by David Aldred Related Links Fields for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015 Form guide for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015

John Anderson

Industry groups welcome stakemoney increases

The Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs (AVCHRC) has welcomed Harness Racing Victoria's (HRV) stakes increase announcement. On Monday HRV revealed stakemoney for season 2015-16 would exceed $40 million for the first time ever after a 5% increase on the 2014-15 season, meaning harness racing stakemoney in Victoria has climbed by 20% over three years. "It's fantastic to see our industry in a position to offer stakes increases," said AVCHRC President Paul James. "We acknowledge the challenge of balancing stakes increases to reward both everyday participation and the elite level of our sport to help grow and attract new people. "The increases announced by HRV provide for both and for that we congratulate HRV. "The increases to Country Cup funding, co-funded by clubs and HRV, reflects the importance and strength of our club network to the Victorian industry and will assist showcasing the best horses and participants throughout Regional Victoria." President of the Victorian Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) Lance Justice also welcomed the stakemoney increases. "We commend HRV for increasing distribution of stakemoney in 2015/16 to in excess of 40 million," Justice said. "The VTDA in its budget submission earlier this year requested any increases to be directed to increasing basic levels to ensure the majority of the industry benefited from the extremely successful 2014/15 financial year result. "It is pleasing to see our request to increase graduation races to the new threshold level was ratified and we also welcome the changes to the Melton metropolitan meeting stake levels." HRV CEO John Anderson said the stakes increases would benefit all levels of the industry. "After extensive consultation with our industry consultative groups we elected to try and spread the stakes increases widely from the bottom end right through to the top," Anderson said. "From the bottom end of the scale we've brought graduation races up to $3500, which is the maximum amount allowed under the national guidelines for a graduation race before the winner has to take a country penalty. With 42 graduation race meetings a year this equates to an increase of about $200,000 a year. "Increasing the Vicbred first win bonus for four-year-olds from $5000 to $7000 equates to an annual increase of about $430,000, which is obviously significant. "Country fillies and mares races of all grades also take on an extra $1000 in stakes, which is great news for the Victorian breeding industry. There is always room for more to be done to stimulate fillies and mares' racing opportunities. "Given that there are about 250 of these races scheduled each year this equates to an additional quarter of a million dollars." Stakes Increases by Percentage Bottom end (graduation, country F&M, 6th to last, Vicbred 1st Bonus) - 59% Mid-level (Metro Front M1/TM1+, Country Penalty TP, Country Cups) - 23% Top end (Hunter Cup, 4&5YO Championship, 4YO Bonanza, Maori Mile) - 18%   CODY WINNELL 

Classy Victorian filly Morton Plains

Winter wonderland for Eastman

The wonderful Queensland winter campaign for the ‘Birchip Boys’ could end on a high this weekend. Following the recent domination of stable star Menin Gate in the Queensland and Gold Coast Derby’s coupled with the fast finishing effort of classy filly Morton Plains in the Queensland Oaks, the 2015 stint in Brisbane has been filled with everlasting memories for trainer Larry Eastman and his loyal bunch of owners. But there is one remaining target in sunny Queensland for the crew from Birchip – the Gr.3 $30,000 Redcliffe Oaks this Saturday night. And victory with Morton Plains would cap a dream season. “It’s been unbelievable this season and it’s stuff you never dream of because you never think it will happen to you, I’d never trained a Group One before this season and now I’ve got five of them plus many other features this term. We’ve enjoyed it immensely and we’ve celebrated long and hard, I just hope it never ends.” Shelbourne based trainer Eastman said. While the Queensland campaign has been an extraordinary success, the season overall has been truly magnificent with feature race victories including the Victoria Derby plus a haul of Vicbred Super Series Finals through the deeds of Menin Gate, Morton Plains and Milly Perez. All four Gr.1 victories came at TABCORP Park, Melton. With Menin Gate now back in Victoria and being readied for the upcoming Australasian Breeders Crown series, Morton Plains has remained based in Brisbane and will start a clear favourite in the Oaks after landing the inside gate on the tight turning bayside track. “This filly is not eligible for the Breeders Crown and therefore, the Redcliffe Oaks seemed a logical target for her which will ultimately end her season. I’m so proud of the job this filly has done this season and I think she’s got one more good effort left in her. “Landing the inside gate is a major advantage at Redcliffe and it clearly takes some pressure off now, it takes all the guess work out of the race. Her effort in the Queensland Oaks against Fight For Glory was great and like many in the Queensland Derby, she had little or no chance considering the sectionals Pauly (Menin Gate) was running up front. “I gave her trial yesterday (Tuesday) at Albion Park and she went really well, she got trapped on the pegs but hit the line hard once clear and the splits were impressive. That hit-out will bring her on for Saturday night and I’m pleased with the way she’s come through it, she’s enjoying Queensland but who doesn’t because it’s a great place and we’ve got some really good friends up here.” Morton Plains finished a close-up fourth in the Victoria Oaks earlier this season. Last season, Eastman finished second in the Redcliffe Oaks with Milly Perez, the race was won by local filly Charming Allie. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015 Form guide for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015

