Day At The Track
Australian Harness Racing Council

Stallion TAX casualty

Trotting stallion Volstead is the first victim of the proposed ‘Stallion TAX’ Harness Racing Australia announced on April 16. Haras des Trotteurs Principal Pat Driscoll felt coerced to not shuttle the American-bred European-winning stallion back Down Under after having close to 90 services this last breeding season. The Stallion TAX will see a 15 per cent charge on the advertised service fee of shuttle and internationally domiciled stallions (transported and frozen semen) and is anticipated to generate in excess of $2million annually. “It just does not make any sense to bring Volstead back down here with this crazy tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like,” said Driscoll about the only trotting stallion shuttled to Australia in the 2020/21 breeding season. “I had to make the call by the end of April and I have had to say no. “It is a shame. We worked hard to find a nice stallion and we bred him to our good mares to give him a great start and through all the expenses of bringing him down, we didn’t cover costs in year one, no money was returned to the US (United States) and it will probably be that way in year two when we finish working the numbers. “Even this year if we brought him down we probably would have broke even but then apply this TAX, it just doesn’t make it worth while. “Through Volstead we sponsored the Redwood Classic for the past two years and now that won’t be happening. “These are some of the flow on affects of this new tax/levy/financial imposter that have not been thought about.” Following such positive results from the recent Nutrien Standardbred Yearling Sale in Victoria plus the latest news that breeding numbers were up 10.3 per cent nationally for the first time in more than a decade, Driscoll believes this Stallion TAX is a backwards step. “It is easily the worst decision I’ve seen in the years since I’ve been involved,” stated Driscoll. “There is no other place in the world that there is a tax/levy/financial imposter that subsides racing. “You have the sires’ stakes-type races but that money generally goes back into the same pool . . . this doesn’t. “There isn’t a river of gold at studs as some may perceive. “I can only speak of Haras des Trotteurs but I’ve been operating at a loss since I started. “There are transport costs, advertising, futurity payments, stallion collection and quarantine costs, administration fees and so on. “It’s not this golden goose that people think it is, it is a labour of love for many including Haras des Trotteurs. “We’ve just come off a successful sale where for the first time in history the trotters average was higher than the pacers. “Then, we received some great news that breeding numbers are on the way back up. “We are on an upward trajectory and then they do this. “I didn’t think too many things would derail the growth of trotting in Victoria but this will. “This will severely impact the breeding of trotters in Victoria as the cost of breeding will increase, people will breed less and it could also severely compromise the quality of trotters bred. “We sent out a survey to our stakeholders, a big cross-section of the industry from those that spend who spend $1925 for Used To Me to a service fee of $11,000 for Love You, and 85 per cent are not in favour of this new levy and 80 per cent said they would breed less mares.” The HRA Executive, a ‘membership limited to the State Controlling Body in each of the six states of Australia as well as the six Principal Clubs’ has proposed the immediate introduction of this Stallion TAX to raise funds for the harness racing industry in Australia.  The way in which these funds will be distributed has not been decided yet. The HRA Executive has anticipated this TAX will generate in excess of $2million annually and will be responsible for the invoicing, collection and distribution of the TAX. This has Driscoll and others perplexed. As documented on the HRA website the AHRC (Australian Harness Racing Council and changed to HRA in 2008) was initially created to administer the Australian Trotting Stud Book, to maintain a Central Register of Name, to keep records and to control and enforce the Rules relating thereto. It is the forum and co-ordination point between the State Controlling Bodies for uniformity of rules and reciprocity of horsemen’s licences, registration of horses and suspensions and disqualifications. In addition, HRA acts as the national body in international harness racing affairs and is a member of the International Trotting Association. As a joint member of the Event Committee set up in 2008 with Harness Racing New Zealand, HRA is involved in supervising the Australasian Inter Dominion series (formerly under the auspices of the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council Inc). “How did we get this far?” asked Driscoll. “If you read HRA’s legislations they are keepers of the studbooks, rules and regulations and each state runs their own racing. “It’s gone from that to wanting to put a tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you may, on stallions. “I feel as though Victoria has been sold, as most of this money will be raised here. “I’m staggered that Harness Racing Victoria have let this happen to their own state. “Add to the fact that roughly 90 per cent of trotting mares bred are bred/reside in Victoria and assuming a very large number of pacing mares are bred and also located in Victoria, it’s not difficult to see that most of the tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like, raised, would be in Victoria and go where and to what?” Going by this past breeding season’s numbers, if all the same shuttle/frozen semen stallions were to remain, this levy will affect 52 stallions (28 trotting and 24 pacing) in Australia and New Zealand. A breakdown of those numbers show that 28 of those stallions are with Victoria, nine in Queensland, eight stallions in NZ, five in New South Wales and two in Western Australia. “I just can’t come up with a logical answer. “I’m all for improving the sport, I’ve invested a lot of my own money trying to do so with sponsorship and breeding. “If people want to have a $1million race, ask those seeking to have the race sponsor it!” To read HRA’s entire media release regarding the ‘Stallion Levy’ and propositions for these funds, click here. By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

HRA - stop TAXING us to death

Andrew Kelly, HRA - stop TAXING us to death

The new ‘Stallion Levy’ proposed by Harness Racing Australia is a move that has created more questions than answers as Australasia’s biggest breeders know it will have a negative ripple effect on the industry at all levels.  What is wrong with Harness Racing Australia and Andrew Kelly? With Andrew Kelly producing FAKE NEWS with ridiculous numbers today of $18 million spent on “International Sires” it is hard to understand how HRA can justify his salary. With no experience and no investment in the Stallion business he is out of control. He has been in this position for 12 years and far too long! Andrew Kelly is not the only person responsible for this proposed TAX though. Below this letter, we have listed all State members that have been a part of this TAX proposal. This is what the majority of breeders have to say today about this unbelievable TAX that HRA is trying to get in place; Dear Mr. Kelly & the HRA Executive With regards to your recent announcement of a proposed 15% levy on all shuttle and frozen semen non-resident stallions, we would like to formally express our opposition to this Proposal. It is extremely disappointing that there was no industry consultation or discussion in advance of this Proposal. Stud farms, stallion owners and breeders’ organisations were not notified of this Proposal prior to the posting of a general press release on the HRA website. This press release creates far more questions than answers. Based on the breeding data available on HarnessWeb as of April 19th, there were 5,118 total mares bred in Australia to 166 registered stallions in the 2020/21 season. Pacing stallions served a total of 4,331 Australian mares with Australian domiciled stallions serving the majority of mares – 2,662 (61%). The remaining 39% of pacing mares bred (1,669) were served with semen from shuttle and frozen semen stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 700 pacing mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions served 531 Australian pacing mares and North American frozen semen was used to serve 438 pacing mares. A total of 787 trotting mares were bred in Australia. Australian domiciled stallions served 292 trotting mares (37%). The remaining 63% of trotting mares (495) were served with semen from U.S. shuttle stallions, frozen semen from U.S. and European stallions and NZ domiciled stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 62 trotting mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions covered 29 trotting mares, NZ domiciled stallions 109 mares and non-resident frozen semen was used to serve 295 trotting mares. Pacing and trotting stallions who permanently reside in Australia accounted for 58% of all mares bred last season. It should be noted that 114 Australian domiciled stallions will not be assessed this levy and therefore will not be contributing any funds to HRA’s 15% Proposal. Contrary to the opinions of a few self-interested parties who have created a huge misconception within the industry, there is far less money being paid to North American breeding syndicates for the use of their stallions than rumored. In addition, a large percentage of breeding rights for several of the most prominent shuttle stallions are owned by Australian/New Zealand studs or investors with the bulk of collected service fees remaining in Australasia as a return on investment. Also, many stallions are under long-term lease agreements contracted when a 15% levy was not included in the configuration of expenses.  Breeding farms have been relied on to help support the industry by offering discounts as high as 25% to breeders to assist them with rising costs and to provide complimentary breeding’s to clubs and breeders organisations throughout the country as well as various sponsorships within the industry. Now it is proposed that stud owners fund prize money increases to the Inter Dominion, Derbys and Oaks for benefit of a select few. We are not in agreement that breeding should be funding racing. Most of the studs who stand shuttle or offer frozen semen stallions have made significant contributions to the Australian agricultural and general economy. We have made substantial investments in property, buildings, equipment and livestock, we employ staff, purchase hay, feed and other farm supplies as well as support many local businesses (printers, office supplies, petrol, etc.). If this levy were to be adopted by HRA, there would most definitely be a ripple effect felt throughout the entire industry. HRA is attempting to change the way studs conduct their business which we feel would result in a dramatic change to the established culture of breeding. Breeders should be afforded the option of selecting the best stallions available for their mares without being penalized by a 15% levy. Below are just some of the major impacts we believe this 15% levy would have on Australian breeding. It has been a long-standing practice within the industry for studs to offer breeders a discount on the advertised service fee – whether it be for early payment, bookings for multiple mares or farm loyalty discounts. Over the last 25 years, very few breeders, if any, have ever paid the full advertised service fee. This proposed 15% levy on the advertised service fee will certainly see the elimination or reduction of service fee discounts for both shuttle and frozen semen stallions. This levy is extremely discriminatory as it provides Australian domiciled stallions a 15% price advantage as they are not subject to this levy. Many studs offer clients the opportunity to pay the service fee on a live foal basis. HRA has stated the proposed 15% levy will be imposed following a 42-day positive pregnancy test which may lead to the elimination of these pay on live foal options. With regards to the proposed 15% levy being invoiced on a 42-day positive pregnancy test, does this levy carry a live foal guarantee or a refund to the stud farm if the mare fails to deliver a live foal and when would this be repaid? Is the levy applicable to free returns? Complimentary breeding’s? Donations? Ultimately it appears that studs will have little or no choice but to pass this proposed levy on to breeders. Studs cannot be expected to absorb this additional cost on top of an already expense laden business. As breeders’ costs rise due to this levy, breeding numbers, live foals and race starters will undoubtedly decrease. This levy is an HRA attempt to push breeders towards supporting Australian/Colonial stallions who are not subjected to this levy. The most popular and successful commercial stallions available to breeders in Australia are shuttle or frozen semen stallions.  Commercial breeders are less likely to experience the same returns at the yearling sales that they currently enjoy if they are forced to breed to “Colonial” stallions due to this levy.  The considerable number of horses exported overseas by Australian owners will also be affected as Colonial-sired horses will not be as recognizable and may not be in great demand by mainstream North American or European buyers.  Stallion choices in the future will be limited as fewer shuttle/frozen semen stallions will be available due to this proposed levy. This levy, added to the mounting costs of shuttling to the southern hemisphere, will question the economical feasibility of bringing the best-bred and performed stallions to Australasia.  Faced with both 10% GST and this 15% levy, most international stallion owners will be discouraged from considering Australia in the future. If fewer mares are bred to shuttle/frozen semen stallions due to this levy, the Australasian gene pool will be negatively affected in the future. This 15% levy will negatively impact industry sponsorships. Studs have played a critical role in race and club sponsorships over the years, but this levy will certainly affect monies available for these sponsorships. If studs are being asked to fund racing prize money as suggested in your Proposal, how can they be asked to continue to sponsor tracks, clubs and smaller industry events as well? As an example, International Racehorse Transport has stepped up its sponsorship of the Standardbred industry in the last several years, but if fewer stallions are flying back and forth from North America or Europe, how can IRT be expected to support an industry that no longer supports their business model? We would like to request a meeting with the HRA Executive to further discuss our concerns regarding this proposed 15% levy. It is evident that HRA has not considered this Proposal from the point of view of the Studs. We would welcome the opportunity to educate the Executive on the realities of the breeding industry and assist in seeking alternative proposals to benefit the ENTIRE Standardbred community. Faithfully yours, Pat Driscoll, Haras des Trotteurs/Yabby Dam Farm Alan Galloway, Alabar Farms Mark Hughes, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd David James, Empire Stallions Corp Dr. Kath McIntosh, Northern Rivers Equine Vet Clinic Kody Charles, KTC Bloodstock Belinda McCarthy, Cobbity Equine Farm Ged Mooar, Nevele R Stud Peter O’Rourke, Stallions Australasia Anthony Perkins, Trump Bloodstock Darren Reay, Medowie Lodge .................................................... Here are the people that are complicit in proposing this TAX. One of the main promoters of this TAX is one of those members Bob Fowler who has a vested interest in Colonial stallions. Feel free to lobby these ill informed officials below.   HRA Office Bearers, National Body, Corporate & Service Providers     Office Bearers for 2020/2021 Effective Date of Implementation:   30 October 2020 Executive Members                             Graeme Campbell OAM Independent Chair         Ken Brown AM Deputy Chairman (NSW-HRNSW)     Dale Montieth Treasurer (Vic-HRV)                             Executive Members                         Margaret Reynolds (Qld-Racing Queensland)   Joel Wallace (Tas-Tasracing Pty Ltd)     George Fiacchi  (SA-HRSA)     Bob Fowler (WA-RWWA)                           HRA National Body       Andrew Kelly   Chief Executive            Chief Executive: Andrew Kelly   Head of Finance and Strategy: Cameron Brown   Equine Health & Welfare Co-ordinator: Kathleen Mullan   DNA Co-ordinator, Registration, Naming, Clearances: Laraine Rischitelli   HRA Website & Database Administrator, Reports: Kathy Gebert   Clearances, Administration Services: Kerry Macaloney   General Email: hra@hra.com.au   Naming Enquiries: naming@hra.com.au   Phone: 61 3 9227 3000   Fax: 61 3 9227 3030     Mail: Level 1, 400 Epsom Road, Flemington Vic  3031  Australia