Trainer/driver Tony Xiriha

Injured Tony Xiriha to undergo further tests

Kyneton reinsman Tony Xiriha has been ruled out of the sulky indefinitely after a horrible fall at Stawell trots on Wednesday, July 22. Xiriha and trainer/driver Anthony O’Connor both came off their horses Good Looka and Peters Passion in the 2175-metre trot. O’Connor sustained broken ribs and a collapsed lung and spent time in Warrnambool hospital, while Xiriha was airlifted to Melbourne where he stayed in hospital until being discharged on Saturday night. Xiriha broke his hand in the fall and has had several scans on his neck region as doctors try to find out what is behind his neck pain. The popular trainer/driver also has very limited memory of the day, explaining that he recalls “scoring up before the race and I vaguely remember the helicopter”. “The nurse said I’d cracked vertebrae in my neck and I got a neck brace, and as I was leaving the hospital a nurse said I didn’t have a crack,” Xiriha said. “I took the brace off for the first time the other day to have a shower and it was a big mistake. “I’ve had a massive headache and I’ll be heading back to the doctors today.” Xiriha is still suffering the effects of severe concussion. “I’ll talk to you today and may not remember it tomorrow,” he said. “I know they said I was talking to the stewards and the first aid officials on track, but I can’t recall.” Despite the injuries Xiriha continues his work around the stables. “I just went and fed the horses before ... it’s a battle,” he said. Xiriha said he’d been buoyed by well-wishes in person and via social media. “It’s much appreciated." By Cody Winnell

Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri describes the lightly-raced harness racing seven-year-old Chief Thundercloud as "tough as old boots" and as one of the State's most consistent pacers. And he declares the New Zealand-bred gelding a major chance in the $22,500 Garrards Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chief Thundercloud, to be driven by champion reinsmen Chris Lewis, certainly has the ability to overcome the 20m handicap and win the 2503m standing-start feature event. Lewis has already won the BOTRA Cup a record four times, having scored with Village Kid (1985), Elteei (1986), Mach Ruler (2009) and Tartary Gladiator (2011). The closest Olivieri has come to winning the race was in 2010 when Lewis drove 7/2 chance Jordangarry, who set the pace and finished a close second to Albert Jaccka. The BOTRA Cup has been run over 2902m in the past four years after being decided over 2503m the two previous years. Olivieri is impressed with Chief Thundercloud's staying ability and he said that the gelding is being set for the 3309m Marathon Handicap on August 14. Chief Thundercloud, a standing-start specialist, has raced 41 times for ten wins, 13 seconds and four thirds and his recent form is excellent, with his past four starts producing splendid seconds to The Bucket List, Pembrook Henry and Classic American and a thrilling victory over Classic American. At his latest appearance, over 2503m at Gloucester Park last Friday week, Chief Thundercloud worked hard in the breeze and finished second to Classic American. Olivieri said that much would depend on Chief Thundercloud beginning smartly from the 20m mark. "If he gets a good jump, which he's been doing well lately, and if some of the others don't get a good jump, he'll penetrate the line in front of him." Chief Thundercloud's main rivals appear to be classy four-year-olds Classic American and Elegant Christian, who are prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen. Gary Hall jun. will drive Classic American, who will share the back mark of 20m with Chief Thundercloud, while Clint Hall will be in the sulky behind Elegant Christian, who will share the 10m mark with Pembrook Henry, a stablemate of Chief Thundercloud, and the Bruce Hawkins-trained Danieljohn, who has won off back marks at three of his past six starts. Danieljohn started off 50m and sustained a powerful burst from the rear to win over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. However, he meets far stronger opposition in the BOTRA Cup. Hall sen. will be looking for Classic American (who burst back to his best form with a most impressive victory last Friday week,) or Elegant Christian to give him his third success in the BOTRA Cup, after victories with Spirit of Shard in 2008 and Albert Jaccka in 2010. Ken Casellas