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$1million chase over for now

Tornado Valley has run his last race for the preparation, with connections pulling up stumps on the pursuit of $1million in prizemoney for the time being. Regular driver Kate Gath, the wife of trainer Andy, told thetrots.com.au that a decision had been made to give the champion squaregaiter a break following last weekend's third placing in the DNR Logistics Vulcan Trot at Tabcorp Park Melton. The nine-year-old has so far fallen short in his bid to become just the ninth Australasian-bred trotter to reach the $1 million prizemoney mark, being beaten in his last three trips to the races. This has left the son of Skyvalley stuck on $996,797 in earnings. "We've decided to give him a little break and give him one last go, so that's where he's at at the moment," Gath said. "He's sort of been in work for a really long time. Even though he didn't race a lot prior to the Great Southern Star, we'd had him in work for a really long time trying to get him right. "He'll have a decent break of a month or maybe a little bit longer and we'll give him one last go." Gath said it was hard to know when retirement might be on the cards for the winner of 38 races. "Obviously, we'd like to get to the million dollar mark. If he gets there and we are really happy with him and he goes really well, then (we will) probably look at keeping (him) going. But if he gets there and we think that he's got a few little niggling issues and has got older, we might just stop it there." Tornado Valley is raced by prominent owner Norm Jenkin, who has had a long and successful association with the Gath stable.   By Tim O'Connor for HRV

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Trent Dawson desperate to repay owners' trust

Trent Dawson has redemption on his mind for his loyal owners when he chases his maiden Group 1 triumph on Saturday evening at Albion Park. The Clarendon-based trainer, who has around 15 in work at his property, heads to the QBRED TRIAD 3YO Fillies Group 1 (2138m) with two leading chances - Talent To Spare and Kissesforyamisses. The Dawson fillies had mixed fortunes when the barriers were drawn on Tuesday morning; Talent To Spare on the back row in 13, while Kissesforyamisses boosted her chances with a favourable draw in four. While the barrier draws will be key come Saturday night, it is another factor that has driven Dawson’s motivation for the last year. The impressive Talent To Spare broke from her gait just as they were about to jump in the Group 1 2YO edition of the race last year, leaving Dawson and owners Kevin and Kay Seymour devastated. While the Seymours were disappointed to see one of their up-and-coming pacers miss out a feature race opportunity, they were still supportive of the trainer-driver, Dawson, and he is keen to repay them this week. “They have been fantastic to me personally allowing me to train this horse, they have been some of my biggest supporters,” Dawson said of the Seymours. “Last year things did not go right and we were all upset about that, they are great people and great supporters of me and the entire harness racing industry. “I feel like I am trying to repay the faith in them after what happened last year with Talent To Spare in the TRIAD. “I was shattered and they helped me get over it, it will be nice to repay their faith.” Dawson has qualified two for the fillies Final, both of which are out of sire Hurrikane Kingcole. Talent To Spare is owned by the Seymours while Kissesforyamisses is owned by Dawson’s wife Crystal Towns. While Talent To Spare - who has five wins from 11 starts to her name - had to endure an “ugly draw” on Tuesday, Dawson is not giving up hope on his three-year-old just yet, declaring he still has confidence in both his chances. "She got murdered in that, if she had drawn well it would have been nearly shut the gate but it will be very tough from there,” he says. “She will have to be very good and she will have to get a lot of luck. “My other filly, she faired well, that is a positive draw for her and she has a whole lot of options now. “She can lead as she has good gate speed. “There is not too much between them now following the barriers and Kissesforyamisses gets the chance to spring an upset.” In all of Talent To Spare’s wins, she has either led or been just behind the leader, with Dawson keen to eventually show she is not a one-dimensional pacer and can be just as effective off the speed as well. As a trainer, Dawson has been Group 1 placed over the years, but he is yet to break through on the biggest stage of racing. He hopes that will change come Saturday evening. “It would be an exclamation mark, they only come around once a year,” he said. “It is a whole different ball game winning a race like this. “If we were to win, it would not change me or anything I do, but it would just give me the confidence to show we can win races like this. “It would be good to keep doing it after this, if we can.” There will also be a QBRED TRIAD 3YO Colts and Geldings Group 1 (2138m) on Saturday evening at Albion Park.   By Jordan Gerrans for Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.   THE GOOD After six heats of the Trot Rods Series, a new leader for the fastest time has emerged. Regal Nightshade sits at the top of the speed ratings following his win last week, stopping the clock in 66.10 seconds for the 947-metre scamper. The Mark Dux-trained pacer sat in behind the speed before making full use of the passing lane, arriving to claim the 21st win of his career. While leading a race and dictating the tempo is always a good place to be - especially when there is just one lap - this year’s Trot Rods has shown that you do not need to lead to win. Following the sixth heat, the positions in the run of the six winners has been varied. Three winners have been able to lead all the way - Living Free, Tiges Apprentice and Sir Bulski. Two winners have used the passing lane - Regal Nightshade and No Doubt - with Elle Jay claiming her heat when sweeping down the outside to victory. It has also been an even spread amongst the trainers and drivers with no trainer or driver winning more than one heat thus far in the series. The win of No Doubt in heat six last week also displayed that horses can come from back in the pack to score. Shane Graham had the gelding three back on the pegs just before the home turn before unleashing a sizzling closing sprint to arrive on the wire for a smart win. With four more heats before the big final night on May 26, will Regal Nightshade be able to hold on as the fastest heat winner and claim the $10,000 speed bonus?   THE BAD A short half-head; as an official margin, it is the smallest margin in deciding the winner of a race. A miniscule measurement that can be the difference between glory and vanquishment. For trainer Mark Rees, that was the difference between victory and defeat and it came at the expense of a career first metropolitan double. Jumping Jack Jimmy is a newcomer to the Rees stable and has been a good addition to his barn with a win and two narrow seconds in three outings. Taking the step up to Saturday night veterans’ grade, the seven-year-old was setting the speed in front in race two with Angus Garrard in the bike. After being given no respite in front, ‘The Kid’ and Jumping Jack Jimmy were in for the fight and fought hard to the wire, beaten in the final stride as Misterfreeze descended from the deep to score. It was a game second placing and franked the assessment of the gelding’s previous trainer, John O’Shea, that the horse will be well suited to racing in Queensland. Rees had a pair of runners engaged in the final race on the card, the Marburg to Albion Final, with Jewel Of Peak and Kay Nora Shannon progressing through following Monday’s heats at Marburg. While both mares were outsiders in the market, Rees was able to train first and third across the line, with just under one metre the difference between snaring the quinella. Kay Nora Shannon finished over the top to land the prize with Nathan Dawson taking the drive on the mare who recorded a new PB of 1.56.2 in claiming the victory. The Rees stable is firing at present and with five horses in work, four of the five have been successful over the past 14 days. If only for the short-half-head margin, Rees would be celebrating his first ever metropolitan double. Alas, he will wait another day.   THE MILESTONE Weasel broke a record that had stood for over 10 years - and may not be broken - when racing for the 250th occasion at Redcliffe on Sunday night. Trained and owned by John Kerr, Weasel broke the record previously held by Viking Jack who was retired back in 2011 one run short of bringing up the 250 on The Triangle. Sent forward to position outside the leader, 14-year-old Weasel put the leader away turning off he back straight but was unable to fight off the closing power of eventual winner Patchwork Jet. It was not to be a fairytale outing, with Weasel relegated to third placing in the race following a successful protest from Aurora Rose who had crossed the line in third. Weasel has recorded 11 wins at Redcliffe in a career that does not look like ending anytime soon, such is his zest for racing. Read more on the story of John Kerr and Weasel here.   THE WILDCARD The writing was on the wall following the debut effort of Misty Creek that a win was imminent, after flashing late to grab second place behind subsequent winner My Ultimate Baxter. That assessment was franked when the two-year-old scored on Friday night at Albion Park when leading throughout to score a smart win in a 1.58.3 mile-rate. Owned and bred by Julie Weidemann, Misty Creek hails from the same maternal family as Julie’s former star juvenile Misty Plains. The dam of Misty Creek and Misty Plains were siblings, both out of the mare Mist Teak, a 12-time winning mare for the Weidemanns. Misty Plains was cut down in his prime, only racing in his two and three-year-old seasons, with the highlight being a Group 1 victory in the 2007 Nursery Pace at Albion Park. The talented juvenile was a winner of the QBRED Breeders Classic in his 2YO season and was runner-up in the Triad Final. Misty Creek is now set to attempt to emulate Misty Plains as he heads towards the QBRED Breeders Classic to be held this Saturday night at Albion Park. The Betterthancheddar colt was still a little green approaching the wire, but he looks a smart type in the making, pulling clear to claim the victory. Misty Creek has been given plenty of time to mature, with trainer Lola Weidemann giving the colt a solid educational grounding before heading to the races. That patience can be rewarded with victory this Saturday for the sister-act, 14 years on from the Breeders Classic success of Misty Plains.   THIS WEEK All eyes will be on Albion Park this Saturday as the QBRED night of pacing action takes centre stage. Headlining the night will be a pair of Group 1 events for the three-year-olds, with the Triad Finals for the fillies and for the colts and geldings. Talent To Spare and Jasper look the main players in the fillies division with Jasper looking to secure successive Triad Finals following her success last season in the two-year-old event. The boys’ iteration is shaping as a great contest with the barrier draws playing a big part in how the action will unfold. Big Wheels will be looking to go back-to-back after claiming victory in the two-year-old Triad but will be facing a strong field that will include the likes of Manila Playboy, Chamonix, and Justa Little Bit, among others. The night shapes as a superb night of QBRED-only action and with over $400,000 in stakes up for grabs - it really does pay to be QBRED.   By Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Lightly raced Stonebridge Regal filly Iden Miss Lucy opened her winning account when registering an all the way win in the Cascade Draught Pace at harness racing's Hobart track on Sunday night. Trainer-driver Conor Crook was able to find the lead on the $2.25 favourite. After a soft lead time and first quarter, the three-year-old filly was forced to do it hard for the final 1200 metres when challenged by another runner, but Iden Miss Lucy dug deep late to score in 2m 4.5s for the 2090-metre trip. “She did a good job. She got it her own way but was kept honest by Iden Black Prince for the last 1200 metres and did a good job to fight them all off,” said Crook after the race. Crook indicated that the filly is still learning what the racing game is about. “She is still learning and improving. Her Devonport start prior was better than it looked. She was off the bit and just couldn’t keep her in her position, so I put a hood on her last night, and she didn’t steer that good in it but did travel better,” he said. The trainer-driver did acknowledge the previous work done by Christian Salter, who had ironed a few issues out of the filly before she was transferred to the Crook stable. “She did have a few runs as a two-year-old, and she did a bit wrong in those races, so she didn’t learn how to race. When I picked her up off Christian, he did say that she worked well enough to win a few races,” said the Beauty Point-based trainer. Iden Miss Lucy is raced by Bagdad owner-breeder Elliott Booth, who collected his large Tasbred bonus with the win. Booth also part-owns and bred the second placegetter Iden Black Prince. Crook ended the nine-race card with a driving treble with wins aboard Denstown and Keep Playing, who was a part of a training quartet for Ben Yole, who also prepared Kiavino Stride (Hannah Van Dongen) and Deadly Assassin (Jordan Chibnall) to victory. Mother and son duo Tammy Langley and Dylan Ford continued their good form with a double, including two-year-old Pet Rock colt Pawnbrokers Lad and recent stable edition Jackson Neptune. Starofremembrance broke through for an overdue win after several placings since the Betterthancheddar mare joined the Paul Medhurst stable. The fast class race of the night was once again won by the Juanita McKenzie trained Cool Water Paddy.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