Im A Peregrine has won only once from his past 16 starts, but reinsman Chris Voak is quite enthusiastic about the five-year-old's prospects in the final of the $25,000 Remote Foods Chandon final at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Victorian-bred Im A Peregrine has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Voak plans to take full advantage of the gelding's sparkling early pace by denying speedy frontrunner Soho Lennon the opportunity to set the pace after starting from barrier two. "You saw what he did the last time he led in town," Voak said. "He started out wide at barrier eight, raced four wide for the first 300m and three wide for the next 300m before taking the lead and racing away to win by five and a half lengths with the ear plugs in, rating 1.58.1 over 2536m" "I think he will run 1.57 in front over 2130m." "He grows a leg if he leads, and I think he's got the speed to hold up." "Plan A will be to lead because he excels in front, and if he does he will be hard to beat." Im A Peregrine's trainer Ross Olivieri said that the gelding had been racing well, but without luck and agreed with Voak's prediction that he would prove hard to catch if he was able to set the pace. No doubt Gary Hall jun. will be anxious for Soho Lennon to burst to the front from the No. 2 barrier after the New Zealand-bred gelding was untroubled to jump to the front from the inside barrier and win comfortably over 2130m last Friday night. Apart from Soho Lennon, Serpentine trainer Gary Hall sen. has sound prospects with Cyamach, who is favourably drawn at barrier three. Cyamach surged home from seventh at the bell when a neck second to stablemate Vapour over 1730m last Friday week. That followed his fast-finishing victory over 2130m a week earlier when making his Australian debut. Condrieu, who set the pace and broke into a gallop approaching the home turn in the Higgins Memorial last Friday night, cannot be underestimated this week. He quickly regained his pacing action last week and did well to finish a close third to Another Vinnie and Delightful Offer. Trainers Greg and Skye Bond took Condrieu to the Byford trials on Sunday morning when the five-year-old, driven by Colin Brown, performed satisfactorily and finished a well-beaten third behind Dynamite Dude and Awesome Desire over 2150m. "He raced in a shadow roll in the trial and he got around without breaking," Brown said. "I didn't extend him and he went to the line with the ear plugs in." "So take no notice that he finished only third." "He raced one-out and one-back and I had him three wide on the final bend, just to make sure he didn't break." "He's a class horse." Ken Casellas

Nathans Courage, a typically small son of former champion pacer Courage Under Fire, looks set to give punters a flying start to the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the opening event, the 2130m Taylor Sulky Repairs Pace. The two-year-old, prepared at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, made an auspicious debut when he set the pace and won by almost two lengths from El Hombre, his only rival in a qualifying heat of the Breeders Crown at Gloucester Park on Monday. He sprinted over the final quarter in a sparkling 27.3sec. Reinsman Chris Voak was impressed with the gelding, saying: "He's got potential and there's plenty of upside. I think he will have benefitted from his run on Monday." "He's drawn barrier four on Friday and that's the best of the main chances." "He showed good gate speed on Monday and I'll be looking to replicate that performance." "I'll be heading forward to take the lead; that's my game plan and I think that Mouse (Brennan) will agree." "This is a jump up in grade and will test him." "But he's up to the challenge." "He did it quite comfortably on Monday and I didn't pull the ear plugs or really get stuck into him." "He's got a quick quarter and can run a good half." "I don't expect too much pressure, but maybe Browny (Colin Brown) might have a crack with Franco Rayner." Franco Rayner, an effortless all-the-way winner at his Australian debut, over 2185m at Pinjarra on July 13, finished seventh behind Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park four nights later when he started from the back line and was always well back. Franco Rayner will start out wide at barrier eight on Friday night. He dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. when an easy winner in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. "He handled Pinjarra a lot better than he handled Gloucester Park," Brown said. "He's not a big horse, but he wasn't comfortable in the run at Gloucester Park." "I changed some gear on him for Sunday's trial, but it didn't work." "However, he still ran home very quickly." "Now he will have a lugging bit added and hopefully I will have a better steering horse." Ken Casellas  

Up-and-coming superstar Waylade erased the name of star pacer David Hercules from the record books with a dazzling performance at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon and his clash with Libertybelle Midfew and Bettors Fire in the 2536m Regency Foods Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night promises to be a highlight of the ten-event program. The four-year-old New Zealand-bred stallion simply sizzled on Monday when he sprinted brilliantly from seventh (and last) at the bell to burst to the front at the 400m mark and then race away and win by three and a half lengths from the pacemaker Fernleigh Rebel. He rated a dazzling 1.52.9 to smash the course record of 1.53.6 set by David Hercules on May 24, 2013. That gave Waylade his fifth win from five starts in his current preparation. His only defeat in his past nine starts was when he finished a gallant second to Libertybelle Midfrew in the Golden Nugget Championship over 2536m early last December. Now, this week Waylade gets his chance to get his revenge on Libertybelle Midfrew. It will not be a simple task. Libertybelle Midfrew will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and looks certain to lead. And Bettors Fire also demands great respect. Waylade is quite inexperienced, having raced only 15 times for ten wins and four seconds. Trainer Gary Hall sen. has given Waylade a comparatively easy program leading into this week's event, with his main objective being to give the horse much-needed experience and confidence. Libertybelle Midfrew, trained by Mike Reed, notched her 14th victory from 33 starts when she began from the outside in a field of nine and settled in last position before dashing forward, three wide, to burst to the front at the 1200m mark on her way to a 2m victory over Jungle Jewel, rating 1.55.9 over 1730m after a final quarter in 27.8sec. Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, is a richly-talented six-year-old who has won 24 times from 57 starts. He made a wonderful return to racing after a five-month absence when he started from barrier six in a 1730m Free-For-All last Friday week. He raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before he sprinted home strongly, out five wide, to finish second to the pacemaker John of Arc, who rated 1.53.4 after final sectionals of 27.9sec. and 27sec. Harper, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday, was contemplating running Bettors Fire in the BOTRA Cup on Friday night --- after he had won the cup at his only two attempts, with 25/1 chance Outstandin in 2012 and with the 2/1 favourite Springsteen in 2013. "He was handicapped off 50m in the cup and I finally decided to start him in the mobile event," Harper explained. "It's a very good field in the mobile, Libertybelle Midfrew, Waylade and Northview Punter." "The beauty of my horse is that he's got the speed to go forward if he wants. And he can also sit and sprint like he showed at his first-up run." "At this point I haven't decided on my tactics. It's a classy field, but he's got some hope." "Running over 2536m second-up is no great worry. It's always hard to go from a mile to 2500m, especially in top grade." But Bettors Fire is a horse who on multiple occasions has been able to perform well when switching distances. "I was ecstatic with his first-up performance. I was expecting him to run fourth or fifth from his barrier draw and I was really pleased with his effort." "This will not be a long campaign for him." "Then he will have a short break before he goes back into work to be ready for the Interdominion championship series." Ken Casellas

Star three-year-old pacer Jerrys Jet ended his season on a high with win in a C4-C6 event over 2200 metres at the harness racing meeting in Launceston on Sunday night to stretch his winning sequence to seven from as many starts for Beauty Point-based trainer Rohan Hillier. Jerrys Jet was one of last season's best two-year-olds winning every feature except the Dandy Patch final in which he was a close-up second to Boasson Hagen when in the care of trainer Paul Hill. The gelding had only one more start for Hill before being transferred to Hillier in February. Jerrys Jet won the $10,000 3YO Sires Produce at his first start for Hillier in May and along the way he won the $30,000 Group 3 Globe Derby Stakes. At his past two starts he has emerged triumphant in high grade races against older and more experienced opposition. Despite winning on Sunday night the Charlie and Connie Beadman-owned gelding was not at the top of his game according to Hillier. "I thought that his work in the week leading up to this latest start was a bit below par and he took that into his race on Sunday night," Hillier said. "He won but it confirmed he needs a spell and Charlie (Beadman) is putting him straight in the paddock and he'll probably be out for a decent spell of about three months," he said. Jerrys Jet has always shown ability but Hillier is confident the gelded son of Jeremes Jet will go to another level next preparation. "I am quite excited about his prospects next season because there's no doubt he will head interstate to try and win an M0 and I am sure he will continue to get better with age." "But Charlie (Beadman) will decide when and if he leaves the state," he said. Peter Staples

Classy harness racing mare Faithful Gabby will head interstate to prepare for the 4YO Breeders Crown for mares to be run at Bendigo next month. Faithful Gabby travelled to Melbourne last month to tackle an M0-M1 mares race that resulted in her finishing second, beaten a half-neck, to classy Victorian She's Just A Delight that clocked a mile rate of 1m.54. She was driven by Tasmania's top reinsman Gareth Rattray who believes the mare is capable of winning the Breeders Crown. "She was unlucky not to win that race in Victoria and to go down by such a narrow margin with the winner clocking a mile rate of 1.54 was a good effort and it proved she is up to the top mares over there," Rattray said. "She will head back to Victoria in a fortnight and have at least one more run before the Breeders Crown," he said. Faithful Gabby has had seven starts this season for six wins and a second for about $50,000 in stakes so she has earned her chance to mix it with the best in Australasia. Peter Staples