After eight placings since starting his harness racing driving career early last month, young reinsman Cody Crossland is finally a winner. The 16-year-old scored a memorable first success in the sulky at Yarra Valley this afternoon, piloting My Golden Eagle to victory in the Hi-Style Building Group 3YO Maiden Pace. Crossland, the son of well-known trainer-driver Laura, settled last in the small field of six and came with a sweeping run in the home straight to charge past leader and odds-on favourite Whiskey And Rye. “It was very good, very exciting and a big moment. It was pretty good going across the line,” Crossland said. “At the top of the straight, I was a bit worried because Kate (Gath on Whiskey And Rye) had a bit of a kick on me and she looked like she wasn’t travelling too bad. I was travelling good and about 50m out, I knew I had her. “It was a big thrill. It felt awesome.” The breakthrough success was even more special due to the fact it was for long-time friend and master trainer David Aiken, whom Crossland now works for on a full-time basis. “I’ve been coming to David’s since I was about five, if not younger. I’ve been coming and going,” he said. “It was really good to win for David Aiken and especially on this horse, too. He’s not a bad horse to have around, he’s one of my favourites and it’s his first winner.” Crossland’s maiden win came at his 20th drive, while it was My Golden Eagle’s first success at start 10. The young driver will be back in action at Friday night’s Shepparton meeting, where he has a handful of bookings. Watch Crossland's first win below:     HRV - Tim O'Connor

The Ararat Harness Racing Club is getting right behind the Pacing for Pink campaign, dedicating tomorrow night's meeting to the cause. The names of all races on the eight-event card have been sold to support the breast cancer awareness and fundraising initiative, as has the track's sprint lane, which has been named in memory of Sandra Sladdin. Sladdin lost her seventh battle with breast cancer on June 18 last year, when she was 69 years old. She is survived by her three daughters, two granddaughters and grandson, most of whom will be on track tomorrow. A host of donations will assist raffles and auctions on the night, with a memorabilia table to be filled with caps, stubby holders, beanies, vests and t-shirts from various thoroughbred training establishments. A framed Lunar Fox Australian Guineas print, signed by trainer Paul Preusker and jockey Michael Dee, is among the major auction highlights, with the club taking bids for about the next week. Jockeys Dean Yendall and Harry Coffey have also donated signed riding pants. Pacing for Pink aims to raise much-needed funds for the McGrath Foundation and to continue the fight against breast cancer. For the first time, reinsmen have joined reinswomen in wearing sponsored pink pants throughout the entire month of May, with 69 drivers signed up to take part in the initiative. The campaign’s major fundraising day is scheduled for the Shepparton Harness Racing Club on Sunday, May 23 and will feature giveaways to trainers, drivers and owners, as well as continuous raffles throughout the afternoon. CLICK HERE TO VIEW TOMORROW NIGHT'S ARARAT FIELDS WATCH PACING FOR PINK CO-ORDINATOR DONNA CASTLES SHARE HER PERSONAL BREAST CANCER STORY BELOW:       HRV - Tim O'Connor

Such were the words used by ace race caller Dan Mielicki when describing the finish of the Victorian TAB Sapling Stakes at Melton on April 24. He had preceded that comment with “this might be one of the best debuts you’ve ever seen”. Mielicki, as well as many other harness racing devotees who saw this race, were in awe of the performance of the two-year-old gelding named Beach Villa, such was the ease of victory. Beach Villa, the seventh foal of the Artsplace mare Aston Villa, adds to the monumental breeding record of this wonderful Lauriston Bloodstock owned broodmare, who was purchased from the 2005 Lexington USA Yearling Sale. Aston Villa has already been voted an Australian Broodmare of the Year. However, that does not mean that her every foal is a star, but this two-year-old looks to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious full brother Poster Boy.  Aston Villa’s seven foals have now accumulated over $1.56 million with four of her six winners taking sub 1.54 records. Two of her colt foals, Yankee Rockstar (1:52.2, $329,048) and Poster Boy (1:49.1, $803,310) have now commenced Breeding careers at Northern Rivers Equine. Both Poster Boy and Beach Villa are sons of the immortal and sadly deceased superstar Somebeachsomewhere, who is fast becoming a breed-changing stallion. There are now 10 or more sons of Somebeachsomewhere at stud throughout the harness racing world. Poster Boy is the fastest son of Somebeachsomewhere to race in the Southern Hemisphere and, like the champion North American stallion Captaintreacherous, is from an Artsplace mare. So just like Captaintreacherous, he is fully American bred. The similarities do not end there either - their race records are almost identical. Poster Boy: 30 starts, 22 wins, 5 seconds, 2 thirds. Captaintreacherous: 33 starts, 23 wins, 5 seconds, 2 thirds. Poster Boy won five Group 1 races in his 30-start career and retired to stud as a perfectly sound horse. Menangle was certainly one of his favorite tracks, winning the NSW Derby and Chariots of Fire in scintillating fashion. Lauriston Bloodstock's Anne Anderson, part owner with husband Bill, said "in the NSW Derby of 2018 he was locked in a zip fastener pocket at the 300". "He then pulled to the outside and flew with a wing on every foot to win the Derby. He’s gone from no hope to a Group 1 winner in 26.3 seconds.” Chris Alford drove Poster Boy in 18 of his 22 victories and was full of admiration at his speed, gait and will to win. “Speed was his best weapon, but it didn’t matter when you used it," Alford said. "He was so versatile out of the gate. The best racehorses can handle whatever you want to do with them and Poster Boy was certainly like that.” Poster Boy will commence his second breeding season later this year, with his Victorian foaled progeny being Eligible for the $12,000 first win Vicbred colonial bonus. Bookings are now open through Northern Rivers Equine  (03 5852 2845), Dr Kath McIntosh  (0427 497 429) or John Coffey (0429 278 279).   By John Coffey