At Penrith on Thursday afternoon, 9 July, 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards continued an adjourned Inquiry into the circumstances in which, during the running of the Bulli Cup (Listed Classic) 2300 metres at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday, 30 May, 2015, FREYBERG NZ from the vicinity of the 400 metres had left the marker pegs and shifted wider on the track. After taking further evidence from Mr. K Pizzuto, the Trainer/Driver of FREYBERG NZ, and Mr. J Trainor, the Driver of ALTA JEROME NZ, considering the results of two post-race veterinary examinations and reviewing the official vision of the race together with the previous six starts of FREYBERG NZ as well as its two subsequent starts, Mr. Pizzuto was charged under Rule 240. AHRR 240 states; “A person shall not, whether alone or in association with others, do, permit or suffer anything before, during or after a race which in the opinion of the Stewards or Controlling Body may cause someone to be unlawfully advantaged or disadvantaged or be penalised or is corrupt or otherwise improper.” The particulars of the charge laid being;  That at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday, 30 May, 2015 in Race 6 Mr. Pizzuto, being the Trainer/Driver of the horse FREYBERG NZ, from between the vicinity of the 400 metres until the vicinity of the 200 metres in the opinion of the Stewards made no reasonable attempt to drive FREYBERG NZ so as to remain on its racing line against the marker pegs which has resulted in FREYBERG NZ shifting out thereby  improperly disadvantaging SMOLDA which was racing to its immediate outside and affording  ALTA JEROME NZ an improper advantage in that horse was able to proceed unimpeded against the marker pegs.  Mr. Pizzuto offered no plea against the charge. Having considered all the evidence, the Stewards found Mr. Pizzuto guilty of the charge laid. After taking submissions from Mr. Pizzuto relative to penalty, the Stewards adjourned the hearing to allow appropriate consideration to be given to the Trainer/Drivers submissions, including his disciplinary record. On Saturday evening, 18 July, 2015 Mr. Pizzuto was informed that the Stewards had determined a penalty of a suspension of his licence to drive in races and trials for a period of nine (9) months to take effect from midnight on Saturday, 18 July, 2015.  Details of this decision were provided in writing to the Trainer/Driver on Monday, 20 July, 2015. Mr. Pizzuto was informed of his right to appeal the decision. Harness Racing New South Wales

From humble beginnings just over seven years ago, Redcliffe’s flagship sales race the Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sales 2yo Final will achieve harness racing Group 1 status in 2017. Yearlings sold through Queensland's popular Redcliffe Yearling Sale in 2016 will be eligible to race in a $100,000 2yo Final and Club President Kerry Ebert is over the moon that the Club will achieve a milestone that many thought would never happen. “It’s been a personal goal of mine to make this happen and to finally be able to announce it during our big week of racing is just fantastic,” Ebert said. “Going back a few years now a few of us here had the foresight to recognize that there was a void that needed to be filled. "There were a lot of yearlings not considered good enough to be sold at the APG sale and they had no official auction locally to go to. “But little did we realize then what we were going to be able to achieve. “By the third yearling sale at Redcliffe we were getting the top lots for our sale. “The Group 1 and the $100,000 is a reward for all the breeders and all the buyers that have supported us.” The Annual Redcliffe Yearling Sale is held each year at the Club by Darren Ebert & Co in conjunction with Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club Inc. All Horses sold through the sale ring at the track are eligible to register for the Club’s Two and Three Year Old Classic Series. “It was a gamble that’s paid off,” Ebert said.  Chris (Garrard) and I guaranteed the initial $30,000 stakes in 2008 and when we launched it we weren’t sure whether the sale and race series was going to be successful.” Quality Queensland bred 2yo Leos Best won the 2015 Group 2 edition of the $80,000 Redcliffe Yearling Sales Final this month for trainer/driver Grant Dixon with an amazing time of 1.54.9. The son of Cammibest bred by Burwood Stud and raced by Kevin & Kay Seymour’s Solid Earth Pty Ltd. defeated Mucho Macho Man and Timmo Time. Leo’s Best has since gone unbeaten at his last three starts capping his season with a Group 1 victory in the QBred Triad Final at Albion Park two weeks ago. “The horse quality and the race times are just getting better each year and our committee, the sales company, the sponsors and the breeders strongly believe that this race is deserving of its new status,” Ebert said. “We are now able to deliver what we set out to do and we are all very proud of our achievement.” by David Aldred

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an Inquiry today into the betting activities of licensed Trainer and Driver Mr David Moran, including a bet placed in Race 4 at the Leeton Harness Meeting on 30 January 2015, a race in which Mr Moran was engaged as a driver. Mr Moran again appeared at the inquiry. Evidence including telephone records was entered into evidence. Further evidence was also taken from Ms Laura Crossland (via telephone. Mr Moran was issued with two (2) charges pursuant to Rule 173 (1) & (3) which states: 173. (1)  A driver shall not bet in a race in which the driver participates.  (3)  A driver who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charges issued against Mr Moran are as follows: On 15 January 2015, Mr Moran placed a bet via the Wagering Operator Tabcorp, on BENOAH which competed in Race 6 at the Wagga Harness Meeting on that day. Mr Moran drove that horse and the bet to win was $50. On 30 January 2015, Mr Moran placed a bet via the Wagering Operator Tabcorp, on SMO, a horse trained and driven by his partner Ms Laura Crossland, which competed in Race 4 at the Leeton Harness Meeting on that day. The bet to win was $50 and Mr Moran drove MAJOR JULES in that race. Mr Moran pleaded guilty to the charge relating to 30 January 2015 and the charge relating to the 15 January 2015 was found proven by the Stewards. In respect of the charge relating to 15 January 2015, Mr Moran was fined the amount of $500. In respect of the charge relating to 30 January 2015, Mr Moran was disqualified for a period of 3 months to commence from midnight 28 July 2015.  In determining penalty, Stewards took all circumstances of this matter into consideration and were mindful of Mr Moran’s licence history, personal subjective facts including personal and financial hardships and Mr Moran’s guilty plea in respect of the matter relating to 30 January 2015. Reid Sanders

Participants please note that various policies and procedures relevant to the Victorian Harness Racing Industry can be located at the following internet address: http://www.hrv.org.au/integrity/stewards-industry-policies/ Additional policies will also be found in this location in the future. Any queries in relation to this information please call the Harness Racing Victoria Integrity Department on 8378 0222.

The Trots 'TAB Breeders Crown' is fast approaching! Experience trotting’s biggest day of the year, with more than $1.3 Million in prize money on offer across 8 Group 1 races. As well as outstanding racing, the day will also feature loads of entertainment, including DJ Lauren Mac, Animal Farm, Face Painting, Jumping Castle, Pony Rides and much more. One lucky racegoer will also receive a $2000 betting voucher. While there’s plenty on offer for the kids, adults can also enjoy a glamorous day out by booking into one of our premium dining packages. We look forward to welcoming you to Tabcorp Park on Sunday 30 August 2015.   Raceday Hospitality Toolern Room With breathtaking views from the G.W. Rothacker grandstand, overlooking the home straight and winning post our Toolern Room package is for those looking for a top class, all inclusive experience. Package Includes: Racecourse Admission 4 x course dining including plated entrée, gourmet buffet for main, individually crafted dessert platters plus afternoon tea Beverage package comprising of beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages Tea and Coffee throughout the day Racebook Hosted event with special guests to share their knowledge and tips for the day’s racing Package Price - $110pp For bookings phone 8746 0626 or email bwalker@tabcorppark.com.au   Home Straight Bistro Located on the ground level directly across from the winning post the Home Straight Bistro is adjacent to the home straight lawn where you can cheer on your favourite from the thick of the action. Package Includes Racecourse Admission 3 x course gourmet buffet Cash bar operating all day Race Book Direct access to Tote facilities Live trackside televisions Package Price - $75pp For bookings phone 8746 0626 or email bwalker@tabcorppark.com.au   Skybox  Located right on top of the winning post providing the best view in the house. You’re guaranteed to be right on top of the day’s racing action while enjoying a premium menu. Package Includes Racecourse Admission Premium 4 Course plated lunch Premium beer, wine & non-alcoholic beverages Racebook Tote facilities Package Price - $150pp For bookings phone 8746 0626 or email bwalker@tabcorppark.com.au   Corporate Suites If you are looking for an exclusive atmosphere for your racing experience look no further than one of our exclusive Corporate Suites, ideal for a gathering of 20-30 guests. Watch the action from your own private balcony overlooking the track, impress your clients with the high class private room comprising of your own Kitchen and Bathroom facilities complete with personal wait staff to ensure a truly memorable day. Package Includes: Corporate Canape menu inclusive of Gourmet Cheese station Beverage Package comprising of Beer, Wine & non-alcoholic beverages Continuous Tea & Coffee Tote Facilities In room Flat Screen Television Private balcony overlooking the Home Straight Price on Application For bookings phone 8746 0626 or email bwalker@tabcorppark.com.au   City Bus FEDERATION SQUARE to TABCORP PARK MELTON There will be a return coach running from Federation Square to Tabcorp Park on Breeders Crown Day. PICK-UP POINT : Federation Square, Russell St extension 11.00AM (located at the back of Federation Square near carpark), arriving approximately 11.45AM DEPARTS TABCORP PARK : 7.00PM, travelling to Federation Square. $10 per person one way or $10 per person return Bookings essential – phone 8746 0600   For further information visit breederscrown.com.au