Caveman is making his mark Wilma Giumelli was a fan of the animated television series The Flintstones in the 1960s in which the stars were Fred and Wilma Flintstone who lived in a cave in the town of Bedrock, and she fell in love, at first sight, with a handsome colt at the 2018 APG Perth yearling sale. She and her husband Jim outlaid $47,500 to purchase the Somebeachsomewhere colt, who is developing into a smart performer and caused an upset as a $16.70 chance by finishing powerfully to win the $51,000 Rock N Roll World at Allwood Stud Four-Year-Old APG Consolation final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Mrs Giumelli was happy to name the colt Caveman, who has now won 10 races for earnings of $67,032 and has the stable name of Fred.  Caveman was the first yearling that Mrs Giumelli saw at the sale. “This is the one for me,” she informed her husband. “But I said ‘come on Willie, you have got to look at a few others,’” said Mr Giumelli. However, Mrs Giumelli was adamant, declaring that she really liked the colt’s conformation. Caveman is the first yearling purchased by the Giumellis, and the second horse (after Angel of Harlem) that they have bought. He was bred by the Howie family and is the first foal out of Our Copper Art, who raced 39 times for three wins, 11 placings and stakes of $20,239. Caveman is also closely related to Copper Beach Girl (84 starts for 14 wins, 24 placings and $156,851) and Copagrin (101 starts for 19 wins, 20 placings and $241,352). Astute trainer Mike Reed said that he was not surprised by Caveman’s victory in Friday night’s Group 2 feature in which he trailed the pacemaker Poisedtopounce before Mark Reed eased the stallion off the pegs with 420m to travel, took him three wide on the home turn and burst to the front 120m from home before winning by 4m from $18 chance The Code Breaker, who finished strongly from sixth and last at the bell. The final quarters were run in 27.7sec. and 28.6sec. and the winner rated 1.55.4 over the 1730m sprint. Hesty ($31) finished gamely to be third, with the $2.10 favourite Mirragon in fourth place and Poisedtopounce fading to finish fifth. Valentines Brook ($7) was last home after racing in the one-out, one-back position. Valentines Brook met with interference and broke into a gallop when Caveman moved off the pegs in the final lap. The stewards suspended Mark Reed from driving for 13 days for causing interference. Mirragon made an unsuccessful challenge for the early lead and was hailed as the winner when Chris Lewis sent him past Poisedtopounce and into the lead 300m from home. But he wilted in the home straight. Mike Reed predicted that Caveman would continue to improve, saying: “He is the sort of horse who will get better. He’s tough and the quicker they run, the better he likes it. Mark said that he was unlucky at his previous start (in a qualifying heat of Friday night’s event) when Caveman was bolting in the late stages but was unable to get a clear run.” Jim and Wilma Giumelli are looking forward to their brilliant three-year-old Ragazzo Mach coming to Perth to join the Reed stable next month after having his final race in New Zealand, in the rich Jewels event for three-year-olds at Cambridge on June 6. Ragazzo Mach was most impressive in scoring an effortless victory in the group 2 $38,400 Southern Supremacy Stakes at Invercargill on Sunday of last week. The colt settled in fifth position, dashed to the front after a lap and was not extended in beating Yorokobi by just over five lengths, rating 1.57.8 over the 2700m journey after covering the final 800m in 56.8sec. and the last 400m in 26.9sec. Ragazzo Mach now has had eleven starts for six wins, three placings and stakes of $68,212. Alta Intrigue’s first win for three years Alta Intrigue, a seven-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding who has been plagued by injury, made a successful return to racing at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he set the pace and held on grimly to win the 2130m Budget Stockfeeds In Oakford Pace. Starting favourite at $2.20 and driven assertively by Callan Suvaljko, Alta Intrigue, trained by Gary Hall snr, rated 1.56.4 in beating the $4.20 second fancy Plutonium by a half-head at his first appearance after a 24-week absence. This was Alta Intrigue’s first win for three years --- since Gary Hall jnr drove him to victory at Gloucester Park on May 22, 2018. “He has had three bowed tendons,” said Hall snr. “Every time he has come back (after a spell) he has gone sore after three or four runs. However, he is now actually looking better than he ever has. “I was a little concerned in running tonight with the quick quarters he was running in the middle stages, and I thought he could be found wanting in the final stages. I’m glad he was able to hold on. He is a day-by-bay proposition. “But I’m hoping for the best. The Falcon Strike stood up and raced for four or five years after bowing a tendon. I bought Alta Intrigue from New Zealand in 2017, but he has managed only a few runs here (13 WA starts for four wins and five placings).” Alta Intrigue won at only four of his 26 starts in New Zealand but showed good promise. As a two-year-old he finished fourth behind More the Better in the group 1 $100,000 Cardigan Bay Stakes, and as a three-year-old he finished third behind Raukapuka and Ultimate Machete in the $250,000 Northern Derby at Alexandra Park. Brown’s 3000 milestone Outstanding trainer-reinsman Colin Brown, a master at preparing juvenile pacers, notched his 3000th success in the sulky when he drove $1.10 favourite Joelene to victory in the 2130m Fly Like an Eagle Is Flying Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Much water has flowed under the bridge for the 62-year-old Brown since he landed his first winner, the Jim Schrader-trained New South Wales-bred gelding Go to It at York as an 18-year-old in October 1976. A consummate professional, he has maintained a wonderful standard as a horseman of the highest calibre for the past 44 and a half years. In his early days in harness racing Brown drove his first double, with Donna Way and Know Me at Collie. He can’t remember the first of many trebles, but still has fond memories of his first quartet of winners, at Merredin, and reckons he has driven five winners on a program three times. Joelene, a three-year-old filly bred and owned by Colleen Lindsay, started from barrier five on Friday night and Brown dashed her to the front after 100 metres. She was not extended in front and still had plenty in reserve as she dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. and won by just under a length from $26 chance Star Lilly. The win ended Joelene’s losing sequence of 12 and took her record to 15 starts for two wins, six placings and $31,169 in prizemoney. Joelene, by American stallion Roll with Joe, is the fourth foal out of Tiffany Twisted, a Righteous Hanover mare who won at three of her eight starts, including a Gloucester Park win with Brown in the sulky in April 2010. Joelene is a half-sister to Bettor Twisted (161 starts for 12 wins, 39 placings and $101,207), Tiffany Twirl (53 starts for five wins, 19 placings and $54,075) and Typhoon Tiff, who has been trained and driven by Brown for all her 24 starts for 11 wins, five placings and stakes of $205,673. Typhoon Tiff’s victories have included the Group 2 Daintys Daughter Classic and the Group 1 Westbred Classic as a three-year-old, and the group 3 Schrader Pace last August. Back in Twenty’s purple patch Three months ago, Back In Twenty had a worrying losing sequence of 19, but Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice has worked wonders with the Sportswriter gelding who has struck a purple patch with four wins from his past nine starts, including victories at three of his past four appearances. The five-year-old boosted his earnings past the $100,000 mark when Maddison Brown drove him with supreme confidence to score a runaway victory at a 1.55.6 rate in the 2130m Milne Feeds Made In WA For WA Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Back In Twenty was a warm favourite at $1.80 and Brown gave the gelding’s supporters little cause for concern when she dashed him to the front 80 metres after the start. She then rated him perfectly with smart quarters of 29.8sec., 29.5sec., 28.1sec. and 28.4sec. to score an effortless victory by five and a half lengths from Cavalry Call, who battled on after trailing the leader all the way. Back In Twenty, who is closely related to former star pacers Mon Poppy Day and Amongst Royalty, has now had 56 starts for 11 wins and 13 placings and looks set for further successes. Four in a row for Hampton Banner Up-and-coming four-year-old Hampton Banner was not extended in scoring an easy victory over his seven older and more experienced rivals in the 2536m Pacing WA Supports WA Bred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His all-the-way victory as the $1.50 favourite over $8 equal second fancy Machlani extended his winning streak to four for trainer Debra Lewis and master reinsman Chris Lewis. The son of champion sire Bettors Delight is well and truly on the path to developing into a candidate for the rich summer carnival feature events at Gloucester Park. He has raced only 17 times for seven wins and two placings for earnings of $73,339. Tellmetoattack’s quick return Tree lopper Dave Simmonds made a wise decision five weeks ago to buy Tellmetoattack for $10,000. The five-year-old WA-bred gelding then entered the Gnangara stables of Luke Edwards and he gave a strong frontrunning display to win the 2130m Larkhill Vets Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko dashed the $1.30 favourite straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier and the Advance Attack gelding coasted to an effortless win, beating C C Chevron ($15) by two lengths, rating 1.57.5. Tellmetoattack won 11 races for Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo, including the 2597m Bridgetown Cup on March 21, before the gelding’s eight owners advertised him for sale. Tellmetoattack, raced by Simmonds and his sister Kellie (the first horse she has been involved with), earned $10,277 for his victory on Friday night to take his earnings for his new connections to $12,516. “Aiden told us that Tellmetoattack was ready for a spell, and now he’s going out for a rest,” said Edwards. “That was always the plan, win, lose or draw tonight.” Tellmetoattack is the sixth and last foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Tell A Franco, who was a winner of five country races in Victoria. The Miki Taker set for the Pearl The Miki Taker impressed with a smart last-to-first victory in the 2130m Follow The Stars To Allwood Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and will be set for the $100,000 Pearl Classic on June 11. “He will head for the heats of the Pearl and hopefully will qualify for the final,” said Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo after the two-year-old gelding, the third favourite at $3.50, had surged home from last at the bell in the field of six to burst to the front 100m from the post and win by two lengths from $2.90 second fancy Whataretheodds. The Miki Taker rated 1.58.8, with the final 800m being covered in 57.4sec. His three starts have produced two wins and a fast-finishing close second to Whataretheodds at Bunbury. “He had a good run and his main danger Whataretheodds had to do a bit of work (in the breeze),” said de Campo. “Hopefully, after the Pearl he will be able to run in the Westbred Classic and the Golden Slipper.” The Miki Taker is related to the de Campo-trained Bettor Be Oscar, who has earned $154,899 from 14 wins and 33 placings from 70 starts. Bushwacked, the $2.45 favourite, set the pace in Friday night’s event before wilting to finish a well-beaten fourth. Extradite snatches victory Six-year-old New Zealand-bred pacer Extradite, who managed only three placings on country tracks from his first 12 starts, is blossoming under the care of Oldbury trainer Kim Prentice, and his past 13 starts have produced six wins, two seconds and two third placings. A noted frontrunner, Extradite, a $17.50 chance, started from the inside of the back line and Corey Peterson was content to trail the pacemaker and $2.35 favourite Will I Rocknroll before he eased the Washington VC gelding off the pegs 250m from home. Extradite then surged home and snatched a last-stride victory by a nose over $13 chance As Happy As Larry, with Rakasinc ($21), tenth at the bell, flashing home out five wide to be third, ahead of Will I Rocknroll. As Happy As Larry raced in ninth position before Robbie Williams sent him forward at the bell to take the lead with 270m to travel. Extradite is racing with commendable spirit and looks capable of performing well at the top level and could develop into a contender for the rich feature events at the summer carnival this year. He has now had 64 starts for 14 wins, 16 placings and $132,0904 in prizemoney. Peterson continued his recent run of successes when he trained and drove a double at Kellerberrin on Sunday afternoon, scoring with Osaka ($1.40) and Smooth Rye ($3.40). Medieval Man is more mature Four-year-old gelding Medieval Man was highly strung as a young horse and wrecked his chances by running his races before he started in them. But he has matured considerably this year and at Gloucester Park on Friday night he notched his fifth win from ten starts in his current preparation when he took the lead shortly after the start and went on to win the 2503m standing-start Go First Class With Ramsays Horse Transport Handicap. Medieval Man, third favourite at $3, simply proved too good for Papinik ($2.90) and Louie The Horse ($2.15). Louie The Horse paced roughly for a couple of strides at the start and then had to work hard in the breeze, while Papinik, racing first-up, was not bustled early and raced in seventh position before finishing with a spirited late burst. “Medieval Man used to pull hard early in his career, and since we have had him in our system, we have worked him pretty hard,” said trainer Michael Young. “This has taken the edge off him and he has matured along the way. He settles now. He has always had the ability but not the attitude. Now he’s got the attitude to go with the ability. “The reason why I have raced him in stands recently is because he needs to be on the pace. He’s a leader or a breeze horse who doesn’t come from back in the field. But with the probability of starting off 10m or 20m in future stands I will have to consider returning him to mobile events.” Medieval Man has been prepared by Young for his past 10 starts for five wins and three placings. His past four starts have been in stands for three wins and a half-head second to Lawrence. Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr has formed a wonderful association with the gelding, having driven him six times for five wins and a third placing at Williams when he was badly hampered by a punctured sulky tyre. Medieval Man was bred by Graeme Davies, who races him in partnership with his daughters Patrice and Kiara. The gelding has earned $65,076 from 10 wins and 12 placings from 51 starts. He is by Renaissance Man and is out of the Bettors Delight mare So Crimsonandclova, who raced 34 times for six wins, seven seconds and one third placing for stakes of $32,253.  Voak sees bright future for Star Of Diamonds Chris Voak, Western Australia’s leading reinsman last season, has a splendid record in the group 1 Mares Classic, and he predicts that Star Of Diamonds will develop into a leading candidate for the rich feature event for mares next summer. He was full of praise for Star Of Diamonds after driving her to a superb victory in the $50,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I have a good record in the Mares Classic, winning with Leda McNally in 2013, Frith in 2015 and Gotta Go Gabbana in 2019,” said Voak. “Now I’m associated with another nice mare in Star Of Diamonds who is capable of running a big race in the Mares Classic next summer. She is still only four and is exciting. Her form in feature events for mares is outstanding.” In the past 10 months Star Of Diamonds, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, has won the Group 3 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra, the Group 3 Race For Roses and Friday night’s Group 2 Breeders Stakes. She also has finished a half-head second to Blockjorg in the group 3 Daintys Daughter Classic at Pinjarra, third behind Wainui Creek in the Group 2 Empress Stakes and second to Savvy Bromac in the Group 3 Johnson Pace. Star Of Diamonds has certainly improved in leaps and bounds after managing only four placings from her first 16 starts. Her next 18 starts have produced eight wins and eight placings. Star Of Diamonds was second favourite at $3.70 from barrier No. 4 in Friday night’s big race in which Heavens Showgirl, from the No. 2 barrier on the back line, was a firm $2.75 favourite. Queen Shenandoah, racing first-up, led for the first 400m before Voak sent Star Of Diamonds to the front. Talkerup raced in the breeze, with Heavens Showgirl enjoying a perfect sit in the one-out, one-back position. Emily Suvaljko switched Heavens Showgirl three wide with a strong burst 600m from home. But Voak had seen Heavens Showgirl enjoying a perfect trip and he gave Star Of Diamonds her head as she sprinted over the third 400m section of the final mile in a sparkling 27.3sec. “I started to really sprint from the 800m to try to get Heavens Showgirl to make her run early and took the punt that Star Of Diamonds would hang on.” Voak’s tactics worked out beautifully, and Star Of Diamonds, with a final quarter in 28.8sec. was not seriously challenged and she won by a length and a half from Heavens Showgirl.   By Ken Casellas for RWWA

Sidelined superstar pacer Ride High may have run his last race. That’s the opinion of his owner-breeder Peter Gleeson, who is already progressing plans for one of the most gifted pacer’s of the modern era to “serve a full book of mares” at stud later this year. “I hope I’m wrong, but I fear the worst,” he said. “He’s now had problems with both front tendons 18 months apart. I’ve been involved with horses for a long time, I’ve told my family and I’m bracing myself for the fact he won’t race again.” Ride High suffered just his second defeat in 18 starts when fifth at his most recent run in the Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint at Melton on October 3, last year. He was subsequently found to have injured a tendon. “I went out and saw him a week or so back and he’s big, really big. Clayton and Emma’s water-walker has been out of action for the past month or so and he hasn’t done much, so he’s put on plenty of weight. “I hope I’m wrong, but it’s a long way back from here. He’s months away from racing even if everything went right from here. “It’s that last month or so, when they really have to put the pressure on him which worries me the most. “He’s a big, heavy horse and 65 per cent of their weight goes through their front legs.” Gleeson did a deal with Alan Galloway and Alabar Stud to buy half the horse for stud duties before his latest injury and all concerned are mindful of the looming breeding season. “I’ve spoken to Alan who says we can juggle stud with still trying to get back to the races. I ran that by Clayton (Tonkin) a week or so back and he’s onboard. We all agree we can’t risk missing another breeding season with him,” Gleeson said. Galloway, a giant of the international breeding industry, said Ride High is one of fastest and most talented pacers he’s seen in the world. “I simply had to buy into him. Let’s hope he gets back to the races to show just how good he is, but, either way, he’s going to be in huge demand as a stallion – here, in NZ and in the US,” he said. By Adam Hamilton for racenet.com.au