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When you think of Paleface Adios and Don’t Retreat you recall two of the greats of harness racing.    It’s fitting that both of these champion pacers from the seventies share pride of place with many other top notch interstate and local horses in race chronicles from years gone by as winners of Queensland’s Redcliffe Gold Cup. The $50,000 Redcliffe Gold Cup, to be raced at the Redcliffe Paceway on Saturday night, for the first time will be raced as a Group 2 event and has certainly come a long way in the 51 years since Fairy Armagh won the 1964 edition. It was a big year for Redcliffe that year with the Club staging Queensland’s first ever harness race for one thousand pounds. One of the big supporters of this race and the Redcliffe Club was the late Chicka Charlwood. Two of Charlwood’s best were 1976 Gold Cup winner Neena Again and River Ike, the winner in 1979. Clarrie Sweeney won the Cup with the great Roma Hanover in 1976, Kevin Robinson with Spike in 1974 and Brian Pelling with Thunder Imp in 1973. Down the years it’s been a provincial Cup that has been won by very good horses. In 1982 a dead heat was recorded for the first and only time with the Cup shared by Tolvan (Stewart Dickson) and Paka Star (Kevin Thomas) and in more recent times Redcliffe specialist Shipps Fire won for Julie Weidemann in 1996. This century the race has also captured a couple of stars -- Hexus and I Am Sam stand out. The Danny Gallagher-trained Hexus went back to back for Luke McCarthy in 2003 and 2004 and Natalie Rasmussen steered home the Bill Dixon trained I Am Sam in 2008. Roll forward to 2015 and there’s a chance that the finish of the 2014 Gold Cup could be replayed. Last year Grant Dixon’s Majestic Major defeated Forever Gold and Supreme Mach. That trio will again race in the Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup and are in great form. Also included in this year’s field is Grant Dixon's 2013 winner Only The Brave. The Dixon stable has five of the 13 horses in the field in the 2613 metre Discretionary Handicap with classy four-year-old Alleluia and Magical Mel, the first emergency, also drawn in the race. Alleluia will go from the front row in the stand start feature and is sure to be prominent from start to finish. Sharing the 10 metre back mark with defending champ Majestic Major is the race’s firepower, Forever Gold, Avonnova and Caesar Folly. The Darren Weeks trained Forever Gold is looking to take its earnings to over the $700,000 mark in this race. This month the outstanding mare took out the Group 3 Ladyship Stakes at Albion Park then beat all bar Philadelphia Man in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake on the Albion Park carnival feature night. Queensland’s current horse of the year, the free-legged Avonnova will also push his lifetime earnings over $700,000 with a victory. The Ian Gurney trained Avonnova won the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park before finishing third behind Philadelphia Man and Forever Gold in the Blacks A Fake. Trainer Shannon Price and driver Brad Cowen team together with Caesars Folly. Like Majestic Major, who won last week’s Group 3 Patrons Purse at Redcliffe, Forever Gold and Avonnova, Caesars Folly is already proven on the Redcliffe track and wasn’t far away when sixth in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park at his last start. Redcliffe Club president Kerry Ebert said it’s a credit to everyone involved that this race is the race it is today and that, for the last couple of years, the Cup has featured as Queensland’s main event on a Saturday night. “It’s a great race and it deserves to be the main attraction on a Saturday night,” Ebert said. “A lot of good people have ensured it’s prominence including past president’s Austin McGuckin, who unfortunately passed away earlier this month and without the efforts of Chris Garrard and Brad Steele in the chair we may not have been able to elevate the race to the caliber of event it is now. “This is a super field that we have for the Cup this year, it’s a Group 2 race for the first time and the prizemoney is the best we have ever had, it’s hard to find a negative as we take the Club into the next fifty years of racing at Redcliffe.” by David Aldred Related Links Fields for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015 Form guide for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015
The Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs (AVCHRC) has welcomed Harness Racing Victoria's (HRV) stakes increase announcement. On Monday HRV revealed stakemoney for season 2015-16 would exceed $40 million for the first time ever after a 5% increase on the 2014-15 season, meaning harness racing stakemoney in Victoria has climbed by 20% over three years. "It's fantastic to see our industry in a position to offer stakes increases," said AVCHRC President Paul James. "We acknowledge the challenge of balancing stakes increases to reward both everyday participation and the elite level of our sport to help grow and attract new people. "The increases announced by HRV provide for both and for that we congratulate HRV. "The increases to Country Cup funding, co-funded by clubs and HRV, reflects the importance and strength of our club network to the Victorian industry and will assist showcasing the best horses and participants throughout Regional Victoria." President of the Victorian Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) Lance Justice also welcomed the stakemoney increases. "We commend HRV for increasing distribution of stakemoney in 2015/16 to in excess of 40 million," Justice said. "The VTDA in its budget submission earlier this year requested any increases to be directed to increasing basic levels to ensure the majority of the industry benefited from the extremely successful 2014/15 financial year result. "It is pleasing to see our request to increase graduation races to the new threshold level was