On April 27, 2011, racing for the 249th and final time at Redcliffe in a harness racing career that would show 362 starts overall, Viking Jack was retired. On May 9, 2021, that record was broken when Weasel stepped out for the 250th time under race conditions at the track known as The Triangle. Weasel started his career in New Zealand with multiple stints in both New South Wales and Queensland before ultimately finding his way to the Caboolture property of John Kerr. After going through the stables of seven different trainers, Kerr ended up with the pacer as an eight-year-old. “John Ford owned the horse and said to me one day that I could have him,” Kerr explains. “I told him ‘why would I want that horse?’ but he then said I could have him for nothing so I said I will take him and when he wins a race, I will give him $1000.” After 111 starts already in his career, Kerr was the new owner and trainer of Weasel and set about asking the previous trainer, Richard Hooper, for some thoughts on the gelding. “I said to Richard tell me about him and he replied ‘there’s not much to tell you other than I’m going to dance a jig because I am so glad, he is gone from my stable’,” he said. “He also told me it is three-man job to put shoes on him.” And according to Kerr, that basically sums up Weasel. “He is an enigma that’s for sure,” Kerr said. “Look at him over there, he knows I am talking about him and he will be working out a way to get me back for telling stories about him. “When he was with Jarrod Alchin, they used to call him the trick pony; they reckoned he would stay awake in his box at night trying to think up plans of what he would do to you the next day.” Weasel started his career in New Zealand on in May 2011 as a four-year-old with a second placing. Winning at his second career start at Forbury Park with Dexter Dunn in the bike, the gelding would have one more start in the Shaky Isles before being exported to Australia to the stables of Jarrod Alchin. His first Australian start was on September 1, 2011, where stepping out at Penrith over the 2125-metre trip he was able to score a first-up victory for his new connections. With another six starts for Alchin, Weasel was able to win another three races before being sent for his first look at Queensland, joining the stables of Vicki Rasmussen. It was a successful hit and run mission for Weasel where he was able to claim victory in both the heat and final of the Albion Park Members Cup. Returning to New South Wales and off to another stable, the five-year-old was now in the car of Peter Russo where he would be for eight starts. With two wins for Russo, Weasel was again headed to the Sunshine State, this time to the stable of Shane Sanderson. After four unplaced efforts for Sanderson, it was back down the Pacific Highway to link up with the Wayne Dimech stable. His 16 starts for Dimech netted one win and again it was off to a new stable, back over the Great Dividing Range to the Bathurst stables of Ashlee Grives. After 10 winless starts with Grives, Weasel was headed North once again, and this time would join the stable of Richard Hooper. On March 22, 2013, Weasel would again be successful in Queensland when winning over the mile at Gold Coast. Quickly going back-to-back for Hooper within a week, Weasel would secure just two more victories between April 2013 and November 2014 for the Hooper stable. His last appearance for Hooper was on November 5 and on November 20, 2014, Weasel stepped out at Redcliffe for John Kerr for the first time. Since that first outing for Kerr, Weasel has raced on a further 244 occasions before his milestone on Sunday night. And just like Richard Hooper told Kerr when he took Weasel, the gelding has been a real handful ever since. Even now as a 14-year-old that has raced on over 350 occasions, Weasel still likes to let everyone know that he does things on his terms. “He is just always perpetual motion, he is always wanting to move and keep going, I really think that is why he has that longevity, because he always just needs to be in the flow,” Kerr said. You would expect a horse of that age would not need much work during the rigours of a weekly racing program, but that could not be further from the case. Weasel is given the same vigorous track workout as any horse with Kerr, outlining that if he does not keep the work up to the veteran, he gets too hyped up. While Weasel may have lost some gate speed over the years, he always gives everything on the track and does not look like losing the zest for racing anytime soon. That has never been more evident than the past week, with Kerr taking Weasel to the Kingaroy Show, looking to qualify for the Garrards Showcase. Despite his many tricks and vices, Weasel stepped cleanly as he always seems to do and was able to claim the Woodall Memorial Heat before the Finals were abandoned. Kerr is a Show veteran, having been a regular over the years at the various events and is considering competing with Weasel at the upcoming Gympie Show. Kerr only has a few horses in work, his horses are a hobby to enjoy and keep his days filled or as he states, “just to keep me ticking over.” Ticking over is a nice status for Kerr, who was perilously close to not ticking at all. Around 12 years ago, Kerr was involved in a sickening track-work accident and by all rights, he should not still be on this earth. “I was working one and it went over, and it was nearly the end of me,” Kerr said. “I was dead, I died on the track, but they managed to revive me before getting me to the hospital.” Placed in an induced coma, the list of injuries is unimaginable with fractures to his neck, shoulder, jaw, ribs, 12 fractures of the spine, internal organ damage, punctured lungs, and valve damage on the heart. Kerr’s wife was called to the hospital and told to say goodbye to her husband as the trauma specialist believed there was far too much damage to his body. After three days, to the amazement of the trauma team, Kerr awoke from the coma. “I couldn’t talk because of the tubes down my throat so motioned for a notepad,” Kerr explains. “I was able to write down for my daughter, not as bad as it looks.” From there began an amazing recovery and recuperation, and a long-term challenge to eventually get back to working with the horses. It took Kerr five years to get back licenced and ever since, Kerr loves the challenges that horses can provide. Just like when he was given the opportunity to take on Weasel, a horse that had provided headaches to many before Kerr decided to give him a go. “You can buy a horse and win races, but I have no interest in that,” Kerr said. Another two horses currently in the Kerr stable that were give-aways are Bertils Firefox and Bertils Delight. On Sunday, Bertils Firefox was successful for the sixth time in his career after joining Kerr’s stable as an unraced maiden. “I love the challenge it takes to win a race with a ‘reject’, that’s what I enjoy,” he said. That challenge is more than just race day with Weasel, Kerr outlining that because he works on his own, he usually shoes the gelding over a couple of days - back shoes one day and front when he has enough energy to get back to them. “I put music on before shoeing him, not to calm him down, to pump me up,” he said. “Play the Rocky theme and then get out to do his shoes, he is like wrestling a crocodile. “But that’s him, he just does what he wants to do.” And after bringing up start number 250 at Redcliffe on Sunday night, how did Weasel travel home? “He travels beautifully in the float after he wins, but he knows when it doesn’t go to plan because he will kick the float all the way home, Kerr said. After his record breaking 250 on Sunday, Weasel might have been in a kicking mood after finishing second across the line. However, he lost his position in the steward’s room - relegated to third - and Kerr also faced the wrath of the stewards, suspended for causing interference in the closing stages. The fairytale victory for Weasel at his 250th Redcliffe start did not eventuate, but John Kerr would know more than most that life has twists and turns and the circle of life moves us all. It seems prophetic, strangely reverent that Kerr should be the owner and trainer of the horse to break Viking Jack’s record of most race starts at Redcliffe. Viking Jack was bred on John Kerr’s property all those years ago, when he stood the sire Son Of Viking.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

An exciting new Breeders Group is about to hit the airwaves, with “The Breeders Voice Inc.” having being formed by an enthusiastic group of knowledgeable breeders from NSW.   The aim of this team was to establish a new, vibrant and informative platform that comes to you both via an information-filled, unique website — together with its very own Mobile Phone App that will put an array of information at your fingertips, whenever a smart-phone is handy!   It will be your one-stop info. shop! The website is packed with information to help make the breeding journey as easy, and trouble-free, as possible.  There will be loads of statistics to allow breeders to make informed decisions on stallion choice for their mares - based on fertility, sales, and racing results.  Other information will include general veterinary and nutritional information, as well as interesting articles from successful breeders (both large & small), plus articles regarding the latest Group 1 winners from around the country. A concise and feature-packed calendar of events is included, with this also displaying futurity payment dates, and industry events.  This calendar can be easily accessed, and reminders set to message your phone or email, so there will be never a reason to miss a payment or event again! Another benefit will be an Online Business Directory – listing businesses that may be used throughout industry, such as trainers, transport companies, veterinarians, feed suppliers etc., all at your fingertips.  News will be provided both in short bites [News Snippets] — and longer form articles for when you have more time.   The short, sharp pieces  (including ‘Did you know …?’) are intended to provide all sorts of information to help you on your journey.  In time there will also be video interviews — with  stakeholders from various parts of the industry — all designed to make more information available to breeders, and covering a diverse range of topics.  Other features will be trivia competitions, as well as surveys, so that all participants can engage in the matters that directly affect them. Another interesting section will be a ‘Blog Page’, where matters of current interest can be commented on, and opinions given.  Initially (for a maximum of two months) the website will be open for all to see — but the Mobile Phone App is only available to registered users.   Note, we have kept our annual membership fee to a low $35, to encourage people to join and come along on a journey which will hopefully lead to them breeding the next race-track champion. We want everyone to see just how much information we have to offer, and how breeding a standardbred can be such a rewarding experience — if you are armed with the correct information and tools to make your breeding a success.    The Breeders Voice website can be found at www.breedersvoice.net and they also have a Facebook page,  along with Twitter and Instagram accounts.   

Don't expect to see Aussie superstar Ride High back at the races any time soon, if at all. His owner-breeder Peter Gleeson admits he has “braced myself for the fact he won’t race again” after visiting Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s stables to check-out Ride High recently. “I hope I’m wrong, but I fear the worst,” he said. “He’s now had problems with both front tendons 18 months apart. I’ve been involved with horses for a long time, I’ve told my family it’s likely he’s run his last race.” Ride High suffered just his second defeat in 18 starts when fifth at his most recent start in the Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint at Melton on October 3, last year. He was subsequently found to have injured a tendon. “I went out and saw him a week or so back and he’s big, really big. Clayton and Emma’s water-walker has been out of action for the past month or so and he hasn’t done much, so he’s put on plenty of weight. “I hope I’m wrong, but it’s a long way back from here. He’s months away from racing even if everything went right from here. “It’s that last month or so, when they really have to put the pressure on him which worries me the most. “He’s a big, heavy horse and 65 per cent of their weight goes through their front legs.” Gleeson did a deal with Alan Galloway and Alabar Stud to buy half the horse for stud duties before his latest injury and all concerned are mindful of the looming breeding season. “I’ve spoken to Alan who says we can juggle stud with still trying to get back to the races. I ran than by Clayton (Tonkin) a week or so back and he’s onboard. We all agree we can’t risk missing another breeding season with him,” Gleeson said. The challenge with serving NZ mares is when and how Ride High can spend time at Australia’s Alabar Farm itself. “For NZ breeders to access him, he’s got to be in quarantine at Alabar so that’s something else we’ve got to work through,” Gleeson said.