ratified and we also welcome the changes to the Melton metropolitan meeting stake levels." HRV CEO John Anderson said the stakes increases would benefit all levels of the industry. "After extensive consultation with our industry consultative groups we elected to try and spread the stakes increases widely from the bottom end right through to the top," Anderson said. "From the bottom end of the scale we've brought graduation races up to $3500, which is the maximum amount allowed under the national guidelines for a graduation race before the winner has to take a country penalty. With 42 graduation race meetings a year this equates to an increase of about $200,000 a year. "Increasing the Vicbred first win bonus for four-year-olds from $5000 to $7000 equates to an annual increase of about $430,000, which is obviously significant. "Country fillies and mares races of all grades also take on an extra $1000 in stakes, which is great news for the Victorian breeding industry. There is always room for more to be done to stimulate fillies and mares' racing opportunities. "Given that there are about 250 of these races scheduled each year this equates to an additional quarter of a million dollars." Stakes Increases by Percentage Bottom end (graduation, country F&M, 6th to last, Vicbred 1st Bonus) - 59% Mid-level (Metro Front M1/TM1+, Country Penalty TP, Country Cups) - 23% Top end (Hunter Cup, 4&5YO Championship, 4YO Bonanza, Maori Mile) - 18%   CODY WINNELL 
The wonderful Queensland winter campaign for the ‘Birchip Boys’ could end on a high this weekend. Following the recent domination of stable star Menin Gate in the Queensland and Gold Coast Derby’s coupled with the fast finishing effort of classy filly Morton Plains in the Queensland Oaks, the 2015 stint in Brisbane has been filled with everlasting memories for trainer Larry Eastman and his loyal bunch of owners. But there is one remaining target in sunny Queensland for the crew from Birchip – the Gr.3 $30,000 Redcliffe Oaks this Saturday night. And victory with Morton Plains would cap a dream season. “It’s been unbelievable this season and it’s stuff you never dream of because you never think it will happen to you, I’d never trained a Group One before this season and now I’ve got five of them plus many other features this term. We’ve enjoyed it immensely and we’ve celebrated long and hard, I just hope it never ends.” Shelbourne based trainer Eastman said. While the Queensland campaign has been an extraordinary success, the season overall has been truly magnificent with feature race victories including the Victoria Derby plus a haul of Vicbred Super Series Finals through the deeds of Menin Gate, Morton Plains and Milly Perez. All four Gr.1 victories came at TABCORP Park, Melton. With Menin Gate now back in Victoria and being readied for the upcoming Australasian Breeders Crown series, Morton Plains has remained based in Brisbane and will start a clear favourite in the Oaks after landing the inside gate on the tight turning bayside track. “This filly is not eligible for the Breeders Crown and therefore, the Redcliffe Oaks seemed a logical target for her which will ultimately end her season. I’m so proud of the job this filly has done this season and I think she’s got one more good effort left in her. “Landing the inside gate is a major advantage at Redcliffe and it clearly takes some pressure off now, it takes all the guess work out of the race. Her effort in the Queensland Oaks against Fight For Glory was great and like many in the Queensland Derby, she had little or no chance considering the sectionals Pauly (Menin Gate) was running up front. “I gave her trial yesterday (Tuesday) at Albion Park and she went really well, she got trapped on the pegs but hit the line hard once clear and the splits were impressive. That hit-out will bring her on for Saturday night and I’m pleased with the way she’s come through it, she’s enjoying Queensland but who doesn’t because it’s a great place and we’ve got some really good friends up here.” Morton Plains finished a close-up fourth in the Victoria Oaks earlier this season. Last season, Eastman finished second in the Redcliffe Oaks with Milly Perez, the race was won by local filly Charming Allie. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015 Form guide for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015
Kyneton reinsman Tony Xiriha has been ruled out of the sulky indefinitely after a horrible fall at Stawell trots on Wednesday, July 22. Xiriha and trainer/driver Anthony O’Connor both came off their horses Good Looka and Peters Passion in the 2175-metre trot. O’Connor sustained broken ribs and a collapsed lung and spent time in Warrnambool hospital, while Xiriha was airlifted to Melbourne where he stayed in hospital until being discharged on Saturday night. Xiriha broke his hand in the fall and has had several scans on his neck region as doctors try to find out what is behind his neck pain. The popular trainer/driver also has very limited memory of the day, explaining that he recalls “scoring up before the race and I vaguely remember the helicopter”. “The nurse said I’d cracked vertebrae in my neck and I got a neck brace, and as I was leaving the hospital a nurse said I didn’t have a crack,” Xiriha said. “I took the brace off for the first time the other day to have a shower and it was a big mistake. “I’ve had a massive headache and I’ll be heading back to the doctors today.” Xiriha is still suffering the effects of severe concussion. “I’ll talk to you today and may not remember it tomorrow,” he said. “I know they said I was talking to the stewards and the first aid officials on track, but I can’t recall.” Despite the injuries Xiriha continues his work around the stables. “I just went and fed the horses before ... it’s a battle,” he said. Xiriha said he’d been buoyed by well-wishes in person and via social media. “It’s much appreciated." By Cody Winnell
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