The old marvel is back at it again. The one-time “King” of Menangle, Cash N Flow, returned from a break to post his 22nd win at Sydney’s home of harness. That’s from just 39 starts. The eight-year-old’s Group 1 days may be behind him, but Cash N Flow’s gate speed and love of Menangle still makes him a fantastic money-spinner for connections, including HRNZ CEO Gary Woodham. Cash N Flow’s now banked $574,201 from 72 starts with 34 wins and 13 placings. Luke McCarthy balanced him up early before surging around to take the lead from Thunder Dance, dictating terms through the middle and dashing home in 26.5sec for a 1min51.3sec mile. Watch the race replay click here! ____________________________________________________________________________________ Cash N Flow's was the middle pin of a thumping five wins for Luke McCarthy at Menangle. The biggest of them came when he teamed with former Kiwi and now Victorian-based trainer Brent Lilley to win the Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Derby with the Breckon Farms-bred Kyvalley Hotspur. The colt worked his way to the front and absolutely bolted in by 14m over last week’s NSW Trotting Oaks winner Aldebaran Ursula in a slick 1min58.6sec mile rate for 2300m. McCarthy’s others wins came with Kingmaker, La Bella Vita and Mister Catch. Former Kiwi gelding Kingmaker is loving life in Sydney. The son of Mach Three cruised to his fifth win from as many Aussie runs for Team McCarthy when he worked to the front and clocked a 1min55.7sec mile rate for 2300m last night. Stablemate La Bella Vista added to her fantastic record since crossing the ditch with a slick 1min52.7sec mile win at Menangle on the same card. Watch the race replay click here! The Changeover mare has raced eight times for Team McCarthy for six wins, a second and a third. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Champion trotter Tornado Valley is creeping towards rather than bursting through the millionaire club. For the third consecutive start, when victory would’ve taken the nine-year-old past $1 million in earnings, Tornado Valley fell short. This time he was a tad disappointing by his lofty standards when a well-held third after sitting one-one behind leader and winner Sparkling Success in the Group 3 Vulcan Trot at Melton. The $2400 third prize took his career earnings to $996,797. But all credit to the winner, Sparkling Success, a star himself before a serious injury a couple of years ago, who led throughout for trainer John Meade and driver Jackie Barker in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 1720m. It’s been a story of persistence for Meade on the comeback trail with last night’s victory being only Sparkling Success’ second win from 19 starts since his long stint on the sidelines. The nine-year-old’s won 19 of his 56 runs and $466,390. His comeback is also a fantastic opportunity for the talented young Barker on a class horse in some big races. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Memories of the great trotter Knight Pistol were revived with Plymouth Chubb’s monstrous Group 1 Vicbred Home Grown Final win at Melton last night (Saturday). Amazingly, it was the first time in 11 years father and daughter Peter and Kerryn Manning have teamed-up to win a Group 1 race, the last time being with Leilani Lombo in the 2010 Australian Gold 2YO fillies’ final. The Mannings shared a glorious ride with the mighty Knight Pistol through the mid-1990s, winning a stack of Aussie features and even a Group 1 race (the Harley Davidson Trot) in Norway. So it was fitting they won their first Group 1 race as a combo with a trotter. Plymouth Chubb’s win was remarkable and he looked every bit a potential trotting star of the future when he overcame losing 40-50m after an early gallop to win pulling clear by 17.7m. The Majestic Son galloped and lost all hope on debut and has won all four starts since. The fillies’ Home Grown final went to trainer-driver Geoff Webster with his exciting daughter of Skyvalley, Aldebaran Misty. ____________________________________________________________________________________ The man with the pink wheels was at it again last Friday night. The popular and bubbly Chris Voak teamed with trainer Barry Howlett to win the $50,000 Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes for fillies and mares with the emerging Star Of Diamonds. Voak wanted the front on the daughter of Bettors Delight and eventually got there, but had to survive some serious midrace pressure (56.3sec split from the 1200-400m) before winning comfortably by 4.5m over former Victorian mare Heavens Showgirl. It continued a breakthrough season for Star Of Diamonds, who has raced nine times this term for five wins, three seconds and a third and banked almost $100,000. Talented young horseman Corey Peterson teamed with trainer Kim Prentice for an upset win in the free-for-all with Kiwi-bred son of Washington VC, Extradite. In the other feature of the night, the $50,000 Australian Gold 4YO Consolation final, father and son Mike and Mark Reed upstaged the favourites with their $17 shot Caveman. ____________________________________________________________________________________ The Rando clan is one of the real backbones of NSW trotting and richly deserved a semi-feature win with Empire Bay in the Bulli Trotters Cup. Renowned for his big finish, Empire Bay camped off a solid pace for driver Chris Geary and put his rivals away in the blink of an eye halfway down the home straight to win by 6.2m. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Former Kiwi Amanda Grieve is helping out the rampaging Anthony Butt/Sonya Smith barn and having some fun herself with recent Kiwi import Hezacrocwatcher. The son of Hes Watching showed promise with two wins and three placings from six NZ starts and has thrived in Victoria with three wins from as many outings. There was a lot to like about his win in the $30,000 Group 3 Nutrien Equine Country Clubs Championship final at Melton. Driver Zac Phillips wanted the front early, but was posted wide, did plenty of work and eventually got to the top, but still ran home in 57.4 and 28.9sec to score by two metres in a 1min56sec mile rate for 2240m.   by Adam Hamilton

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Trotting stallion Volstead is the first victim of the proposed ‘Stallion TAX’ Harness Racing Australia announced on April 16. Haras des Trotteurs Principal Pat Driscoll felt coerced to not shuttle the American-bred European-winning stallion back Down Under after having close to 90 services this last breeding season. The Stallion TAX will see a 15 per cent charge on the advertised service fee of shuttle and internationally domiciled stallions (transported and frozen semen) and is anticipated to generate in excess of $2million annually. “It just does not make any sense to bring Volstead back down here with this crazy tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like,” said Driscoll about the only trotting stallion shuttled to Australia in the 2020/21 breeding season. “I had to make the call by the end of April and I have had to say no. “It is a shame. We worked hard to find a nice stallion and we bred him to our good mares to give him a great start and through all the expenses of bringing him down, we didn’t cover costs in year one, no money was returned to the US (United States) and it will probably be that way in year two when we finish working the numbers. “Even this year if we brought him down we probably would have broke even but then apply this TAX, it just doesn’t make it worth while. “Through Volstead we sponsored the Redwood Classic for the past two years and now that won’t be happening. “These are some of the flow on affects of this new tax/levy/financial imposter that have not been thought about.” Following such positive results from the recent Nutrien Standardbred Yearling Sale in Victoria plus the latest news that breeding numbers were up 10.3 per cent nationally for the first time in more than a decade, Driscoll believes this Stallion TAX is a backwards step. “It is easily the worst decision I’ve seen in the years since I’ve been involved,” stated Driscoll. “There is no other place in the world that there is a tax/levy/financial imposter that subsides racing. “You have the sires’ stakes-type races but that money generally goes back into the same pool . . . this doesn’t. “There isn’t a river of gold at studs as some may perceive. “I can only speak of Haras des Trotteurs but I’ve been operating at a loss since I started. “There are transport costs, advertising, futurity payments, stallion collection and quarantine costs, administration fees and so on. “It’s not this golden goose that people think it is, it is a labour of love for many including Haras des Trotteurs. “We’ve just come off a successful sale where for the first time in history the trotters average was higher than the pacers. “Then, we received some great news that breeding numbers are on the way back up. “We are on an upward trajectory and then they do this. “I didn’t think too many things would derail the growth of trotting in Victoria but this will. “This will severely impact the breeding of trotters in Victoria as the cost of breeding will increase, people will breed less and it could also severely compromise the quality of trotters bred. “We sent out a survey to our stakeholders, a big cross-section of the industry from those that spend who spend $1925 for Used To Me to a service fee of $11,000 for Love You, and 85 per cent are not in favour of this new levy and 80 per cent said they would breed less mares.” The HRA Executive, a ‘membership limited to the State Controlling Body in each of the six states of Australia as well as the six Principal Clubs’ has proposed the immediate introduction of this Stallion TAX to raise funds for the harness racing industry in Australia.  The way in which these funds will be distributed has not been decided yet. The HRA Executive has anticipated this TAX will generate in excess of $2million annually and will be responsible for the invoicing, collection and distribution of the TAX. This has Driscoll and others perplexed. As documented on the HRA website the AHRC (Australian Harness Racing Council and changed to HRA in 2008) was initially created to administer the Australian Trotting Stud Book, to maintain a Central Register of Name, to keep records and to control and enforce the Rules relating thereto. It is the forum and co-ordination point between the State Controlling Bodies for uniformity of rules and reciprocity of horsemen’s licences, registration of horses and suspensions and disqualifications. In addition, HRA acts as the national body in international harness racing affairs and is a member of the International Trotting Association. As a joint member of the Event Committee set up in 2008 with Harness Racing New Zealand, HRA is involved in supervising the Australasian Inter Dominion series (formerly under the auspices of the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council Inc). “How did we get this far?” asked Driscoll. “If you read HRA’s legislations they are keepers of the studbooks, rules and regulations and each state runs their own racing. “It’s gone from that to wanting to put a tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you may, on stallions. “I feel as though Victoria has been sold, as most of this money will be raised here. “I’m staggered that Harness Racing Victoria have let this happen to their own state. “Add to the fact that roughly 90 per cent of trotting mares bred are bred/reside in Victoria and assuming a very large number of pacing mares are bred and also located in Victoria, it’s not difficult to see that most of the tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like, raised, would be in Victoria and go where and to what?” Going by this past breeding season’s numbers, if all the same shuttle/frozen semen stallions were to remain, this levy will affect 52 stallions (28 trotting and 24 pacing) in Australia and New Zealand. A breakdown of those numbers show that 28 of those stallions are with Victoria, nine in Queensland, eight stallions in NZ, five in New South Wales and two in Western Australia. “I just can’t come up with a logical answer. “I’m all for improving the sport, I’ve invested a lot of my own money trying to do so with sponsorship and breeding. “If people want to have a $1million race, ask those seeking to have the race sponsor it!” To read HRA’s entire media release regarding the ‘Stallion Levy’ and propositions for these funds, click here. By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink
The new ‘Stallion Levy’ proposed by Harness Racing Australia is a move that has created more questions than answers as Australasia’s biggest breeders know it will have a negative ripple effect on the industry at all levels.  What is wrong with Harness Racing Australia and Andrew Kelly? With Andrew Kelly producing FAKE NEWS with ridiculous numbers today of $18 million spent on “International Sires” it is hard to understand how HRA can justify his salary. With no experience and no investment in the Stallion business he is out of control. He has been in this position for 12 years and far too long! Andrew Kelly is not the only person responsible for this proposed TAX though. Below this letter, we have listed all State members that have been a part of this TAX proposal. This is what the majority of breeders have to say today about this unbelievable TAX that HRA is trying to get in place; Dear Mr. Kelly & the HRA Executive With regards to your recent announcement of a proposed 15% levy on all shuttle and frozen semen non-resident stallions, we would like to formally express our opposition to this Proposal. It is extremely disappointing that there was no industry consultation or discussion in advance of this Proposal. Stud farms, stallion owners and breeders’ organisations were not notified of this Proposal prior to the posting of a general press release on the HRA website. This press release creates far more questions than answers. Based on the breeding data available on HarnessWeb as of April 19th, there were 5,118 total mares bred in Australia to 166 registered stallions in the 2020/21 season. Pacing stallions served a total of 4,331 Australian mares with Australian domiciled stallions serving the majority of mares – 2,662 (61%). The remaining 39% of pacing mares bred (1,669) were served with semen from shuttle and frozen semen stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 700 pacing mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions served 531 Australian pacing mares and North American frozen semen was used to serve 438 pacing mares. A total of 787 trotting mares were bred in Australia. Australian domiciled stallions served 292 trotting mares (37%). The remaining 63% of trotting mares (495) were served with semen from U.S. shuttle stallions, frozen semen from U.S. and European stallions and NZ domiciled stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 62 trotting mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions covered 29 trotting mares, NZ domiciled stallions 109 mares and non-resident frozen semen was used to serve 295 trotting mares. Pacing and trotting stallions who permanently reside in Australia accounted for 58% of all mares bred last season. It should be noted that 114 Australian domiciled stallions will not be assessed this levy and therefore will not be contributing any funds to HRA’s 15% Proposal. Contrary to the opinions of a few self-interested parties who have created a huge misconception within the industry, there is far less money being paid to North American breeding syndicates for the use of their stallions than rumored. In addition, a large percentage of breeding rights for several of the most prominent shuttle stallions are owned by Australian/New Zealand studs or investors with the bulk of collected service fees remaining in Australasia as a return on investment. Also, many stallions are under long-term lease agreements contracted when a 15% levy was not included in the configuration of expenses.  Breeding farms have been relied on to help support the industry by offering discounts as high as 25% to breeders to assist them with rising costs and to provide complimentary breeding’s to clubs and breeders organisations throughout the country as well as various sponsorships within the industry. Now it is proposed that stud owners fund prize money increases to the Inter Dominion, Derbys and Oaks for benefit of a select few. We are not in agreement that breeding should be funding racing. Most of the studs who stand shuttle or offer frozen semen stallions have made significant contributions to the Australian agricultural and general economy. We have made substantial investments in property, buildings, equipment and livestock, we employ staff, purchase hay, feed and other farm supplies as well as support many local businesses (printers, office supplies, petrol, etc.). If this levy were to be adopted by HRA, there would most definitely be a ripple effect felt throughout the entire industry. HRA is attempting to change the way studs conduct their business which we feel would result in a dramatic change to the established culture of breeding. Breeders should be afforded the option of selecting the best stallions available for their mares without being penalized by a 15% levy. Below are just some of the major impacts we believe this 15% levy would have on Australian breeding. It has been a long-standing practice within the industry for studs to offer breeders a discount on the advertised service fee – whether it be for early payment, bookings for multiple mares or farm loyalty discounts. Over the last 25 years, very few breeders, if any, have ever paid the full advertised service fee. This proposed 15% levy on the advertised service fee will certainly see the elimination or reduction of service fee discounts for both shuttle and frozen semen stallions. This levy is extremely discriminatory as it provides Australian domiciled stallions a 15% price advantage as they are not subject to this levy. Many studs offer clients the opportunity to pay the service fee on a live foal basis. HRA has stated the proposed 15% levy will be imposed following a 42-day positive pregnancy test which may lead to the elimination of these pay on live foal options. With regards to the proposed 15% levy being invoiced on a 42-day positive pregnancy test, does this levy carry a live foal guarantee or a refund to the stud farm if the mare fails to deliver a live foal and when would this be repaid? Is the levy applicable to free returns? Complimentary breeding’s? Donations? Ultimately it appears that studs will have little or no choice but to pass this proposed levy on to breeders. Studs cannot be expected to absorb this additional cost on top of an already expense laden business. As breeders’ costs rise due to this levy, breeding numbers, live foals and race starters will undoubtedly decrease. This levy is an HRA attempt to push breeders towards supporting Australian/Colonial stallions who are not subjected to this levy. The most popular and successful commercial stallions available to breeders in Australia are shuttle or frozen semen stallions.  Commercial breeders are less likely to experience the same returns at the yearling sales that they currently enjoy if they are forced to breed to “Colonial” stallions due to this levy.  The considerable number of horses exported overseas by Australian owners will also be affected as Colonial-sired horses will not be as recognizable and may not be in great demand by mainstream North American or European buyers.  Stallion choices in the future will be limited as fewer shuttle/frozen semen stallions will be available due to this proposed levy. This levy, added to the mounting costs of shuttling to the southern hemisphere, will question the economical feasibility of bringing the best-bred and performed stallions to Australasia.  Faced with both 10% GST and this 15% levy, most international stallion owners will be discouraged from considering Australia in the future. If fewer mares are bred to shuttle/frozen semen stallions due to this levy, the Australasian gene pool will be negatively affected in the future. This 15% levy will negatively impact industry sponsorships. Studs have played a critical role in race and club sponsorships over the years, but this levy will certainly affect monies available for these sponsorships. If studs are being asked to fund racing prize money as suggested in your Proposal, how can they be asked to continue to sponsor tracks, clubs and smaller industry events as well? As an example, International Racehorse Transport has stepped up its sponsorship of the Standardbred industry in the last several years, but if fewer stallions are flying back and forth from North America or Europe, how can IRT be expected to support an industry that no longer supports their business model? We would like to request a meeting with the HRA Executive to further discuss our concerns regarding this proposed 15% levy. It is evident that HRA has not considered this Proposal from the point of view of the Studs. We would welcome the opportunity to educate the Executive on the realities of the breeding industry and assist in seeking alternative proposals to benefit the ENTIRE Standardbred community. Faithfully yours, Pat Driscoll, Haras des Trotteurs/Yabby Dam Farm Alan Galloway, Alabar Farms Mark Hughes, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd David James, Empire Stallions Corp Dr. Kath McIntosh, Northern Rivers Equine Vet Clinic Kody Charles, KTC Bloodstock Belinda McCarthy, Cobbity Equine Farm Ged Mooar, Nevele R Stud Peter O’Rourke, Stallions Australasia Anthony Perkins, Trump Bloodstock Darren Reay, Medowie Lodge .................................................... Here are the people that are complicit in proposing this TAX. One of the main promoters of this TAX is one of those members Bob Fowler who has a vested interest in Colonial stallions. Feel free to lobby these ill informed officials below.   HRA Office Bearers, National Body, Corporate & Service Providers     Office Bearers for 2020/2021 Effective Date of Implementation:   30 October 2020 Executive Members                             Graeme Campbell OAM Independent Chair         Ken Brown AM Deputy Chairman (NSW-HRNSW)     Dale Montieth Treasurer (Vic-HRV)                             Executive Members                         Margaret Reynolds (Qld-Racing Queensland)   Joel Wallace (Tas-Tasracing Pty Ltd)     George Fiacchi  (SA-HRSA)     Bob Fowler (WA-RWWA)                           HRA National Body       Andrew Kelly   Chief Executive            Chief Executive: Andrew Kelly   Head of Finance and Strategy: Cameron Brown   Equine Health & Welfare Co-ordinator: Kathleen Mullan   DNA Co-ordinator, Registration, Naming, Clearances: Laraine Rischitelli   HRA Website & Database Administrator, Reports: Kathy Gebert   Clearances, Administration Services: Kerry Macaloney   General Email: hra@hra.com.au   Naming Enquiries: naming@hra.com.au   Phone: 61 3 9227 3000   Fax: 61 3 9227 3030     Mail: Level 1, 400 Epsom Road, Flemington Vic  3031  Australia
Tornado Valley has run his last race for the preparation, with connections pulling up stumps on the pursuit of $1million in prizemoney for the time being. Regular driver Kate Gath, the wife of trainer Andy, told thetrots.com.au that a decision had been made to give the champion squaregaiter a break following last weekend's third placing in the DNR Logistics Vulcan Trot at Tabcorp Park Melton. The nine-year-old has so far fallen short in his bid to become just the ninth Australasian-bred trotter to reach the $1 million prizemoney mark, being beaten in his last three trips to the races. This has left the son of Skyvalley stuck on $996,797 in earnings. "We've decided to give him a little break and give him one last go, so that's where he's at at the moment," Gath said. "He's sort of been in work for a really long time. Even though he didn't race a lot prior to the Great Southern Star, we'd had him in work for a really long time trying to get him right. "He'll have a decent break of a month or maybe a little bit longer and we'll give him one last go." Gath said it was hard to know when retirement might be on the cards for the winner of 38 races. "Obviously, we'd like to get to the million dollar mark. If he gets there and we are really happy with him and he goes really well, then (we will) probably look at keeping (him) going. But if he gets there and we think that he's got a few little niggling issues and has got older, we might just stop it there." Tornado Valley is raced by prominent owner Norm Jenkin, who has had a long and successful association with the Gath stable.   By Tim O'Connor for HRV
Trent Dawson has redemption on his mind for his loyal owners when he chases his maiden Group 1 triumph on Saturday evening at Albion Park. The Clarendon-based trainer, who has around 15 in work at his property, heads to the QBRED TRIAD 3YO Fillies Group 1 (2138m) with two leading chances - Talent To Spare and Kissesforyamisses. The Dawson fillies had mixed fortunes when the barriers were drawn on Tuesday morning; Talent To Spare on the back row in 13, while Kissesforyamisses boosted her chances with a favourable draw in four. While the barrier draws will be key come Saturday night, it is another factor that has driven Dawson’s motivation for the last year. The impressive Talent To Spare broke from her gait just as they were about to jump in the Group 1 2YO edition of the race last year, leaving Dawson and owners Kevin and Kay Seymour devastated. While the Seymours were disappointed to see one of their up-and-coming pacers miss out a feature race opportunity, they were still supportive of the trainer-driver, Dawson, and he is keen to repay them this week. “They have been fantastic to me personally allowing me to train this horse, they have been some of my biggest supporters,” Dawson said of the Seymours. “Last year things did not go right and we were all upset about that, they are great people and great supporters of me and the entire harness racing industry. “I feel like I am trying to repay the faith in them after what happened last year with Talent To Spare in the TRIAD. “I was shattered and they helped me get over it, it will be nice to repay their faith.” Dawson has qualified two for the fillies Final, both of which are out of sire Hurrikane Kingcole. Talent To Spare is owned by the Seymours while Kissesforyamisses is owned by Dawson’s wife Crystal Towns. While Talent To Spare - who has five wins from 11 starts to her name - had to endure an “ugly draw” on Tuesday, Dawson is not giving up hope on his three-year-old just yet, declaring he still has confidence in both his chances. "She got murdered in that, if she had drawn well it would have been nearly shut the gate but it will be very tough from there,” he says. “She will have to be very good and she will have to get a lot of luck. “My other filly, she faired well, that is a positive draw for her and she has a whole lot of options now. “She can lead as she has good gate speed. “There is not too much between them now following the barriers and Kissesforyamisses gets the chance to spring an upset.” In all of Talent To Spare’s wins, she has either led or been just behind the leader, with Dawson keen to eventually show she is not a one-dimensional pacer and can be just as effective off the speed as well. As a trainer, Dawson has been Group 1 placed over the years, but he is yet to break through on the biggest stage of racing. He hopes that will change come Saturday evening. “It would be an exclamation mark, they only come around once a year,” he said. “It is a whole different ball game winning a race like this. “If we were to win, it would not change me or anything I do, but it would just give me the confidence to show we can win races like this. “It would be good to keep doing it after this, if we can.” There will also be a QBRED TRIAD 3YO Colts and Geldings Group 1 (2138m) on Saturday evening at Albion Park.   By Jordan Gerrans for Racing Queensland
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